“The church seems caught in an irresolvable tension today. Insofar as we are able to maintain any presence in modern society we do so by being communities of care. Any attempt to be a disciplined and disciplining community seems antithetical to being a community of care. As a result the care the church gives, while often quite impressive and compassionate, lacks the rationale to build the church as a community capable of standing against the powers we confront”.
“The deep question which the appearance of a variety of confessing movements poses for mainline Protestantism, then, is this. Can the destructive virus as represented by the explicit adoption of epistemological theory at the very core of the church’s life be eliminated? Or is modern Protestantism doomed to an existence where serial marriage to the epistemologies of its cultural elites is ineradicable?”
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When we worship an idol, our love, which is in principle a good thing, is trapped into grasping onto something made in our own image. This “something”, which we of course do not perceive as an idol, then becomes the repository for all the security and certainty which we idolaters need in order to survive in the world. We are unaware that the tighter we grasp it, the more insecure and uncertain we in fact become, and the more we empty the object which we idolize of any potential for truth and meaning. And of course because love is in principle a good thing, for us to get untangled from its distorted form is very painful. Nevertheless, against any tendency we might have to blame the idol for being an idol, it is really the pattern of desire in us, the grasping, that is the problem, not the object. For just as the Bible is not an act of communication that we can lay hold of, but the written monuments to an act of communication that takes hold of us, so the Church is not an object that we can grasp, but a sign of our being grasped and held; not something that any of us owns, but the first hints, difficult to perceive, of Another’s ownership of us.
we are witnessing the fleshing out in a particular local Church of the mechanisms which the Catholic faith has given us to maintain unity, work through our being scandalized by change, and enabled to learn what is true over a time of discernment. The overarching priority is not to allow scandal at change to block us from receiving the grace which Our Lord seeks to give us through the sacraments. And then to make sure that this grace, and the new life it produces in us is available in ecclesial form so that others can be invited in as well. I think this has come about because Church authority has become aware that the advent of “matters gay” in recent years may not primarily center on sexual ethics at all. Rather it concerns an emerging anthropological truth about a regular, normal and non-pathological variant within the human condition. In other words, it is not that the Church’s teaching about sexual ethics is being challenged by insufficiently heroic people, but that the field of application of that teaching is being redefined by emerging reality. And of course it is proper to the Catholic faith, where Creation and Salvation are never to be completely separated, that it takes very seriously “what is” as informing “what should be” rather than trying to force “what is” to fit into an understanding of “what should be” derived from other sources.