I’m NOT a trained theologian. Nothing that I offer here in my words is the “Teaching of the Church” nor do I offer it as “advice” to those seeing guidance. They ARE the reflections of a Christian on a very real and serious problem. I’d recommend all comers to avoid the prideful judgementalism of Rod Dreher and Freddie-MG… they have a smarmy exterior, but the interior is all dust and bones. I can’t offer you any answers… but I can offer you my hand as we face the perils of this world. We’re NOT alone…
I’m in plain type… my interlocutor is in italics. There’s nothing like a friend to stir up the mind… always mistrust loners… that’s why Our Lord Christ said, “Whenever two or three of you gather in My Name”… think on that.
Here’s the problem… we don’t come into a “good” world… we come into a fallen, fallen world that defies “good” solutions. What do you do with Uniate artillery aimed at civilian neighbourhoods? Do we “turn the other cheek”, or do we fight back? NO, I’m not arguing that “fighting back” is intrinsically “good” (it isn’t)… but sometimes we don’t have a “good” choice. I’d say that one has to keep in mind that the solution, although not “good” was the only one available… that is, one can oppose evil, but not hate those doing it. That is, the best solution would be to destroy the Uniate artillery without destroying the Uniate artillerymen, but that’s not always on offer. This isn’t a “hypothetical”… it’s what our coreligionists in Novorossiya face every day. What do you do when hateful people target your home? YES… what do you do?
We’re fallen, and in need of restoration. Yet, I dare say most people come to church looking not for a Redeemer, not for repentance or a life change, but so they can feel better about themselves. To follow Christ is to deny one’s own self-assessment, and rather allow the mirror of the Church to show to us our fallen-ness.
The old “Thinks that they’re Publicans but they’re really Pharisees” syndrome?
That may be the case in some instances, but I think it relatively rare. More often than not, it may be the issue of not knowing better from a society and culture which teaches that each of us is individually responsible for determining right and wrong… and pretty much everything is right (the “if it feels good, do it” philosophy). In the “old days”… before 1960 or so (in my estimation)… society taught the Judeo-Christian ethic, and the Church didn’t have to do much at the basic level. Now, though, society has pretty much gone off the deep end in narcissism, and I think that we have to return to basics and teach about the fallen-ness (hedonism?) of our world.
Au contraire… I grew up at that time; it wasn’t more moral than today is… it was more hypocritical though! They preached it, but they didn’t live it. The 60s didn’t come out of nowhere. They were the fruits of earlier trends. Don’t fall for the rightwing trap of glorifying the 50s. Everything that came about in the 60s had their roots in the 50s.
I’d recall the cyclical nature of things, and the end of the Victorian era and the excesses of the 1920s and the (dare I say heroic?) austerity of the 1930s and 40s. I understand that sin and vice will always with us, but at least they preached the message and people could verbalise the difference, even if they didn’t live it. Today, I’m not sure people can even recognise morality.
Actually, I think that we’re at a low point of the trough. Be careful with jeremiads. If unbelief is on the march… ASK WHY. “We have met the enemy and he is us”… how many of us have the grit to ask the right questions? If you don’t ask the right questions, the answers will be utter GIGO.
You’re correct… we’re not asking the right questions, by and large. If you don’t ask the right questions, I guarantee that you’ll get the wrong answer.
The reflection has to “hurt”… if it doesn’t, you’re not being honest with yourself. If you’re not honest with yourself, you’re not being “honest to God”.
That’s the central point… we lie to ourselves (for the most part), so, we refuse to see what the mirror that is Christ and the Law reveals to us.
“Who do YOU say I am?” That’s the Our Lord’s QUESTION. Too many focus on “what the Church teaches”… they miss the point… the Church doesn’t TEACH… IT IS…
Be careful with all those who offer you “the Teaching of the Church” or who offer you jeremiads on the state of Christ’s Church (but all the rot about them doesn’t affect them, of course). Most of them don’t know squat (I have the famous quotation about Shinola in mind)… the Church gives us the proper QUESTIONS to ask ourselves. Then, and only then, will we get the proper ANSWERS. That’s my opinion, any road. Accept it or reject it, as you will. We’re still on the road of the Lent, with some distance to go before we reach the goal. The purpose of the Lent is to allow us to celebrate the Holy Easter with pure hearts… keep that in mind.
It’s better to eat hot dogs in humility than it is to eat boiled potatoes and stewed prunes in pride… I say that in all frankness and sincerity…