Let’s Get Pugnacious…or Not

We’ve been dancing around our ideas of ‘church’ and ‘The Church.’ I grew up in a Pentecostal denomination that on the one hand, dissed Rome at every turn, and on the other, claimed to have the ‘full gospel.’

I am now Anglican and I’d be a damn fool to say that I am in the one ‘True Church.’ However, we have frequent visitors to this webzine that belong to Communions (Rome, Orthodoxy) that not only make the claim of being Christ’s True Church, they do so pretty convincingly. I would like to hear our Roman Catholic and Orthodox bretheren respectfully and humbly speak on behalf of their Communions.

32 thoughts on “Let’s Get Pugnacious…or Not

  1. Well the “inexpugnable” one is getting quite a laugh out of your request, Fr. Neo.
    I can’t really defend any denomination’s claim to exclusive truth, especially considering that one of the hierarchy’s gripes with us is that we allow speakers from other denominations in our pulpit…including Anglicans!!! Especially Anglicans!!! ha ha. But I can tell you that I “resonate” with your Pentecostal experience.(Sorry, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to make Morpheus cringe! ha!) I never in my life thought I would be a Catholic. That is why it took me an entire year to follow the directive of the Holy Spirit and come to St. Sabina where I now attend. When I was a Protestant, I felt so sorry for the Catholic Church. All those poor people steeped in religion and traditions! Now I look back at where I was and feel the same about where I came from. Those poor people, with all of their religion & traditions… and such a narrow view of God!
    I was raised to beleive that all Catholics had two horns and a tail, that they really didn’t love Jesus, they worshipped Mary, etc… But I have discovered that Catholics do most certainly love Jesus, and are capable of having a spiritual depth that would put many of my former aquaintances to shame…
    Of course…our expression is just a wee bit different at St. Sabina than at many other Catholic Churches…so I may not be the best one to ask…


  2. First, I’m surprised, even a bit disappointed, at you Fr. Neo for not defending your own as one of the original branches. That’s why more don’t come to Canterbury. Maybe you don’t care for the current state of affairs or direction of your own Church, but time is relative—20 years, 2000 years, maybe 20,000 years—and will change the color and complexion of anything that’s not static. If it’s dynamic (living?), then who knows?!

    So here’s my very unorthodox apologia for the Roman Catholic Church. Disclaimer: no Bible sword drills used to make my point.

    The Chair of Peter has HISTORY. For good and bad it has HISTORY. Other than the Eastern Orthodox, with their competing and flailing jurisdictions (Rome acknowledges their Apostolic succession and validity of Sacraments), and maybe the Anglican Communion, the rest, everyone!, are newcomers to the game. Here’s my point: anytime, and in almost any context, when you have a “Source”—i.e. Founding Fathers of the good ole U.S. of A. (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights), Albert Einstein (Theory of Relativity)– you have something very precious, a treasure. Why? Because no one else has it and by definition the “Source” is what gives everything that follows definition, structure, and boundaries. Even those who choose to defy and counter the “Source” still are dependent on the same to define there differences. “Source” is the still point on which everything else turns for good and bad. It’s a natural human inclination or psychology to give original “sources” more authenticity and credence. To use some terms from the political sphere to draw an analogy as to how “source” inspires—literally!—consider patriotism or nationalism. Yeah, yeah, I know. Some see those ideas as dangerous and in some cases maybe so. But they are the life blood of a nation. Luther, even Calvin, didn’t want to start a “new religion,” but only to reform (in their minds) the Church’s excess. The Eastern Orthodox even today never assert Rome wasn’t an original, even special, See of the Early Church, but only wanted to keep Tradition traditional as they saw it—“first among equals”—instead of what actually played out. Why do some when they have long since become adults, if they were adopted as children, want to find their biological parents and learn about their origins? Answer: HISTORY.

    I’m not sure Padre that what proceeded was humble or respectful, though I tried to make it so, but it’s an idea, however poorly constructed and unorthodox. Also, the old “tried and true” formulas lose value after they’ve been used with such repetition. Even if this apologia by me for Rome is faulty in the extreme, but makes people think and ask questions, then I say its purpose has been served.

    Now on to the Big Show—jholder! I’ve asked him many times in posts past to make a case for E.O. I know you’re out there jholder. Don’t disappoint.

  3. You’re right Constantine. Don’t think I don’t love my Communion. I’d take the Book of Common Prayer over that ‘novus ordo’ stuff anyday!

  4. Yeah, the Queen’s English is elegant. I give you that and more quite frankly. Ya know, if you don’t participate in the ongoing defining of your Communion (and you guys arguably have some HISTORY too for both good and bad, so join the club), the others who currently are will continue to do so and thus history is made. Canterbury’s weakness is her strength and v.v.

  5. All in good humor Angevoix…sort of. 🙂

    Hey, have you considered reading the two follow up books in the “Becker Trilogy?”

  6. Yes, it is on the agenda with about thirty other books I’m dying to read. But it does have priority status…

  7. Constantine,

    You don’t like Bible sword drills because you don’t know your Bible, son! Bet you couldn’t find Obadiah if you tried.

  8. Seraph, Seraph, Seraph,

    If you keep this up you most certainly will join me on a tour in Purgatory when the time comes—and not as a guide but as a fellow traveler. Just think. You, me and Luther taking in the sites!

    Now, to the squared circle with you. What? Should I quote the locus classicus verse “upon this rock” (Mt 16:18) and really think that’s going to fly with anyone? And that after doing so, expect everyone will bow down in humble submission to the See of Rome and the primacy of St. Peter as a function of yielding to the mighty weight of that particular Word?? Maybe that interpretation is true (jholder???), but it doesn’t even get close to a knock out punch AND it’s the best of the lot from the “B-I-B-L-E.” I’ve personally heard other “late comers” to the game use the same verse to establish definitively in their mushy mind that they are the “golden remnant of the true Church.” It’s laughable and you know it. Please, spare me Seraph, from that beg and borrow apologetic that every sect seeking authority attempts to wield. You of all people should know better. You make my point as to the value of HISTORY. My apologia (piss poor as it was constructed) offers up something unique and differentiated. Only two others, maybe only one (jholder???), can claim the same feature of uniqueness via HISTORY. Please, I beg of you, tell me where and how HISTORY proves nothing? You always have the option the Fundies take, saying that the history of the RC Church demonstrates nothing but a litany of abuses.

    The real question, my best and fav sparring partner, is how do you defend your own Communion? If you can’t, then why are you there mi amigo?

    In parting, you should know better on multiple fronts Seraph. We’ve discussed scripture before, which begs the question (answer honestly now—don’t throw a punch and then abscond from the ring as fast as you can make your way back through the ropes like a sneaky, slippery, snake), do you think I don’t know our Holy Writ? For some odd reason SJ thinks I don’t. Set me right boy.

  9. Proverbs 13:7
    One man pretends to be rich yet has nothing;
    another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.

    A reluctance to use the Word as a proof text for our personal arguments doesn’t necessarily indicate an inability to do so. Some of us are disinclined to do so out of a reverence for the Word.

    A Samurai doesn’t use his sword to peel an orange.

  10. You see through me again, Constantine. The problem is, I have no Communion. Fr. Neo’s has too many pinkos, your guys can’t control liberals or pedophiles, the Orthodox are mean Eastern-Europeans in juristictional chaos, and the Prottys, are well, you know. Help me find a Communion, or I fight in bitterness…Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope. Oops, wrong film.

  11. Seraph my friend,
    Sorry if it felt like I was wearing brass knuckles under my gloves. Alas, I’m no Obi-Wan Kenobi as you know only too well. If I’m close to anyone in spirit it would be Justin McLeod, or even a bit of Constantine (not the Saint or Emperor but the movie dude). The journey wears heavy sometimes. Here’s my suggestion to you Seraph. Seek out the council of our mutual friend Fr. Neo. He’s one who lives out his faith, instead of only talking about it like me. He won’t steer you wrong (even though he is a tongue speaker).

    You are right as right can be as to your analysis of the various faith communities. What a “Charlie Foxtrot” we are sometimes, but unlike Luce, we choose to hang on for dear life (and rightly so). You know my personal story Seraph and know that I’m never really too happy anywhere where “church” is concerned and where I might stand a chance it won’t ever happen.

    In the end (or maybe I should say beginning), you’re of course welcome to join me for the bus ride out of the Grey City. If I don’t have a helper I’m not sure what the outcome may be. “Hail Mary, full of Grace…pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

    You are too generous mi amiga. Not sure I get the grasshopper thing (you know me by now), but wisdom does seem to roll off your lips regularly.

  12. “Not sure I get the grasshopper thing”

    You know what they say C. the falshbacks reoccur for years….
    ha ha…but I’m still working on a wheel within a wheel and a man with the head of a lion, or is it vice/versa or is it an eagle with the head of a man… or an ox?

    I too relate to the movie character Constatine…sometimes more than I would like… Btw, I thought the portrayal of lucifer in that film was brilliant.

  13. LOL! When you figure it all out let me know. There’s an old saying, “Take it or leave it.” I’ve choosen to leave it.

  14. Geez. Just read over some of my past few posts, including my last one. Sorry for all the misspelled words lately.

  15. Constantine,

    You hang on for dear life because deep down your heart is full of idealism, like mine. I wonder if you’ve ever been pulled by Heaven to be Fr. Constantine.

  16. Sorry, Constantine. According to your cohorts, it seems I have maligned your character by jokingly questioning your knowledge of scripture. I guess I don’t know you well enough to joke. It’s not a contest, you know, and I apologize to those who think I have tried to make it one.

    Btw, Angevoix, is it EVER appropriate to quote scripture? Until now, I had never considered the possibility that it might not be.

  17. No biggie my Jesuit friend. Please, no apologies needed at all. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I don’t mind the occasional wrangle (or joke for that matter). Seraph doesn’t either. From what I’m learning, neither does Angevoix. A little debate sometimes helps to bring clarity to the topic of conversation. We laugh, we jab (sometimes harder than at other times), we disagree (believe me, Angevoix and Padre Neo are on one side of the table regarding the spiritual gifts and I’m on the other), we question, and we have fun, or at least I do. The sparring can get serious at times, even a little heated, but in my experience it stays within the confines of respect. Btw SJ, you’re right, I rarely make an appeal to scripture explicitly. I do hint though for those who read between the lines.

    As to a calling or vocation, it certainly at one time seemed or felt that way. Don’t know though. It’s hard to say.

  18. “Angevoix, is it EVER appropriate to quote scripture? Until now, I had never considered the possibility that it might not be.”

    The Word of God is very precious to me. It has brought me through the most hellish times in my life. I will quote it when I really feel pressed, but with caution. To me it is an irreverant use of the Word to quote it to win my argument. I’m more interested in winning God’s argument by living out the Word and applying it correctly to my life, and letting the results speak for themselves. It does something to me inside when I hear the Word misquoted and misapplied…I guess it would be kind of like hearing the name of a loved one maligned… I don’t like to open myself or the Word up to that.
    I, like Constantine, spent a great deal of time around Bible quoting fundies. It has been my experience that many times the people who quote it the most have the least understanding.

    C., I’m surprised that someone who relates so well to the movie Constantine is so hesitant in the area of spiritual gifts.

  19. neoluce, I was thinking it was:


    myself. But what do I know. I’m sure many people are converted to your way of living by your brash arguementary nature. BTW, on your blog, you never answer one of the commenters on “churchouse religion”. Looks like the 2nd comment has you good.

  20. Luce,
    What in the hell are you drinking?? I said try a vodka & tonic, not Drano. Come on now! Why can’t you disagree (which is fine) without being so disagreeable for Christ’s sake. Is it that you don’t want to be confused by the facts?? Look up the word hubris in the dictionary and see if it describes anyone you know personally (as in when you look in the mirror). I don’t get you.

  21. Thank you C.
    To look at it from another standpoint, to be the target of Luce’s anger is to be in the company of some very fine souls indeed.

  22. Angevoix said: “C., I’m surprised that someone who relates so well to the movie Constantine is so hesitant in the area of spiritual gifts.”

    Here’s the scoop mi amiga. What I resonated with in the movie was the main character’s spiritual angst, even resentment at times. As to the wild supernatural stuff in the movie, I’d say it was entertaining and fun, but mostly bunk. Now…this is muy importante…this doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in miracles—i.e. Resurrection of Christ, or even the miraculous or supernatural—i.e. unexplained healing, “thin places,” even ghostly apparitions, or the possibility of dark oppression—i.e. potential demonic influence. I just proceed with great caution and think most of it to be overstated and the genuine article to be quite frankly rare. Some I would question outright. Just a bit of residual Calvinism that dies hard I suppose.

  23. I just proceed with great caution and think most of it to be overstated and the genuine article to be quite frankly rare.

    This is and isn’t true….ha ha ha! And you thought the grasshopper sounded crazy. I beleive the genuine article is rare, but not because God wills it to be that way. It is rare because of the lifestyle we live in today’s world where we are constantly bombarded with noise and stimulation. Its rare because most of us have so little time to sit quietly before the Almighty God and truly listen to hear his voice. And its rare because even those who believe in it either want to emulate the experience of others or they want everything in an instant.
    Yes the supernatural stuff in the movie was Hollywood at its best…but from me it was very metaphorical.

  24. My guess, Constantine, is that you have had more supernatural experiences with El Adversario than with the Divine.

  25. Angevoix,
    This topic sure seems to be one where we diverge a bit. That’s okay. It makes our conversations interesting. I was going to respond, but realized I’ve already said what I would say now elsewhere (my Blog). If you have an opportunity check out two of my older posts to catch something of the spirit from whince I come. See April 23 (De profundis clamo te Domine) and April 24 (Do the Angels Weep?)

    Luther knew how to deal with El Adversario.

  26. I guess I should fess up here, C. I’m about as Charismatic as one gets…but sometimes from the spirit wince I come too…

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