Pastor to thenPariahsnby James L. SauernWho Speaks For God? by CharlesnColson, Westchester, IL: Ctossway.nDramatic conversions happen. F.F.nBruce, the noted New Testament scholar,nis not alone in insisting that no onencan understand Paul of Tarsus withoutnconsidering his experience on the roadnto Damascus. And whether you believe,nas Christians do, that he therenmet the resurrected Christ or not, allnadmit that he was not the same mannafterward: Saul the Pharisee had becomenPaul the Apostle. He and twelvenother men turned the world upsidendown. In some ways, Colson remindsnme of Paul. As one of Nixon’s deviousnminions, Colson was a Machiavelliannpower seeker. His only god was gettingnto the top. Then something happened.nHis world came crashing down. Conversion,nconviction, incarceration. Andnhis witness stood. Since those post-nWatergate days, his Prison Fellowshipnhas gone quietly on its way serving thensociopath lepers of our prisons.nDevotional literature is seldom discussednat cocktail parties; nor is it commonnto find books of Christian exhortationndiscussed in “official” America.nGod, after all, is a leper also. One TVninterviewer told Colson seconds beforenairtime: “We’ll talk today only aboutnprisons; it’s against station policy tonmention God on the air.” Controversialnissues like sex-change operations, bestiality,nand the Supreme Being shouldnbe left to professionals like Phil Donahue.nColson didn’t listen: He preachednChrist.nThat is why most leaders of modernnculture will regard Who Speaks FornGod? with indifference, if not hostility.nSolzhenitsyn’s pronouncements onnWestern decadence now elicit similarnresponses among the chic, while MothernTeresa’s attacks on abortion are toleratednwith respectful bemusement.nProphets are fun to listen to at first; thennas their relentless truth hammers at ournsins, thev become an embarrassment.nBOOKSHELVESnColson, the ex-Watergater, full of meanculpas, always got press; Colson, thenprison minister who preaches sin, redemption,nand life in Christ, is a pariah.nHe has gone beyond entertainment;nnow he’s “meddlin’.”nColson is not easily classified. He is anwell-educated lawyer, a man whosenconversion experience came throughnreading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.nHis writing style is clear, rational, andntheologically comprehensible. His fundamentalnbase of knowledge rests onnbiblical inerrancy—the Protestantnequivalent of papal infallibility, andnhardly a liberal position. Yet his level ofncompassion would match any liberal’s,nand his commonsense application ofnthe gospel would please any Fundamentalist.nHe is the evangelical man for allnseasons whose work in word and deedncompels us to listen whether he isnspeaking of AIDS or prison reform,nbalanced budgets or personal forgiveness.nColson’s wholesale denunciation ofnsuccess theology—the Evangelical selloutnto the values of the dollar and thentube—is a refreshing sign of spiritualnvigor. The older success theology usednto count souls; the new one countsnvotes, mailing lists, Nielson ratings,nand war chests. In contrast, Colsonnchampions the orthodox theology ofnobedience. Success in the Kingdom ofnHeaven may well require failure in thenkingdom of men. Augustine said thenJames L. Sauer is the director of thenlibrary at Eastern College in St.nDavids, Pennsylvania.nThe Maze ofnMetaphornby Stephen L. TannernnnAmerican Poetics of History: FromnEmerson to the Moderns by JosephnG. Kronick, Baton Rouge: LouisiananState University Press.nJacques Derrida has in recent yearsnmade himself one of the most influentialnfigures in literary criticism onnAmerican college campuses. Thenmovement he has inspired, alternatelynknown as “deconstruction” or “poststructuralism,”nasserts that all languagenis metaphorical and that there is nothingnoutside the literary text. FollowingnDerrida’s lead, Joseph G. Kronick challengesnthe traditional concepts of literarynhistory and study and focuses onnmetaphor to create an alternative understandingnof tradition and history.nThe “American poetics of history” henpropounds is the personal and metaphoricalncreation of the group of Americannwriters he examines. History innthese terms is “a troping of the tropesnthat constitute history.” History, arguesnKronick, is simply a “question of intertextuality,nor reading and writing.” Innother words, “nature and the past donnot exist outside of language: history isngenerated by metaphors or representation.n” We must recognize “the irreduciblenmetaphoricity of any notion of originsnor centers.”nIf this notion of history as literarynplay strikes you as peculiar or evennperverse, you are still clinging to traditionalnhumanistic assumptions that languagencan have determinate meaningnand refer to things outside the realm ofnlanguage itself. I confess to being anvictim of such retrograde assumptions,nand reading the chapters in this book onnEmerson, Thoreau, and Whitman—nwriters to whose lives and works I havendevoted considerable study—is like enteringna pale, surrealistic world of abstractionnin which these writers arenbarely recognizable.nMaking frequent use of Derrida, Paulnde Man, Harold Bloom, J. Hillis Miller,nand other contemporary literary the-nJULY198B/35n