Where Is The Church? … Take Two

Chaitanya Jyothi Museum Opening, 2000

RAMANAM
In the Name of The Father, and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, Amen.

Countrymen,

ORBIS NON SUFFICIT
SOLUS DEUS SUFFICIT

Take One on the question Where Is The Church? is here.

The church is where I/you am/are.  It is what we do.  It is us discharging our several duties.  It is the work we accomplish, any and all of it.

God has no second.  This means the sacred has no second.  That means there is no profane.

The church is really huge and expanding every day.

The church does not have to go into the world to meet people where they are.  The church is people, already in the world, fulfilling their duties.

Harvey Cox said the world is the church: The Secular City is The City of God.  No Harvey, dear boy, the church is the world.  The City of God is the Secular City.  All is God?  No Spinoza, with respect, God is all.  We are all one?  No India, dear girl, The One is all of us.

This epistemological adjustment parallels one of Tillich’s well-known observations: Pantheism is taking the world as God whereas Christianity is taking God as the world.  There is no secular that is not sacred and no profane that is not holy.

Delusionoids attack the church for this and that about her.  They test reality by laboring to replace the church with schemes of collectivist claptrap.  As much as they are hurt by reality, they cannot admit their schemes are daffy and self-defeating.  They search restlessly for corridors down which to put the flank and crimp on the truth that the sacred has no second.

What of the sanctuaries going by the name of church?  Let them go.  Who wants to maintain them, that is their business.  The sanctuary is the world.  The work of the church is the labors of the world’s creatures, especially but not only the human ones.

In the first part of the 20th Century, Manhattan Island supported four major basilicas (Greek Βασιλεία = Kingdom) of the Episcopal Church of the USA — TrinitySt. Bartholomew, St. Thomas and St. John the Divine — and many minor ones.  Trinity had chapels around the island, including 2K-member St. Agnes Chapel at West 91st Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.

Today those congregations are small landmark members of the general bleat for cunning and magic schemes to curry (aka beg) favor with academics, infotainers and bureaucrats.  The church there is what congregants and visitors do at their day jobs and mortal careers.  Can you imagine the church begging acceptance from anyone?!?

What about adherents of other religions, non-Christians?  Do they belong to the church?  If God has no second they most certainly do … and vice-versa for Christians with respect to those others’ spiritual communities.

St. Cyprian, a Father of the Church, famously declaredextra ecclesiam nulla salus.  I have observed more than a little concerning this doctrine.  It’s standing throughout Latin and Greek Churches — until recently in the former — is patent.  It makes sense, however, only inside the syllogism with which we commenced this essay:

God has no second.
This means the sacred has no second.
That means there is no profane.

Calvin said the church is where the Word is rightly preached and the Sacraments duly administered.  That is true.  However its obverse also is true: the Word is rightly preached and the Sacraments duly administered when congregants, faithful or not, are going about fulfilling their several duties, discharging their several responsibilities in the work-a-day world at tasks they have been assigned or chosen.

Today, of course, clergy of the churches, save the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox ones — mostly but not entirely (!) — do not rightly preach the Word or duly administer the Sacraments.  So, repair to a legacy sanctuary, mostly, for fulfillment of religious duty is out of the question.  It cannot be done in those places no matter the colorful falderal or collectivist prattle.

And what is one’s religious duty, one’s basic religious duty?  It is simply to remember God with each breath, inhaling and exhaling.

The duty of clergy is to safeguard the elements of worship, which comprises training exercises to teach volunteers how to fulfill their religious duty and ward off threats to it.  Worship is like Army Ranger School.  Ideally, clergy, senior and junior, are comparable to cadre at Ranger School: they run aspirants through the basic skills of rapid, high-intensity warfare against envy and presumption.

The duty of clergy, first and foremost, is to safeguard Sacred Scripture, Sacred Music and Sacramental utensils and substances.  This is not happening at the majority of parish sanctuaries of the Latin Church at least.  The very notion of a sanctuary — meaning a space safe from pernicious civil authority and private vendetta — has been discarded by charlatan clergy eager to identify with schemes of collectivist claptrap hatched by anarchists of academe, infotainment and government.  Thus, the-world-at-large is safer in all respects than are sanctuaries of the churches.

A reversal of this magnitude — see reference to ECUSA on Manhattan Island, above — cannot be accounted a problem to be solved, a decline be reversed, nor yet a disease to be cured or consoled.  A reversal of this magnitude is an act of God, a disposition of Providence.  So it must be accepted as salutary.  New beginnings are afoot.  The church is not in de-formation.  She is in re-formation, perhaps better yet, trans-formation.  And not as something formerly extant and familiar.

Now, if everyone and indeed all creatures belong to the church re-forming as the whole, then every creature by their very nature has freedom in all its powers of Godly freedom, and humans most of all.

AUM NAMAH SHIVAYA

Giotto: St. Francis of Assisi
Giotto: St. Francis of Assisi

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