The Economic Horizon

Insofar as every message has an audience, and every social institution has an appeal to certain demographics more than to others, both are limited by the economy. The degree to which a message/institution is limited and the number of niches to which it can address itself varies. We overlook these limitations of our beloved institutions at our peril. It may be that, given social differentiation, anything that claims to be universal needs to see what, exactly, its social form is. It may be something quite different from a universal — it may be a sect, or a special interest group, or something else. Economic pressures and patterns of social organization may be more universal in this age; it is not clear that modern Orthodoxy has a social articulation of a universal message about the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead that could hint at a universal horizon whose myriad signs (charity, in all its senses) are bastioned in a minority group that does something revolutionary, something futural. Rather, modern Orthodoxy seems largely poised to sell as a product to certain niches, as is evidenced by the average educational attainment of its members (see the Pew study, below).

I had originally intended to publish this somewhere, in a different form; I leave it here for whoever may be interested in reading it — and to justify closing a number of tabs left open on my browser. :-)

Were I to write this properly, I’d go through Durkheim, Weber, Tönnies, Berger (and Berger, and Berger), Moore, Luckmann, Bruce (and Bruce), Stout, Warner, Pitts, Chambers, Giddens, Parsons, and Táíwò. Sadly, there’s only so much time, and a man needs to work. 

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