aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Counterrevolutionary thoughts

In re-reading Witness, by Whittaker Chambers, I came across again this passage describing his first conversation with General Walter Krivitsky, upon their first meeting as ex-Communists.
. . . Krivitsky said one or two things that were to take root in my mind and deeply to influence my conduct . . . “There are only revolutionists and counterrevolutionists.” . . . Nor did Krivitsky suppose, as we discussed then (and later) in specific detail, that the revolution of our time is exclusively communist, or that the counterrevolutionist is merely a conservative, resisting it out of habit and prejudice. He believed, as I believe, that fascism (whatever softening name the age of euphemism chooses to call it by) is inherent in every collectivist form, and that it can be fought only by the force of an intelligence, a faith, a courage, a self-sacrifice, which must equal the revolutionary spirit that, in coping with, it must in many ways come to resemble. . . . In the struggle against Communism the conservative is all but helpless. For that struggle cannot be fought, much less won, or even understood, except in terms of total sacrifice. And the conservative is suspicious of sacrifice; he wishes first to conserve, above all what he is and what he has. You cannot fight against revolutions so.

The revolution that Chambers served, then deserted and fought against, takes many forms. Always, it promises freedom and ends in chains. The struggle we are fighting in the church right now, as in society, is just another form of the same revolution.

And once again, to be conservative is not enough. To fight against what you know is wrong, yielding foot by foot to your last breath is not enough – for in the end, you yield, whether slowly or quickly. To wish to preserve the past, or even what is best from the past, is not enough. We cannot just be conservatives. We must be counterrevolutionists.

We must articulate a different vision. And we must struggle to achieve it within ourselves first of all, in order to give witness to the rest of the world. This is what Christianity is. This is what orthodoxy aspires to. We seek not just to be left alone to be as we were; we seek not just to hold back the rising tide of wrong; we seek to be transformed and offer transformation to others – and to show up the supposed transformation advertised by the heresiarchs as not only wrong, but as a prison for the human soul.

We cannot win on defense.

For the struggle within The United Methodist Church, this means we can’t just be against things, even against them nicely. We can’t just say we disapprove of the various identities and practices of the sexual revolution: we must again theologize the body, relationships, and identity in the light of God. We can’t just gripe about PC or wokeness, or roll our eyes at the latest pronouncement of intersectionality (which a friend of mine describes as “mind cancer”): we must proclaim catholicity. And we must not be content to try to rein in bishops and bureaucrats who shill for the revolution: we must sack the lot.

This may require us to separate from the rest of the church. But if so, that is merely a strategic move. If we wind up in control of “our own” form of Methodism, but are not transformed and transforming, then we will simply have hastened the death of what we have loved, and “our own” church will die with the other remnants.


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