Another Wordsmithy Reflection:

Wordsmithy, Douglas Wilson (Canon Press, 2011) This reflection comes from tip #2 in Chapter 1:
Authenticity in writing will only arise from authenticity in living. One of our great problems today is that we have gotten caught up in our culture-wide quest for authenticity. We want our jeans authentic (pre-ripped at the factory), we want our apples authentic (grown locally instead of somewhere else), we want our music authentic (underground bands nobody ever heard of)…we want our literature authentic (full of angst)…and we want our coffee tables authentic (purchased from a genuine peasant while we were on some eco-tour). In short, we are a bunch of phonies. We are superficial all the way down. We are not going to get out of this snare until we see the quest for authenticity for what it is—a hypocrisy factory, cranking out tight-weave superficiality by the yard… The word authentic has lost its authenticity and has become a nebulous term of praise, loudly used by those who are in the process of chasing their zeitgeistian jack-o’-lanterns. This quest for authenticity, in its current configuration, is actually a quest to feel superior to other people… Quit acting real. Get real (16-17).
This is where Wilson is just so much cooler than me. Like, did he throw in “zeitgeistian jack-o’-lanterns” as a clever poke at the Smashing Pumpkin’s supposedly authentic, but poorly received album? Who knows. Isn’t it ridiculous that we are marketing authentic? It cracks me up when I see someone toting along with a bag that advertises how “green” they are. Instead of reusing a bag that you already have, it is much more hip to buy another bag that squandered much ink to inform the world of your environmental sensitivities. If you’ve been so tangled up in this authentic marketing madness that you find it hard to distinguish what is even real anymore, I have a suggestion. Spend some time with a four-year-old. They can see through all that ostensible crap. And they have a wonderful way of pointing out your own inauthenticities at just the perfect, inconvenient time. Now I have to wrap the bow on this and tie it in to the theme of my blog: the gospel interrupting the ordinary. Marketing authenticity is so successful because we are a bunch of hypocrites. I am, and so are you. I do want to feel superior, but I’m not. Getting real means I have to be honest with myself. There has been only one person who truly lived an authentic life, and that is Jesus Christ. Not only was it 100% authentic, it was 100% perfect. But instead of parading his godly superiority over us, he laid his life down to serve us. In God’s grace, he actually imputes that authentic, perfect life onto all who believe on his Son for their true life. And that perfect man took all our sin upon himself to propitiate the wrath of our God who demands 100% authentic goodness. We know that God has accepted this atonement because Christ was raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father. The gospel is the message that helps us to get real.