Sunday, June 16, 2013

Franky Schaeffer

His article: Progressive Christianity is as broken as evangelicalism. Here’s how to fix it.

I’ll save you a couple of minutes: he thinks all Christians should be like the Episcopalians: fallible and fungible but with a cool liturgy (our fellow high-church cousins), doing everything secular society tells them to about inclusivity. Nice people, but last I checked, they are losing people like crazy. The mainstream has left them behind. Sounds like he should rethink his answer. A thought: might other whitebread converts to Orthodoxy eventually go this route in their retained anti-Romanism?

I don’t know what his problem is but I feel bad for him.

13 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what "whitebread converts" are, or what you object to in what Frankie seems to be saying. It seems to be sufficiently vague that it would be hard to find anything to object to in it. Of course it would be equally hard to find anything to get excited aboout.

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    1. It's written in mainline-like code. Conservative Christianity such as Catholicism and Orthodoxy of course includes the marginalized/oppressed, only the mainstream ignores it because it doesn't fit the narrative and because conservative Christianity (trite but true) 'hates the sin but loves the sinner' (Jesus said 'sin no more', not 'as you were').

      Of course you know who whitebread converts are. People of Northern European culture (including white South Africans, Americans, and Australians) who join, not ethnic Greeks, et al. Mostly ex-Protestants, including ex-Anglicans, and a few ex-Catholics. Their no-popery ('Orthodoxy is closer to Quakerism and Buddhism than to Catholicism'; Julio Gurrea's right that this sounds stupid; sorry) + ethnodoxy's no-popery ('He's a threat to our [no longer existing] empire!') + the host culture's (political correctness, a.k.a. the Cathedral) no-popery ('Racist! Sexist! Anti-gay!') = burnouts like Schaeffer. He probably has his own issues, though, mainly mommy and daddy ones. I understand his parents were gurus of Baptist fundamentalism; the father politicized the well-meaning Jerry Falwell in the '70s. (I take the libertarian tack instead but will not malign the man.) Pieces of work, according to their son. He fits a pattern: the mainline is a sort of holding pen for liberals who still habitually go to church. Word is he still goes to a Greek Orthodox church because he likes the liturgy and the fellowship, but an Episcopalian in all but name. He seems out of touch in a churchy way: secular people don't need or want church for community; they get it elsewhere (family, friends, lovers, youth subcultures, sports and other fandoms).

      The Cathedral doesn't hate Orthodoxy as it does Catholicism. Frankly it doesn't take it seriously. In the West it's an exotic boutique religion like Buddhism, little/cute and non-threatening, and 'anything but the old, '50s America' is fine, even if it's 'conservative' like Orthodoxy; exoticism, 'diversity'. (Liberal elite whites' war on conservative whites.) Why Islam's OK, for example. Plus of course they share no-popery: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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    2. Yep. What yf said.

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  2. Hmmm. I was actually flummoxed by an unfamiliar idiom ("whitebread"), and I'm not sure that I'm any the wiser now.

    I met Frankie Schaeffer nearly 20 years ago, and heard him speak at a conference where he engaged in a sustained attack on American culture, and called for "an Orthodoxy with teeth". A Russian bishop who heard him said he should take care that the people he wanted to bite didn't grow bigger teeth and bite him back. He waid "We have people like you in Russia. We call them Orthodox Bolsheviks" -- the KGB types who, having stopped coercing everyone in the name of the Party, now wanted to do so in the name of the Church.

    I've read a couple of more recent things written by Franky Schaeffer in "Huffington Post", and he seems in many ways to have adopted the poistions he previously wanted to bite, but with no more Orthodox theological basis than when he was on the other side of the cultural wars.

    As for Orthodoxy as a boutique religion, my take on that is here: Orthodoxy as Boutique Religion? | Notes from underground

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    1. My Fair Lady: 'One common language I'm afraid we'll never get.' Actually, despite understandable glitches over idiom and slang (famous sample: 'I'm mad about my flat'; completely different meanings), amazingly, British (Commonwealth) English and American English are still one language. In 400 years of separate development they didn't part ways like Spanish and Portuguese or Russian and Ukrainian.

      I guess the long story short is Schaeffer's intense, unbalanced, and not as smart as he thinks he is.

      Totalitarianism seems part of Russian culture; the Russians seem pretty happy with it.

      Thanks for the link and reminder that you moved your blog. The main post you linked to in your post is gone but it was an answer to this classic from Arturo Vasquez's Catholic blogging period: Western "Eastern Orthodoxy" as Boutique Religion.

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    2. Totalitarianism seems part of Russian culture; the Russians seem pretty happy with it.

      A distinction should be made between "totalitarian" and "authoritarian." E.g., Pinochet was authoritarian, Stalin was totalitarian. Putin seems far more the former and yes, some cultures like that.

      A socialist system is necessarily totalitarian. Its basic premises do not explain reality, so the planners have to try and mold reality itself: create the "new Soviet Man," propagandize constantly from cradle to grave, destroy all competing institutions and lock their leaders away in prison forever.

      The authoritarian society may have policy preferences which it enforces jealously, but it doesn't have to try and warp reality.

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  3. "Whitebread," could also refer to that hokey "Wonder bread," so called because it was vitamin-fortified, thereby practically eliminating rickets in poor populations. Or cheesy activities like the Kiwanis (racist appropriation of a Native American term)and their iodine project, which combats the leading cause of congenital mental retardation.

    Stupid, boring white people.

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    1. Well put. As you know, I like stupid boring white people fine. I was thinking more of things like this SWPL trifecta: smart whites blessed with Spanish names so they can call you a racist, who join cute exotic schismatic churches. They get to be white AND double-dip into the diversity jackpot.

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  4. I'm still no wiser about the meaning of "whitebread" as you used it in your post.

    White bread is more expensive and less nutritious than brown bread -- are you saying that Frankie Schaeffer's writing doesn't provide much spiritual nutrition (in which case I would agree with you), or something else?

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    1. No, it's a little knock on people of Northern European stock (like Schaeffer) who buy into '(Northern European) white is stupid and boring' (what the Anti-Gnostic is making fun of; because of its bland flavor, Wonder Bread has that bad reputation) so they become religious tourists/thrill-seekers in the East, Christian or otherwise.

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  5. Ah, so "whitebread" in your terminology means "stupid and boring"?

    So you are saying, then, that converts to Orthodoxy far bland and tasteless, like white bread. OK, I get it.

    I suppose I must catch up on my American idioms. I must still be stuck in the 1940s and 1950s, when many American writers used "pablum". I don't know what "pablum" means literally, but I do know what it means metaphorically. Now it's "whitebread". Cool... ooops, still stuck in the 50s... awesome? ... no that's too 70s. What's the current term?

    And if converts to Orthodoxy are, like Franky Schaeffer, bland and tasteless, converts to the RCC are presumably tangy and spicy? All of them? Really? Or just the ones of Northern European origin?

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    1. The Anti-Gnostic and I are saying many white converts, like white liberals, think their own culture is stupid and boring.

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