Late-comer and a note
Well this post will be far less agitated and vitriolic than yesterday's, and though they were real emotions I have found myself leveling out--shalom-ing if you will--over the whole thing. "Your will be done..." Although I will say I'm tired of seeing Romans 13 popping up everywhere, outside of its context starting in 12:14, used as a way to placate angry mobs by pointing again to a sovereign God. Again, he was sovereign while Bush was in office, folks. But today is a different day...
Reading Rodney Clapp's Tortured Wonders: Christian Spirituality for People, Not Angels and I am continuing to unearth more writers and thinkers who are beginning to see the core of community as essential to whatever we might call "Christian spirituality." Clapp admits at the beginning that he is uncomfortable with the vagueness of the word "spirituality" and claims that people really use it to describe habits and beliefs that there are already far more loaded, concrete terms for. However, here is the gem so far (okay, 20 pages so far but still...)
"Christian spirituality is the whole person's participation and formation in the church-Christ's body, the Spirit's public--which exists to entice and call the world back to its Creator, its true purpose, and its only real hope." (18)
I would place this on par with R. Mulholland's definition as it rounds out the necessity of the "whole person" and the "community" in the formation of Christian spirituality. He has a chapter on the "necessity of the body" in Christian spirituality, which is encouraging to me because of the history of quasi-Gnostic belief in Christian soteriology and eschatology ("Get out of this old body, off this old rock--this is Jesus' message) that is still really heavy in contemporary churches. Clapp gives us a sense of mission again, of formation in service of mission and not an end unto itself.
And that is the key to diffusing the "psycho-spirituality" (thanks Doug) that has been a huge part of discipleship--we're being formed to do, not formed for its own sake. We're being formed not only to "do" in an individual sense, but to "DO/BE" in a catholic sense--a church universal sense that is radically more powerful and pervasive than government-sponsored attempts at peace, healing, reconciliation, life. Hope to offer some more insights from Clapp as I go.
I received my reading list for my next doctoral class yesterday, and I will be reviewing a book for a journal that is due in December. Blogging may suffer.
listening: "snow day" Matt Pond PA