Roman Catholic Parish


July 21, 2019

Dear All,

If the non-gods of the atheists wind up being replaced by our own intellectual or moral priorities - actually a form or idolatry, rather than atheism - it is even more sobering and sad to see how many real idols there are floating around.

The idols of the ancient world were embodiments of various natural and societal forces: war, harvest, fertility, love, etc. It looked like they were going to disappear as science and culture became more and more able to explain or media made it easier and easier to communicate. But something really strange has happened.

As a preacher, I need only to say God says before, without thought, someone says something like Practicality says, or Political expedience says, or Economics says, or Psychology says, or Sociology says, or Security demands, or Whatever is as or more important than God. That whatever is like the old many-headed hydra of Greek mythology, for every one you cut off it grows nine more. All of these have become, effectively, competitors with the God of Israel and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The ultimate condemnation of the preacher of Christianity - or the practice thereof - is naiveté. It's a nice idea - but…

Here we are face to face with C.S. Lewis wry observation: Christianity was not tried and found wanting; it was tried and found difficult. And so we looked for other altars 'round which to gather and other hymns to sing and high priests with bespoke suits and tower of Babel comb-overs. The real attraction of such gods is that they look like we want to look and promise what we want to have right now. The thought of having to change or want something future - that is just too hard, too impractical.

Recently, there has arisen a new pantheon of false gods. They are worshipped in the temple of anti-privilege and their names are (here insert your most felt victimization). Their worship takes the form of entitlement and blasphemy against them, the form of insensitivity. When that insensitivity can be blamed upon the hardships entailed in following traditional Christian thought and praxis, the war between that old God and these new ones appears in its virulence.

Genetically, chronologically, educationally, socio-economically, I am a child of privilege. That lesson was drilled into my consciousness by parents who were children of the Depression. I don't know when or where or how (except for a racism that survived the Civil War) that privilege stopped being spread around. I do know that

it is only when such privileges have been secured that one can start worrying about one's own unmet emotional
needs. A lot of our cultural 'religious wars' could not arise except in a 'first world' milieu.


Next week we'll go back to real theology.

Really and truly and blessedly yours,




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