Wednesday, December 1, 2010
What I am attempting to offer in this blog is a witness to the end of Christendom and the hegemony that this world-view once enjoyed. It seems to me that as a culture the West has not really come to grips with what the loss of Christendom’s meta-narrative really means. There are those who view Christendom as overtly life-denying (most of the time I number myself among them), who may rejoice at its demise (“we have no restraints now”), but with nothing to replace it -- nothing with its compelling power and its dense durability -- we are left with this vacant, pungent vacuum.
There are many ways to frame this, but look at what passes for art today. It's mostly derivative. Or, look what is happening in the cinema -- remakes simply for the cash. There are exceptions, thank GOD, but they are rare. Said another way, the culture is in a coma. The institutions are in decay. The social-psyche marred by memory lapses. We are in a steep identity crisis.
Or, said still another way, what we didn’t realize is that Christendom was more than the center of the church, it was also the center of the West, the source of our values and law and so many other pieces of the puzzle. This does not mean that all were personally Christian, far from it, but it does mean that our people’s world-view was shaped and socialized by the thoughts of the Bible and biblical world-view. Of course, this is now extinct. What is coming to replace it I do not know, but I fear the fundamentalist who would attempt to recapture what was lost (which is not possible without some sort of imperial dictatorship), and the materialist who would use the rational to create a scientific rationalism using the human as the tools of experimentation.
My small piece is then to attempt to remain loyal to what Jesus taught (the end of Christendom is not the end of Christ), and to the historic practices of the church (its liturgy and prayer). No easy task in a social structure that is so seductive and powerful. I try to wrestle with the biblical materials, viewing them through the human and the grid of the post-christian West. I’m not sure this comes through very well -- each one reading into whatever text that which they wish to see.