Striking Out

Abdiel is the lone angel who stands up against Satan and his power hungry hordes in John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. In fact, Abdiel strikes Satan in an act so bold it even shocks the master demon himself.

The bishop of Phoenix, in a recent homily I happened to hear, said that one key to victory in any battle, according to the great military leaders of various eras, is to know that you are, in fact, in a battle. Much has been said about the culture wars. Yet, at this dawning decade of the 21st century, even those who acknowledge that such a war is raging groan when those words are uttered. There is something disatisfying about the term. Perhaps it’s too reactionary. I think it might have more to do with the ambiguity that has settled over the word ‘culture’ like a confounding cloud. A war is, indeed, raging, but the enemy is embedded within the very thing that is to be defended, like weeds among the wheat. A long time ago, a young acolyte asked a wise and wizened old anchorite father if he could imagine a more desperate time than their own, which was a time when Byzantine emperors brazenly usurped power over the church and drove good and holy bishops into exile. The old anchorite replied to the despairing young man that he envisioned a time much worse than their own somewhere in the distant future because, in their own time, they were facing Satan chained. But, in a distant time the people would be faced with Satan unchained. Even a cursory look across the social, political, religious, and intellectual landscapes of this nation seems to indicate the era of Satan unchained is upon us. The so called “cultural indices” are everywhere. Anecdotal evidence often appears spurious when used to underpin serious arguments for or against something. Yet, when the anecdotal evidence is so unavoidably present, it should at least elicit some observation.

This site will be dedicated specifically to the pursuit and contemplation of truth, goodness and beauty because these are the bulwarks of culture. Like grand barrel arches these three categories stand protectively over all that has been, is, and will be magnificent in man and his world. Truth, goodness and beauty constitute the teleological trajectory of history, or at least what ought to be that trajectory. Whatever culture may mean today, it cannot mean anything apart from these three categories.

Man is lost because his sense of what he is meant to be and wherefrom his proper glory springs has been equally lost. To bring him round again, there must be new voices crying out in the wilderness of 21st century vacuity. Culture must be raised up again from the waste of quasi-paganism and nihilism. It must be reappropriated from those who would mold it according to the abstract forms of elitist ideology. Art and authentic literature (not mere ‘fiction’) must once again take its proper place against obtuse self-expression and a morbid fascination with crime scenes and sex. The story of man must once again be told.

That is the inspiration behind this little cyber-venture. Like Abdiel, I would like to strike Satan if I could find him. But, now that he’s unchained he finds the most improbable hiding places.

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