Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (I Corinthians x.32)
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Respect and revolution
There is a scene in the film Dr Zhivago that haunts me to this day. Essentially, it is when the deserters seize their commanding officer and beat him to death, jeering all the while. It marks the turning of Imperial Russia to the days of Communism.
Looking back through history, it seems every revolution involves ikonoclasm and defilement of the old regime. This is understandable: in order for revolution to occur, there has to be some catastrophic resentment of the status quo that the contempt for the old regime boils over into hatred for all that regime stood for. I see this attitude frequently in the mind of converts, and have some experience of it myself during my renunciation of my membership of the CofE.
It is one of anger and fury at the establishment that leaving it is not enough. There is a desire for judgement on it for the pain and suffering it caused. For those who have left the CofE willingly or unwillingly, that judgement can never come and so the temptation is to vilify and to show profound disrespect.
Theologically, the orders of the CofE are now deeply dubious having likely defects in the intention if not the matter. If a Bishop intends to ordain a man in the same way as he does a woman, then this does indeed raise a defect of intention as, in the Catholic view, both will be doubtful because one is doubtful and both are intended to be of the same validity. This, however, is not a licence for disrespect. If they cannot be regarded as priests in the Catholic sense, they can still be regarded as ministers and given respect accordingly. Not to be respectful is a violation of St Paul's directive:
Holding to Orthodoxy does not give anyone a mandate for the ikonoclasm of heterodox persons. We would be committing the same atrocities as were performed by the Reformers and Counter Reformers.
Revolutions will happen. If Deacon Christopher Little is right, they will happen soon in the West. With the liberal wing trying to legalise illogic and literal nonsense, there can be two potential revolutions. One is the threat from radicalised Islamic fundamentalists and an aggressive conservative suppression. The other is a completion of the relativistic agenda in which anything goes apart from those who disagree that anything goes. Both are obviously ikonoclastic: one seeks to obliterate the Christian religion through acts of physical violence and demolition; the other through acts of intellectual violence, demolishing logic, objectivity, and truth in favour of a false science based on a materialistic objectivism. In both, we lose our freedom of speech. In both, our ikons are seen as just pictures than Windows into the Divine.
I should love to see a third revolution in which we return to Christian government, especially an Anglican Catholic government preserving the Catholic Faith as these British Isles have cultivated before Relativism snuck in. However, with the death of the "beef-faced colonel" still very much in my mind, this revolution cannot ever occur without the principles of justice, mercy, humility and love, with no pomposity, legalism, or self-righteousness from which we suffer.
That's hard, but every day, in every Office, I pray "Thy Kingdom come". One day, it will. Until then, I remain an idealistic conservative revolutionary. Now there's a contradiction!