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Letter #55: If Winter Comes


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The New Jerusalem Substack

The Revival is Now
Andrew Klavan
May 01, 2024

Spence!

It’s true. At least I think it’s true. You almost don’t want to say it out loud for fear of jinxing it. But it’s like that tendril of warmer air that sometimes drifts beneath your nostrils toward the end of winter. You can’t help wondering: maybe what seems like the worst of the weather is really the start of better days.

I know I’m not alone in feeling we’ve gone through — we’re going through — a period of genuine wickedness. Almost everyone I talk to says it to me, some version of that line from The Tempest: “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” It’s not just hard times. I’ve been through hard times. It’s the embrace of — the celebration of — the insistence on the rituals of degradation. The abandonment of the rule of law. The hostility toward simple truth. The flirtation with worldwide war. The sexualization of children, the butchery of children, the killing of unborn children to keep the world safe for pleasure and perversity. When disaster strikes, we won’t have to ask: “Why us?” We’ll know why. This can’t go on. It won’t go on.

Which is not to say a religious revival would instantaneously cure our ills or fend off the consequences of our decades-long Festival of the Abhorrent. God never promised us a better world. The opposite rather. All he ever offered us was the kingdom of heaven among us and peace that passes understanding in each of us who see it there.

(Snip)

So here’s what I believe. We are going to have to rebuild the church. It’s in rubble and even the rubble’s corrupt, sclerotic and small-minded on the one hand, twisted into the ugly image of the age on the other. Two by two and three by three, small gatherings, Bibles in hand, we’re going to have to find our God again. And — here's the heretical part — I don’t think orthodoxies and rituals and doctrines are what we’re missing. I think it’s Christ. His message of radical mercy and radical love. I think churches and rituals and doctrines and even scripture itself are only worthwhile if they are vessels that carry him. And they can only carry him if we look for him there.

There’s nothing to salvage, nothing to wait for. We may as well begin.

Love,

Yer Dad

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Letter#56: Hiding in Plain Sight
A Christian revolution in occupied territory.
Spencer Klavan
May 02, 2024

Elder Klavan,

It’s weird, isn’t it—how you can be galumphing along making coffee, getting groceries, and at the exact same time feel like you’re living in Babylon before the fall. I guess it’s always like this. Life is a palimpsest, after all, a fearsome cosmic drama lacquered right on top of a normal Thursday where you’re running low on floss.

The fools chimping out in Harvard Yard, staging Kiddie Kristallnacht at Columbia, have a terrible agency all their own. They chose this. But they are also products of a snarled and poisoned culture, which they did not choose. That much is clear in the pale faces of the tenured cowards who pander to them, perversely desperate to conscript their students into the same cultured savagery they fell for in the dreamy decades of their youth. The logic of evil hollows children out and makes them into puppets, drearily intoning terrorist catchphrases and baying for human suffering on a scale they can’t possibly fathom.

(Snip)

But through the wreckage Christ goes walking, bright against the backdrop of death’s domain. You’re right: only he can save us now, not just because only he is God but also because only he is fully human. The rest of us are products of the shadowlands, and we have—all of us, in ways large and small—given our humanity over to the reign of the machine. It pains me to say this, since true scholarship and the institutions that produce it are precious to me, but the latest generation of Ivy League primitives aren’t bringing ruin and decay upon an otherwise healthy society. They’re hooting and picking at the morbid remains of one.

(Snip)

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