|The talk radio mafia, pushers of the American Civil Religion|
But then that same Anglicanism wrapped itself up in a passing political and cultural identity, and defended itself in terms only intelligible in the context of that identity.
The particular time or place of one’s youth and childhood is always vividly one’s own. Equally it is irrecoverable, and impossible fully to communicate to others. It is a place to which one can never return, and it cannot provide a common life. But Christianity provides, through the Church, a common life that is eternal – to which one must arrive through a history, but not to remain in that history. This common life appeals to memory but cannot remain locked up in the vividness of a particular remembered past, not that of an individual, or even of a nation.
There is a religiose form of cultural conservatism that ignores this, and that seeks to defend Christianity as, in effect, a local human tradition. It can take Anglican form, and celebrate a national idyll of prayer book and common law, or it can equally well take a more superficially Catholic form, and celebrate Christianity as the essence of a European culture. But this is limiting and presumptuous.
The Christian life is supernatural. It divinises the human. Cultural conservatism parading as religion does the reverse. In this respect it curiously resembles Christianity in overtly liberal form. Like liberal Christianity, cultural nostalgia reduces to the human what should be divine.
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