QOTD: Turley on tradition, moral obligation, and harmony

While traditional societies believe that every person born into the world is born into a world of divine obligation, where we’re morally obliged to conform our lives into a harmonious relationship with the divine meaning and purpose of the world around us, globalistic secular societies reduce the human person to a sovereign individual who has no moral obligations apart from that which he or she chooses for his or herself.”

– Dr. Steve Turley

Secular, globalist, and Left-wing partisans would not see that as a reduction, of course; they see it as an elevation: the individual human being enjoys god-like sovereignty, and the ability to re-make the world around him or her (or “they,” or “xe,” or whatever…) in his/her/its own image. But they are wrong. The world is as it is, not as any of us would have it be, be we traditional or “progressive.”

The thing is, though, reality favors the traditional. It’s pesky, that way! If you jump off a roof, gravity kicks in, and you’ll likely break your leg (or worse). Men are better at some things and worse at others; and vice versa for women: traditional gender roles are not, contra the progressives, entirely cultural constructs; and the cultural norms that do exist are rooted in biological reality. Birds of a feather really do flock together. And no matter how badly you want to be a different “gender,” you are what your genes make you: you can fight them, but you can’t change them.

And you know all those dratted moral standards that so interfere with our freedom, from the Ten Commandments, to the fable of the ant and the grasshopper (and its analogs in other cultures), to the universal human norm that one should be very cautious about trusting those who aren’t part of one’s “tribe,” and especially those who have a known history of causing trouble?

Yeah, those: they’re there to keep you safe and secure, doing what needs to be done to in order (emphasis on “order,” since lack of order leads to chaos and destruction) to survive and thrive within a relatively close-knit and homogeneous community… which is the only kind you can be sure has your best interests at heart. In other words, moral standards don’t exist to make your life difficult; quite the contrary: they exist for your own good. Continue reading “QOTD: Turley on tradition, moral obligation, and harmony”

Does Modern Secularism Have a Memory Problem? | Word on Fire

Source: Does Modern Secularism Have a Memory Problem? | Word on Fire

This is a truly superb article, to which I was pointed by a friend (you know who you are!); such that I almost cannot praise it strongly enough. Among the many excellent insights contained herein:

“After many years of awkward silence, the secular media is finally recognizing some of the most profound social problems facing American society… The Atlantic woke up to smell the coffee earlier this year, running an article arguing that America’s secularization has made the political climate less tolerant and more antagonistic…

To publications that often criticize religion, like The Atlantic, rising secularism breeding unrest is counterintuitive. But it makes perfect sense. Sociologists have long known about the link between religious observance and social stability. A devout person is more likely to be financially stable, avoid addiction, maintain a marriage, and generally healthier than a less observant person in the same socioeconomic profile.

“In other words, religious people perform better in key categories of social stability than their less religious peers living under the same conditions. That stability (or lack thereof) has serious political implications, and we see it playing out now with certain grassroots political organizations showing flashes of violence and demagoguery.”

As I read this, I cannot help but think of our first President (under the Constitution), the ever-wise George Washington, who warned us – literally centuries ago – in his Farewell Address (1796) of what could happen:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.”

Yet that is exactly what far too many people have been doing, for the last five or six decades. And we are surprised that things are going poorly? Continue reading “Does Modern Secularism Have a Memory Problem? | Word on Fire”

What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire

Woman praying.

Anthony Bourdain killed himself today. Fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide earlier in the week. That’s two prominent suicides in the span of just a few days. And they are far from alone, sadly. Suicide is a veritable epidemic across the nation. Suicide rates are on the rise in almost every state. In some areas, they have risen by 30% or more. This is not normal. Something is happening. But what? And why?

Source: WALSH: What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire

While this essay deals specifically with what seems to be an epidemic of suicides, including and most noticeably among prominent / “celebrity” individuals, I think the issues Walsh identifies can be applied more broadly, to include, inter alia, what seems to another “epidemic”: that of mass shootings. The crisis is the same, it’s how people react to it that’s different: some lash out at others; some lash out at themselves. Some commit violent crimes, while others commit self-harm… but the roots of the ailment are identical. He writes,

“People will say that suicide is on the rise because we are not doing enough to fight the ‘mental health crisis,’ but this can’t be the cause. We have never been more aware of, or more proactive against, mental health issues, yet the suicide rate only continues to climb. The rate was a fraction of what it is today back when nobody had ever even heard of ‘mental health.’ The purely psychological explanations just don’t hold up. Clearly there is a deeper problem here.

“I think that problem is emptiness. There is an emptiness at the core of our culture, and from this root the suicide epidemic grows. We have fled from God, from meaning, from purpose, and embraced a soft kind of nihilism; a nihilism that will not call itself nihilism. It uses other words and slogans to describe itself. ‘You only live once,’ it says. ‘Live your truth.’ People are told that there is only one life, one reality, and it has no meaning aside from what you assign to it. But what happens when you no longer see meaning? Well, our culture says, if you do not see it then it is not there.

“Those who seek happiness by following the well-worn paths will inevitably fall into this pit. If you do what everyone else is doing, and live how they live, and walk in their footsteps, you will end up in the same darkness. You will begin to feel that there is no hope and no point and no real beauty or joy to be found in life. And this is the state in which so many of us are living…

“And the crisis only worsens because we refuse to trace it all the way down to its roots. We stop at the brain, at chemical reactions and psychological disorders, but we never pause to ask why all of our brains have apparently gone haywire in modern times. If this is all just a matter of mental disorders, why in the hell are these ‘mental disorders’ so common now?”

A good question, but I will let you read the article itself to learn Walsh’s answer to it. It’s fairly short, I’ll wait while you read it. And if you are a regular reader of The Anglophilic Anglican, you will not be surprised that I agree with him, 100 percent!

But I would also suggest that the crisis is not just spiritual, but cultural as well (the two are, of course, not unrelated). When there is little stability, little homogeneity or sense of being a part of something larger (unless it is some victim group), little rootedness in community, culture, ancestral heritage, or tradition, it is hardly surprising that many people will come unmoored, psycho-emotionally… or that for some, that will lead to violence – whether directed against oneself, or against others.

We are reaping the bitter harvest of the seeds we have sown.

“How To Kill A Church In Just A Few Easy Steps”: the Episcopal Church changes marriage doctrine… again

General view of Singer/Songwriter Chase Rice Filming Commercial To Preview New Single 'Whisper' at Church of the Assumption and Church of the Advent Episcopal on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Episcopal Church announced this week that it would be removing the words “man,” “woman,” and “procreation” from its marriage liturgy. Of course, the Episcopalians have long since removed Christ from their liturgy, so this latest move is no surprise.

Source: WALSH: How To Kill A Church In Just A Few Easy Steps | DAILYWIRE

The Episcopal Church – through which I came into the Anglican tradition, and which has been, in years past, the source of much joy and much of my growth in the Christian faith – has been on a long downhill slide for some decades, now. I am not quite ready to agree with Matt Walsh that it is “a church in the same way that the Church of Satan is a church. They are an anti-church. Rather than a body of Christian believers, they are a body of self-worshiping heretics,” but he is not entirely wrong, either.

Knowledgeable observers are torn as to when the rot set in; some would argue that the decision, back in the 1960s, to allow divorced persons to remarry in church without having had their previous marriage annulled – thus undercutting the authority of Christ’s dictum that “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” while placing secular understandings and popular “relevance” above traditional doctrine, and setting a precedent for further modifications – was the beginning.

Others place the point of departure further back, in the 1930s, when the Episcopal Church made the decision to allow artificial contraception, thus effectively decoupling (no pun intended) the sexual act with the act of procreation – a process which was made pandemic by the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and following, with all sorts of unintended negative consequences for society as a whole (the specifics of which are outside the scope of this essay).

Howsoever that may be, this latest development – to excise both the terms and concepts of “husband,” “wife,” and “procreation” from the marriage liturgy – represents a further acceleration toward the abyss. As reported by Life Site News, inter alia:

The Church of England is torn over plans by the The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States to efface the terms “husband” and “wife” – as well as references to “procreation” – from its marriage liturgy.  

The change is meant to make the church’s marriage ceremonies more “gay-friendly.” Gay and lesbian Episcopalians have complained that the language of the current liturgy is offensive and exclusionary…

“The new service removes the phrase ‘the union of husband and wife’ and replaces it with ‘the union of two people,’” according to a report in the U.K. Telegraph. It also “replaces the section which talks about part of God’s intention for marriage being ‘for the procreation of children’ with the phrase ‘for the gift of children’ to make it more relevant for same-sex couples who may wish to adopt.”

This represents both an abandonment of Scriptural and traditional teaching on the point and purpose of marriage, and a complete and abject capitulation to a small but vocal minority for whom the celebration of their lifestyle choice is far more important than the moral and social standards that have characterized Christianity since its beginning.

I could cite chapter and verse from the Scriptures on this subject ’til I’m blue in the face, but I will not, for several reasons: first, I do not want to lengthen this unduly. Second, many of my readers will already be familiar with the arguments. And thirdly, those who are in favor of this innovation are unlikely to be convinced by appeal to the Scriptures – to which they already sit, shall we say, somewhat loosely.

But there are other issues with this as well. For one thing, I could easily see adding “the gift of children” as an optional alternative for cases in which the wife is infertile, the husband impotent, or the ages of the partners are such that bearing children is not a reasonable expectation. Such persons may well choose to adopt, and all respect to them. But the very word “procreation” is a reminder that we humans have the incredible blessing of sharing with God in the work of creation!

The sexual union of husband and wife, if all is going as Nature and Nature’s God intended, is capable of bringing new life into the world – a creative act, if ever there was one! – and raising up that child in a good way. In fact, the very reason sex feels good is to encourage us to engage in it, and (as the book of Genesis puts it) “be fruitful and multiply.” To put pleasure before procreation – in fact, to maximize pleasure and minimize or eliminate procreation, as we have been doing since the ’60s – puts the cart before the horse.

(We see the fruits of this, or lack thereof, in the plummeting birthrate among Western countries where the sexual revolution has taken hold, even as the population of less “advanced” and “enlightened” countries and regions explodes. Sidelining procreation is morally reprehensible, but it is also biologically and culturally suicidal.)

At any rate, according to Life Site News, “The move prompted a critical response from Church of England Secretary General William Nye last October, strongly urging the TEC to reconsider. The letter threatened to cut ties with the U.S. church if it adopts the planned gender-neutral [phrasing], replacing the current wording in its Book of Common Prayer.” This is more than a little disingenuous on the part of the C of E, since their pattern in the past has been to first deplore, and then later adopt, every left-wing innovation that has come out of the Episcopal Church! But it would be nice if they’d follow through, this time.

Whatever the C of E decides, Matt Walsh points out that

“Today there are fewer Episcopalians in America than Jews or Mormons. This is significant because the latter groups have always been relatively small minorities in America, while the Episcopal church was once the largest church in the nation. [Of course, that was a long while ago!] It’s been all downhill since then.

“What happened? You can easily track the church’s stunning decline over the past several decades and see that it corresponds to the church’s shedding of Christian orthodoxy in favor of liberal orthodoxy [emphasis added]. It began, as always, with the embracing of birth control and divorce. Then they moved to the ordination of women. Then it was a straight line to the ordination of openly gay clergy and the approval of same sex marriage. Now there is nothing surprising about seeing a feminist Episcopal priest blessing an abortion clinic or a transgender priest leading a service in a church adorned with rainbow flags. And it is even less surprising to look around the church and notice that nobody is sitting in the pews.

Why would they come and sit in the pews? What would be the point? The message of liberal Christianity is: “You’re perfectly fine exactly the way you are. Everything you’re doing is acceptable. Make no changes. Keep up the great work!” A weak person may be happy to hear that message, but they need not hear it twice. They need not come back for it week after week.

Traditional Christianity, in stark contrast, recognizes that a) we are all sinners in need of divine grace, and b) as sinners, we have a high recidivism rate, and need continuing infusions of that grace, just as we need to drink water regularly in order to survive.

Indeed, Christ likened himself to “living water,” that brings life eternal – and we imbibe that living water most fully when we “assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits we have received at [God’s] hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those thing which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul” (Book of Common Prayer 1928, Morning Prayer) – and not least, in receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the sacrament of the Holy Communion, as is “our bounden duty and service.”

But for that, we have to show up. I generally offer live broadcasts of Morning and Evening Prayer via Facebook on Sundays, and just as in an earlier time (and sometimes still today) churches offered first radio, later television, broadcasts of their services, I have no doubt that these may serve as a means of getting God’s word out to people who might not otherwise receive it.

But (setting aside for the moment that there can be no such things as a “virtual” Eucharist – one is either present to receive the Body and Blood, or one is not) the fact remains that one must make a decision to be present, and act on it. If you don’t show up (or perhaps, click on the right link), you won’t be able to hear and receive God’s Word. Nor is merely receiving the end of it: you still have to act on it. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” St. James reminds us.

And as Walsh points out,

“If a person wants worldliness, they can go literally anywhere to get it. If they want lectures on diversity and inclusion, they can stop by the Human Resources office at work, or maybe have a chat with a public school guidance counselor. If they want encouragement to continue in their sin, Satan is happy to use a whole variety of methods to communicate that encouragement…

“But if a person wants to pursue something higher; if he wants to be rescued from the dreariness of modern culture; if he wants to find his real and transcendent identity; if he wants to be challenged; if he wants meaning, then he has even less reason to turn to Episcopalianism or any similar variety of Christianity. It is not substantial enough. It is not different enough. It is not saying enough. It is not asking enough of him.

“That is the great secret that ‘progressive’ and ‘inclusive’ Christian leaders are too high on the fumes of humanism to notice or understand. Religions grow when they expect more of their adherents, not less. Religions thrive when they provide a lifestyle that is radically different from the dull, hollow lifestyle provided by the world. People turn to religion for identity. And if all they find is more of the same, more of what caused them to go looking in the first place, they will not be converted.”

Fortunately, there is an alternative. There are a number of alternatives, actually; but there is one that I can speak to and recommend personally because I am not only a member of it, but a priest in it: the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA, not to be confused with “the” Episcopal Church: TEC, or formerly PECUSA), of which the Oratory of St. Bede the Venerable (a.k.a. St. Bede’s Traditional Anglican Mission) and the nascent St. John’s Anglican Church, Westminster, are member congregations.

The UECNA is a conservative, traditional, and orthodox Church, in the classical Anglican expression of Christianity. We accept the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as “God’s Word written” and “containing all things necessary to salvation”; we look to the ancient and ecumenical (accepted by the whole Church of the time) Councils of the Church, and the Creeds promulgated by them, as our guides to interpreting those Scriptures.

We use the traditional Book of Common Prayer (1928 in the U.S., 1962 in Canada) and other classic Formularies (Ordinal, Thirty-Nine Articles, and Homilies) of the Anglican tradition for worship, devotion, and to guide our theological and moral understanding as Anglican Christians. These documents are to be read in accordance with the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church, to the exclusion of all heresies ancient and modern.

Our Bishops are consecrated in the historic Succession which we believe stretches back to the Apostles themselves. Our Presiding Bishop, Archbishop Peter Robinson, is also Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of the East, within which both the Oratory of St. Bede’s and St. John’s Anglican Church are located. The United Episcopal Church maintains the Scriptural practice of ordaining only men to the orders of Deacon, Presbyter (Priest) and Bishop, but maintains the Order of Deaconesses as an ancient, lay vocation for women.

We believe that Christian marriage is to be between one man and one woman, and is a lifelong, sacramental union between them. However, as a pastoral matter, we also accept that marriages can and do fail, and seek to extend proper pastoral support to those whose marriages have failed or are in danger of failing. And we maintain the sanctity of life from conception through natural death.

For more details, see this exposition of our Core Values. You are also, of course, encouraged to visit the Oratory of St. Bede the Venerable’s page, either here or on Facebook.

And in any case, may God bless you!

Refuting the Anti-Christian Animus On The Alt-Right | Council of European Canadians

 

European Identitarians should recognize that Christianity has always recognized the importance of European identity and its own contribution to this identity.

Source: Refuting the Anti-Christian Animus On The Alt-Right

As I have noted previously, I am coming increasingly (if somewhat reluctantly) to view myself as an Identitarian:

not as a political statement, but as a simple and incontrovertible fact, an expression of biological (and in the case of my European identity, cultural and historical) reality. It is the actions and reactions of people on the Left that are gradually forcing me to view this [European] identity in more socio-political terms: my heritage, both genetic and cultural, is under attack, and that unfortunate fact forces me to defend it… Like a lot of folks, I mainly want to be left alone. But I also want my people to be left alone, and not to be subsumed, oppressed, overrun, interbred, or replaced. So I suppose that makes me an Identitarian… and if so, so be it. I did not choose the label, or the fight; both were forced upon me.

But what has been very frustrating to me – both as a Christian, and as a Christian clergyman – is the extent to which many of those who share this approach are sneeringly dismissive of Christianity. Some of these are the sort of militant atheists who dismiss any religion as “fairy stories” – ignoring both the fact that fairy stories often contain encoded within them deeper and more vital truths, and also the wisdom of no less a figure of contemporary atheism than Richard Dawkins, who famously tweeted,

Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme: “Always keep a-hold of nurse, For fear of finding something worse.”

In other words, even if you don’t believe a word of it, mere enlightened self-interest dictates supporting Christianity as a bulwark against more menacing alternatives – such as, for example, militant Islam.

But the even more central truth that European Identitarians – particularly those who consider themselves some species of European Pagan – tend, sadly, to forget is that much of what has made Europe recognizably Europe over the last two centuries results precisely from the fusion of the Classical (Greco-Roman) and Germano-Celtic branches of pre-Christian (Pagan) Europe with the (then-) new faith of Christianity.

It was a particularly advantageous fusion, and one which led to considerable mutual enrichment, and a great fluorescence of culture on the European continent. I am generally quite sympathetic to European Paganism, having particular respect and appreciation for the Celtic and Norse/Germanic branches. But if we would revert Europe to its pre-Christian state, the simple truth is that we would revert it (at least, as regards Northern Europe, whose proponents are generally the most vocal in attacking Christianity) to an age of mud huts and blood-feuds.

I do not forget the impressive accomplishments of the pre-Christian world of Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) antiquity. But it was nonetheless the Age of Faith that raised the great cathedrals and uncounted other architectural marvels; that inspired great art and magnificent music, from Gregorian chant to Baroque; that gave even the oft-warring kingdoms of Europe a larger identity as part of Christendom; and which defended that European Christendom against Muslim invasions, from the 8th through the 17th centuries.

For Europeans to reject Christianity is, as my late mother would have put it, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” So I am very glad to see someone from the European Identity camp mount a spirited defense of the faith, as Richard Storey has done in this essay.

He addresses three allegedly (according to its critics) unique and damaging traits of Christianity, which those opponents claim to be “the great mutations” of the allegedly pure Europeanism that predated Christianity – mutations “that gave birth to the secular ideologies of [modernism]”: individualism, egalitarianism and progressivism.

That these ideas – at least in the extreme and unbalanced form in which they are found today – are indeed “mutant” ideologies, and as such are dangerous and ultimately destructive of human life and flourishing, is a viewpoint with which I cannot disagree. But that that they are unique to Christianity, or that the Christian faith is responsible for promoting them to an inappropriate degree, is the idea that needs challenging, and challenge it Storey does.

He also points out that

“Other claims in need of addressing are the revival of the defunct Nietzschean idea that Christianity is a slave ethic, produced by Jews to weaken the Roman Empire through the promotion of meekness as goodness etc., and the beliefs that Europe was and would be more peaceful without Christianity or that Christianity is somehow anti-white/European identity.”

These false claims are also addressed in his essay. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!


Notable quote:

“It is quite legitimate for nations to treat those differences [e.g., distinctions between ethnic nationalities] as a sacred inheritance and guard them at all costs. The Church aims at unity, a unity determined and kept alive by that supernatural love which should be actuating everybody; she does not aim at a uniformity which would only be external in its effects and would cramp the natural tendencies of the nations concerned. Every nation has its own genius, its own qualities, springing from the hidden roots of its being. The wise development, the encouragement within limits, of that genius, those qualities, does no harm; and if a nation cares to take precautions, to lay down rules, for that end, it has the Church’s approval.”

— Pope John XXIII (1961) “Mater et Magistra” (http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jo23mm.htm)