Obi-Wan Kenobi, Smoking Spiritualized, and the Ministers Erskine

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Smoking Spiritualized, and the Ministers Erskine The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

I watched the first three episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi with my four oldest sons and my dad at my brother’s house last Friday. Because these are the days we live in, there is controversy already with fans complaining about one of the newly introduced villains, Inquisitor Reva.

Disney has wasted no time in characterizing as racist such complaints from fans. Ostensibly, this is because the actress, Moses Ingram, and the character she plays, are strong black women, and “OP” as the kids say.

I honestly haven’t read much on the criticism, mostly because I’ve been very much turned off by Disney in general based on what they did with episodes 7-9 after purchasing the rights to Star Wars, plus firing Gina Carano. What I will say is that it should be possible to critique certain decisions made by Disney with regards to the show without being called a racist. Unfortunately, in our day and age, it is easier to hide behind Woke denunciations than it is to deal in substance.

There is both an aggressive and toxic quality to the decisions being made by too many in media in all sectors; it is overtly intolerant toward dissent or objection, and heavy-handed in its response, as we are seeing here in this case of Disney and the Obi-Wan show.

That said, there is nevertheless a lot I like about the show so far, and I hope they finish well and don’t ruin it with Wokeness. Ewan McGregor is a great actor, and it’s fun to see his and other familiar faces reprising their characters from the movies, filling in gaps in our understanding of what happened between ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘A New Hope.’

Believing for a decade that he’d killed his apprentice, friend, and brother in Anakin, after having failed him as a teacher – this show exploring the toll taken on Obi-Wan makes for great storytelling. And that is all I intend to say about the show at this time.

Star Wars aside, I am nearing the end of reading ‘The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance – Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters’ by Sinclair Ferguson. Stay tuned for the review once the book is finished. For now, however, I found a link between one of the key foci of that book – namely, ‘The Marrow Controversy’ – and a poem about pipe-smoking by Ralph Erskine I’ve had up in a browser tab on my computer for several weeks.

For those familiar with binge-watching shows on streaming platforms, what followed my realization of a connection was binge-researching. And now I have selections from several connected Wikipedia articles to share with you.

Suffice to say, the history of Henry Erskine (1624-1696), Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), and Ralph Erskine (1685-1752), a father and his two sons, all Scottish ministers, is a fascinating one. It is the story of an intolerant government forcing non-conformists out of pulpits, public offices, and the universities – even barring them from gathering together privately in numbers greater than 5 not of their own household. 

Reading the history of Scotland and England through the 17th and 18th centuries, you will develop a newfound appreciation for much in America that we today take for granted. Freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and association – none of these were sacred to those who outlawed non-conformity, and comprehensively drove dissenters and objectors from polite society.

No wonder questions of legalism, lawlessness, and grace are so much the center of Ferguson’s book dealing with the Marrow Controversy. They were not abstract topics to these men, but were very real matters of life and death, both temporal and eternal.

A pipe-smoker myself, I enjoy Ralph Erskine’s poem, ‘Smoking Spiritualized.’ But only all the more do I enjoy it when I realize what his family of ministers and many others endured a few hundred years ago.

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