Joyce’s Ulysses cries, “History is the nightmare from which I must wake up.”
As in previous millenniums of the Christian story men found and testified and fought for one God and one earth, so now we must find and testify and fight for God’s one time against impatient men’s private plans for history. Schemes to usher in the end of history overnight defy the Christian belief in a dispensation of time, whereby God is taking care of his world from beginning to end.
-Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, The Christian Future, p.20
Though Nazi Fascism and what would become Communism were the two things on the radar when Rosenstock-Huessy wrote the above in the 1940s, this observation seems equally relevant if not more so today. I look all around me and I see “schemes to usher in the end of history overnight”.
I see “futurists” gushing about the impending AI “singularity” when the intelligence of machines will surpass that of man.
On the other side I see Christian Zionists who talk incessantly about Israel and prophecy, with their televisions tuned to CNN and their web browsers to World Net Daily. Any minute now, the last something showdown blood moon something tribulation something is going to explode. Heck, maybe we can even help it along, eh!? It’s kind of a drag that Jesus is taking His sweet time.
I see Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs talking with straight faces about how their new app will literally overhaul all of humankind.
I see pop atheist writers rejoicing at how we are throwing off last vestiges of religion and embarking on a future of pure humanistic freedom (in apparently the last days of man as the environment decays around us).
Joyce yearned to throw off history and even language, and yet he is so steeped in Catholicism, he can almost sound like a religious man to our ears today, his invented words and run-on sentences relegated to the ivory tower. Picking up the mantle are the contemporary gender-benders and linguistic castrators building a safe couch cushion fort out of trigger warnings. Their dismantling of the past seems eminent, but only to the Bay area social media app users on the one hand and the folks permanently tuned to CNN on the other.
For the rest of us hanging out somewhere in the middle (including the +1 billion Christians and +1 billion Muslims not living in the modern west), these schemes seem much less impending.
I believe God is “taking care of his world from beginning to end”. I pray to Christ today to protect me from the temptation to try to exert more control than I have been given, and the temptation to tremble in fear of the control other are exerting. There are schemes to yank history in this or that direction, but his slow growing seed of life and hope cannot be dislodged. Amen.