Reformation day dissent

By the time of the Protestant Reformation, Rome had been in schism from the rest of the Church for roughly 500 year, and I have no desire to defend, for instance, the indulgences against which Luther railed and which the Greek/Eastern Church has never known.

But against some of the Reformers’ premises, doctrines, repudiations, and liturgical practices, we stand together (I think) opposed.

The Reformation rejected many of the ideas of Medieval Christianity and set in place new models that would become the foundation of the modern world. One of those was to redefine how human beings were to be understood. Essentially, their simplified model was to see us as intellect and will. There were various shades of agreement and disagreement about whether intellect or will was the more important, but no one doubted that human beings were to be approached on the ground of information and decision-making. Church architecture in short measure began to reflect this new understanding. Altars were de-emphasized, often replaced by a simple table. The pulpit became a primary focus, sometimes being moved to the center of attention. Though sacraments remained important (at first), they were deeply suppressed in favor of “the word.” The Scriptures were emphasized but in a new manner. They were the treasure-trove of all information. Believers were to be instructed constantly and urged towards right choices. Christianity quickly morphed into a society of religious morality. This arrangement and understanding are so commonplace today that many readers will wonder that it has ever been anything else.

However, liturgy itself was never meant to convey information in such a manner. It has a very different understanding of what it is to be human, what it means to worship, and what it means to liturgize in the Church …

Christianity, prior to the Reformation, was largely acquired as a set of practices. Things that seem rather innocuous (or even superstitious) to the intellectualized/choosing practices of modernity are actually the stuff that constituted, formed and shaped the Christian life. The pattern of feasts and fasts, the rituals of prayer, the preparation for and receiving of communion, all of these, far too complex and layered to be described in a short article, formed a web of nurture that linked the whole of culture into a way of life that produced Christian discipleship. Those who argue that it did not do a good enough job, have nothing to which they can point as an improvement. Instruction and choice have not made better Christians – indeed, they have been a primary element in the progressive secularization of Western civilization.

We are not an audience in the Liturgy. We are not gathering information in order to make a decision. We are in the Liturgy to live, breathe, and give thanks, in the presence of God. There is often a quiet movement within an Orthodox congregation. Candles are lit and tended. Icons are venerated. Members cross themselves at certain words, but are just as likely to be seen doing so for some reason known only to them and God. It is a place of prayer, and not just the prayers sung by the priest and choir.

The struggle for a Christian in the modern world is to renounce the life of the audience ….

(Fr. Stephen Freeman)

Lex orandi, lex credendi; the law of prayer is the law of belief; you are how you pray and worship.

The Reformers’ errant anthropology and resultant worship and even architectural novelties produced a materially different religion than that of the first 1500 years of the Christian era.

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Friday Supplement

Another Tertiary Thing:

Trump is now actively promoting the conspiracy theory that Clinton was given last night’s debate questions in advance

Guess what?

He’s right.

It was obvious Clinton knew all the questions in advance.

BECAUSE NONE OF THEM WERE IN ANY WAY A SURPRISE.

Leaving aside the utterly ludicrous idea Fox News would (even without the clammy groping right wing hand of Roger Ailes) help out HILLARY G*DD*MN*D CLINTON in any way, only somebody so appallingly ignorant of reality as Donald Trump could possibly NOT know what questions were going to come up in last night’s debate.

Let’s review, shall we?

First Question: Supreme Court.

Wow. What a surprise. There is no way Clinton could have seen that one coming and been prepared for it without cheating. No way. I mean when’s the last time you heard anybody talk about the Supreme Court in reference to this election? Amiright? Poor Trump was totally blindsided. Sad!

A subset of the SCOTUS question was the Second Amendment. It’s like that one just came out of the blue. There’s hardly been any discussion of guns or gun violence or crazy people with guns at all in America. No headlines. No NRA statements. The president, congress, crazy enraged Jade-Helm-smoking American Patriots of Patriotic American Patriotism sure haven’t mentioned it. So how would Hillary Clinton be prepared to talk about it? Without cheating, I mean?

A subset of the SCOTUS question was … Abortion? Seriously? Abortion? Roe V Wade? That’s so 1973. It was settled long ago, right? I mean you never hear anybody talking about abortion. Why would the moderator even bring that up? That’s like hoop skirts and Conestoga wagons, who even cares about that stuff anymore? Abortion. Please.

Second Question: Immigration.

Total shocker. Never saw that one coming. Why would a candidate even have any opinion on immigration? Borders? Refugees? Where to they get these crazy questions? Why don’t they ask things Americans care about? You know, stuff that’s in the headlines and like that?

A subtext of this question was Wikileaks and Russian spying. Again, how would a candidate possibly know to prepare for such topics? I mean, come ON, Russian hacking of emails? It might as well have been “Obscure 18th Century Hungarian Beekeepers who Collected Stamps.” I mean who knows that shit? Other than Jeopardy contestants who’ve never even grabbed a … okay, that’s a bad example but I think I’ve made my point here, Clinton MUST have had advance notice. Obviously. So sad.

Another subtopic: Nuclear weapons. And we’re back to Hungarian beekeepers. Nuclear weapons? What is this? A Cold War debate? Sure if you drink enough and squint your eyes Trump does sort of resemble Margaret Thatcher, but goddamn, folks, nuclear weapons? Who cares? What kind of presidential candidate is prepared to talk about nuclear weapons off the cuff? She had to have cheated, Folks. Had to.

Third Question: Jobs

Jobs. Economy. NAFTA. Taxes. Trade. Obamacare. What the hell does ANY of that have to do with anything? It’s all Hungarian beekeeping! When has ANY of that come up during this election? What kind of crazy old lady would bone up on that stuff if she didn’t know in advance liberal Fox News was going to pull a gotcha on Donald Trump?

Sexual shenanigans? Groping and grabbing? Nasty women? Good grief, Folks, I was totally surprised by that. No idea that was going to come up. Crazy! I mean name one election in American history where sex was even mentioned like at all. See? Nobody talks about that kind of thing, it’s like abortion or gay marriage. I mean how would Crooked Hillary be ready for that? Cheater!

I …

What?

OK, I’ll stop.

As I said last night, Trump is that kid who studied for his first period algebra exam by glancing at his scribbled incomplete notes from English class for a frantic ten minutes on the bus on the way to school.

OF COURSE Hillary Clinton knew the questions in advance.

Fox News didn’t have to give Clinton the questions.

Clinton didn’t have to cheat.

EVERYBODY in America who’s been paying even marginal attention knew the questions in advance.

There are naked tribesmen living in the remote stone-age jungles of Mindanao Island who wear those giant dick-spear-sheaths and speak only the Click-Click language who knew what the questions were going to be.

Any halfwit could have predicted the questions last night with a high degree of accuracy. Certainly any competent political campaign debate prep team could have gotten 100% — Clinton’s sure as shit did.

The ONLY person in the room who wasn’t prepared for last night’s debate was Donald Trump.

So of course it looked like magic to him.

I am now officially in awe of Jim Wright (via Richard Barrett on Facebook).

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.