Once every several hundred years, we have a full Moon lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice. And that's approximately how often I will ever agree with anything that Ross Douthat has to say. So it's especially amazing that both events would occur within the same 24-hour period.
But I agree 100% with Douthat that:
Thanks in part to [a] bunker mentality, American Christianity has become . . . a “weak culture” — one that mobilizes but doesn’t convert, alienates rather than seduces, and looks backward toward a lost past instead of forward to a vibrant future. In spite of their numerical strength and reserves of social capital, . . . the Christian churches are mainly influential only in the “peripheral areas” of our common life. In the commanding heights of culture, Christianity punches way below its weight. [Cute phrase, huh?]
[T]his month’s ubiquitous carols and crèches notwithstanding, believing Christians are no longer what they once were — an overwhelming majority in a self-consciously Christian nation. The question is whether they can become a creative and attractive minority in a different sort of culture, where they’re competing not only with rival faiths but with a host of pseudo-Christian spiritualities, and where the idea of a single religious truth seems increasingly passé.
Or to put it another way, Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom — and more and more like the diverse and complicated Roman Empire where their religion had its beginning, 2,000 years ago this week.
Exactly. I agree completely. Perhaps you guys would like to get started on that, well, now. Now would be good.
(Douthat says, as per usual, a lot of whiny, silly stuff with which not even an easily-confused four-year old would agree. For example, he snivels that Christmas is the season "when American Christians can feel most embattled. Their piety is overshadowed by materialist ticky-tack. Their great feast is compromised by Christmukkwanzaa multiculturalism." Really? Your piety can't stand up to sales of stuff? The same sales of stuff that, if they aren't accompanied by the sales clerk wishing you a "Merry Christmas" send you into a temper tantrum? So stop watching tv and stay out of the malls; go to church instead. Stay home and pray the rosary. And your "great feast" (by which I imagine you mean Christmas Mass) is "compromised" because other people are celebrating other holidays at approximately the same time? Really? If so, your "great feast" must celebrate a rather anemic god. Maybe you shouldn't have gone around appropriating other people's holidays if you've got such delicate feefees. Then you could have had one all your own. But, hey, as noted, it's not every century that I find something Douthat says not only correct, but quotable, so let's not quibble.)
Hat tip to Chas Clifton for the info on the lunar eclipse.
Picture found here.