Ni problem idejna sorodnost nekaterih političnih strank in Cerkve. Taka sorodnost je dobrodošla. Tudi ni problem, če Cerkev kdaj nakaže, katera stranka ji je po krščanskih etičnih merilih in družbenem nauku bližja. Na tem mestu bi celo predlagal, da bi se kdaj kak organ pri SŠK, denimo Komisija za pravičnost in mir, oglasil z (pol)uradno (a nezavezujočo) oceno strankarskih programov jasno in glasno imenovavši stranke – pa naj „cerkvena učiteljica“ Ranka Ivelja še tako zavija z očmi. Bolje jasno povedana beseda nad pultom kot šepetajoča hipnoza volivca pod pultom.Problem je, ko politično poškoduje eklezialno. Ko politika v cerkveno občestvo vnese svoje kriterije razločevanja, kdo je in kdo ni na pravi poti. Naj ponazorim s svežim primerom dveh duhovniških imen. Revija Reporter, 23. marec 2015: pišoči duhovnik Janez Turinek na strani 55, s strani Boštjana M. Turka komentirani duhovnik Milan Knep na strani 35. Turinekovim antikomunističnim erupcijam je dana cela Reporterjeva plahta, Knepovi dialogi z zakoncema Hribar so hudo okrcani. Turinek lahko zapiše, kar se mu zljubi, za Knepa je med vrsticami sugerirano, da ni primeren za odgovornega za katehezo v ljubljanski nadškofiji. Uredniško sporočilo revije je moč dešifrirati takole: militantni duhovniki (t,j, katoličani) à la Janez Turinek so okej, mostograditeljski duhovniki (t.j. katoličani) à la Milan Knep niso okej!V času Udbe se je temu reklo diferenciacija klera (prim. isti Reporter, str. 19). Cilj diferenciacije? Nič drugega kot nadzor politike nad religijo.***
Here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.
In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.
Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions– Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. –precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.
What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.
We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.
We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.
We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.
The two men have long approached political orthodoxies with the same brashness and iconoclasm that guide their fashion sensibility. In 2006, Gabbana told the Daily Mail, “I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents.” Such statements have yet to affect Dolce & Gabbana’s business, but as gay rights make gains there is likely to be less freedom to speak for those who oppose them—even if those speaking are gay men.
Already the new interview has prompted opposition, with the website LGBT News Italia calling for a boycott like the one launched against Barilla pasta after its chairman made similar comments. I tend to loathe the sub-democratic habit of expressing political preferences through consumer choices, but it would be hard to object to the victory won for elegance if conservatives were to start wearing D&G in solidarity with these two brilliant, independent-minded Italians.
D&G are hardly the intolerant ones in this debate. As Brendan O’Neill wrote this week on spiked, the response to Gabbana’s comments was one of sheer belligerence: ‘shut up, or else’, rather than ‘we disagree, and here’s why…’. James, one fresh-faced protester, told me he felt that D&G’s remarks had sold out their gay audience. I asked him whether he felt uncomfortable, with the tactics. Surely, in trying to push the opposition out of the conversation – in threatening each dissenting voice with a threat of boycott – he was using the same censorious methods used to silence gay groups in the past. ‘No, not really’, was his answer, as a chorus of ‘D&G, SHAME!’ erupted.
The response to D&G-gate was sadly typical of modern gay-rights campaigners. Having fought tooth-and-nail to have a place in the conversation, to seize the right to speak their minds, organise politically and live their lives as they see fit, they are now trying to use the censorious methods of the old establishment in order to shore up these progressive gains. With Christian bakers in Northern Ireland being hauled before equalities courts for refusing to bake a gay-friendly cake, to top CEOs being hounded out of jobs for opposing gay marriages, gay-friendly progressives are fast asserting themselves as the gatekeepers of all debate on gay issues.
But while such intolerance is shocking and counterproductive, actively avoiding the open debate about gay issues necessary to drive the conversation forward, the scene yesterday felt somehow more benign. With barely 35 protesters at the peak of the demo, flanked by almost as many journalists, it felt less like a meaningful piece of direct action and more a two-minute hate with a photo-op attached.
I’m old enough to remember a time when college students objected to providing a platform to certain speakers because they were deemed politically unacceptable. Now students worry whether acts of speech or pieces of writing may put them in emotional peril. Two weeks ago, students at Northwestern University marched to protest an article by Laura Kipnis, a professor in the university’s School of Communication. Professor Kipnis had criticized — O.K., ridiculed — what she called the sexual paranoia pervading campus life.
The protesters carried mattresses and demanded that the administration condemn the essay. One student complained that Professor Kipnis was “erasing the very traumatic experience” of victims who spoke out. An organizer of the demonstration said, “we need to be setting aside spaces to talk” about “victim-blaming.” Last Wednesday, Northwestern’s president, Morton O. Schapiro, wrote an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal affirming his commitment to academic freedom. But plenty of others at universities are willing to dignify students’ fears, citing threats to their stability as reasons to cancel debates, disinvite commencement speakers and apologize for so-called mistakes.
The body, too, is a focus of judgement, whether we like it or not. It excites or repels. It lends itself to unwanted racial and sexual stereotypes.
To overcome the problems, the academic argument goes, we must displace a longstanding conception. People have idealized the human body, treated it as a temple, a purity, and that mystification must end. The body is NOT a natural thing or divine form. It has no natural or supernatural status. That’s what my friend meant when he insisted on coloring hair, writing words on forearms, inserting studs in tongues, and otherwise modifying the physique. We must de-naturalize the body, redefine it as a human construct. A tattoo helps turn this object we seem to have been given into material we may shape and revise. Yes, each one of us is stuck with the one we’ve got (at this point in time), but we can re-create it, fashioning it into an expression of the identity we prefer.
That’s the theory of body art. It spells a transition from the body as physique to the body as text. You can write yourself upon it. As a friend put it to me: A tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word. It may strike old-fashioned types as pedestrian narcissism and adolescent conformity, and sometimes it surely is. But in a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time. It’s a wholly successful one, too, judging from the entertainment and sports worlds, and youth culture.
Third, pastors have a huge pedagogical problem before them. As the language of traditional Christian pastoral concern is taken from us and turned on its head, we are left with no language with which to articulate our care. As love becomes merely a passion, as safety becomes merely a term for never being contradicted, as victimhood and oppression are turned into subjective categories rooted in emotional psychology, the very language by which we understand virtues, well-being, and concern becomes not a tool for care but a barrier preventing us from caring.
At a recent I talk I gave about Pope Francis, a man asked me, “Why do more non-Catholics like the pope than Catholics do?” He was wrong, of course. A Pew poll two months ago found that 90 percent of Catholics like what the pope is doing—and the number is even higher (95 percent) among the most observant, Mass attending Catholics. The percentage of non-Catholics who view the pope favorably does not get above the 70s.
Yet the question was understandable. There is a perception of great resistance to the pope in his own church. This is largely the product of noise. Extremists get more press coverage than blander types, and some Catholic bloggers have suggested that the pope is not truly Catholic. They are right to be in a panic. They are not used to having a pope who is a Christian.
In exchange for so many blessings, the church has of course given fervent support to the Putin government, lavishly praising it and providing ideological justifications for a strong government at home, and expansion beyond its borders. But such enthusiasm goes far beyond mere payback. Support for authoritarian regimes is deeply embedded in Orthodox political thought, and Russian Orthodoxy in particular has always been tinged with mystical and millenarian nationalism.
When Kirill presents Orthodox Russia as a bastion of true faith, besieged by the false values and immorality of a secularized West, his words are deeply appreciated by both the state and the church. The apocalyptic character of that conflict is made evident by the West’s embrace of homosexual rights, especially same-sex marriage. As so often in past centuries, Holy Russia confronts a Godless and decadent West. It is Putin, not Kirill, who has warned that “Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan.”
New ideas, rooted in scientific understanding, did help bring societies through the turbulence of industrialization. But the reformers who made the biggest differences — the ones who worked in the slums and with the displaced, attacked cruelties and pushed for social reforms, rebuilt community after it melted into air — often blended innovations with very old moral and religious commitments.When technological progress helped entrench slavery, the religious radicalism of abolitionists helped destroy it. When industrial development rent the fabric of everyday life, religious awakenings helped reknit it. When history’s arc bent toward eugenics, religious humanists helped keep the idea of equality alive.
Over all, we overestimate how pious the West of 1750 or 1800 was — and we underestimate how much the more egalitarian West of 1950 was shaped by religious mobilization and revival.
The point is not that traditional ideas alone can save societies in transition. That way lies ISIS and the foredoomed ruin of countless old regimes.
But the assumption, deeply ingrained in our intelligentsia, that everything depends on finding the most modern and “scientific” alternative to older verities has been tested repeatedly — with mostly dire results. The 19th-century theories that cast themselves as entirely new and modern were the ones that devastated the 20th century, loosing fascism and Marxism on the world.
So we live in a world where much of the progress that new technology permits is embodied in products that must be given away for free. A somewhat haphazard sub-set of potential products can, with the right business model, be profitable – say, through advertising or by selling the information that they passively collect from users.
This may not be a coincidence. To harness the possibilities of new technology, we may need non-market forms of payment for valuable contributions. The traditional capitalist model may have made Bill Gates rich, but his foundation now finances valuable technological breakthroughs in unprofitable ways. As with negative real interest rates, but in a more targeted and efficient manner, we may have to pay to make valuable investments happen.
The ideal of serious enjoyment of what isn’t instantly understood is rare in American life. It is under constant siege. It is the object of scorn from both the left and the right. The pleasures of critical thinking ought not to be seen as belonging to the province of an elite. They are the birthright of every citizen. For such pleasures are at the very heart of literacy, without which democracy itself is dulled. More than ever, we need a defense of the Eros of difficulty.
This dismissal of broad-based learning comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future. The United States has led the world in economic dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate. A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy. When unveiling a new edition of the iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”
Innovation is not simply a technical matter but rather one of understanding how people and societies work, what they need and want.
One final reason to value a liberal education lies in its roots. For most of human history, all education was skills-based. Hunters, farmers and warriors taught their young to hunt, farm and fight. But about 2,500 years ago, that changed in Greece, which began to experiment with a new form of government: democracy. This innovation in government required an innovation in education. Basic skills for sustenance were no longer sufficient. Citizens also had to learn how to manage their own societies and practice self-government. They still do.