Titanicalism

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IT STILL SITS as the second highest grossing movie ever: James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic, by James Cameron. $2,186,772,302.00 and change. Not a great flick, but a good one. Personally, I’m just as impressed by the fact of James Cameron’s one-man submarine trip down 7 miles to the bottom of the Marianas Trench…

Sailing, Sailing

Our world is the Titanic: and what you think is going on in life or the life of the world depends very much on what part of the voyage you focus on. I explain.

For some, we’re on a journey in a mighty vessel to the new world, just over the horizon. Full speed ahead! What could possibly go wrong? Look.. all the best people are here, and agree with us! Moar caviar!

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Not long after, the speeding unsinkable shears off countless cold-brittle rivets on an iceberg. The designers had not imagined such a thing, nor prepared for it. As the bow settles, water will keep moving backwards over the watertight bulkheads, until.. doom.

Me, I’m a “life is bow-settling” guy. Death– the water– is creeping up surely and unavoidably. Order is breaking down, people are scrambling for lifeboats, and while some are going full-panic or full-denial, others are trying to abide by their duty, and to help as much as possible, as the Great Ship Utopia begins to founder in earnest into the icy North Atlantic.

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Utopia, Right Ahead!

For many modern day Utopians– this-worldly salvation true-believers– it is in human reach and wisdom to make heaven on earth. Human beings are basically good, and just need enough browbeating, herd-mentality, and extra rules, and we will make a perfect world out of our super-duper selves.

Bizarrely, the very hubris of the modernist movement that built the Titanic and infected politics, and has also infected the Catholic Church. The clueless notion that the 1960s Church would “Listen to the World”, that we needed no redemption just a little buffing, and all would progress together in a la-la-land journey of common purpose and happy thoughts.. the Denial-As-Faith it took place in an actual sinking-Titanic world.

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Consider– at the same time as sin and sacrifice and salvation were being thrown overboard, and a mind-boggling naiveté about human goodness and perfectibility was put on the altar, let us remember that the 20th century was the century of blood; of genocides; of industrial slaughter, of two catastrophic world wars with hundreds of millions dead, injured, made refugee.. plus, with technology abroad to have a third and very final War.

Even as the faux-clever theologians and happy-thinking bishops were trying to remake the faith into something unChristian and unrecognizable, the ovens of Auschwitz were not 20 years cold; Soviet Gulags and Chinese death-camps were brimming over; that World War Three had nearly begun a couple years before over Cuba; that despite the rush of technology and Western prosperity, that fallen human nature had not actually changed, and that we needed the Cross of Christ and His risen life more than ever.

Even the ancient pagans knew better: “Those whom the gods would destroy” they warned “they first drive mad.” Denial is a sweet addiction: but reality is always best.

Living In Dreams

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Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever….

As if it were 1905, and a perfect world was just ahead, out went the old religion, the Latin, the rosaries, the relics, the art and architecture: come now the felt banners and camping songs, the puppets & clowns, the moralistic therapeutic deist sermons (with a dash of revolution), of a new and sinless humanity feeling its oats in experiment and innovation and… “Iceberg, right ahead!!”

Mortality? Still with us. Human failing, cruelty, blindness, and evil? Check. Our limitations, blindness, and failed good intentions? Yup. Hurting one another, deliberately and just because? Pretty much. Violence, false belief, unspeakable deeds, a foolish naivete? Mass murder? Warfare? Always & everywhere.

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Prisoners at Jiangbei prison, Hubei province, in 1998. Look! Free transplants, slave-labour, and neatening up the political process all in one!

Only, for all these abiding and tragic realities of our bent human nature, progressive religion has no answers, having treated as flotsam and jetsam the faith of our fathers, the wisdom of 20 Christians centuries and 15 Hebrew centuries before that; the riches of Roman Law and Greek philosophy and theatre; and all the good things of Western Civilization. Yard sale.. we have shiny new plastic things!

So the next time some smirking collar tells you all is well, celebrate yourself, God is (only) love, and love is probably God, hug a warm puppy and be happy– realize he’s trying to sell you a berth on the sinking Titanic, has no answers, no salvation to pass on to you, and is not in touch with the Real, or Jesus, or God– nor the reality of life and death and sin.

ITYS,

Binks

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There’s more wisdom and human feeling and recognition of sin in the following Scouting campfire song than in a modernist post-Christian hymn or sermon.

The Titanic (Husbands And Wives) Camp Song

Traditional

Oh they built the ship Titanic
To sail the ocean blue
And they thought they had a ship
That the water would never go through;
But the Lord’s Almighty hand
Said that ship would never land,
It was sad when that great ship went down.

Chorus:
It was sad. It was sad.
It was sad when the great ship went down.
(to the bottom of the…)
Husbands and wives,
Little children lost their lives
It was sad when the great ship went down.)

They were off from England
And not very far from shore
When the rich refused
To associate with the poor
So they sent them down below
Where they’d be the first to go
It was sad when that great ship went down.

Chorus

The boat was about to sink,
And the sides about to burst,
When the captain shouted, “All
Women and children first!”
Oh, the captain tried to wire,
But the wires was on fire,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Chorus

Oh, they swung the lifeboats out
O’er the deep and ragin’ sea,
When the band struck up with,
“Nearer My God to Thee.”
Little children wept and cried,
As the waves swept o’er the side,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Chorus

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A Battle-Cry

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Look! It’s Theology! And one of those Irritating Yo-yos.. er, Fidget-spinners.

WAS SHE A NICE NUN? I suppose if you think Whoopi Goldberg’s “Sister Act” is accurate history, or a great life-lesson.

drmaryThe nun-professor (RIP in 2013) was probably a post-war vocation, and then when the Vatican II Asteroid hit and asploded all the things, she joined the revolution. Heaven on earth! Telling all the bad people how to think! The reputation & power of the older idea of a consecrated nun, whilst undermining all the things! Women clergy now!

We talked in her office one day at the theo-illogical school where she taught. She seemed astonished to meet someone who actually still believed all the things in the Creed– without smirking, mental reservations, or intellectual finger-crossing– as if I were a centaur or leprechaun or some other such legendary beast. A hard case.

She trotted out the ultimate weapon– Latin! You know, cuz in TV shows like ‘Supernatural‘, or the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, Latin works wonders against evil things. Plus, I was Anglican, and had only a passing familiarity with Latin.

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Oddly enough, opposing the forces of ultimate evil with felt banners, puppet-shows, happy-clappy guitar songs, singing ‘Kumbayah’, and 1960’s churchy cultural Marxism was not  found to be so effective. Who knew?

“It’s a ‘symbolum‘, a symbol, a meaningful affirmation of our unity,” she said nicely. Indeed, The ApostlesCreed is sometimes entitled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, likely` from Rome.

Younger me piped up. Incorrigible young twerp.

“Well, it’s that, too, but it’s also unity based on common truths, revealed by God in the Scriptures and the life of the Church by the Holy Spirit, isn’t it?”

“You need to go and read about symbolism, and not to over-emphasize ideas”, she said not quite so nicely. After all, too much of that olden-times theology taken seriously, and you might stop fighting for the revolution. ‘Heavenly minded, no earthly use’ and all that.

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I don’t recall how the rest of it went, except I was puzzled, slightly mystified by the power of Latin and the ‘Symbolum” thing. You know, how the Revolution undermines and then wrecks actual beliefs, like that hidden rust eating away quietly until the floor of your car is suddenly gone, replaced by… nothing.

Symbolum!

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Come the Roman Legion, their symbols over them of Legion and Rome and Eagles and battle-honours; and within each living breast, the symbol or vow of their military promises to serve, not to run, The Senate And People Of Rome (SPQR) and all that.

You see that coming, from 200 BC until AD 400-ish, and you’d better surrender, run, prepare for a fight to the death.

Early Christian philosopher Justin Martyr (c. AD 150) wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius:

“….And so it was said by the prophet, The breath before our face is the Lord Christ. And the power of this form is shown by your own symbols on what are called vexilla [banners] and trophies, with which all your state possessions are made, using these as the insignia of your power and government, even though you do so unwittingly. And with this form you consecrate the images of your emperors when they die, and you name them gods by inscriptions….”

[ Apologia, Chapter 55. Symbols of the cross ]

These were not advertising symbols, like McDonald’s or Nintendo; nor ’empty symbolism’ like a now viciously secular university still preserving the dusty chapel built by the faith of the founders. Or something we ‘affirm’ but not too specifically. It was life and death: for Legion, and your brother beside you, and for Rome.

So the nun might have been nice (she did smile a lot), but she was not being entirely honest about the ‘symbolic’ nature of the realities affirmed by Christian Creeds of the Church. This glowing supernatural true Symbol– like flags or banners of an army, a nation, a clan– represent outwardly the inward promises and abiding truths taught in the Bible– and of God’s promises to us.

Finally?

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Every morning I walk the dog, and pray. For me, I say the Apostle’s Creed each morning as marching with the Lord’s Army– of angels, archangels, martyrs, saints, as the promise and rallying cry of a better country, as a spine-stiffening and soul encouraging reminder of the Real, revealed by God in His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our conquering Captain, who has led the forces of darkness captive in a triumph by his dying & rising again. It’s a battle cry, not an advertising jingle, or empty statement.

Try it, in Church, and in your devotions– say the Creed with deadly serious joy, and commitment, since we are all in a battle against evil, Satan and all his works, and the world seeking to replace God. Souls hang in the balance, including mine and yours.

Whatever happens to the West in the next generation, I beg God’s grace that I will not surrender, betray, or fail to serve in my time. Amen: may it be so. ~

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