17.11.04

Movements

I found an interesting article on movements. Its actually about respecting the earth, the domestic arts, and the problems in our economy, but it begins with movements. Its an excellent article in and of itself, I could quote the whole thing, but for this blog entry, just the stuff about movements will do:

"In Distrust of Movements"
by: Wendell Barry


"People in movements too readily learn to deny to others the rights and privileges they demand for themselves. They too easily become unable to mean their own language, as when a “peace movement” becomes violent. They often become too specialized, as if finally they cannot help taking refuge in the pinhole vision of the institutional intellectuals. They almost always fail to be radical enough, dealing finally in effects rather than causes. Or they deal with single issues or single solutions, as if to assure themselves that they will not be radical enough."
I think I have been in something that had the problems described here, and elsewhere, in this article. Its a very frustrating thing, let me tell you. But Barry is right. He is right here, and in his other criticisms. It's so easy to get caught up in your own language, your own one solution to that one problem, one answer to that question that you aren't even sure if anyone is asking, and forget the rest of the world that is around you. Our culture has followed such a specialized path to... well, to everything, that somewhere along the line we decided that we, as Christians, could follow suit. It doesn't work. Specialized, in many cases, might as well be another word for disconnected, self-centred, unaware, culturally irrelevant, inward focused bubble.

Is that to harsh? I know I am influenced by where my experience in such things comes from. So was I involved in a worst case scenario, or as it seems to me, the norm?

Such a cryptic post... if you can follow this, i guess you know me fairly well.

5 comments:

Anthony said...

be careful, this is a man who is so out of touch he plows his acres with a mule and a horse--and expects everyone else too, as well.

cult of the city folk around his (false/assumed) folkiness.

seductive though (he wrote a rather brilliant essay on the mechanics and rituals of tobacco that almost made me want to smoke...i should go find him.

Andrew said...

lol, thanks for the warning. It is good to know where a person comes from, but since I was taking his quote out almost completely out of context anyway, as he is speaking of environmental issues, not my experience, i suppose it is safe to say that it is slightly irrelevant. Which is not to say I support the generally popular notion that a persons character has little to no relevance on the correctness of what they say, because I don't. Nonetheless, he has some good points.

Andrew said...

I am also not sure that I agree with your implicit condemnation of being out of touch, and as for what he expects of others, his articles don't seem to demand as much as they suggest, which is something we all have a right to do, and something I respect him for doing. Better than not proposing anything.

Jon said...

I read this post and thought of something that might be an interesting addition to the discussion here.
Quote: "Innumerable times a whole chistian community has broken down because it had srpung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what aChristian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God's grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowlegde of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in gerneral, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves."
Quote: "Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial."
Quote: "God ghtes visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of commuity denmands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the comunity of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. he stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He ats as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the efoort a failure. Whern his deal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despariring accusier of himself."
All pulled from "Life Together" Dietrich Bonhoeffer
jon

Andrew said...

jon, thanks for the excellent quotes. I love Bonhoeffer's stuff; good selection :)