…I often find myself among non-observant people. They don’t speak religious language or have religious habits. Most are just ordinary Midwestern folks who have lived in nominally Christian, common sense realistic environments and who have spent their years working, raising families, and dealing with the ordinary stuff of life.

This drives me a little bit crazy, since I am of two minds about it. On one hand, I feel perfectly OK just letting the Blodgetts live their Blodgett-y lives without pestering them too much about the demands of Jesus. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Even once you get outside the Heartland and into Diversity World®, you find that practitioners of other religions have pretty much the same laissez-faire attitude about religion that the Christians have. It’s all well and good in its place, honoring the demands of tribe and culture and all that, but business and its demands are primary. After all, bills have to be paid and the kids need to be clothed and educated. There is a devout Sunni Muslim I have a business relationship with. Of all the people I know, he is the closest to someone who practices his religion because he wants to cultivate a relationship with God. And I prefer Shi’a Islam to Sunni.

Yet at the same time, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection aren’t really necessary if your goal in life is to live in a realistic, common-sense environment where the maximization of pleasure and the avoidance of pain is the primary goal. Even you, CM, have to admit that most of your non-religious contacts have been living off of borrowed capital, spending the last few coppers, as Solzhenitsyn put it, of the gold coins laid down by their ancestors. Their children and grandchildren won’t be living the same way. Man was meant to be divine, not mediocre, and Screwtape wins when man embraces mediocrity even if he refuses outright wickedness.

I agree with you that the problem is that the scaffolding currently supporting our threadbare Christendom does not allow for the insertion of Jesus into human strengths and goodness. Revivalism really did a tune on that, especially with its insistence that you have to acknowledge yourself to be a pretty horrible person to be able to avail yourself of Jesus and the Church. Jesus started getting a reputation as a safe harbor for last-gaspers. As one person told me, ‘there has to be a place where you can meet Jesus other than at the end of your rope.’