I want to focus solely on what Rosenstock writes about gnosticism, for I think the implications unspool down to our very own time. He characterizes the gnosis as “speech without experience” or “speech to no purpose.” This is in sharp contrast to the language of the Gospels, which, he says, corresponds to the grammar of the Cross:
" In our modern terms, we may say that each Gospel is aware of the perfect cycle of this life from Imperativus personalis to Subjunctivus Lyricus to Narrativus Historicus to Indicativus Abstractus. But each Gospel writer was stirred up by one especially: Matthew who had experienced the violence of a a sudden order: Follow me, took his clue from the Imperativus personalis; Mark wrote for and with the prince of the apostles, took his clue from the fellowship of the twelve, a strongly lyrical note; Luke, who was Paul’s companion…wrote from Christmas on, as any narrator who has a particular time span in common with the events he narrates. And John… took his clue from Jesus’s victory over the endless cycles of ritual, of eons, of revolutions which engulfed the ancient world. He began with the progress brought on by the power of the Word, in his Indicativus Abstractus: In the beginning was the Word. ..”
Then Rosenstock uses the term beloved of spiritual scientists: initiation. He says: ”But until a man is initiated into the cross of grammar as a citizen who listens to the call of duty, as a lover who hears the soul of his life call upon his name, as the patient who sees his chance to get well, as the thinker who realizes the category of freedom for himself despite the laws which his mind thinks up for nature – not until [he] has had at least one of these four experiences, does he use speech to a reasonable purpose.”
Thus he defines the gnostics as people who began to “dabble” with the new facts brought into being by the church, by Christianity: “People tried to think the new life without being touched by it first in some form of call, listening, passion, or change of heart.” He comments that “gnosticism is all over the world today.”
What arrested my attention in particular was this: “During the last century, our last ramparts against the relapse into gnosis have been the earthly love of man and wife.” Dr. Rosenstock could not have glimpsed the decadent hollows of our current moral and political disorder, with gender now having become the latest serpent sliding out of the shallows—comprised of “fictions, myths, repetitions, suspicions, when words have lost their meaning. We move in a vacuum.” Apparently, physical, incarnated life no longer suffices for people to have the sense of reality. It is simply tossed overboard like so much extra baggage. Truth to say—the metaphor is for a sinking ship.
These thoughts came to mind as I read the latest online issue of The American Conservative, where even a Democratic National Committee true believer is floored by how much gender madness has overtaken Democratic party politics. Correct thinking about gender has come to reign supreme, even usurping the place where the kind of work that must be done to maintain the Democratic Party as a viable political entity is to be done. The article can be read here:
Also in this same issue there is an article reporting on the firing of the local Lutheran Seminary president, Theresa Latini, just a few weeks ago. Twenty years ago Latini had worked with an organization sponsored by the Presbyterian Church, that counselled people dealing with sexual and gender issues. Apparently such mainstream views were no longer welcomed in the Lutheran Seminary, which has seen a 50% enrollment decline in a single decade. The article:
Even the editor of the extreme-left Chestnut Hill Local, which caters to one of Philadelphia’s best neighborhoods, admitted in March 22 editorial, that “We need a better way to reconcile people with their pasts.” Pete Mazzaccaro noted the irony that Christianity had been founded by Paul, one of the persecutors of the early Christians. Yet Paul had been forgiven. Why could not the so-called Christians at the Lutheran seminary figure out a way to forgive their president, Theresa Latini, for her past “mistake” i.e., working with an organization that held mainstream views about gender? New Gender Orthodoxy is unforgiving indeed!
“The grammar of the Cross”: is the signal contribution needed today. May we raise it to stand alongside the grave of civilization that we keep digging. May it stand in the hope that the honor of speech will be reborn in us before we succeed in destroying the world.