Sunday, June 22, 2008

On the Eucharist

“So we approach to the mystical gifts and are sanctified, becoming partakers of the holy flesh and the honorable blood of Christ the Saviour of us all, not receiving it as ordinary flesh – God forbid – nor as that of a man sanctified and conjoined with the Word by unity of honor, or as one who had received a divine indwelling, but as truly life-giving and the Word’s own flesh. For being by nature, as God, life, when he had become one with his own flesh, he made it life-giving” (Cyril of Alexandria, The Third Letter of Cyril of Nestorius).

“Even as an act of the Church, therefore, the Eucharist is not to be regarded as independent act on our part in response to what God has already done for us in Christ . . . but as acts towards the Father already fulfilled in the humanity of Christ in our place and on our behalf, to which our acts in his name are assimilated and identified through the Spirit” (T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation).

“Author of life Divine, who hast a table spread,
Furnish’d with mystic wine and everlasting bread,
Preserve the life thyself hast given,
And feed and train us up for heaven” (John Wesley, Hymns on the Lords Supper of 1745)

“Come, Holy Ghost, thine influence shed, and realize the sign;
Thy life infused into the bread, Thy power into the wine.
Effectual let the tokens prove, and made, by heavenly art,
Fit channels to convey thy love to every faithful heart” (John Wesley, Hymns on the Lords Supper of 1745)

“In the Eucharist the church is always called to become what it eschatologically is” (William Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist).

“We know that real life is 'eucharist,' a movement of love and adoration toward God, the movement in which alone the meaning and the value of all that exists can be revealed and fulfilled. We know that we have lost this eucharistic life, and finally we know that in Christ, the new Adam, the perfect man, this eucharistic life was restored to man. For He Himself was the perfect Eucharist; He offered Himself in total obedience, love, and thanksgiving to God. God was His very life. And He gave this perfect eucharist life to us. In Him God became our life” (Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Virtual Communion

About a week ago I received word about an online bible college class who decided to take communion online as a way of concluding their class time. I took this article and presented into the Missional Theology class that I have been in for a few weeks in hopes of raising conversations about the implications of having virtual communion and the discussion has been fruitful.

We talked about a lot of things. We talked about the Gnostic aspects of a disembodied Eucharist, and the individualism of taking the elements yourself and not receiving them from another person. We talked about the efficacy of the event, whether or not they actually had the Lord’s Supper. We asked whether or not we might call this missional even if it is not the sacrament of communion. And we talked about Baudrillard’s notion of hyper-reality, which is where I find the most helpful critique of virtual communion.

I am no Baudrillard scholar so I welcome (plead) for correction if I misunderstand him. In short, his notion of hyper-reality is when illusion becomes reality. So, when our current Eucharistic practices fail (and note that they fail because of the Church) to be sign, symbol, foretaste, and instrument (a la Lesslie Newbigin) of the Kingdom of God then the church will turn to virtual reality (hyper-reality) for meaning and for “the real.”

At best what online communion offers is a mirror in which we look at our own inability to truly (really) take the Lord’s Supper. We cannot embrace the practice of online communion. It reveals the error of our ways, where we need to make correction in reality because their only reality. The turn to hyper-reality is a turn away from the real.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

context is freedom

"All the activity of the disciples is subject to the clear precept of their Lord. They are not left free to choose their own methods or adopt their own conception of their task. Their work is to be Christ-work, and therefore they are absolutely dependent on the will of Jesus. Happy are they whose duty is fixed by such a precept, and who are therefore free from the tyranny of their own ideas and calculations" (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship)

Email, the last hope

Do you know what will happen to your non-Christian friends when you get raptured? If you’re not certain, then why not have peace of mind with this new form of evangelism. It lets you reach out from beyond the heavens back into this stink-hole of a planet by way of technology, probably the same technology that will be used by the anti-Christ to manipulate most of human race that has been left behind, which is a sort of poetic justice in that Christians can use the very tool of the enemy towards his (because the anti-Christ in never a woman in the movies or the books) demise.

Don’t dilly-dally around! Pay the money for peace of mind. Surely the Kingdom of God is worth thirty pieces of . . . I mean $40. (Okay, that's a bit harsh on my part, I admit).

CAUTON: In case of rapture, this blog will remain unmoderated.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"How does it look from where you stand?"

“If the hermeneutics of conviction declares, ‘Here I stand,’ the hermeneutics of humility asks, ‘How does it look from where you stand?’ The false humility of deconstruction degenerates into a despair of language and of our ability to interpret. True hermeneutic humility, on the other hand, is willing to receive something from the other, from the text, and from other interpreters. Does humility before the test rule out a critical moment in which the reader assesses its context? Am I advocating hermeneutic fideism: ‘Love God, and read as you please’? No, for understanding must be tested. Christian interpreters must endure every test that critics care to throw at them. Testing and enduring: these are signs of rationality and humility alike. Interpreters should never idolize their interpretations. I am seeking a degree of interpretive confidence somewhere between pride and sloth – the humble conviction that stands firm, even while acknowledging that it is rooted on earth rather than looking down from heaven. We do not yet have absolute knowledge. Yet we do have adequate knowledge, enough to respond to the overtures of the Word. Our first reflex upon being addressed should be one of trust. We must at least be willing to hear the other rather than drown out its voice, even when its message is a potential threat to our way of being in the world” (Kevin Vanhoozer in Disciplining Hermeneutics, 159).

who ya gonna vote for?

My Dad is asking for folks to post who they are going to vote for in November and five reasons why. If you got a few moments, head over their and offer your thoughts.