How to Change a Hostile Culture

Any way you look at it, the elite hold power. That’s what it means to be elite!

Readership: All; Christians;
Author’s Note:
This post was coauthored by NovaSeeker and Jack.
Length:
4,100 words
Reading Time:
14 minutes

Introduction

Under last month’s post, Descriptors of Beauty and Attractiveness (2021 April 23), there was a discussion about the factors that cause changes in the cultural order of a society, with the view of identifying them and understanding how they are driven. This is a topic that frequently comes up in discussions around the ‘sphere, so it deserves a formal treatment.

In this post, we’ll go over several aspects of the cultural order and emergent “way of life”, and, in particular, explain why elites must be influenced or somehow dealt with, in order to affect a societal change in this cultural order.

Hard Times?

Red Pill Apostle rightly posited that hard times are the cure to an ailing society, but that even this has its limits.

“If biblical history teaches us anything about human nature and idolatry, it is that hard times are the cure. In the case of feminism, I believe it will change when times are such that it is no longer a profitable grift for the elite. It will fade as a political movement for a time and then resurface with a new shiny package as something else. If you think of feminism for what it is, women being sold that God’s hierarchy of authority is oppressive and women fighting against it, this has been going on since Eve was convinced God was using His authority to keep her down and ate the fruit. Rinse, repeat. In 200 years it will have a new name, but the underlying sin will not be changed.”

This could very well be true, in the sense that broader economic changes will lead to a different material calculus, both for the elite class which generally sets the cultural agenda, as well as for the rank-and-file trying to live their lives in the present tense.

The underlying problem is that humans generally don’t reset their material expectations downward and their lives inward unless they are “hard” forced to do so. Individuals, of course, can and do make this kind of change in their lives, but generally humans do not, and it is the “generally” which is critical in any discussion of social and cultural order. In the sphere of mating, as long as society remains “comfortable” enough materially, people will continue the slide into “new ways of doing family” and the like, rather than generally reset their expectations in an effort to restore traditional families. They will generally only change once it gets so materially painful that they must, and that will be a terrible time for everyone. To state it differently, women will not revert to traditional marriage en masse in the West unless they are essentially economically forced to do so, and any scenario that would entail this kind of economic pressure will be exceptionally painful for everyone, not just women. This may, in fact, eventually happen, but the timing, scope, and nature of these “hard times” resulting from such an economic collapse remain speculative, and therefore relying on them as an agent of change is a relatively weak position to be in.

Memetic Sovereignty?

Wulfgar Thundercock III argued that memetic sovereignty is the crowbar of cultural change.

“All successful religions are elite religions. Christianity provided obedient, virgin wives for the Roman elite. Then the Christian Romans were able to cooperate better than the pagan Romans, so the pagan Romans lost. Then Constantine came in and replaced the official state religion with Christianity and it was all over by then.

First we need memetic sovereignty. Then back it up with the ability to defend ourselves. Then we wait for the left to burn itself out and offer the Caesar/Cromwell/Stalin a religion to replace leftism. That’s how Christianity survives.”

Wulfgar explained,

“What I mean by memetic sovereignty is that those in the Christian culture need to establish their own worldview/epistemic framework and enforce it among the culture. It’s the same thing as maintaining frame, but on a societal level.”

[…]

“Memetic sovereignty means always arguing from your principles, not theirs. You aren’t a racist, they’re a traitor. You’re not a rapist, her father is an irresponsible fool. You aren’t a bigot, they’re a bunch of evil degenerates. I could go on. Never allow them to set the terms of the argument. That is memetic sovereignty.

The reason Christianity needs that is because the Unitarians, the Puritans, are the modern standard of the Church. There are untold number of “Christian” churches directly opposing the plain reading of the Bible every day. That is because they allowed the Satanists to take the cultural high ground. Without enforcing our own culture and our own memes, Christianity will die on the vine. It will remain a memory until a barbarian with some vision finds a Bible and a preacher, and begins the Re-conquest in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth; He who always was and will always be; the Logos; the Truth, the Way, and the Life; He who was born of Man and of God; He who died for our sins and returned to life. That is memetic sovereignty.”

While it is certainly the case that in the battle of ideas, Christianity must hold its ground against the aggressively anti-Christian framework offered by the emergent culture, this cannot be readily done by “everyman” Christian.

In the time of the ante-Nicene Roman Empire, it was highly educated elite converts to the faith who were making these arguments, and holding this line against pagan (and Jewish) interlocutors and polemicists, precisely because they were the ones who were cognitively in a position to do so — they were able to use the same types of arguments, the same language, the same kind of discourse, because they were schooled in it themselves, and understood its arguments, its mode of discourse, from the inside out, so to speak. They were therefore in a position to engage with their opponents, and more than hold their ground, due to having a firm grasp of both sides of the discussion, and therefore being able to dominate both frames, and thereby reframe the discussion in a Christian vein. This was important not principally from the perspective of “winning the argument” with the interlocutors — it was important from the perspective of providing intellectual respectability for Christianity in terms that the cognitive elite had to respect, even if they disagreed. This respectability made conversion to Christianity more plausible, and more attractive, for more members of the Roman elite class.

This effort gradually won a lot of converts among educated elite Romans, which played a significant role in the elite Roman class being increasingly flipped to Christianity over time. And this was, itself, a massive turnaround for the new faith, because the initial Christian apologists were held in ill-regard by educated Roman pagans, precisely due to the fact that they could not articulate Christianity in a way that was convincing to many educated Romans, steeped as they were in Greek and Roman thought. That changed over time as Christianity made inroads among the educated class, and those educated converts to Christianity and their educated offspring were able to mount formidable arguments which were more convincing to the pagan Romans, and which eventually won the day, converting much of the elite class before Constantine’s famed edict of toleration.

In our context, this will require a similar engagement of Christian minds with the contemporary discourse in a way that is “interior” to it, yet faithfully Christian. This has basically not happened yet — Christianity has massively failed in this regard. For the most part, Christians are either (A) not engaging with the contemporary discourse at all on its own terms, or (B) are engaging it, but doing so either (1) from a perspective that stands “outside” it, and therefore appears outmoded, or (2) at the expense of Christian orthodoxy (that is, being co-opted by the contemporary discourse, rather than formulating Christianity in terms that are intelligible to, and native to, the contemporary discourse). The colossal scope of this failure for Christianity in our era simply cannot be overstated.

In order for true memetic superiority to be feasible, Christianity needs voices which are both orthodox and contemporary — in intellectual terms, that is, in ways that can influence the minds that shape the culture in a way that the more educated and sophisticated Christian apologists in the later ante-Nicene era were doing with Roman elites. This was difficult to do then, and it will be difficult to do again. But it will be impossible to do as long as Christians continue to radically undervalue education, philosophy, contemporary thought, and engaging contemporary thought on its own terms, and prefer instead to separate themselves into a sealed, self-referential ghetto of presumed purity of thought.

Separation?

Elspeth has articulated the common argument that Christians should separate themselves from any elite influence and all the trappings of materialism. She also described some specific challenges and how hard they are to implement.

“I would argue that “Christianity” as it evolved once embraced by the elites of the Roman Empire, was destined to bring us to exactly where are today.

One of my soapboxes, which my RL friends are very familiar with at this point, is that True, Sincere, small ‘o’ orthodox Christians must find a way to sever our connections to and obsession with, dominant culture markers of success.

Christ made it clear that the Kingdom road is a narrow one. We will not find life on the broad path. What does that look like?

For one thing, re-examining our belief in university as a ticket to the good life, and being willing to sacrifice much of “the good life” for the sake of preserving the faith in our families.

Less consumerism. More strategic entrepreneurship. Real education over schooling. Booker T. Washington’s approach to education was equal parts old school and futuristic.

Networking in real life with like-minded families along with way less entertainment can do a lot to calibrate the tastes of our own kids and produce realistic and measured expectations of a joyful life.

But that’s work. We only do about half that stuff and people -fellow Christians! – think WE’RE extreme.

That only leaves collapse as the force that swings the pendulum.”

Although Elspeth’s suggestions are certainly very important for individual Christians in pursuit of Christian living, there is a major difficulty with this approach being applied to the wider society. It would require an entire Christian community to be formed outside the current culture, which is highly unlikely to happen, and it is hardly a Biblical approach. (See John 17:9-19 where Jesus says we are in, but not of the world.)

This is a surprisingly difficult issue for Christians to face. It is true that the narrow path is the one that leads any specific individual to salvation, but it is at the same time true that Christianity has always tried, when it was able, to arrange the social and cultural context in ways that would make it easier for individuals to walk that narrow path than otherwise. Surely no society will ever be perfectly Christian as long as it remains fully human, but Christianity itself has always taken a keen interest in shaping these social and cultural arrangements, to the extent it was able to do so, precisely to make it easier for people to be Christian in their own lives.

What brought Christianity to its current situation of massive decline in its ability to shape the culture was not the conversion of Constantine or the Roman elite class, both of which led to Christendom itself, without which Christianity in general would not exist in any recognizable form. What brought Christianity to its current impasse was the overwhelming emphasis on individualism over collective authority, precisely in matters pertaining to religion, spirituality and conscience, which came about as a result of the Protestant Reformation. The current scenario in the West, in both Catholic and Protestant countries (both of which were dramatically impacted by the ideas of the Protestant movement), is simply the working out of this logic of spiritual individualism.

The advent of spiritual individualism gave birth to the creation of the “secular” itself, as a kind of “neutral space” within which Christians of “different conscience” could interact with each other without bloodshed. This led almost immediately to the profound secularization of thought, as philosophy and “science” were now conducted in this “neutral”, secular space, and thereby gradually divorced from religious ideas. This, in turn, led to the Enlightenment, which simply followed the logic of Protestant spiritual individualism and the newly-created secular mind-space to its logical conclusion — individual reasoned discretion was itself the ultimate authority over all matters that were not specifically religious, theological or ecclesial, and not in a way that was intrinsically tethered to any kind of religious idea. As the scope of this secular science grew, the scope of the matters which were reserved for religion accordingly shrank, and all of this under the auspices of an entire system of thought which was, itself, based on the primacy of the individual and the individual’s discretionary conscience. This process has continued according to its own “interior” logic such that the “secular” has continued to grow mind-space at the expense of the “sacred” until it essentially flipped the cognitive elite class more or less entirely away from any religious thought whatsoever at some stage in the 20th Century, eventually leading to the current debacle. All of this timeline progression can be traced to one pivotal moment: the individualist approach to religion which was championed by Protestantism, over and against forms of authority which were exterior to the individual conscience.

Of course, the Protestant Reformation didn’t happen in a vacuum — it was protesting against something, and that something was its proximate cause. In Novaseeker’s opinion, the actual longer-term cause of the problem can be traced to the separation of the Catholic West from the Orthodox East, which gradually led the Western Church to drift in ways that emphasized greater authoritarianism, separated popular piety from scholastic theology, and emphasized a kind of Christianity that was less patristic than it was scholastic and medieval in character — all of which led more or less directly to the Protestant reaction to that, which gave birth to spiritual individualism and kicked off the vicious cycle of events described above in the West. In other words, it was precisely what was happening with the elite class in the West, and whether it was being properly framed in Christianity (or not) that led to the entire stream of sad events, culminating in the current mess.

The current problem, therefore, can’t be tackled by doubling or tripling down on spiritual individualism. The entire project needs to be scrapped due to an objective evaluation of its overwhelmingly poor fruit. Rather, apostolic Christianity needs to be articulated again in a manner that is framed in terms of the current discourse, and which converts some of the cognitively elite minds that can then, in turn, articulate the apostolic faith convincingly in the current age, from the “inside out”. Focusing on individualism will only continue to oversee the decline of the faith in broader terms, because the logic of individualism leads directly out of Christianity.

Breeding?

Another idea is that conservative Christian natalists (i.e., those who have large families) will out-breed the issue, simply because non-Christians are not expected to reproduce in large numbers due to generally postponed marriage, widespread birth control and abortion, advanced feminism, homo/transsexuality, and the religious folks who are turning more and more insular as clown world becomes ubiquitous. But this too is rather unlikely as a strategy for widespread social change.

The main reason is that we are vastly outnumbered, so the proponents of the current culture are still having more kinds in total numbers. They also frequently make converts of our children, and, for reasons of the cognitive shortcomings of Christians noted above, we do not.

There is much more flow from the ranks of conservative Christian family kids to the culture than there is from the culture to conservative Christianity. Many of the natalist’s children will apostatize either wholly or partially, as we have largely already seen. Right now there is mass apostasy taking place in the ranks of the younger generations of people who were raised as traditional Christians but who have either left the faith or insist on changing it to a heterodox, apostate version of itself because they disagree with the faith about sex. And the culture is happy to flip conservative Christian kids, because then they flip other ones, and it mushrooms and cascades across that part of the culture as well.

SFC Ton summarized it like this.

“Christians do it to themselves because they feed their kids into the cultural war meat grinder called college. Willy nilly and without training.

Mostly because they value college above the Almighty and His ways

It’s a war. Church dudes don’t have the balls to sacrifice and fight back effectively.”

We can’t solve cultural issues by outbreeding them from below — we have to control the elites, either by infiltrating them, or by beheading and replacing them — because elites drive the culture, they control the means by which cultural transmission happens.

Education?

One suggestion as to how to go about affecting cultural change was geared towards education – NOT college education geared towards the Feminist Life Script nor the Career Life Script, but rather something more akin to homeschooling, finishing school, religious catechism, or the like. The subjects to be taught would likely include the basics of the faith, Christian virtues, the value and purpose of chastity, how to raise and discipline children properly, and family values in general.

This is the diametric opposite of what is being taught in colleges, universities, and yes, even churches today. No, it’s not even the opposite, per se — It’s a completely different paradigm that totally excludes the Christian Life Script!

The most urgent topic that needs to be covered is why young women should get married young instead of pursuing an alternate life script, and why men who have the chance to marry should decide quickly and settle down. If a convincing case could be made for these options, then this would at least give young people a choice in the matter. It has also been suggested that upper-mid-quality men should looksmaxx, up their game, and so on, as this might give them that extra edge and push them into the realm of being noticed by women who are interested in a traditional Christian marriage.

However, this approach towards the traditional Headship model are more of an individual solution, not a societal one, because the SMP/MMP has already degraded, making the competition unwinnable for the vast majority. So the efficacy of education as a vector for change is reduced to discipline, and this too leaves us stumped because of three reasons.

  1. Discipline requires training, hard work, sacrifice, and suffering, which most are not willing to do.
  2. Discipline is currently an approach that is unpopular to the point of being heavily persecuted.
  3. Discipline is one of the ADIEU traits that is concentrated in the upper class. (This serves to reinforce the overall message of this essay.)

There will always be a small number of people who are able to be proper Christians regardless of the “external circumstances” — i.e., whether those make it easier or harder, on the margin, to follow moral orthodoxy from a Christian perspective. The issue is what situations make it marginally easier or marginally harder to do so, because in situations in which it is marginally easier, more people will manage it, while in situations where it is marginally more difficult, fewer people will. This is why the church has never been truly indifferent about what the social rules (and the legal rules which are based on them) are — because they can make it easier or harder, on the margins, to be an actual Christian, which in turn has an impact on how many will manage to do so.

It’s true that in a situation where it is easier rather than harder that there will be more “false” Christians as well — but there will also be more actual ones who are able to manage it because the temptations to not do so are less in that context, precisely because the social rules reflect moral orthodoxy.

The Elites Set the Bar

Last month, we covered the elite lifestyle, and how it is broadly accepted as the norm, even among those who are not elite. Noteworthy posts on this topic are listed here.

It is appropriate to focus on this issue, because herein lies the key.

You can never influence in a meaningful way what those social rules are unless you control the elites. That’s because they are the ones who make those rules, and they are the ones who change them. So if you take the view that this is a problem rather than a help, what you are doing is creating a world in which it is harder for people to be Christian, which means that there will be fewer actual Christians. Yes, there will also be fewer false ones, but there will be fewer people who can manage to be Christian because it is much harder where there are more temptations and fewer guardrails in place. One may think this is a good thing because the false Christians are purged, but overall what happens in this view is that many who could otherwise be Christian, in a real and not a fake way, aren’t, because the circumstances make it too difficult for them to become or to stay Christian.

It’s for this reason that the critical path task for Christianity in the West currently is what it is doing about its interface with elite mind-space. And it is catastrophically failing in this — both as a result of not trying or, in cases where the effort is made, of focusing on critiquing the shortcomings of the currently dominant thinking of the cognitive elites, rather than re-articulating Christianity in a way that is interior to the entire thought-system of the current cognitive elite. This will involve some good amount of criticism, as we see in the ante-Nicene discourse as well, but it is criticism from “inside” the thought system and its premises, rather than a criticism from “outside” based on premises of a system of thought that is considered outdated.

Conclusions

Conservatives have been banging their heads against the wall for decades as to how to “win” the culture war without shifting/replacing the elites, but these various approaches don’t work because the elites control the culture, and so whoever controls the elite culture wins the game.

In the past, Christianity “won” in terms of becoming the predominant culture in the West only once elites began to be converted to the faith. It was the abandonment of paganism by the elite class of the Empire that led to the rise of Christianity — Constantine was a part of that, to be sure, but only a part. The reason why Julian the Apostate failed to reinstate paganism is because the elites had flipped to Christianity for the most part by then — Christianity flipped them.

Today, Christianity is focused on trying to do an “end run” around the elites, because the elites have left Christianity largely for what people are calling “the successor ideology”. It’s similar to what happened to the pagans in the Constantinian empire, but this time it’s happening to Christianity. It isn’t quite the same, because the new faith will not outlaw the old one, as Christianity did with the pagans, but the old faith (ours) will be thoroughly marginalized if we continue to think that we can ignore what is happening in the elite cultural class. The only way to flip that back will be to flip the elites (again), just like Christianity did when it rose in the time of the Empire.

Related

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57 Responses to How to Change a Hostile Culture

  1. info says:

    “The current problem, therefore, can’t be tackled by doubling or tripling down on spiritual individualism. The entire project needs to be scrapped due to an objective evaluation of its overwhelmingly poor fruit. Rather, apostolic Christianity needs to be articulated again in a manner that is framed in terms of the current discourse, and which converts some of the cognitively elite minds that can then, in turn, articulate the apostolic faith convincingly in the current age, from the “inside out”. Focusing on individualism will only continue to oversee the decline of the faith in broader terms, because the logic of individualism leads directly out of Christianity.”

    Not quite true, since in fact, it is those Bible Believers that look statistically to be holding more firm than those who are of the apostolic Christianity although the measures of Eastern Orthodox is not included here:

    Individualist Protestants (of those who are of the Nicene Creed that is) seem to have much greater commitment to the faith and be less lukewarm:
    https://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-wages-of-monophorism.html

    So it goes to show that Hermeneutics is much more than “Individual Interpretations”, as if we are all somehow making it up on our own. There is a right way to interpret Scripture. And the interpretations do somehow line up for the most part.

    As that man noted, and I quote:

    “One of the things about Protestantism is that it a religion strongly associated with the bourgeoisie. And one of the the thing about bourgeois society it the strong emphasis it places on individual act and responsibility. Protestant societies encourage more individual autonomy and internal locus of control. What this means is that although Protestants may think badly–with all the problems that brings– they think for themselves. Paradoxically, “simplistic” Protestants who take the Bible literally are quite likely to be its strongest adherents as they can’t “explain away” Biblical imperatives to conform with contemporary fashions.

    In my opinion, Catholics can only provide a strong pushback against the Pozz only if they are capably led and strongly disciplined. When the leadership is effectively “decapitated” the average Catholic lacks the internal resilience to push back against it. This would–in a way–seem to shore up the arguments of the Traditionalists who see Vatican Two as the great mistake of Catholicism. Vatican II gave the spiritually-infantile freedom…….. with predictable consequences.”

    Like

  2. Sharkly says:

    Hmmm. The Elspeth, Red Pill Apostle, and Wulfgar, quotes all seemed on track. But, I disagree with most of this. The conclusions are wrong. The “history” you related is recast to suit the Orthodox churches preferred narrative. The emphasis on reaching the elites is also misguided. Not many of them are called.
    1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in His presence.

    That’s the way God keeps things. If you see “elites” leading a supposedly “godly” society it is merely a temporary aberration that will soon be brought low by its own pride.
    Switching from “seeker friendly” to elite-friendly just creates snob-church. Been there! They worship themselves and don’t ever want to join in the sufferings of Christ.

    Virtue is persecuted by the wicked more than it is loved by the good. ~Miguel de Cervantes

    Wherever you see persecution, there is more than a probability that truth lies on the persecuted side. ~Latimer

    Part of the problem is that our culture disrespects virgins mocking demonizing them as incels. Even in the Christian Manosphere you have apostates who will teach that fornication is psychologically beneficial when God says exactly the opposite. (Some of these same foolish apostates will bandy about their Evolutionary-Psychology while entreating the rest of us to join an Orthodoxy that long predates the theory of Evolution, as if membership therein magically keeps them from having unorthodox beliefs like they believe us Protestants do. LOL)
    Anyhow, God uses those who are despised by this world to do the work of His realm. Many who are lowly and last here will be glorious and first in God’s heavenly kingdom.
    2 Kings 5:2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little maid from the land of Israel, and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

    God used a captured slave girl, and a rude prophet (who wouldn’t accept any donation) to convert Naaman from his idolatry. The weak converted the powerful. The elite religious leaders of our day are just as misguided as those at Christ’s first coming. It is naturally much harder for our monetarily elite to enter the kingdom of heaven.
    Matthew 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    This plan of delegating the bourgeoisie to be the bringers of God’s holiness is just foolish misdirection, and predicated upon your misconstruing the effects upon the Roman elites and laws and culture, as having been the cause of the advance of Christ’s church, instead of those hated by the elite, whom they made martyrs, and the church that the elites persecuted, having overcome the power of the Roman Empire.
    God’s coming earthly kingdom is to be ushered in; “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

    Ultimately you need to see that Constantine coopted the church and turned it from being Christ’s (and working for His kingdom that currently is not of this world) and he turned it into a great whore that prematurely and presumptuously established her earthly queendom in Rome. With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication. She is the Mother of Harlots, drunk with the blood of the saintly martyrs down through the ages. And the Orthodox, the Anglicans, the Protestants, are all her whoring daughter churches. Each with their own kinks. Only a tiny remnant or rib will be separated out of the sleeping body of Christ, the Last Adam, to be made into the Bride of Christ. Christ doesn’t marry his own body. Like with the first Adam, God makes a bride from a rib taken from out the riven side of the body of Christ.

    2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. elspeth says:

    I appreciate the honorable mention, Novaseeker. And I also appreciate what you’re attempting to communicate here, even if I don’t fully agree.

    I agree with you that the culture war IS the war being fought, rather than the way some people try to paint it, as just one front of a greater war. Nope. The battle is for the culture. You’re right. Here’s where I disagree, piggy backing a little bit on Sharkly’s thoughts minus the Cath/Prot angle which doesn’t really interest me.

    I think being “in the world but not of it” was specifically a call not to be heavily invested in the culture for its own sake. To seek the reins of power is as overtly “of the world” as one can be. I say this as someone who strongly aligns with the Sohrab Amari school of thought over the David French school of thought. The thing that fuels my political enthrallment with Ron Desantis is his full and transparent acknowledgment that for him, this is about the culture war. But I recognize that my philosophical affinity with them is not necessarily a Biblical one. Elitism and power, by their very nature, fuel corruption. We don’t have to like that, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    You are also right about people calibrating their material expectations downward; that it’s not something people are willing to do. Not in a prosperous nation surrounded by images of glamour and luxury. You’re right about many “bring on the collapse!” folks naivete about what that will look like for all of us. For me, it comes down to believing that the remnant of faithful believers in Christ will face persecution for standing firm in the faith. What that looks like, I don’t know. It could be Dreher’s soft totalitarianism. It could be as bad as the reign of Nero. Again, I don’t know.

    I strongly believe that as Christianity propagated by the Roman Empire spread, there was a diminishing emphasis on Christ alone as the hope for sinners. Catholics and Orthodox malign Martin Luther for sport, and he certainly wasn’t a perfect man. But his aim was never to overthrow the Catholic Church, or even to leave it. His initial aim was to re-establish the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only hope for redemption and salvation.

    Last thoughts, because this is getting overly verbose. I’d argue that for at least the last 125 years, we’ve coasted on the fumes of the high octane launch of Christianity’s initial impact on the western world. That the initial Christian conversion of the elites may have been genuine, but what came after was based more on a realization that basic Biblical (i.e. Christian) principles create a strong cultural fabric and increases material wealth. Also, even before the Roman Empire, people acknowledged observable, concrete, biological reality.

    We’re in a whole new world now. We have people, are educated in the most elite institutions in the country, if not the world, literally arguing that reality isn’t real. Not just on sexual stuff, even though that’s the most obvious absurdity which you rightly note was accelerated by easy birth control. But it’s true on nearly every subject; education, economics, etc. The climb to sanity is so much steeper now that it will take a century to swing the pendulum back through the political/cultural strategy of becoming the elites. Our grandkids will all be dead.

    Now, taking the long view means accepting that 100 year climb and being okay with it, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did. But our generations aren’t built the way the Biblical patriarchs were. Americans aren’t really “the long game” types. Heck, many religious conservatives can’t even stand up against big tech and mean words without crumpling into a pile of tears.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Scott says:

      Watching that Chic-Fil-A CEO dude just throw up his hands and give in to the rainbow was pathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • elspeth says:

        That’s unfortunate, Scott. I had no idea there was a thing happening with them. Of course, it’s June so it’s about time for an assault on Christian bigots.

        Chick-fil-a has been slowly capitulating for quite a while now. Since S. Truett Cathy died, it’s been a slow downhill slide.

        Liked by 1 person

    • lastholdout says:

      “Americans aren’t really “the long game” types.”

      I dunno, the progressives and the left have certainly a long-term vision that seems to have been passed down at least a few generations. If they can do it, so can American Christians. The problem is that most American Christians are not Christian enough to have the scales removed from their eyes. Matt 13:14-17 [KJV] says,

      “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

      We are blessed to be in His fold. The human condition rather than Protestantism have more to do with those who are not in His fold. We will all stand before Him. Not our priest, cardinal, pope, or rabbi.

      Like

      • elspeth says:

        I dunno, the progressives and the left have certainly a long-term vision that seems to have been passed down at least a few generations.

        You know, you’re right about that. As it turns out, Scott Walker is pushing a conservative vision which he calls The Long Game. I suspect that the public nature of it necessarily handicaps it, but at least it is forward thinking beyond something other than tax cuts and libertardian worldview.

        The human condition rather than Protestantism have more to do with those who are not in His fold.

        I agree completely. Ecclesiastes 3:15 says it best:

        That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been

        Like

  4. The most urgent topic that needs to be covered is why young women should get married young instead of pursuing an alternate life script, and why men who have the chance to marry should decide quickly and settle down. If a convincing case could be made for these options, then this would at least give young people a choice in the matter. It has also been suggested that upper-mid-quality men should looksmaxx, up their game, and so on, as this might give them that extra edge and push them into the realm of being noticed by women who are interested in a traditional Christian marriage.

    If Christians are willing to stone to death women who attempt to divorce innocent men because they have become “unhaaaappy”, OK. Otherwise, no.

    Liked by 2 people

    • locustsplease says:

      There is a large gap between giving a woman %85 of her ex husbands income for decades and calling her courageous while doing gods work. And stoning.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. info says:

    “In the time of the ante-Nicene Roman Empire, it was highly educated elite converts to the faith who were making these arguments, and holding this line against pagan (and Jewish) interlocutors and polemicists, precisely because they were the ones who were cognitively in a position to do so — they were able to use the same types of arguments, the same language, the same kind of discourse, because they were schooled in it themselves, and understood its arguments, its mode of discourse, from the inside out, so to speak. They were therefore in a position to engage with their opponents, and more than hold their ground, due to having a firm grasp of both sides of the discussion, and therefore being able to dominate both frames, and thereby reframe the discussion in a Christian vein. This was important not principally from the perspective of “winning the argument” with the interlocutors — it was important from the perspective of providing intellectual respectability for Christianity in terms that the cognitive elite had to respect, even if they disagreed. This respectability made conversion to Christianity more plausible, and more attractive, for more members of the Roman elite class.

    This effort gradually won a lot of converts among educated elite Romans, which played a significant role in the elite Roman class being increasingly flipped to Christianity over time. And this was, itself, a massive turnaround for the new faith, because the initial Christian apologists were held in ill-regard by educated Roman pagans, precisely due to the fact that they could not articulate Christianity in a way that was convincing to many educated Romans, steeped as they were in Greek and Roman thought. That changed over time as Christianity made inroads among the educated class, and those educated converts to Christianity and their educated offspring were able to mount formidable arguments which were more convincing to the pagan Romans, and which eventually won the day, converting much of the elite class before Constantine’s famed edict of toleration.”

    Given Christianity’s minority status in the future as a persecuted minority. This unique set of circumstances may never come again.

    Like

    • elspeth says:

      Also, this implies that there are no Christians who are cognitively gifted enough to win over the elites or speak their language.I do not believe that for one second. This implies that the only highly intelligent people are the leftists. Most of them are dumb as hell. Have you read even a snippet of that PhD mess that Jill Biden wrote? My 10th grader writes better. It’s not that they are so much smarter than Christian conservatives.

      The problem is that the so-called conservatives who mill about in those circles value their cushy positions and the respectability of that crowd more than they do winning minds over to our side and certainly more than winning souls to the faith. That, and they are still stupid enough to believe that true liberty means silently tolerating the spread of licentiousness.

      They are simply not invested in the Truth.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Scott says:

    Test. For some reason my comments are vanishing into the ether.

    [Jack: I found two comments in the spam bin. Must’ve been the links.]

    Like

  7. Scott says:

    Tried to make this one several time on the Dolearchy thread:

    (achievement>advancement>progression upwards). Their kids populated the traveling sports teams, were in the music lessons, did well in school (or had tutors), attended church youth groups, etc AND you almost ALWAYS saw a mom AND a dad involved in those kids lives. Patriarchy anyone? Maybe with a pinch of egalitarianism thrown in the mix, e.g Momma bear was not just a ‘cookie baker,’ but she usually had some side gig going on while she shuttled those kids to all those activities they were involved in

    Man, its like you cut and pasted my life into a comment.

    Mychael is going back to school for her Nurse Practitioner degree/license. The kids are in private school. We are involved in local politics/issues, (some Covid vaccine related stuff, zoning, that sort of thing (but building a network of local friends at more or less the same level of community involvement as us takes finesse, and you can’t be too politically obtuse. Kids are in music lesson, daughter is already an accomplished ballerina. Mychael is starting a skin rejuvenation (botox) business on the side. Just did a LinkedIn post about it.

    https://ibb.co/9bNKwTh

    Liked by 4 people

    • Liz says:

      Nurse practitioner is a very very smart move.
      Wish I’d stayed in one place long enough to do that route.

      Liked by 1 person

    • elspeth says:

      I hope you can make that trip to Serbia! Being well-situated enough to do something that I know means a great deal to you is laudable.

      For the record, our kid are doing a lot of the stuff, too. For us it’s music lessons rather than sports. The sports thing was a time suck and a money pit because they didn’t like it. At all. Music and art, they like. So we pay for those. We’re paying for a standardized test prep program this summer.

      We’ve decided that for us, it’s better to continue to build my husband’s business while our kids are in school is a better course than my being on a career track, but I am working enough at a couple of things to have a resume of sorts when the our kids are out of K-12 school 5 years from now. It’s a pretty calculated move on our part to keep my home focused. It’s that thing we talked about before: every man having his preferences.

      We correspond with the right-leaning political advocacy groups (mostly the religious based ones) and I write the letters (ignored though they may be) to all the representatives and what not. I suspect that for the first time ever, we’ll be actually politically active in 2022, because SAM and I both believe that Desantis is going to need the help. This is going to basically be a national interest race being played out on a local level. Probably the ugliest thing FL has ever seen but with more at stake for our kids.

      My main point of contention with Nova’s critique of my comment is that I recognize that all of the things we are doing and planning to do (including political activism) aren’t of any eternal value. Having a few true Christians is in the overall big picture, more important than bringing in a majority of false converts, even if that means the culture continues to go to pot.

      I truly believe that they are, in many ways, separate issues. I am reminded of a snippet from a book I reviewed a couple of years ago, and I fear it’s often what well meaning Christians are looking for:

      What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over a half century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scott says:

        Mostly I just think she looks cute in her nursing scrubs eating lunch.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        E – “My main point of contention with Nova’s critique of my comment is that I recognize that all of the things we are doing and planning to do (including political activism) aren’t of any eternal value.”

        I don’t think this is true. I think our actions, regardless of our ability to see the results, do have eternal significance. Romans 8:28 clearly shows us that God is working in the mundane parts of life in ways that we can’t see, may not realize this side of eternity and may never realize even eternally. Our tendency as people is to not realize just how finite we are in thought and capacity and then carry these biases in our conception of who God is.

        Somehow I find it hard to believe that God would concern himself with the lives of sparrows or the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:6-7 or Matt 10:29-30) but not with the efforts you and SAM make to influence your part of the world for the better. In a more mundane sense, every one of the late night feedings or the thousands of diapers you must have changed in care for those children God gave you to love and raise has eternal significance (Matt 25:40). You may not think of it this way, or get to see how your part was important, but know that in some way what you are doing has eternal significance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • redpillboomer says:

        “I don’t think this is true. I think our actions, regardless of our ability to see the results, do have eternal significance. Romans 8:28 clearly shows us that God is working in the mundane parts of life in ways that we can’t see, may not realize this side of eternity and may never realize even eternally.”

        Yes, I agree. My church started an initiative this year to get out into our community and have an impact outside the church. They cleverly used our area code, 478 (Middle Georgia), and dubbed the initiative “For the 478.” Made up t-shirts and car magnets among other paraphernalia with “For the 478” on it. Generates inquiries from the people around town asking, “What does that mean?” Anyways, the idea is for the church to get out into the community, and get involved in local community activities in a supporting role. So far, we’ve assisted the county Health Department with COVID vaccines that were given outdoors in a in drive through set-up. The church supplied a lot of the volunteers. Next came an initiative with the Heart of Georgia Hospice, again the church supplied the lion share of the volunteers. Now ‘Blessing Bags,’ a summer lunch program for underprivileged kids that are utilizing free lunches during the school year, but do not have a lunch provided for them during the summer, and many of their parents can’t afford.

        So, here’s my takeaway from it. It’s an attempt for the church to be the church outside the four walls and impact the community. When I look at the secular culture all around us, and throughout the surrounding townships, it seems like such a small step getting out into the community and impacting it, even in a relatively mild way by volunteering in their community service activities. The old adage, “Like a whistle in a cyclone” came to mind in terms of our church’s impact on the secular culture. However, as I assisted with the vaccine lines by directing traffic into position one chilly, rainy March morning, it dawned on me that what seemed like such a small thing to do in terms of the overall impact on the secular society, was something God could use in ways beyond my imagining. In other words, I was limiting God in my mind looking at what occurs as the overwhelming secular tide of our society. What we were doing, in faith and love, was a small seed that God could multiply in His way, and it was worth the effort to get out their and do it, and let Him use it how He saw fit.

        Like

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        RPBoomer – You are a couple hours to the south of me. I am about 30 minutes from Athens which is fun because I went to grad school at UF.

        Years ago I had a conversation with a local business owner along the lines of what you wrote, but applied vocationally. His perception after years of going to church was that his work was somehow less than Wednesday night service or small groups. It had not dawned on him that God was using his hard work in business to feed nearly 30 families, clothe their children and provide for their needs in general. Many people miss God working in and through the seemingly small parts of daily life. The reality is that God puts us where He wants us for His purposes and that not all of us are called to be a Billy Graham. (I almost wrote Joel Osteen, but thought better of it as I might get booted from the blog. 🙂 )

        Like

      • redpillboomer says:

        “RPBoomer – You are a couple hours to the south of me. I am about 30 minutes from Athens which is fun because I went to grad school at UF.”

        That’s cool Red Pill Apostle! So you can relate to some of my postings that have a ‘local flavor’ about them, i.e. the state of Georgia. Nice to know! 🙂

        Like

    • Novaseeker says:

      Having a few true Christians is in the overall big picture, more important than bringing in a majority of false converts, even if that means the culture continues to go to pot.

      What this gets wrong is that in a culture that is more friendly to Christianity, there are more actual Christians. When you concede the culture to the forces that are hostile to Christianity, you not only get rid of the false converts, but you also jettison many others who would be Christian and not “falsely” if the culture were not so hostile to it. That’s simply a fact.

      Like

      • Elspeth says:

        I will concede, Nova, that this is a valid point.

        I guess my concern is more a question of: Is the faith being preached in what you refer to as a Christian culture actually Christianity?

        Liked by 3 people

      • Novaseeker says:

        It is as much that as it is in a non-Christian culture, for certain. I mean, the “culture” is not the church, after all. The point isn’t for the culture to be a church, but for the culture to make it easier to be a Christian.

        Like

      • info says:

        That unique set of circumstances may never come again. Likewise we don’t actually know if it was going through the motions or actual salvation.

        The Middle Ages in Europe had torture and massacres of civilians far more frequently than now. So it may have fewer actual Christians than we think. Likewise Rodney Stark notes:

        There was far less piety than we think. Especially among the masses. Churches were barely attended and was often relegated to housing animals. Priests were often illiterate and untrained keeping many concubines. People were generally far more superstitious.

        That changed as the Printing Press made the Bible more widely available after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 made manuscripts available as scholars fled to Western Europe and translations occurred.

        Especially after the 30 years war. War become less total. And said bloodthirstiness and cruelty became less frequent. So it may be true that there may be more actual Christians at this time.

        Like

  8. professorGBFMtm2021 says:

    Why dos’nt everybody just follow noble idealistic naomi wolfs promiscuities GREATBOOKFORELITEStm from’97&then all problems will come to an end.yes?
    Noble elites&everybody else just sexual gradualizing themselves to an idealistic future of kumbaya!!
    How is the culture hostile?If most so-called conservatives&christians agree with that culture!?
    Lets just convince elites to hate men,god&children less!See its that simple!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. okrahead says:

    Are Christians even trying? How many of them will even continue to gather and worship, study, and partake communion in the face of the Xi TB restrictions from local authorities? One older pastor the other day sent out a missive all across the church of which I am a member demanding excommunication for anyone who doesn’t “mask up” and stating that his congregation will forcibly expel anyone not wearing a mask. He was warmly received and congratulated on his decision. And yes, his congregation also closed up shop for several months following government recommendations (NOT requirements) to do so in his area. I’m seeing this across the board from every group (Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical, mainline protestant, what have you…). EVERYONE is forsaking the assembling of the saints for fear of the Xi TB and possible nasty letters from the government.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Lexet Blog says:

      Set the Covid issue aside. Try to correct a false teaching at your church, even one of the basics. See where that lands for you. Try bringing up the fact that there are specific minimum standards to be an elder and to teach the congregation.

      Been there, done that, no one dares talk to me.

      Most churches are full of people who hate the Bible and hate Christ. They are their for their personal benefit and as a “moral” social gathering to further their business interests.

      Liked by 5 people

    • feeriker says:

      What we are witnessing here with this sort of travesty is “The Great National Religion” at its apogee. I haven’t been able to locate the articles in the archives of his work, but the late, great Joseph Sobran described America’s “Great National Religion” as essentially an ecumenical simulacrum of true faith, an amalgamation of Judaism and Christianity, each stripped of its essential doctrine and infused with an overpowering dose of Caesar worship. The GNR is the secular faith of America, one in which everyone gets along with one another and no one lets “old time relgion” become such a dominant influence in their lives that it becomes a force for fracturing society – or else. Caesar, not the God of Abraham or His Son, make and enforce the religion’s Gospel and anyone who runs afoul of it by trying to be religiously pure faces brutal ex-communication, often involving Caesar’s armed legions (e.g., “Christian pastors” who appeal to Caesar to enforce their mask mandates).

      In short, the GNR is the birth force of the churchianity that has all but completely replaced the true Christian Church in America. This is why it is becoming almost impossible to find a true Christian church body that isn’t meeting in secret like its First Century ancestor.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. Lysimachus says:

    The issue is that for centuries Christianity was the default position on western world and the social discourse was subordinated to it. Sure, there were always lukewarm Christians and people living very sinful lives (some Popes were among them), but the key role of the Church and Christianity in society was unquestionable. It was largely imposed top down – how were European nations converted? Usually it started with conversion of the king who then brought in clergy, dioceses were set up and the nation converted. Christianity enjoyed protected status in social discourse and people who held opposing views did not have a proper platform to voice them.

    Today, the situation is entirely different. We live in pluralistic society in which Christianity has to compete against other religions, philosophies and ideologies which can be freely propagated and embraced – a spiritual “free market” so to speak. The Christian faith is no longer default position – people will not believe it unless they are personally convinced, which is not always achievable – although there are great arguments for the truth of Christianity, it cannot be proven with absolute certainly (otherwise, it would not be faith, but mere adherence to an observable fact).

    The Church failed to adapt to this new situation in which the social discourse is not subordinated to Christianity. It could well be that such adaptation is impossible and that current pluralistic “free market” will always result in decline of Christianity because not enough people will be convinced that it is the true religion. There are good reasons why subsequent Popes condemned religious liberty, absolute freedom of press and separation of Church and State. I’m not convinced whether it is possible to maintain Christian society when you leave people to their own devices in terms of deciding for themselves what to believe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joe2 says:

      We live in pluralistic society in which Christianity has to compete against other religions, philosophies and ideologies which can be freely propagated and embraced – a spiritual “free market” so to speak.

      Yes, that’s true today, but it was also true in biblical times. I think of Paul when he was invited to speak at Mars Hill where both Athenians and strangers spent their time to tell, or to hear some new thing. Christianity was in competition with other beliefs which, no doubt, were well established and accepted in society, at that time.

      The Christian faith is no longer default position – people will not believe it unless they are personally convinced, which is not always achievable – although there are great arguments for the truth of Christianity, it cannot be proven with absolute certainly (otherwise, it would not be faith, but mere adherence to an observable fact).

      It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8) No amount of arguing, preaching, pleading, etc. will cause some one to be personally convinced, unless the Holy Spirit is at work. The basic sin which the world is guilty of is unbelief. If fewer and fewer people believe, it could be viewed that the Holy Spirit is not as active today compared to prior times.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lysimachus says:

        That is a highly problematic view, since it neglects the fact that God uses means to achieve conversion of people. We can’t just sit back and rely on Holy Spirit doing His work without human input. Among these means today are apologetics, and in the past these were Christian states which did not allow for propagation of false religions and ideologies. So, “arguing, preaching, and pleading” can be used as means by God to convert people.

        Regarding “spiritual free market” being present in Biblical times – that was not true in the Hebrew society of the Old Testament, and it was not true since Roman Empire adopted Christianity as religion of the state for the greater good. They heyday of Christendom was when Christianity enjoyed a status protected by the states and their laws. Removal of those was a huge factor in current apostasy.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        Lysimachus –

        “We can’t just sit back and rely on Holy Spirit doing His work without human input.”

        This sentiment is contradicted in scripture and would suggest that the Holy Spirit is what prompts people to give the input attributed to them. So sure, God uses people to carry out His will, and I would contend that this is His doing as a blessing to us, not a need for Him. Consider Luke 19:37-40 when Jesus told the Pharisees that if the people didn’t praise Him that the rocks would cry out. It’s because that recognition of who Jesus is was going to happen, people or no people, In the passage we get a small view into God’s workings this side of Heaven. Take Joe2’s argument about the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin in John 16:8, add to it John 6:36-39 and the picture is more of God moving as He wills without input from us.

        As this appears to be true, a given culture then makes it harder or easier for normative “Christian” behaviors to exist. But it does not stop the kingdom from moving forward at the pace God determines. We see this in history when Christian or Jewish norms were dominant in culture and the kingdom added souls. We see it in areas where those norms are not dominant like communist China and the kingdom adds souls, no more and no less than those the Father has given to the Son.

        Because of this I would argue that they heyday of Christendom hasn’t happened yet. We merely get to look back in history and see “good” times where social country club like church faith exists more predominantly, or, “harder” times when it does not. Christianity keeps growing and if God opts not to use us, there may be some talking countertops in our future.

        Like

      • Jack says:

        “It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8) No amount of arguing, preaching, pleading, etc. will cause some one to be personally convinced, unless the Holy Spirit is at work.”

        This is one of those odd things… It is a true fact. Philosophical syllogisms are not effective tools of evangelism. In addition, wisdom requires one to respect the beliefs of others to some extent, especially religious beliefs. But believing this fact and making it part of your world outlook will lead to a defeated attitude.

        Like

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        “But believing this fact and making it part of your world outlook will lead to a defeated attitude.”

        Jack – I have actually experienced the opposite. The pressure is off when you realize that it is the Holy Spirit working and not how well you make a theological point. It’s quite freeing actually. You get to be part of something God has prompted you to do, you get the sanctification benefits of obedience and can act with outcome independence because it’s not up to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        RedPillApostle responded to my comment above. He said,

        “I have actually experienced the opposite. The pressure is off when you realize that it is the Holy Spirit working and not how well you make a theological point. It’s quite freeing actually. You get to be part of something God has prompted you to do, you get the sanctification benefits of obedience and can act with outcome independence because it’s not up to you.”

        I need to explain myself more.

        For me, if I believe that my efforts in sharing the gospel aren’t going to convince or convert anyone, and I relax in the idea that this is a “true fact”, then I won’t have any motivation to make any effort to talk to people boldly about spiritual matters. If I think, “nothing I say is going to convince anyone”, then I won’t make the effort. If I don’t make the effort, then I’m denying God from allowing myself to be a part of whatever God may or may not do in somebody’s life.

        The mindset that motivates me to do something is in thinking,
        “God is going to work in somebody’s life today. I wonder who it could be. Maybe it’s this guy.”
        “Maybe the Holy Spirit could move in this person’s heart today. I should talk to him.”
        “Maybe this person is ready to hear my testimony.”
        “Maybe he won’t listen, but the next person will.”

        It’s better to take action than to take the armchair spectator’s approach and conclude that nothing I do or say will matter.

        “My personal experience has been much more God slowly molding and moving me over decades than a distinct point in time. Looking back, I see how God has worked in events to bring me where I am today…”

        I have the same experience. Whenever I have been asked by other (Protestant) believers to share my testimony, they are usually disappointed because they think it’s just a long series of interesting anecdotes and there is no “punch line”. Oddly, I have met many unbelievers who were fascinated by my testimony, and yes, some of them have become Christians.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lastmod says:

        Okay. How do you convince “chad” so to speak…. who is mid-twenties, college educated, smarter than average, and of course, better looking than most of us….. has had a string of some serious girlfriends and some flings….. has a decent job or career track for his age… doing “above average” for his age than many men in just about all areas…. How do you convince him he needs a Savior? How do you convince him that “Jesus is all he needs”?

        Lets also assume he has never really been in a church except for weddings or a funeral of grandma or grandpa.

        Yes, just read a bible verse, pray and tell him to “read this Psalm” (the sinner’s prayer….. uhghhh) and now he has “Jesus”, and he has to thank Him for all the success he has had in life.

        Its a bit easier to bring a man to faith if he is hungry…… really blew it….. or if he has nothing left….. or has no “friends”

        Chad will see many in his Bible study….. if he is invited by someone…… a bunch of sad-sack men who make less than him, have or had fewer options than him, perhaps not as intelligent as him… and many men who are not as successful, many who don’t have the same drive as him (career or college / education) as he has…… and he really won’t have a REASON to be convinced that he needs a Savior. He’ll see a bunch of beaten men who just “run to Jesus” when life gets to be too much for them.

        AA and NA works for the fact that everyone there… rich or poor, immigrant or native born, young and old, all colors, successful or street rat… all have something in common. No matter whether they are gay or straight, married or single, good looking or ugly, they have something in common — they want to beat and keep in check, to help, encourage, and support each other, and to learn together. They learn quickly that alcohol or drug problems are confined to some people and not others. They all are CONVINCED they need help, and they have each other.

        Christianity should or could take this route….. and (spare me) “celebrate recovery!” Another support group with a “Jesus” stamp on it that focuses more on praise (ughhhh modern praise) with no cross talking (which is VERY healthy in these types of group settings), and only affirmation, would be very ENABLING.

        Most men…….. even Chad……. has probably few or no friends, like most men do. Church could be a place for BUILDING fellowship, and building trust. Christians just want converts and blind followers to fill up the collection plate . That phrase, “Lord, save us from your followers!”, has some truth in it.

        Scott already said this, and mentioned it on another post, so I am not revealing anything new. Yes, he and I did meet briefly. Let me say this: In that forty-five minutes or so of just talking in person, he did more for my Christian faith than ten years in a church did.

        No, he didn’t “witness”. No, he didn’t tell me how great and true Orthodoxy is. No, he didn’t tell me, “You need to be back in church.”

        He only told me that I should quit smoking cigarettes. (Regretfully, I picked up smoking again during that hike. Adirondack mosquitoes will make the ones in the South tame by comparison.)

        He just freaking listened to me! And most of you know, we have had “a go” at each other over the years here. In fact, after we met, I got home and actually prayed for the first time since I left the Sally Army.

        Walking deeper. Christians actually need to listen rather than lecture. This works well with men, and it takes time… something no one has…….. and those that do have the time, or the calling to do so, are really not used to being in church, and they are considered to be unimportant in the church, gift wise.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Novaseeker says:

        “As this appears to be true, a given culture then makes it harder or easier for normative “Christian” behaviors to exist. But it does not stop the kingdom from moving forward at the pace God determines. We see this in history when Christian or Jewish norms were dominant in culture and the kingdom added souls. We see it in areas where those norms are not dominant like communist China and the kingdom adds souls, no more and no less than those the Father has given to the Son.”

        Ultimately these kinds of things always lead to disagreement, because they touch on basic and fundamental disagreements between Christians. This is one of those areas, I think. It comes up again and again here, which I suppose is to be expected because the Christians who read here represent fundamentally different belief systems.

        Like

      • elspeth says:

        “How do you convince “chad” so to speak…. who is mid-twenties, college educated, smarter than average, and of course, better looking than most of us….. has had a string of some serious girlfriends and some flings….. has a decent job or career track for his age… doing “above average” for his age than many men in just about all areas…. How do you convince him he needs a Savior? How do you convince him that “Jesus is all he needs”?”

        Feeriker pretty much covered this. SAM’s experience was one where he was living a pretty great life. He wasn’t hurting for female companionship. At 20, he found a career path after someone with good connections gave him a shot based on his innate talent in his field. He was having a good time, working M-F, partying Friday night through Sunday morning, always had a girlfriend. Then his relatively young mother (44) got cancer.

        His father was reeling, but his mom wasn’t. When she was clearly losing that battle, and was wracked with pain, when her pain was at its worst, he said she’d pray and pray, then seemed to suddenly be peaceful. He didn’t come to faith right away (that was later, after we’d been married a few years), but he never forgot that, and it was the beginning of him starting to wonder about God and this faith that seemed to assuage her suffering. The rest, as they as, is history.

        I’m not saying that this is always the case, but even with our kids, who have walked in truth throughout their young adulthood, I saw a startling increase in the seriousness of their faith when my dad died. Something clicked in them. It didn’t really seem like they were piggy backing on their dad and me anymore.

        Obviously this isn’t everyone’s story, but a large part of transformative faith -for some people- is facing their own mortality or the reality that there is Someone or something far greater than ourselves that we much contend with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scott says:

        “That is a highly problematic view, since it neglects the fact that God uses means to achieve conversion of people. We can’t just sit back and rely on Holy Spirit doing His work without human input. Among these means today are apologetics, and in the past these were Christian states which did not allow for propagation of false religions and ideologies. So, “arguing, preaching and pleading” can be used as means by God to convert people.”

        Correct. No matter how many esoteric contortions the arguer of this position gets twisted into, it means, syllogistically (sorry Jack) that there is no point in trying to convince/convert people.

        Like

      • Scott says:

        It also makes everyone with a conversion story that doesn’t have that lightning bolt component wonder if they are really a “Christian”

        *see, lastmod.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Elspeth says:

        “It also makes everyone with a conversion story that doesn’t have that lightning bolt component wonder if they are really a “Christian”…

        I agree actually. One of my kids struggled with this a lot.

        Even in the case of my husband, his mother put God on his radar screen, but it was several years before he converted. It was fairly uneventful. He just got up one Sunday instead of sleeping, and came to church. That was it.

        I don’t have a Damascus Road story either.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Elspeth says:

        I should add though, that I still think that conversion to the faith DOES have to have some component of a realization of your own helplessness and need for God. Freeriker is 100% correct about that.

        It doesn’t have to be lightning bolt stuff, no. But if that’ realization does not occur, I’d question the authenticity of such a faith.

        But maybe that’s just my Protestant showing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        Scott – I would like this 100x if I could.

        “It also makes everyone with a conversion story that doesn’t have that lightning bolt component wonder if they are really a “Christian””

        My personal experience has been much more God slowly molding and moving me over decades than a distinct point in time. Looking back I see how God has worked in events to bring me where I am today. Some of this has been an intellectual understanding of the Gospel that came through events that put me in contact with people that were instrumental in helping me understand more deeply. Some of this has been life experience that led to a greater understanding of God’s grace after I screwed up royally. Some of this has been learning lessons of perseverance in suffering to obey God for many years only to now start to see the fruit come of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scott says:

        RPA-

        When I applied to seminary (at a very reform place) there was an item something like “witness to us how you were saved.”

        It had like a whole page of college ruled lines.

        I wrote “I was baptized when I was 12.”

        I almost didn’t get in. I had to elaborate quite a bit in person to talk them into it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Scott says:

        At the time, I was mainline Church of Christ (Stone-Campbell movement for those inclined). Born and raised.

        Being baptized is often referred euphemistically by that tradition as “when did you obey the gospel” which means = you became a Christian.

        There is no lightning bolt theology in that tradition.

        Like

  11. lastmod says:

    When I was practicing….and my denom / church / faith tradition was founded on helping the lost, the broken, the wicked…..the worst of sinners out of the Victorian slums of London………

    They still do this, and overall quite well in many areas. The problem today is fear. My city banned feeding the homeless because it was not “directing them to services” our response was “comply with the laws / rules”

    My church’s response in say……1870 or 1915, or 1965 would have been. “We will feed them, love them, reclaim them in His name” and would have not followed the rules. The soldiiers (members) would have been gladly arrested for doing so. They would have smiled for the cameras in their uniforms in jail. Today? No.

    More afraid of losing donations or funding from big donors, or corporations. More afraid of being that “feel good” organization. Not an Army. Before I left Soldiership I joked “you know we should just call ourselves the Salvation Church and be just like every lame middlebrow, evengelical suburban church today. We copy their music now. We copy their preaching. We hire other people to do much of our needed work (noble yes, but the heart is missing in so many areas). Salvationists had bricks, urine, and excrement thrown at them for much of their early history for doing this work to save “the lowest of the low”

    Everyone is on board 100% for Jesus…..yet, and yet………sloppy evangelism. ZERO or little prayer. I would ask fellow members to pray….lets have a prayer meeting. A few hours. Really teach and grow prayer. Yeah…..everyone agreed about prayer…but doing it???? No.

    I had a heart for the lost and broken, and I realized most people were just talk, and very little doing, or if new people did come……………….really sloppy teaching and growing….especially men. They need to be convinced of the Savior. Having a bible study, or doing what tradition says, and people cannot even agree on the bible or who said what or what it really means sends a deep message “church is a club, and more than likely…..you’re NOT welcome”

    That is all churches,. Frankly, if there really was a Jesus who sits at the right hand to an all knowing God…..well, all churches should have been flat out destroyed centruies ago by this said god. Also…witrh christians….it is always “that other church” that is doing something wrong. Never their own.

    They also have to STOP copying the world on EVERYTHING and slapping a jesus sticker on it, and calling it “original” it looks and is fake. So much for “not of this world”

    I joked with a gal once in my Corps (church) that “if a man marries, is called to serve the poor, and little himself but leads his home in a christlike manner, has six children and they live in a small two bedroom apartment, but he raises them to love god, serve man….”

    She cut me off “God says a man is to be a provider, he has to provide for his family”

    So……even materialism was rampant in my former faith tradition. I just found it funny how christians “justify” a high standard of living, but yet spew this clap trap about “not of this world’

    Almost as bad as socialists who want everyone to be equal….except don’t take their stuff

    Liked by 2 people

  12. lastmod says:

    Also…..when I was practicing….I was told I was doing it “wrong” by most because my tradition didn’t baptize, nor did we partake in communion. Several on Dal’s forum told me thaty I wasn’t even a christian………and they were probably right. I just needed an ego the size of god himself and perhaps that would have saved me, or made me a better one

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Red Pill Apostle says:

    From a Townhall.com article:

    “Deutsche Bank said the U.S. may be headed towards one of its worst periods of inflation in history amid increased government spending and relaxed monetary policy, warning that the belief inflation is transitory could have serious consequences for the economy.”

    “Deutsche took particular issue with the Federal Reserve’s new framework tolerating higher inflation in order to reach a full recovery.

    “The consequence of delay will be greater disruption of economic and financial activity than would be otherwise be the case when the Fed does finally act,” Deutsche noted. “In turn, this could create a significant recession and set off a chain of financial distress around the world, particularly in emerging markets.”

    The bank also took an opposing view to the belief that the rise in inflation will be temporary.”

    Hard times are coming, because no matter how many pronouns public schools teach nowadays, math is still true and you can’t pour trillions of made up money into the supply without the cost of goods going up. The longer the problem goes, the harder the solution will be.

    As prices change and the cost of living increases, I can envision a segment of society where divorcing becomes too expensive. The cash and prizes to the wife for leaving won’t be enough to live on. Wages tend to lag behind the cost increase of goods so there will be men whose income isn’t enough for alimony and child support to be enough. And no matter how wealthy we were as a society there will come a point where the dole is no longer sustainable. We are already seeing signs of stress on the US dole with how Social Security has been handled the past 20 years or so.

    Effectively SS is a Ponzi scheme where current wage earners are paying the benefits for current retirees. It’s not politically feasible to advocate for a reduction in benefits so politicians have played on people’s financial ignorance to accomplish the reduction. So while no politician will directly state that benefits are being reduced because we have to be fiscally responsible, you can get the same reduction affect by adjusting benefits for inflation at a lower rate than actual inflation and increasing the age further into life expectancy at which benefits start. Both strategies have been implemented, more so the age increase strategy than the inflation strategy.

    We are certainly heading for interesting times.

    Liked by 3 people

    • lastholdout says:

      The article, The Demographic Drought, adds an additional layer to the economics aspect. But what I found interesting is the cross-over it has with topics discussed here. The author doesn’t go near the third-rail issues of our culture as contributing to the issues. It touches on “the remarkable erosion of the male prime-age workforce,” (where she neglects to acknowledge the force that feminism has had on chasing men out of the workforce); and “the scary implications of living below the 2.1 replacement rate,” (no mention of birth control).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        lastholdout – It is very interesting to read the article through a red pill lens. Not only did feminism chase men from the workforce, it simultaneously disincentivized the additional productivity that marriage and family incentivize. Along with the access to effective birth control, feminism also decreases the desired fertility window for women by championing career and independence through women’s prime fertile years. You can also add to this the political arm that keeps touting over population of the earth as a great evil. If you actively tell people to limit their number of children to save the planet, then they do, you end up with idiotic results you didn’t contemplate.

        If you take the concept of good and bad out of population change data, what you are left with is a labor supply and demand curve. Markets always find their equilibrium. It has been this way throughout history and will continue to be this way as prohibitively expensive or inefficient products or services are replaced. It’s why my milk isn’t delivered daily by a guy in a horse drawn wagon and we keep our phones in our pockets instead of sharing a party line.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. feeriker says:

    “Its a bit easier to bring a man to faith if he is hungry…… or he really blew it….. or if he has nothing left….. or has no “friends”…”

    IME it’s the ONLY effective way. Most people don’t truly come to Christ until they’ve hit absolute rock bottom and realize that their way, the World’s way, doesn’t work and that if they keep traveling that path it will literally be the end of them, physically and spiritually.

    One of the reasons most churches are spiritual graveyards is that very few who attend them have ever had that moment in life where they’ve faced the ultimate test, where they were at the precipice’s edge, where it was made painfully clear to them it was Jesus or death. Rare is the person of genuine faith who has lived life without life-altering or life-threatening trauma.

    Liked by 1 person

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