Monday, August 16, 2010
The Protestant Disease
If the delusion is that we must agree in order to be a community, then every disagreement demands fighting, coercion of some kind, and if that fails, schism. The only determination to make, in fact, is whether a disagreement is minor enough to let us just tough it out, gritting out teeth and getting along, or whether it's time to leave and found a brand new church or denomination where we can all agree again.
Until the next time we disagree about something.
I call this "the Protestant disease" because it is an affliction of the spirit. It is a failure of trust and of any semblance of genuine Christian community. It is a malfunction - an incredibly common one.
You can see it all over our culture right now. The disease raises pustular boils on the body politic who are given jobs on 24-hour news channels so that people can waste their lives away watching them spew. We hear again and again - those who disagree with us are our enemy.
Now, if the Church had not almost entirely abrogated it's calling, we would know how to treat our enemies, even if we persist in the delusions we are being fed. We would know to pray for them and to love them, to overcome what we see as their evil with our own good. We would know that in the pursuit of truth, resorting to weaponry of any kind is the same as surrender. We, as the Church, could be the start of the healing of this disease of spirit.
We have, after all, the antidote - the germ of a loving community, an adopted family, in which we do not come together because we agree. We come together because we are called, because we experience this ineffable grace, and we just have to find out what (or Who) is behind it.
But, instead, we have the Protestant disease.