Sunday, September 28, 2008

Co-existing with the void

From The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body (Chapters 2 and 3):

"Between knowledge and desire there is often an abyss. ...Certainly Christians know that they do not have a direct line to Christ. But still... "

The chapter talks about ways in which Christians try to cross over the abyss by focusing on one of 3 poles: the scriptures, the sacraments, or Christian ethics. This roughly maps to the ICCEC's concept of converging the three streams (sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic). Focusing on any one of these three brings the picture out of balance, and actually makes it harder to know God. Chauvet continues:

"Faith lives only from the space between the three poles. It is precisely this space which concretely mediates the distance between God and us, our respect for God's difference. This space is uncomfortable because it constantly maintains an emptiness. But this emptiness, which the imaginary unceasingly strives to fill, is what lets Jesus truly be the living One and respects his lordship. It is also what gives Christians room for 'play' by allowing individuals to breathe freely within the faith of the church, instead of submitting them to the uniform mold of one ideology. "

"The tension between liturgy and ethics which we have noted in Judaism is, as it were, doubled in Christianity. It is tempting to assuage the discomfort by either absorbing the liturgy in ethics ('What does Mass matter? The important thing is charity.') or ethics in the liturgy (''I'm square with God: I go to Mass every Sunday and go to confession regularly.') In both cases one becomes a 'dualist' Christian who separates the sacraments from the lived experience. However the good health of faith depends precisely on this discomfort. This is to say that the tension is not to be abolished but managed. "

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