Thursday, February 25, 2010


Swapping Mistakes

Michael Spencer has struggled with possibly becoming a Catholic for quite a while now and he has done so quite publicly. He seems to have reached a final conclusion:
On many days, I have probably wanted the case for Catholicism to be persuasive more than most any Protestant you know. My life and home would be much different were I able to say “this is true.”

But ultimately, I am unconvinced. Ultimately, I am no closer than ever and less impressed with the answers on issues like the development of doctrine or the perpetual virginity of Mary. As much as I sense the sincerity and respectful openness in Bryan’s explanation of his passion for unity in the Catholic Church, it is not the goal of my journey to come into union with the RCC as I understand it.
And yet, the iMonk's soul remains deeply troubled:
My problem remains that when I have once again worked through the claims and chosen my Protestant and evangelical “ecclesial community,” invalid ordination, paltry sacraments and all, I am still in a growing evangelical wilderness.


Can we do any better with this reformation heritage of ours? Is this the best we can do? The endless cacophony of division? The constant tyranny of celebrity spirituality?


Is this the best we can do? Contemporary evangelicalism’s hour of praise music? Extreme youth ministries? Addiction to the Prosperity cancer? Or the new fad of criticizing the critics. Let’s all say the church is fine, doing fine, just fine, oh fine, she’s fine…….

Where has all this being right in comparisons Catholics gotten us? In my own “most evangelistic” of denominations the chances of hearing the Gospel on a Sunday morning in half of our churches is a crap shoot.

While I watch Catholics have serious worship and serious spiritual formation in scripture and the virtues of deep spirituality, I’ll keep asking: is this the best we can do?

Right answers only go so far. With us, it seems that after 500 years, we don’t know where we are going. The ship feels listless, but the ever-talking crew assures us that all is well.
A hearty "AMEN!" strikes this person as an inadequate expression of agreement with the sentiments of which Spencer writes.

I would; however, change the question. I wonder not "Is this the best we can do?" I wonder "What's to become of us?" You see, my 'right answers' (which only do go so far) tell me it is not what we do, but what God does. That is a source of both comfort and fear. Comfort that God has something in mind, fear that His judgment is a part of it.

I find myself lately considering "cherry-picking" for church - remaining affiliated with my current congregation, but making the local RCC parish a regular haunt - or some other highly liturgical, spiritual formation focused congregation (though the RCC one is the only one I know of that is close to that bill.) And yet that idea sets me up as judge and jury on what is best and makes me in many ways guilty of the problems of individuality that infests so much of Evangelicalism. Christianity is not to be done alone - and it is certainly to be done with humility.

I long to be called forward, deeper.... The answer always comes back "submit." I submit to God readily, but those that claim to act in His name ask for the same submission - yet their flaws are so obvious. They respond that submission matters more.

I agree, but I will not submit to those which demand my submission, unless they will join me on their knees. As best as I can figure, that is not born of pride, but fear. Some fear for myself, yes, but more that I will in so doing forward their flaws. And yet, can it be said that Christ's submission, even to death, to the Pharisees forwarded their flaws? But then again, I'm not Jesus - by a long shot.

And then I sweat blood.

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