From around the Web

25 08 2009

Keeping it real about religion:

From Prima over at Gregorian Rite Catholic:

…Part of the reason that there are these notable “reversions” is that these people have not really converted (“embraced”) Catholicism.

It’s not simply a case of “assent” to doctrine, which too many converts seem to believe. One also has to embrace Catholic culture. Too many evangelicals have “embraced” Catholicism simply on the basis of agreements on abortion and other bioethical issues. They are not interested in “embracing” Catholic culture or the tradition of the Church. Too many converts assume that they can assent to dogma and then remake the Church in their own image. It’s gnostic. And too many spend most of their time endlessly criticizing and blaming the Church for everything, including their own unfulfilled ecclesial ambitions and their own starry-eyed notion of what the Church was or was not. And while many converts talk endlessly about having found the “truth” or the “fullness of the faith,” they seem to abhor Catholicism when it is incarnated. It’s just not as tidy as they would like. And the comparisons to the greater faith, fervor, community, and discipleship of evangelical Protestantism makes one wonder why they became Catholic in the first place.

2. From Tim Enloe:

For a lot of people, Internet apologetics seems to be like a gigantic role-playing game. They get to swagger around beating their chests because they are Thundarr the Terrible, Sacred Warrior of Truth and Goodness, and they wield the double-edged Unbeatable Mystical Sword of Supreme Rightness as they virtuously battle the nefarious forces of the Evil Lord Falsehood and his Abominable Army of Uruk-hai Orcs. “Aha! Take that! I just rolled a 32 to go with my Ultimate Refutation of All Heresies card! Begone thou dire demons of doubt and deception!” As the poet said, One, two! One, two! And through and through! The Vorpal Blade goes snicker-snack! He leaves it dead, and with its head he goes galumphing back. Let the people rejoice. The kingdom is saved! Truth lives to be attacked – and more importantly, defended – another day!

I forgot, in other words, how deadly serious some people take their online apologetics activities. It’s like the old caricature of die-hard Dungeons and Dragons fans in the 80’s – a lot of people online come to identify the core of their beings and the whole meaning of their faith in Christ with their online combative personas. They come to think that what they do online is a Sacred Mission for God, and that at all costs they must not fail. They come to take the cause of “giving an answer” (the only half-quoted sentence from 1 Pet. 3:15) as a life-or-death thing – if they don’t decisively win this battle on this message board or blog right now by giving an absolutely and plainly irrefutable refutation of the other guy’s “nonsense,” well, then, Truth will self-destruct and they will be left with nothing but doubt and fear and the horrific prospect of having to admit to their legion of adoring fans that this time they have to admit defeat and will have to commit to doing better next time. The resilience of Thundarr’s ego when he faces a potential defeat turns out to be inversely proportional to the verbal confidence he projects at the beginning of his arguments when he thinks nobody could ever possibly get the better of him.

From Michael E. Lawrence, via the Conservative Blog for Peace :

…The “liturgy wars” are the outcome of precisely this kind of thing, a centralized program enacted by a politburo which said, “This is what you must do.” Away with programs! Human existence is messy, and the way out of the chaos of the past several decades will be messy and very much unpredictable. Thomas Day seems to understand this, and so does the pope, who has granted more freedoms than restrictions with respect to the liturgy.

Maybe by “program” people are looking for a declaration of loyalty from Professor Day, a statement on whether he stands with the Thisses or the Thats in the midst of the debate about worship. ”Forget chant and Latin! Do good hymns with organ like they used to do at my old middle-church Episcopalian parlor,” says one constituency. ”No! We must return immediately to Latin and all Gregorian chant and throw away everything else,” another group might claim. Day strikes me as being too wise for this. In the midst of the strife, it’s easy to fall for panaceas, but often the truth gets lost in the fog. I myself have worked in Novus Ordo parishes, in Traditional Rite parishes, and even in Protestant churches. I have visited others, as well. I have heard German Catholics blow the windows out with Grosser Gott; I have heard Mennonites wake the dead with their shape-note singing; I have been moved to tears by the sound of Lutherans singing Ein feste Burg; and on one cold February Ash Wednesday, I heard a Catholic congregation, after years of tra-la-la music, raise the roof singing Agnus Dei XVIII, unaccompanied—and they didn’t even drag. We do not need panaceas. We need culture and common sense. Thomas Day’s book will do much to help us achieve these things.


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3 responses

30 08 2009
Ben George

Real Catholics?

I give thanks that there was someone who took the time to tell me about the Eucharist during my barely-Catholic-barely-even-theist college days. 80s catechesis left me with nothing useful. I was done with Catholicism without ever really having started.

But this defender-of-the-faith guy used proof texts. He argued with me. He (*gasp*) quoted the Fathers.

So I’m glad someone knew how to do that.

27 08 2009
Agostino

For awhile, I thought I was the only person who had a negative opinion of the recent-converts-turned-cheap-defenders-of-the-faith-that-make-me-wanna-hurl. It’s good to see that there’s a backlash against this type of misguided (and in my eyes, suspect) behavior which succeeds only at making real Catholics look bad.

Thank you!

25 08 2009
Alice C. Linsley

Good reading! Thanks, Arturo. I’ve read Conservative Blog for Peace and find it interesting and thoughtful.

I especially appreciate your blog, as do many of the readers at my blog. I notice several who regularly visit between the two, one coming from Singapore!

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