Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Why Does it Still Seem Haunted?

And "The future of the church is ancient."  That is a very Emerging Church sentiment, but I always said they had the diagnosis right, even if I didn't much like some of their treatments.

I did begin to wonder when halfway through he started talking about the church needing to allow doubt, and questioning.  I have been hearing this for decades, and I have to wonder, is this still the case? Everywhere I have been, doubt is considered normal - in fact, it may be considered too normal, with too many people waxing poetic about how wonderful it is that we should let our young people doubt. It is firmness of belief that is now considered low-rent.  That may just be the crowd I have run with.  Maybe it is still a problem that there are churches who clamp down hard on kids expressing any doubt. Yet I have to wonder if that opinion does not mostly come from the kids who later embraced their doubts and were looking for excuses* why that was everyone else's fault.

He references Charles Taylor at least twice - I didn't keep count - which is fascinating.  Taylor has become increasing religious, increasingly Catholic over the years, but not very typical or traditional.  I know little of him other than a few references a decade ago (Maybe at First Things?) and have not been moved to pursue it, but there is a huge book of his that came out about a decade ago about the secular society.  I should probably take a look.

I think Smith has some very good things to say here, and I should not dwell on the negatives too much.  That's a bad habit of mine. Reading up on him, he apparently had some sort of falling-out with Rod Dreher.  Whether both, or neither was in the right of that I don't know. He does have a powerful interpretation of the painting by El Greco at the end. Overall, I very much like this.

* That is a combined CS Lewis, a father-of-five, and a working with addicts prejudice of mine.  If there was a right thing to do and you didn't do it, eventually most excuses will not hold.  Some people have far more extenuating circumstances, and I, with my easy life, might have no ground to criticise them. Yet I think in any true judgement, whether a dramatic Throne of God or a gentle spiritual director, to say "But I had terrible parents who claimed they were Christians...but anxiety disorders run in my family...but I needed the money..." will not be enough.  Do torture, oppression, or starvation change that picture?  They might.  I dare not say otherwise.  But I don't know what Jesus himself would say.

1 comment:

james said...

How is doubt treated in the Bible? Gideon was going to put other people's lives at stake; he needed to be sure. Zechariah got to be the sign he was looking for. Thomas was given a demonstration. OTOH, there's a sampling bias.