Moderation

“Let your moderation be known unto all men.” Phil 4:5

The pious practices of moderation are best hidden, lest their publicity infests our souls with pride. This passage from Philippians, sprinkled among the proverbial exhortations of the last chapter of Paul’s letter, far too easily becomes a justification for sin for the immature believer. When we are insecure in our faith, we may find it alluring or even necessary to grasp onto any point (whether of doctrine or praxis) that seems to differentiate ourselves from Them. We seek out our preferred list of essentials in order to reinforce our own brand of religious chauvinism. It is precisely for this reason that we should be wary, even cynical, of public professions of piety, especially those that would bring the speaker increased influence.

“The only simplicity that matters is the simplicity of the heart. If that be gone, it can be brought back by no turnips or cellular clothing; but only by tears and terror and the fires that are not quenched.” Chesterton Orthodoxy

Cavanaugh

William Cavanaugh, professor of theology at Depaul University, is a powerful reinterpreter of the theopolitical ideologies that shape the West and helps to deconstruct our thoroughly modern approach to religion. Paul Kennedy’s Ideas (without a doubt one of the most consistently insightful audio programs available) interviews Cavanaugh to talk about his recent book Migrations of the Holy. He discusses the founding myths of liberalism, the ways this obfuscates and twists our interactions with modern religious groups (eg think of the West’s strained relationship with Islam) and possible directions for developing a truly Christian response to them. I highly recommend it.