Uit: White-Bread Jesus
“When that bully Cavanaugh rises in the middle of the opening prayer like a self-righteous Sadducee, shouldered round by all his fawning scribes and elders, to silence Reverend Wesley Edwards (was he shouting? of course he was shouting, God is deaf as a stump), neither he nor Jesus is surprised. In fact, they welcome it. Such persecutions are to be expected when what is hidden is revealed, and indeed stand as validation of it. What else is the Easter story about — for Christ’s sake? Who concurs: As they persecuted me, they’ll persecute you. A prophet in his own country, and all that, my son. But rejoice and be glad, your reward is great. His immediate reward is to have to sit beside the pulpit, biting his tongue, staring out on the sad blank faces of his First Presbyterian congregation, while the banker, having skipped ahead in the proceedings to the tithes and offerings, money being all he knows (and power, Cavanaugh knows power), speaks of the general good health of the church finances, its immediate needs (an assistant minister, for example — urgently!), and Easter as a loving family occasion. No, no, you idiot! It is a time of rejection of family, indeed of all earthly connections! Have you no ears? If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple! Leave everything — everything! — and follow me! You ignorant fool! Listen to your own son Tommy’s scripture reading: “But who do you say that I am?” Do you not know? It’s all Wesley can do to stop another noisy eruption from coming on. The indwelling Christ, too, is aboil with indignation, cursing traders and moneychangers and all their abominable progeny. A den of robbers! They are polluting the temple! Drive them out! He’s in a state, they’re both in a state.
It has been a trying couple of weeks. The Passion of Wesley Edwards. He’s not kidding, he’s endured it all in this Passiontide fortnight, from the deathly silence of God and the collapse of his faith, through all the upheavals at home and a plunge into harrowing desolation, a veritable descent into hell, to — finally — a kind of weird convulsive redemption that has left him rattled and confused and not completely in control of himself.”
Robert Coover (Charles City, 4 februari 1932)