The Time Being

The frenzy of the Christmas Rush is mercifully over.  The felt joy of Christmas Day itself, while real and memorable, was already fading by Boxing Day, and now we begin to remember where we are: facing the long weeks of Seasonal Affective Disorder until the light begins to return, interrupted by the forced celebration of New Year’s Day.  And the culture we inhabit seems in the doldrums of winter itself, poised between forced celebration and despair.  The words of the poet ring true:  “The time being is the hardest time of all.”  What are we to do in such a moment?

There is no hope to be gained by looking to society or to the state.  The irrational hatred of everything good and wholesome by Islamic Terrorists is matched only by the sad inability of the West to find a reason to preserve itself.  Multiculturalism has blinded us to the stubborn fact that not all cultures are created equal after all.  There is a difference between barbarism and civilization.  Civilization is to be preferred, but it cannot be preserved or defended if it refuses to believe in an objective difference between itself and the barbarians.  There is a difference between health and decadence within that civilization, even when it is not threatened from without.  Health is to be preferred, but it cannot be preserved if we refuse to believe that there is an objective difference between good and evil, if we are unable to use a word like “wholesome” without irony.  We have met the enemy, and he is us.

pogo enemy is us

There is no hope to be gained by looking to the church.  The most popular and fastest growing form of Christianity in the world is the so-called “Prosperity Gospel,” the health-and-wealth or “name it and claim it” (more accurately, “blab it and grab it”) movement.  If ever we wanted a theology scientifically designed to confirm the suspicions of our secular neighbors that ministers are just in it for the money, boy, have we got one!  More faithful followers of the Savior who sacrificed Himself, not for self but for others, seem more marginalized than ever.  They have not adjusted well to the loss of the position of cultural privilege they once enjoyed, and half of the adjustments they propose to the new situation they have finally come to recognize sound more like strategies for retreat than for a better and more effective engagement.  Scandal, compromise, and accommodation where there is not actually false teaching–no, if you are looking for encouragement, do not look to the church.

How then is the faithful remnant to sustain itself in this moment of cultural Seasonal Affective Disorder?  As it has always done, when it faced even worse times like the fall of Rome: by staying focused on the things that do not change; by remembering that while Seasonal Affective Disorder may seem permanent while you are in its grasp, it is, by definition, seasonal;  by staying faithful to its Lord as something worth doing for its own sake whatever the outcome and leaving the consequences in His hand.  It will do so more effectively if it remembers the wisdom of Gerard Manley Hopkins:

space-sunrise

For though the last lights off the black West went,

Oh, morning at the brown brink Eastward springs

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast, and with, Ah! bright wings.

For more of Dr. Williams’s writing, check out his books on the Lantern Hollow estore:  To order ($15.00 each + shipping), go to  https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/.

A book that fights back against the encroaching darkness.

A book that fights back against the encroaching darkness!

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About gandalf30598

Theologian, philosopher, poet, and critic; minister of the Gospel who makes his living by teaching medieval and renaissance literature; dual citizen of Narnia and Middle Earth.

Posted on December 28, 2015, in Christianity, Donald Williams, Social Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you for your sharp insights Dr. Williams. And you are of course right that the Christian West and its ideological offspring all over the world remains has been paralyzed by Political Correctness, and for that reason is unwilling to defend the merits of its great cultural heritage from the ideological and physical onslaught coming from without and within. Thanks to the never-ending scolding of the West’s Academic, Political, and Media elites, everyone knows that defending one’s cultural heritage is simply “racist,” and anyone who would dare to claim that a liberal democracy steeped in traditional Judeo-Christian values is greatly to be preferred over a Koran-touting Mullahcracy is a just a despicable, hateful bigot, i.e., an evil lout who occupies the same moral lowground as the KKK. And yes, the overwhelming majority of those who shepherd today’s churches are in broad agreement with these saboteurs. These Worthless Shepherds are, for the most part, cowardly hirelings driven by fleshly agendas, men and women who like the Worldly people they are determined to be loved by “call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” God deliver us!!!

    And so as our dying culture continues its headlong slide at ever-increasing speed off the Moral Cliff into 2016 and beyond I am consoled only by the fact that despite everything, God remains firmly seated on His Throne and will, in His own good time, put all things to right.

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