Monday, February 6, 2017

and Music

Examine your lives and conduct by the rule of God’s
commandments, that you may perceive wherein you have 
offended in what you have done or left undone, whether in
thought, word, or deed. And acknowledge your sins before 
Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life, being
ready to make restitution for all injuries and wrongs done by
you to others; and also being ready to forgive those who have
offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven.
And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the
banquet of that most heavenly Food. (BCP 317)


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Opposite things in mind this early Monday. Coming out of Prism, yesterday’s annual FSU musical extravaganza that makes me want to live forever so I never miss one (yes, ends with the audience standing and everybody in the auditorium but me doing the tomahawk chop), my thought is that what’s important in life is music, reading, and love — loving, being loved, feeling loved. And music. Oh and while in this life include art that according to C S Lewis in The Great Divorce is unnecessary in heaven because all beauty is there for real, you don't need pictures of it. So music, reading, love, music.

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The other thing in mind is ongoing, I’m working through it to work it out once and for all, all the while knowing “resolution” isn’t going to happen, it isn't going to get worked out; and trying to avoid taking myself more seriously than the clown I see in the mirror.  

The Sunflower is not light reading and the range of responder views from totally opposing to slightly shaded from responder to responder require mindful contemplation. Still rubbing me raw as I near the end of responders’ essays in Book Two, The Symposium of Simon Wiesenthal’s book, is our Anglican theology (lex orandi lex credendi, what we do and say and sing and pray, our liturgical practice is our theology, like it or not) of confession and absolution, whether Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession) as generally practiced or general confession and absolution in the congregation on Sunday. First-cousin-once-removed from mafioso spraying the opposing mob and bystanders with tommy-gun fire then ritually cleansing any guilt, easing any conscience pangs, by going to confession before Mass or just the Host itself [or maybe it’s the early morning hour and disgusting but vital fortified motel wakeup coffee making me scrappy of mood], but priest and/or God can only forgive sins against God; sins against love thy neighbor as thyself can only be forgiven by offended neighbor first as in "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" Matthew 5:24.

Wiesenthal's book is founded in the German Holocaust of cruelty and murder on an incomprehensible scale of inhumanity (which has been done in other societies as well before and since though on smaller scales), but the principle carries across the spectrum of sins and offenses against others. Again, Jewish theology and practice seems layered and deep while the Christian church seems to take all too blithely not only the theology of sins washed away by the Cross, but also usurped the authority of John 20:23, words of John’s post-resurrection Christ, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” as the basis for controlling the masses from early times and the Dark and Middle Ages, building and playing on people’s terror of hell (e.g., read Ken Follett’s long novel Pillars of the Earth)

From long ages of ecclesiastical abuse in order to manipulate and control people, today’s church has now diminished our consciousness and concern about the wrongs we do to others, downgrading from repentance and atonement to the pietistic vestige that we are left with today. My pain is the growing sense that the theology we practice is not only theological, existential, ontological shorthand shortchanged,  but also morally lax in that it teaches a shallow escape from responsibility for our thoughts, words and deeds against others; and not only profanes Jesus’ summary of the law but blasphemes Paul’s theology of the Cross. What can take away my sin? nothing but the blood of Jesus: it isn’t meant to wash away our responsibilities and accountability to each other.


Still and always certain of nothing, this Is becoming my preLenten sabbatical struggle with my being.

DThos+

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