Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “I think that this is the biggest challenge in the modern world here. I don’t think that you can convince anyone of anything. I think that you can put something in front of them and their goodwill is either going to act positively upon it or it’s going to reject it. And I think this is where modern conservatism also just takes it off the deep end.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I think that this is the biggest challenge in the modern world here. I don’t think that you can convince anyone of anything. I think that you can put something in front of them and their goodwill is either going to act positively upon it or it’s going to reject it. And I think this is where modern conservatism also just takes it off the deep end. We don’t have any faith – let’s just pretend for a moment, David – by the way, David Simpson, host of the True Money Show is my special Wisdom Wednesday guest here on the Mike Church Show on the Crusade Channel. I’m operating at about 60 percent capacity here today, but happy I came in because we’ve done a lot of good today.
Just proceed from the point of view that conservatism, that the only true conservatism to promote is that conservatism that resulted in the ages of faith, the entity that we know that made up Christendom, and Christendom herself, Western civilization. There’s entire canons of Western civilization. There’s an architectural canon. There’s a literature canon. There’s a liturgical canon. There’s a science canon. Believe it or not, yes, the Church is pro-science and always has been. All this beauty, though, and all this tradition came about as a result of, not in spite of, as a result of philosophia perennis –
I can’t say it’s a direct result of, but as a result of man channeling his thinking properly and thinking correctly, humbly as men that were sent by God to teach us how to think correctly, like Aristotle. I think we can safely say that Aristotle was placed in that position to inspire Augustine, who he inspired less than Plato did, but certainly St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure and doctors so that we could remain free from error, and that our thinking would be clear and would be pleasing to Almighty God. Again, that has to be the basis of a true conservatism. And if it is, it also would then follow that in our promotion of it, and in our sharing of this – this is a gift. This does give us a path to undo, to counter-evolve some of the horrific errors of modernity and of the modern world. It is a counterrevolutionary tool. It’s not counter-revolutionary in and of itself, but it would be in effect counter-revolutionary. Don’t we run the risk, though, or don’t we – go ahead.
David Simpson: You hit the nail on the head, Mike. It really is whether or not you, at the beginning, in your soul, whether you are a person of goodwill or not. Now, most people, if you ask them directly, “Are you a person of goodwill?” they’re going to say yes. And I’m not going to dispute them. I’m not going to say: You’re lying. They need to have a test by which they judge that issue. I think you hit on another thing, which is, you and I use three words a lot of times: goodness, truth, and beauty. When we say those words, our hearts kind of sing. In other words, there’s something about them that you and I – by the way, this is not some special privilege of Mike Church and David Simpson. God knocks me over the head to make me understand him.
Mike: We could market and sell Crusade Channel good, true, and beautiful secret decoder rings, though. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I’m joking.
Simpson: It is something that usually, from your own follies, you come to, or from your own sinfulness you come to. In many cases – in other words, anyone is open to this. Grace is available to anyone. It’s not something special reserved to some elite class, because I’m certainly not that. What I’m saying is, if you say you’re a Christian of goodwill, there’s a test for it. That is, if I say: Let’s all work for goodness, truth, and beauty. If your first response is to say: What’s goodness? That’s your truth, Dave, but not my truth. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, bucko. If that’s your response, then you probably are, at that point at least, not a person of goodwill. You’re still a nominalist. You’re still believing these are just labels or words that anybody can use.
You’re still a subjectivist because you’re saying to yourself that supposedly there’s no objective reality to this thing; it’s just all inside of one person. You’re still a revolutionary because if you do not believe it’s objective, if you do not believe it’s something we could actually strive for together, then we will not strive together. We’ll strive apart. We’ll war against one another. If you want to test, ask yourself: Do you believe in truth? Do you believe in goodness? Do you believe in beauty? As a thing, as a real, tangible, existing thing that men and women can work for together. If you do, then you’re a person of goodwill. Just go find it. If you don’t, if you do have those kneejerk reactions, there’s something still working in you that rejects ultimate goodness and you need to work on it.
Mike: I’m going to go back, just to finish the point off here. What I was getting at is, when we get to the point where we are promoting the good, the true, and the beautiful, and the goodness and trueness and beauty of philosophia perennis and all that it entails, and we get to the point where, [mocking] “I told Sam Drucker all about it. He and I had a couple email exchanges. Doggonit, I just can’t get him. He needs to do this and he needs to do that.” Then, of course, you add a few names in there. Maybe you get pushback: That’s just your thinking. Then we get together and we bemoan the fact that they don’t do this or they don’t do that. I think that that is also something that has to be guarded against. We also have to then bring to the table the knowledge and the faith that: If his goodwill is going to accept it and God is going to prevail on him, then his goodwill is going to accept it. I cannot rush the process. I cannot – it doesn’t mean I’ve got to stop evangelizing. I’ve got to stop the – we’ve all heard, David, [mocking] “If only more people would do X, then this world wouldn’t be such a screwed-up place.” People are either coming to or turning away from the truth at their own pace. All we can do is pray that we don’t turn away from it.
Simpson: I agree with you, Mike. I think actually, and some people condemn me for this because they say: You’re too malleable. You’re being too easy. You’re not strident enough. These are the kind of comments I get. As a witness, for instance, to the power of Veritas Radio Network, let’s understand that we are all in this enormous fight. The fight has been going on for 500 years. Most people walk around with their fists up or their guns drawn. This is not abnormal. There’s an ongoing fight, and they’re scared and skeptical. They’re frightened of the potential of what you’re bringing to the table when you come up to them. In other words, they automatically believe you’re going to try to jack them around. Because you know that’s the station that they’re in, you’re much better with a passive approach: Hey, guys, I don’t have my weapons on. Hey, guys, I’m not here to punch you in the face; I’m going to make my statement and then leave.
We’ve seen a large number – you may not think it’s large, but I know it’s large because I’ve been in this fight for quite a while. We’ve seen a large number of conversions. Why are they converting through this radio station? The answer is: Because they don’t feel like it’s a personal attack. They’re looking at it very passively. They’re just listening to the radio and something about goodness and truth and beauty and objective reality sparks that inner goodwill. Then they go: Well, I’m open to that. I really would like to have a loving relationship. I really would like to have a good society. I really would like to have friends and feel like I’m working for something ultimately better than what I have now. They go and fight it, Mike. You can say: How do you know we’ve gotten them? There are inspiring emails. These people are writing from the depths of their souls saying: You’ve changed my life. I start crying when I read these things. The reason they came to it was because there was a passive approach to the battle, not an active one. I don’t know that we can win the active battle, which is what you said earlier, and I agree with you.
Mike: I want to bring up one more thing before we take the time out. Rachel Lu has an essay out today at CrisisMagazine.com. She’s quoting Archbishop Charles Chaput’s new book Strangers in a Strange Land. The title of the essay is, “What is Wrong with Us? How Should Christians Respond?” I just find these little nuggets and tidbits animate my soul and drive me to want to show up tonight for philosophia perennis, to recruit more people to come to it and to discover these things. When you hear them, they just click. They go: Truth! We should have a: Warning, warning, truth approaching! Here’s what she writes in part:
What is wrong with us? How should Christians respond? Archbishop Charles Chaput gracefully steps in to answer both of these questions in his new book, Strangers in a Strange Land. As we prepare ourselves for the season of Lent, this book strikes the perfect note.
This book is not a pep talk. Both the title and the cover immediately evoke feelings of alienation and loss, and the early portion of the book reflects that same mood. As a keen observer of American life, Chaput understands the spiritual desolation of our age, and offers a compassionate but bracing diagnosis of our condition, playing especially on St. Augustine’s contrast between the City of God and the City of Man.
St. Augustine understood that Christians of every era must help build the City of Man without fully being at home in it. Our true home is with God, and this allegiance impacts every aspect of our earthly life as well. Americans rightly call the United States our motherland, and as citizens, we should love and protect her as we can. Nevertheless, as true citizens of the City of God, we will always have some sense of being excluded, alienated, and separate. Learning to live with that tension is just a necessary aspect of leading a good Christian life.
Mike: I think that what Rachel has hit upon – by the way, I don’t know if you know her, David, but she’s a professor of philosophy. She’s also a Mormon convert, which is interesting. She comes from a very diverse background, shall we say? I think she’s hitting on the same point that Joseph Pearce hits on when he’s on your show and when he’s on my show, and that is that: If you’re going to be members of the church militant, just like Christ told us, why should we expect any treatment that’s not the kind of treatment that Christ received? We should always expect to be on the outside, and, quite frankly, we should be dutifully grateful for such treatment. I apologize to Pearce fans for butchering the accent.
Simpson: He’s channeling Chesterton, I think. I never could Chesterton [unintelligible] can’t quote the guy because his writing is too perfect and I can’t remember the way he did the words. He said something like he really felt isolated and alone for most of his life. I think he was even suicidal when he was young because he felt so distant and alienated from everything. You talk about alienation there. He said when he finally found the key, the key was that we are monsters in this world. We don’t belong in this world. We weren’t made for this fallen world. We were made for either a perfect garden or living in the body of Christ itself. He says: When I finally realized that was my state, I was much happier. No wonder I don’t feel perfect here; I’m not supposed to.
Mike: That’s another part of the whole: We’re going to make this a Heaven on Earth. First of all, dude, there would be no need to have a heaven if you could have Heaven on Earth. Isn’t that the point? There is no Heaven on Earth, dummy. Second thing is, you should never feel – it’s pride, as Father Bergamo points out through all those magnificent quotes from the gospels and the psalms and Book of Ruth and Ester and Judith and everything else. You should never ever think that you’ve achieved comfort. If you’ve achieved comfort, that means that you think that you have achieved something. If you think that you have achieved something, now you’re on the wrong side of the pride equation. I think that on a Wisdom Wednesday, that is the hardest concept in all of Christianity to really wrap your head around and really mentally pray upon and contemplate and try to get, don’t you think?
Simpson: I’m reading a book right now given to me by a fine lady at church, because she saw me going through a lot of struggles. The book is called Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence. It’s all about what you just said. Let’s face it, Mike, if any of us could surrender to divine providence in the way we ought to, one, we’d become saints, or, two, our lives would be so much better but not necessarily in the way we think of the word better, not materially better, not successful, not powerful, not famous necessarily, might be but probably not. More than likely it’s going to be the happiness, the joy and the pain, the happiness and the sorrow, the perfect balance between that which we desire and that which God desires and knowing that they’re both there and ought to be there for our own betterment. I don’t know if any of that makes any sense. I’m just reading this book, Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, and I go: I’m not even close to there.
Mike: I can only speak for myself. I haven’t even gotten to the doorstep to ring the doorbell yet. Christ talked about that narrow gate. I’m like: Wait, where’s the gate? I don’t even see the narrow gate? Where is it? Hey, fellas, where is it? I appreciate you taking time to be part of Wisdom Wednesday.
End Mike Church Show Transcript