Wednesday, November 25, 2009

5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts for Today

5. Happy Birthday, Uncle John.

4. If I'm funny, it's because of my friends.

3. Tacos are our friends.

2. Are tacos therefore funny?

1. The Roman Catholic Church may be the theological equivalent of the Borg Collective. In a good way. I think.
I was cruising the inter-webs again, and a friend posted this: "I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish." -- Lamott

I laughed out loud. And then I reflected on why that was funny to me. That would never happen; Jesus isn't driven to drink like so many of us are. He never needs to "take the edge off"; there's no need to cover up feelings; just feel them in that perfectly holy way. Furthermore, I'd say drinking out of a cat dish is sub-human in the proper sense; I laugh at the thought of Jesus doing it because he is the quintessential human, [philosophical hesitations, ahem] our goal, our path, our means. I'm certain the world itself comes apart at the thought of Jesus doing--or even considering--something sub-human. I probably scared myself because I pictured it and found it funny. And yet again, I thought of a song. And a large part of the answer to the question is, "He is!" But isn't it great to wonder at it: He was never a slob. Jesus sanctified every inch of the ground he walked. The dirt under his fingernails was holy dirt. Even the humblest and mundane things were elevated to supernatural acts. Stew on that next time you go to the loo. And truly, He was home, in one sense. I imagine that if he hadn't been "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief," he'd be the life of the party. He could yell out, "I got nothin' but love for ya, tho" and he'd be the only one telling the truth. I know that Joan Osborne song made life easier for thousands of church leaders, allowing them to blather on (possibly even effectively) about the Incarnation just as I am doing now. But hey, it's one of those songs you didn't know was important at the time. It sure didn't seem provocative to me then as it does now. Isn't that interesting? What do you think about that?
What is it with me and overwrought, sappy, Black vocal pop/soul? I am officially the whitest person ever. I don't even have elite snobby credibilty: I have loved its mainstream since the late 80s. Still do. Well, I was feeling a bit lonely tonight, and thinking about my one and only experience that could be considered a relationship--for the record, I screwed it up--and this tune came to mind. It's not nearly this bad, really; the title is true though; we skipped over that part. And it's kinda weird now. It is to me, anyway. And the singing from 3:20-3:45ish is the part that sucks me in every time: "I'll never, ever, find another love like you, ohhh"--even not being overdramatic, it's true. There's only one first (mutual) love that really costs you something. You know what other song reminds me of this? This one. Our friends Usher and Alicia here are doing their level-best to make sure this musical decade won't totally suck. And our colleagues from the first tune, Deborah and R.L., did the same. Anyway, I hope this won't hurt anyone else who might read this; I just needed to write this out again. And I figured out what my deal is: I'm Darryl Hall's long-lost son! Ha! Speaking of Hall, and his equally awesome hombre Oates, this is a remake that will let you understand just how well-crafted this song is. Music rules. And it's a language that makes sense of things for us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

5 Uncomfortable Thoughts on Protestant Justification

5. Sola Scriptura ("Scripture Alone") is not sufficient to vindicate any one (Protestant) theory of justification over another.

4. "Justification by Faith Alone" in Luther's formulation was entirely novel in Christian history.

3. Penal substitutionary atonement was not believed until the Reformation, either. (Perhaps aspects of each at various points, but never to that extent)

2. "Belief in Christ" implies faith and trust. And experientially at least, trust without Love (charity, agape) seems impossible, and maybe impious. Further, some cooperation in this Love, some synergism, does not affirm semi-Pelagianism or deny grace. AT ALL.

1. If ecclesial hostility led Luther to affirm justification by faith apart from Charity, Christian living in practice seems to teach that he was wrong. (Sorry.) I don't want the faith of the demons in James 2. The debate about works is but the minor one compared to Love, don't you think?