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The murmurs of Society

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Following on from my last posting about murmuring, I looked back on this little blogling and it seems that I have complained against complaining again and again. Just under two years ago, I wrote this.

I was particularly struck by the references to Brexit.

Brexit was the result of a democratic process which may or may not have been compromised by external factors. It was a terrible decision and many people are going to be hurt by it; some are my very good friends. Nonetheless, if I truly value democracy then I have had my say and I don't regret voting Remain in the slightest. I still believe it to be the right decision and Brexit the wrong. Yet, people cannot accept that.

I am surprised by a call for a second referendum. Given that the Government are not obliged to act on such referenda, the decision to go ahead with Brexit is not wholly the responsibility of the people: politicians must shoulder the blame. How many would be willing to sacrifice their political career for the greater good of Remaining by disregarding the results of the Referendum? 

Yet, what astounds me most is the level of complaint and the truly horrible language being used against Theresa May who is, as far as I know, trying to make the best of a bad mandate. I think St Benedict is absolutely spot on: the cause of such violent language may be ultimately external to us, but it is our decision whether or not to cultivate it, and it begins with murmuring - murmuratio.

There are so many legitimate things to complain about: Brexit, the sexual harassment of women, the people who earn seven figure salaries without doing much save playing golf, Muslims in the Christian pulpit, et c. Injustice must be combatted and combatted properly. Christian warfare is a reality and the Christian who will not fight Evil because he refuses to recognise Evil is doing the Devil's work. 

To be honest, I think we keep arguing from a non-Christian perspective. The issue of Equality actually goes away if we adhere to St Benedict's call to humility and recognise the Absolute Sovereignty of Christ. If we are humble and honest about ourselves, and we perceive Christ in the other person whoever they may be, then there is no question of Equal Rights - it all becomes moot. Modern notions of Equality are the result of not following Christian principles in the first place because Equality is only made visible by injustice: if we keep legislating for every individual injustice, then we will end up with a clash of rights as we are seeing now, particularly when it comes to the question, "what is a woman?" Human beings do not possess the capacity to eradicate injustice because, within each of us, injustice lurks. 

Violence, vilification and hate speech are all spawned from the vice of murmuring and allowing that mutmuring to grwo into dissent. Within our society we have lost such a lot of respect for our leaders be they political, moral, economic, even entertainment and all because we keep magnifying their flaws and sins. And we magnify their flaws and sins because of their visibility yet all the while refusing to see the flaws and sins within ourselves. 

Each one of us is the cause of Brexit, whether we voted for it, whether we didn't campaign hard enough for Remain, whether we moved abroad and couldn't vote, but chiefly Brexit arose because of low-level complaint about the European Laws and Regulations that have affected our lives: if we have murmured against Europe, then we have caused Brexit. Each one of us is responsible in the decline of the democratic process because the people who now offer themselves as our politician do not have our respect. The more we murmur against our politicians, then the more we are responsible for the levity with which we treat the democratic process and the less we value it.

The same is true for the Church. There have been paedophile priests, incompetent Bishops, promoters of every kind of heresy ranging from Hedonism and Montanism to Ebionism, Gosticism and Arianism. While one might, like Christopher Hitchens, feel justified in disbelieving in God because of the actions of His servants it is a non sequitur par excellence. The whole point has been that the Church is a Hospital for Sinners, not the Judgement Hall, nor the House of the Already Perfect. Each member of the Church has the same infection by Evil from the Patriarchs right up to the person in the pew.  However, the more we murmur against our Bishops, the less we will be able to see their role as Christ among us, and the less they will perceive it in themselves.

The sad fact of the matter is we believe that there is a solution to all these problems within our reach. How foolish! It won't work. We cannot create Heaven on Earth. We cannot save ourselves. We can do absolutely nothing to make life better for any single person without Faith. We are saved through Faith and Works: our actions only contribute to the salvation of the human race when they are joined to the Only God Who can effect that Salvation through the blood of His Son. Faith first - then Works born from Faith. Even then there will be no Heaven on Earth while there is Sin, but there will always be Hope because there is Salvation, there is Resurrection, there is Christ Jesus Our King.

The antidote to murmuring has to be humility. We have to learn to focus the beam of our complaint onto the mirror so that it will reflect back at ourselves. We can only live in a perfect society if we are committed to becoming perfect ourselves. It's not another person's problem, it can only be ours. While we may justly raise our complaints at injustice to God upon His Throne of Grace, Mercy and Justice, we have absolutely no grounds for complaint if we do nothing to improve ourselves first. 

This means we either endure what society throws at us and accept the decisions made by flawed people on our behalf or leave it some way to pursue a life of holiness. Our fight is not against people: it is against the Devil and his army of angels, principalities and powers that are external to us but infect us along the fault lines caused by the First Sin in the Garden of Eden. If we truly want to be healed then we must look to the Cross and embrace the figure upon it with all the pain and suffering that we can and must bear in our part with Him. The more we seek to change the world by organised protest and national outcry the more we will be drowned out by the noise of other organised protests and outcries on all the other matters. 

Charity begins at home. It begins with us putting our own house in order through prayer, perseverance and living the life of virtue in meekness, humility and love in the shadow of Christ's Cross in hope of Resurrection and Salvation. Make your complaint to God and then change yourself to conform to Him. Then and only then will you see His will for the world.

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