WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING OUT by Charles Merrill Smith

WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING OUT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Some clergymen and laymen, who laughed manfully over this author's guide to a purple-and-fine-linen future for men of the cloth (How To Become a Bishop Without Really Trying) may feel this to be a bit too sharp around the edges. However, beyond the irreverent sparks from the whistling axe of Smith, is a wholly healthy impulse to demolish hypocrisy in saint and ""Stalwart Christian"" worship, from hysterical hagiological hierarchies to the dourer Protestant fathers. Section One clobbers the saints, major and minor, by very secular renditions of their more dubious accomplishments and lessons drawn from same. ""Augustine saw clearly that God in His goodness predestines people both to heaven and to hell. . . . It is hard to see how we could have gotten along all these years without. . . double predestination."" Among the applications: ""If you want to be considered an authority by posterity, there is no field like theology, because nobody can prove you are wrong."" Luther, Calvin, Wesley and others in the Protestant host share the same fate. Mr. Smith sets forth the Stalwart Christian Syndrome: ""Always...identify what you want or the way you think things ought to be with the unchanging will of the Almighty."" Somewhat strained by length and repetition, but relieved considerably by Mr. Smith's fearless and unmalicious high spirits.

Pub Date: June 20th, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday