Thursday, December 2

United We Stand, just the way it goes?

Last night, a group of people from my church gathered at a friend's house for discussion. Our priest was there, and he brought a friend of his, a Roman Catholic priest. It was a great evening, full of both fun and seriousness. At one time, the talk naturally turned to unity. The question was asked (I'll paraphrase): "All this about having different communions and different rules is just stupid. We'll be all together in Heaven, so why don't we just do that now?"

I agree, it is stupid. It's silly to be divided: it's the scandal of the church, and one that has done greater damage, I would wager, than any scandal that has recently rocked either the Catholic or Epicopalian churches.


The reason that we are divided is that we have different theology and beliefs about what the Eucharist is and does. These are serious and important differences.

There are two ways of achieving unity. One is to disregard our differences and go for the good stuff of unity, and do everything together. Not that this is a bad desire, but we'll get to that in a minute. The other way is to go along with the seperateness for now, and do hard work on coming to a common understanding of the Eucharist. After all, there's a truth about it, and we all want to get to the Truth, so we're working toward a common goal.

If we go with plan number 1, then we do achieve same practice, but not unity. We will still be divided, and the same questions will keep coming up, and the splits will continue.

If we go with plan number 2, then it may take us centuries to restore unity. But, if we work toward Truth, then it will be real unity, not just commonality of practice. Then, when the questions about the Eucharist come up, we might have some answers, instead of breaking apart again.

So raise your glass, and let's have a toast to unity, and then get on with the hard long work of bringing it about, through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, November 29

Deserter or Loyalist?

I've been thinking about the music I listen to lately. A lot of it is tied to my Southern/Texan roots. I love songs like "Sweet Home Alabama," "Down on the Corner," and just about everything by John Denver. I could sing along to parts of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack the first time I saw the movie. I not only know who the Kossoy Sisters and the New Christy Minstrels are, I can sing the harmonies on several of their songs.

But I don't want to live in the Texas Panhandle, where I grew up, ever again. I still love that landscape, the wide open prairies and the brilliant night skies. But I'm a university sort of person, and that culture doesn't exist up there.

So, by hanging on to these bits of culture, am I helping to preserve a bit of it, or am I being a traitor by simply "picking and choosing" the bits I like?

I don't like country music, and probably never will. I'm not feigning an interest in it just to be "Texan." But neither do I intend to give up the Southern music I like just because it makes me "weird" to listen to it. I genuinely like the songs "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," and "Christmas for Cowboys," and I'm not about to pretend that I don't. I'm not going to make anyone else listen to them (for which they can be thankful!) but I'm not going to act like I've outgrown them. If anything, I've grown into them. As a kid, I never liked bluegrass music, but as I've gotten older and learned to like Celtic music, I can see those roots in it, and see how it is the root of a lot of music that I really do like. I can listen to some of it now.

So, the question remains: traitor, or loyalist? Am I picking my culture to pieces, or helping preserve a little bit of it?
The Return of the Blog

Yes, I am attempting to return to normal blogging again. I have been obsessed with NationalNovelWritingMonth for the past 23 days, but I just hit 50,000 words last night, so that will slack off a bit. Now, for the posting of the book on the other blog, and the months and months of editing!!