Thursday, May 8, 2014

What meekness is and what it is not

The Free Northerner points us toward this piece on the definition of meekness:
Since meekness is meant to conjure up the image of a powerful animal being brought into subjection to a master, it is worth asking whether Christians are truly meek in the sense in which the word is biblically.
There are two conditions that must be met in order for one to be considered meek.  First, is one living in subjection to a master?  Second, is one powerful?

While most Christians will claim to live in subjection to Christ (and will be judged by Christ, not me), most Christians are not powerful.  Indeed, most Christians appear to be weak and fearful.  Thus, most Christians are not really meek, for though they live in subjection, they are not powerful.

And yet, meekness is well spoken of in the Bible.  Moses was called the meekest man on the earth, and Christ said that meek were destined to inherit the earth.  Since meekness is bringing one's power in subjection to God, why is so much emphasis placed on subjection and so little on power?  As far as meekness is concerned, you cannot have one without the other.

Indeed, it was Christ who told his followers to "be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."  The choice to use "serpents" was deliberate, and meant to evoke certain satanic connotations.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong about understanding how the world works and using the Prince of the Power of the Air's power structures against him.  Indeed, that's exactly what Paul did to get what he wanted from the Roman officials in Philippi in Acts 16.

Thus, the church is suffering from a lack of meekness because it easier to subjugate through castration than through training.  This neutering robs the church of its power and thus its weakness.  It also robs the church of its future because the castrated cannot reproduce.
This is why we read the lives of the saints. St. Peter was a fisherman who requested to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy of dying in the same way Christ died. St. Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill and said to his executioners, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side [thus becoming the patron saint of trolls.]" St. Ignatius of Loyola was a cannon proof ex-soldier who founded one of the greatest religious orders with some of his fellow ex-soldiers (it's a pity how far the Jesuits have fallen.)

Authority is inescapable because reality is hierarchical. Modern people, however, don't really believe in authority. Liberalism is ruthless in enforcing its own authority all while claiming to disbelieve in authority that is not based in consent. To be sure, consent makes the exercise of authority go more smoothly but we are obligated to obey some forms of authority regardless of our personal consent. The question is not "Whether authority?" but "To which authority will I submit?" The saints were strong men and women who submitted in a perfect way to the authority and will of God. St. Paul is clear that we must submit to the earthly authorities placed over us, but if we ever have to choose between obeying God or man, then we have an obligation to obey God first. This is why there were and are so many Christian martyrs.

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