Thursday, May 21, 2009

Balance (2)

My religious "pilgrimage" has been various indeed, and had to end with Anglicanism. Why? because I have gone all the way to the logical extreme of one position or another so many times that remembering it all makes me dizzy. It has been my experience each and every time that the further one follows a particular line of logic, the less workable, less realistic, and ultimately less true it all becomes. Extremes always lead either to a crash against a solid wall or over a precipice.

God is indeed rational, but this may be said because rationality is an expression of His inner nature, and not because He is bound to keep to what we may see as rational. God is too vast to fit into a system of logic, and, in fact, a completely reasoned and self-sufficient logical structure always excludes much of God.

The genius of Anglicanism is that it has always refused to be constrained to any such system. Our Anglican divines, like most of the ancient Fathers, are far more pragmatic than that. Our theologians have typically been quite comfortable with seemingly opposite sets of propositions, seeking to walk the path where they intersect, between the extremes, avoiding the extremes on either side. It is an approach that delivers us from excesses in any direction and leads us to seek the center. This is what is meant by Via Media - not compromise, but the ability to find the truth of seeming opposite lines of thinking, to find balance, and in Luther's marvelous phrase (which he seems seldom to have heeded) to stay on the horse as it goes toward the objective, rather than, like the drunk man, falling off, first to one side, then to the other.

The recent discussion on the charismata, like many of the other disputes we get into, has shown how easily we fail to keep this standard. We spend so much time trying to prove one point or disprove another that we forget to seek God where the ideas intersect. In this case we have an excess of rigidity opposed to an excess of freedom, where we should have an honest seeking for just what God would have us do with such ideas and phenomena. If we truly listen to Him and to each other, we'll neither smash into the wall nor fall off the precipice, but will joyfully walk the road that leads to God's purpose.

Let's bathe all these questions in fervent prayer.


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