Monday, November 23, 2009

Christianity: The Only Revolution

There is a 3-part series on Orthodoxy as Second Terrace. Here is Part 3:

Orthodoxy is a religion of memory, but conservative America (rightly reacting to statism) is dedicated to nostalgia. The past is framed with a sentimental, hallmark peachy filter, where the blemishes and moles are airbrushed away. Nothing happens in the past of nostalgia, except a succession of Norman Rockwell prints. The whole montage is narrated by the whisky voice of Thornton's Our Town narrator: birth, youth, romance and marriage, hearth and home and death. Stephen Foster sings offstage.

I love this montage: I am drawn toward it like a siren. For me, the Sirenum Scopuli are not between Scylla and Aeaeia. They are at Almanzo's farm in New York, or at Walton's Mountain with the little old ladies and those inimitable mason jars and the Big Chief Tablet (I had one of those, just as graphite-smudged).

Nostalgia and sentiment are perilous reactions to Babylon and its progress: going home and trying to find the little house on the prairie, with the apple-wood smoke curling up from the chimney and crunchy leaves and a ham on a marble slab and the silence of winter chill groves, draped in silver gauze is a place you want to visit now at your peril, and can, despite the morose fact that you were never there.

Christianity is history, which is always forgettable: the imaginations of nostalgia are easier come by. Christianity is history: history is Christianity.

Sadly, Christianity is also a very urban, revolutionary thing. It is urban in that it cannot be thought of outside of fellowship. Moreover, it claims that human nature is rooted and must flourish in communion. There is no sense of rugged, Marlboro Man, Wyatt Earp individualism in Christianity: many Americans – and I'm one of them – dream dreams of riding into the sunset, but are awakened rudely by the knowledge that we couldn't cut it, we're too humane.

It is revolutionary. It is the only revolution.

Read it all here.

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