Monday, June 18, 2007

Who and What Is In?

I am not persuaded by theology. I am disturbed by it. There must be divisions among us, says Paul, so that we will know who is approved. I think about this in a world of x millions of Jews, y billion or so of Muslims, and z billions of Christians, and a few billion more. That's a lot of loving for God, not to mention all the cattle.

I am not easy with authority. The pastoral epistles and I meet in my memory, but I do not study them as I have studied Romans, or the Gospels, or Revelation. Those who call themselves Jews and are not... What do we call ourselves? John didn't say Christian.

I have trouble with adjectives like Christian and Jewish. Sometimes they seem so divisive - but sometimes it is just my own personal inner reaction. How can we react in the Spirit? To give the pastorals their due, it is a Spirit of power and self-control. We pray in the Spirit and as the temple of the Spirit. We have an Advocate, a builder of our temple. In our struggle, we are not dealing with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers. And it is not in our own strength that we deal with these things.

So what do I make of this news story about the Anglican 'Priest' who has flirted with Islam? Some of my ancient teachers, especially those with background in Eastern countries, would have me respect the potential for common ground. I can have respect for the person in principle, but I have to ask how the Spirit is working here and around the world. It is a large and difficult thought if you will pardon my searching for a response. If I could find the right acupuncture point for the human body, it would be better than breaking a few legs.

My answer is couched in negatives:
1. it is not an improvement to go to five times a day prayer when you are invited to pray without ceasing.
2. It is not an improvement to be without the explicit knowledge of the Bridegroom.
3. It is not an improvement to be bound by rules and regulations.

Doug asked about the angels. You know the issues around women in 1 Corinthians change dramatically if you can figure out the tone of voice and which part of their letter Paul is quoting. I think the angels are jealous, desiring to look into these things. They don't get to worship the way we do - this treasure in earthen vessels.

Sometimes I wonder why we have authority structures - Overseers, Presidents, Servants. I find the 'priestly' terminology difficult. I can see the crevace in Hebrews by which the Church re-instated the glory of the cult, but though an Anglican (bells and smells at that - actually a long time singer, cantor, and liturgist, perhaps one of the children of Korah - and apparently the choir got the last word in Chronicles), I find the egalitarian process in my local synagogue very attractive at times. My vine-branch has tangled many times in its growth and has been suitably pruned, the ripening fruit misshapen as I noted in an early response to a theodicy thread.

4. It would definitely not be an improvement to be outside of the covenant dialogue of mercy and reproof, of tenderness and life, of the promised and fulfilled unity. Hear, O Israel...

The firstborn of many is one who has known me, making me one with him. How could I possibly remove myself from such fulness or flirt with another 'gospel'? And I am not just talking about words as if it was the canon that I worship.

I cannot see any positive potential for this move that the ordained person has made. As it has been in many of the churches, there are errors in the leadership. Will the people speak?

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