Tuesday, February 19, 2013


"A Check Against The Self's Worst Impulses"

In a column clearly designed to sell his book, Ross Douthat does have one great paragraph:
At the same time, self-created forms of faith are also less likely to provide a check against the self’s worst impulses --whether it’s the kind of materialism that Joel Osteen’s sunny promises encourage, or the solipsism that percolates under the surface of popular spiritual memoirs like Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love.” Many of America’s contemporary crises, from the housing bubble and the financial crash to the collapse of the two-parent family, can be traced to just this tendency -- encouraged by too much contemporary religion -- to make the self’s ambitions the measure of all things.
I am not a big fan of the book generally, you can read my critique here. However, that paragraph does sum up in pretty quick order the thing that is most wrong with the church today - it serves us instead of us serving God. The church bears as much blame for this sordid state of affairs as we do. Yes we have become more self-centered, but a church prone to corruption and responding very poorly when it is uncovered has left us with few places to turn.

But this much I do know - leaving the church makes no sense, it simply abandons the church to its corruptions. Those of us who resonate with this paragraph need to work to fix the church. There is no viable alternative.
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