Solidarity Healthshare, the nascent Catholic health-sharing apostolate, seems to have dropped off the face of the planet.
Their domain is now up for grabs, according to GoDaddy, and I cannot find any current information on them. So until I hear otherwise from the man I had correspondence with early on about it, I have to assume that the effort was not able to get off the ground.
Update 2/12/2013: Solidarity is still working on launching. They have not given up, even though their domain expired. See this hopeful comment.
I’m disappointed, but not surprised, if that is indeed the case. Because we as Catholic Americans do not form a cohesive group. We aren’t in solidarity with each other. Instead, we more or less reflect the broader secular culture.
One reason that Samaritan and MediShare–two Protestant healthsharing organizations–have been able to work is that Evangelical Protestants form a more homogeneous group, one that is willing to band together and practice a model of caring for each other’s health care needs that reflects in a small way what we read the early Christians did in some of the New Testament books.
Our country is a civilization that no longer has a true culture. And we Catholics are in part to blame for that, because we have largely ceded our culture, built on the Catholic Faith, to the secular way of living. The popular Orthodox writer David Bentley Hart had a great quote a few years back (hat tip to David Meyer for this one):
This is why, as I say, I am not convinced that we are in any very meaningful sense in the midst of a “culture war”; I think it might at best be described as a fracas….most of us have already unconsciously surrendered to the more insidious aspects of modernity long before we even contemplate drawing our swords from their scabbards and inspecting them for rust. This is not to say that there are no practical measures for those who wish in earnest for the battle to be joined: homeschooling or private “trivium” academies; the disposal or locking away of televisions; prohibitions on video games and popular music; Greek and Latin; great books; remote places; archaic enthusiasms.
It is generally wise to seek to be separate, to be in the world but not of it, to be no more engaged with modernity than were the ancient Christians with the culture of pagan antiquity; and wise also to cultivate in our hearts a generous hatred toward the secular order, and a charitable contempt.
One way in which this can happen is by fostering an agrarian life and “opting out” from the trappings of the secular world as much as possible. Note I didn’t say isolating ourselves, or bunkering in, or leaving the world for utopian bliss in the country, but rather leaving the trappings of society, being in the world but not of it.
Kevin Ford of the Catholic Land Movement elaborates on this idea. True culture stems from a community, most especially Christ’s Church and her members, who are joined together by God in faith, hope, and love. But because we Catholics have lived no differently than the secular society, we do not really form a culture in any meaningful sense of the word. So even though the spiritual reality is that we form one Body in Christ–the communion of saints–the earthly reality falls far short of that.
Catholics are doing their best to find a way to live in the cities and join together, for instance by moving close to a vibrant parish. I will say I think this is a noble effort, and for most families the best thing they can do, at least at the current moment in our history.
But I think our country, and the West as a whole, needs something more radical, and that is one important reason we hope to move out to a more rural area and live a simpler life. My family is choosing to live in this different way; it is possible that people will be forced to do so in the next generation or so. If that were to happen, our homestead and others like it would be the new arks of culture, carrying the light through the growing Dark Age as it blotted out the sun and swept over the West. Sounds dramatic, and maybe it will be.
Even if it does not happen in that way, I am convinced that a simpler life, with some land and animals, is a better way to live in any case. I long to give my children the gift of having meaningful work on the homestead: milking the cow, making cheese, moving the chickens, gathering the eggs, digging the pond, harvesting the honey from the bees, shearing the sheep, and a thousand other things that really contribute to our family’s livelihood.
One problem currently is that there are so few of us Catholics wanting to live this way, that we are scattered sparsely across the country. We are not in solidarity with one another. We need more people to want to do this. That will either happen gradually or quickly if a crisis occurs.
My advice: don’t wait for the crisis. Consider living in this new way now!