Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Moderns

I received a telegram recently from our undercover correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, and here's what he had to say:
Years ago there was an art film called "The Moderns."

Sometimes I think we are living an extended version of such a film.


Are Newman, Loisy, Sheed, Barron, Rob Bell, Andy Stanley, David Gibson, Justin Welby, Pope Francis and Don Draper Somehow All Related in Modernity's funky family tree (beyond the much ballyhooed common brotherhood of man)? [I obviously tried to have some fun with this grid....]

An interesting argument. Unfortunately, I also feel (word choice intentional) that we might apply it in certain ways to even good men like Barron, Pope Francis, and many talented typing monkeys around the Catholic blogosphere as well. I suppose one might argue that Newman, with his emphasis on the whole man, contributed to to this strain early on, as well as the energetic Frank Sheed with his ceaseless pre-sixties ad man sensibilities. You already know I have essentially nothing but high regard for Newman and Sheed, so I am not trying to cast stones as much as identify and navigate ripples. As with almost everything, something good, even a good impulse, is easily amplified into a distortion or an abuse abuse. It is the curse of the fallen world. See the attached where Wilfrid Sheed judges Frank Sheed's undoubtedly unintended influence on one...

Which is why normally one could be so grateful for the very conservative attitudes of the Church. Or why at least one once could appreciate them.
Andy Stanley's approach seems to be suggestive of where we are headed: Like Robert Hughes, people will easily progress quickly beyond modest progressive instincts. Witness gay marriages move from absurd to absurd to argue against in a matter of ten years.