Deck Chairs and Bishops

Coptic Symbol @ Philae

Coptic Symbol @ Philae (Photo credit: kudumomo)

Here, at  All along the Watchtower, and at Catholicism, Pure and Simple, several of us have been discussing relations between our various churches, problems we see within and without of them and the threats to us all. It’s a very interesting and illuminating discussion, conducted with great respect, for in the last analysis, we all recognize that we are all the Children of God.

I can’t speak for the others but I have learned more about the Anglican and Catholic Churches in the last month than I have in my entire life, and I hope I have imparted a bit of knowledge of my Lutheran church as well. The main take away of our discussions so far for me is that they are my brothers and sisters, our beliefs are so close that you really have to look for differences, we do all have leadership problems which tend to magnify them and hurt the church as well but we are all on the journey to the foot of the cross, although by somewhat divergent routes.

My dear friend Jessica in her post yesterday, entitled On the ‘Titanic? said this:

My comment was inspired by a sense of frustration that in the face of the attacks to which Christianity is subject, our churches are far from united, and grown adult men who are certainly bright enough to know that the addition of the filioque to the Creed does not mean that Rome believes in double-procession, still seem to think it a barrier to acting together. Knowing a little of the history of the Church in the fifth and sixth centuries, it reminds me of how the disunity which followed Chalcedon in 451, weakened Christianity and helped pave way for the rise of Islam. Well, those who will not learn from history will be taught their lesson until they do.

Now the point here is that those involved in the Christological disputes which my co-author has described all thought they were arguing over ‘essentials’ – but what was the result? Within a few hundred years many of the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria were Muslim. Those who rejected the results of the Council of Florence (1438/9) on the Orthodox side thought they were arguing over essentials. In 1453 the Eastern Roman Empire ceased to exist and thousands were killed or sold off into slavery, and Constantinople became a Muslim city.

I very much agree with her. The disputes here may be important doctrinally but, is doctrine more important than shepherding the flock. Does it really matter to the parishioner if the bread and wine of the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of the Christ, if He is in them and under them, as Martin Luther said, or a symbol of his sacrifice, in all cases the words of institution are “Do this in Remembrance of Me,” and all three lead to a reverence for the Lord. I’ve read the arguments that split the Coptic and Syrian churches off at Chalcedon, and I haven’t quite figured out, what they meant. The filioque that Jessica refers to above is one of the things that rent the Orthodox Churches from Rome.

None of these disputes, in my mind, would have affected the average parishioner, not even one with an above average education, let alone an uneducated peasant (with no disrespect, uneducated is not a synonym for stupid), they are the thing that concern Bishops and theologians. Personally, I think there might have been a bit of pride and vanity involved. That holds for the Reformation too, of course. And the rifts in the Protestant churches, Martin Luther as well as the Catholic Church condemned predestination, after all, even though Zwingli was a friend of Luther’s. And we are all, of course, sinners.

The thing is, these arguments over doctrine, are fine, when conducted with respect, in fact they are interesting and fun, and help us to understand our heritage as well.

But the thing is: We have real enemies. And they are not each other, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, or any other. I may think you are a heretic, and you may think I am but, if you believe as I do that: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you … John 13:34. You are my friend and my coreligionists, our differences are slight enough that I’m completely willing to place the case in God’s hands, there are many roads to the foot of the Cross. But there is only one Triune God.

Over at the Watchtower last afternoon I said, “For the others, they are the enemy of my God, my faith, and me, and they should not be surprised when I act accordingly. Who was it that said, “Yes, turn the other cheek but, remember you only have two cheeks”?”

So, now about our enemies, I call them that because they are. The first ones are the Islamic Jihadists, They propagandize as peaceful but, they don’t assimilate, they attempt to take over, and they are not willing to live and let live. We all remember that dark day that they killed 2500 people in my country, because they were in my country, no other reason. Dan Miller in Panama brought an article to my attention today, on Huma Abedin, (if you don’t know, she is Anthony Wiener’s wife and an assistant to Secretary Clinton). I have not written about this because a lot of what I have seen has smacked of conspiracy theories and such, but this article appears to be well researched and sane, if so, it is a singularly bad thing the for us, and the free world. Here it is.

“Assimilation is a crime against humanity.” So  said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamic supremacist who is both prime  minister of Turkey and a close chum of President Obama.

The assertion ought to be infamous. But this is, after all, Islam we  are talking about – meaning, we are not talking about it.

You won’t read it in the American media, nor will you hear it from our  bipartisan Beltway profiles in courage. Both the Obama Left and the Republican  establishment are deeply invested in the fantasy that Erdogan, like Islam  itself, is our moderate ally – ironic, given that Erdogan himself is profoundly  offended at the very suggestion that there is such a thing as “moderate  Islam.” Yup, what you have been told is the plinth on which American Middle East  policy rests, is, according to Erdogan, not only a house-of-cards but:

… an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam.  Islam is Islam, and that’s it.

The prime minister is an excitable sort. Waxing metaphoric about his  aggressive, ascendant ideology, he has also observed:

The mosques are our barracks, the minarets our bayonets, the cupolas our  helmets, and the faithful our soldiers.

Continue reading Huma Abedin’s Muslim Minority Affairs: Not Just a Journal. If this is even close to the truth we, all of us, have willingly let a fifth column penetrate deeply into our countries.

Our other enemy are the secular humanists, we have all seen their work, many are overtly atheists, and are in open opposition to us. That’s all well and good but, many have also penetrated into our churches since the 60’s, and have influenced our doctrine from worshipping God, to proclaiming Jesus is Love. That is true, of course, but our God is so much more. he is a God of justice as well as mercy, He is a God of works as well as faith. God has standards, and he is our ultimate judge, there is no appeal. He does not grade on a curve, nor is his worship a cafeteria plan. He has inspired the works which have created western civilization, and without him it will fall.

One other thing, If the Church of God falls to either of these enemies, the Islamists will win. Why? Because while the humanists think they can convert the Islamists, they can’t. However flawed, Islam, or their system of belief in Islam, may be, they have a very firm belief, they will happily die for them, in this they are like our martyrs, who built our faith. The secularists will follow us because nothing can not stand against something.

In fact, what they will use, in the last analysis is the advice given to French Crusaders in the Albigensian Crusade at Beziers. When the Papal representative was asked how to tell the heretics from the others, the representative,a French Cistercian monk named Arnaud Amalric, supposedly replied, “Kill them all. God will recognize his own.”

The humanists will not survive without the tolerance of Christendom to protect them, whatever they think.

At the Watchtower, Jessica’s co-author Chalcedon451 has been publishing some sermons of John Henry Cardinal Newman, let us close with a paragraph from yesterday’s offering.

And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophesy smooth things to us, and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But then, not one fault only, but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here, and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him!

Faith and Prejudice, chapter 2 – Preparation for Judgment.

Our churches need to unify at least informally, any thing else is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

27 Responses to Deck Chairs and Bishops

  1. JessicaHof says:

    Thank you my friend, and ally. We seem so curiously blind to what is happening. We have been on top for so long we can no more imagine the fall than could the Romans in the fifth century,

    • The exact comparison, Rome was know longer prepared to do what was necessary, are we?

      • JessicaHof says:

        Yes, it is my fear that the answer is as it was for ancient Rome. The barbarians are already in the Senate, not just at the gate.

        • Aye, you have much right but, they do not yet control the people, and that is where sovereignty is.

        • JessicaHof says:

          Good thing too :) I see C has just posted, but not what I was expecting!

        • I just saw it in my e-mail, on my way over, the title looked more like one of yours :-)

        • JessicaHof says:

          Indeed – but I see why he did it now :)

        • I do to- I’m considering reblogging it. :-)

        • JessicaHof says:

          I’m sure he’d like that. I’ve heard him speak about the poem before.

        • Cool, I’ll do it then.

        • JessicaHof says:

          :) It is certainly thought-provoking.

        • Indeed it is, I haven’t manage to put it in the proper slot but, it certainly fits in this drawer.

        • JessicaHof says:

          Yes :)

        • So good to agree :-)

  2. ” Does it really matter to the parishioner if the bread and wine of the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of the Christ, if He is in them and under them, as Martin Luther said, or a symbol of his sacrifice, in all cases the words of institution are “Do this in Remembrance of Me,”

    To a Catholic what you suggest is anathema. A re-reading of John is in order.

    Furthermore, I have four cheeks, i hope you do too.

    • You miss my point.

      If you are going to insist on us all conforming to Catholic dogma, you certainly can. You will lose, and we will too. If you can manage to respect us as Christians, as we respect you, we can win.

      By the way, to me your belief is anathema.

  3. Sadly, this isn’t a gathering in one big circle holding hands and singing “Kumbya.”

    You expressed the Eucharist in terms no Catholic could accept. Just saying well it’s really only about “Do it in Remembrance of Me,” isn’t the way to get us together. You missed your own point or another way of saying it is that the meaning of your communication is the outcome you got, not necessarily your intention.

    • No, my point is clear. It is that we can either be allies or we we can not.

      I specifically chose the Eucharist because it is divisive- if I can overlook your belief to cooperate with you, why can you not overlook my belief to cooperate with me.

      Our common enemies do NOT care, they wish us dead, to us we are both, equally, infidel.

      I’m not going to swim the Tiber, nor are you but, I can respect you, and the Pope, as Christians, if you and your church can not respect me, and my church, equally, then cooperation in the face of the enemy ends.

      If it ends, we all lose.

  4. I have no quarrel with your intention—just your communication.

    • I that, as always, needs work, and my commenters, like you, always help!! :-)

  5. kathleen says:

    I always seem to manage to come in late……. but just wanted to add that I think this is a fantastic article NEO.

    You have hit the nail on the head again on so many vital points, but ultimately what you are saying – and I totally agree with you – is that we can only have even just a hope of surviving the coming dangers to western civilisation if all TRUE Christians stick together to face the onslaught. (For me as a Catholic, the True Presence of the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is Very Important, so we can only agree to disagree on this point.) However, as you so rightly say, there is only one “Triune God” we all hold fast to, that unites us all in the face of our “real enemies”.

    It is a sad fact that we have lost many of our crowd through the evils and heresies of Modernism that has so weakened the western nations….. and be sure, militant Islam has taken note of this!

    • Katleeen, I’m so sorry, I just found this wonderful comment in my spam filter, why, I have no idea. I’m perfectly willing to have them both although, I suspect you rewrote when it disappeared, Sorry, it took so long to find it.

  6. kathleen says:

    Only just read this great article of yours NEO, and I’m late getting into the comment section once again. ;-)

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say (although for me as a Catholic the True Presence in the Holy Eucharist is of vital importance, I get your point that we can agree to disagree on this) as our belief as Christians in our one “Triune God” and the life and teachings of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is our supreme binding belief. This belief that marks us out as Christians – and all the blessings Christendom has brought us – must unite us in these troublesome times in the face of our common “real enemies”, that as you also say “are at the gates”!

    We have lost a lot our our “crowd” through the evils and heresies of Modernism, and be assured, militant Islam has taken note of that; he sees us as weak! But are we?

    • That’s the question Kathleen, are we? Intrinsically, we are plenty strong, but we have been sapped for decades by what you refer to as modernism, which is analogous to secular humanism (often the same thing). It seems to have mostly weakened our leadership but it is hard to tell.

      It is indeed time to unite, even in this limited way.

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