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Pinch Hitting

11November2011

Due to some hitches in the giddy-up, I am here today pinch hitting for our usual Friday blogger.  Being short notice I had not really given much thought to a topic for discussion.  So, I did what any former dungeons and dragons player would do while sitting and watching Big Bang Theory – I created a list and rolled a dice.

1- Joe Paterno and Penn State. 2- Politics and Debates. 3. The humor of planning ecumenical worship services. 4. The miracle of The Church. 5. Pastoral Burnout. 6. Faith and Doubt.

When I rolled the dice came up with “4” – The Miracle of the Church.

Now, most days I wouldn’t say the Church is very miraculous.  Most of the time it’s broken, tortured, tormented, and much more sinner than saint.  The Church is filled with human beings, sinful human beings who have fallen short of the glory of God.  The Church is full of human beings, sinful human beings who have been redeemed by the grace of God.  Now, that redemption is miracle enough – but I’m talking about something most of us never consider or take for granted – not just grace, but history.  Specifically Church history.

Our congregation has a Monday evening Pastor’s class – this fall we have been studying the first seven ecumenical councils of The Church.  These councils debated major heresies, Arianism, Nestorianism and the like.  They also created the creed that we still recite regularly, The Nicene Creed.  They fleshed out Christology *who is Jesus*, they created an understanding of the Trinity, they did many amazing things theologically.  Many things that are pretty universally accepted today, some 1400 years later.

That in itself is a miracle, but where I find the real miracle is when I look at the history, the politics, the scoundrels that were at these events.  People we now call “SAINT” – but when you look back they were arrogant, cocky, manipulative, political, foolish, mean spirited, jealous, power hungry — umm, sinful human beings who have fallen short of the glory of God and saved by the grace of God.

When I read this history I saw the politics behind it all.  Greek VS Latin, Constantinople VS Rome, Pope VS Patriarch, the list goes on and on.  The maneuvering and machinations would make the most robust holder of public office proud.  So, where is the miracle?  The miracle is somehow, in spite of and through those maneuvers and machinations the Spirit moved and theology was born.

So many people struggle with the idea that perhaps faith as we know it didn’t come down from above like laws on a stone tablet – for me, the greater miracle is that faith, theology, Christology, ecclesiology and the like came through arguments, debates, reformations, schisms, and God’s Spirit washing over human struggles.

What a great story, what an amazing miracle that Christ’s Church still stands…

dwb@ccd

PS. As a former United States Army Chaplain – a huge thank you and Hooah to the brave men and women who have stood on guard for this great nation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 11November2011 09:25

    AMEN! to all of it, but particularly to your PS

  2. 11November2011 11:05

    Amen, amen, and again I say amen. (Love it when the pich hitter does better than I would have.) Thanks Padre!

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