This piece hits close to home for me. And if you’re reading this, I expect, for you also.
A friend recently voiced his disillusionment with what he saw as a factionalized, and thereby, he reasoned, inert community in Kinism. And as it is a public address to and about our community, I make this reply in kind.
Shotgun has described our communion as one split between “puritans” who decline to rally to his banner on one hand, and radical Alt Righters with whom, on account of their variant theologies and decadent social mores, he didn’t feel entirely at home anyway.
Obviously, this begs the question of what Kinism is. And as long as the term has existed there have been two answers side by side: on the one hand, Kinism has meant the racial/national/tribal/familial social order which Christendom as a whole more or less assumed from the beginning as contiguous with the natural order; and on the other hand, it has been identified, systematized, and justified in terms of covenantal/Reformed theology uniquely. And, I would argue, it can only ultimately be so from that frame of reference. Or as brother Adi recently put it, “The theology of the covenant seems to be the one doctrine on which any civilization stands or falls.” So while this equivocation is perfectly sensible and standardized amongst us, it has nonetheless given occasion to some confusion. We speak at once in terms of Christendom as a whole, but on the grounds of Reformed theology particularly.
This is where our friend’s articulation of the divide comes in. He’s right to some degree: the radicals whom he identifies as heterodox in faith and practice might have rallied more readily to his banner if only he did not regard them so, and, of course, if he would have them. But since he’s a man of candor, there’s really little to be done about that. Meantime, the “puritans” whom he mentions (conservative Presbyterians, really) did not rally to his crusade in the main because single men jaunting about hither and yon, staging slam sessions against liberal rabble, and “inciting negro riots” just aren’t the prerogatives of the covenant community.
That’s certainly not to say that confronting our enemies is off the radar; far from it. Neither is it to say that our enemies don’t deserve a rightist version of the Freedom Riders to give them a taste of their own medicine. It’s just that the biblical conception of society isn’t one focused primarily on the individual and, therefore, does not emphasize rallies, swashbuckling feats of daring-do, beer hall putsches, or general rabble-rousing prosecuted by an atomized mass. Rather, ours is defined by the day-to-day clan and family life, building an enculturated Christian society from the bottom-up.
We realize that apart from that essential covenantal Weltanschauung, the clan-centric approach to dominion can indeed be, and typically is, mistaken for concession or defeat. It is cliché, after all, for those chasing some spiritual high to remark that conservative Christian enclaves are “spiritually dead.” Because they do not recognize an orthodox profession, faithfulness of husbands to wives, wives who are respectful of husbands, and children who maintain the faith of their fathers as genuine spiritual fruit. Intact families serving Christ together and taking dominion in their limited orbits is deemed too mundane. Almost contemptible for their sheltered lack of vicissitude, spontaneity, and internal turmoil.
You see, it isn’t that we don’t believe in heroes; we certainly do. It’s that our heroes are foremost patriarchs faithfully building into the next generation, and thereby are the ramparts raised as those covenant children rise to do likewise, extending Christian dominion within their spheres of influence. This is the ordained means for the sanctification of society.
Apart from that jurisdictional lens, many fall unavoidably into a will-to-power theory of dominion. For all their cognizance of the attendant ills of Enlightenment thought, the a-covenantal theory of dominion trends nonetheless into a clutching for control via the therapeutic state, whether by an atomized mass or by autocratic coup. Even if pursued under the title of National Socialism, it is essentially the same binary relation of man to state espoused by their liberal opponents. Unmoored from the covenant-clan, persuaded to egoism, and heeding no regulative principle, with Browning they take for granted that “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
Here then, too, is no small overlap with non-Christian nationalists at large, who are inclined to modernist fascist movements of the 1930s, radical revolutionary strategies like the Turner Diaries, and fatalist tropes of Ragnarok. These envision the contest for our future as some glorious return to barbarism on our part in which we postpone or defer family life entirely to match our brawn and wits against our enemies, savagery for savagery. But this blaze-of-glory reckoning they seek in lieu of the generational bottom-up consecration of society via the Christian clan only fosters hedonism and decadence in our people. And the might-makes-right proposition of proving our worthiness by becoming more effective barbarians than all other races only renders the question moot: if in order to rout the savages we must become more savage than they, there is little point to that struggle. But I digress.
That said, I sympathize with Shotgun’s angst at having a foot in both worlds, claiming the doctrine of one, but tempted to the method of the other. It’s a sure recipe for frustration and disillusionment. And it isn’t just on his part. We’ve seen the same dynamic beguiling many who, though professing the covenantal view, defer to pagan methods in the belief that they can, Hercules-like, muck the Augean Stables by sheer pluck. All of which they presume to culminate with “our guys” somehow taking the reins of civil government to impose dominion top-down.
Neither is this dynamic seen only in respect to the state. No, faced with the fact that the churches have abandoned the Christian view in regard to folk and family, many who know better bite their tongues for the sake of abiding under the formalism of the institution. The inducements to which are, by their own admission, first, a sense of normalcy for their children, and second, avoiding social pariahhood. Few for the sake of doctrine are willing today to do as our fathers did even for a season, worshiping by hearth and on the heath. We all want to see the organized church rise, but not upon a foundation of institutional organization itself. To be the true church organized, it must rise upon the foundation of right doctrine, and that cannot preclude honor for our fathers and mothers, the love of our people, or the birthright of our children. Because Christianity is not a suicide pact, but life, and life abundant.
The grim irony of which is that these short-term social inducements prove strong enough to compel even those who comprehend the long-term effect thereof as the dispossession of their own children. And the churches have a good deal more of these in the pews than they know.
But this brings me to the third inducement driving Kinist-leaning folks into the fold of subverted institutional (read, alienist) churches against their own better judgement: the yearning to do something. To see the momentum of organization under an ostensibly Christian banner operating under forbearance of the zeitgeist. The security and affirmation of the “respectable” institution is a sign and wonder which men crave so much that they will set aside many other central convictions that they otherwise believe define Christ’s Kingdom. Yes, they who go that route sense something Faustian in the bargain, but such is the allure of the institution: regimentation, administration, and organization often trump the real creeds of the communicants.
Lest you think I’m talking down to anyone on this score, rest assured, my hands haven’t always remained clean with respect to these sorts of compromises, either. By circumstance of our time and the permeating tides of liberal thought that touch us all in some degree, we have all stumbled at this seminal point in some ways. So I’m preaching against myself as much as anyone. These are temptations common to us all.
At the end of the day, we need our own denomination. But that is still a ways off, it seems, and a discussion for another time.
All these routes – individualism, statism, and ecclesiocentrism – are misplaced emphases. The Kinist emphasis, the theonomic and biblical basis of society, is the the family under God. From Eden, to the household of Abraham promised to bless all the families of earth, to the decalogical treatment of the family as the central institution, to the Nehemiac admonition to ‘remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses’ (Neh. 4:14), to Christ’s nativity emphasizing His family, to the apostles’ baptism of whole households on the faith of their federal heads (Acts 10:22; 11:12, 14; 16:15; 16:30-34; 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:16), all of these underscore the centrality of the family as the central building block. And now, so plainly exiled from church and state, orthodox Christians are only all the more compelled to acknowledge that centrality of the family under God. With Joshua we must say, “But as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:16).
But if our forlorn brother confides in us that our resignation to this clan-centric position is a discouragement, his self-exile certainly won’t palliate any sense of alienation. No council has convened amongst us determining to shun those who find themselves “eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 19:12). Our alienation of the adventure-seeking Paladin is incidental to the fact that these men, if they are true, are expected to serve and safeguard our communities under Christ. Failing that, they alienate themselves.
As we’ve said, we are not cynics: we believe in heroes, and we need them. It’s just that our heroes are more homesteaders than wandering gunslingers. Our heroes are building and defending the covenant clans. We pray Shotgun might turn back from the desperado trail and take the place reserved him at the parapet.
As much as this article was intended in charity, I hope it is received accordingly.