The cat napping on the Fence.

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


MrC  has a bit of a funny position in the great scheme of things, balancing on the edge of Catholicism and liberalism and extremists on both sides take pot shots at the cat on the fence!

So I always try to read stuff with a mind of acceptance, and then analysis.

I read the above letter with some devotion and hopefully with a critical mind.

What is missing in this piece, imho, is an acknowledgement that the revelation of truth through ‘rational’ thought is not contradictory to faith.  Only if that faith is pickled in some preservative can the Pope(s) uphold a view that the light of reason is dimmed by the light of faith.

“that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim.”

This view can be challenged by liberal thought, (liberal insofar as it accepts the light of reason as being valid in argument, theological and spiritual) because one can believe that science and reason illuminate the nature of God.

Two things come to mind.

The first affirms this belief.  That all light points to God and that these ‘lights’ cannot be contradictory because that would imply a house that is divided.  Mark 3:25 “… if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

The second is that in Christ we have the full revelation of the nature of God.  One might infer from this statement that truth reached through modern reason somehow stands in opposition to the truth revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

However one can argue that the full revelation that we have been given in the person of Jesus Christ is all that is needed for salvation.  This belief does not automatically preclude new revelations about the nature of creation or the physics of the cosmos, the workings of the human mind or the human body, and everything else that modern rational investigation has shown to us being acceptable to us as truth.

One is about salvation whilst the others are about the fruits of the tree of knowledge.  For MrC they both exist in unity and they are both part of that same light that we see in Him and through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

The real challenge for Christianity, and more specifically for the established Churches is accepting both and reworking superstitions and misconceptions that have over painted the light that is from God.  These are often fondly held moral views or modes of praxis that are rendered unworkable in the light of that reasoned light.

The trappings of how we do things and what we think of as being morally true are continually focussed by the gifts of reason and that should be embraced by Christians and traditions that are fondly held may have to be abandoned.  This should not shake our faith, for if we do believe that Jesus Christ is the full revelation of the nature of God’s relationship to humanity then we should also believe that this revelation will be in agreement with all truth; theological, spiritual and scientific.

Until we have the maturity of faith to appreciate the Light of Christ in all truth we are condemned to darkness, or at least to the dim shadows.


Two Baptism In the Bible? A Greater Baptism and a Lesser Baptism?

English: Baptism of Christ

Image via Wikipedia

In mark’s gospel he talks about St John the Baptist baptising people with water, ad St John himself speaks about Jesus baptising people with the Holy Spirit.  The distinction in my edition suggests that the baptism of John, with water, is a lesser baptism than the one to come.  “I baptise you with water; but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk 1:8)

This outward sign of inward grace, Baptism, is clearly not a one-time event, at least in one sense.  Baptism by John, with water was not seen as being the only baptism that one might experience, for Jesus might also baptise, and according to the other three Gospels, this time with fire.

Whilst there is a tradition generally held in most Christian denominations in the church of having one Baptism only, I do wonder what has happened to the Baptism by fire.

The use of the imagery of fire, flame for example, as a symbol for the Holy Spirit is a use we are familiar with in Christian literature and art.  It is used in the description of the appearance of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 2)

Whether this second baptism is done with the use of fire, rushing wind or anything else, it is a fascinating consideration that there is, somewhere in the totality of creation, a second Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

One might think that this ‘Baptism with the Holy spirit’ happens at the time of ‘Baptism with water’, or at a time when the individual declares, for them self, Jesus as Lord and Saviour.  My concern here isn’t with that, but rather with the notion that there is a second baptism at all.

I realise that there are many historic, theological, cultural and denominational perspectives that bear down on this subject.  I can hear the clamouring voices of the Theological antiquarian and I admire you all.  However, I am wondering if this focus, this resolution of baptism into two, is a helpful revelation for us ordinary Christians.

Please comment.


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Bad News Travels Furthest.

"The Sermon" from Tristram Shandy

Image via Wikipedia

I am learning a valuable lesson today.  I am writing this on Ash Wednesday.  If your intention is to get loads of people viewing your blog then DON’T POST NICE STORIES.  Today the number of people looking at the happy posting was down 50% by midday and I had lost two followers.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I am not hovering at the screen waiting eagerly for updates about follower’s n stuff, but I do keep an eye on it out of interest.

One might conclude that bad news sells.  If I rip into a Bishop or have a juicy piece of news about an Archbishop’s behaviour, the graph goes up and up and up.  Today I told a nice story about a saintly priest and it seems to be struggling to break surface!  Bad news sells, and this got me thinking.

What sort of sermons do people sit up and listen to?

I wondered if people preferred a sermon that was ‘fire and brimstone’, or uplifting and affirming’.  There must be at least two views on this amongst clergy because I have heard both of these types of sermon, and more.

So in the spirit of chasing the ratings, here is today’s ‘bad news’ story.

It was coming up to Christmas and I popped along to an evangelical parlour.  It was great, a brass band and microphones, plush seats and balcony view.  The Carols were fab and the place was toasty warm.  Then came the bloody sermon.

If you wanted a sermon to cut your throat to, this was the one.  I was a terrible sinner and was going to hell.  What amazed me at the door was the fact that the doe eyed regulars were congratulating the miscreant preacher and patting the silly sod on the back.  He almost fell backwards when I asked if he was the one who preached.  He grabbed my paw and put a big grin on his face and said oh yes; then I explained to the moron that his sermon was bloody awful and had not told us what Jesus came to say.  I reminded him that Jesus came, not to condemn the world, but that, through Him, the world might be saved.  His sycophantic groupies came to his rescue and I, and my rather embarrassed friends, left the building.

Well least-ways his ‘bad news to all men’ sermon was remembered.


>The big question unanswered.

>PentecostImage by jimforest via FlickrWhy bother.  Why go to church?  What’s the reason? What’s is the purpose of taking time out to go and meet people to sing hymns together, to ‘pray’ some stuff somebody’s written and to go through some ‘ritual’ that some other guys have concocted from old books?

Ok so you say I have to commit to Jesus totally and you say I have to belong to your denomination and you guys tell me to chill, it’s all gonna be alright.  But for goodness sake, what’s the story, what are you trying to say? Do you guys agree on anything?

Whatever you say, please please please, don’t ask me to join your bloody PCC, your alpha course or your discussion group.  Just tell me straight.  What’s the Buzz?

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