Tripping through the South and over myself

Last week I got back from a working trip through the South with brief stops along the way in Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama and longer stays in New Orleans, Louisiana and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’ve some great pictures I want to post here… but not just yet. I’m still recovering. As soon as I can manage to get back on my riding schedule, I should be fine. But, while I’ve got this itch, I thought I’d note that I think I’ve finally figured out why I’m no longer much interested in Theological discussions per se — that is, whose concept of God (or the non-existence of God) is correct. Of course, part of this is because I’ve already made up my mind which Tradition I’m going to follow. Another part is watching people like my friend Jim get involved in seeming never-ending discussions surrounding the the Emerging Church or New Perspectives on Paul and I’m just not that interested in discussing the right way to approach Christianity. I’d rather attempt to live it. I’m reading through John Chryssavgis’ The Way of the Fathers: Exploring the Patristic Mind and he makes this point nicely:

Christ proceeds through the ages in the agency of persons. … The transcendence of the divine Word was always easier to acknowledge than the more scandalous immanence and humanity … [Therefore] the teaching of a charismatic elder in the fifth century desert … is never outdated insofar as that person lived and loved as Christ.

[Finally] one must acknowledge that the high points of theology are not confined to one specific “golden” age but pervade every age which happens to be blessed with those “advanced in theoria [vision] … and purified. By analogy, there is decay in the theological world when such saints are wanting.

Father Stephen puts this point of view succinctly when he writes about evil:

Of course, there is much conversation about the metaphysics of evil and the nature of hell and eternal punishment – and though I have recommended articles on the same that I find of value – I think that a large amount of Christian energy is wasted on such matters. For it is not the mastery of the metaphysics of the universe that makes any difference, but rather the embrace of the Gospel of Christ and obedience to His commandments. [emphasis mine — Mark]

So, when I hear Christians arguing amongst themselves about interpretation or the church or whatnot, I’m turned off. I used to be really dogmatic about my beliefs, sure enough of myself that I would argue incessantly. And I still talk too much. But more and more I’ve come to realize how much more I need to embrace the Christ’s Gospel and obey his commandments and I’ve begun to refocus my efforts on my own life rather than figuring out better arguments for what I believe.

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