Thursday, June 01, 2006

J&C 5: You Really Think That?

Lohfink’s discussion of the patristic-era churches touches on their self-understanding, communicated both through New Testament citations and contrast statements to the pagan societies of their day. Their writings do function as propaganda pieces, and their indicative statements “have hortatory character,” in the sense that “we are like this,’ always means ‘this is the way we should be, the way we would like to be’ (162).” Lofty statements which may not be in perfect alignment with the visible reality of the church, but I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that.

Simply put, I’d prefer to be in a community with sky-high ideals that we aspire to and measure ourselves by, even if we don’t always ‘get’ them, than one that has resigned itself to a ‘Christian inferiority complex (160),’ or which has toned down the invigorating words of our grounding texts because we think them unlikely or incapable of being taken seriously. Rather than cowering and saying ‘don’t look at us,’ why not say ‘look at who we want to be, which is, in a very real sense, who we are, and who we are becoming?’

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