I notice that the President of Russia’s wife was the first in the queue to receive Holy Communion at the recent enthronement of the new Patriarch … and that both their President and Prime Minister are on good report, practicing Christians – even with their own spiritual directors (Putin’s is apparently a very senior monk). I wonder how many … no correct that … I wonder in any western leaders have serious Christian spiritual directors. Angela Merkel? That new fellow in America? Gordon Brown? Sarkosy? …oh, let’s get real.
It annoys me the way the Americans can’t let go of the Cold War attitudes towards Russia. I think that Putin is precisely the kind of leader that Russia needs. The Americans have a pretty poor grasp of democracy – but they run around the world trying to force their faulty concepts on everyone else. The Westminster system (before Blair/Brown started messing with it) worked rather better.
In my view, we in Britain, Canada, Australia etc., would do better in the aftermath of the current world political-economic revolution, to seek closer alliance and common interests with Russia.
While I don’t hate the Americans, I think that in this current age of instant information, where processes which would earlier have taken decades or centuries, today can take merely a few years or even months, they are now irreversibly in decline. Whereas just ten years ago, the neocons (Bush’s close advisers) were setting up websites telling the world (and themselves) that this was to be the NEW AMERICAN CENTURY, today what’s-his-name, their new President is going to be lucky if he finishes his term with a country that is more influential than Brazil.
Personally, I’d rather bet on Russia. I’ve been watching, and I have contacts recently arrived from and still living in Russia, and what I see is extremely different from the Murdoch press cling-to-the-cold-war view.
I see a country that is still coming to grips with its new situation, but that is trying very hard to resist the secular pseudo-humanist depravity that the Americans and western Europeans are so in love with. We have sunk into this mire of … well I can only call it depravity .. I don’t know of another word – and now we are eager to sell it to everyone else.
I gave this the title of churches … churches … THE CHURCH. That was because I have been meditating on the source of our problems in modern western society. As a serious Christian (at least I think that I am serious) I have to distance myself from the antics of the Church of England over the past three decades. Indeed from the antics of all of western Christianity over the past four decades. It’s just got worse and worse as time has gone on. Of course, I didn’t realise at first just what was happening. It all went hand-in-hand with the other social revolutions that were happening in western society in the late fifties, sixties and seventies. The western churches led us only insofar as they rushed to embrace each new fad or “movement” immediately it appeared, thinking to make themselves “relevant”.
In other words, they have “progressively” abandoned the entire concept of the Way that Christ and His Apostles taught the Early Christian Church.
Rome lead the way with their council and the Church of England stumbled cravenly after them. But the Church of England quickly fell into the hands of some very hard “liberal” operators, bishop after bishop was appointed – liberal politicians all of them. Hard men and women of no conscience and no Christianity – only an ideological agenda – they captured the institution, leaving only the facade visible to the credulous public. There was no longer a moral leadership to be had from the Church of England, just silly men selling their Christian heritage for a mess of popularity.
The Lutherans and the Presbyterians have fared no better in their countries. They have no shadow of their former selves.
And that’s where I like Russia. Her Church, after eighty years of concentrated persecution, countless martyrdoms and deliberate destruction has miraculuously sprung back to life upon the demise of the communists. The militant atheists failed after having given it their best shot. The practitioners of the ultimate secret state have found that amongst their most trusted members, there were secret Christians. Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin was born and brought up entirely within the atheist-communist era – and yet he was baptised as a child and today is an openly practising Orthodox Christian. Dimitry Nicholaevich Medvedev was born and brought up within the communist-atheist system, yet as a young man, just as he was setting out on a career within that system, chose to believe in Christ and got himself baptised (hardly a good career-enhancer in those days) and is today a practising Orthodox Christian.
So what about their Orthodox Church? Well, as far as I can tell, it has never embraced any of the stupidities of the western pseudo-Christians. It fits all the tests as to still being the Church that Christ started in the beginning. In other words, it is genuine Christianity. Don’t be fooled by the great cathedrals in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, or the splendid ceremonies. Look at the work on the ground, the thousands of young men and women joining their monasteries and convents and the young men going for training as Priests.
These people have got something to offer us. The big question for us is how can we persuade them to come to western Europe and Britain and give it to us?