Collectivization Of The Churches
A guest post by The Reverend David R. Graham, A.M.D.G.
"What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."
The Church and the churches are not the same. The churches more or less express the Church, which is the Spiritual Community, Bride of Christ, Pure and Elegant, but they are not the Church, as their more or less impurity demonstrates.
During the late 19th Century, the Germanic movement called Liberal Protestantism sought to remake Christianity as palatable to Erasmus’, Rousseau’s and Voltaire’s heirs in scientific humanism, aka, Marxism, which is historiography and planning on the horizontal (male) axis alone, ignoring or bending horizontal the vertical (female) axis.
To accomplish which, Liberal Protestants had to collectivize the thinking of theologians, clergy and laymen: turn Christianity into an expression of Marxism. Charging and converting scientists and humanists into Christians was not their goal. Liberal Protestants wanted to be wanted. Scientific humanism then was ascendant, where still it is, at least as a beneficiary of public and private finance and esteem.
Today no difference exists between thinking in the churches and thinking in, say, the university, media and government. All are collectivist, none is independent. All follow talking points handed down from a leftist political party, none swerves into private investigation of assertions. All believe what they see and hear in media, none suspects media as mouthpiece of university and government.
That is collectivization. Once it was called group think. Now it is called news you can use. Facts. Truth. Choices. For your benefit, no less. Fair and balanced.
There was a brief rebellion against Liberal Protestantism towards the middle of the 20th Century. It was called Neo-Orthodoxy. Barth, Brunner and lesser lights led it. They sought to restore the vertical (female) axis to usage and succeeded, partially and briefly.
When Neo-Orthodoxy reached America from its Germanic roots, it was taken up by Reinhold Niebuhr at The Union Theological Seminary in New York City, an affiliate of Columbia University. Niebuhr was a communist clergyman and labor union agitator with a huge, dominating personality and a wonderful, nimble gift of gab. Niebuhr turned the vertical (female) axis reintroduced by Barth and Brunner on its side so that it paralleled and then merged with the horizontal (male) axis.
(Remarkably, he criticized Liberal Protestants for doing exactly that. Niebuhr was not a self-critical or self-correcting man.)
Niebuhr considered this an accomplishment. His colleague at Union, Paul Tillich, did not. Tillich pointed out that Niebuhr never learned his theology and Niebuhr acknowledge that perhaps, indeed, he had not.
Barth’s and Brunner’s Neo-Orthodoxy was, in any case, top-heavy with Mohammedan-like, inscrutable and intractable “transcendent” dicta and diktats. And so, unsustainable.
With prominent politicians, including Hubert Humphrey, Niebuhr helped found Americans for Democratic Action. It was – still is – a vehicle for running the vertical axis of life as if it was horizontal and bringing American education, media and government into aggressive, messianic, collective conformity with scientific humanism, aka Marxism. Holding those three entities together was seen as the way to control the population and the course of events totally. Collectivism is the method of totalism (aka absolutism, totalitarianism).
Niebuhr anticipated in North America so-called “Liberation Theology” in South America. Both were collectivist, one from Liberal Protestantism (Niebuhr was German Reformed [Calvinist]) and one from Roman Catholicism. Both were generated in academe, which, post-Marx, is almost uniformly leftist.
Liberal Protestant collectivism (aka scientific humanism/Marxism) first made large-scale political force in the United States through Woodrow Wilson, a moral and intellectual superior, in his own mind, of the “common man” – and therefore the empowered director of affairs – if ever one breathed.
Marx was a theologian and a student of Hegel, as was Kierkegaard. The two successfully criticized Hegel’s totalistic system, despite its realistic elegance, but from different directions and with different results. Kierkegaard identified the vertical axis of the unexpected (paradox), which nullifies total systems. Marx identified the vertical axis of free (from historical determinism) intentional purpose (telos), which, also, nullifies total systems.
However, whereas Kierkegaard maintained paradox as an expression of the vertical (female) axis, Marx bent over telos to conform with the horizontal (male) axis. This made Marxism evil and predicts the genocide and misogyny of Marxists in education, media and government.
What Marx did earlier, Niebuhr did later. What Niebuhr did later, James Cone, at Union since 1969, continues through disciples such as Jeremiah Wright and “Barack Obama”: genocide and misogyny.
Collectivism is not a Christian idea or doing. It belongs to Marxism, not Christianity. Yet, the churches have been in its thrall since the middle years of the 20th Century. Since the later years of the 20th Century, the churches are indistinguishable from academe, media and government. The three sectors think alike, promoting government (collectivism/communism) as the universal answer to and refuge from VUCA.
The churches now are willing auxiliaries of government social engineering agencies, media/government propaganda technicians and academic troublemakers. They are secular organizations standing profanum, outside the door to the Sanctuary of the Holy.
No vertical axis. No femininity. No self-correction. No Church, only churches.
The parable of the good Samaritan is not a demand for forced charity. It does not promote collectivism by government edict, income redistribution at the muzzle of a gun. The nature of government is, essentially and rightly, penal. That is not the subject of the parable of the good Samaritan. Nor is its subject smug moralizing about charity.
The parable of the good Samaritan describes personal, voluntary and anonymous charity as desirable. Repeat: PERSONAL, VOLUNTARY, ANONYMOUS. The parable is descriptive, not prescriptive. Nor does it demand charity.
In fact, the parable of the good Samaritan is not about charity. The parable answers the question of who is the brother, that is, who is one’s equal in God’s eyes. It is not about charity. It is about living in gated “communities” and having armed personal security details. The parable condemns those activities. It’s about rich acting smug, superior to and separate from ordinaries.
The parable of the ten talents, on the other hand, does promote, directly and unequivocally, the Pauline, Christian principle, “No work, no eat.”
The voice of Hebrew and Christian Prophetism does not exist in the churches since at least the 1930s. It has been driven out by collectivists. Or, one may say, perhaps more accurately, it has seen historical developments transcend the churches in the direction of universal prayer and concrete Spirit. Religionless, omni-local, agile, unpredictable (as always), definite, practical and moral.
Two Avatars of the Lord have stridden the earth during the last two hundred years – one the x axis, one the x and y axes – and a third is coming – the y axis – I guess (!) in or before the next decade of the 21st Century:
Bear All And Do Nothing;
Hear All And Say Nothing;
Give All And Take Nothing;
Serve All And Be Nothing.