You might remember when I "crowd surfed" in the chapel at one of our diaconate meetings. The unity of voice and spirit carried me away like a teen at a rock concert. It was church worship how its meant to be, a taste of heaven. Recently I had a very different encounter at one of our meetings. It is important to note that it was in the classroom and not the chapel that we struck a note of discord that sounded, well,... like hell.
Some of the men fundamentally disagreed about a particular church teaching and I have to tell you my spirit came crashing to the floor. Normally it is a safe place to discuss true Theology, which by definition reaches outside of existing church teachings to help propel the Bride of Christ forward in time and space. (Imagine her tentatively stepping out into the darkness, searching for steady footing before determining a direction and putting her full weight forward).
I'm still working through exactly what happened and what to learn from it...
Leave it to my students to help me find my way. One of them sent me a link to a video where Chris Stefanick discusses the river of relativism that threatens to sweep us all away. It's not hard to imagine a future in which we will drown for not knowing which way is up. Chris uses a particularly divisive issue of our day, (i.e. - homosexuality), to highlight the dangers of relativism. He talks about the true meaning of love and illustrates the consequences of the love that Jesus modeled for us. (Spoiler alert: It's painful.)
The video is a worthwhile watch. I can't put a direct link in here but if you go to this website, go down to "Talks" and click on the guy in a black t-shirt standing in front of a plant you'll be wiser for watching it. ;-)
Almost immediately after watching it I stumbled on a video that caught my eye entitled "The Authority of the Catholic Church". Don't be deceived, the speaker brilliantly equates true authority with surrender not power (think about it), and we all know that the word catholic means universal. If you add to that, that the church is the "People of God", then a more accurate title might read " The surrender of the universal People of God."
I recognized the speaker's name because another student had recommended one of his books. I think highly of the student and love apologetics so I immediately bought the book Because God is Real for my lending library. The students who have borrowed it have also come to love the book and its author - Peter Kreeft.
But this video is the first time I've seen him and I must be maturing because I immediately fell head over heels in love with him! He is a master of both the Word and the word. He has a brilliant brain and a quirky sense of humor and what I found particularly endearing is an irrepressible smile that seems to come from a deep spring of Truth and joy, and just witnessing it helped to lift my spirit again. If Chris Stefanick riles you up, Dr. Kreeft will soothe your soul.
What I am learning from the discordant diaconate experience and the two videos is that one of the truest tests of our faith is how we react to those we disagree with and that the only violent battles to be fought must take place within our own hearts. It is not about being passive but rather knowing when to stand and when to kneel.
Bottom line: We have an obligation to know the Truth and to proclaim Him crucified. We must be able to do this with all the confidence of someone who knows that nothing, not even the gates of hell, can keep the Truth from rising. This is the faith we are called to witness to; a fearless faith that shines in darkness and transforms the world.
learning to live
Homework - set aside some time to watch the videos and then let me know what you think.