Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Gap

Diferen care separă sublim frumusete de la excremental spaţiu de gunoi (neconsumat) se reduce treptat, până la identitatea de paradoxal opuse. . . . El nu pretinde că fiecare element dreptul de a ocupa locul sacru al Thing excremental, prin definiţie, un obiect, o bucată de gunoi care nu poate fi niciodata "de până la îndeplinirea misiunii sale"? Această identitate de opusul determinari (elusive sublim obiect şi / sau excremental coş de gunoi) [coincide cu] vreodată de-prezent ameninţare pe care o va transforma în altă parte, că sublim Grail va dezvălui în sine, pentru a fi nimic, dar o bucată de [balegă ] "."
--Slavoj Žižek, The Fragile Absolute


Ted Michael Morgan said...
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Ted Michael Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Michael Morgan said...

This comment is not original. It is my response to a thread on the Faith and Theology Blog. But it pertains to what I am doing with this blog.

My congregation enacts most elements of worship well. We preach the Word and we celebrate the Eucharist and we it at least weekly. We do this at all our Sunday services. And we hear able sermons.

However, I do have few quibbles. Awful liturgical innovations sometimes trouble me. There are too many to name, but some of the worst deserve attention and suppression. To me the worst is hiding the baptistery. In my congregation, you would hardly know we had a baptistery. We hide it behind a poor and graceless substitute for a rood screen.

Further, I disdain the failure in my denomination to practice paedobaptism.

Altar calls have always troubled me. They reveal bad theology because they demonstrate our coming to God rather than God coming to us. We act as if partakers in worship are supposed to make the pastor happy with his sales pitch sermons. We make these altar calls some kind of unbiblical sacrament. This is almost as irritating as the cheap coffee served between services. The sinner’s prayer is no substitute for catechesis and baptism. In fact, it is an utter abomination.

The tiny cups of grape juice undermines the entire notion of sacrament or ordinance as we Disciples call our sacraments. Grape juice is not wine even if the Greek indicates it is. Using grape juice is a complete break with biblical witness, something astounding for a denomination that claims roots in primitive Christianity. I think that the tiny cups of grape juice came from the temperance movement. Even worse than the grape juice are the dim-witted excuses for not using wine.

Developmentally inappropriate children’s sermons bother e as does dismissing children about a third of the way into the service.

Flags have no place in the chancel. We forget that the church transcends nationalism and politics. The so-called Christian flag has no pedigree. It is apparently a late nineteenth century Methodist innovation.

Projection screens are high on my lists of techniques to suppress. Watching an entire congregation stare at one amazes me. I am a Protestant, but I think that the
Versus populum was a dumb idea. The only worse innovation is the PowerPoint sermon, but I think that someone might learn how to use it well. I am waiting.

I do like some banners. A wonderful artist in my congregation makes splendid banners.

However, my pastor runs around during the service like an organ grinder’s monkey. He hands out token coffee cups to visitors. I feel that I have wandered into a Tupper Ware party. I wish he would find a nice place to stand behind the pulpit.

Then there are praise songs. One had such hope for them. What we get are hackneyed tunes with clichéd lyrics. The tedium of these things constitute liturgical torture and probably qualify as an abuse of human rights. They are worse than the stuff churches once lifted for Billy Graham rallies


In this my personal Christian blog, I hope to be discursive and now and then critical. What I write here is tentative and tensive. I post thoughts, feelings, and observations somewhat randomly and often in immediate response to current events and posts on other blogs.

"Serendipitous Creativity" from Gordon Kaufman

"I suggested that what we today should regard as God is the ongoing creativity in the universe - the bringing (or coming) into being of what is genuinely new, something transformative; …

"In some respects and some degrees this creativity is apparently happening continuously, in and through the processes or activities or events around us and within us(…) is a profound mystery to us humans(…) But on the whole, as we look back on the long and often painful developments that slowly brought human life and our complex human worlds into being, we cannot but regard this creativity as serendipitous …

"I want to stress that this serendipitous creativity - God! - to which we should be responsive is not the private possession of any of the many particular religious faiths or systems …

"This profound mystery of creativity is manifest in and through the overall human bio-historical evolution and development everywhere on the planet; and it continues to show itself throughout the entire human project, no matter what may be the particular religious and or cultural beliefs."

Gordon Kaufman, Mennonite Life, December 2005 vol. 60 no. 4

Melville is a rational man who

"Melville is a rational man who wants God to exist. He wants Him to exist for the same reasons we all do: to be our rescuer and appreciator, to act as a confidant in our moments of crisis and to give us reassurance that, over the horizon of our deaths, we will survive." (John Updike)

And that is a problem for me.

Fragmented Notions

Fragmented Notions
Copyright © 2007 Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University

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