a question

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I’m now on the Pastorals, and thus far in chapter 2 NASCAR hasn’t made an appearance. All well and good, though I do have a good point coming from other books involving qualifying and racing and well, now you’re likely figuring out what’s happening in my mind.

But, here in the Pastorals another old bother (I say this in the nicest way) came to roost. My tradition is rather non-Catholic. My alma-mater fired a fellow for becoming a Catholic.

And yet, if I could choose just about any church to visit in the greater Los Angeles region for an occasional Sunday it would likely be the Cathedral, plus I count among my closest friends quite a few people for whom the RCC was and remains quite formational. Plus, there’s the tricky bit about my own obsession with monastic writers, and claiming Orthodoxy for some of them doesn’t quite get me out of the ecclesial bind.

Which is where my own version of anti-Catholicism comes in. I don’t have a problem with it. My problem solely comes from the fact they have a problem with me. I’m happy to take communion with them, and would gleefully leave the mystery a mystery, only they insist I make the mystery into a Grecian interpretation of a Jewish rite. I honor their prohibitions, and so don’t bother, though am bothered they’re bothered.

Plus, there’s the problem with the fact I don’t see succession as ever being within the workings of God, except with the particular line he has chosen, which is David’s line, not Peter’s. And David’s line itself had quite a gap until just the right guy came along to fulfil it. Not anyone afte a couple of generations past David along the way had any authority. God always has knocked succession on its various behinds whenever corruption abounds. So, I just don’t think there’s a way a fellow in Rome can speak for the Living Faith in the way the Spirit who teaches all things to all those who believe would settle for. That’s just me. I’m particularly Protestant.

Like I was saying, I’m in the Pastorals, and got that old bother of WIANC (why I am not a Catholic). I’m sure smarter people than me have explained this away somehow, or limited to the context/culture in the way they would be aghast at other verses being so used (see any relating to women). But, it remains a question for me, so I’m asking it here, because… well, I’m asking it here.

In 1 Timothy 1:3 Paul tells Timothy to command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies, he says, rather than God’s work, which oddly enough is by faith. Love is the goal, you see, not the other stuff.

Here’s the question, which I don’t have an answer for or really an opinion, that latter lack a lot more unusual than the former. Apostolic succession is built on a list of authority tracing back to Peter who was, the high church folks say, the founder of the Family, the first to be elevated. They then trace their lineage back to him, through the various bishops of Rome, until we get back to Benedict the present Pope, whose authority, and palace, and nice outfits, and bulletproof cars relies on the lines of Apostolic succession.

Isn’t this a genealogy? Who cares who the fellow was a few lives back, Paul seems to say, what have you done with and for God. Which brings the issue back to the present, and to the Spirit, and to the curious freedom we have in Christian community. Though, clearly later in the letter there are rules about elders, so it’s not an authoritative free for all, only those elders, it seems, better have lives of their own which are right in order to keep the authority.

So, that’s my thought for the evening. Back to reading about the goodness of a properly used law.

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