Continuing my encouragement of parishioners in building a Christian Culture, let’s look at some things people might notice.
We aren’t Greens, but we have a powerful affinity for nature. You cannot distinguish between peace with God and communion with Creation. You cannot experience God as a Person without experiencing nature as very much alive and conscious of your communion. Such a thing does register in your consciousness, but not in your senses. It pulls at your awareness from a different angle.
We know that Creation suffers abuse at the hands of fallen humans struggling to live in moral blindness. Nature desperately needs us to find our way back to God. You and I view nature in terms of redemption, of restoring God’s intent, and it’s impossible to unwind that from our own restoration to Eden. We respect our own flesh, and we respect nature as an ally that isn’t fallen.
But one of the biggest issues people will have with us remains that business of eastern feudalism. Our culture and our internal society rests entirely on the foundation of the extended family household. Westerners will call us “patriarchal,” but that would be missing the whole point. This is not a Western patriarchy; this is a shepherd society. Headship is all about the heavier responsibility, the high burden of care, not some mythical privilege. We don’t have rules about a gender-based division of labor, but we do insist that male and female are wired differently and not at all interchangeable.
So while the priestly function is always male-only simply because God said so, you cannot have a male elder without a supporting female elder, even if she prefers to hide behind the scenes. In our culture, the male elder would feel crippled without a feminine voice to keep him sane. And women can certainly take up other significant roles, not just the ones traditionally acceptable in Western culture. For example, in our society women should be in charge of facilities, logistics and life support; quite a bit of planning and engineering could benefit from a female approach to things. We want our ladies involved.
You aren’t going to hear us talking about the “age of accountability” regarding children in religion. That whole question arises from the presumption that people can push the right buttons and make themselves somehow spiritually reborn. Instead, we talk about social and religious apprenticeship, a privilege from God worthy of energy and resources. We give our children every chance to discover their own spiritual destiny by maintaining a culture that actively fights the perversion of Western culture. We don’t strive to prolong childhood, but we also know that the earliest steps in moral responsibility are difficult until someone has lived long enough to begin handling abstract logic. Then we encourage them to question everything, in part by preparing to answer their challenges. We want them pass through the stage of abstract logic to a higher moral awareness.
We aren’t big on assertive authority, but try to equip everyone for volitional moral engagement. We have to discern their moral boundaries. Insofar as they won’t walk in the grace of moral truth, then we must handle them according to Biblical Law. What was meant to be a parable becomes their reality, but it always remains their choice. It still comes off rather friendly and accommodating, and without patronizing, but we can never forget that they have chosen a lesser existence. We must respect that choice and give them what they demand.
And we aren’t fooled by the social mythology of human nature. Sure, people strive with the pretense, but we can discern the moral truth of how men and women react differently to various experiences. While we might hear what they say, we also keep track of what we can know of their true motivations. I must note here in passing that there is a lot of truth behind the so-called Red Pill movement. Not in their predatory abuses and manipulation, but we agree with their assessment of human nature and how thoroughly it is tied to sexual identity. We may play along with the social games up to a certain point, but when our spirits are provoked to act on some teachable moment, we do what God says, not what maintains the social facade. We also teach these things to our children and anyone who listens, so that people are more free from manipulation.
Do these things and the world will catch a glimpse of God’s glory.