Saturday, June 27, 2009

Holy Wars

It is not my intention or ambition to be an apologist for the Catholic-Christian faith. First of all, I do not consider myself nearly educated enough to take on such a daunting task. In close second place is the conclusion that I no longer thrive on disagreement and argumentation.

Inherent in this first and conclusion is the reality that insists upon the importance of knowing enough about this faith-issue, historically and experientially, to be able to convey its wealth to others whether through spoken or written venues.[1] The same realization, I think, is true regarding Oblation as a lay-member of the Order of St. Benedict.

A person simply must be able to tell their gospel story. The great challenge is to be able to tell it from a middle ground that declines both offensive and defensive positions. This presents a dilemma that, quite honestly, demands generous measures of love and acceptance by all parties concerned.[2] We are, after all, individual pilgrims being led by the One Spirit on a common journey toward an Uncommon Destination.[3]

There is a principle however that has proven itself time and again. It’s simply that the inevitable will always, at some point, inevitably rear its ugly head in one fashion or another, even within the ranks of quite likeminded people. Opinions will differ. Disagreements will arise. Even, perhaps especially, within the ranks of religious expression where controversy has historically resulted in more than a few “Christian” burnings, hangings, and widespread bloodbaths.

It is my observation that even the most liberal forms of ecumenism have polarizing effects that are as handicapping as the forms found in the antithesis of staunch fundamentalism. Polarization always tends to become one of those “I’m right and you’re wrong” things that builds camps surrounded by well constructed and fortified walls of protection.[4]

I suppose it’s one of those unavoidable “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of things that, more likely than not, will be with us until the day Jesus returns. And I suppose it’s one of the things motivating me to study more closely and understand better those earlier times before the schisms that began spiking out the Church into so many opposing camps boasting such an array of controversial theological and traditional opinions.

[1] 1 Peter 3:15-16
[2] RB 53:1-5 may very easily be applied to all relationships.
[3] Ephesians 4:4-6
[4] 1 Corinthians 1:10-13