April 21, 2016

On Political and Social Engagement, or Not

While I resonate with frustration over the wrongs of the state (or the state of the wrongs) I have to demur from a strictly Christian Anarchist position, such as that espoused by Jacques Ellul. I regard such Anarchism as aspirational rather that practically universal. While it is perfectly reasonable for a follower of Christ to aspire to abdicate from participation in the state, short of becoming a hermit in a wilderness most of us still reap the benefits of "civilization" (the benefits of the earthly City, not of God, but of Humanity). It is almost impossible not to benefit from the public works of the state, short of retirement to the desert. 

As even St Francis realized (presaging Kant’s categorical imperative), if everyone followed the Franciscan example of absolute poverty and a mendicant lifestyle there would be no one from whom to beg. (One of the rationales for the Third Order was to allow those who could not give up everything to give up something — to support the mendicants — while acknowledging their imperfect realization of Christ’s poverty in penitence.)

This is in part why I am a Christian Socialist rather than a Christian Anarchist: the state itself is not evil (or no more evil than the individual person), “simul iustus et peccator,” and capable of doing good as well as wrong. By participating in the state, I hope to urge it toward being as good as possible, while recognizing that it is not, and never will be, heaven on earth. There is only one City of God, and it is above, where Christ is. In this vale of tears we continue to do the best we can; and there is room for hermits as well as merchants, each of them witnessing to Christ in their own ways and to the extent they are able.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG 

April 8, 2016

Emmaus: A Symphonic Poem for Easter

This is a musical composition reflecting the Lucan account of Jesus encountering two disciples as they were walking in the countryside. In this encounter he recalls for them the events of Holy Week, showing them how these fulfilled the prophecies of the Hebrew people concerning the Anointed One. These recollections warm their hearts strangely as they walk along. When the disciples urge him to stay with them, he does so. At the table, he breaks bread — as he had done on the night before he suffered — and he becomes known to them in that breaking and in that bread, even as he vanishes from their sight.

Images are mostly from Rembrandt, with a few other classic and romantic works. The burning heart is a sculpture from my Brother in Christ Karekin Madteos’ garden.

Blessed Eastertide to all...

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG