Why I’m Not Ultimately a Pessimist

These are strange times indeed.  The traditional ‘fusion-conservatism’ has been shattered, to be replaced by a form of nationalism that in some forms seems to lean in the unfortunate direction of white nationalism. Some of the old social conservatives have taken to looking to Putin’s Russia, of all places, as their beacon of hope.  This is, frankly, a little too much for me.

There are two things that I lean on that keep me from being a total pessimist.  One is from the book of Isaiah.  In Isaiah 10:20-22, the prophet declares,

In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy one of Israel, in truth.  A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.  For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return.

In fact, we find out in Isaiah 7:3 that the prophet has named one of his sons Shear-jashub, which in fact means ‘a remnant will return’.  I have not been enthusiastic about plans to ‘save America’ or ‘save Western Civilization’.  I don’t believe America, or Western Civilization, will be saved.  But I do believe, however, that a remnant always returns.

Off subject a little, but Isaiah also has a classic rebuke to conspiracy theorists in 8:12-15:

Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.  But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor.  Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

My other hope has to do with the late medieval legend of Prester John.  In the late Middle Ages there was the belief that somewhere on the other side of the Islamic world from Europe was supposedly this great Christian king called Prester John.  The nearest thing to this reality turned out to be Ethiopia, which was not that powerful, and indeed Ethiopia had to be rescued by the Portuguese in the 16th century.  But now, the dream of Prester John has, after a fashion, come true, as the majority of Christians in the world are now located in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  In 1998 the Africans and Asians showed up at the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Congress in Canterbury, England, and helped see to it that the Anglican Communion did not go entirely astray on doctrinal and sexual issues.  They have also shown up at international congresses of Lutherans and Methodists, restraining Western influences to apostasy in those communions as well.  As I think of it, ‘Prester John Rides’!!  We may someday have a new Christendom of some sort on the Africa-China axis.  We may never actually have a Christendom, as we knew it, again.  But if you worry about the West, know that the Christian Church has broken its attachment to the West and is a worldwide church.  Prester John Rides!







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