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Collectivization Of The Churches

03 January 2013 @ 13:05

A guest post by The Reverend David R. Graham, A.M.D.G.

"What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."
—Abraham Lincoln

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.


  1. 03 January 2013 @ 18:30 18:30

    You really should not speak in generalities about people as you do. I have been in many churches and have as yet to meet anyone like you describe. Even in the case of at least one mainline denomination, the United Methodist Church, the Libs have been losing their battle to take over. What you describe has certainly to been true of the Church of God, The Assemblies of God, or any of the independent Baptist churches I have been in. We’ve known about idiots like Niebuhr and felt sorry for anyone associated with them.

    But, and I will say this directly and baldly. People like Niebuhr are not Christian. They took a name they thought had some cachet for some reason, but they aren’t Christian. Most of the major nominally Calvinist denominations in this country are shot through with Heretics, and the Episcopal Church is run by Heretics. While every church has people in its pews that will split hell wide open, the fact that they will do so makes them something outside of the church. One does not “join” the church by being given the right hand of fellowship. One joins the church by having their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The actual church actuates the local church and does the work of God in their locale as well as supporting outside their locale. Just because a group calls themselves a church, doesn’t make them one.

    While I strongly disagree with Calvinism, I do not think a Calvinist is a heretic simply because they are a Calvinist. Theologically aberrant, yes, but not a heretic.

    • The Rev. David R. Graham permalink
      03 January 2013 @ 20:13 20:13

      Feel sorry for me, then. My father was a protege of Niebuhr’s and I walked him, on my arm, in the snow on Riverside Drive. Ursula asked me to take care of him in the difficult footing. I said I would, and did. We disagreed over the speed of implementing integration. I said it would be short and easy and he said it would be long and hard. My Senior Honors Project at University was on Niebuhr’s writings. I revere Tillich, who held and blessed me when I was in the condition of an infant – a condition in which not a few persist in regarding me. So, feel sorry for me. Also, I am an Episcopalian. And my text book in Systematic Theology was Institutes of the Christian Religion. I loved it and still do. And I bear ordination from the United Church of Christ. And I delight in Pope Benedict XVI. And I am happy Putin supports the Russian Orthodox Church.

      So here’s a summary generality: The churches (in USA) are storefronts of the laughably-named Democratic Party, which is a criminal and terrorist organization resolved upon a general genocide. I think it’s not a case of heresy, it’s a case of apostasy, which is a very different and far more serious matter than heresy. It’s akin to the difference between Communism (a Christian heresy) and Fascism (a Christian apostasy).

      At 69+ years, I admit to being a generalist, when warranted. In the Lamb’s Book of Life there is a mere handful of names. I guess you’re heritage is Anabaptist, which is the left wing of the Reformation but is thought and protested today as the right wing of “American Christianity.” You are right, I am a generalist.

  2. indyjonesouthere permalink
    04 January 2013 @ 10:59 10:59

    I grew up in the Methodist church. It has become so effeminate that it is gender free. The father, son, and holy spirit are not. I live within 10 miles of a Methodist university and in an area that has a high Methodist population. This ensures that some Methodist news is covered locally. This past year there was talk that the US Methodist church would drop out of the world group in order to approve of gay marriage as the vote within the world group was slightly in favor of not approving of gay marriage. And only a mens group in the church kept the church from abandoning the boy scouts but a few years ago, all over accepting the gay lifestyle. I have witnessed the protestant churches commiting politically correct suicide over the decades, especially since the 60’s. Although the Catholic church has been infiltrated as well it seems that it is reacting to the “social justice” freaks far better than any of the protestant churches. Church Militant TV with the Vortex and Barnhardt see this far better than the old timers in the church. It is not hard to see the upheavel around this country that has infected every part of our life whether it is religion, family, politics, economy or education. I believe we are transforming from the mentality of the industrial age and moving on to a new age. The cities, unions, huge central government, education system, and even religion are in for change that will likely leave them in the dust as they can not adapt and we will see a change back to minimal government. What we have can not sustain itself, the question is what level will the pain and suffering from the transformation entail. The US civil war marks the change from an agricultural centered country to the start of the industrial era. That price wasn’t cheap….what is the price of the coming change?

    • 04 January 2013 @ 14:15 14:15

      I think this is an insightful, articulate comment, thank you for it. And I see what you do.

      “Back to minimal government.” Perhaps more specifically, delve into distributed power, dispersed authority? Better wording is surely available, but the concept of surmounting, even transcending the present [mess] and reorganizing by the essence of the American spirit – distributed (“federal”) power – is axial.

      What is “the price” going to pay for? What is going to be bought? What concretion of the American spirit is worth self-sacrifice? Teilhard’s “Noosphere” concretized as, perhaps, electro-economics? The electrical era? I don’t know. There is agreement on distributed power, aka minimal government.

      The creative genius of American society runs in its engineering blood. I see two and perhaps three concretions of that creative genius – aka, powers that move history forwards and upwards. One is the TEA Party movement. The other is weapons development. A third might be creation of military formations.

      In his final lecture and last public appearance (a stroke early the next morning led to his death not long after), Paul Tillich spread his coup d’oeil across his career and out ahead of it, anticipating there a fresh concretion of the Holy Spirit, a “religion of the concrete Spirit:”

      You will know why I am attached to New Harmony, IN and the legacy of Jane Blaffer Owen.

  3. indyjonesouthere permalink
    04 January 2013 @ 16:27 16:27

    I suspect that the price we pay will be in lives but not necessarily like the Civil War of 1860-5. And the lives lost will be from chaos. Look at all of the unsustainable programs being run by our bloated government. Social security, medicare/medicaid, ebt, sec8, food stamps, etc. These will go away as soon as interest rates rise. The revenue will pay for debt and some military. Any social programs will be left to the individual states and religion…..just as they used to be. As Bill Whittle pointed out, government grew with industrialization and huge central cities. Most large cities are now bankrupt and becoming detroited….they are not sustainable and their main function as industrial hubs are no longer needed. A few are trying to survive as bread and circuses cultural centers but require huge cash infusions to survive. There is a reason billions were poured in NYC after 911 in order to re-infuse the city. And there is a reason they poured billions into New Orleans for the same reason. And Sandy is an excuse to prop up NE cities that have out of control expenses and rotting infrastructure. This trend started in the 60’s and is well underway. The Federal government AND the large industrial cities are facing the same fate…neither is self sustaining any longer. Rather than secular government worship, we will return to a more sustainable information age divorced from government and returning to its spiritual foundation. God is not dead, instead the pulse of government is failing. The shrill histrionics of centralized government with its media, militarist, and corporatist supporters is passing away. The government can not control the information age, it will be over run by the information. It is to the religious institutions to return to the saving of souls and character building rather than their current social justice jibberish. Liberty will come but it will not be free. Those living by the government check and producing nothing will have a very dim future.

    • Adobe_Walls permalink
      04 January 2013 @ 19:23 19:23

      What Whittle spoke of and to is a form of social power, what used to do the things that the government and therefore the State was not empowered to do. The State cannot abide successful competition. In teaching that it must will require much blood, that’s where the civil war comes in.

      • indyjonesouthere permalink
        04 January 2013 @ 19:55 19:55

        I am more than tempted to contribute 10 bucks a month to Whittles “space program” simply because it is a worthy idea and would point to the absolute waste of big government in promoting anything worthwhile. The state is in an ever declining failure mode and in that mode it is full of bluster and threats to any idea that there are better vehicles to support citizens than the current government. The governing elite become shrill and incoherent if you mention privatizing social security, getting government out of medical care, private education with vouchers, or virtually any government function being privatized. The only stronghold for government is its own unionized employees. It is bleeding itself to death to maintain its supporters and its power. It will bleed to death but people had better prepare because there will be chaos and killing. There are many government zombies…not necessarily bright but they are dedicated to the government teat and maintaining their place on the teat. Perhaps over time religious organizations can once again focus on their original mission rather than political correctness. But churches definitely need a change in leadership before this happens.

        • The Rev. David R. Graham permalink
          05 January 2013 @ 15:52 15:52

          “But churches definitely need a change in leadership before this happens.”

          I see this not happening. Leadership of the churches is riding those institutions without connection to The Church, and deliberately so. Nor do I see proper leadership stepping in to restore the churches’ connection to The Church. Who in their right mind would want to make the effort? Had it been desirable, it would have been done, I think. I see proper religious leadership already present in non-ecclesial forms and unwilling to seek a reformation of the current, corrupt ones. Those corrupt ones are not required by religion. They are rejected by The Church.

          There is no place for religion in modern “society.” Religion is despised. Genuine seekers and devotees of God operate religion-less-ly.

  4. White Tiger permalink
    04 January 2013 @ 22:18 22:18

    I am new to TCotS, but I wanted to say that this was a fascinating piece – and truly excellent! It also gives a basis to something I’ve been mulling – the pacification of the male in modern society (the church is NOT an exception). I am at a loss when I consider the American culture that nurtured the Revolution, birthed the Abolition & Civil Rights movements – now pacifies/stamps out any attempt to stand decidedly AGAINST evil in high places? They have sullied their robes by dancing in the mud – instead of being examples TO the world, their attempts to find common ground WITH the world…have caused them to give up some of those sacred things that set us apart FROM the world.

    You may have just hooked me – thanks!

    • The Rev. David R. Graham permalink
      05 January 2013 @ 16:22 16:22

      The relative positions of the sacred and the secular are mis-taken, commonly.

      Sometimes they are taken as co-habitants of the same horizontal playing field, as a polarity in fact, always in tension if not conflict. Common thought usually advances this image of the relative positions of the sacred and the secular. This in effect declares there is one axis only, the X axis. Life is horizontal and dualistic.

      Sometimes they are taken as equivalents: the sacred is secular, the secular is sacred. Harvey Cox, still at Harvard, popularized this idea in the 1960s with his febrile *The Secular City.* Made a fortune off it. Harvey in effect bent the Y axis over and declared it merged with the X axis. His career rests on this false unity.

      The sacred is the depth of the secular. The secular arises from the sacred, as gasses and other substances arise from the deep ocean. Sacred and secular neither conflict nor identify. They comprise neither a dualism nor a unity. They are generative, one of the other. Without the sacred there is no secular. The one begets the other.

      Thus, the term “Western civilization” is meaningless nonsense because it has no referent. Civilization (the secular) is not its own cause. Civilization is a product of concretization(s) of the sacred. Our civilization in Europe, the Americas and other areas of the globe is a product of The Latin Church and The Greek Church. Those concretizations of the sacred made our civilization. The sacred is the depth of our secularity. Ours is Christian civilization, not Western civilization. We are The Latin Church and The Greek Church, not “the West.”

  5. The Rev. David R. Graham permalink
    05 January 2013 @ 16:31 16:31

    Please allow me to express thanks and gratitude to our host, Bob Belvedere, and to these commenters. The matters under discussion here are important and I have no corner on their disposition much less their number. This opportunity to have these thoughts in view and sagely commented helps me. Thank you.

  6. 05 January 2013 @ 18:01 18:01

    Awesome post and erudite, thoughtful comments.

  7. Friend Fuchs permalink
    06 January 2013 @ 21:48 21:48

    Marxist with intentions on fomenting revolution buy time and increased resentment by implementing Cone’s idea of collective salvation whereby whites, mostly male, must give their material possessions to the spiritually impoverished in retribution for any previous, and, or future perceived grievous injuries to their id. Of course, the middle man gets his cut of the loot too. Talk about an opportunity to divide and conquer when reality finally hits the wall.

    Imperceptibly, but surely Benedict XVI is undoing the damage modernist have inflicted on the Catholic Church. I pray that he lives many more years and that everyone comes to believe in and love the Blessed Sacrament more than life itself. And yes, that does imply martyrdom, a very real possibility in our near future.

    God love ya Reverend for your insightful effort. Your post is educational and leaves me with much to ponder whether our separated brethren will unite in resistance against the oncoming evil directed towards the Christian community and this nation.


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