June 09, 2003

Amy writes on European Christians:

What comes through loud and clear is the crisis in authority - and not just institutional authority, but authority, period. Subjective experience has won the current battle, and if anyone here is serious about evangelization, we should understand that this is the issue at hand.

Nail...hammer..head. I've been long interested in this tension between the personal and the "impersonal" knowledge of God. There is the modern's constant desire to prevert the process by basically telling God, "hey, I'm not going to take the Pope's say-so on anything. In fact, I'm not going to trust the apostles, because the fact that they died for the faith is not that impressive given Muslim extremists and the Heaven's Gaters...If you want me, you have to perform some fireworks and prove yourself to me experientially."

But if this is way God intended, why wouldn't he simply appear to us individually as he did to St. Paul and allow us to experience in the flesh - touch his wounds as St. Thomas? On the other hand, God loves us enough to be willing to satisfy the honest inquirer. And I think that the little clues and helps in a daily relationship with Him are a fuel for praise and gratefulness though the latter should be present at all times.

My stepson perceives that his conversion was due not so much to C.S. Lewis and other apologetic materials like Strobel's "The Case for Christ" or even the bible. What converted him was "a feeling in my chest, this amazing burning sensation of the Holy Spirit", which was facilitated by an openness triggered by meeting and dating his beautiful Christian girlfriend. But what is ironic now is that he has come under the sway of the pastor of his evangelical church and accepts the dogmas (such as sacraments as symbols, etc) unquestioned. So in a sense he now submits to authority, the very authority he was not attracted to before his conversion. This isn't uncommon of course. As a revert it took me a long time to get from seeing the Church as providing helpful opinions to seeing the Church as possessing the fullness of truth.

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Btw, our priest gave an interesting sermon Sunday on the Pentecost and answered the question, "why is it not like this today?". And he said that our personal Pentecost is, obviously, the Sacrament of Confirmation at which time we receive not a tongue of fire but of chrism, of oil - of potential fire. And he asks, "do we really want to be Christian, to be apostles? Are we willing to let God determine the shape of even our religion - willing to be missionaries...or charismatics... if that's what he wants?"

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