aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

The Desert vs. The Jungle

I've been watching the same gambits, the old, tired argumentation go round and round on sites like christianity. And I've been worrying over some developments in the Church that I see in my denomination (and many others). And it seems to me that there are two sorts of dangers out there to the life of the Spirit and the Body of Christ: the Desert and the Jungle.

The Desert

The sterility of intellectual (or sometimes, emotional) orthodoxy is one dead-end that I see, particularly among some folks on LJ. They believe, but they have no faith; no, that's unfair -- I'm sure the posters have faith in Christ -- but how anyone else would have their thirst for righteousness quenched by their dryasdust quibbling is beyond me.

The Reformation types (and the better sort of Protestants, generally) say that for every question, there can be only ONE Right Answer, the acknowledgement of which constitutes orthodoxy. And this is the source of their authority, that they have the Right Answers. So their formula could be described as:
Right Answers --> Authority.

On the other hand, the Catholic types (and most of the argumentative Orthodox I've encountered) tend to invert this. They, too, believe that there can be only ONE Right Answer for every question, but acknowledging it is not the point. Acknowledging the Authority that defines the Right Answers is what yields orthodoxy. Their formula is:
Right Answers <-- Authority.

The Reformation folk knock themselves out studying Scriptural languages and the back-and-forth of old controversies; the Catholic folk knock themselves out memorizing clauses of their catechisms. Both sides (and everyone in between) argue vociferously for their side, but no one is ever convinced, and few are edified. As Charles II said of a Nonconformist attempting to convert Roman Catholics, "His nonsense suits their nonsense."*

The Jungle

Meanwhile, the ever-fecund modernist gospel produces a new slogan every day. Political correctness runs rampant, and the only thing to be worshiped is power -- especially the power to make the ideologically backward crawl. No boundaries are acknowledged, no limits to what sins must be embraced in order to be thought up-to-date.

Those who have not yet achieved power in their particular denominations -- the heterodox and/or heteroprax -- engage in endless agitation (while refusing to obey the obvious meaning of their vows, whether in terms of behavior or teaching). Their formula is:
Right Slogans --> (Access to) Power (or else why are we bothering with this stuff?)

Their counterparts who have finally, by dint of unwearying agitation and politicking, risen to the top of the heap now eagerly grasp the levers of power, to declare who will, from now on, be accorded advancement, orders, authority. They are no longer merely heterodox or heteroprax: they are now fully apostate. Their formula is:
Right Slogans <-- (Those in) Power (so you'd better shape up or ship out!)

The motto of the modernists is that of Humpty Dumpty. When challenged by Alice on whether he could make a word mean anything he liked, the Ovoid One replied, "The question is which is to be Master -- that's all."

Meanwhile, here I am, trying to avoid both the Desert and the Jungle, if I can. Or maybe, just trying to successfully guide my sheep through either or both to where they may safely graze. To the bean-heads arguing over minutiae, I want to say:
Truth without Love = (at best) factually correct Untruth.
The Gospel of Right Answers is not enough.

And to those seduced by the it-can-be-anything-you-want-it-to-be modernist gospel, I want to say:
Power without Accountability = Tyranny.
And God will judge the wolves who savage his flock.

*The above quote is simply one of frustration and dismissal; I do not mean to imply that any group's theology is nonsense -- just that their endless polemics might as well be.

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