Tuesday, February 15

whitewater rafting through Tim's brain

Life vests not included
There are days when the dam breaks...when there is a cascade of thoughts which are started by a little pebble and end up causing some torrent downstream which was entirely unpredictable.  Some of these waters are well traveled but some are rocky and not easily navigated.  Please keep your head and arms inside the craft at all times. You've been warned.

So, Colkoch over at Enlightened Catholicism (why she's not ECC I'm not sure) is talking about how there is becoming (perhaps already has been) two RC churches - the old-skool, Trenten/V1 church (with it's emphasis on the beauty of the liturgical, the necessity of blind obedience and the sinfulness of man on one hand) and the new-hotness V2 church (with it's emphasis on a 'contemporary' liturgy, the primacy of conscience and that the gift of salvation is open to any who wish it) on the other.

This caused me, in my fevered way, to recall Sirach from the reading this weekend.
If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;  if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.  Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him. (Sirach 15:15-17) (emphasis mine)
Your choice...free will.  Salvation or damnation is in your hands...It's on you to be good or not, Augustine and Calvin be d_d.  Do we, as humans, choose poorly, stray from the path and need Divine to extend Her hand to save us?  *snorts* Of course we do!   It isn't determined before we were born or entirely beyond our control, but the choice to cling to or turn from the Divine is ours to make just as it is Her decision to grant His grace and mercy.

This leads to a discussion after mass this Sunday with one of our priests.  I mentioned how I would have focused on Sirach and not the gospel reading (Mat. 7, talking about going beyond what the law says), to which she mentioned how seminary focuses their homily skills primarily on the gospels with a bit about the rest of the NT thrown in.  But, I think to myself, the catholics have the expanded Bible...you know, the one that has the 'too hot for Lutherans' books in it.  What's the point of having them...or any of that...if you're going to restrict canon to a dozen books with the focus being on 4 of them.  That's restricting the Deposit of Faith far more than even the most spittle-flecked Baptist would consider prudent.  This leads to the next part in the rapids.

So, what defines canon?  For nearly 1500 years (3/4 of the Church's existence, for those of you who are fractionally inclined), there was no 'established cannon'.  That is an 'innovation' of the Protestant church, co-opted at Trent by the catholics.  If one can hear the voice of Holy Wisdom in the Tao te Ching...or the Koran....or Marcus Aurelius... or Julian of Norwich...or Mohandas Gandhi does it matter whether or not a council decreed that their works are nihil obstat and have granted imprimatur?  If I experience the power and the mystery of the Divine on a mountain top with spring water and a granola bar, is that nullified because it's not (cheap) wine and (tasteless) bread that a priest has said 'the right words' over?

Being Omnipotent means that the Divine is not restrained by Vatican I OR II (or any council, edict or stricture).  His presence is everywhere and in everything.  The shortcoming is not Her power but our inability to see, to recognize and to appreciate what is happening around us. We can refuse His help, turn away from Her or ignore Him, but She doesn't fit into a nice, neat little box that fits under the altar/communion table (despite what I was told growing up) anymore than natural world follows the 'rules' of science.

Mebbie that's where this river is dumping out.

Science is the study of the natural world in an attempt to understand it.  Religion is the same sort of thing, a study by which we attempt to relate to and understand the world around us.  In both instances, we come up with observations...which become explanations...and eventually 'hard-n-fast rules'.  But if the underlying assumptions are proven wrong, or the observations were made in an environment which no longer exists, then the rules can be entirely invalidated.  That doesn't change the natural world...or God...just our very limited understanding of it.  If something doesn't fit...like wimmen-folk being called to become clergy or neutrinos having mass....then it's time to change your dogma/theory/laws.

Love God, do good, don't be a dick!  The rest is commentary.  (apologies to Hillel)

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