Lillian is a tonic. She understands, for instance, that the phenomenal popularity of “Celtic” services being held for all comers, with open communion for the unbaptized, is not going to strengthen the faltering churches. Her voice is valuable and much needed. She does not, however, seem particularly interested in The Great Tradition (aka generous orthodoxy) of the church, but rather, in what the church asks of its people — and more power to her on that. Doctrine, however, still lies at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. As soon as one becomes unmoored from the Great Tradition of biblical interpretation and Christian doctrine, there are unnumbered, treacherous currents, tides, and rocks to get lost in or run aground on. Moving away from the church (with all its all-too-obvious defects) means exchanging one flawed organism for another — oneself. Pelagius was a Christian, a very serious one, but the teaching that Augustine was dead set against was his tendency to substitute human agency for divine agency.
In the end, it’s about God. Who is God, and what difference does that make? There are a number of dangers in the Pelagian route, but perhaps the primary route out of biblical faith is the redefining of the identity and nature of God. It is simply tragic that the issue defining the various parties in the church today is same-sex unions. The passions surrounding this debate have almost entirely obscured the all-important questions of Christology and the role of Scripture in an age when an unprecedented number of books and media messages are bent on undermining the church’s ancient confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.Fleming Rutledge (via wesleyhill)
I returned to campus last month and ran into an old friend who had recently gotten engaged to his boyfriend. The two of them asked about my job and, understanding the public commitments of this journal, asked in a winsomely direct and gentle manner what I thought couples like them should do. We were headed in different directions, and I admitted that I was probably incapable of offering a satisfying answer on the spot.
I am not optimistic about doing so here, either, but let me try. A week after my admission to my friend, I was sitting at a wedding Mass listening to the reading of a prayer written by the bride and groom. It asked that “all called to the generosity of the single or celibate … might inspire [name of bride and groom] by their conformity to Christ, and always find in them fiercely devoted friends, and in their house a second home.”
The prayer moved me, in part because I’d been going through my own period of loneliness, but also because it reminded me that the movement for gay marriage is absolutely right to demand that the institution be made more inclusive. Where it goes wrong is in supposing this can be done by asserting a free-floating right to marriage, rather than by insisting on the duty of every marriage to become a place of welcome. We can’t and shouldn’t redesign marriage under the illusion that it can directly include everyone. We need more than one form of solidarity.Matthew Schmitz, “How I Evolved on Gay Marriage” (via wesleyhill)