Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:15-16
The image of the Christian lighting a candle to be carried out of the Church into a dark world is a powerful symbol that illustrates what the Church believes about its place and reason for being in the world. The great cosmic battle has long been held to be the few brave souls willing to bring the bright flame of Christian truth into the dark room that is the world without Christ.
Modernity, however, has developed in such a way that the room is no longer dark. In the room, there is a new source of light, one manufactured by the flow of humanist optimism. There are two lights, both made from the latest in LED thinking, both burning brighter than the light of any candle. One light is science and the other is universal charity, the pillars of modern soft atheism.
Together, these two lights have lit the room so brilliantly that a Christian who dares to bring in his lowly, wax-fed, flickering flame, with its smoke and smell, is seen as dirtying up what is clean. The archaic, fragile flame of the old world of divine revelation, tradition, and sacred things cannot compete with the unwavering glare of the modern LED and all of its tiny, blinding glory. The Christian and his candle becomes a weak competitor with modern man.
This is why the Church has not only failed to effectively counter the Progressive culture war waged against it, but has allowed too many of its long-lit candles to be replaced by the brilliance of the tactical LED flashlight. Deception is found when the optimism of the modern world appears to shine brighter, so much brighter, than the light of the Church.
The candle of family is out shined by the LED of feminism while the modern man paints his feminist LED to look like a family flame, thus fooling himself into thinking he has gained one without losing the other. Equality shines brighter than natural reality, but is tinted to look like natural reality. The Church light looks dark and dim next to the light of modern skepticism, but the skeptic still covers himself in the color of the Church. In the end, it is artificial light tinted to look like the candles that modernity has tried so desperately to place behind closed glass.
The Christian must accept the reality that to most people the LEDs of modernity are brighter than the candles of the Church. At the same time, they must not be fooled into thinking that because Thomas Edison’s bulb looks brighter than a candle, it is somehow a mark of progress toward a better world. While directly challenging light with light is a kind of impossibility, the Church can keep faith that the genuine light of the lit candle and the smoke of prayers drifting up from it will outlast the empire of the LED, as it has outlasted all other man-made empires.