I lead the Trinity Reformed Church college ministry to Indiana University, and @jacobgonzales and I have begun to write at jesusatiu.com for IU students. We’re just getting started, and I just posted the following article:
This is the arresting and dominant fact about modern social discussion; that the quarrel is not merely about the difficulties, but about the aim. We agree about the evil; it is about the good that we should tear each other’s eyes out. We all admit that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing. We should not by any means all admit that an active aristocracy would be a good thing. We all feel angry with an irreligious priesthood; but some of us would go mad with disgust at a really religious one. Everyone is indignant if our army is weak, including the people who would be even more indignant if it were strong. The social case is exactly the opposite of the medical case. We do not disagree, like doctors, about the precise nature of the illness, while agreeing about the nature of health. On the contrary, we all agree that England is unhealthy, but half of us would not look at her in what the other half would call blooming health. Public abuses are so prominent and pestilent that they sweep all generous people into a sort of fictitious unanimity. We forget that, while we agree about the abuses of things, we should differ very much about the uses of them. Mr. Cadbury and I would agree about the bad public house. It would be precisely in front of the good public-house that our painful personal fracas would occur.
I maintain, therefore, that the common sociological method is quite useless: that of first dissecting abject poverty or cataloguing prostitution. We all dislike abject poverty; but it might be another business if we began to discuss independent and dignified poverty. We all disapprove of prostitution; but we do not all approve of purity. The only way to discuss the social evil is to get at once to the social ideal. We can all see the national madness; but what is national sanity? I have called this book “What Is Wrong with the World?” and the upshot of the title can be easily and clearly stated. What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.
Thanks Daniel. What I learned from reading the past couple years while hearing from others of the supposed Christian nationalism of belligerators was the extreme naïveté of its leaders merely assuming they could get more than a few hundred american citizens to agree with them on the good or the goal. Have the ever read anything of Cromwell’s impotence in the face of the bloody fractiousness of all his conservative Reformed co-belligerents intent on slaying each other?
It’s easy to rid themselves of autocracy, found the Russians, but then the bloody monsters took over and ushered in Stalin’s rein of Terror slaughtering 50-100 million. It’s easy to get half the population of America angry and hateful toward the other half, but if you can’t even build unity among your 45000 member county and get one of your own Christian nationalists elected as county dog catcher, what on earth are you running your mouth for and what kind of idiots are paying attention?
What Covid did was get some minimal unity in a certain area of fury which had some commonality with election and trump anger. But none of it should ever have been mistaken for the slightest unity in the slightest civil or governmental vision or goals. Love