In the lively back-and-forth comments that have accumulated below Kristor’s recent post, long-time commenter Theantignostic likens the traditionalists’ strategy to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. The allusion was unknown to me, but I now understand that The Village (2004) is a movie directed by the aforementioned Shyamalan, and that the village in Shyamalan’s movie is home to a paranoid cult. The members of this cult have been brainwashed into believing that they are living in an out-of-the-way corner of Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century, when they are in fact in living in an out-of-the-way corner of Pennsylvania sometime around the year 2000. I am not exactly sure how the plot works, but it seems that the cult members, or perhaps their parents, retreated to the village in the hope of escaping the evils of twentieth-century America, and that they are now trapped in the village because their Elders have fooled them into believing that “Those of Whom We Do Not Speak” stalk, sasquatch-like, through the surrounding forest.
Theantignostic does not use The Village as evidence that traditional Christians must overcome paranoid revulsion and mingle freely in twenty-first-century America. He uses it as evidence that traditional Christians require a habitat much larger than a “village” (or church) if they hope to survive, and even more so if they hope to flourish. Traditional Christians really need a country of their own. If they do not somehow take possession of a country of their own, and then institute rigorous policies that will keep that country for their own, traditional Christians might just as well go ahead and convert their church basements into gay discos right now.
The reason I say this is illustrated by the news that students at Seattle Pacific University have joined in a suit against the school for refusing to alter its policy of refusing to hire homosexual staff, and for refusing to dox and dismiss the board members who voted to retain the school’s old “homophobic” policy. Seattle Pacific is a small Free Methodist university that has so far shown more spine than many other denominational institutions of higher education; but one must suppose that its war chest for lawfare is small, and that SPU may therefore be converting its chapel basement into a gay disco before long.
Here is a video of several SPU graduates walking the stage at last spring’s commencement, each one handing the chagrinned university president a small rainbow flag. The video commentator says that “this is what solidarity looks like against bigoted school administrators,” but what it in fact looks like is sodomitic subversion and supremacy. Rather than letting the first flag fall to the floor, and then walking off the stage and announcing immediate cancellation of the ceremony, the university president submits to this humiliation with a worried and ingratiating grin. Indeed he had no choice because he had already agreed to to admit people who hate his “village” into his “village,” and because displeasing these subversive infiltrators gives greater outside powers an excuse to forcibly convert his “village” into a “wide-open town.”
This is the great and very likely fatal weakness of formal Christian institutions in a hostile post-Christian society. A “village” (i.e. a university or a church) can be infiltrated, publicly humiliated, and sued into submission or oblivion. Formal institutions are thus rapidly becoming something like aircraft carriers in an age of hypersonic cruise missiles. Deep pockets just make them more tempting targets. Small informal clubs are better suited to survive in this environment, since they can easily dissolve when they are infiltrated. They have no printed policies to protest, no money to confiscate, no buildings to commandeer, no officers to suborn–indeed no real existence so far as the law is concerned.
This is not to say that romantic Christianity does not entail grave dangers, only that Theantignostic is probably correct that it is going to take more than a village.