I am criticized for critiquing the church too severely. I claim that our critique is not severe enough.
The problem, as I see it, is that almost all the critique that is going on concerning religion in general and the church in specific is that the solutions are actually a part of the problem. We are so embedded within the deadlock that it is practically impossible to see a solution. This is the danger of any critique. It is almost always a symptom of the problem, a subjective part of the whole impasse.
While we might be momentarily fascinated by and occupied with tweaking the existing order of things, renovating and managing it, it is like this cartoon illustrates: we are only rearranging the furniture on a sinking ship. Just beneath the surface of much of our critique today is a secret wish that what we have continue because it’s all we know, it’s all we have and it will do for now thank you very much. It also exposes the possibility that those in authority are afraid of losing their power.
As T.S. Eliot suggested, sometimes to save religion it is necessary to separate from its corpse. Which is, of course, absolutely frightening and difficult to do.
Which is why the cross is the suitable symbol of this necessary critique. The cross is not a symbol of renovation or improvement. It is a symbol of death. It is a symbol of the end of the existing order. It is the emphatic “STOP!” that stands before all human ingenuity and effort. It also informs the critic that his or her primary task is not to offer solutions but to expose the futility of the present condition of things with the hopeful conviction that something new rises from the ashes.
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