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October 23, 2009

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Joyless Moralist

It's very odd... you're like a person who, upon being told of some odd fact or theory which seems incredible to you, goes through every book in your library saying, "hmm, I don't see this fact mentioned here! I don't find it in this one, either!"

Just as not every book will contain every true fact, so not every parable or metaphor need emphasize all truths of the Gospel. That the Church has a hierarchical structure is not the most important truth that Jesus had to teach by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact, through most of the Gospels, he had good reason *not* to talk about it because he was first trying to teach his disciples an important preliminary lesson – that holiness (the only kind of greatness that truly matters to God) has no necessary relationship to one's rank in the hierarchy. But obviously it doesn't follow from this that no authority *exists* – only that the having of it is not what makes one valuable in God's sight.

Your extreme aversion to the idea that Christ established "authority figures" really says far more about you that it does about the Gospels. You yourself are troubled about the question of authority, and thus you assume that if Christ *did* mean to do such a thing, we would naturally expect to find it on practically every page of the Gospels. But perhaps it just isn't like that. The establishment of authority is a necessary part of the growth of the Church, but it's just the underpinnings, not worth going on and on about.

Nathan Smith

But if you go through every book in the library and the fact isn't there, and many facts that seem to be inconsistent with it are, that does suggest it might be wrong, no? That said, I'm not sure how much JM and I actually disagree. For example, I more or less agree with this: "The establishment of authority is a necessary part of the growth of the Church, but it's just the underpinnings, not worth going on and on about." But authority is vested in the church, the mystical body of Christ, not in any, so to speak, "chain of command."

Nathan Smith

I thought of a way to express I wanted to say about Peter. Suppose one were to say: "Peter's sublime gesture of tearing off his outer garment and leaping into the sea to swim to the Risen Lord is now so necessary to the universe that it would be better for the universe never to have existed at all than for this one action of Peter's to be torn out of the fabric of the universe." Now, this might sound like mad hyperbole, and mostly it is. But the great mystery is there is a sense, a true sense, in which it is *not.* This is less mysterious if you think about the climax of a novel. It can easily be the case that a certain page in a 1,000-page novel is so essential that the book would be ruined if that one page were torn out. And at the same time it might be the case that *the author* could quite carelessly and casually burn that page and write a different one, and make a novel just as good, albeit a different novel. It is a true cliche that the tale told in the Gospels, but which draws into itself all past history through its allusions to the prophets and psalms etc., and which extends into all subsequent history through the epic adventures of the Christian church and its saints, is "the greatest story ever told." With that gesture, tearing off his cloak to leap into the sea and swim with all his might to meet the Risen Lord, Peter became a co-author of that story. He was immortalized in the banal journalistic sense of the word, and that journalistic cant actually does shed a little light on the theological idea of the immortality of the soul, for it is by pleasing God, by becoming co-authors of the great story, that we are enabled to live forever in joy. Peter cannot be expunged from the Gospel story, and he never will be. It is to this impossible and terrifying honor to which Christians are invited and exhorted.

Dave Smith

What the gospels are saying is an excellent key to understanding and dealing with current day modern issues. Quite a startling analogy or so to speak a cold slap of water in the face when one pauses to consider what a supposedly civilized, "modern" age we exist in, one which is portraying in many areas at least that such elements of society as slavery, condescending tyrrany and basically "dom" rule to rival that of the insanr Roman aristocrats who were placed high in the bleachers of the coloseum to observe the killing of rebellious slaves or for mere sport of the "manhunt", comfortably enjoying their position above the bloodthirsty commoners in their insane "dom reality", greatly deciding upon which toga to where at the nights orgy, torture festival and which god on Olympus to worship.

The workplace of our modern culture however still mirrors what the world was like in the days when the gospel was written. Cold, impersonal, "acting" folk boldly go about corporations, numerous types of business entities and all and any fractions of commerce and just anything that runs the, "wheel of society". In truth such individuals are personally motivated, cruel, "doms" to rival the toga wearing psychopsthic Roman aristocracy of ages past, presenting themselves as public type servants, claiming to be involved in an effort that supports society as a whole when in truth, the areas thet infest are not entities but their "dominant environments" hence they are mere domestic brutes. The infestation occurs as it has through history, the conflict between their kind and normal people continues, perhpas more exposure could be an effective element to halting the dominant rule of such basically malicious brats.

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