People in the US are getting in a right tizzy about lavatories. Now the President is to issue a Decree about what the arrangements must be in public schools, to the effect that the test of which toilet you end up in should depend on what gender you choose, and not on the gender you were born with. That tizzy is likely to boil over soon.
On a point of personal reflection, I find myself now in a strange position, reading, writing and speaking more on this topic than on that which I was trained to do -- sixteenth and seventeenth century history. But historical analysis is a transferable skill, to use the jargon, and these are strange times. The question, ‘If not us, then who?’ is also powerful when we face such potent socially and morally lethal developments.
But in my view he has a black and white, all or nothing, view of modern culture. ‘Cultures’, modern societies, if they are anything, are complex. Whatever Philip Rieff may say (he’s the current must-read for those wishing to analyse cultures), they are not primarily identified with what they forbid, except in the sense that the maintenance of any standards involves having do’s and don’t’s. Every assertion implies a denial, in fact a multitude of them. Cultures have rites of entry, what is permitted and what not. Totems and taboos. Culture has many expressions, some fairly sealed off from others. So, cultures, rather than culture, perhaps.
Come now, Christians....strangers on earth who seek city in heaven...understand that you have come here simply in order to take your departure. You are passing through the world....Don't let lovers of the world disturb youIn pursuing this, Carl is on a rather better wicket. Intertwined with inveighing against the ‘anti-culture’ he calls the church back to her biblical character as a pilgrim people, a remnant, and the personal and communal ethics that should go with it. He strikes the right note. This is how it should be, and not the aping of the strategies and outlook of the consumer world in which we are immersed, the god of ‘growth’, and so on. I would put Carl's rather acid remarks about Christians who dream of ‘transforming the culture' in this category, too. Yet he seems to be letting the 'lovers of the world' disturb him.
This is what I mean, brothers, the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those that mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those that buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world, as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of the world is passing sway.