Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Actions trump words.

James 2:14-15

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

It is not often that I start by extracting something from the lectionary. But all the passages are about riches and charity. About the fact that the way you make money matters. That we should not oppress, nor do evil.

One of our roles, in the church, is to be a warning and a witness. To warn when things are going on and witness when our society again and again revolts against righteousness.

Not because we are righteous, but because it is our duty

Habakkuk 2:1-4, 9-20

1I will stand at my watchpost,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
4Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

9“Alas for you who get evil gain for your house,
setting your nest on high
to be safe from the reach of harm!”
10You have devised shame for your house
by cutting off many peoples;
you have forfeited your life.
11The very stones will cry out from the wall,
and the plaster will respond from the woodwork.

12“Alas for you who build a town by bloodshed,
and found a city on iniquity!”
13Is it not from the LORD of hosts
that peoples labor only to feed the flames,
and nations weary themselves for nothing?
14But the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.

15“Alas for you who make your neighbors drink,
pouring out your wrath until they are drunk,
in order to gaze on their nakedness!”
16You will be sated with contempt instead of glory.
Drink, you yourself, and stagger!
The cup in the Lord’s right hand
will come around to you,
and shame will come upon your glory!
17For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you;
the destruction of the animals will terrify you —
because of human bloodshed and violence to the earth,
to cities and all who live in them.

18What use is an idol
once its maker has shaped it —
a cast image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in what has been made,
though the product is only an idol that cannot speak!
19Alas for you who say to the wood, “Wake up!”
to silent stone, “Rouse yourself!”
Can it teach?
See, it is gold and silver plated,
and there is no breath in it at all.

20But the LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him!

I think it was Spengler who said that if you worship rationalism you end up whoring with strange Gods. And that there is no despair like that of a pagan whose Gods have failed him.

I’d add to that. When we end up moving to rationalism we end up worshiping ourselves. We continually glorify ourselves and call it self-esteem.  In doing this, we blind ourselves to the evil that we cause. We shut off those voices that may correct us: getting our news from either instapundit or Kos. And we earn our money any way we can, for all activities have been made illegal, and our moral compass — our conscience — we ignore because it damages our self-worth.

But these are signs of a society in decline. In this time, it is our job to act. To not bow to Molech. To do good, and not ill. To care for the wounded, the widows and unwell.

For our society neatly drops those people off the bus as they head towards whatever fashionable chimera appeals today. We should ignore their words and watch their actions. And not do likewise.