Saturday, February 1, 2014
I've added Contra Niche to the blogroll. There seems to be a growing number of "non-affiliated" Christians who look at the Catholic Church, look at Orthodoxy, look at the perpetually-splintering Protestant sects, and figure they can't do any worse just reading the Bible and praying their private devotions at home.
God knows there is plenty wrong with establishment Christendom. The Catholic and Orthodox hierarchies seem perplexed about the world since at least 1000 A.D. The Western Church prostrates herself shamelessly before universalist social democracy as the apparent successor to the Holy Roman Empire. The Eastern Church clings to the ecclesiology of its glory days in Late Antiquity. The Protestant sects splinter and splinter, even as they wield enormous global influence from the tithes of American suburbanites, who themselves are riding a tide of artificial prosperity that globalism is about to smash.
All of these branches of Christendom are extraordinarily myopic. Catholics wring their hands over the immigrants and poor who will, frankly, destroy their host societies. The Orthodox bog down in their arcane jurisdictional disputes and incomprehension of a world where people pick up and move whenever they feel like it. And the Protestants stuff free food into the faces of Africans and Asians while rallying against higher capital gains taxes and transfer payments to their fellow Americans. (Not that anybody would be so racist and provincial to broach the concept of 'fellow Americans.')
Christendom has passed through her Apostolic age, as the men taught by Christ and the men who were taught by the men who were taught by Christ transmitted the Gospel. There was the age of persecution under the pagan kingdoms and empires. Then the age of asceticism and long, golden age of theology, as Christianity triumphed in the civilized world.
Incredibly, with churches on every street corner and the most catholic, the most orthodox, the most scholarly and rigorous Christianity available to everyone in the whole wide world with a few keystrokes, I still hear that the cure to all that ails us is evangelism, evangelism and more evangelism.
To which I respond, get effing real.
Christianity is utterly transparent at this point. We don't meet in the catacombs, we don't shoo the non-initiates out when we begin to recite the Creed. Anybody wanting to find out about the Christian faith can contact me, anybody in my blogroll, any number of their neighbors, or just walk to any church within a stone's throw of their present GPS coordinates. If such people by some chance have yet never heard of the Christian faith, they will find pastors who will drop everything they are doing to tell them whatever they need in order to convert to Christianity.
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.