Saturday, June 26, 2004

Heresy is Bad For You

I'm not sure what this week did for my cynicism. The jury's out, I suppose. I got to hear the (figure)head of the denomination talk about "ambiguity" as a Christian value in and of itself. How did he support this as being an integral part of the faith?

He actually prooftexted the Chalcedonian Definition.

Yeah, that's what I said. The document was approved at the 451 Council of Chalcedon to frame and somewhat settle the Christian Communities' conception of Jesus the God-Man, specifically that Jesus Christ is both human and divine.

His point? That the great thing about pomo (look, I'm trendy) society is that people "realize there are multiple realities," and that we live in a "both/and world." This is apparently a classical Christian value, since the Church used both/and language back in the day while trying to figure out a metaphysical question.

The problem being of course that in the case of the C.D., we have an affirmation of faith that is paradoxical, not the mixing of paradoxes in an attempt to create an affirmation of faith. The Community's faith is that Jesus is both divine and human, so they had to tailor their theological and philosophical formulations so they could have paradox but not contradiction. This is not the same as gathering up contradictory worldviews and insisting that God's truth is a paradoxical amalgam of all voices just because the people talking got sprinkled when they were infants.

According to many of the fine minds of the Episcopal Church, Christian values and teaching are to be determined by adopting and affirming all of the contradictory worldviews and opinions of everybody who ever was baptized. So long as they don't try to keep someone else's worldview out of the mix.

This is instead of converting people to an altogether different worldview (based on scripture or tradition) that proclaims all the lies they've ever believed to be just that -- lies. There is, however, one over-riding principle that stands over and against other truths and serves as a corrective: "love." Not agape, not that which can think critically and choose the best things for people and choose to be a servant even when all natural affection and caring has bled away in the face of human brokenness and evil,

This "love" affirms everyone's opinion, and insists that you must never keep someone else from the pursuit of what they think will be happiness by speaking a contradictory or corrective word.

I don't think God is doing a new thing. He's doing the same thing he's always done.

more later...

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