otr dashback: 03-21-04 -- a great awakening?
The problems currently vexing the United Methodists can in fact be detected in all the main anglophone Christian communities: an overwhelming majority of traditional layfolk is at odds with a highly ideologized clerical bureaucracy spiritually indistinguishable from Cher. The irony is that many traditional Christians from formally separated bodies are closer to one another in every doctrinal respect than they are to their own national leadership.
Perhaps before long it will be opportune (and technically feasible) to summon a cyber-council that will replace reformation with realignment. Picture it this way. You get all North American Christians simultaneously on-line. You agree to pool all church property and assets. Then the webmaster posts consecutively the canons of the ecumenical councils, starting with Nicaea and working forward. For each canon a vote is taken: "I believe in one God. All in favor, click AYE. All opposed, NAY." Then the Nays who identify themselves at each juncture are allowed to hive off and form their own (doctrinally unified) churchlet, taking with them a pro rata share of church buildings, Disney stock, soiled amices, etc.
The fact of the matter is that the ecclesial and doctrinal controversies by which the post-1500 denominations defined themselves no longer correspond to the issues that vex Christians today. At our cyber-realignment, conventional "church affiliation" will have little or no predictive power in anticipating the choices made by participants. Most of the elite ecclesiocrats -- whether Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, or Anglican -- will have jumped off the chart long before we get to the Council of Ephesus and will find themselves sharing lifeboats with Starhawk, the Sisters of Loreto, Ron Hubbard, and various Hale-Bopp stay-behinds.
For those of us who would make it even as far as the Fourth Lateran, think of what it would be like to worship God in a room in which not only the congregation but even the priest were pro-life, pro-family, and reliably monotheist -- no labyrinths or enneagrams or casting Sarah's circle outside among the elms. Think of having a bishop more attentive to the pope than to his parole officer. Would it matter if we met in a pair of mobile homes bolted together and set on cinder blocks?
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Posted by: -
Mar. 25, 2008 9:40 PM ET USA
Diogenes: a great piece! We are off the track if we think of a large renewal. Both John Paul and Benedict speak of a smaller Church. The disciples to Christ: "Why do you speak to them in parables?" Christ "It is not meant for them to understand, lest in understanding they believe, and in believing they are saved." We live in an enormous Mystery which we are not gifted to understand.
Posted by: -
Mar. 25, 2008 7:22 PM ET USA
"Would it matter if we met in a pair of mobile homes bolted together and set on cinder blocks?" It totally wouldn't matter. We will be doing that soon. And it feel powerful and good. Easter Greetings from the Holy City of Jerusalem, where it is evident that we need a major crusade: Inside the hearts of Christians. But we will get there! Resurrexit sicut dixit! And so will we rise with Him.
Posted by: -
Mar. 25, 2008 2:42 PM ET USA
You're referring to the tighter, more orthodox Church-no problem here. However, don't we need to keep trying to chatechise the Loretos and H-Bs to ensure that Satan has no more unwilling victims? Personally I think that the false prophets(read Mahomet, et al)and new-age curas have a good deal of explaining to do to the Lord on the Judgement Day. They have furnished the nemesis with legions that should never have been damned if one, good priest had done his job & preached the Truth.
Posted by: -
Mar. 25, 2008 1:12 PM ET USA
A modest proposal. (with apologies to Jonathan Swift) Just one error. We might not have many priests, ministers or bishops to lead us, but I'd wager that the congregation would overflow most of the largest edifices in Christendom.