Prior to there was a West, there was Christendom. The
an unearthly kingdom in the next; the eternal kingdom was made immanent. This was an active calling for its followers: From its creation, Christendom included what can be called a”transformational imperative,”an evangelical required to take part in the renewal of the cosmos by
bringing it into alignment with the kingdom of heaven. This was unique to Christianity, and this is why Christendom became the civilization that many changed the course of history. Strickland uses an intriguing thought: for its very first fifteen centuries– in both East and West– Christendom was grounded with some sense of humility, requiring the spiritual improvement of one’s own life. However things kipped down the West with the Renaissance: Put simply, humanists and the nihilists that followed them stopped to see the world’s misalignment with the kingdom of heaven as their own fault and rather blamed it on others. Detached from humbleness and the practice of repentance, this eventually resulted in the secular Knowledge, Jacobin France, and Communist Russia– a search for paradise in the world: paradise. We have gone from the public routine of Lent to the
public ritual of political debate( or, even worse, the guillotine and gulag). This really is a fascinating insight: considering that it is your fault, I require no longer be modest in my technique to change you; I am totally validated in utilizing force to alter you, as you are, in manner of speaking, a criminal
. We certainly live in a time when the Christian West has taken this concept to an extreme. This is cancel-culture writ large; it is the sin of being born white– a fault that both can not be eliminated and requires no humility to face. The absence of humbleness in the self-righteous of today is overwhelming, however is it simply the other side of the lack of humility in the Progressive Protestants of 100 years back? To put it simply, without the humbleness found in the first 1500 years of Christendom, are we left with just the extreme of self-righteousness? It seems to me that this humbleness was
grounded in the idea of Initial Sin, or the truth that all guys are fallen. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn caught it well: The line separating great and evil passes not through states, nor in between classes, nor in between political celebrations either– but right through every human heart– and through all human hearts. Comprehending this will make one humble.
Returning to Strickland: Today we Westerners reside in an advanced state of cultural oblivion. There is a crisis of worths; suicide rates, dependency rates, divorce rates, abortion rates– all point to a dark and self-destructive culture and society. This at the exact same time that anti-Christian roots are taking hold while Christian roots are passing away– or being actively destroyed. Strickland keeps in mind the election of Donald Trump in 2016 as a possible revival of a conservative cultural program, however doubted its staying power– he was right, as we definitely now know. The possibility of safeguarding Christendom through political steps has actually ended up being highly questionable. In truth, it can’t happen by doing this, through politics. Politics is downstream of the culture, and religion is the foundation
of culture. And, obviously, the West is built on the structure of a particular religion and a particular cultural custom. This humanist shift in the West offered
a short window of what we now call classical liberalism, reaching its peak in the late nineteenth century. It was rapidly followed by the suicide of the West in the Great War one-hundred years back.
As Nietzsche’s madman provided: God was dead, and what was exposed in this
wake was 2 World Wars (or a single, long war), Communism, fascism, and
today’s social justice trend and obsession with masks. All the while, liberty has only reduced– to the point, today, where even participating in church has actually ended up being a criminal matter in even the mainly(fairly )free Western societies. Was there another alternative available to the Christian West, rather of turning towards the enjoyments of the natural world from the time of the Renaissance– and definitely by the Knowledge. Strickland uses that, instead, the West might have found Eastern Christendom. And this is what is intriguing to me about this book( and series of 4 books, if
I end up reading all of these). It is a history about which I am sorely doing not have, yet a history that was linked with the West for much of the last two-thousand years. It is likewise intriguing today to see, in those who are grasping for some significance in this decadent Western society, many reaching toward more traditional forms of Christianity– Orthodoxy, to be sure, but also the more standard forms of Catholicism. Even in some Protestant denominations, the more liberal are diminishing while the more conservative are growing (or not shrinking as quick). Starting in the 8th century, a distinct Christianity was forming in the West– born of Charlemagne and a local Roman bishop turned universal. By 1054, the department was complete. It is to this Excellent Schism that Strickland points to as the vital point in Christendom. Conclusion Christians, [Archbishop Chaput]. advises his readers, do not have”the high-end of anguish. “As if to emphasize this point, Strickland contrasts Vacation home Jovis from 2,000 years ago with what was occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean, a thousand miles to the east. … the palace is possibly best understood to posterity as the site of some of the ugliest and most depraved actions of the time. The Emperor of Rome, executions, sexual profligacy, servants shameful for home entertainment,
inebriated orgies, ritualized rape. But to the east, the day of Pentecost. Given how the West was afterwards transformed, it amazes me that anybody can believe that a society that respects the person is just possible absent Christianity. There was such a society– it was Roman, and prior to
it, Greek. How can we anguish today, considered that a much weaker Christendom dominated a much more corrupt Rome two-thousand years earlier? This book will be rather a journey for me, steeped as I am (for a layperson) in the books, culture, and custom of the West. Let’s see if it opens any doors.