Thursday, November 24, 2005


"If we seek to cling to inherited possessions, to hang on to our past, we shall find that it has slipped through our fingers. Whether we like it or not, words change their meaning, institutions their function, customs their use. Moreover, preoccupation with the retention of the past ensures inattention to the demands of the present. A form of Christianity which is concerned, first and foremost, with retaining its inheritance, is likely to prove insensitive both to the demands of present suffering and to problems concerning its institutional and linguistic insertion in contemporary culture. In other words, contrary to the best intentions of its adherents, such Christianity is likely to become, not a movement effectively concerned with the redemption of the human, with its liberating transformation in the direction of the promise, but an esoteric subculture. As such it is likely to possess not even the virtue of irrelevance: more probably it will fulfil a darker and more destructive social function. And if this seems an overstatement, I would remind you of the character and social implications of those forms of Christian self-perception which contributed most actively to the electoral success of [George W. Bush.]"

Nicholas Lash, Seeing in the Dark (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005).

Well, it was Ronald Reagan actually - since this is from a fine new collection of sermons. But the 'dynamic equivalence' is clear...

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