A slob like one of us

Here are a couple more instances of what happens when Christianity is eviscerated by abolishing its transcendent aspects: “Embracing Change”, as discussed by the inimitable Diogenes, and “Carnal Love”.

The former, of course, is a therapeutic expression meaning “do what you’re told and like it.” Its currency among touchy-feely ecclesiastical functionaries is a demonstration that the abolition of tradition and evaporation of dogma and discipline makes the arbitrary power of local bosses unlimited as long as they pretend they’re not really exercising power but just acting as experts or facilitators.

The particular instance that bothers Diogenes is sidelining the tabernacle (where the consecrated wafers are kept) by moving it to some side chapel. The Church change management consultant guy who wants us to embrace change and whom Diogenes critiques argues that maybe God wants it that way, and besides, it’s more important to pay attention to other people than to consecrated wafers. His argument, in effect, is that the voice of local Church functionaries claiming special expertise is the voice of God, and the Real Presence of Christ is the simple presence of other people as we happen to find them.

I won’t attempt to summarize what the second piece says, because you have to read it to believe it. It’s written by the director of lay education in some Anglican diocese up in Canada. His point seems to be that the Incarnation means that whatever it is that people like to do—answering calls of nature, a roll in the hay with whatever chick happens to be available—becomes holy.

All these things would make sense if Christianity could be emptied of the transcendent and the eternal pre-existence of God the Son but still somehow survive as a religion. In that case it would become the simple statement that man is divine just as he is. There would be no higher standard, so human desire would be the Will of God and the authority of religion simply the authority of whoever it is who holds practical operational power in religious organizations. The problem though is that if you cut the heart out of a system of belief it dies. As Flannery O’Connor once said, “If it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” The attendance figures for liberal churches suggest people generally have been drawing the same conclusion.

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