Sunday, August 26, 2012
You do not have to... became you do not need to... that is now you should not...
But what you do not have to do, became you do not need to do this. You can IF you wish but it is really not necessary. So you could and probably should go to Church but you do not need to go if you don't think you need it. You could have Holy Communion every Sunday but you do not need it and if it is not necessary it will be offered less often. If you ask for it, it will be there but if you do not ask it will not be offered. You could go to confession but it is not necessary and, in fact, the only folks who go are those who have trouble feeling forgiven from the generic absolution of Sunday morning.
Then what you do not need to do, you should not do. Since there are other vehicles through which you can obtain forgiveness and confession is kinda Roman Catholic, you should not use private confession at all. It is confusing at best and offensive at worst. Since you only need to go to Church and the Sacrament of the Altar if and when you feel like it, you do not need to go and probably should not go until the need is there, the attitude appropriate, and the desire fully formed. Better to save this for a special occasion than to ruin it all by making it commonplace.
We can say the same for vestments worn by the Pastor -- adiaphora that cannot bind becomes that which is unnecessary that becomes something distasteful and offensive. Or kneeling. Or chanting. Or the use of the liturgy. Or a thousand other things. You fill in the blank.
The path of the Church of the Reformation has led to a false disdain for things once considered good, salutary, and beneficial. Now we find ourselves apologetic for them when we do them and wishing we were more like our Presbyterian and Methodist and Reformed cousins -- free from all the catholic accoutrements and duties and obligations and church usages and ceremonies and rituals and rites that were the comfortable clothing of the Reformers. And hidden in all of this is the idea that those who restore such things are legalists, formalists, and doctrinaire folks who are innovating novelty while the folks who are casting off the Reformation clothing of practice and ceremony are the true sons and daughters of the Reformation.
So, we have a situation in which missional missions in which the Eucharist is absent on Sunday morning and the Pastor robed in the polo, khaki, tee or faded jeans uniform of modernity and the preaching about people more than Jesus... well, they are role models the rest of us should follow and the ones who object are simply curmudgeonly grumps holding on to an antiquated world view and gramdpa's church (that nobody wants to go to anymore)... [long sentence and all but I am not going to re-write it now]...
Just shows how effective a version of Neuhaus' dictim has been in gutting Lutheranism of its Lutheran soul... and not just today, either.
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What a string of warped rationalizations! This is the sort of thinking that has led ECUSA and ELCA to their present sad state with no Gospel left to preach, no God left to worship and adore, no Savior left to proclaim, and no hope of salvation to preach to the nations. It is the way to death.
Will you please reflect on your thesis as it applies to the preaching and doing of God's Law? For example, the idea that we "could and probably should go to Church" would be strongly reinforced by a reiteration of the Third Commandment as well as Hebrews 10:25, yet so often I see a reluctance among Lutherans to point out such things for fear that they or their hearers will fall into works righteousness.
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