Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fr. Jonathan on "Localities"

Olive Chancellor, feminist:

"Don't you care for human progress?"

Basil Ransom, Southerner:

"I don't know--I never saw any."

Taken from The Bostonian by Henry James.

If you believe this to be true, then by all means read this, and this and this. Fr. Jonathan at Second Terrace posts an extraordinary 3-part series entitled "Localities." This is some of his best writing to date, and that is saying something. It is all very, very good. A sampling, below:

"Limits" is not a hard word for Orthodoxy to commend. The liberal political idea is based upon the unfounded certainty that commercial and industrial expansion is limitless. There is a mystical, eschatological belief that human nature has evolved, is evolving, and will continue to evolve into more complex form (and thus of a higher order). The expansion of civilization is a program that becomes the standard upon which all other values are based: local traditions, customs, folkways, family ties, dialects, mom and pop shops, little farms should all be bulldozed by the eminent domain of "progress."

(For progress is what a liberal believes in, not taking care of the poor: don't get excited, neocons and Obama-bashers – you don't believe in conservatism either. You, oddly, are just as progressive. It is not at all conservative to believe in the gospel of democracy, nor in its rather marshal evangelistic methods. It is not even conservative to be capitalistic: once upon a time, long ago and far away, people were rich and were thankful to God and to the poor, and did not presume that their riches were deserved and sacramental, and meant for the secular sanctification of the Western world.)

There is no way that Orthodoxy can believe in progress. The Nicene dogma is stern on this point. The Father is the Maker of all words. Human nature does not evolve: it is polluted by sin and death: it is regenerated by Christ: it is up to you and me whether we want to be human and become like Christ. We should feed the poor because we are Christian, not to make them Christian without knowing it.


Milton T. Burton said...

Excellent. There is no progress. There is no "going forward." We are all caught in the morass of sin.

Kirk said...

Fr. Jonathan lost me in his first article when he wrote, "The only reason why civilization is at all more humane than earlier brutal ages is solely because of the presence of the sacramental Church." This doesn't square with what I have read of Solzhenitsyn.

John said...

Kirk, expand a little on your comment.