Author Topic: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?  (Read 18937 times)

Mark Brown

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1253
  • Pastor, St. Mark Lutheran, West Henrietta, NY
    • View Profile
    • Saint Mark's Website

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12448
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2020, 01:11:17 PM »
Yet, the outward confession by many has been that Christ is not risen. While they felt it crucial to go out among others to purchase food that perishes, they avoided meeting even in limited numbers to receive the Bread of Life that does not perish (John 6).  In so doing they bear witness to the world that Christ is not risen.

Now is the time for us to repent of trusting the world for security and to boldly confess to the world that death has no power over us. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) Now is the time for us to renew our confession of the Risen Lord to a world of death around us by gathering at His altar and receiving His gifts.


I just pulled this out of the article because it struck me in an odd way.  What is the point here - that people went food shopping but didn't feel comfy going to church when the congregation went back to worship or has had the group of 10 worship? 

We have a lot of pent-up need to meet here and are planning for the end of this month, sorting out details and getting the RTO (return to operations) ready as best we can.  I won't use the logic of this article though.  It comes across to me as an attempt to shame food shoppers who have stayed away from church as faithless witnesses.  If the author is a pastor, I can't see many dinner invitations coming his way.  Why, Mark Brown, would this be "spot on?"

On the other had, the passage selected for this diatribe, Hebrews 13:12-14, is a favorite, and the basis for a Gospel song dear to my heart - "I am seeking for a city," with the chorus "I don't feel no ways tired."  So thanks for the reference, it perked me up!

Dave Benke

Matt Staneck

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3337
  • Shabbat Shalom! Matthew 11:28-30, 12:8
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2020, 01:57:43 PM »
That blog site has writers who would advocate packing heat in church to protect from life's dangers, but a virus is a bridge too far? Alright.

M. Staneck
Matt Staneck, Pastor
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Queens, NY

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4000
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #63 on: July 11, 2020, 02:24:39 PM »
From Gottesdienst:  https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/7/10/i-believein-the-resurrection-of-the-body

Excellent.

Sunday is very much on my mind by this hour on Saturday, so it was not surprising that I "heard" a cantus undergirding this essay.  If not the Paschal Troparion then surely the Fourth Tone Resurrectional Apolytikion which the Orthodox Church will begin to sing at tonight's Vespers:

When the women Disciples of the Lord
had learned from the Angel the joyful message of the Resurrection
and rejected the ancestral decision,
they cried aloud to the Apostles triumphantly:
Death has been despoiled,
Christ God has risen,
granting His great mercy to the world.

Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

RevG

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #64 on: July 11, 2020, 03:09:33 PM »
From Gottesdienst:  https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/7/10/i-believein-the-resurrection-of-the-body

That is spot on, the Word needed to be heard.

Hey Guys,

How is the line of argumentation here any different than what Pentecostals argued many years earlier concerning snake handling and Mark 16?

I've recently been rather critical of Robin Diangelo's White Fragility on another thread, I find a similar line of thought in this article. Maybe that's a stretch on my part, but there's a strain of anti-intellectualism here that deeply concerns me.  It trades critical thinking for magical thinking.  I'm not down with that.

Peace,
Scott+

Voelker

  • Guest
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #65 on: July 11, 2020, 03:13:54 PM »
From Gottesdienst:  https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/7/10/i-believein-the-resurrection-of-the-body

That is spot on, the Word needed to be heard.
How is the line of argumentation here any different than what Pentecostals argued many years earlier concerning snake handling and Mark 16?

I've recently been rather critical of Robin Diangelo's White Fragility on another thread, I find a similar line of thought in this article. Maybe that's a stretch on my part, but there's a strain of anti-intellectualism here that deeply concerns me.  It trades critical thinking for magical thinking.  I'm not down with that.
+++

Mark Brown

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1253
  • Pastor, St. Mark Lutheran, West Henrietta, NY
    • View Profile
    • Saint Mark's Website
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #66 on: July 11, 2020, 03:51:35 PM »
Let's turn for a second to Cranmer's plague prayer.  The Archbishop wrote it during the sweating sickness and it contains that heady Word that the time of the Reformation had.  By the 1928 Book all that pungency had been removed. Let's take it full strength.

Quote
O Almighty God, who in thy wrath didst send a plague upon thine own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron; and also, in the time of king David, didst slay with the plague of pestilence threescore and ten thousand, and yet remembering thy mercy didst save the rest: Have pity upon us miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sickness and mortality; that like as thou didst then accept of an atonement, and didst command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing, so it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Cranmer holds before us two points from the story of ancient Israel, which of course have been given for our edification as the apostle tells us.  The first plague comes in response to Israel's rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  God has chosen Israel, Korah's contention, but God has also chosen Moses and Aaron as Israel's leaders.  And even after the ground opens up and swallows Korah and company, Israel remains in rebellion.  The plague comes as the anger of the Lord against those who have rejected his chosen leadership.  Have we not been experiencing for years now extraordinary complaints about the chosen leadership?  But let us move on to the second instance.

David was the chosen leadership, yet in his pride chose to number Israel. The great question is why was God angry at a census?  The considered reason is that David no longer saw his kingship of Israel as that of a shepherd, an act of service, but that the people of Israel were his possession.  David was claiming God's treasured possession as his.  And maybe just as importantly, David took this in two ways: 1) At the end of his days as if to say "look at the great increase I have brought" and 2) he did it through the Army and counted only capable warriors.  The act increased the human kingship at the expense of Israel's reliance upon God.  The plague was a reminder to the leadership of God's people where their strength comes from, and it is not theirs to steal what is God's based on their own understanding.  It also stands against David on that day as those souls will be his to answer for.  In how we have marketed the church and divided her have we not claimed that which was not ours?  To the point of gathering in mass places such that smaller groups were not even possible?  And in our rush to shut it down, and our slowness to return, have we not treated the things of God as ours?

I think this is what that article gets so well.  For many years we have gone about trampling the blood of God. In our quick closure and our dawdling return we have usurped the things of God from His people on our own authority.  Trusting more in whatever the dictates of the magi of the moment was, than trusting in the one who overcame death and the grave.  The confession of our lives betrays the confession of our lips.  Right down to today, when we do not seek out God for forgiveness for how we have acted.  Nor do we seek him out for deliverance even thought the plague is still amongst us.  Have pity on us miserable sinners.  But we plan on opening celebrations.  Like little Jack Horner's who sat in corners congratulating ourselves on being such good boys.

It is and was possible to pass through temporal things without losing the eternal.  Taking away the worship of God from those I was called to serve was not mine to do.  It certainly was and is possible to take prudential precautions.  I've listed ones we've done.  And those were bigger in the early weeks than the latter ones as the scale of the threat became known.  I also have no interest in turning this into yet another reason for separation.  Everything we've done and continue to think about is directed toward getting God's people back together.  But the one real thing that can put it all back together is Christ through repentance.  And in how we have collectively acted we have things to repent of.  That is why it is spot on. 


 

Weedon

  • Guest
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #67 on: July 11, 2020, 04:02:21 PM »
Thank you, Mark. That was very finely stated.

Scott, I, for one, wonder where you find magic in the Gottesdienst post. I hear faith. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!” Job 13:15. There’s no assertion that there’s no danger in the gathering; there is an assertion that, well, as the Abitenae martyr put it when challenged for why they disobeyed and still gathered: “Sine dominico non possumus.”

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4607
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #68 on: July 11, 2020, 04:52:22 PM »
I think that somehow we need to find a happy middle in all this.  I see in some people a heightened sense of fear, driven, I am concerned, by what they hear and see reported, not always by balanced reporting of all the facts.  I am not arguing for abandoning safe and healthy practices.  But even medical science does not have a constant and conclusive answer to what we face. It evolves. When all this began there was an irrational fear of the virus on hard surfaces.  Hand sanitizer flew off the shelves.  Now we know that the greatest danger is not there, and the virus effectively dies in less than 80 hours.  We realize that the virus is most transmittable via air droplets.  But we also know that a common cloth mask will not completely protect us. We might stand a better chance with a N95 mask, but those are not widely available.  And technically they are supposed to be fitted for each wearer.  Add to this the fact that some wear masks and others don't, and I wonder if an incomplete compliance really does any significant good.

We know that people contract the virus even when they appear to take every recommended precaution.  We believed that certain groups are more vulnerable than others, but that has also evolved.  At first it was the very old and those with preexisting conditions. The very young seemed largely exempt, except they could be asymptomatic carriers.  Young adults seemed relatively immune in the beginning. Then seemingly healthy and relatively young people took ill and even died.  We have found that people with good immune systems were possibly more at risk, especially those with a genetic disposition where their immune systems go into over-drive in what is called a "cytokine storm."  But can any of us know what genetic disposition we have?

We can live in fear, or we can live in Christ.  In Christ we have already crossed from death unto life.  In Christ we are essentially strangers and pilgrims on this earth. Life in a sinful, broken world is full of risks.  I think of the son of one of my elderly shut-ins who recently passed away.  The young man went to Vietnam, but came back alive.  Then he was hit by a car and died.  We never know.  But we do know what awaits us in Christ.   
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Augsburg Catholic

  • ALPB Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #69 on: July 11, 2020, 05:18:37 PM »
My church was the only one in the community to remain open, working within the the CDC guidelines to make sure that those who desired could hear the Word preached and receive the Sacrament.  The pastors did not harangue those who did not come nor did they castigate those who closed their churches but they were condemned as irresponsible and reckless.  They were repeatedly told by folks like Meilander that they were self-important fools and they were reminded how our own Lutheran forbearers went without the Sacrament regularly for months at a time.  They were told that online services could absolve, preach the Word, and perhaps even offer the Sacrament in ways that were safe.  The practices of my parish were careful and deliberate and the people responded by filling nearly every service at every service time offered.

The NYTimes story on those who might have been infected at church cast further aspersions on those who would try to keep the doors open and have furthered the idea that there is nothing essential about gathering together in person for worship.  Strangely enough, most denominational leaders were cautious even to the point of giving the impression that shutting down was the only thoughtful choice and Eaton even condemned Trump, the opening of churches, and the idea that worship was essential.

Perhaps this is something sent from God as a wake up call to the shallow and empty gospel that is being preached in place of Christ crucified and risen and a somber call to repentance for a church and people too comfortable with the ways of the world.  But to acknowledge that this pandemic has exposed our weakness and the false truths spoken in God's name and our preference for this life over eternal life is prudent no matter where the virus came from. 

It may be that folks will return to the pews.  It may be that some will not, perhaps even a significant number.  As Josef Ratzinger said perhaps in 1969, the church will become smaller but she will be more faithful, having not only abandoned the programs and pursuits that have nothing to do with her mission but also having let go of those who were attached not to Christ but to those programs.

Josef Ratzinger aka Benedict XVI:
    She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members....

    It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

    And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.


Is COVID 19 a tool of the Devil, a symptom of our decay, or something sent from God?  You tell me.  The response to all three is the same.  Repentance, renewed faith, and renewed confidence in the Word and Sacraments of the Lord.  You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that.

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12448
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #70 on: July 11, 2020, 05:29:20 PM »
Let's turn for a second to Cranmer's plague prayer.  The Archbishop wrote it during the sweating sickness and it contains that heady Word that the time of the Reformation had.  By the 1928 Book all that pungency had been removed. Let's take it full strength.

Quote
O Almighty God, who in thy wrath didst send a plague upon thine own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron; and also, in the time of king David, didst slay with the plague of pestilence threescore and ten thousand, and yet remembering thy mercy didst save the rest: Have pity upon us miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sickness and mortality; that like as thou didst then accept of an atonement, and didst command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing, so it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Cranmer holds before us two points from the story of ancient Israel, which of course have been given for our edification as the apostle tells us.  The first plague comes in response to Israel's rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  God has chosen Israel, Korah's contention, but God has also chosen Moses and Aaron as Israel's leaders.  And even after the ground opens up and swallows Korah and company, Israel remains in rebellion.  The plague comes as the anger of the Lord against those who have rejected his chosen leadership.  Have we not been experiencing for years now extraordinary complaints about the chosen leadership?  But let us move on to the second instance.

David was the chosen leadership, yet in his pride chose to number Israel. The great question is why was God angry at a census?  The considered reason is that David no longer saw his kingship of Israel as that of a shepherd, an act of service, but that the people of Israel were his possession.  David was claiming God's treasured possession as his.  And maybe just as importantly, David took this in two ways: 1) At the end of his days as if to say "look at the great increase I have brought" and 2) he did it through the Army and counted only capable warriors.  The act increased the human kingship at the expense of Israel's reliance upon God.  The plague was a reminder to the leadership of God's people where their strength comes from, and it is not theirs to steal what is God's based on their own understanding.  It also stands against David on that day as those souls will be his to answer for.  In how we have marketed the church and divided her have we not claimed that which was not ours?  To the point of gathering in mass places such that smaller groups were not even possible?  And in our rush to shut it down, and our slowness to return, have we not treated the things of God as ours?

I think this is what that article gets so well.  For many years we have gone about trampling the blood of God. In our quick closure and our dawdling return we have usurped the things of God from His people on our own authority.  Trusting more in whatever the dictates of the magi of the moment was, than trusting in the one who overcame death and the grave.  The confession of our lives betrays the confession of our lips.  Right down to today, when we do not seek out God for forgiveness for how we have acted.  Nor do we seek him out for deliverance even thought the plague is still amongst us.  Have pity on us miserable sinners.  But we plan on opening celebrations.  Like little Jack Horner's who sat in corners congratulating ourselves on being such good boys.

It is and was possible to pass through temporal things without losing the eternal.  Taking away the worship of God from those I was called to serve was not mine to do.  It certainly was and is possible to take prudential precautions.  I've listed ones we've done.  And those were bigger in the early weeks than the latter ones as the scale of the threat became known.  I also have no interest in turning this into yet another reason for separation.  Everything we've done and continue to think about is directed toward getting God's people back together.  But the one real thing that can put it all back together is Christ through repentance.  And in how we have collectively acted we have things to repent of.  That is why it is spot on.

I don't buy it.  There's an imputation of attitudes to God's people that does not connect for me.  They lack faith, they're fearful, they're selfish, they're lazy, and intentionally so in the estimation of those of you who propound this position.  The illustrative example used is telling - they went to the grocery store but not to church, trading the Bread of Life for a loaf of pumpernickel as you see it.  Or - the Bread of Life store shut down but the pumpernickel peddler stayed open so when the Bread of Life store re-opened everyone should have immediately found their way back.  Or the Bread of Life store was shut down by order of the Gummint while the pumpernickel peddlers were treated as essential.

How about a pastoral approach?  Call on/contact the people of God, wait on the Lord, seek a spirit of discernment in difficult times through prayer and mutual conversation.  Imputation of sin absent that discernment feels a lot like harassment to me, more on the lines of legalism than Law/Gospel, more a no-matter-what-demand and less an invitation.

I take seriously the words of David Garner from the position of the Orthodox concerning the Eucharist, and connect it to one of our Lutheran hymns - I come O Savior to Thy table/for weak and weary is my soul/Thou, Bread of Life alone art able/to satisfy and make me whole.  That for us Lutherans is response to invitation, not obligation framed through browbeating.

Dave Benke

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4607
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #71 on: July 11, 2020, 05:32:43 PM »
It may be that folks will return to the pews.  It may be that some will not, perhaps even a significant number.  As Josef Ratzinger said perhaps in 1969, the church will become smaller but she will be more faithful, having not only abandoned the programs and pursuits that have nothing to do with her mission but also having let go of those who were attached not to Christ but to those programs.

Josef Ratzinger aka Benedict XVI:
    She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members....

    It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

    And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.


Is COVID 19 a tool of the Devil, a symptom of our decay, or something sent from God?  You tell me.  The response to all three is the same.  Repentance, renewed faith, and renewed confidence in the Word and Sacraments of the Lord.  You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that.

Pope Benedict's words are worth pondering.  We often value large and successful and see small and struggling as symptoms of failure.  The Church Growth Movement, under the shadow of which I began my ministry in the late 80s, was unfortunately a purveyor of this philosophy. Perhaps this unique moment in the church's history is a kind of 'reset' of sorts.  In some ways we may find that those who seemed less committed are more so, and vice versa with those who came but were only going through the motions. I knew that suffering and persecution would be a winnowing through the church, even in our time; but I never imagined that a worldwide health crisis would accomplish the same end. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12448
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #72 on: July 11, 2020, 06:15:24 PM »
It may be that folks will return to the pews.  It may be that some will not, perhaps even a significant number.  As Josef Ratzinger said perhaps in 1969, the church will become smaller but she will be more faithful, having not only abandoned the programs and pursuits that have nothing to do with her mission but also having let go of those who were attached not to Christ but to those programs.

Josef Ratzinger aka Benedict XVI:
    She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members....

    It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

    And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.


Is COVID 19 a tool of the Devil, a symptom of our decay, or something sent from God?  You tell me.  The response to all three is the same.  Repentance, renewed faith, and renewed confidence in the Word and Sacraments of the Lord.  You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that.

Pope Benedict's words are worth pondering.  We often value large and successful and see small and struggling as symptoms of failure.  The Church Growth Movement, under the shadow of which I began my ministry in the late 80s, was unfortunately a purveyor of this philosophy. Perhaps this unique moment in the church's history is a kind of 'reset' of sorts.  In some ways we may find that those who seemed less committed are more so, and vice versa with those who came but were only going through the motions. I knew that suffering and persecution would be a winnowing through the church, even in our time; but I never imagined that a worldwide health crisis would accomplish the same end.

Very true.  Something in most of our churches that has been exposed is the preponderance of older folks, at least some of whom are far more health-compromised.  And as I watch that happening before my older eyes, the future does not necessarily appear bright ten years down the line - we're kind of experiencing a "ten years down the line" moment here.

Dave Benke

RevG

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
    • View Profile
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #73 on: July 11, 2020, 06:47:04 PM »
Thank you, Mark. That was very finely stated.

Scott, I, for one, wonder where you find magic in the Gottesdienst post. I hear faith. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!” Job 13:15. There’s no assertion that there’s no danger in the gathering; there is an assertion that, well, as the Abitenae martyr put it when challenged for why they disobeyed and still gathered: “Sine dominico non possumus.”

Will,

To answer your question about it being “magical” there are a couple of things that I was thinking of.  For one, things like plagues or pandemics were much more laden with metaphysical meaning in the ancient world.  This isn’t to say that no such meaning is at work currently in what is going on but scientific advancement has opened our eyes to many things that they were simply unaware of.  This connects to what Charles Taylor refers to as the enchanted/disenchanted age distinction.  We live in a disenchanted age, but the ancients lived in an enchanted one is which spirits and the existence of God were simply a given.  The world was embedded with meaning, not so much anymore.  When our authoritative ancient documents are used in the way that they are above I get apprehensive because they seemingly pit science against faith in a way that I don’t think is helpful.  Thus, my reference to “magical” thinking.   It’s very black and white, at least that’s how I read it.  There’s also the element of Romans 13, too.  I can understand the apprehension and suspicion of governmental authority, especially after the protests and especially in places like Illinois and my own state of NY.  But as Matt Staneck pointed out above Gottesdienst is also a particular brand of right-wing that I think tends to confuse civil liberties with freedom in Christ.  I also think of the brilliant insights of Jesuit Bernard Lonergan, I’ve mentioned and written about him recently.  He notes that one of the problems with an overemphasis on the objectivity of truth is that we can easily be lulled into thinking that we need not think too much.  As an example, we can take bible verses and simply use them without regard for the actual concrete situations and lives around us.  Sort of like, “this is true because God said so” no more, no less.  I think he comes down too hard on people, I think everyone has been struggling hard with what to do and how to do it.  I don’t think it is as simple as faith in the resurrection versus not having faith in the resurrection.  I think we are all trying the best that we can and in many ways seeking to be as faithful as possible.  Modernity, in its own way, has simply increased that burden and, at times, made it harder to navigate.  At the same time, this isn’t to say that we haven’t sought be connected, to share God’s Word, to preach and to teach.  That’s still being done, which the author does not mention at all.  As far as I know churches have certainly not given up and closed up shop.  Quite the opposite. 

I hope that makes sense.

Peace,
Scott+

readselerttoo

  • Guest
Re: We Are Not Quite Back - Will We Ever Be?
« Reply #74 on: July 11, 2020, 07:18:35 PM »
Thank you, Mark. That was very finely stated.

Scott, I, for one, wonder where you find magic in the Gottesdienst post. I hear faith. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!” Job 13:15. There’s no assertion that there’s no danger in the gathering; there is an assertion that, well, as the Abitenae martyr put it when challenged for why they disobeyed and still gathered: “Sine dominico non possumus.”

Will,

To answer your question about it being “magical” there are a couple of things that I was thinking of.  For one, things like plagues or pandemics were much more laden with metaphysical meaning in the ancient world.  This isn’t to say that no such meaning is at work currently in what is going on but scientific advancement has opened our eyes to many things that they were simply unaware of.  This connects to what Charles Taylor refers to as the enchanted/disenchanted age distinction.  We live in a disenchanted age, but the ancients lived in an enchanted one is which spirits and the existence of God were simply a given.  The world was embedded with meaning, not so much anymore.  When our authoritative ancient documents are used in the way that they are above I get apprehensive because they seemingly pit science against faith in a way that I don’t think is helpful.  Thus, my reference to “magical” thinking.   It’s very black and white, at least that’s how I read it.  There’s also the element of Romans 13, too.  I can understand the apprehension and suspicion of governmental authority, especially after the protests and especially in places like Illinois and my own state of NY.  But as Matt Staneck pointed out above Gottesdienst is also a particular brand of right-wing that I think tends to confuse civil liberties with freedom in Christ.  I also think of the brilliant insights of Jesuit Bernard Lonergan, I’ve mentioned and written about him recently.  He notes that one of the problems with an overemphasis on the objectivity of truth is that we can easily be lulled into thinking that we need not think too much.  As an example, we can take bible verses and simply use them without regard for the actual concrete situations and lives around us.  Sort of like, “this is true because God said so” no more, no less.  I think he comes down too hard on people, I think everyone has been struggling hard with what to do and how to do it.  I don’t think it is as simple as faith in the resurrection versus not having faith in the resurrection.  I think we are all trying the best that we can and in many ways seeking to be as faithful as possible.  Modernity, in its own way, has simply increased that burden and, at times, made it harder to navigate.  At the same time, this isn’t to say that we haven’t sought be connected, to share God’s Word, to preach and to teach.  That’s still being done, which the author does not mention at all.  As far as I know churches have certainly not given up and closed up shop.  Quite the opposite. 

I hope that makes sense.

Peace,
Scott+

I, by no means, am a Luddite.  I agree with science when its claims and solutions stay within the boundaries of its method.  But Christian faith calls us finally to put away all hope in other matters and methods (repentance) and turn to the only unique One (ie. Jesus Christ) for trust and hope in his promises of salvation.  It is Christ's person, words and work which rescue and save from the unknown.  Finally it is not a both/and but an either/or to which Christians are called.   We are not called to trust in both science and faith but to trust Christ alone.  In the Last Court on the Last Day God will call each of us to account for our sin and for the hope that is in us.  The man who addressed Jesus with these words: "I believe.  Help my unbelief."  were words of desperation pointed to the right person and in the right direction.  Jesus didn't use science to save.  Jesus himself cast the demon out of the man's son in Mark 9.