The First Martyrs of Rome
Last week I offered an open thread for things to discuss. I will now weigh in on those things.
Josh suggested, "Some people aren't happy without trouble and controversy in their church because that kind of activity is the only thing that passes for "life." What does it mean if a church member is looking for strife?"
Honestly, Josh, I've not really known those people yet. But I would punch them in the face and deny them the sacrament.
And that's why I'd be a great priest.
But seriously, I wonder if that's one of the pitfalls (keeping in mind that this is a human brokenness thing for a start) of an ultra-democratic church polity. In my experience of Baptist life, for instance, there's almost no practice of a binding spiritual authority saying to someone, "You don't get to do what you're doing. Stop it or there will be serious consequences for your life in Christ's Church." I think that's a problem.
Mind you, one would have to be pastoral - seriously. People who do that are messed up and need healing, and I do believe that this is to be found in the fellowship of Christ and his Church - but it is the urgency and reality of the healing that insists we cannot let people behave however they wish.
See also my thoughts on excommunication.
Doin' the Limbo
Robbie suggested, "what about babies in limbo? People get freaked out when you say they don't go to heaven."
Robbie is referring to common Roman Catholic conjecture on the fate of unbaptized babies, rather than the popular party game. While this is surprising to some Protestants, it has never been an official doctrine of the Church, and Benedict XVI has recently moved to push it out of the picture in a formal way. The official teaching of the Roman Church is that unbaptized babies (along with all those who have not heard the gospel) are commended to the mysterious ways of a merciful God. The bottom line is, "we don't know, but we know that God loves us very very much." And when you really believe that God loves people, I think that can be good enough.
You can find some media coverage here:
NPR Audio: Catholic Doctrine on Limbo and Baptism Revisited
Kenneth Woodward, Wall Street Journal: Stuck in the Middle No More (HT: TitusOneNine)
Protestants, Gremlins, and other supernatural creatures invented to frighten children
Ben asks about "Christians, particularly protestants, who seek or claim to seek unity yet divide and multiply more than Gremlins."
Hmm. That one's outside my experience. I never met a Protestant very interested in unity. Hee hee!
Chris offered, "Toilet paper rolls with the initial sheet hanging on the inside or outside - nothing quite fires up a crowd like that one!!"
I have no idea what the difference could possibly be, or why anyone would care. Anybody else?
Anyway, the floor is open on all of the above...