Catholic Catechism on Married Love

Catholics have a lot of things going for them. Sometimes they even say really beautiful things, like this bit from the Catechism, the authoritative book of Catholic teaching:

It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God’s faithful love. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1648)

Evangelicals and Catholics on the Virgin Mary

The ecumenical group, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” have recently released a joint statement on the Virgin Mary, called “Do Whatever He Tells You,” a quote from the Cana wedding in John 2. Certainly a statement from evangelicals and Catholics on the Virgin Mary would say some interesting things, like this from the Catholics:

In drawing closer to Mary, we are drawn closer to Christ, for the entirety of her being is devoted to Christ, and her one will for his disciples is “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Devotion to Mary, the fully redeemed creature, is directed to the adoration of Christ, true God and true man.

And this from the evangelicals:

For Luther, Mary is the workshop (fabrica) in which God operates to bring about the salvation of the world. Mary is the person and place where God has chosen to enter most deeply into the human story. She is the one who hears the Word of God (fides ex auditu), the one who responds in faith and thus is justified by faith alone (WA 7, 573). The Reformed tradition is more reticent, yet both Zwingli and Bullinger joined in the “Hail Mary, full of grace” not as a prayer to Mary but as an expression of praise in honour of her. Calvin too referred to Mary as “the treasurer of grace” and spoke of how Christ “chose for himself the virgin’s womb as a temple in which to dwell” (Institutes 2.14.1).

A hopeful sign, certainly.

Wolters on Neocalvinism and Pentecostalism

I’ve been thinking much recently about the relation between Neocalvinism—the tradition native to Redeemer UC—and Pentecostalism, my own spiritual heritage. While off doing other things, I stumbled across this quote from Al Wolters, with which I am in complete agreement:

The power, vitality and emotional spontaneity of the charismatic movement, as well as its openness to the charismatic gifts, its emphasis on the effectiveness of prayer, and its acknowledgement of the reality of the demonic are all part of a vibrant biblical Christianity from which Neocalvinism can benefit. On the other hand, I believe that charismatic Christians can derive great benefit from the strengths of Neocalvinism, notably its broad cultural vision of the Christian life, its intellectual sophistication and maturity, and its tradition of responsible biblical exegesis.

It seems to me this describes precisely the ways in which we need to learn from each other.

No Wonder Hauerwas Almost Converted

Check out this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2306):

Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other [people] and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 4

Community. It’s interesting the way these themes fit in with the things of my day. Long story. Join me in prayer:

Father, from whom all families on earth take their name, forgive us for our constant disputes with our brothers and sisters. Forgive us for pitting Your family against itself—three against two and two against three; mother against daughter and father against son. Let us learn instead to more perfectly imitate You, who are Yourself community—Father and Son together in the love and unity of the Spirit.

Teach us by Your Spirit to imitate the community of the least and the marginal which You appointed to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. Let us seek not the powerful and influential, but rather the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame, inviting them from east, west, north and south to the great kingdom-feast of God. May this be the vision of our community toward which we strive and into which we hope and live.

This we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—who for us and for our salvation became man—who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 2

The theme for today is justice, which is fitting—although I didn’t plan this—because today was the Faith and Social Justice Conference here at Redeemer. Join me in prayer for justice in our shattered churches.

God of justice and Father of all compassion, establish justice and equity in Your churches. Expose our lies, our conspiracies and our abuses against one another. Do not let the blood of our inner conflicts continue to run in the streets, but establish the reign of Your peace. May we submit ourselves to the rule of Your kingdom, whose seat of judgment is the cross—the God who reigns from the tree.

May each of us pursue justice to the hill of the skull, not seeking to establish our own correctness but instead submitting to one another: “Your will be done.” Move us to give up our pretensions to the seat of judgment, instead preferring to sit in the dirt to wash one another’s feet. In this grand act of hospitality, let us welcome as well the poor, the orphan, the immigrant, the refugee, the homeless, the elderly and the widow.

All these things we pray through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 1

Today begins the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year is actually the centenary of the week of prayer which began in 1908. To learn more about it, see the BBC article here. The theme verse for this year is, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17). As I did last year, I’ll be posting my own prayer for each day, focusing on a succession of themes: repentance, justice, forgiveness, community, discipleship, worship, mission and love. Join with me.

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we Your people come to You with heavy hearts, cracking under the weight of Your fractured and broken body. Instead of we, the broken, being borne along by You, the Crucified, we have so sinfully attempted each to bear You, the resurrected King, on our own backs. We are those who have been crushed by the rock that falls, the cornerstone.

We come to You as the prodigal son, having wasted our inheritance in the lavish promotion of our own destruction. We do not deserve to be received back into Your home, but will work the fields as Your mere servants. And yet, how You welcome us! Father of all compassion, receive our groans of repentance, that we all may go to Your vineyard together, with one heart and one mind, to gather anew the sheaves of the harvest.

This we ask through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns together with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.