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quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, January 31, 2013

a few more

... false dichotomies that come to mind while they are on my mind (see previous post for explanation):

- Church as visible or invisible. Both/and if she is connected to Christ the Head. I am not sure I understood the debate since Christ has two natures and it is only natural that His Church be of two natures. (That is I do not understand a purely invisible nor a purely visible Church, this is the mystery of Eph 5.)

- Fasting or not. Ironically, Jesus nor Scripture prohibit fasting, although some look on the practice today almost as if to do it is a sin. Interesting juxtaposition of a practice Scripture permits that is opposed by some Scripture believers. Jesus says, "When you fast ..."

- Old and New Testaments. While a dissection of the two might make sense in the view of others, Christians hold to a unity, including the correlation of the same one God in both.

I do not know how long some of these have been moving around in my mind's hard drive (or cloud?) but now they are taking up less space.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

false dichotomies

Over the last few years I have heard what I consider false dichotomies. These tests(?) may signal deeper issues within the church and or its schools/seminaries. However, the theological questions are of greater import than partisanship. In other words, there is an underlying unity which seems to be under attack. This can be seen in a closer look at these false dichotomies, that is, when two truths, or two parts of one truth, are pitted against each other. Here are some that come to mind:

Cross and Incarnation - One view sees the Incarnation as a threat to the Cross while another view emphasizes the Incarnation and the Resurrection over the Cross.

Prayer and Academics (Faith and Reason?) - One view sees learning as a threat to the prayer life of the church while the other sees the liturgical life of the church as an obstacle to learning.

Ministry and Liturgy - One view sees a connection between the Holy Ministry and the liturgy while another view separates the two, thus separating the Holy Ministry from the sacraments.

God of promise and God of, and in, history - One view appears to support a distant God who watches from afar and except for sending His Son to save the world does not involve Himself with the world but gives it a promise for the future. God is a watchmaker with a promise. Another view sees God as participating in human nature and man participating in divine nature through the union in Word and Sacrament.

Sin and Grace - A behaviorist inclined view tends to emphasize the former at the expense of the latter while an antinomian inclined view tends to emphasize the latter at the expense of the former. This type of dichotomy seems to offer little hope of balance or unity.

These are only a few that I have heard in recent years. They are obviously over-simplified in summary fashion here for the sake of brevity. Hopefully, one can see the false dichotomies here.

Although I am aware of these debates and more I do not always get involved in them. One thing I have discovered is there is an answer to all of them and more in the liturgy. The liturgy shows unity in matters both vertical and horizontal, the reading of Scripture, the preaching, the confession of the Creed, the distribution of the Sacrament, etc.

For example, take the Creed. The Creed confesses both Incarnation and Cross. Throughout the church year these matters, and more, are addressed. There is a unity between God and man which He has created. Here is the source of the unity that is present even when our eyes are focused on false dichotomies.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

an ongoing testament to life

Certain ironies and paradoxes in life continue. In a land that purports to celebrate religious freedom we also support abortion which costs the lives of millions.

At the wedding at Cana we see Jesus' celebration of the marriage between a man and woman and his celebration of the life of children coming from such a union. In addition, there is the creation of wine for festal celebrations such as the wedding at Cana and the union between Christ and His Bride at the altar. Jesus' first sign points to this union which is seen in his giving of the Last Supper, his appearance to the disciples after his resurrection, and the eternal banquet described in Scripture.

The wedding at Cana is a good picture of what is truly worth celebrating, especially at a time like this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

just too religious

Today, we hear a bunch of stuff against religion, tradition, rituals, etc. Everything has to be spontaneous or new or emotional or exciting to be truly spiritual. It is better to have church in the house than the family in the church, etc. Some churches no longer even have Christmas services so families can celebrate at home.

In last Sunday's Gospel reading we heard, "When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast." In the homily the point was made that Joseph and Mary were good parents even though they lost him on their way home.

Some might also say they were being good Jews but Jesus changed all that ritual stuff. Ironically, later on, after his Baptism, when Jesus was involved in his ministry as an adult Scripture records,

"So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me . . ." (Luke 4:16ff)

Jesus was just too religious. He, like his parents before him, followed the religious customs. He would not have fit in our contemporary scene. Scripture adds the part that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Disclaimer

This blog might be on the blogroll or on some blogs' list of blogs even though I do not agree with or endorse all or part of the theology espoused on these other blogs. It is even possible I might oppose altogether what they endorse although it may appear that I support what they support because my blog is included on theirs. Often this is done without my knowing or support.

As an undergrad history major I learned to recognize historical revisionism. One downfall of social media is that anyone and everyone is subject to revisionism in real time. This is not all bad. Still, this is one reason why I am not as active online as I once was. It is not that what one writes might be misunderstood, distorted and maligned by others. It is that one does not care to chase the bait or respond to everything that happens online. There is simply not enough time. In short, there may be links on other blogs to this one. The thoughtful reader will know to distinguish each blog from the other and not draw conclusions based on associations that may or may not exist.

On another note, although I am not protestant, I appreciated a church sign I saw recently that said something about not worshipping the donkey or the elephant but worshipping the Lamb. Not a bad Christmas message and one that goes well all year round, especially for Christians who might have forgotten or let slide their priorities in matters of faith.