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Category: Society

Upside of Outside

Wendell Berry writes about “movers” and “stickers”. I’m a sticker. But there is another side — “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” (Psalm 55:19) Changes keep us pilgrim-minded, and focused on our ultimate dependencies. They remind us that, “we have here no continuing city…” (Hebrew 13:14)

Cut Flower Future

  The fractures we now see in our society Wolfhart Pannenberg predicted thirty years ago as he announced that “Western society will not survive the entire emancipation of the self.” Godless secularism provides no integrative center for a society and no rationale whatsoever for self-denial in the service of a higher good. Unhinged from the transcendent God, all that remains to rule is unbridled self-interest. What a fairy tale it is to think that we all can bow to that Molech and somehow magically an orderly and prosperous society will result. Such a people lack the basic equipment necessary for freedom and responsible citizenship. You cannot even get a healthy family that way. We have become what Elton Trueblood called…

The Ministry of Stability

Not to ignore the depraved state of our political discourse, this painting of Nero’s Torches reminds us that the Church went forward even under that criminally insane emperor, despite his martyrdom of the Church’s greatest leaders Peter and Paul. As our culture-Protestants blow about with every wind of doctrine, breathlessly pursuing a world that passes away, that despises them all the more through every accommodation, I admire the steadiness of the Roman Church that continues through the centuries while nations rise and fall. “Better to be a Roman Catholic than one of our Neo-Protestants.” (Barth) At least they believe something definite. Without an anchor in the eternal, we cannot withstand the battering of wind, waves, and current. “The whole Church…

Into this Very Darkness

Pondering the current national security debate — any moral sensibility beyond utilitarian self-interest is hard to spot. If the prophets have taught us anything, it is that armies, weapons, and foreign alliances cannot compensate for expelling God. We still have “in God we trust” on our money only because the courts have accepted the defense that it is a “theological affirmation devoid of content.” Indeed. We are not self-securing beings. God controls the pre-conditions that make possible profitable labor. Apart from his blessing, we labor under a futility curse. Heedlessness cannot defeat lawlessness — it turns us into something not worth defending and stores up judgment for ourselves and our posterity. The chaos that results from disregarding the first commandment…

Homeless God

The greatest delusion of our day is that, absent God, our neo-pagans will somehow just decide to be nice. Even the atheist Freud knew better. Without a healthy conscience, civil society becomes impossible. We will prey on one another until violence becomes the only means of restraining chaos. A gun is a very weak tool to produce social order. God’s wrath has already begun when he lets us throw off his restraints. When disordered loves rule, we become our own worst enemy, we make God our enemy, and Satan remains our enemy. We cannot win that war. Above illegal immigrants, and armed terrorists, a nuclear Iran, and soaring national debt, if we are wise, we will fear the homelessness of…