High Voltage or Empty Straw



“If the creed is not considered dangerous, divine worship is emasculated.”

A creed is either worthless or worth everything we have. Here’s a classic quote from an essay by Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy entitled “The Peace of the Pirates” in Planetary Service (1978).

I have had the honor to have been considered a public danger more than once in my life. The first time was in 1912 when I wrote, “Language is wiser than the person who speaks it.” My thesis almost foundered on this disturbing reality of the Holy Spirit which I had perceived. Balaam’s ass was considered unscientific!

It occurred a second time in February 1919 before the Versailles Treaty was signed. I called upon the German legal profession to offer their protection for the Kaiser and the generals, and let the Allies—as they in fact did in 1945—put the legal profession on trial instead, so that the indispensable new planetary law could come into being, once we had been made liable. The reader can imagine the effect. I wanted to do away with the immunity of the German professor! So I left the “institution of higher learning and limited liability.” It happened a third time in 1935 in the U.S.A. I was considered a blemish on pure science, because I referred to the workings of the living God in a lecture hall. Again, Harvard University, objective, free of “values,” felt that it could restore its honor only by contemptuously shoving me off into the theology department. These three opportunities were related to our three articles of faith, 1912 to the third, 1919 to the second, and 1935 to the first. I was so audacious as to invoke them. Presumably I have survived, thanks to this trinity. It cost me my native country, my colleagues, and so-called science.

…The distorted thing about our position today is that almost nobody who is earning his daily bread with the Christian creed realizes that the credo may be deadly dangerous. Only laymen believe that, or people like Bonhoeffer who take off their frocks. If the creed is not considered dangerous, divine worship is emasculated. The creed is either high voltage or empty straw.

(Thanks to Charles Hartman for the recommendation.)

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