John C Wright is one of the few writers in this fallen age who is worth keeping. The previous generations have their masters: he is one for this time. He’s also of the faith, and he undersands, as only a writer of speculative fiction or a poet can, that the ideas of this time matter.
He is, of course, deeply unfashionable. He writes coherent stories, and does not care about about the niceties of the woke. Instead he creates Papist heroes, new oaths, new knights, and puts them in fantastic worlds. He plays with language, but with honour: his sub-creation reflects creation itself. But he knows that the mass media is a creature of the enemy.
The Last Crusade begins this day. Our task is to retake possession of Western Civilization. We have identified their seven strongholds and three centers of power. The task now is to discuss strategy. Let us start with a discussion of the Press.
The battle is unequal. The forces of corruption need only to rot, to degenerate, and to destroy. Sea wave after sea wave can undermine the tallest cliff.
The enemy forces are greatly aided by the sins that beset any group of men, no matter how goodwilled and upright. Envy, for example, will always bestow the ideas of socialism an extra magnetism and allure those ideas do not by right possesses; likewise, lust grants undue glamor to the tawdry deceptions of sexual liberation.
The various sins need not dominate the majority for the corruption to take hold. They need only be present.
These sins need only befog the sight of the watchman, relax the nerve of discipline, make his swordblows soft and slow. An atmosphere of moral uncertainty, where every opinion is right, no one is wrong, and good and evil are a matter of personal taste, is all that is needed in order for the progress of the disintegration of society to advance another infinitesimal increment.
Nor is there any easy answer, any safe way to wage this war, nor any earthly hope of victory.
Every hand is against us, every word scorns and opposes us, including the whisper of our own sinful hearts.
Our hope is in heaven, or does not exist at all.
The Enemy is animated by one spirit. We need a spirit of equal strength on our side.
What is left unsaid this this: the spirit that is in us is greater that that of the world, if we do not grieve, or worse, blaspheme against it. We will watch, and teach, and preserve, and even, if asked, give advice.
Know this as well: if we ask God and seek his wisdom he will give it to us. We can pray with the psalmist.
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.
You may not like the advice you get: God is not afraid to confront, and he really does not care about credentials or talent or your feelings of self esteem. He cares, instead, that you are willing to walk in obedience. The author of this, Paul, considered himself the chief of sinners because he killed the people of the way in his Pharisaical zeal.
At times, the wise thing is to lose that word, because in this season fools are flaunting it,
11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself; nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I took you in by deceit. 17 Certainly I have not taken advantage of you through any of those whom I have sent to you, have I? 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves [g]in the same spirit and walk in the same steps?
19 All this time [h]you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, [i]immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.
So I am going to return to John, who (as a good Catholic) has no illusions about the state of the church. In an essay that lists the citadels of the spirit of this age, and the sins that infest them, he describes the church we have well.
We have strife and enmity and division not — as we think — that we have left zeal behind and doctrine as we seek tolerence, but hecause we do not have enough love of God to be xealous for his church. The church should be the centre of the culture, not a mere worship experience. It should be the place of rest and restoration. It should not be peripheral to society: insterad society should be peripheral to the church.
But we have fallen.
The final stronghold that the enemy holds in this wretched generation, alas, is the Church, by which I include both the one, true, catholic and apostolic Church, as well as the various heretics and schismatics, Protestants and Evangelicals, the Greek Orthodox Church, various Eastern, Russian and Nestorian churches, and I hasten to include those Jews who take the teaches of the Law and the Prophets seriously enough to support and affirm the basic worldview of Christendom.
Some denominations are infected more entirely and deeply than others but no major denomination is immune. As a faithful Catholic, I dare utter no criticism of any other denomination: our leadership is worse than yours. The uprightness and zeal of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, on the other hand, I will laud, in order to invite admiration and emulation.
The religious thought and sentiment in America had, at one time, been the central and major part, not only of our culture, but also our politics, and formed the default worldview of the American character.
That is no longer the case: indifference to religion, and contempt of spiritual things, has not only become popular, upholding core religious tenets concerning chastity, monogamy, and sacredness of human life have become unwelcome or even unlawful. It is called hate speech to quote Biblical teaching on sodomy, and even the use of that word is frowned upon, even by the faithful who know sodomy to be a sin.
Instead of weekly and daily fiery preaching against these grave evils, the leadership of the various denominations either say nothing, or speak in favor. The shepherds help the wolves break into the fold.
And the Church, alas, is Sloth.
Sloth does not mean laziness. It refers to the despair which comes from the nonchalant indifference to spiritual things. It is the lack of zeal and passion, the lack of curiosity and crusading spirit, which makes men less than atheists. An atheist only says God does not exist. An agnostic says he does not know. But the Church of Laodicea says God exists, but then does not give a fig for anything God has ever said or done. It is not that he believes or disbelieves. He merely does not trouble about the matter at all.
The Laodicean is neither hot nor cold, and so the Lord will spew him out of His mouth. That is the state of the church in America.
There is a cure. It is painful. It is to seek God, and the wisdom he has. This mean we will see clearly: not only the flaws of the church but the flaws we have. It will not be one sin that besets us but many of them.
And then, let us pray for revival, beginning with us.