Walker Percy’s postmodern faith; the politics of abortion

Christianity after Christendom

I was happy to see Andrew J. Bacevich refer to Walker Percy in his response to Robert P. Imbelli (“History, Hope & iPhones,” October 7), but I think he got only half of what Percy was after. Certainly Percy derided the rampant consumerism of the age, but he saw it as a byproduct of a “radical transformation” of consciousness taking place in the postmodern world. As Percy saw it, the transformation leaves us prey to “angelism/bestialism”: holding on to an abstract theory instead of the “lovely, ordinary world.”

Percy would have agreed with Bacevich that most of us “are no longer wayfarers in search of some ultimate purpose or destination.” He would have suggested, however, that it is precisely in the ruins of this postmodern world, when all other options have played themselves out, that the possibility of finding oneself as a wayfarer and a pilgrim reemerges. When all seems lost, a space for the new arises.

With Kierkegaard, Percy saw it was likely a good thing that Christendom had passed. In that passing, Christianity might just emerge. It may not happen on a cultural level and that, too, may be for the best. But it has happened and will continue to do so in the individual consciousness and in communities of people who have exhausted other possibilities. I am sure Bacevich’s Cistercian sister-in-law, like monastics everywhere, will...

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