Sunday, September 24, 2006

5 responses to criticism

As a good gnostic should, I wholeheartedly agree and wholeheartedly disagree with Jordan's+ points.

I agree that they are well thought out and pertinent.

I disagree, in that I think they ultimately don't matter.

A point by point response:

Point 1: If you strive for art, eventually intellectual theories and utilitarian motives will follow. If you strive for intellectual theories, utilitarian motives and artistic endeavors will follow. If you strive for utilitarianism, Artistic endeavors and intellectual theories will follow. Out there, in the wide wide world, there are people who follow every stripe.

And they bring their stripe to our church.

Saying that people want this or that strikes me as blind to reality. If people didn't want intellectual arguing, why do we have so much of it? Eventually, we will have all three, and I would rather make a place for it, than fight about it.

Point 2) Let me make one thing clear: Ministry does not require ordination. We are called to minister to each other at all times, in all places, in myriad ways.

However, there is a value to ordination and the formation process. In Western Spirituality, There have always been at least three streams of religious clergy: Priests, who do the day to day ministering, have the training to apply the ancient teachings with wisdom and compassion, and take care of the flock, which isn't flashy and requires a steadfast committment to the community; and the saints and prophets, for whom passion, and dare I say, Gnosis, have been the deciding factor, not training. Finally, there have been the congregants, who do what they can for their co-religionists, and support the other two kinds. All of these people have their role to play, and always have. Training is valuable and necessary, so is passion, so is the skill of the congregant: Reception of spiritual guidance. Ideally, we are all in a position to assume all 3 roles, but in reality, we specialize.

Point 3) There are three pillars we try to stand on: Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. I do not feel any should be negletcted. At this point, we're trying to simply work with what we have. I do not believe a gnostic church should be lothlorien: The ethereal beauty will not speak to everyone's soul. It also needs to be sturdy, to withstand the blows struck against it. It also needs to be learned, to answer the accusations of those who'd tear it down. Beauty is important, but it is not all.

Point 4) I don't encounter this much, but I'm sure it's out there. We have to explain the mythological aspects of this to the holders of the view, and that it's a useful model sometimes, but not all the time.

Point 5) The problems of recognitions are the problems of a day, and we spend lots of energy on them. Ultimately, they don't matter. The Church is One, Holy, and Apostolic, and it doesn't care what structures we set up in temporal time. It exists in eternity. If both side approach the issue with wisdom, strength, and beauty, they will resolve.

If not, they will disappear into the dungheap of history, like so many other controversies, only to be resurrected when someone's feeling pissy. We're the One, Holy, and Apostolic Church. We should take a long view.


jp said...

Excellent thoughts, Scott-- niely done!

Anonymous said...

Where Apostolicity becomes a problem is when the 'authorities' see themselves as such.