Like the trucker with a family on both coasts, I'm two-timing this blog again by posting elsewhere.
update: A senior staff member here at millinerd.com has drafted a memo informing me that if one writes a blog post that's loooong, it most likely will not be read. And so, I summarize myself:
Knowing when to approach something allegorically and when to take it literally is hard to teach. It's like knowing when to laugh, and more importantly perhaps, when not to. I find it regrettable that some Christians today seem to be laughing at the wrong times, and dead serious with the jokes. As Protestants (I still am one), we're under no obligation to follow the Reformers at their worst. But, I should add, at least their impatience with apocrypha and allegory left them with more time for the essentials that too many of us have discarded.