A Look At Swerve Sweetener
33 minutes ago
CWR: You emphasize, in several places, that grace—sanctifying grace, specifically—is “Christ’s divine life in us.” Why is this truth so vital to the process and reality of discipleship? How can it be better grasped and appreciated?
Dr. Edward Sri: One big advantage we have as Christian disciples is that our rabbi, Jesus, dwells within us. He’s is not just an example to imitate from the outside like other rabbis. The One whom we seek to imitate abides in us through sanctifying grace. We really have the life of Christ abiding in us, prompting us, strengthening us, helping us to live more like him. So as Christian disciples, we don’t just walk in Christ’s footsteps. It’s more like He is walking in our shoes, helping us to take the steps of faith we could never do on our own.
An analogy from the Catholic tradition can be helpful here. If one were to take an iron rod and put it in fire, it would continue to be an iron rod, but would start to take on the qualities of fire, becoming hot, glowing red and emitting smoke. Similarly, when our human nature is filled with Christ’s life through sanctifying grace, it begins to take on the qualities of Christ. We become more patient, generous, compassionate and sacrificial like he is. We begin to take on the qualities of Christ as he lives his life through us. The more we are transformed by grace, the more we can say with St. Paul, “It’s no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”
Growth in the Christian life is all about learning to rely on and cooperate with God’s grace. As we strive to imitate Jesus, we quickly realize how weak and incapable we really are. We realize the Nike approach to spirituality simply doesn’t work. We can’t do it—not on our own. We need Jesus to help us: to heal our wounds, weaknesses and sins and to help us be more like him—to love with His love. This is the transformation Jesus wants to work in his disciples. He wants to re-produce His life in us.
Ultimately, as in so many other ways, we are social creatures by design. 'No man is an island,' as the man said. No matter how well-intentioned you are about making courageous choices, if you surround yourself with cravens, you will make a coward’s choices. You may chalk it up to 'department policy,' or 'well, everyone is doing it,' but at the end of the day, you are making the choice, and those around you are not only facilitating it, they are encouraging it.
In Forging the Hero, I spent a lot of time explaining the concept of innangarð, and that our tribe/clan/community is defined as those who share our values, as evidenced by shared traditions and customs. If you identify as part of a tribe, or 'inner circle of trust,' no matter how lightly, that practices behavior (customs and traditions) that evidence cowardice as a value, then you will succumb to the ease of cowardice.
Don't capitulate to the cultural Marxists, or accept the status quo and the harm it is doing to the next generation in order to be accepted or to avoid trouble. If you act like a cuckservative, you will be recognized as one and deservingly outgrouped by those seeking to build a sane, virtuous community.
As everybody knows, men and women don’t understand each other, so in a context dominated by the latter, whether it’s an elementary school or Harvard, normal male behavior may be deemed “bad” or “toxic.” For this and other reasons, which, however, I don’t have the space to consider here, boys should not spend their days among women authorities. Although it is unlikely to happen, gender segregation seems to be the best single thing we can do to improve our schools. If, on the other hand, we want to continue to tame man, rendering him a docile and compliant worker bee for people who mean nothing to him and vice versa, then the present situation is certainly desirable.
Christian anthropology is relational; man flourishes in a community properly ordered towards the common good. And like most things worthwhile, community and the common good have limits. The increasingly ridiculous notion of Facebook as a legitimate global community illustrates the former. As for the latter, as Reno argued, the language of the “common good” is ill-suited to global realities. Sure, there are global goods, things like peace, prosperity, family—things that are as true in America as they are in Afghanistan—but these are not the same as the singular, indivisible, communal, and limited common good that is the proper object of all political and social life. The common good emerges from the relationships, traditions, and cultures that provide purpose to a polity. And these elements can only develop when rooted in a specific place over time. It’s no wonder that introducing a massive influx of new people with new relationships, traditions, and cultures has caused such anxiety among those already navigating the most fragile social fabric—the most fraught common good—in American society. While the topic of mass immigration understandably draws sympathy for the immigrant seeking a new and better life, this sympathy must be balanced with a renewed awareness of the effect that mass immigration has on the social fabric of communities tasked with absorbing it.
This is the new Christian political project. Working towards electoral goals with regard to select hot-button issues, while laudable, is increasingly a relic of a past age. Western democracy has reached a tipping point, leaving Christians—the laity especially—to imagine a new political paradigm that protects both subsidiarity and solidarity, one that buttresses against the ill effects of both state and market, globalism and ethnic nationalism. In a world where global managers have severely eroded our sense of place and home, and a “dangerous romanticized [ethnic] nationalism,” to quote Mitchell, is on the rise in response, we need another option. To find one, we on the right will need to engage in the same kind of unorthodox debate that was on display at AEI Wednesday evening.
The archbishop said “Christian equality” understands “the reality of the differences and mutual dependencies of real men and women.”
“As men, we’re hardwired by nature and confirmed by the Word of God to do three main things: to provide, to protect, and to lead – not for our own sake, not for our own empty vanities and appetites, but in service to others.”
We men – all of us, both clergy and lay — bear a special responsibility because the Gospel tasks us as leaders. That doesn’t make us better than anyone else. It takes nothing away from the genius of women or the equality of women and men. But human beings are not identical units. We’re not interchangeable pieces of social machinery. Christian equality is based not in political ideology but in the reality of the differences and mutual dependencies of real men and women. As creatures we’re designed to need each other, not replicate each other. And this, by the way, is a key reason why modern culture is so conflicted about the body.
Those are some of the don’ts. The dos are equally obvious. Do love the women in your life with the encouragement, affection, support and reverence they deserve by right. Do be faithful to your wife in mind and body. Do show courtesy and respect to the women you meet, even when they don’t return it. Chivalry is dead only if we men cooperate in killing it – and given the vulgarity of our current national environment and its leaders, we certainly need some kind of new code of dignity between the sexes.
Let us agree that the nation-state, in whatever configuration it happened or happens to be (Federalist or Anti-federalist level of centralization, libertarian-market or welfare state, Republican- or Democrat-controlled, lower or higher taxes, Tea-Party or Occupy Wall St. ethos, George Bush or Barack Obama, is what it is, that is, an alliance, not a common-good institution, suitable for and capable only of providing goods and services to those polis organizations that can (but only with the Alliance’s instrumental help, as the instrumentlist insists) embody and keep common goods. Thus, it is just good philosophy to recognize what is and must be the case, and to act upon it. This, to me, is where Prof. George and the instrumentalists are coming from. Whether he would prefer to live under a state that could indeed keep a common good, such as a medieval French city or an ancient Greek polis, it doesn’t matter; for, the nation-state is here, and here to stay, and we must accept its exigencies and limitations so that we can work with it to uphold the mediating institutions that alone can secure those common goods that we need to flourish and get to heaven.
In short, for the intrinsicist, the nation-state, absent any polises in which the political good is more than instrumental, will cease being a mere alliance, if it ever were a pure one, and turn into a monstrous anti-polis, pursuing anti-goods to the detriment and eventual eradication of the common good as well as individual goods.
What if the ability of smaller intrinsic-good-embodying-and-enabling communities to survive and flourish requires the larger society in which they exist to itself be embodied politically in a more-than-instrumental way? What if the sine qua non of the solution to a government out of control and at odds with basic human goods is a radical alternative to the alliance-nation-state of America? What if we desperately need a newly revamped and reconfigured and workable Aristotelian polis, one subordinate to the Divine-polis of the Roman Catholic Church, and one workable in a contemporary context? What if the political order by nature, and ineradicably so, even the American one, is all about intrinsic goods?