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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Towards disorganised religion

I have been doing too much reading to do anything very original by way of commenting on current events. Attending an Anglican ordination at the weekend led me back to some comments in Wendell Berry's wonderful novel Jayber Crow that I have just finished re-reading. Such an event brings out all my anarchist tendencies captured nicely in Jayber's reflections:

I am, maybe, the ultimate Protestant, the man at the end of the Protestant road, for as I have read the Gospels over the years, the belief has grown in me that Christ did not come to found an organized religion, but came instead to found a disorganized one. He seems to have come to carry religion out of the temples into the fields and sheep pastures, onto the roadsides and the banks of rivers, into the houses of sinners and publicans, into the town and the wilderness, toward the membership of all that is here. Well, you can read and see what you think. (p.321)

Though from a very different tradition to Nicholas Lash quoted in previous postings, a strong case can be made that Berry is a theologian, in his novels and poetry as much as in his essays is a theologian in a sense that Lash has defined the task.

Being ecumenical is reaching for points of connection and orientation across significant differences. That is the sense in which I want to be ecumenical and why I find encouragement from such differing sources.

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