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Think the Western Church is Jan Crouch or Borgia Popes?

Believe that English Protestantism is Oliver Cromwell tyranny in service of the cultural values of Elmer Gantry?

Read Spenser and take the cure.

The notion that Protestantism, at least of sort, destroys the ability to produce great literature should be refuted by the mere existence of Milton, but Edmund Spenser clinches it. While we all might wish for a more ecumenical poem than his fiercely anti-Roman Faerie Queen given the present state of the world and the church, the poem is perfect enough that any contemplation of change sends shivers down a sane man’s spine.

Spenser’s Fairie Queene is so piercingly beautiful, so romantic, and so Protestant that reading even the first Book cleanses one from hours of Benny Hinn. Not for Spenser the “ban Christmas and card playing” cheerless and dour forms of Christianity that get so much press from hopeful haters that populate Internet atheist web sites. Instead, we see here a Christianity urbane, intellectual, but also concerned with holiness and virtue.

Almost entirely missing in our culture is that old figure: the actual gentleman. This gentleman would dress well before doing the dirty work of saving civilization from all manner of barbarians. He would gallop off to fight for King and Country, but could be counted on to be reading Horace in his tent. The old school gentleman would fight for honor, but could laugh at earthy humor handled well in someone like Shakespeare. He was fit, but from outdoor sports and not a treadmill in a gym. He was not above knowing the best wines, but he had disdain for the libertine.

I love the notion that to the Knight in the Faerie Queene swords and books matter.

Edmund Spenser was certainly no saint, but at least in the Faerie Queene there is a vision of a Christianity that bends the knee, knows a good liturgy when Cranmer writes it, and is full of joy.

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