RIP Robert Capon

Theologian and Anglican priest Robert Capon passed away today. His writing has had a substantial influence on me and on Michael Spencer, who first got me into blogging. I’ve quoted him many times here. Oddly enough, one of his best-known works is a quirky cookbook called The Supper of the Lamb. It is probably more widely read than the work he considered his most important, an odd piece titled Between Noon and Three. May he rest in peace and I hope to meet him and chat when we both wake in the end.

I’m going to repost a couple of my very favorite Capon quotes below in his honor.

I’ll start with what is probably the best reflection on parenting ever:

I find that my fine generalities have dashed themselves to pieces against the six very concrete children that I have. I live surrounded by a mixture of violence and loveliness, of music and insensitivity. I take my meals with clods and poets, but I am seldom certain which is which. Nowhere is my life less reducible to logic than in my children; nowhere are my elegant attempts at system ground more violently to powder than under the stumbling stone of the next generation. Far from having advice to give you, I am dumbfounded by them and admit it. And yet I rejoice too, for nowhere is there so much to keep me sane. I apologize in advance but I know only one word to describe it: It is absurd.

-from Bed and Board

Then there is this wonderful passage on the nature of grace:

Grace is wildly irreligious stuff.  It’s more than enough to get God kicked out of the God union that the theologians have formed to keep him on his divine toes so he won’t let the riffraff off scot-free. Sensible people, of course, should need only about thirty seconds of careful thought to realize that getting off scot-free is the only way any of us is going to get off at all. But if all we can think of is God as the Eternal Bookkeeper putting down black marks against sinners–or God as the Celestial Mother-in-Law giving a crystal vase as a present and then inspecting it for chips every time she comes for a visit…well, any serious doctrine of grace is going to scare the rockers right off our little theological hobbyhorses.

-The Romance of the Word, p.11

A proper take on the value of theology:

Theology – an enterprise that, despite the oftentimes homicidal urgency Christians attach to it, has yet to save anybody. What saves us is Jesus, and the way we lay hold of that salvation is by faith. And faith is something that throughout this book, I shall resolutely refuse to let mean anything other than trusting Jesus.

-from Kingdom, Grace, Judgment

And finally this oft-quoted passage on the nature of Christ’s work:

“Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works.”