Wednesday 25 March 2020

In case I have not made myself clear: *All* Christians *now* live in a post-church era, as a matter of fact

I've already covered this on the blog - but I don't think everybody understood what I was saying, or maybe thought I was exaggerating; so I'll say it again.

In broad terms, my feeling is that all the major Western Christian churches have revealed themselves as at best lacking sufficient faith to have courage, as universally dishonest, and at worst as unbelieving hypocrites.

All the Western Christian churches - so far as I know. 

For example (and I use this example because the Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination, and 'officially' they are solid supernaturalists)...

(...Sorry, I still can't get my head around this one!)

The healing pools at Lourdes have been closed to prevent spread of the birdemic. The healing pools...

If the RCC believed the pools worked, they would not close them (quite the opposite); if they don't believe the pools work, then why is Lourdes just-about the biggest Catholic shrine in the world?

The Christian churches have abandoned and excommunicated Christians (either literally in denying communion, or whatever equivalent is regarded as most significant church provision in non-Catholic denominations).

This is not a speculation about what might happen 'if' - it has already happened; officially, from the leaderships.

There has been, in the space of a few weeks, a clear statement in the form of action, that the self-identified Christian churches don't really believe what they say; and that when the chips are down (as now) they actually believe that speculative, manipulative, evil hype from politicians, media, and pseudo-scientists is More Valid than all the 'Christian stuff' that they spout from the pulpits.

Christians are Now living in a post-church era.

Now I am a Romantic Christian, so I was already living in this era - by choice and by conviction.

I believe that Christianity is primarily between me and God - and that there is a direct and umediated contact between Man and the Divine. I believe that God has not left us bereft of all the guidance we need. Even if we lack valid churches, traditions, scriptures and theology - we will each individually be provided with what we need - if we turn to Jesus for help.

(Not least because we knew Jesus personally, and knew the nature of his mission, in our pre-mortal lives; and will recall this when our decision is needed on whether or not to follow Jeus; recalled whether in this mortal life, or afterwards.)

I believe that any particular church/ churches have a secondary and optional role (sometimes helpful, sometimes useless, sometimes harmful) - we may choose to join or 'use' the resources of a particular church or denomination to help our Christian life; or choose not.

But we choose and the churches job is to serve us; each of us.

Romantic Christianity is now the only game in town for serious Christians. The churches have signalled explicitly and unambiguously that they simply do not believe that they offer anything essential for Christians in a time of crisis and need.

If you are a Christian, then you too live in this post-church world - like it or not. You live in a post-church world even if this is against your wishes and convictions; because you have just been abandoned by your church; and sooner or later you will (if you remain a Christian) be compelled to acknowledge this as a fact.  

I trust I make myself clear?

Note: All of this is conditional - of course; because some churches may yet repent and acknowledge their sins and errors in this matter.


Francis Berger said...

Unchurched. That's how I refer to the phenomenon. It's painful, but that's the thing with truth - it hurts sometimes.

Joel said...

"We believe that we may meet again in a time to come, and perhaps we shall find somewhere a land where we can live together and both be content. But it is foreboded that that will only be when we have both lost all that we now have. And it may well be that that time is drawing near at last."

I am sure that you recognize the Tolkien quote. Last night, I was struck by the thought that this applies to all of the divisions of Christianity. East and West, Protestants and Catholics, can only be reunited once we've lost everything that we now have. Seeing your post this morning has made me think more of it.

Meredith said...

You should do a book of Romantic Christianity! It would be very helpful for mostly unchurched readers and recovering agnostics like me. Do you think "online clergymen" will become a thing in this post-church era?

S.K. Orr said...

I was horrified and felt nauseous when I heard that Lourdes had closed the pools to pilgrims. My response was just what you wrote here: these men don't believe what they claim to believe.

I'm an outsider as it is, practicing the Catholic faith in exile, quietly and privately, without benefit of the things Catholics have come to take for granted...but it still wrenches the gut to see the craven capitulation to the world system.

Such ugliness impels me to believe that my interior life, often powered by my "homesickness," as it were, is important and that the external and official membership and support of a church or denomination is completely unessential.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Speaking of closing the healing pools to keep the sick out...

Lots of restaurants, stores, and places of business in Taiwan are requiring that all visitors have their temperatures checked at the door before being allowed to enter, but I was a bit surprised this week to run into the same policy at a *clinic* -- a sign on the door reading "Please wait outside for temperature screening."

"Wait," I said, "before I can see the doctor you have to make sure I'm -- not ill?"

"Safety first!" came the breezy reply. "We appreciate your cooperation."

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I agree that churches have now officially classified themselves as non-essential -- grouping themselves with bars and restaurants rather than pharmacies and supermarkets. The people have been told that they can, in effect, live by bread alone.

Fortunately, they're right. They *are* non-essential, and Christian living is possible without their assistance.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Your 3:13 comment puts it exactly. If one was feeling more charitable, one could say libraries and colleges - rather than bars and restaurants; but the point remains.

It is quite extraordinary that nearly 2000 years of what was supposedly official Christianity has - in the past few weeks - declared itself redundant - and so few people noticed! (I suppose people's expectations had become very low.)

This is a fact that has hit some people very forcibly (elderly devout Roman Catholics, now living without sacraments in solitary confinement must feel stunned at the betrayal); with others it will sink in gradually.

It is a Catch 22 situation. If people are wounded at being abandoned by their churches and feel bereft, that will have an effect on demonstrating the unworthiness/ cowardice of their church; if other people manage their Christian lives perfectly will without their church - that will have the same effect for opposite reasons.

Hrothgar said...

I hope that when (if) the minority of serious Christians among the mass of excluded congregants are finally allowed to return it will be with the widespread realization that they will be henceforth attending, at best, secular social centres where those calling themselves Christians are graciously permitted to get together in pursuit of essentially worldly goals devised by the authorities, NOT places where they can expect to be in receipt of genuine spiritual sustenance (more likely the reverse). If they sincerely want this in a church they will have to seek out one of the few remaining real churches on the "extreme" Christian fringes in the West (so long as these are allowed to continue operating, though I suspect their resistance to various bureaucratically enforced “-ism” norms will be used as an excuse to shut them down eventually).

More likely, sooner or later, most current churchgoers will have to work out their own personal relationships with God/Christ for themselves, which lead them to one of two extremes depending on their choices - they will either end up significantly deepening and clarifying their faith, or abandoning it entirely. There will be no stable middle ground to stand on, and no real alternative, barring some kind of mass exodus to the East and Orthodoxy (itself likely to be heavily persecuted soon if it mounts sufficient resistance to attract attention, which may lead to it having to abandon its outposts in the West).

All this is really turning out about as I would have expected, which doesn't make it any less sad to see. The sheer, barefaced shamelessness of the Establishment’s lies and manipulations has quite taken my breath away though, as has the amoeboid spinelessness of the church leaderships. And as you say, hardly anyone seems to have even noticed!

Anonymous said...

If one hits upon the right vlogs, one hears about all sorts of catacombish activities, it would seem in some cases not without discreet episcopal approval and facilitation - as well as encountering the widespread proliferation of the "online clergymen" noted by Meredith. And there seem to be places where 'the state' is - I grant, curiously - more willing than the (should I say, 'self-described'?) Church(es) variously to allow, or even endorse as 'essential', public services - my 'home state' of Ohio apparently being one and the Kingdom of the Netherlands where I happen to be at the moment, another - though I have not yet threaded my way through the mazes of the decrees in either.

One also encounters various comparative (online) discussions of the long and complicated history of the Arian heresy and the current situation, not infrequently as to which is worse, as well as to salient similarities.

Whether one thinks of the vicissitudes of the Church prior to A.D. 313 or during the the (so to say) 'Arian centuries' which soon followed, the visible Church was always 'there', however 'invisible' at one place and time or another - and so, so far as I can see, today.

David Llewellyn Dodds