I wanted to commend Tony for writing a fair article for this last weekend’s newspaper on the growing rift in Moscow between liberals and conservatives. However, something which I mentioned to him during the interview (and which he did include) needs to be emphasized yet again.
A generation or two ago, the jibe was that the Episcopal church was the Republican party at prayer. In recent years, anyone who believes in a higher being and is opposed to abortion has qualified, as the media hyper-ventilates about it, as a member of the growing specter of the “religious right.” But these categories of left and right are, at bottom, both secular categories. We are trying to grow (organically) a genuine alternative to all of this, as self-consciously trinitarian Christians who do not trust in the idol of politics.
As such, here is our agenda, published right out in the open so that the Moscow Civic Association can figure out their counter-measures. This is what we are all about. This is what we want to do.
1. Worship the triune God on a weekly basis, giving as much glory to Him in the worship service as we can, by hearing the Word preached, partaking of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, saying the Lord’s Prayer, singing psalms and hymns, and presenting our thanks to Him.
2. Take primary responsibility for our own families — husbands sacrificing themselves for their wives, wives sacrificing themselves for their husbands, and both of them together sacrificing themselves in order to provide a first-rate Christian upbringing and education for their children.
3. Learn how the Christian faith applies to every aspect of our lives — e.g. setting the table for family dinner every evening, brewing great beer, writing and publishing fiction and non-fiction, appreciating good poetry, mowing the lawn right, smoking cigars to the glory of God, teaching lacrosse to our boys, teaching needlepoint to our girls, teaching lacrosse to our girls (gotcha), and blessing the name of the Lord in all of it.
4. Take stock, some years down the road, of what kind of impact this kind of cultural engagement has had on the cultural life of our town. Some of that impact is bound to have been political, but it has to be emphasized here that politics does not have nearly the same importance for us as it does for the liberals. The liberals have a strong secularist streak, and politics therefore serves for them as a surrogate religion. This is why, for example, questions about government education are treated as blasphemous, as though some disgruntled parishioner had heaved a dead cat at the bishop. But to paraphrase one Christian writer on this subject, our motto here is Moscow is, “Politics sixth!”
“Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.