June 28-29, 2008, weekend
July 1, 2008

June 30, 2008

MOVING TOWARD HEALING AN OLD CHURCH SPLIT

The top two Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders met Sunday and are continuing to talk about steps toward reunification. This 1,000-year-old division has been a terrible witness to the world about the ability of Christians to get along with themselves, much less others. Although I don't want or expect a single church with a single worship style and polity, there must be less division among Christians than there is now. If the Catholic-Orthodox split ever can be mended, maybe there's hope for the Protestant-Catholic split and all the divisions within Protestantism.

* * *

SUPPOSE WE REFUSE TO LABEL?

So this past Friday, as I usually do, I was reading "All Things Catholic," the weekly column by John L. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter -- this column, in fact -- when I was struck by something John quoted from a priest.

Labels_box

The priest told a gathering of his fellow Paulists that they should be "beyond liberal, beyond conservative." Rather, he said, when it comes to Catholic theological infighting they should “have an unlisted number.”

I am far from an expert on Catholic infighting or where one might expect the Paulists to line up in such struggles, but the priest's comments got me to wondering what every religion -- not just Christianity and not just the Catholic part of the faith -- would look like today if each one could move "beyond liberal, beyond conservative" and focus, instead, on living out the faith in the fullest and truest sense.

My guess is that there would be much less sectarian strife, much less willingness to demonize others, much less anger. Instead there might be a greater willingness to be forgiving of people who fail and to be open at least to understanding things in different ways.

I recognize how idealistic and naive that must sound, and I don't for a minute imagine that all faiths in every time and place could pull off a no-labeling pledge.

But what if the movement could could start with just a congregation or two here or there in which people agree not to label each other? And if that's too much to ask, suppose we start with two or three already existing small groups within those congregations? Would such de-labeling catch on?

It's worth a try. What do you liberals, conservatives, moderates and extremists think?

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Comments

PreacherDJ

"For, to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that the approved among you may be recognized." - I Corinthians 11:18-19

Joe Barone

Bill, I may see it just the other way. I may think diversity is the real hope of religion both within and between the large faiths of the world. My limited reading shows me that church history, like all history, is written by the winners. The trinitarians squashed the Gnostics and a whole lot of others so that now we think the doctrine of the trinity was somehow a part of Jesus' faith. In fact, it was created a whole lot later.

If we quit talking about liberal and conservative, if the RCs and the Orthodox somehow come together, it could well be at the cost of more uniformity, someone modifying or giving up what he or she believes. In my construct, God created the diversity and God expects us to function within it.

Patricia

I Corinthians 11:18-19 is a specific reference, by Paul, to the church at Corinth. The factions were created by members who argued over whether to follow Paul or Apollo. It's little wonder that Paul would advocate unity and his own leadership.

I just read both the Metro Voice and KCStar regarding the big hoo-ha over Oprah stating that there are many paths to God. Until all Christian churches and members accept that simple tenet, what hope is there of unity?

I agree, Joe Barone. The reason for most leaving the church is often because those leaving are more willing to embrace more enlightened interpretations of religion or to break away from a corrupt political church structure. Frankly, the Roman Catholics and Orthodox can knock themselves out joining forces. Both sects are the ougrowth of sick political systems.

PreacherDJ

Patricia,

That "simple tenet" of many paths to God would be calling Jesus a liar, who said He is The Way, that no one comes to God the Father except by Him. So to accept that simple tenet is to be something other than a Christian.

"[E]nlightened interpretations" - that's funny.

Dolores Lear

Another Way to translate what Jesus said, about the Way, the Truth and the Life, that Humans go to the Father in, is the High Tech Human Way he was 'regenerated' before He went up into Space, Physically, with the Living Human Father of Life on Earth.

Only Perfect Pure-bred Genetic and Physical Humans, go with the Human Father of Life on Earth, in Genesis.

Then on a new Planet, the Humans are made Equal male or female Clone copies, like the Adam and Eve Colony were.

When the Perfect Colony 'reproduced' Imperfect Humans Cain and Abel, then the Original Sin kept them Earth bound, from going up into Space, and into Heaven a spaceship.

Eternal Life is for Perfect Human Beings, not Spirit 'Beings'.

What are Spirit 'Beings', Supreme 'Beings', etc, that our Ancestors were called by Body Birth Humans, and handed down as Gods, Goddesses, and Angels?

Dolores Lear

Diversity - Unity.
In the beginning in Genesis, 'God' reproduced supernaturally, all Humans. Equal Adult Male and Female Clone Asexual Helpmeets Created 'He' them. They were not Babies that became Adults. There were No Children.

When the Clone Helpmeets with Eternal Physical Life, 'fell' to Heterosexual Body Birth, they reproduced Unequal 'children' that grew up to be Diverse Killers of Humans and Death. Ever since all Humans are Unequally reproduced, and all learn diverse Truths, in the Environment that they were born into.

As a child, they were taught on how they should go, by their Parents and their Environment. When they were Adults, Many did not depart from this Fallen 'God' Lifestyle Diversity. How many Earth Gods were the result?

'God' in our Human Image, did not create diversity, Heterosexual Body Birth Humans did, with Inhumanity to our Brothers/Sisters of LIFE. Today, even though we can make a Human fetus in the Lab, without the male planting his seed into the female, we still reproduce all Human Life in the Female Womb, by the Original Sin that the Adam and Eve Colony did.

Eternal Physical Life is for the Living Pure-bred High Tech Humans, not the Mis-bred Dead Humans. If there is a Life After Death Element, it is not Physical Life we Know it. With High Tech Science and 'regeneration, Humans can Have Eternal Life on Earths and in Spaceships.

Joe Barone

Bill, by an incredible coincidence, I just read you Dec. 5, 1999, column, “The Enduring Mystery of Religious Conflict.” There you quoted Bill Clinton, “racial and ethnic and religious hatred and dehumanization” is the number one problem in the world today.

You ended the column by writing: “The sad truth is that people of faith will continue to fight and be fought against after Y2K arrives. And faith itself will continue to be wounded and discounted because of it.”

Aside from the irony in both sets of words (especially now that we know 9/11 was waiting in the wings), your words (and President Clinton’s) seem to have something to say about the blog topic for today. It’s not the diversity that kills us. It is the way we respond to the diversity. As I see it, making things less diverse won’t change that part of our human nature which sometimes makes us respond in violent ways.

To use a small example: I’ve often said that the way we word our posts in this blog is all-important. It is fine for me to agree or disagree with other writers so long as I couch what I write as my own beliefs and respect the beliefs of others. I can even disagree strongly, but whether I agree or disagree, I need to use a non-violent tone. By and large, the people here do that, and maybe that’s a step in reconciling the differences, in bringing the kind of unity that doesn’t force either side to give up its convictions. Maybe religious unity is not nearly as important as following the command of both the Old and the New Testaments (and I’m sure several other religions) to act in love even when we are confronting one another.

Just Thinking

The problem with the Roman Catholic Church is and has always been how it treats people, from burning people at the stake, to torturing them out of heresy. Or, as in World War II, doing nothing as a way of doing something! Why would the Orthodox Church want to follow the Roman Catholic lead?

I think that the Roman Catholic Church should spend a little more time figuring out how to totally eliminate child molestation in their midst before they bother trying to bring more people into their sick little fold. They have a totalitarian dictatorship within their Church, but we are to believe that they cannot find a way to eliminate child molestation. They cannot find a way to monitor the activities of their priests and establish rules that keep these buggering maniacs from unsupervised sessions with children? Anyone who says that is not possible is just spouting nonsense. Either that, or they confirm that having a Pope is utterly useless and wrong, which has always been the Orthodox position.

The whole issue of the Orthodox Church is that they would not accept a Pope, a Bishop over all other Bishops, with the super-Bishop being the one at Rome. And we're to believe the Orthodox Church, whose behavior has remained far more pure, whose doctrine has remained far more pure, whose liturgy has remained far more pure, and whose priests have remained far more pure, are going to submit to an obviously perverted power structure? Who needs that?

RichB

I agree with JT. I can't imagine the Orthodox would join up with the RCs, especially under the Pope. The Orthodox Church may not be as pure as JT makes it sound, but it preserved a conciliar system for the Church, which tries to allow for competing thought within the ecclesiastic institution.

Also, Bill, many would disagree with the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarch is the top Orthodox leader for this very reason. Although the Ecumenical Patriarch is in communion with the other patriarchs, there are differences on certain doctrinal issues. For example, he and the Moscow Patriarch disagree on some issues of ecclesiology and the reception of converts.

ChotoCK

JT... I missed God and Christ in your post, rather I read a lot of hate and God is not hate. And I would be more concerned about my child going to a public school than a hanging out with a priest.

Anyway, there are huge differences between the Eastern and Western Rites, both the Orthodox and the Sui Iuris Churches of the Roman Church, but there are far far more similarities. The largest difference is the Petrine ministry and the relationship between Rome and Constantinople. The filioque is pretty much a moot point considering the advances in the understanding of the relationship within the Trinity, though a perfect understanding is probably not possible this side of Heaven.

As for theological discussion, Pope Benedict is all for discussion and argument, he is against anyone just throwing anything out as truth before it can fully looked at and withstands Scripture and Tradition.

Dolores Lear

Instead of looking at all the different Hierarchies, and Rites of Religions, we should take a High Tech Look at some information in Genesis and Revelation, about who will go to 'Heaven' at Judgment Day.

In Genesis, Adam the male appears, not made by Heterosexual Body Birth, nor as a Baby. In Revelation, it states at the Last Days of Life on Earth, the Lord God will take 144,000 virgin male Humans will be chosen, who have not 'known' women.

Were there multiple Virgin Asexual Adams, 'in the beginning' also, to account for the other Humans after Cain went out to Nod? Maybe 144,000 is the number our Ancestor's spaceship can transport to another Planet.

Then the Female Eves, were made as Equal Clone Caretakers. They were actually High Tech Asexual Twin Male and Female Clones, who should never have reproduced by Heterosexual Body Birth.

Jesus is also a 'regenerated' Genetic and Physical Virgin Asexual Male. he also went with the Father of Life on Earth and will return with them at Judgment Day.

Religion teaches we all have to be like Asexual Jesus to go to Heaven, who will be the leader of the new group. The information in Revelation, records only males going. So then the Clone Eves can be made, to make a better population start, instead of taking 144,000 virgin males and females.

Will the new Asexual Male and Female Clones, stay Pure the next time, or will they Fall, like our Original Adams and Eves did on Earth? If so, will our Lord God Ancestors, again renew a new group of Asexual Males, for another new Planet?

The Males need to stay Pure, or they will plant the seed, for another round of Free Will Original Sin Sex Act to make Fallen Mis-bred Humans. And, again blame the female?

Patricia

"That "simple tenet" of many paths to God would be calling Jesus a liar, who said He is The Way, that no one comes to God the Father except by Him."

It doesn't call Jesus a liar at all. It simply interprets his words in a different way, seeing him not as a God but as someone who holds the understanding and knowledge of the path to God. That's not to say that others can't offer the Way and a path to God.

Dolores Lear

Jesus' was a Celibate/Virgin Male while he was on Earth. With High Tech Science 'regeneration' a Celibate/Virgin Male can be changed to Asexual like Jesus was, before he left Earth.

If, the 144,000 Virgin Males would be 'regenerated' like Jesus was to Asexual, and is taken to a new Planet, Human Life from Earth will be given another chance to Have Eternal Physical Life After Birth.

Our Ancestors do not Kill, so when Males start Heterosexual Body Birth on a Planet, they do not Kill them, but keep contact, until the Planetary Fire Judgement is about to happen, and then rescue New Virgin Males to start again on another Planet.

We are babies into all this High Tech Science Knowledge, but Humans on Earth have Misused it, for Killing and Destruction of our Eco System and Planet.

Our Ancestors, may use this 'Way' to keep Human Life on Planets, in a Universe full of Atoms and the Electro-Magnetic Force, that make Life as we Know it.

Our Fallen Knowledge may help the new males, not sow their seed in the female. Then they can become Part of the Space Human Race that has Eternal Physical Life After Birth.

For 100 years, Humans have been learning this Scientific Non Fiction Information, about Eternal Physical Life After Birth, instead of the Fictional Religious 'Life' After Death.

It is up to the Male of the Human Species, whether Humans have Eternal Life. or Death, on a Planet.

a theist

Patricia said -

"That "simple tenet" of many paths to God would be calling Jesus a liar, who said He is The Way, that no one comes to God the Father except by Him."

It doesn't call Jesus a liar at all.

[Yes it does. a.theist]

It simply interprets his words in a different way, seeing him not as a God but as someone who holds the understanding and knowledge of the path to God.

[Jesus did not say "No man cometh unto the Father but by my knowledge," but "..by me." He said he was God, He said he was the way, not that he only knew the way. Wrong again, Patricia! a.theist]

That's not to say that others can't offer the Way and a path to God.

[Yes, that is exactly what He said. a.theist]

Just Thinking

ChotoCK,

I am shocked that you do not hear anything about God or Jesus when I write about how the Roman Catholic mistreats others, especially how it mistreats children. I am shocked at how you do not hear anything about Jesus when I talk about how there is only one head of the Church, only one mediator between man and God, and how it ain't the Pope. I am shocked when you do not hear anything about God when I talk about purity of doctrine, about the Spirit of Truth. I am shocked at how you do not hear anything about God when I talk about the lack of purity of Roman Catholic priests.

Of course I am not shocked that you babble about words you cannot spell such as 'filioque.' Nor am I shocked that you have the audacity to excuse egregious sins of the Roman Catholic priests against children by claiming you are more worried about public schools! Huh? And if there are wrong things going on in the public schools, then priests raping children is somehow okay? Are you that stupid? Should I not hate the sin of child rape by your priests? Are you that corrupt?

Joe Barone

Patricia, I'm on your side. As I see it, there are many paths. Those of us whose faith causes us to believe that need to say it, and I'm glad you did.

PreacherDJ

Patricia,

"It doesn't call Jesus a liar at all. It simply interprets his words in a different way, seeing him not as a God but as someone who holds the understanding and knowledge of the path to God. That's not to say that others can't offer the Way and a path to God."

What you are saying is the exact opposite of what Jesus said. To say that others offer a path to God that would be different from the one Jesus proclaimed is to contradict Jesus' statement that He is the Way and that no one comes to God except by Him. So at best you are calling Jesus incorrect. But then you say "seeing him not as a God," but Jesus emphasized over and over again that He was and is God. So again, you are either calling Jesus wrong (and to believe yourself to be God and not be would be what we would label insane, wouldn't it?) or a liar.

What you are promoting as many paths also directly contradicts Jesus' teaching that the one way is a narrow way. With multiple paths, you in effect broaden it. In fact, by your teaching, is there a broad path, since you seem to have broadened the narrow path to be all-inclusive?

The Law of Non-Contradiction simply will not allow the "many paths" ideology to be true.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)