Steven Cobert coined the term “truthiness” when his TV show, The Cobert Report, launched on Comedy Central. “Steven Cobert believed America to be split between two camps whose philosophies could never reconcile – those who ‘think with their head‘ and those who ‘know with their heart,’ he explained, was the quality of a thing feeling true without any evidence suggesting it actually was.” (Click on truthiness above for the wiki that gives some good examples.)
“Thus by the time Cobert took to the airwaves, by the time James Frey landed in trouble, the rift between the actual and the artificial had already become a topic of wide discussion. For many on the left, it was Bush himself who stood as the clear cause of it. A born-again Christian who credits unquestioning faith with saving him from delinquency, Bush is notoriously, even proudly uncurious about the world. Online, many bloggers highlighted this detachment by branding themselves of ‘the reality-based community.’ This was a reference to an infamous and revealing interview that an unnamed Bush aide had once given to the journalist Ron Suskind. According to the aide, opponents of Bush were part of ‘what we call the reality-based community’ – a label not meant to be complimentary, because to the aide, ‘discernible reality’ was a stock of faltering value. The United States was ‘an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,’ the official told Suskind. ‘And while you’re studying the reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.’” [True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, by Farhad Manjoo, pp.191-192]
I remember a while back reading several articles on Neo-Conservatism and about those within our current administration who were neo-conservatives. One aspect of neo-conservatism mentioned in the articles was the notion of the “American Empire” – we are to be (or already are) an empire and should act as one in the world. Our current foreign policy demonstrates the ascendancy of this ideology. We can also see this ideology within the American-Christian Religious Right and their frenzied attitude concerning America – the idea that the United States is a divinely created and prospered country.
I wrote in a blog post a while back (among several) that I do not want Empire! There is no need for this country to be an empire! Why should we be? What do we gain from being such a thing? Certainly not security.
I contend that there are those who have made the United States of America an idol. American has become their god and they worship at the foot of this nation-state. Their sense of self-worth and purpose is embedded in the “success” of this nation-state and comes from imposing their way of thinking – religiously, politically, culturally – on all others. Their hubris blinds them to “reality” and establishes a fantastical idea of the world and their place in it – “feeling” over “discernible reality .” They would rather have goose-bumps than truth.
I am certainly thankful for the freedoms we have in the U.S., for the opportunities available to those who work hard (at least in the past), for our Constitutional form of government, and for the good that we as a people have done in the past (recognizing the harm that we have also caused), but as a Christian I believe that this is only a nation-state that will wax and wane, be virtuous and corrupt, and will ultimately survive as a worthwhile society only when we put aside our self-interest and work against arrogant-pride and the vainglory of empire.
Speaking of traditional church architecture (see below), here are some photos I took of St. Paul’s Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. St. Paul’s is the parish in which I serve. I, for one, love the architecture (Upjohn and Cram). Click here to see some photos I took during Lent (you’ll notice the purple coverings).
There is a constant stream of people coming in to look at the church whenever the doors are open. It is a fixture in the neighborhood – a traditionally working-class Roman Catholic neighborhood that is gentrifying with bunches of young, yuppy types with strollers. At times, we have “stroller-jams” before and after services. I often hear people describe St. Paul’s as “the English Church.”
You think some “conservative” Anglicans are down on The Episcopal Church. You think some American-Evangelicals are down on Anglicanism, period. Well, consider how this Fundamentalist website views The Episcopal Church, the Church of England, and Anglicanism.
Let me be like the Religious Right websites when they warn you to click on a link at your own risk. Clink on this link at your own risk!
A foretaste of glory divine:
” The Episcopalian Religion is straight out of the pits of hell. They teach that performing the seven sacraments are absolutely essential to go to heaven. This is the same damnable heresy which Roman Catholicism teaches.”
Interesting results from a study on church architecture and the “unchurched,”
“Stetzer suggested that the unchurched may prefer the more aesthetically pleasing look of the Gothic cathedral because it speaks to a connectedness to the past. Young unchurched people were particularly drawn to the Gothic look. Those between the ages of 25 to 34 used an average of 58.9 of their preference points on the more ornate church exterior. Those over the age of 70 only used an average of 32.9 of their 100 preference points on that particular church exterior.
“I donâ€™t like modern churches, they seem cold,” said one survey respondent who chose the Gothic design. “I like the smell of candles burning, stained-glass windows, [and] an intimacy thatâ€™s transcendent.”
More than half of the unchurched indicated the design of a church building would impact their enjoyment of a visit to church. Twenty-two percent said the design of the church would strongly impact their enjoyment of the visit and 32 percent indicated it would have some impact. More than a third said it would have no impact whatsoever on their visit.
Stetzer noted that despite these survey results, most of the churches that look like a cathedral are in decline. Just because someone has a preference for the aesthetically pleasing, Gothic churches doesnâ€™t mean theyâ€™ll visit the church if thatâ€™s the only connection point they have to the congregation, he said.
It is a small study and I don’t think we can made concluding or definitive statements because of it, but it does add to the continuing body of evidence and the realization that things are a-changin’, and not in the direction that certain people want things to go. Read the whole article here.
I just want to repeat a portion of the C.S. Lewis quote below. I think it needs repeating:
“Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude the question, ‘What on earth is he up to now?’ will intrude. It lays one’s devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, ‘I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.”