Is Adiaphora Good for the Soul?

Πιστεύομεν εις ένα Θεον Πατερα παντοκράτορα, ποιητην ουρανου και γης, ορατων τε πάντων και αορατων.

Και εις ένα κύριον Ιησουν Χριστον, τον υιον του θεοθ τον μονογενη, τον ει του πατρος γεννηθέν τα προ πάντων των αιώνων, φως εκ φωτος, θεον αληθινον εκ θεου αληθινου, γεννηθέντα, ου ποιηθέντα, ομοουσιον τωι πατρί· δι’ ου τα παντα εγένετο· τον δι’ ημας τους αιθρώποους και δια την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθοντα εκ των ουρανων και σαρκωθέντα εκ πνεύματος αγίου και Μαρίας της παρθένου και ενανθρωπήσαντα, σταυρωθέντα τε υπερ ημων επι Ποντίου Πιλάτου, και παθοντα και ταφέντα, και ανασταντα τηι τρίτηι ημέπαι κατα τας γραφάς, και ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανούς, και καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιων του πατρός, και πάλιν ερχόμενον μετα δόξης κριναι ζωντας και νεκρούς· ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τέλος.

Και εις το Πνευμα το Άγιον, το κύριον, (και) το ζωοποιόν, το εκ του πατρος εκπορευόμενον, το συν πατρι και υιωι συν προσκυνούμενον και συνδοξαζόμενον, το λαλησαν δια των προφητων· εις μίαν, αγίαν, καθολικην και αποστολικην εκκλησίαω· ομολογουμεν εν βάπτισμα εις άφεσιν αμαρτιων· προσδοκωμεν ανάστασιν νεκρων, και ζωην του μελλοντος αιώωος. Αμήν.

One area of theology that the Reformation (inspired by Augustine) brought to the Christian world was the idea of ‘adiaphora’ defined by the slogan by Luther’s protege Philip Melanchthon: “In essentials, unity, in doubtful things, liberty, and in all things charity.”

The Reformed Anglican Tradition prided itself on holding the center and keeping charity and liberty in the ‘non-essentials’—until the center caved in.

Is ‘adiaphora’ possible for the Christian Tradition? If so, what are it’s limits?

Pope Benedict said recently in a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Our long journey makes it necessary to acknowledge publicly the challenge represented by new developments which, besides being divisive for Anglicans, present serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress,” a nice way of saying, with developments over the last 30 years, ‘y’all are out of bounds.’

Left Way Behind

Since Advent is just around the corner, it is the annual time to start thinking about Advent’s dual reflection: the first coming of Christ and his second coming. I grew up in a church that made the Left Behind books look like Dr. Suess. We talked about ‘being ready for the rapture,’ and I, as an 8 year old, had far too much fear of the eschaton. Does anyone remember the Thief in the Night movies? They are about as cheesy as they come, with all the fashion of the 1970s, but they scared the hell out of me as a kid. I know that the tensions in the Middle East have the end times prophets working overtime. So, what do we do with the second coming and the ‘end times?’ Eschatology is, after all, an important part of our Faith. As the Creed says, “And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.”

A Haggardly Ending

I have been follwing Ted Haggard’s story with much grief and sadness. I am particularly saddened by the coverage in the news media. Like this is a ‘political’ story!? There is a complete disregard for a man who is very broken with a family that is humiliated and devastated–especially his kids (who were on the front page of the newspaper).

I heard that in certain poitical circles people were cheering about Haggard’s downfall. Makes the heart sad.

Pundits and Power

I know that our readers have strong feelings about next week’s election. We are all concerned about the direction of our country and the potential direction of our country. We are all concerned about the brutal war we are engaged in.

A corollary to a previous post. Are we called to be politically powerful as Christians? How does the political direction of the country affect the Church? How do we most effectively bring about change?

All Saints/ All Souls

Nothing challenges our distorted sense of individualism like a sober-minded, Christian reflection of the faithful departed. The Saints are not mini gods out to do our bidding, nor are they silent on the other side of heaven. They pray for us as the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ and cheer us on. The church is not the bricks and stones of our meeting places, but the living stones of apostles, prophets and martyrs and all of those faithful in Christ who have preceded us in eternity!