I find it difficult to assess the "Weird Christian" movement among the young toward older forms of worship, but my predominating impression is that while some of its proponents may be moving in a good direction, it is problematically romantic and immature. Mature Christianity knows that it must live in the world, which means that it must take human government, including frustrations over things like binary politics, seriously, but also that "the real thing" has always and everywhere been countercultural. In this world it must live in the tension between the kingdoms of God and Caesar.
The uninformed, juvenile opinion of every generation in a progressive milieu that the culture of the young has the knowledge and authority to correct its elders, rather than the responsibility to learn where the genuineness youth claims to seek lies within the old as a tradition that it must learn and recover, is every bit as much at war with the truth of things as the blind conservatism of which callow youth always accuses its elders.
Romanticism likewise has two faces (a line along which Lewis was thinking when he wrote Pilgrim's Regress as an "Allegorical Apology for . . . Romanticism"): one being mere aestheticism, and the other the soul's communion with God in the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty. The former and the latter are spiritually discerned as false and true, and must be so discerned, else we have fallen for, and serve our natural lust for, the great idol of Religion in its Christian habiliments, and we do not worship in spirit and in truth.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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