Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’


Okay, as noted in yesterday’s post Dollarama has been a gold mine for comic collections cheap. One of these was Dan Jurgens’ Thor: The Spiral (2011) published by Marvel Comics. In the beginning of the “event driven” universe, there is still hidden gems. This story picks up after Thor has become monarch of Asgard due to Odin’s death, has the Odinpower; and has been split asunder from Jake Olson (his human side). So Jake is living as a human paramedic, while Thor is ruling as an omnipresence, omniscience, and almost omnipotent being.

Using the magic, technology of Asgard and Asgardians as his heroes he begins his reshaping for the better of humanity. Crime rates go down, despots are removed, hungry are fed. It creates waves as a new Thorist religion grows up, and faithful of other belief systems begin flocking to the “Santa Claus” with the hammer.

Many questions are raised, first by the Gods of legend who challenge Thor to guide humanity to interdependence, not dependence on the God’s power. It raises conflict-verbal, theological and physical- with the Christian (Catholic) Church that see the vacuum being created as free will is removed and their concept of Saviour is challenged.  What does a multi-faith world actually mean?

It is a familair narrative within comics, what if the hero used their power to solve everything? What would happen? What if an interventionist God wish fulfill-er truly existed?

But it comes down to more within the mind and heart of anyone, for it tracks back to a theological debate that still has resonance today: Is Jesus fully human-Fully divine. You see as the way shower, and the example, this exists within all, and this story lays out what happens when someone is not tempered by human conscious and is left to be all powerful. And as noted by the Bard, absolute power does corrupt absolutely.

 


emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay so I admit it, I loved my time in ministry within the Catholic Church. The Basillian Fathers and Sisters I served with totally got what it meant to live Christ in their community.  By now, everyone has probably heard/read the resignation that shook the globe, he has become one of five, and the first in 600 years to abdicate (royal head of state don’tcha know); resign from the Holy See due to ill health. Pope Benedict XVI is about to go back to being just theologian (retired) Josef Ratzinger. Setting aside all the questions regarding what it will mean to have a living ex-pope and newly minted new pope before Easter 2013 for the almost 1.2 billion catholics awaiting their new Holy Father

Let’s see what this man of God could do to transform the world’s perception of his corporation:

1) Announce an open vote for parishes instead of a conclave, this motion made ex-cathedra could not be revoked and be truly transformative for the Body of Christ, where Palm Sunday parishners could vote and on Easter Sunday the new holder of the Seat of Peter can be celebrated.

2) Decentralize/close and liquidate the Vatican making the monies available as a living micro-finance venture/affordable housing/free medical care faculty for the world truly transforming our globe and showing what the selflessness of Christ’s miracles were truly about.

3) Release all sealed/secret papers, files and books from all Diocessan offices and the Vatican. Truly shine the light of the Holy brightly to illuminate all the evil, and all the good this body has done for the world, and let the chips fall where they may.

4) End mandatory celibacy, allow marrieds and singles, male or female (or any other blooming label humanity wishes to use to divide us) to answer the vocational call of the Holy Mystery to ordination.

5) Issue a decree for all Catholic Diocese/churches to surrender their charitable- tax-exempt statuses to breath a renewed soul through manna into society.

Pope Benedict, you still have time to radically let the Holy Spirit work to create a legacy for Christ within this world…17 days for a pope is a long time…

Reminder:

It is time to gather as the collective body of Christ and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church, as their leader has abandoned them, and their cardinals will gather end of the month to choose a new successor to Peter…perhaps the Spirit will once again move and the work started at Vatican II will be completed…


The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most ven...

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most venerated of Orthodox Christian icons of the Virgin Mary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is actually quite funny, the family has been a part of the UU for roughly a month, yet how many people have reacted so shockingly like we have left our brains at the door step or are about to lose our souls. Really people? Think this through, of those who have known me, how many of you could honestly state that I was not a Christian Universalist my whole life?

Think it through, doctrines did not bind me. As a wee babe I was baptized Anglican in a Roman Catholic School gymnasium, went to the C.M.A. Pre-School in my neighbourhood with my Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Mormon friends…then was part of an ecumenical Vacation Bible school that was PCC/ELCIC/Mennonite/Evangelical yet was simply focused on sharing Christ’s love or my love of ancient pantheonic religions and Grail lore.

Yet that did not tip you off that I would not be willing to be label-less in life? What about upon the end of my ability to attend VBS I began a seeking of the sacred like none other. Still firmly rooted in belief of the Creator (Love) incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, but one that would take me through many Eastern Philosophies in my Junior and Senior High School years (and certificate at SAIT) readings in Hinduism, Sikhism, Zen and many forms of Buddhism. As well as Eastern Orthodox Christianity, some loose affiliation with a Lutheran youth group in high school, not to mention the Masons for a short time of reading, historic Celtic Lore and Norse Lore, ancient earth traditions and pantheons, studied and for a time bequeathed as a Druidery Priest or some such…

Yet none of this foretold others that I would be able to then suddenly “meet Jesus” in the conservative sense and become so exclusionary that I would be able to state that this is the only way to come to the Holy Mystery?

Or university life that saw me explores and embraces the social sciences, great philosophers, along with my belief in Jesus. Yes I was firmly rooted as a children’s and youth worker in the United Church of Canada in Calgary, but I was also firmly rooted in understanding the way humanity comes to a compassionate existence. My spiritual formation texts were one’s written by Plato, Aristotle, Spong, Dalai Lama, Tutu, Michael Talbot and John Paul II.

The striving into the realm of political science to be exposed to the ruminations within socialism, communism, and liberalism to see it shine through in the many human rights and peace movements. Answering a call to transform this world, to create the reign of the creator here on earth.

Transformational work learning my theology through a restoration movement school (Alberta Bible College) and an Alliance-Nazarene seminary (Canadian Theological Seminary) while continuing my exploration of the Baha’i, Roman Catholicism (where I embrace the idea of Purgatory, the moment of death from this life where whatever has kept us away from full embrace from the Holy is purged away), classic evangelicalism, the Labour Church movement, my Franciscan formation (ecumenical, Anglican, and Catholic). Deep formation in many Christian traditions of this time including Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, Disciples of Christ, and Lutheranism along with Catholicism during this time.

Earning a doctorate of holistic psychology that allowed me to overlay the ideal of a lifespan development over my sacred texts and enter deeper into the story. During this time adding the Jesus Seminar academics, Matthew Fox, training as a Shaman and the New Thought movement to my reading and studying sphere.

Can all these things be blurring lines on actual time frames, but that is what happens when one strives to live a holistic life of compassion. Labels fade. The focus becomes on the ability to live into one’s vocational call and aid others into living their vocational call. This is the true essence of what my spiritual self is living.

So many have been shocked, yet these are the same that sit in on Bible Studies, or have taken classes from me, or be protégés, they have heard my statements that hell does not exist, or that a loving God would not turn anyone away. Yet when the facade is finally dropped, and the societal label of Universalist is adopted, it is like a leper has been found outside of their colony in the ancient times.

There are many wells available to drink from the River of the Holy Mystery. It is not about proving our “religion” right and another wrong. It is accepting that each well allows someone else to drink deeply of the Holy and that is okay. There are beautiful differences within our diversity of belief, yet there is an even greater beauty when we are united as one people, one species, trying to transform our world for the better each claiming our own soul inspiration for our actions.

So has anything truly changed about who I am or what I believe? No. If you think something has, then perhaps you never truly understood my journey up until now, but that’s okay, come along for where it goes from here, for within the Holy Mystery life truly is a blessed mystery.


The version of the flaming chalice currently u...

The version of the flaming chalice currently used as the logo of the Unitarian Universalist Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You tell us fine stories, and there is nothing in what you say that may not be true; but that is good for you who came across the seas. Do you not see that as we inhabit a world so different from yours; there may be another heave for us?

And another road to reach it?

-A Huron to a Jesuit Missionary, circa 1635

 

Church & Buehrens use the expression of One Light, Many windows; Matthew Fox (defrocked Dominican Priest) used the phraseology one river, many wells. But the quintessential answer is the same, there are many ways to access the One Source, the Sacred, the Creator, The Divine, The Love…

What needs to be answered for each of us in this new Global Village is which way do we access it? A traditional religion, a non-religion, a new age, new wave, science, philosophy, politics, just being… this is the core of Universalism, there is nothing wrong in the many manifestations that we see in this world the thrust being as the Dalai Lama has recently phrased his religion to be kindness, compassion, or Desmond Tutu in God is Not a Christian, it being love the foundation.

This is the journey I have been on, a journey that has been many years (decades) in the making. Where I have worn many labels of religiousity, yet each label is only one piece of the story. Much like the Huron to the Jesuit, what makes you think that your Western European Empiricism speaks to my experience of the sacred in daily life?

This is the thrust of the journey that during my sabbatical has taken me away from institutionalized Christianities and into a journey of discovery…at one juncture it actually had me labelled a heretic by a fundamentalist school, but what else can you say…for when one does not believe in Hell, or does not believe in a manmade God of misogyny, bloodlust, hatred and exclusion. Rather a belief shaped in the imminence of paradise here, our role in building it as co-creators with the Divine, much like Jesus of Nazareth. One where every aspect of life is Sacred, and within that is where Creator exists in us, and us in the Creator.

This journey of exploration that has led me to the Unitarian-Universalist Association…more colloquially into the Calgary Unitarian Church as an exploration with the family, to read many works of thought and recently to history works Hewett’s Unitarians in Canada (1975 & 1995) and Wilbur’s A History of Unitarianism Vol. 2 (1945 & 1965) which revealed a church that has organically grown since shortly after the Easter Moment, but became denomiantionalized within Transylvania during the             Reformation. It is a story of a people called out by the Spirit when the church becomes to doctrinally fixate that it divides and excludes, instead of sets the table widely for all of the children of the Holy Mystery. A story of beyond tolerance, to acceptance that individuals and communities experiences of the Holy will be different, and that is okay, in fact it is a wonderful time where these different ways can come together with the grounding focus being transformation. Could this be why UU is the fastest growing liberal church in North America? All the liberal theologians being tired of the doctrinal asinine that no longer or never should have separated us in the first place.

Read no further until you have checked out the short journey at: http://tyragan.blogspot.com

This brings us to the reflection today, on Brock and Parker’s (2008) Saving Paradise which is an alternative history to the church we never knew. It is a challenging work that forces the reader to stare fully into the vacuum of darkness that the “church” has mired on this world.

What exactly are the Hebrew Bible prophecy books? Are they futuristic soothsayers? No, these are a people during a time of crisis simply attempting to process (p. 22). No great infallibility, just a story of survival and faith.  Texts that for the First Century CE believers then showed them ways to allegorically process the Roman Empire (for us today Materialism? Corporate rule?), especially when the rule of the Empire is then reflected back upon the same institutions that we hold “sacred”. For the whore of Babylon in Revelations is not an allegory to the Empire, but to those complicit in the oppressors and degradation of a people…the religious leaders of Israel (p.75), which upon reflection of main stream religion as stories of abuse, wars, genocides, scandals, thefts, lies, etc. in the “name of God” flood the media lines is it not an allegory we can use today?

One that was extended even within the Gospel writers metaphor, John Mark wrote of Jesus’ casting out of the demons of Legion (an Empire Allusion) to the pigs or the defiled depths (p.45) the fact that the Empire Gospel was being interpreted to destroy people, it was time for a new Gospel, one that empowered those without power. That was the Gospel of the peasant out of Nazareth that shook the world. For it is true that Gospels do not kill people (they are merely proclamations), but interpreters do (p.49). If one takes up the Gospel, they must accept that it is a sacred text and with that we must exercise our discernment and wisdom in accepting the power and responsibility that come with wielding words that we say come from the Sacred (p.49). Let us be honest, we have not done well, think of how many have been cast out of this world, destroyed emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically by the predators that have enlisted within “God’s Army”.

How far we have gone from the house that Jesus built, for his father’s house had many rooms. Did you know that the fixation on the Crucifixion did not happen until the 1000’s when the Great Schism ripped the Western church out of the Eastern Mysticism and it became more concerned with power, land, and money instead of mysticism, rebirth, and L-O-V-E. Why? The ancient church had us in one existence with many dimensions (one house, many rooms sound familiar), essentially multiple dimensions all united within The Spirit (p.88).

So if there was no Crucifixion fixation then what were earlier believers “converted into”? It really isn’t that hard to figure out, it was a counterculture movement. Baptism was more than simply a personal choice about one’s beliefs. It was a ritual that incorporated initiates into a community and its source of power. As such, it was inseparable from social and political degrees. (p.41). When one took the step of entering into the waters of baptism, it wasn’t a “out of hell free ticket”, it was entering into solidarity with those Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes, the ones that society has cast out, and choosing to walk alongside and build a healthy community. This is what Jesus’ feeding of the masses was about, as the Emperor would feed the poor and lull them into thinking the only source of sustenance was destroyed when Jesus fed the masses and showed them the true source of all things necessary was not the Emperor, but truly ethical grace within the Holy Mystery (p.30).

Which leads John Crossan to say, “it is in food and drink, offered equally to everyone that the presence of God and Jesus is found” (p.31).

The meal shared (Eucharist) and the Baptism is truly the renunciation of Empire within one’s life, and joins a movement that drew on different well springs: wisdom, word, Torah and Spirit (p.41).  It is to be in the Spirit, to know how to distinguish good and evil required acute attunement to the present and reflection about ethical behaviours discerned through wisdom, live joyfully, enact justice, nonviolence and love (p.88).  If we seize on these values of the ancient tradition we are birthed into through water and Spirit, what comes evident for us is that we must tell the truth of crucifixion, an act of horror designed to shame, humiliate and destroy humanity.

This is the act of violence the Empire brought to bear on the peasant Messiah. It is up to us to tell the truth of this violence. To quit hiding behind theological treatise that make it okay for G-O-D to be a vengeful prick who must have seen his son beaten, bloodied, humiliated, killed for us to be loved (which spirals into its own theology of acceptance of violence and abuse). Brock and Parker on page 53 write:

To break silence whenever violence is used to shame, instill fear,

fragment human community, or suppress those who advocate for

justice is life-giving.

It is the foundation of ethical grace, to live into and out of the worst a community can experience, and speak truth. It is the power of Healing Circles, Truth and Reconciliation commissions, simple healthy community. It is the pragmatic/practical end of Panentheism. For the church is the Holy Mystery’s renewed paradise (p.89).

This is Theosis (communities that embody divine love) was a term used by both men and women, regardless of orientation, ability, gender, or societal labours were equals in all aspects of life to build the church (p.191). A church that experience Eucharist as a training of the whole person (body/soul/mind/strength) to know the world and spirit in it (p.145), “A Feast of Life” for the whole, and would/should include all the foods of the harvest (p.142).

Which is the source of offering that represented the community’s shared resources, its common wealth in the Holy Mystery (p.142).  It was not just a money thing, it was not just an anything, it was sharing of the blessedness of the whole person as a piece of the whole.

This piece of the whole, in an egalitarian world birthed another source of power. For women in a culture with no power, suddenly they discovered the source of power. That’s right, S-E-X. Just as Mary of Nazareth seized power of being-ness with her Yes to the Holy (for more of my research on this I direct you to: https://tyragan.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/theres-something-about-mary-a-liberation-theology-for-the-21st-century-free-e-book/). Yet it is in women in the ancient church first claiming their right to their virginity (bodies) that they are fully empowered (p.194). How we have abused and bastardized this in the church since, with our virgin/whore dichotomy and using both to strip power from women and make them once more nothing more than pawns of men (such an Empire move).

Another traipsing of us into the Empire’s bed is even our understanding of marriage. Do we realize that until the misogyny of medieval times, a Christian marriage was nothing more than a couple choosing to live together and declaring themselves wed? (p.195). Look at what we have done with something so beautiful in such a short span of time, how many lives we have destroyed, some even driven to the point of suicide over our own destructive use of “marriage” as a means of exclusion.

How do we realize inclusion? That is quite simply as noted earlier, in blessed community, where we are the agents, foster parents, OF LIFE that sustains communities within ethical grace (p.418). This sustaining that is rooted in, as Brock and Parker state of page 419:

The Eros of Beauty calls to us and bids us be fully in the world,

attentive to particularities, emotionally alive, open to grace,

and responsive to justice.

It is not about eroticism, or sex, it is about the actualization of the intimacy we have with the Holy, the beauty of the diversity of what builds creation. It is this love/intimacy that calls us to be within creation as its caretakers, fully active and engaged with our everything for this is how we will engage the Sacred, and the Sacred will dance within us…

This is where Paradise (or whatever term your reference gives) comes alive- –  here and now.

Are you prepared to be within the Eros of Beauty?

 


Some have said I am not a very orthodox or typical Christian, this is true. But I grew up and continue to live in a Canada that is multi-cultural, multi-religious, a true mosaic of God’s creation. We as a people have been blessed by the Constitution Act 1982 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This blessing and my mixed Canadian heritage (English-Scottish-Irish-Welsh-Norwegian-Quebecois-French-Norwegian-Ojibwa-Cree and religiously Roman Catholic-Anglican-Methodist) I am blessed with a mosaic of ways to experience the Holy Mystery, some as part of a vocation of guest, sojourner, pilgrim, student, laity, religious worker or cleric… to such diverse belief systems that build this amazing nation I call home (it is up to you to assign whatever label you happen to believe I had when I journeyed there):

Anglican Church of Canada, Hindu, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Order of Ecumenical Franciscans, Bahai, Third Order, Society of St. Francis,

Restoration Movement Christians, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Ahmadiyya, Druid, Zen, Tao, Aikido, Marxist, Leninist, World Wide Robin Hood Society, Sherlockian, Order of St. Luke the Physician, Socratic, Sophists, Descartians, Platoists, Para-psychology, Paleo-Seti, Palmistry, Munay-Ki, Aboriginee, Drum Circles, Shaman, Medicine Wheel, Healing Pathways, Yoga, Jedi, Meditation (too many diverse schools to remember), Tibetan Buddhism, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Tarot, Tendai, New Thought, Religious Science,

Christian Science, Tai Chi

Order of St. Elizabeth I, Scientology, Ecumenical Order of St. John XXIII, Universal Life Church, Universal Life Church Monastery, North American Buddhism, FCJ Companions in Mission, Jungian Psychology, Freudian Psychology

Mandelas

Social Gospel

Primitive Baptist, King James Bible Baptist, Western Canadian Baptist, North American Baptist, United Baptist, Methodist

Free Presbyterian, Free Lutheran

Peace work

Social Work

socialism

communism

Wicca, Tarot, Christian Reformed, Congregationalist, United Church of Canada, Disciples of Christ, Reformed Evangelical, Gnostic, Reformed Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Joehovah’s Witness, Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints

Ishmaeli

Faith healing

Pentecostal, Southern Baptist, Reiki, Associated Gospel Churches, WELS Canada, Lutheran Church-Canada

Nazarene Church, Wesleyan Church, ICROSS, Liberal Party of Canada, Liberalism, Progressive Canadian Party of Canada, Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, Green Peace, Soul Force, Non-Violent Peace Force, Atheism, Humanist Society, Agnostic Coffee Meet up, Spiritualism,

Salvation Army,Green Party, New Democratic Party, Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist Party, Bloc Quebecois, Alberta Party,

Anthropology, Evangelical Missionary, Janism, Sociology, Indiginous Sacredness, Celtic Christianity, Ignatian Spirituality

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Shinto, Liberation Theology, Catholic Workers Movement

Human Rights, non-denominationalism, charismatic christianity, Interfaith Foodbank, Habitat for Humanity, MSF (Doctor’s without Borders)

The Mustard Seed, Inn from the Cold,  Street Teams


A Faith Family.

Yip, last night I declared we are leaving protestantism…but what it should have read is we are leaving the tired ol’ bull shit of church politics, hierarchy, exclusion, and drive for power.

We are seeking a place where labels are irrelevant, where we acknowledge our faith heritage for sure because that is what has shaped us, but a place where one and all are embraced, diversity and gifts are celebrated. Like the ancient church we can pray together, break bread together, and discover God in the beautiful diversity that is the rainbow of God’s children.

For example, my son has the gift of preaching, my wife is a prophet, my daughter is a gifted worship insiter, and I have been told I have a gift for teaching, and apostolic leadership (being the first one to break new ground in a new Godly direction)…

So yes, we are walking away from the crap, letting the spiritual gunk slowly (as it moves slower than molasses in winter) shed from our souls as we heal and prepare to discover a true home.

 


English: Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman...

English: Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church, 168 Hill Street, Southampton, . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Introduction

Since the Ascension of Jesus circa 30-34 CE in which afterwards the disciples answered the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 (Contemporary English Version):

16 Jesus’ eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet   him.17 They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted.

                        18 Jesus came to them and said:

I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! 19 Go to the people of all nations and make   them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and             teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.

Each disciple brought their own flavour and understanding of the Cross to the disciple making policy. This has created a glut of divergent theologies throughout the history of the Christianities. From the pseudo-unity of the early church, that was held together by spit and bailing wire of the Ecumenical Councils that came undone with the Patriarch-Pope spat that culminated in 1054 CE with the mutual excommunications. From there the tree would continue to create new buds with the religious orders within the Roman Catholic Church, that then created whole new branches with the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s CE with Zwingli, Calvin, and Luther, eventually Henry VIII that then would continue with multiple denominational fractionizing that has brought us to the 1000’s of variances within practice that keep the church apart.

These micro-walls need to be overcome by the macro bridges of interdisciplinary theology. A theology that is ecumenical, that bridges across the small dissimilarities and unifies the Body of Christ within our similarities, which are far more plentiful than we wish to admit on a daily basis. Canate’s paper Interdisciplinary Method in Christian Theology? In search of a working proposal is an attempt to create these bridges and present an understanding of God that is not so much encyclopedic as it is living (p.3).

This paper will not only summarize Canate’s thoughts, but spend time unpacking if this proposal is workable or if there is another way to build an interdisciplinary theology for the church of the 21st Century.

Summary

Canate took a leap of faith in producing this proposal. As he aptly pointed out for 200 years and beyond the practice of theology was one of encyclopedic reference, unfortunately with the information explosion of the 21st century this way of practice has become impossible (3). The role of the proposal is to overcome the divisive glut of theology and to build into an ecumenical theology for the new millennium (Canate, 1). To continue to build upon what Biblical scholar Childs’ stipulates success in our ability to engage within an interdisciplinary dialogue (Canate, 3).

Canate grows from this into a discourse within the confines of Sola Scriptura, the standard of the Protestant Reformation and that this method should not only be identified within the scientific context (4). The definition of method is “with or in the way” (5), as a result then method is an action (6) and to broaden within theology there are two main methods: Structural (inherent complexity in the teleogical principal) and Hermeneutical (diversity of ways: cognitive & hermeneutical principals are interpreted by theologians) (10).

Canate takes a short detour of a meta-analysis of the history of western theology, before stepping out into the idea that for 17 centuries Christian Theology was done in the confines of systematic (dogmatic) theology (13) and it was not until the mid-18th Century Biblical Theology rose to prominence (13). It was this stylistic, Biblical Theology that centered on historicity by adopting the historical critical method of the Enlightenment as a critique of the systematic method (14).

From the history Canate moves to the proposal for interdisciplinary theology that is needed due to the historical process in which the science of theology has divided itself (16). The approach to the field is presented from a fundamental theological perspective (18) that lends itself to the Sola Scriptura. Within Sola Scriptura Canate presents three levels (20):

  1. Foundations: philosophy and disciplines of theology.
  2. Theory: biblical & systematic studies.
  3. Practice.

The main thrust being that Biblical & Systematic Theology need to realize that they are not only theoretical (Canate, 22), but also must be practically applicable within the life of the Body of Christ. Canate has crafted an intriguing proposal, but the question is does the proposal work?

Interpretation

Canate hit the nail on the head with the idea that the church theology is divisive. Canate lends this to the confessional and philosophical thinking of modern theologians (Canate, 2). Canate does on to define philosophical as transcendental, existential, empirical, and socio-phenomenological while confessional is the Roman Catholic and Protestant explanations of their faith (2). The nail was hit because this once more shows the modern practice of compartmentalization, instead of presenting the holistic form and the organic growth we have gone through we as a people like to say well this is philosophical, this is church, instead of realizing it all comes from the same source.

Which is the underlying and presented thesis of Canate, this divisiveness is not healthy or useful in this third millennium. In a world that is smaller and more connected than any time in human history, more specialized, and with more information available it is impossible for any one voice or person to be the final authority on all. God’s revelation needs to be grown to include all disciplines and understanding that have been given to humanity throughout history. It is through dialogue with one another that we can truly illuminate the stories of God with Her people, and His people with God. Through dialogue that we can see how the social sciences, sciences, and liberal arts speak into and throughout theology, not only that drawn out of the scriptures but into the scriptures.

This dialogue is then taken one step further, or needs to be taken one step further, for it is not only the academic disciplines in this day and age that need to be in conversation, but an acknowledgment of the individual circumstances and context of not only the time of the original story, but the time in which the story is being heard today.

The next step though is also to be prayerful, for it is the moving of the Holy Spirit within the discourse that will open up the will of God and the Truth to those gathered within the Body of Christ in this millennium. We tend to look back on the past and the ancient practices and say how simple they were, or they did not have this or that, but what they had was faithful hearing of the Spirit and this is what truly needs to be recaptured within the church.

As for Canate’s stance that it needs to be within the Sola Scritpura that this dialogue happens (4) is selling short the 1500 years before the Protestant Reformation for having anything to lend to the process. Acts 15 opens us up to the first Ecumenical Council held in Jerusalem to decide prayerfully what new converts to the way had to adhere to. This is a strong example that Sola Scriptura may not be the methodology to adhere to, for it is within the council that they practiced what Jesus practiced on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Not the letter of the Law, or the adherence to the commentary on the Law, but cutting to the spirit of the Law and what it truly meant for believers. This was done in healthy discourse by those anointed to the Apostolic Office

At first blush it appears as if the Ecumenical Council method is contrary to Sola Scriptura yet according to Canate brings in three levels (20):

  1. Foundations: philosophy and disciplines of theology.
  2. Theory: biblical & systematic studies.
  3. Practice.

Canate actually presents his own three legged stool for theological discourse. The stool holding to the idea of Tradition, Scripture, and Reason (with a fourth leg added recently for Experience) here there is somewhat of a parallel with Foundations which can be viewed as Tradition that which builds the bedrock the rest comes upon. Theory can parallel Reason, and practice culminates with experience. Scripture and Sola Scriptura becomes the seat that is held up by the other three legs.

Unwittingly Canate shapes a theory based from the last few centuries, referencing a point from the Protestant Reformation 600 years ago, which parallels a theory that has grown from the Ecumenical councils that can then be tied back to scripture itself from the Jerusalem Council of Acts of the Apostles chapter 15.

The core of the proposal being to answer the question being can there be an interdisciplinary method in Christian Theology? The answer is that we have always had an interdisciplinary method whether or not we have recognized it. The new question that arises is can we get back to our roots and grow an interdisciplinary method that can give the multiple Christianities a strong root system in our tree of life that is the Body of Christ within the world? If the Body is willing to heed to words of St. Paul around the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:12 (New Living Translation): “12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.” We are divided only because we choose not to recognize that one another’s language is saying the same thing.

Conclusion

Whether one titles it the three levels of Sola Scriptura or the Four Legged Stool or the Ecumenical Councils what arises is a confirmation that St. Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition):

          One Body with Many Members

                12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,      though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized        into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

                14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say,       “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a       part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong         to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were       an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the       sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as   he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are             many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor            again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the         body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we         think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are        treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God            has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be       no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26      If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

                27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has            appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of         miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. 29            Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all     possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly             desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way

The essence of interdisciplinary theology is like the move of missiology to intercultural studies, no longer one does all know, but rather collaboratively we will work to discern the calling and Truth of God upon our lives. The move from encyclopedic to specialize becomes irrelevant because it is the Biblical concept that each of us has our role to play within the Body of Christ, and it is time we honoured that vocation.

By honouring the individual’s vocation within the community we are able to see the whole picture, come together and share in an open and honest dialogue. This being done prayerfully, allows the micro walls of denominationalisms to crumble within the Christianities, and macro bridges to be built. It allows for a truly catholic (universal) discourse of beliefs of followers of the Living Cosmic Christ.

These discourses can then move us from narrowed Christianities, to a truly inclusive Christendom, neigh better, Body of Christ to reach out to and transform the world. The first step is whether or not the Body of Christ in the here and now 21st Century is willing?

Reference

Canate, F. (2012) Interdisciplinary Method in Christian Theology? In search of a working             proposal retrieved from            https://ntsmoodle.com/mod/resource/view.php?inpopup=true&id=281 24   November 2012.


English: PORTRAIT OF JOHN XXIII Español: IMAGE...

English: PORTRAIT OF JOHN XXIII Español: IMAGEN DE JUAN XXIII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Benedictus XVI

Pope Benedictus XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope's Blessing

Pope’s Blessing (Photo credit: alykat)

Pope Pius XII called Pastor Angelicus, was the...

Pope Pius XII called Pastor Angelicus, was the most Marian Pope in Church history. Bäumer, Marienlexikon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does the Catholic Church need today?  A renewal of the papacy, Benedict XVI is not just getting it. I have been enjoying reading a tomb of secular church history by a reporter, Barrett McGurn (1962) A Reporter Looks at the Vatican where he writes at the change of papacy from Pius XII (sadly dubbed Hitler‘s Pope) to John XXIII.

There are some gems in here aside from the joviality, and personability that we have seen in the papacy of John Paul II, as well as the compassion.

There is Pius XII decision not to deride Hitler, which some saw as ascenting to what the Nazi’s were doing, but was part of a plan possibly to keep the Nazi’s from looking to closely at the Catholic Church in Germany so they could act to aid the citizens under extermination orders. Or that early in his papacy noting the hungry, he began to sell the jewels of the Vatican to feed them (Note: Benedict, perhaps it is time to liquidate some assets to aid in ending world hunger, releasing the archives to start up universities in the developing world, and art treasures to launch museusm in the same areas, the world will change when we live out of our mendicant status).

Or John XXIII, the peasant pope, who renewed the practice of walking the stations of the cross with church members, but not in the artistocratic churches, but rather the slums. Or a pope that would sneak out for walkabouts, would encourage others to take hold of the power of their positions to get things done, and who blessed the workers on May Day celebrations by celebrating along with them.

It is time for the church to truly renew their ties to the peoples of the world, to descend into the depths of poverty, so that those in poverty may ascend and build the reign of God…


emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know, I know, very few of the Christianities would like their “brand” reduced to nothing more than a twitter hashtag, yet let’s be honest, that is what in the new marketing schemata is what they are attempting to do.  What has been my brand allegiance in Canada thus far?

#RC #ELCIC #LBC #NOND #UCC #PCC #CMA #Restoration #Druid #Buddhist #ACC #TSSF #OEF #ULCM #ULC #AGC #Cursillo #Alpha #Shaman #CiM and I am sure there is a litany I have forgotten.

Recently in the midst of a cycle of questioning, and knowing a history within Protestant affiliations of spiritual abuse geared at my family I felt the call back to communion with the Roman Catholic Church. My soul mate and I started attending Mass, and I began prayerfully discerning where I was meant to be.  But it was a desire (albeit possibly a selfish one) to travel back into a time that was a blessing for my spiritual development.

Yet like the old proverb, you cannot step in the same river twice. So as I continue on this journey of making a non-sectarian Franciscan it has become evident that there is deep truth within this. There are many blessings within the Mass, liturgy, daily prayers, saints and social initiatives that is the living body of Christ out of Rome.  However, one of the greatest blessings for me is the piece of the body that is Franciscans.

It is within the heart of the rule of the Secular Franciscan Order that hit me upon reflection and discernment. Lay Franciscans are called to care for their families as the drive of their vocation.

Wow. Here I was constantly moving the family for what I thought was protecting them, but by not being able to grow deep roots it was leading to a shallow faith.  Do I regret any choices to leave churches with my family? No, because it was ultimately to protect them.  But I know that in this moment and time re-initiating a journey of catechism for all of us within #RC would not be conducive, my son and daughter partake with us currently in communion of the open table, and they would struggle with losing this piece of their faith experience for the time it took us to become full members.

Besides, currently we are nestled into a rather ecclectic church within our own community, a non-denominational charismatic church joined with a lutheran brethren congregation to share ministry and service to reach out to the community… truly a church moving beyond the hashtag to replace it with the hashtag that truly matters #4Jesusloves.

So are there many things I love within the history and tradition that is #RC? Yes. Has it been a blessing within my journey? Yes, and will continue to be.

BUT and this is the biggie for all believers (as I like to cast my net o’ weirdness wide): the “brand” is irrelevant. What it comes down to is simply the local body and whether or not it is living Christ, making disciples, and aiding discernment of vocation… if this is happening then the Body of Christ is present and the community and individual will be transformed (Salvation).

What’s in a denominational #hashtag?

 


Post-sectarian? Where did that word come from? Well, it could just as easily read post-denominational but didn’t want to rip off Matthew Fox too much. It truly isn’t as brutal as his journey from the Roman Catholic Church to the Episcopal Church, but it has given me pause to think and reflect on discernment.

After leaving the TSSF/OEF and fellowship with the OFS I reflect on the desire for the monastic life.  But what is the secular monastic life? It is the rule of life ministry that leads into discipline within a supportive community to discover the living (Cosmic) Christ.

So as I sit and pray/meditate I look within to seek the will of the Holy Mystery. Am I called to be an Ecumenical or Anglican or Catholic Secular Franciscan? Am I called to another order where my only fellowship unless I travelled many miles is online?

None of the above. For a realization that has crept into my soul is simple, the vocation is there regardless of the titles, and yes the community is forming. Something new has emerged on the horizon, that is why it is post-sectarian (denominational) because this call to be a monastic within the community is to be lived within my ecclecticness.

English: Flag of the Anglican Communion

English: Flag of the Anglican Communion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)