Differences, Dissent and Division

Differences, Dissent and Division

japan.jpg I haven't written in a while. I'm sorry. Maybe you're not. I would like to write more often. I do have people insisting that I should just shut up and draw. My cartoons and my art says enough, they say. Perhaps my art and cartoons are incarnational. After all, the Word did become flesh. But that flesh did speak. So I think words are sometimes necessary. Like St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel always. If necessary use words." So today is one of those days when I feel I need to write something. I've been reading some theology lately. Doped up following my nose surgery has lent itself to metaphysical thinking. I'm still slightly dopey. My mornings are okay, but as the day progresses my head begins to pound right behind my nose and eyes until the point of exhaustion. I pop some pills and that helps, theologically speaking. I've met recently with a couple of friends who have left the local church and the faith as well. I love them, totally respect them, and listen hard to what they are saying. I'm interested in what they are reading and what they believe now. I'm fascinated by it. I think it is important for me to listen to what they believe and why. I think it is crucial to listen to what Hitchens and Harris and Dawkins are saying. I think it is necessary for me to listen to what science is saying. Evolutionists. Mystics. New Agers. Universalists. Syncretists. Neo-Gnostics. Everyone. You know, in the earliest church, the Fathers contested with people with differing views as though they were a diverse and dissenting part of the larger community. I think, for instance, Irenaeus, when he challenged the Gnostics, betrayed a humble deference toward them. At the earliest point there was no clear line of division that separated the "heretics" from the "orthodox". This came later with the councils and creeds. They mingled together in the same communities and churches. I personally think it is important to work towards a clear theology. Faith seeks understanding. But I also believe it is important and even required by charity to permit all voices an audience and to see all people and opinions as typical of a diverse community striving towards love and health. When you think of it, when Paul said in the Corinthian correspondence that one prophet should speak; then when another stands up to speak the first one should be quiet and sit down; and that the content of what they say is held up to scrutiny, discerned and judged by the community... wasn't Paul implicitly giving room for heresy? The root of heresy literally means an opinion that is contrary to another. Later it came to mean a belief that is contrary to the orthodox doctrine or the most popularly held opinion. I think we need to listen to more apparently "heretical" views because I personally believe that much of what is popularly held as true is in fact false and needs to be challenged by opposing views. And, as Forrest said, "That's all have to say about that." The photograph is a cropped version of my friend's, Mark Hemmings, photo, "Kendo Fighters". Check out my tees HERE and my art HERE.

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