Union Theological Seminary defends its religious dedication to the creature rather than the Creator:
When Robin Wall Kimmerer spoke at Union last year, she concluded her lecture by tasking us—and all faith communities—to develop new liturgies by which to mourn, grieve, heal and change in response to our climate emergency. We couldn’t be prouder to participate in this work.
And here’s the thing: At first, this work will seem weird. It won’t feel normal. It won’t look like how we’re used to worship looking and sounding. And that’s exactly the point. We don’t just need new wine, we need new wineskins.
It’s a silly little statement justifying Union’s group confession to a collection of plants, featured on their Twitter feed, that drew gales of laughter from the sane. It’s also indicative of where our world is headed spiritually.
Regardless of what happens to the economy of the western world*, what is happening to its faith is not really in doubt. For centuries we have been on a track away from faith and even truth. Our seminaries are where faith goes to die. Our pews are filled with adulterers. They are led in worship by wolves who prey on women and children. We are a civilization of post-Christian Christians. Reform is no longer possible, but collapse followed by recovery may be.
The work of recovery is hard. As it is nearly impossible for the individual to recover from walking away from faith (Heb. 6:4-8), I would argue that it’s even harder for nations. The jaded attitudes, the spiteful dismissiveness of anything honorable or virtuous, the despising of God’s laws and even His existence; none are conducive to a spiritual revival. If such a revival does occur, I cannot help but believe it will happen in the midst of falling judgment. Post-Christians will call upon the rocks to hide us before we return to the One who made us.
This is not a black pill, wherein despair overtakes all reason and hope. Christians are not allowed a black pill. But it is a red one, a reality-check, a reminder that God Himself warned us that times like these would come (c.f. 2Tim 3:1-5).
When they come, we must rededicate ourselves to faith and to hard work. We must understand what is worth saving and let the rest wither.
As one Twitter shitposter sagely noted yesterday**, one does not save civilization by shitposting on Twitter. I am as guilty as any of fighting that fight.
Instead, one saves civilization by doing the hard work of civilizing oneself and others. One perpetuates the church by acting as a member of Christ’s body in conjunction with other members. One promotes the truth (and maybe even saves the idea of Truth), by dedicating oneself to speaking it, without compromise and without apology. One saves what’s worth saving through prayer; God has given us the privilege of moving mountains.
Union has been a spiritual dumpster fire for generations; but it is also a harbinger. NBCs climate confessional, mocked as it rightfully was, merely undergirds the fact that man is hopelessly religious, and when he rejects God, he quickly elevates a creature to His throne. It is the natural propensity of mankind to make aspie teen girls our prophets. Real prophets scare us too much.
We are heading into dark times, make no mistake about it. They may be literally dark – someday, our lunatics are going to assume power and the accumulated capital of our inheritance will be squandered. But they are sure to be spiritually dark.
Serve the Light of the World, especially as the darkness descends around us. For the creation groans to be reborn, and it’s going to burn, whether Union confesses imaginary sins to it or not.
* And while we (or at least I) prepare for that, it’s far less important than our spiritual health. God would rather we lead hungry children to Him than well-fed ones to hell.
** perhaps in a rare moment of self-awareness, but probably not.