July 10, 2010

"key element of this new consciousness"

...This new age will have the merit of discarding that hypocrisy by which the modern world evoked the forms, without the substance, of Christianity. In so doing, the post-Christian man will have to come to terms with the fact that to live without Christ is a hard choice with serious, even brutal, consequences.

The believer too will be faced with the increasingly inescapable realization the faith itself is a hard choice. On the one hand, this brave, new, post-Christian world will have little place in it for him. On the other hand, he will discover in all their fullness the demands his faith makes upon him, when he has to live it without the external affirmations afforded him within a Christian culture. He may indeed discover for the first time, as Guardini suggests, what it really means to be a Christian....


.....At the same time, it may well be that "the massive failure of Christendom itself", as Percy puts it, is already creating the only conditions, in the West at least, within which a genuine renewal of faith can take place. During a conversation I had with Walker Percy a few months before his death, he commented that, in his judgement, the Church is in a better position today than she has been in centuries. He thought the identification of culture and faith was disastrous for the Church in many ways.

He cited Kierkegaard's observation that it is almost impossible to become a Christian in Christendom. That is, people within a Christian culture are inclined to believe they automatically become Christians simply by virtue of having been born into that culture. Today people can see that no such identification exists and that a choice must therefore be made. He believed a new consciousness is emerging; and thus, the realization that the Church and the culture are at odds is a key, perhaps even the key, element of this new consciousness. As a result, the Church is on the firing line and that, as Percy saw it, is exactly where she properly belongs....
    -- From The Church and the Culture War, by Joyce A. Little, 1995
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Posted by John Weidner at July 10, 2010 6:20 PM
Weblog by John Weidner