Thursday, February 9, 2012

Against Privacy?

"Social Welfare is the not the responsibility of the public sector - rather the poor should be cared for by private organizations such as churches, charities, businesses, families, etc."

Anybody ever realized how sneaky comments like this are? Here, "public" is code for "the State," and "private" is code for "not the State." The upshot of this is the idea that the only truly "public" entity is the State, and that anything that is not "the State" is less so. This seems to be the makings of a subtle tyranny. After all, if the Church is simply another organization of individual interests that have no bearing on the public will, then it really, in any meaningful sense, doesn't matter. If the Church is part of the private sector and not, say, a legitimate participant in public life, on the same footing as the State, then nobody has to listen to her. Too take it all the way: If the President can ignore the Pope on matters of legislation, then Christianity doesn't matter. The Church, it seems, has a responsibility to reject the name "private." Is there any non-blasphemous way to say that Christ is a "private" person? I doubt it. If it is to be that "the government will rest on his shoulders" and kings of the world will be casting crowns before his throne, then oughtn't it be essential that Christians cringe at a statement like "Politics is, in some ways, an expression of a culture's religious beliefs"? It is the responsibility, then, for Christians to reconsider those things that are most essential to "being Christian" and reflect that, in every way, those things are overtly public acts.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Q and A

While writing on my blog has dwindled in the past couple years, I haven't altogether stopped writing. Truth be told, in the past six months, most of the writing that I've done has been on my phone actually, via ridiculously long text messages. If there were an easy way to transcribe all of them to here, I would.

Still, difficult as it may be, I thought that the following message was worth placing on the record, so here it is.

I received the following text message today from a friend of mine from church:
Does baptism forgive sins or does remission come at the moment of faith in christ?
My reply:
Union with Christ through the Spirit is the means of forgiveness, adoption, sanctification. Faith is the instrument of that process. Baptism unto Communion is the shape of that faith.

Faith cannot be reduced to a moment any more than one can be a Christian for a moment. Many people conflate 'faith' with 'intellectual assent.' While the two are related, they are not the same thing. It may be easy to identify a moment that one first 'assented' to the Gospel. It is more challenging to identify a moment of first 'faith' - in oneself or anyone else for that matter.

The best way to answer your question would be, "Remission of sins took place on the cross." In baptism, we are united to Christ's cruciform death. Thus, in baptism we are united with this death which merits remission of sins. It is in this way that it is proper to say that "baptism is the moment of remission of sins."
There ye be.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

"We read to know we are not alone."

So then, why do we write?