Sunday, June 27, 2010

the great divorce

Oh, ya'll, please go read this post by Elizabeth Esther.

First let me say, nobody in my Presbyterian church is making jokes about Catholicism (not to me, anyway). But in many ways, our house has been having the exact same conversation she is describing in hers. Because while I am finding beauty and meaning in the practices of the Catholic Church, Brian is reading Jonathon Edwards and John Piper. Seriously. He is growing in Reformed thinking, while I am being exposed to Catholicism. And it led to a conversation about assurance of salvation (or redemption, if you're Catholic) over the ironing board this morning, and Peter's question: "Who then can be saved?" with Christ's response, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

I am learning how wide the Kingdom is, and ancient. How Western Reformers place (too much, in my opinion) emphasis on reason and intellect, instead of the experience of denying yourself and taking up your cross. How did we get away from that? Most of all I am beginning to understand what was lost in the Reformation. What was gained, to be sure, but also what was lost. The Church is as big and complex as humanity itself.

And yet, when I called Mikkee to say all of this to her, she said, "Stephanie, you're talking about people trying to understand God." Which made me laugh, because she's right, of course. If I can't make sense of it, it is only because I am finite, trying to interact with an Infinite Creator, hoping to resolve centuries-old debates.

And the beauty of God - the breathtaking reality of His nature - is that while there is so much complexity, so many layers, the crux of our faith is so simple. Over and again, Jesus said to the sick, the mourning, the forgotten, "Your faith has made you well." It really is as simple as that.

Thanks be to God.


Jamie said...

It truly is that simple.
And thanks be to God for that.

Madame Rubies said...

I started to forward you this post today, b/c I knew you would love it as much as I did. Then, I remembered that you already read EE. :)

The group of women I meet with weekly here in Tupelo have opened my eyes and heart to the more mystical experiences of the faith. This actually started with Rwth and our Epiphany group in Brandon. I have been more purposeful here. I have always loved symbolism as a writer. Now I am learning to love symbolism as a Pilgrim. Have you read any of Sue Monk Kidd's non-fiction? I just finished Traveling with Pomegranates and she always spurs me on toward unraveling the symbols God introduces in my life. Lately, bird are what I am drawn to over and over. Owls and smaller birds. Delicate wings and little hopping legs and pecking beaks.

I will quit rambling now. I need to write about birds on my blog soon.

My word scramble is flize. Ha! My birdie flize, Mama!

Lauren said...

The term "assurance of salvation" means that one knows 100% he is going to Heaven. While a Catholic would not believe this, he would believe in the assurance of redemption of our sin offered by Christ through His Passion, Death and Resurrection, and therefore the possibility of Heaven. Salvation and redemption are not the same thing. Through faith in Christ and His promises, a person, like St. Paul, "work[s] out [his] salvation in fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)

Lauren said...

P.S.--I don't disagree with the sadness over the "divorce" :)

Stephanie said...

Lauren, what we were talking about was actually what you would call the assurance of redemption. The question came up because of Jonathon Edward's book, "True Christianity," though Brian has since been assured that the book is about to be more hopeful than it has been so far. And the quote from St. Paul came up in the conversation. =)

Lauren said...

Interesting. I'm curious to hear how your conversation will continue to play out through the course of the reading. Keep me posted!

ljkgates said...

The post from Elizabeth broke my heart. I am so glad at Grace that doesn't happen. If it ever did it would truly sadden me.

Lisa said...

What a great post. Thanks for the thoughts. I hope you keep the conversation going.