Monday, November 28, 2016

"Dead Dogma, Dead Sacraments" by John Chuchman


Moving from content
 to process and relational reality
makes all the difference in the world. 

Dogma based on content
ends up dead rather than inspiring grace and awe.  

Sacraments
 become narrow specific forms of defined relationships 
like man and woman make a sacramental marriage 
and the almost silly theology 
of man and woman as natural law family. 

A relational definition of marriage
 is based on the dynamics of
commitment, loyalty, affirmation, 
deep sense of respect for the other’s humanity and equality,
 a deep abiding unconditional love, 
ongoing forgiveness,
 shared values 
and sense of humility and mysticism, 
connections to larger realities and communities,
all relational dynamics that can take many content forms. 

Sacraments  that see sacred connections and realities 
in many different realities 
become new and easy ways to see all kinds of grace.   

As long as traditional catholic theology is stuck in content 
rather than relational theologies, 
it will be static 
and not be able to see love in many places.  

Sacraments grow out of daily relations, 
sharing a cup and bread,
celebrating in community, 
the most basic human encounters, 
forgiveness and mercy between people, 
healing touches during suffering and illness, 
inspiring servant leadership in community, 
sacred work in words and actions 
realizing one’s embedded in creation and continuing creation, 
welcoming and transformation and initiation rituals,
  all relational 
forming the actual substance of  sacraments.


Roman Catholicism has turned them into magic, 
as all priesthood based religions eventually do,
 transforming human and communal relational grace 
into individual and concentrated power to control 
rather than empowering mysticism and awe.   

The Roman Catholics are stuck, 
missing the great grace of their own insights, 
human relational grace, 
the sacred mystical nature of ordinary human life.  

They miss the grace of wonder about life and love 
pretending they can make it magically appear
through the defined content of doctrine, dogma, rites, and rituals,
rather than listening silently and deeply to the lives around them 
and being a mirror to grace of everyday life in creation, 
being recreated over and over and over.

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