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In the shatter zone
New St Andrews College, a Reformed school in Moscow, Idaho, has done a bang-up job summarising our moment. If you haven’t watched their viral video/advertisement, taking a minute or two away from the awfulness of the hour to watch it will no doubt lift your spirit. Their basic message? Believing lies got us in to mess we’re in but the truth will set us free.
Yes, surveying the muck is a discouraging business, and it seems a bomb of strong delusion has exploded, ruining all we held dear. In his usual thoughtful style, writer Paul Kingsnorth tells of the overwhelm he feels in the face of the “disempowering of people everywhere” by a Leviathan. “Modernity can best be seen as a system of enclosure, fuelled by the destruction of self-sufficient lifeways, and their replacement with a system of economic exploitation, guided by states and exercised by corporations.”
However, he goes on to say that our task is not one of building Utopia, but of living in the shatter zone. Kingsnorth suggests forming tribes so awkward that “it is hard for the state to absorb, or even to quite comprehend.” A peculiar people, living in the light of the good, the true and the beautiful.
“Recovering journalist”, Auron McIntyre followed a similar line of thought, using his podcast to call listeners to stop trying to preserve an imagined status quo and build something new. We are not the middle any more, but insurgents, reactionaries, radicals and pilgrims. McIntyre believes the culture war was more important than the Christian Right of the 80s might have understood, as it reflects and forms our values. We’ve done a good job defining what we’re against, but we need to work out what we’re for, ignoring the white noise and getting on with loving our neighbors and living for our Lord.
It is dark and the no doubt the hour is late. Minions of the evil one would seek to salt the earth with lies, so that nothing good could every grow again. Maybe America, as we know it is gone but it is not by chance that you are here now. Jesus Christ has been given all authority and nothing escapes his notice. When your race is run, there is no doubt that you, baptised child of the King, will be received into glory. So, hold fast that hope, take strength and roll up your sleeves. As they say in the New St Andrew’s video, “the faithful and undeceived will rebuild in the ruins, and we will do it singing, feasting, loving and laughing.” Deo volente.