Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Introverts Gone Wild

Reformation Day
Vigil of All Saints

My boy Antony's talking about blogging and conflict. He prefers to avoid it, and I obviously don't. See, I'm a bit introverted. Really. I'm also deeply introspective. I think about myself all the time - wouldn't you, if you were me?

Folks deal with bent toward introspection in different ways. Some people keep their own counsel, while I craft a public persona (and what a persona it is!). Introspection can be a kind of self-obsessing, or it can be helpful for our growth, depending on what we do with it. It has become a very important tool for me to practice examining my presuppositions. Say that I did think that conflict and disagreement (as such) were Bad Things. What would I have to believe in order to think that disagreement and controversy are bad? I don't know your answers, but mine would be:

1. People don't respect people with whom they disagree
2. If people really disagree with me, they won't love me
3. I have to say the right things in order to belong
4. People only find me interesting because they agree with me.

Again, those would be my answers. So I have to ask, are these things true?

Roger Jasper is one of my best friends. (photos here) Roger is clever, spirited, and well read. He is fiery, and as Anabaptist as anything. I'm certain that he respects me very much, but he's never afraid to say, "Kyle, that sounds like a lot of bullshit to me. Where is that in Scripture? Come on, now." We're close together on "baptist" things, but farther apart on "catholic" things. We're each exploring the catholicity of the Church in our thinking and reading, in our own contexts. But we talk about this stuff, and agree on things and disagree on other things and ask and answer and listen. It's great fun. I try to have him and Jessica (and the genius baby) over for dinner every couple of weeks.

I can name all kinds of issues about which I disagree strongly among my closest friends. But they're my closest friends. We have to be careful when we talk about these things so we don't hurt one another, but it doesn't mean we can't or don't talk about them.

That takes out #1-3 in my little list. As for the last, I know I've got a lot of blog readers who disagree with me, but think I'm interesting and hilarious (Come on, you know you do). Do they "totally" disagree with me? Probably not. But if we all knew and thought the same things, we'd be quite bored with one another. The conversations on my blog rarely get ugly these days, and not because of an absence of disagreement and contradiction. I think part of it is the tone I try to set as well as being a good moderator.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

The Black Death... and some links

Ordinary Time

I'm still in Colorado this morning, suffering from a bit of a cold. It's been a good time, though. I slept and watched Shaun of the Dead yesterday afternoon while my family visited the local aquarium, but managed to get myself off the couch for buffalo burgers. It was pretty sweet. I think we're visiting the US Mint this morning, and I think my sister wants to work in a Celestial Seasonings factory tour before dropping us at the airport around lunchtime.

I've been reading John Kelly's The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. I enjoy how HarperCollins thought it necessary to put that little explanation in the book's subtitle. It's pretty interesting. General mortality during Europe's plague outbreaks was about a quarter to a third, but in some places could reach 40 or 50%. That's incomprehensible to me. It made me quite a bit more grateful for the life that I live; I mean, I just have a cold, and that's that. When I go back home, my roommates will likely be alive, and none of them turned into zombies.

And that's just the way I like it.

The Legal Alien at Gladly Suffering Fools has posted cute photos of his "filthy beggar" children.

Josh Williams discusses his journey "From Guilt to Grace."

According to the American Family Association of Kentucky, you should vote entirely based upon superstition, rather than ethical reflection. Frank Lockwood: "Did Clinton Save America from God's Wrath?" I've told you guys why Baptists hate Clinton, right? 'Cause he got away with things that they don't even get to think about. It's envy, not righteous indignation. Tee hee!

Oh, and here we go... Gladly Suffering Fools: "Homophilia."

Speaking of which, Geoff at Sparkgrass is Not Happy about about early reports of the new guidelines for ministering to gay and lesbian Catholics. I've not read them yet, but if you want to get a jump on me, get to it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Theology of Vestments?

Ordinary Time

Let's talk about vestments: specifically, the pretty frocks that priests and acolytes wear during the divine liturgy as it is performed by traditional congregations. Just to say, I realize that from the way I talk and write, folks often assume that I'm censing the high altar at a cathedral every weekend. While I certainly think that would be fun and poignant, I don't. I am, when it's all said and done, part of a house church. And alas, we have no liturgical dress, and won't be getting any anytime soon.

Why is special dress for the celebrant and assistants (essentially the "lead worshippers," if I might use the language of evangelicals) a good idea? I think the answer is both theological and anthropological. People engage in ritual for important observances. Particular modes of dress are part of that: it expresses reverence (or irreverence!) and makes the statement: "this is something extraordinary we're doing, and it deserves to be attended to in an extraordinary way." To simply refuse special rituals and dress for special observances is to make a particular political statement - one that I disagree with rather vehemently. When some people complain about liturgical dress, it sounds to me like, "Why should we act like the Eucharist is some kind of special observance?"

That being said, when I visited St. Aldates (Oxford) and a young woman ascended the platform in a sweater and jeans and started chatting, and by the end of the little speech she had moved into the prayer of consecration, I was shocked. It's not merely because she was wearing "civvies," or that the words she spoke were to some degree improvised and extemporaneous (I don't think there's anything wrong with those things as such), but because the way I "read" the entire action was, "I don't think this is a big deal, and you guys shouldn't think this is a big deal either." For a reason I can't quite put my finger on, it seems to me that in a larger, more "public" setting, reverence must be far more intentional than that to be really reverant.

At the same time, I never see the way hOME or VBCC attends to the Mysteries to be anything less than reverent - even though there are no vestments in sight. In the smaller setting - kind of public but actually quite intimate - full on eucharistic vestments would seem out of place. For some reason, I think that "simplicity" is reverant in a small setting, but irreverant in a larger one. Does that make sense?

As for the pastoral issue, let me explain that it's not "pretty frocks" that I'm really talking about. Priests generally wear stoles when performing priestly functions. Visualize a simple stole here, rather than a medieval carnival. I think it is at the very least pastorally useful because it makes the statement that the chief consecrator is functioning as a priest. In those moments, the celebrant isn't just my friend (let's call him) Bill, but Bill the priest. Bill's personality isn't erased (now, who would want that?), but ritual action and vestments are visual indicators of the theological reality that this man through his functioning as a priest empowers and even enables the people to present themselves to God in the Sacrifice. As chief consecrator Bill the priest has a divine authority to ask God to do what he does in that moment for the Church that has nothing to do with whether he's a nice man or if people like him. Vestments, then, are a kind of pedagogical tool to remind us that we're Catholics and not Donatists.

I guess I don't get all that hot and bothered about it (really!) because I know that someone can be both my friend and my priest, and that sometimes the most spiritually efficacious thing is that he is my priest. Some people complain that this creates a harmful division between clergy and laity. And for all of that, I'd think I'd answer that there's a difference between a clergy/laity "distinction" and a "division." It's not an Indian caste system, and if we let ourselves talk about it like it is, we only hurt ourselves. When we ordain people, we create a distinction. What we do with it, how we talk about it, how we understand it - that's the question. The distinction is there as soon as we say that one person can consecrate the bread and wine, and another can't. As soon as somebody is to any extent "in charge" or a facilitator of religious activities, that happens. Happily, it's the way of the Church to ordain people so that we can be upfront about it and learn to be healthy about it. I'm reminded of all the Baptists I've known who refuse to say they have a theology of ordination or even of ministry, but will affirm that the Holy Spirit comes upon the preacher when he enters the pulpit. Saying the distinction isn't there doesn't make it true, it just keeps us dishonest and schizophrenic in our theologies.

I have yet to meet anyone bothered by vestments whose church uses them. The people I hear protest (ahem) the loudest are in traditions and churches that do not, and would not use them. Why are those people so certain about what the practice means and what it does to people?

Update: See also Dr. Pursiful's post.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Books Again

Ordinary Time

One of the odd things about working at the bookstore is that really simple things can become difficult. One takes for granted the meaning of certain phrases that realy need to be expounded upon with the aid of charts and diagrams.

Customer: Do you have any copies of Book X?
Me [checking computer system]: No, I'm afraid we don't.
Customer: Why not?
Me [continuing to check computer]: My information describes that title as out of print.
Customer: So can you order it?
Me: No sir, I'm afraid I can't.
Customer: Well, you should carry more books by Author X.
Me: Of course, sir. We try our best. However, since Author X is local and uses small publishers with a small print run, his/her books tend to go out of print fairly quickly. The only thing I can get copies of is the newest book, Book Y.
Customer: Barnes and Noble could get it for me.
Me: No sir, they couldn't. I know that for a fact. I'm happy to recommend some local used book sellers, or some websites if you wish, but I'm afraid I can't help you any further than that.
Customer: No, I'll just go to Barnes and Noble.
Me [smiling cheerily]: Very good. Good day, sir.

Here's the thing. I am happy to spend 5-10 minutes with anybody who comes to the Help Desk, trying to hook them up with the book they're looking for - even when it doesn't exist. What I never do is stand and listen to someone pout that they can't get their way.

Another (apparently) painful experience of cognitive dissonance sets in when I have to explain to someone that the book they're so certain they need does not in fact exist. I always try to break the news gently. Interestingly enough, the older someone is (and presumably the more shaky their memory) the more certain a customer tends to be that they have the book's author and title exactly right.

Customer: Do you have the new book by Author A?
Me [checking computer]: Let me see. Are you sure it's not Author B (who shares a surname with Author A)?
Customer: No.
Me: I'm sorry, I can't find that name. Would you please spell the last name for me?
Customer: Well, it's not hard. [spells]
Me [thinking about how my education really probably does make me better than this person, then feeling slightly badly about it, then checking Google and Wikipedia to see what I can find out about "Author" A]: I'm sorry, but the only records I'm finding for Person A is either a cartoonist who died in 1951 or a recently retired Canadian MP.
Customer: Well, that's not him.
Me: Clearly. Do you know the title of the book?
Customer: [names an approximation of the title of the new and popular book by Author B, who shares a surname with Author A.]
Me: Yes, that's by Author B.
Customer: No, I'm sure that's not it.
Me: I'm sorry, but I don't believe the author you're looking for exists.
Customer: That's okay, I'll just go to Barnes and Noble.

Yah, we'll see how long they put up with either one of you.

You know, I'm pretty sure of myself. I'm a graduate student, and I've worked in a bookstore for many months, and as a library tech for a year. I was trained to catalogue this stuff. It's not a Master of Library Science, but it's not nothing. If I say a book does or does not exist, I'm right. If I tell you the best way to aquire a certain title, I'm right about that, too. Just that much - it's not exactly hard. I wonder if there's a T-shirt I can wear to get this idea across...?

It gets even more sensitive when I must interfere with the logic of "I think Book C should exist, therefore someone did write it and a publisher did print it, and all bookstores must therefore have it.

Okay, that's all.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Deconstructing Christian Clichés

If you will indulge me, I'm re-introducing a piece I wrote last Advent. Let me know what you think of the piece, and if you want to revisit the original discussion, click here. If you don't know me, let me introduce myself.

Ornery (adj.) : having an irritable disposition : CANTANKEROUS
- or·neri·ness noun

see also
Potter, Kyle: "We simply must kill any gods who are incapable of raising the dead."

Let's have a chat. I have been given the grace for the last eight years of my life to be apprenticed to Jesus in the fellowship of his Church. I love the way God sees us, and what he has made us. I am always learning to love us as we are, "warts and all." Note that I will not talk about Christ's Church as if it were somehow an institution or group of people who live separately either from me or from him. I have been baptized into him, together with everybody else who's been dipped or sprinkled or splashed in the name of the Trinitarian God. We're all bloody well stuck with each other. So understand this, if nothing else: any criticism I'm offering, I do so in the context of committment.

I want to make a suggestion about Christian clichés, some of the unfortunate phrases we use when trying to offer spiritual counsel to one another. Many of our Christian communities fail to provide a safe place to be real and vulnerable because of the unhelpful language that fills the air. When folks are threatened by the doubts and struggles of others, they will sometimes say things like
"Just give it over to the Lord"
"Just trust God"
"Have faith"
"Surrender more of your life to Jesus"
"Let go and let God" [Josh W.]
For many of you who have been raised in faith communities, it can be hard to realize how vacuous, how literally empty of meaning that these phrases are. Eugene Peterson suggests stronger language still in a discussion about "fear-of-the-Lord":
... There is ... something about the sacred that makes us uneasy. We don't like being in the dark, not knowing what to do. And so we attempt to domesticate the mystery, explain it, probe it, name and use it. "Blasphemy" is the term we use for these verbal transgressions of the sacred, these violations of the holy: taking God's name in vain, dishonoring sacred time and place, reducing God to gossip and chatter. Uncomfortable with the mystery, we try to banish it with clichés.

- Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, 42.
It may not be immediately obvious, but when people offer these phases, these stock answers, it sends a clear and demoralizing message: "I don't take your struggles seriously, and I'm not prepared to muster the theological depth to share them with you."

This might be a harsh assessment, but this is a great problem, and worthy of such consideration. If you use these Christian platitudes, these unholy clichés in your care for your brothers and sisters, I urge you to carefully consider dropping them. If you find your friends using them on you, forgive them, then challenge them. Muster some courage and tell them you find those words to be theologically empty and pastorally cold. It's the only way we're going to grow and learn to struggle together.

Let's respect each other enough to never be satisfied with platitudes.

Instead, let's struggle together, ask God the hard questions, and learn the peace that comes with honesty. Truly, for Christ's sake and for the care of his Church, let's be honest.

For my part, I have offered my thoughts on four common Christian platitudes, with suggestions as to how we might replace them with more honest and clear attempts to tell the story of who we are in Christ Jesus.

Captain Sacrament's Antitheses
N.B.: These articles are not meant to be exhaustive treatments of the topics at hand, to say nothing of chapters in a systematic theology. They're talking points. Theology is a work of the people of God together. I can tell you about how I choose to talk about these things, but not in any definitive way how you should. That's for you to discern and share if you see fit. And if you do want to share, that's what the comments are for.

And don't forget to read the conclusion of the series, "And the Glory of the Lord Shall Be Revealed," in which I bring the discussion back to the Advent context - making space for our coming King.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Various Things

Ordinary Time
Philip, Apostle and Deacon

I'm back at LTS today. Before me rest several issues of the International Review of Mission, some recent Christian Century editions, a Bible, and Samuel Wells' Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics. To which blogs or publications do you turn when you want book reviews in theology and popular religion? I just found Christian Book Reviews.

As Roger likes to say, "Kyle. Back to ecclesiology." We've been talking about how we've really got to do business with the Fathers, because they are the first interpreters of the Christian witness that would later become Holy Scripture. We can't just assume that we're going to read better or more faithfully than they did. However, acknowledging that the Christian tradition develops (and is to a considerable degree developed by the Holy Spirit!) doesn't mean it can't go back to go forward in some ways. Like the canon, or the creeds of the first five centuries. You can re-interpret, but you can't replace or re-write. Sorry.

(Finger wants to have an open discussion on that here.)

Roger says I'm just afraid of becoming a Baptist again. Maybe I am. Afraid, that is. I'll write more on that later.

Blake's offering more discussion on the liberalism thread. I'm pretty proud of this post, if you've never read it.

Jen and I have been discussing the nature of "testimonies." She's also introducing you to some of my favorite people in Oxford. I miss them so. *sniff*

Andy Goodliff cites Colin Gunton on renaming the Trinity.

I mostly don't talk about this stuff anymore, but Internet Monk just says it so well...
There is nothing I resent more than the insistence that I cannot find Jesus genuinely present in other traditions or in the lives of Christians with whom I disagree. The attempt to “launder” and purify evangelicalism down to a “100%” error free expression of the true church is a project I want nothing to do with. I do not need a theo-babysitter to keep me away from Christians, books and expressions of the faith that might be tainted. This is, in my view, little more than human pride and the desire for power over others expressing itself in the denouncement of all who are not identical to our own current level of understanding.

- "What is a Post-Evangelical?" (Part 2)
Holy cow.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

"Evangelicals and Catholics Together"?

Ordinary Time

Well, more or less.

Everyone, we have a new blog friend. Best behavior, now.

SaintSimon writes Normal Life Adventure, which is about just the things you might suppose. He's a Church of England ordinand trainee reader in the charismatic tradition (like evangelicals, only happy), and active in a parish. Since Anglians like to "round out" the churchmanship of their priests, he's doing a placement in a local Anglo-Catholic parish, which seems pretty dead (franky!). It's probably not the best advertisement for an unfamiliar tradition, but it sounds like he's making the best of it. He's expressed warm appreciation for the content here and at Elizaphanian, and contributes thoughtfully to discussions.

I recently asked him to share his reflections on his placement, and with his kind permission, I'm reproducing his comment here as a discussion starter. He definately comes at this stuff from a different direction than I do! I'll offer my responses, and I'd like to know what y'all think as well.
You are right that I would classify myself as Evangelical. I would say Charismatic rather than Pentecostal as it is less denominational.

To be honest, I am struggling at the ‘Oxford Movement’ church.

This Sunday I was asked to carry a chalice. I was told off for being in the wrong place in the procession, implying seniority over the licensed readers. I caused comment when I stumbled slightly while carrying the chalice. I got a bit muddled as to who was taking the wine. But these are peripheral issues. My main problem is that it seems to erect so many barriers between God and his people. ...
Wow. I'm reminded of what Jesus said about the Law being for the people, and not the people for the Law. And wasn't there something about choosing the lowest place at table? Ritual acts have purposes, and anytime the purpose is forgotten or that purpose is so unabashedly unchristian, the acts need to be dropped - at least in that particular context. I guess I just want to go on the record saying - and this as a sacramentalist who believes strongly in the value of a proper and ordered liturgy - anytime a "mistake" in the liturgy is worth getting upset about, there is a big spiritual Problem in somebody. Nobody has any business organizing a procession according to "importance." That's just gross. Same thing with "commenting" about stumbling. You don't want to drop it, they don't want you to drop it. It's not worth "comment." Some people do indeed have some disordered values.

And about dropping the chalice? Or the Host? As Endo wrote, "it was to be trodden upon by men" that Jesus came into our lives. He's cool with that. He knew what he signed on for, to be frank. We ought never to be cavalier about the Mass, but failing to get the choreography just perfect isn't about respect or disrespect. And more importantly, it is blasphemous to make a show of respecting the Eucharistic Presence to the exclusion of respecting Christ's Presence in my brother. Full stop.
I also worry that the object of the faith has been diverted away from our Lord onto the various symbols. I resent having to bow to a man-made wooden altar when I have a living Lord. It feels idolatrous. I resent the altar rail, when the veil in the temple was torn at the crucifixion. I resent the vestments setting apart some members of the church and creating an outward beauty which seems so distant from scriptural exhortations to make inner beauty the priority. I resent the raising of the circular wafer – reminiscent of sun-worshipping paganism. Etc. etc.
The purpose of Christian symbols is to direct both heart and mind to the Lord. Honestly, I try to keep this so much in mind, that I'm not sure what it would feel like to be really meticulous about the liturgy and not consider it to be a way of loving Jesus well together as the people of God. If it's not that, it's just stupidity. Honestly.

A catholic/sacramental theology maintains that anamnesis, "remembrance" in the biblical sense is a kind of "making present again." It's a reenactment of God's saving act in the present that both brings the acts saving efficacy from the past into the now, and is an invocation for God to continue that saving action into the future. When the Church gathers around the Eucharist, we are joined with the hosts of heaven, the angels, martyrs and departed elect before throne of God. If you're a science fiction fan (I stole this from Alan), you might think of it as offering a wormhole between heaven and earth. The Church is gathered in both places, and divine power is mediated to the Church through the Eucharist. When one bows to the altar, one is bowing to Christ. No thing at all, and no one else.

The altar rail, from what I understand, was a medieval invention meant to keep out chickens. And probably people. I don't like it myself, and don't have a defense for it.

As far as the vestments are concerned, I see them as a kind of uniform, that helps make the celebrant's personage fade and the action take center stage. I see it as a form of reverence. If that's not what's going on in a particular setting, it should probably all be abandoned in that time and place.

I'm pretty sure the Host is elevated because that's reminiscent of Christ being lifted up upon the cross, in turn reminiscent of Moses lifting up the broze serpent in the wilderness.
Also, although the popularity should never be the test of sound doctrine, why is there only 5 people in the congregation [not including the service team] on Sunday and Wednesday night? If reverence is the focus of the church’s worship, surely the first reverence is to actually turn up?
Ooo, burn. :0)
However, there is some good stuff – the way for the gospel reading the Bible is carried in procession to the centre of the church and the congregation stands to hear it – we need more reverence of the Bible in our church. And if I am OK with this, perhaps I can extend it to other things? But even so, surely reverence of the Bible consists primarily in doing it rather than just parading it around.
Again, definately, and I like your consideration of that. Liturgy is about enacting - performing - the faith in anticipation that it will give rise to further performances outside the liturgical setting. You know, like out there in the world.
I came to this church with a genuine desire to be open minded, and to learn, and to find out for myself rather than relying on prejudices passed down to me from my family background. For this reason I will be having a meeting later with the Sacristan who is keen on all his stuff and will explain its meanings to me. I still feel there is an opportunity for me to get under the skin of this thing and understand where it is coming from. I really don’t want to criticise something that is a true or at least acceptable expression of the faith. I don’t want to criticise anything that is genuinely given by God. Neither do I wish to teach as doctrines of God traditions of men that fly in the face of God’s intention. (Matt 15v9)
Sounds like that won't be a problem. Anybody want to chime in?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Fetish of the Family"?

Ordinary Time

Chasity is a sin qua non of lucidity and concentration. Any community capable of sustaining singleness as a way of life ... Yoder and Bonhoeffer both discover singleness is at the heart ... the most extraordinary thing that ... early Christians did that distinguished them from the Jews is that they didn't have to marry. I mean, you gotta remember that Jesus was not a good Jew. He was single, he walked around with twelve guys, you have to wonder whether he really understood his sexuality...

Followers of Jesus didn't have to marry. You may think, that was because they had negative attitudes about sex. They may have had negative attitudes about sex, but that's not why they didn't marry. The reason why they didn't is because you don't have to have a child to be a Christian. You don't have to have a child to be a Chrisitan, because we're an apocalyptic sect that grows by witness and conversion.

Just about every time Christians make a fetish of the family you can be sure that they don't believe in God anymore. It's because they don't want to witness to anyone about the truth of the gospel, they just want to make sure that their kids grow up thinking that they don't have another option but to go to the Reformed Chruch. Singleness is the absolute necessary correlative of the fact that the church is an evangelizing body that grows by witness and conversion. ... One generation God could call every Christian to the life of singleness and yet we believe that God would create the church anew through witness and conversion.

Think about what kind of community, What kind of practice that community must embody. Any community capable of sustaining singleness as a way of life must also be a community of trust made possible by speaking truth to one another...
- Stanley Hauerwas, lecture on the Sermon on the Mount. (Click here to download the mp3, the quote is from about 33:30)

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Friday, October 06, 2006


Ordinary Time
William Tyndale

This has been a slow reading week. I promised I'd read and write about Spencer Burke's new book, but so far I disagree with every single premise he offers for his arguments. We'll see. Oh, this will be good. I've used my time to finally organize my lecture notes (all of them!) from college and grad school so I'll finally know where stuff is.

I finished Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow at Brennan Hancock's recommendation. Really, how could I turn down something described to me as "Jesuits in Outer Space"? It's a good, suspenseful read. It's not as deeply philosophical as I thought, but it does raise issues of divine providence and tragedy. And really, for a good novel, what more could you want?

When Monday comes around, I'm going to start spending the mornings at LTS' library again.

As I mentioned earlier, Jesse and I made it to Georgetown for the Hauerwas lecture. He said the lecture, "Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War" was meant to honor combat veterans, and he spoke of the strange intimacy that comes with killing together, and how difficult it makes readjustment to civilian lives. Some military psychologists have talked about how marriages get destroyed afterwards because they cannot cope with the expectations of intimacy that were forged on the battlefield. I wouldn't have thought of any such thing.

The bottom line? Christians cannot appropriately make a sacrifice for a country or a cause. The one meaningful sacrifice for Christians was made by Christ at Calvary, and we are joined to that in the celebration of the Eucharist. Anything above that is a lie. Because Christ is the only sacrifice, we don't have to sacrifice ourselves for other competing narratives that seek to give our lives meaning. As he often says, the Church does not have a social ethic, the Church is a social ethic. We demonstrate that one does not have to kill, because we will not kill. Does that mean we won't be killed? Of course not. Consistant convictions will bring suffering, he says.

We had lunch with the Jaspers, Jarrod, and the Mullikins. It was a good time. So many people get all hot and bothered about religious convictions, that it was great to just sit back, talk about what had been said, debate, agree, and disagree without anybody being angry that someone disagreed. Nobody had to be assured that it was okay for them to talk, and nobody tried to preach. Not even me.

Pretty sweet.

Somehow I continue to fraternize with the dastardly PHAs. Zac Bailes came over for dinner the other day, as did the other Kyle (not a PHA). We prayed the hours like big ol' Catholics. I'm hoping he lets me put some cantankerous opinion pieces in the school paper. I need people to pay attention to me!

Today I'm reading, and working at the bookstore. Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

Ordinary Time
Francis of Assisi

I've put off so many things in the last couple of months, trying to get these essays done. I have people to write, and much to write about! We're doing to do this "Choose Your Own Adventure" style. Remember those?

Here are some options:

The Academic. I could re-write the more interesting aspects of my work into blog-digestible bits; my essays were on (if you recall) Use of the Bible, Eucharistic Ecclesiology, and Mission and American Empire. I could also write some short book reviews.

The Communal. I've got some reflections rolling around in regard to living with people and living together as both "the Church" and "a church." No surprise there.

The Anecdotal. I can talk about what I do all day. This would be boring coming from some folks, but fortunately for all of you, I'm hilarious.

The Personal. I could reflect on my "spiritual pilgrimage" and make vague and tantalizing references to what a big ol' sinner I am. Also known as the "Dark Humor" option.

The Controversial. This one is pretty much just rants about Calvinists. But you know you love it.

Which do you like to read? Have I successfully summarized my typical genres? Any suggestions?

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