Friday, August 11, 2006

I laughed out loud today

I laughed out loud today. That actually isn’t very unusual, I enjoy laughing. The occasion of my laughter, however, is what intrigues me. I laughed while reading Pelikan’s second volume of The Christian Tradition. I know, hilarious right. What made me laugh was a particular paragraph in his section on the filioque. In this section he is talking about the Trinity and how the West was saying that the procession of the Spirit is a matter of the divine essence (ousia) and not of the persons (hypostases). Please read the paragraphy:

"Yet when they came to the procession of the Holy Spirit, many Western theologians, arguing that the actions of the trinity ‘to the outside’ were undivided, insisted that the procession was a matter of the divine nature as a whole, hence of the ousia not of the hypostases. And so, ‘when the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father, it is necessary that he proceed also from the Son, because Father and Son are undoubtedly of the same ousia.’ In an effort to circumvent the problem, some attempted to locate the procession ‘neither in the ousia, which is common {to all three persons}, nor in the person, which is spoken of in itself, but in the relation {between persons},’ which really did not clarify the issue or meet the basic Greek objection.”

Can you see the humor yet? Probably not. It just made me laugh. I sort of stopped taking myself so seriously. Studying theology is kind of like a game of Jenga with a few new rules. The Scripture is like the pieces stacked neatly and we are given the task to build upon it. So, we pull pieces and attempt a great task. Inevitably, the tower will fall because are aren’t that good at it. But, the more we do it the better we get and so we learn different way’s to stack pieces that are helpful and avoid those that are not. But still, we take ourselves too seriously. Sometimes, though, I think it’s good to just knock the building down, like most kids tend to do because then the game never ends. We always have the Scripture and we always have the task. Perhaps it is better (thanks Chuck) to maintain our catholicity in playing Jenga as opposed to unenjoyably clinging to our orthodoxy. Perhaps it is a both/and situation. We strive for catholicity in our quest for orthodoxy. I personally love knocking down the tower and rebuilding it in order to play the game again. It's fun and it makes me laugh.


1 comment:

urbanmonk said...

Yeah, this week I was needing a good laugh, but I've got to admit it never crossed my mind to pull old Jarslov's 2nd volume off the shelf. Good stuff. You're right we do take ourselves too seriously.