Thu 17 November 2016
I haven’t came with some opinion on the series itself, but Dave also mentioned on the side a book by Phyllis A. Tickle: “The Great Emergence”. I haven’t read it either (under the impression from Dave, I have just ordered it on Amazon), but Dave (and reviews) mention that the book suggests Christianity changing every 500 years or so. That is an interesting idea (I am not sure whether she is not missing the revolution of St. Francis, but that is not the foundation of the thought itself, I think). However, I do not like the idea of transitions. That sounds like changing the church according to the latest fashion of the world, and throwing the old clothes to the bin for homeless. I would suggest slightly different picture. Instead of transitions, I would talk about God’s visitations, God sending his messengers (whether they are Biblically prophets, teachers, or apostles) and changing the face of the Church. Christianity does not need “reboot”. Instead, I would see each of these visitations like an eruption of volcano. Raw energy flow through the Church and changed everything. Immediately after this eruption theologians, and other Church thinkers, started to process this magma into something more useful, think about and rebuild the Church thinking around it. I have absolutely nothing against scholarship (being a son of the University professor and ABD for PhD in sociology, I value scholarship highly). However, in subsequent generations (and sometime pretty fast) by chewing upon the original lava, it becomes rather dry, boring and in the end it is as fascinating as the last generations of the medieval scholarship, or current Protestant theology. Fortunately, when God cannot watch the misery we created from his original message he sends another portion of lava so that we have something to chew upon for next couple of hundred years. And yes, I believe we are in the middle (or preparing for) such visitation right now.
What matters on the difference is that discoveries of previous revolutions should not be discarded as old trash, but rather that we should listen more to the Humanists of the fifteenth century and to their battle cry “Ad fontes”. I have spent last year by repeated listening to the lectures on the theology of Martin Luther. I have been always fascinating by him, even earlier than when I read “The Young Man Luther” by Erik H. Erikson. However, when thinking about the Luther I truly feel like sitting next to the erupting volcano. So much energy! On the less poetical note, it seems to me that many of his ideas far distant from then current Catholic thinking were later reduced by the Reformed theology to something a way more mild and actually returning back to the original thinking (e.g., his ecclesiology), and what is more important the Luther’s magma ruminated into Reformed theology became the foundation of the Modernism. And by five hundred years of chewing, the result is currently truly distasteful and worthy of another revolution.