An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I realize some of you may be weary of hearing about my adventures with this book, but alas, I am not. While many of us claim to know that the communists persecuted religious believers, I think few us know many details of the forms that persecution took. As with most persecutions it wavered between murder or re-education camps (gulags) where many died anyway to a host of laws intended to stifle religious belief. All of which combined with a healthy dose of state sponsored propaganda...somewhat like our "public service announcements" which are, for the most part, propaganda in favor of our society's mores.
The details are astonishing really. Laws in 1918 and 1929 forbade the religious education of children, this was of course a means by which the state was protecting children - or so they thought (think C.P.S. with a mandate to protect children from intolerant education or hate speech - recently in Canada a White supremest parent had her child taken from her. Make sure you pay close attention to the very last statement in the article.) However, in the 60's the laws were expanded and it became illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to even attend religious services! The 14th Komsomol Congress of 1963 declared that "no parent should be allowed to cripple a child spiritually." Furthermore it was established that since parental rights were a privilege granted by the state, the state could rightfully end those rights for the good of the child and for the good of the state. In other words, teaching your children about God was grounds for having them removed from your home and your parental rights terminated.
Seriously consider, if you will, as our society's mores and values continue to diverge further and further from traditional Christian mores and values, how long it will be before application of hate speech/crime, child welfare, or tolerance laws might begin to infringe upon Christian parental rights? I know it may seem a very long way off at this point, but I think it is worth considering. How long before what we deem to be "traditional values" today are viewed by a majority of society in the same way we largely view neo-Nazi values today? Thankfully, we here in America have not yet begun to even legislate against neo-nazi parents, but - for example - do you ever wonder if anything really happened with that Mormon splinter group that warranted having those families all torn apart by the state - even if only for a week or two?
PoMo's hate the word "Institution", but I've often argued that such hatred is really directed at a very specific (strawman) use of the term. I read once that a healthy society is founded upon and within a variety of "Institutions" among which are Church, family, marriage, neighborhoods, and government. I tend to agree with this assessment, generally. I've also read that we ought to be worried because to a large degree our society has abandoned all but one of these as being a "valid" institution: government. As such, government is now looked upon as the facilitator of everything once provided to us via a much larger variety of "institutions." And investing so much into the state ought to REALLY concern us because we are setting up a system which will have far too much interest in our personal lives - particularly those people whose personal lives do not mesh well with popular mores by which the government, particularly democratic ones, usually operates.
Our Lord warned us that we would be hated. He warned us we would be persecuted. So it really shouldn't surprise us if things really swing in this direction where in the name of diversity and tolerance we find ourselves under the rainbow tattooed iron fist of an antagonistic government. It could happen...in fact, in some places in the world it IS happening.
None of this surprises me. None of this worries me, because I'm actually forbidden to worry by the only Power that has any real power.
I will be 57 on 7/28. I grew up during the height of the Cold War. I served in the Submarine Force during the latter part of that same War. Reflecting on my time in the Silent Service, it still boggles my mind how screwed up the world was/is: The only way to ensure the world's continuing existence was for the major powers to mutually threaten the world's annihilation.
The best military mind of the 20th century (Douglas MacArthur) was removed by Truman for insubordination, chiefly because he would not cease identifying China and Stalinist Russia as major threats who had to be controlled immediately. He criticized Truman's conduct of Korea as a limited war; Truman wanted to avoid China's entry into the conflict. Of course, China entered anyway. MacArthur wanted to subdue them while we still had the chance of doing so.
MacArthur's removal was the beginning of the end, as far as I'm concerned. At no time since then (except, arguably, for the Cuban Missile Crisis, which we bartered our way out of) have we appeared as anything but embarrassingly lame milktoasts with big mouths. Bullies with candy asses.
MacArthur was consulted by Kennedy. The first of two meetings was shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. MacArthur was extremely critical of the Pentagon and its military advice to Kennedy. History has shown that MacArthur was right (again). MacArthur also cautioned the young President to avoid a U.S. military build-up in Vietnam, pointing out that domestic problems should be given a much greater priority. Shortly prior to his death he gave similar advice to the new President, Lyndon Johnson. Anyone want to debate whether MacArthur should've been heeded here, too?
So you see, America is reaping what it has sown since WWII, and so it goes with nations and nationalism. Those who are empty and/or stupid enough to make this their religion deserve what they get: The whirlwind. But worry about it? No thanks. I'm done. Y'all can worry for me, if that floats your collective boat.
I'm not accusing you of lack of faith, but I am suggesting that it might be at least partly misdirected. You cannot rely on human institutions, period. It's like the Israelites being forbidden to rely on foreign military alliances in order to bail them out from foreign military enemies.
So we have a vote. Yay. That means that we can try to put one kind of statist in the Oval Office rather than another. Great. I'll vote, of course, but not because I believe that it'll change the World, even if "my" candidate makes it. The World is not going to change. The Church, if she manages to be herself, will leaven it over time, but the reality is (in my opinion) that that only means that the polarization between leavened and unleavened increases.
My overall point with MacArthur and everything is that America is actually becoming the very thing it fought against --- a version of totalitarianism. It's becoming this because it no longer believes that totalitarianism is wrong. This concept is made more palatable by the fact that said totalitarianism is not administered by an individual person, but by a centralized federal bureaucracy that is simultaneously all-encompassing and yet so diffuse as to evade accountability. If we think that a vote for "conservatism" strikes a blow against all this, we can believe that if we insist on doing so, but I say it's sheer romanticism to think that way. I suppose it's not actually evil to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, but it's not actually useful, either.
The Church Militant is the Lifeboat, not a new, improved superliner.