Falcon Crusaders

I usually shy away from politics. However I am concerned about the recent report that the ‘Americans United for the Separation of Church and State’ have compiled about ‘religious intolerance’ at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

(read it at http://www.au.org/site/PageServer)

The report says that the Air Force Academy has a number of ‘highly evangelical’ groups that want to ‘convert’ people.

Oh no! Watch out! We wouldn’t want cadets (or college students on other campuses) to stop banging strangers or abusing drugs and alcohol. Don’t them them be proselytized by ‘highly evangelical’ crazies. And by God, don’t let them think for themselves, they might turn away from the horse mierda that is taught in many of our universities.

I wonder what the real ‘religious intolerance’ the AUSC is really pushing.

Everyplace or Noplace Sacred?

I’ve had a number of talks with ‘skeptics’ of the Faith as of late. I always invite them to check Fr. Neo’s White Rabbit, so they are probably reading right now. A common objection seems to be: ‘I can be spiritual anywhere, and I can practice my belief anywhere, why do I need to go to church?’

Beyond the POMO ‘spritual but not religious’ horse caca is a serious question. What is it about the Church that compels people to want to be a part of it? Jesus, of course is the answer, and he’s the One we are directing folks to, but why the Church? I invite your comments.

Mysterium Tremendum

A few of us had a great time at Morpheus’ house last night. One topic of conversation was a follow up on what the ‘Loin Girders’ were talking about–unusual experiences of God the Holy Spirit. I know there have been times when I have experienced the mysterium tremendum, some of which were in a “Pentecostal” setting and others in more ‘Sacramental’ settings. My call to the priesthood would fall into the latter category. No need to repeat yourself, but I want to hear the variety of Christian experience out there, be they mystical or charismatic. In addition, bounce those off of experiences you may have had or have heard about in other religious contexts (Morpheus shared with us some tripped out Hindu stuff). Let’s put on hold the evaluating of such experiences for another post.

Something Different

Today I took communion to one of the ‘memory impaired’ in our congregation. She has never recognized me but has always been able to keep a conversation and remember the Lord’s Prayer. Today was different. I could see a vacancy in her eyes and at first she refused to even talk to me. Eventually she did and I gave her communion, only today she did not remember the Lord’s prayer.

I felt discouraged on several counts. Discouraged that I drove 40 minutes and she could care less that I was there. Discouraged that the once bright soul of a woman was more and more becoming a mere shell.

But one of the caregivers said something quite profound. She said ‘I know that the spiritual things always have an impact. We don’t know how, but I know they do.’

I sure hope so. It puts one’s theology to the test. If ever she needed Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and without, it was today.

Inclusion via Exclusion

Having spent some time years ago in a UCC church, I was curious to learn of their new campaign ‘God is still Speaking’ in which they boast of their ‘inclusion’ of all. Part of their campaign includes a commercial which shows bouncers at a cathedral type church chasing away various folks (African-Americans, gays, etc.)and only allowing others (squeaky whites, etc.).

Then the UCCers come in and show how ‘inclusive’ their churches look, with gals holding hands and such, because ‘God is still speaking.’

I contrast that with the description of Hippolytus, bishop of Rome around 225 A.D. He gives a manual on the training of Catechumens who want to join the church. A key phrase that is repeated is ‘let them cease (meaning their pagan occupations and practices) or be rejected.’ In other words, he describes a community that rehabilitates pagans in a three year process, complete with exclusion from the table during that time and even exorcism if necessary. If the potential convert refused to be a part of the rehab program, well, they were ‘excluded’ from the community.

Now pieces of what Hippolytus says is anachronistic but interestingly the church of his time grew like wildfire. The pagan rehab stuff seemed to work both in terms of evangelism and in terms of disciple-making. Is there something to learn here?

(PS, I’m not picking on the UCC, my experience with my own denomination is pretty much the same, witness the ‘Via Media’ evangelism curriculum.)