I haven’t really been away of course, but my WordPress renewal reminds me that I pay for this thing and need to use it. Tweets are short, easy blurbs and putting together well-sourced, thoughtful blog posts reminds me too much of work, so my plan is to become even more glib and superficial and make it up in volume.
I. Of course COVID-19 is on everybody’s mind, and we’ve shut down a third of the economy over a 1.5 – 2% fatality rate for mostly old, fat people. Now I’m being told the sequelae from the virus are just horrible, so it will be interesting to watch as COVID patients Chris Cuomo, Rand Paul, Boris Johnson and Tom Hanks become shambling wrecks.
There’s talk of a vaccine but since we’re still chasing Influenza A every year with 40 – 60% efficacy, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Really. We’re also supposed to wear masks and stay away from everyone because the epidemiologists are modeling spread by miasma instead of by droplets. By the way, did we ever close down a single subway or airport?
I don’t think this will be the killer freight-train of a virus (which is how HIV used to be described) that gets the US back to a more manageable 200 million people. Patient reactions are pretty scarily idiosyncratic but you put a lot of odds in your favor by not being obese, old or immuno-compromised. So we should be getting plenty of fresh air, exercise, sleep, and not slobber all over each other. Hopefully we survive for the same 70 to 80 year lifespans that we’ve had since 1400 B.C.
II. Yet another slaughter of the innocents Mystery Play is being staged over the shooting of jogger and volunteer home inspector Ahmaud Avery Arbery. The Glynn County prosecutor and grand jury should sort it out, but the context is clear to anybody familiar with the Georgia coast. In areas with lots of low-g, impulsive people–like Brunswick, Georgia–police departments triage property crimes and suspicious persons downward. And if low-g, impulsive people are paid to exist and wander wherever they want, then community borders will be enforced by McMichaels with shotguns.
What the McMichaels should have done is sell their home to the next suckers in the US FIRE/Ponzi scheme and mortgaged themselves to the hilt to price the Strengthening Diversity away somewhere else. But they can’t. Homes in declasse’ Satilla Shores are valued around $270,000. That’s too downscale for buyers who can move to Sea Island or St. Simon’s instead, and way over-priced relative to the demographics on the shore side. That’s why the people living there are retired cops and blue collars who’ve sunk every penny they have. They like the hunting and fishing, the coastal cachet, and it’s warm and the taxes are low. They’ve “arrived” and there’s nowhere else to go. Expect more of these Mystery Plays in the future.
III. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has released a Social Document, reserving its harshest language for, what else, phyletism/nationalism/racism:
“But it is absolutely forbidden for Christians to make an idol of cultural, ethnic, or national identity. There can be no such thing as a “Christian nationalism,” or even any form of nationalism tolerable to Christian conscience … The crimes born of racial injustice—from the early modern rebirth of chattel slavery along racial lines to the later regimes of South African apartheid or legal segregation in the United States, all of which were enforced by violence both organized and random—are very much a part of the whole of modern Western history, of course; but racialist ideology as such is a toxic relic of the superstitions of the pseudo-science of the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. And, while genuine scientific advances (in such areas as molecular biology, genomics especially) have exposed the very concept of distinct races—or of separate genetic clades within the human species—as a vicious fantasy, with no basis in biological reality, the poisonous notion of race remains a part of the conceptual world of late modernity. There could be no greater contradiction of the Gospel. There is only one human race, to which all persons belong, and all are called as one to become a single people in God the creator. There is no humanity apart from the one universal humanity that the Son of God assumed in becoming human, and it embraces all persons without distinction or discrimination. And yet, sadly, the rise of new forms of political and nationalist extremism has even resulted in the infiltration of various Orthodox communities by individuals committed to race-theory. The Orthodox Church condemns their views without qualification, and calls them to a complete repentance and penitential reconciliation with the body of Christ.
Strong stuff from the Phanar, which will gladly carve out a haplotype-based vicariate for any number of ethnic groups so they don’t have to get to know their neighbors and the Phanar doesn’t have to consecrate non-Greeks.
To be fair, the hierarchs have always been told America is a nation-less country, so it seemingly made sense for each ethnic group to have its own bishops. But this gets problematic because first, the immigrants (mostly) out-marry and the kids don’t want to join an Old Country social club and second, if every ethnicity can get its own Church, why can’t Matthew Heimbach? (And third, it looks like America isn’t so nation-less after all).
There are a couple of ways out of this. One is for all the Americans to go under the Greek omophorion like +Philip of blessed memory brilliantly and with a deep sense of irony dared +Bartholomew to do. But then the Greeks would have to consecrate non-Greeks, so the Greeks won’t allow it.
At some point I expect two or more of the American jurisdictions (maybe Antioch and OCA) to merge and tell the Mother Churches this is how things are going forward, and probably pay a tithe to make it go down easier. The American primate should probably call himself a Metropolitan, since there’s a lot of context behind the term “Patriarch” which really doesn’t fit American history.
Be safe and well, everyone. It will all be over soon.