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Friday, July 3, 2015

Home

Friend of the blog Patrick Sheridan asks, in response to the preceding post, "What about people far-sundered, like me? I have no means at all, just a Bible and my own conviction."

My answer is, you need a home; we all need a home.

Home. Yes, it’s critical to our psychic health and general well-being to have one of those. I’m certain young Ms. Makin is a dutiful and tolerant liberal not yet sufficiently seasoned to logically expand on her sentiment. Though one day, at least subconsciously, she will.

Home is not just geography. Home is a place of comfort, safety, and familiarity. Of mutual trust and understanding. Of common past and shared future. Home is where children play without fear in a parent’s eyes. Home is where speaking honestly offends no shrill aliens. Home is what is passed from your father to your son. And most importantly, home belongs uniquely to you.

There are great swaths of her country now no more Ms. Makin’s home than the violent North African city she longs to escape. And when those swaths broaden to encompass everything, where will her daughter seek sanctuary upon saying…

I want to go home.

?

And of all people, Christians are apparently the ones least likely to accommodate you on that point.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How many times do I have to post on how right I am all the time?

In February 2014, I advanced the thesis that the age of evangelism is over, and Christendom, if she is to have a future, would need to focus on natalism and community.
The age of evangelism is over. The Church is fading because she frankly offers nothing to people that any other positive, purportedly compassionate movement--such as political liberalism--does not. The Church thrived under the pagans and the Bolsheviks by virtue of the contrast between her charitable practices and the godless brutality of the ruling regimes. Now, the secular state provides the poor with all the food, clothing, shelter and medical care they need. The poor now manifest the sins of the Biblical rich; secular capitalism generates sufficient tax revenue such that the poor need not even ponder marriage when deciding to reproduce. All that's left for the Church to do is lecture the well-nourished, sheltered and medicated citizenry on the need to curb their sexuality. Really? Or what--Hell?

The religious orders that are doing well these days seem to be the ones that are trying to knock the sharp corners off life for their adherents. For example, in exchange for being an Amish or Hasidic male, you get a job, a definite place in the community's pecking order, and a decent-looking wife who'll have sex with you, bear your children and keep your house. Likewise, Amish and Hasidic females get a guaranteed provider, standing in the community, a reprieve from the status games and career ambitions that occupy the lives of non-Amish and non-Hasidic women, and nuclear and extended family to keep you busy to the end of your days.

Until the Church can offer that sort of arrangement, then from the perspective of the world it's just a lifestyle and ideological choice among innumerable others.
Of all the things I say on the Internet, the above sentiments are the ones most likely not to make it through the moderation queue.

Turns out, once again, that I was just ahead of the curve:

Communion and community.

Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country:
I believe that orthodox Christians today are called to be those new and very different St. Benedicts. How do we take the Benedict Option, and build resilient communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? I don’t know. But we had better figure this out together, and soon, while there is time. [Oh, I've had a few thoughts over the years, Rod. But I'd probably get sued or reported to Homeland Security.]

Christian Communities: From the comments, brother Orthodox and fellow-Tolkein fan Patrick Sheridan puts it beautifully and succinctly: "A way for the community to say 'come and see.'"

Desperation:
I've written this elsewhere and I will repeat it again: you cannot win a culture war if you do not offer a vision of a counter culture for people to adhere to. Putting a different shine on the veneer of the status quo does not suffice. You are still left with the same rotten culture as you had before, just more palatable for conservatives.

Whatever the future brings for Christianity in the West, neither compromise nor despair will prove the catalyst for a powerful response that leads to another awakening. Christianity will either benefit from events out of the control of any human agency, or it will come terms with the last vestiges of the Constantinian order being wiped away and look to its past for the means of engaging the present.

The Obergefell v. Hodges ruling appears to be something of a catalyst. There really is only room for one reigning ideology at the top, and the secular state has decided it has remained neutral long enough.


UPDATE: What's also puzzling is the rather hysterical "What-do-we-do-now?!" expressions. Rod, for example, says he has no idea where to start but that may be somewhat Straussian on his part. Dreher very deliberately carved out a cultural space for his family in rural Louisiana. Collectively, the Amish, Hasidim, Mormons and others seem to have been successful carving out their own cultural spaces. Fr. John Peck has been talking about this since September 2008, although on third reading, I think his homily could bear some modification:
Vastly diminished parishes, both in size and number. There will be a few exceptions, (and they will be exceptional!) but for the most part, most current Orthodox parishioners will age and die, and have no one to replace them. Why? Because as they have taught the context of their culture, instead teaching the context of their faith. Some parishes will simply be merged with others. Many will close outright. A few will change how they do ministry, with a new vision of parochial ecclesiology. These newer parishes will be lighthouses of genuine Orthodox piety and experience. Some parishes, I believe, will actually be formed specifically, in the old fashion, by purchasing land, building a chapel or Temple in the midst of it, and parishioners building or buying homes around it. The Church will be the center of their lives, and many will come from far and wide to experience their way of life.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Porter explains.

I could prepare a detailed analysis of Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage) or King v. Burwell (Obamacare), or I can cut and paste three sentences from Porter.



Meanwhile congressional Republicans, terrified lest they be found insufficiently prostrate before the multi-national corporate gods, rescued Barack Hussein from his own Left flank and granted him Trade Promotion Authority to cut secret, cronyist deals across Southeast Asia. The hog-tying and gutting of the American middle class can proceed apace.

Remember that this Congress was voted into power just seven months ago to do nothing but oppose Obama. "No enemies to the Left!," is now the Republican's governing creed.

Time to start thinking outside the box, folks.

Also, this is my 500th post.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Okay. I'll do it.

Since Ryan Hunter won't.


Post my comment, that is.

Matthew Heimbach is apparently back in people's sights, for no other reason than that the conscience of a New York grad student weighs heavily upon him in the wake of the Charleston shootings.

The very white Ryan Hunter, whose CV, interests and appearance suggest he is not around a lot of diversity, has declared anathema on Mr. Heimbach.

(Matt's on the right.)

My conscience obliges me to report to Your Eminence [+Demetrios, GOA] that a white supremacist named Matthew Heimbach, who claims to be a practicing Orthodox Christian, has unfortunately been receiving major media coverage from ABC News in the wake of the recent Charleston shootings. Only yesterday, an article appeared in ABC News in which Heimbach was interviewed while wearing an Orthodox cross. Mr. Heimbach has publicly claimed that the suspected shooter in the Charleston attach is a “victim” of a culture which, supposedly, hates and oppresses white people. Mr. Heimbach has claimed, and continues to claim –falsely– that his racist views somehow are in line with those of Orthodox Christianity. He further claims, despite having been excommunicated for his views by Bishop Anthony of the Antiochian Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, to be an active Orthodox Christian in good standing. While his constitutional rights to free speech allow him to do this, I and a number of my friends from across Orthodox jurisdictions are greatly concerned that Mr. Heimbach’s views will cause non-Orthodox members of the public to associate the Holy Church with his radical, un-Orthodox views. He is furthermore presenting a false narrative, claiming himself to be an active member of the Church when in fact he is excommunicated. I am especially anxious that the memory of your illustrious predecessor Archbishop Iakovos not be profaned by the shameful association of such an ignoble man with Holy Orthodoxy.
Apparently he sent an identical letter to Met. +Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese, lest Matt still be lurking in one of his parishes.

My comment, still awaiting moderation:
Well, wait a minute, phyletism means Bulgarians in Istanbul must answer to the local Greek bishop and not their Bulgarian bishop back home. More broadly, the Church's ecclesiology is local, not ethnic. However, this has never meant that Greeks and Bulgarians are canonically forbidden from drawing lines around themselves and declaring themselves the Greek or Bulgarian nations. That is actually part of the catholicity of Orthodoxy: every Nation gets its own Church. Thus, we have liturgies in the local Romanian, Greek, Russian, etc. forms in these ethnic groups' geographic redoubts.

The canons against phyletism are violated, every day, by the clergy, hierarchs and laity of the OCA, GOA, AOANA, ROCOR and surely some others I am forgetting. There is even a Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction floating around somewhere for, presumably, the remaining ethnic Carpatho-Russians. There is also, apparently, Mayan Orthodoxy: http://www.mayanorthodoxy.com/

And then there are the non-Chalcedonian Churches: the Armenians, Egyptian Copts, Ethiopian Copts, Assyrians; all proudly and persistently ethnic. Heimbach is, like most of us, an Anglo-European mutt, but he is unquestionably part of an American ethno-cultural subgroup which, seemingly, is the only one that cannot be nationalistic.

There are two facts in these debates which don't seem to get much acknowledgment. First, the Church's ecclesiology no longer represents the facts on the ground, where people can pick up and move to other countries when the jobs run out or the bullets start flying. Second, people generally prefer religious worship with their own cultural expressions, which is the very reason there are separate jurisdictions in secular, propositional America. Nor are these issues unique to America; there are problems in the Jerusalem patriarchate, where Greek hierarchs are in conflict with the local Arab culture and peoples, and the ludicrous persistence of "Constantinople" in what is unquestionably Istanbul, the capital of the Turkish nation-state.

Here are some more nuanced thoughts on this topic:

https://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/church-and-nationality/

It strikes me that Heimbach is being declared guilty of violating the American secular canon, not the Orthodox one.

This would be an interesting public debate, if people were allowed to debate these issues publicly. But since frank discussion of reality is a hatecrime, nobody can figure out how to reconcile Orthodox ecclesiology with a world where people take their nations with them wherever they go.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dior Bronze Self-Tanner is the new Black


Head of Spokane, Washington NAACP is as white as me.
SPOKANE, Wash. - The City of Spokane announced Thursday it's investigating whether the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP violated the city's code of ethics in her application to serve on the citizen police ombudsman commission.

Rachel Dolezal serves as chair of the independent commission, in addition to her work as an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Washington University and president of the NAACP local chapter. On her application to serve on the commission, she identified herself as African-American. But public records, including Dolezal's own birth certificate, list her biological parents as Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal of Montana. The Dolezals told KXLY Thursday that Rachel is their biological daughter and that they are both white.

Of course, I could tell you by the apple cheeks, thin lips, overbite and vocal intonation that this spray-on-tan loony tune is trying to pass, but since race is merely a social construct we're not supposed to notice these things.





Reminder: the Left is stark raving mad.

UPDATE: From this Daily Mail article, looks like her pathologically altruistic parents lionized other people's offspring, alienated their biological daughter, and now spurn her attempts to become their ideal person.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Stark raving mad



Liberalism is mental illness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Don't worry; despair.

Malcolm Pollack smooths our furrowed brows:
A friend of mine attended a political fundraiser the other day. In attendance were many “conservative” luminaries, and some prominent Republican candidates for the upcoming presidential election. Among those who spoke was a former Speaker of the House (and presidential candidate himself) [this was probably Newt Gingrich], who, according to my friend, struck a very somber note: he said that the battle for the American culture and political system was effectively over, and that the Left had won.

Recently I was invited to join a monthly discussion-group for the “Dissident Right”; it’s a convivial dinner-and-drinks affair at an “undisclosed location” in New York. The guest lecturer last month was a prominent conservative intellectual, and the author of several books. He gave a very engaging talk, but with a dispiriting message: there is simply no effective right-wing political opposition in America anymore, and no “critical mass” from which one can be expected to arise. Even as the ostensibly “conservative” GOP holds the upper hand in both houses of Congress, the nation moves faster and faster to the Left. And as others have pointed out: even if they wanted to, the Congress and the Judiciary simply cannot respond rapidly enough to the actions of an aggressive Executive — Congress because of the democratic limitations of a large legislative body, and the difficulty of assembling filibuster- and veto-proof majorities, while the Judiciary can initiate nothing at all on its own. Moreover, we are in such a late stage of this “progressive” disease that we are long past the point where a presidential victory, even by an actual conservative, can make any long-term difference to the morbid prognosis.

Furthermore, we are in the late stages of a kind of decline that is inherent in democracy itself, in which a gradual expansion of the franchise, culminating in universal suffrage, leads inexorably to short-sighted governance, the consumption of future assets for present-day expenses, and the general dissipation of a nation’s vigor. As Fitzjames Stephen wrote in 1874:

The substance of what I have to say to the disadvantage of the theory and practice of universal suffrage is that it tends to invert what I should have regarded as the true and natural relation between wisdom and folly. I think that wise and good men ought to rule those who are foolish and bad. To say that the sole function of the wise and good is to preach to their neighbors, and that everyone indiscriminately should be left to do what he likes, should be provided with a ratable share of the sovereign power in the shape of the vote, and that the result of this will be the direction of power by wisdom, seems to me the wildest romance that ever got possession of any considerable number of minds.

So, here we are, in a runaway train, with a foolish and angry mob at the controls. We have not the numbers to storm the engine. What to do? Neither Hanson nor Mac Donald offer any prescription.

The historically literate reactionary’s answer is: nothing. We can do nothing, other than to hope we survive the inevitable wreck, to learn from our mistakes, and perhaps to carry something forward...
Please click through and read Malcolm's short essay in its entirety, and click on his header for some other thoughts in this vein. And no, I am not morbid. Malcolm's title is ironic, as he observes elsewhere: "The autumn years are not without their comforts, for both a nation and a man." Work out, eat well, drink well, acquire skills, save money, love your family, worship God. Dysfunctional regimes which can't reproduce themselves will be replaced.

And to conclude this morning's postings, I think we can officially issue James Howard Kunstler his Reactionary/Dark Enlightenment card:
The basic fact of the matter is that the energy bonanza of the past 200-odd years produced a matrix of complex systems, as well as a hypertrophy in human population. These complex systems — banking, agri-biz, hop-scotching industrialization, global commerce, Eds & Meds, Happy Motoring, commercial aviation, suburbia — have all reached their limits to growth, and those limits are expressing themselves in growing global disorder and universal bankruptcy. Do the authors of The New York Times report think that the oil distribution situation is stable?

There were two terror bombings in Saudi Arabia the past two weeks. Did anyone notice the significance of that? Or that the May 29th incident was against a Shiite mosque, or that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia is concentrated in the eastern province of the kingdom where nearly all of the oil production is concentrated? (Or that the newly failed state of neighboring Yemen is about 40 percent Shiite?) Have any of the 23 genius-level reporters at The New York Times tried to calculate what it would mean to the humming global economy if Arabian oil came off the market for only a few weeks?

Paul Ehrlich was right, just a little off in his timing and in explicating with precision the unanticipated consequences of limitless growth. But isn’t it in the nature of things unanticipated that they generally are not?