Sunday, April 17, 2011

Phew, this bloke is not an Anglican

Imagine if you read on the internet that 'taking up the cross' was accepting the suffering which came your way in life. As a Christian you would be embarrassed that someone had such a poor understanding of 'taking up the cross.' As a non-Anglican you might be tempted to assume that, once again, it was an Anglican having such a low knowledge of theology who was unhesitatingly launching into print. However I am greatly relieved to report that a current writer on the subject is not an Anglican. Phew. Narrow escape?

14 comments:

Pilgrim said...

Why would a non-Anglican assume such thoughts would come from one od "us"? It seems very Roman to me, I've known several who would have (did) say the exact same thing more or less.

PS: it seems very fitting that the word verification for me to post his is "deficient."

ToniDeCali said...

It is a very Roman idea, and not one I've ever heard expressed by an Anglican.

Father Ron Smith said...

"The real cross is the one that you don't want. Because it's hardly a cross if you want it.

Just like it was for Jesus."

Actually, Peter, I don't find too much wrong with this Jesuit's theology of 'taking up one's Cross'. Remember, Jesus did say that in order to be at one with him, we needed to take up OUR Cross and follow him: 2 conditions here: First, taking up our OWN Cross, and then: Following Jesus. The two go together.

Not a bad theology, really. We, unlike our Redeemer, are not able to take up HIS Cross, that has already been done - by the only ONE qualified to do it!

But than, that's Catholic Theology for you; I don't really expect too many avowed Protestants to understand.

This is what I found so odd about your A.C.I. friend Dr. Turner's statement, when he implied that Gays and their supporters in the Church, were subverting the Way of the Cross, when their suffering - often with the support of Ugandan & Nigerian Anglican 'christians' - may actually end in their death.

I don't agree with all Jesuit's, but I do agree with this one.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
One problem I have with equating 'taking up your cross' with 'accepting suffering that comes your way' is that it implies Jesus' words apply to those who suffer and not to those who do not; a distinction Jesus did not make himself.

I understand (as I think you do, from what you say in your comment) that taking up the cross is the obligation of all followers of Jesus, sufferers and non-sufferers alike, and thus it is about our willingness to die for Jesus (literally, if necessary; submitting our will to his, otherwise).

Anonymous said...

Why does Ron think that acting out one's sexual feelings is essential to living a true life?

What would Ron say to an adult who was attracted to children, or to an adult attracted to his/her adult sibling? Or to a married peerson in an unsatisfactory marriage with a mutual attraction to another? Or consensual polyamory? (Ancient Greek and Roman literature has many such tales!) Would he tell them to practice continence? Or to follow their innate feelings? I am interested to know how he would reason.
Peter "Palaiologos"

Father Ron Smith said...

"What would Ron say to an adult who was attracted to children, or to an adult attracted to his/her adult sibling? Or to a married peerson (sic) in an unsatisfactory marriage with a mutual attraction to another? Or consensual polyamory?" - Peter the Greek -

You seem here, Peter, to be confusing homosexuality (which I maintain is a natural sexual identity for a percentage of human beings), with sexual deviancy, which is something else altogether.

Mind you, this is a very common mistake for people who cannot conceive of homosexuality as a given - by God - to be used or mis-used, in the very same way as the gift of heterosexuality, bi-sexuality or trans-sexuality. Such a misunderstanding is at the root of the present dilemma in the Anglican Communion.

Bryan Owen said...

Father Ron Smith's response to Peter "Palaiologos" raises a question of moral epistemology, i.e., how exactly do we know what is a "natural" sexual identity given by God to be used or mis-used on the one hand, and how exactly do we know what is sexual deviance (an "unnatural" sexual identity) on the other hand?

Addressing this issue at a Presbyterian Pastors Retreat, Bishop N. T. Wright clarifies the point:

"When people say, for instance, 'We believe in the inclusion of all the baptized in every level of the Church's ministry,' I want to say, 'Well, yes, but baptism doesn't mean that everything in your character, personality, etc., God now accepts and wants to affirm as is. You're good Reformed people, you know that the doctrine of the sinfulness of humans is that every aspect of our personality is distorted and warped in some way or other. And the key thing is how do you tell the bits about you that are in fact part of your God-given humanness and must be accepted and celebrated, and how do you tell the bits about you that are actually things which, even though they feel as though they're deeply a part of who you are, have to be repented of and forsworn?"

Disagreement on how to make the distinctions between what must be accepted and celebrated as part of our God-given humanness vs. what must be repented of and forsworn as contrary to God's will - and how we know which is which - lie at the roots of the present dilemma in the Anglican Communion.

Suem said...

I agree that "taking up your cross" is not simply about putting up cheerfully with hardships but rather about an attitude of dying to self and, like Christ, seeking and submitting to God's will.

I am not sure it is a problem that "it implies Jesus' words apply to those who suffer and not to those who do not" because surely ALL human life involves suffering at some point? Christ cross was also carried for him at one point, surely a recognition that part of "our" cross is to help others with theirs, not to blame them when they falter or make their burdens heavier?

I actually think it is more problematic to suggest that it is really about a willingness to die literally for Jesus - as not all of us are called do that, and which of us would honestly be able to say that we would until in that position?

Does Ron ever actually say that acting out one's sexual feelings is essential to living a true life?

Kurt said...

“Not a bad theology, really. We, unlike our Redeemer, are not able to take up HIS Cross, that has already been done - by the only ONE qualified to do it!

”But than, that's Catholic Theology for you; I don't really expect too many avowed Protestants to understand.”—Fr. Ron Smith

Right on, Fr. Ron! I think Fr. James makes some good points. It’s the type of sermon that one commonly finds in our diocese. I find it odd that it would be considered “bad theology” down under.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

TonyTheProf said...

One of the problems I have with Mark 8:34, is that it only makes sense after the events of the passion when Jesus has been crucified. At the time before the crucifixion, in the context when it is spoken, it wouldn’t have meant anything – Jesus had not been crucified, and no one would have had the slightest idea what he was talking about. We don’t see this because we read the passage in hindsight, and read back our own knowledge of later events into the text.

Hence I think the original saying read:

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and and follow me.”

which is very much in keeping with his statements to the rich man etc.

After the crucifixion, when the gospels were written “take up your cross” has a meaning bound up with witness and the word we derive from the Greek – martyrdom, and it fits the text perfectly well as a gloss on the original saying.

Anonymous said...

What would the always-consistent Peter Palaiologos say about the legality of acting out one's sexual feelings as an adult who was attracted to children, or to an adult attracted to his/her adult sibling? Or to a married peerson in an unsatisfactory marriage with a mutual attraction to another? Or consensual polyamory?

Should homosexual, pedophile, polyamorous, incestuous, and adulterous activity ALL be equally illegal?

Alison

Father Ron Smith said...

When one considers Paul's statement that he makes up in his own body that which was 'lacking in the suffering of Christ', we begin to understand Paul's slant on soteriology. However, not many of us are vocational martyrs - in the literal sense of actually being willing to die for our faith. Even the Apostle Peter, before Christ's crucifixion, was pretty hesitant about that possibility. However, the fact that he did suffer death for his faith is historical, and a post-Resurrection tribute to the grace available to the true believer

Kenosis, on the other hand, which I believe Jesus has called all of us to 'suffer', is that emptying of self that Suem here talks about - that willingness to offer our substance (in whatever way we understand that) for others. Their worthiness does not come into it (i.e., e.g.; whether they are gay or not). Our Christian endeavour is to 'empty ourselves' of our tendency to judge others, which seems to bother self-righteous Christians.

Perhaps our Lenten Fast, might be more meaningful if we were all to fast from judgementalism - myself included. Mea Culpa!

Suem said...

Perhaps emptying ourselves should also at times include emptying ourselves of all our cherished notions, doctrines, beliefs, certainties about our own "rightness" - or at least emptying ourselves of our tendency to hold on to these so tightly that we come to God with our hands full instead of empty? That might also be a goal for all of us this Easter (me included) that comment here?

Peter Carrell said...

Comment from Peter Palaiologos (slightly edited: Peter, please refrain from moving from comment on a person's argument to comment on the person themselves. I have edited out a comment about a commenter here)

"Bryan Owen has understood the direction of my questions in a way that has eluded Ron. I cannot for the life of me understand how bisexuality or gender dysphoria could be a divine "gift": the former leaves person confused about his/her attractions, and the second convinced that "God made a mistake" that must be "rectified" by surgery, hormones and speech therapy. [...]

Alison asks me (and I answer):
"What would the always-consistent Peter Palaiologos say about the legality of acting out one's sexual feelings as an adult who was attracted to children,
- that that is sinful, even if "natural" to that person, and must be resisted;
"or to an adult attracted to his/her adult sibling?"
- this also happens - and is sinful, even if ancient Egyptian monarchy did this and modern law is beginning to legalize this (yes, it is!), and must be rejected;
"Or to a married person in an unsatisfactory marriage with a mutual attraction to another?
- keep your vows and obey Christ
"Or consensual polyamory?"
- sinful even if legal (which it is).

"Should homosexual, pedophile, polyamorous, incestuous, and adulterous activity ALL be equally illegal?

Alison"
- God's laws are not the same as the laws of men (which are driven by practical considerations, not by the demands of the Kingdom of God), and since we live in fallen world, there will always be divergence, until Christ returns.

Peter "Palaiologos" "