Friday, June 17, 2005

Thank you, regular readers. Thank you for your comments.
I read your blog, too. If I don't leave a comment it's because I am touched and thinking about your words. Sometimes, I don't have anything in my brain but dustbunnies and Diet Cokes which leaves me with no words.

The Reverendmother comments on the previous post that I am a candidate for the Calvin Cops, The Predestination Police and the GA Gestapo. Uncle Mike demands that I turn in my CTS mug and get my buttage out of the Richards Center (references to our seminary).

All this because I woke up at 1:30am. the other night after tossing and turning listening to TLH's purring, the children talking, cell phones beeping and then the helpful chat of two cats who must have been hungry because they became silent sleeping fur balls after a dish of cat kibbles.

I was not at my best. I closed the door to our bedroom and left TLH to snore, I mean purr, as he wished. I fussed at the children. I demanded that cell phones be silent until daylight at least and I dealt with the cats. As the house quieted down, I was wide awake.

Or, so I thought.

I took the stoopid test and now I'm wearing a John Wesley T-Shirt and wondering if my heart is warmed or if I need to take Tums.

Life is so lifey.

However, and I am making a transition here, Reverend Mother is on to something with her talk of GA Gestapo, etc. Have you noticed how people are being more attentive to buzz concepts, ranking the orthodoxy of others and marginalizing those with suspect theology? Those of us who are theological wunderkinds have been ranking people's theology for years going around announcing who has BAD theology and who makes the cut.

Oh yeah. That was different. But not that we seem to be splitting into camps, it is scaring the grape juice out of me.

I expect compliance with the Westminster Confessions and Creeds of the Church even though those documents conflict with each other at points (being historical documents and all). I consider myself orthodox and for that very reason did not spend one minute reading the LEFT BEHIND series with it's rapture mess. And there's more. But I am not defending my own pristine understanding of God here, I'm saying that we are stomping dangerous ground when we start being Gestapo GA, Predestination Police etc.

Just thinking here.........

The cats have been fed, TLH is purring wildly dreaming of closing arguments, I just got a text message from TLD and it is not yet sunrise.

Glad to see you. Thanks for being here.


reverendmother said...

Oh St. Cass!

You know that I was kidding, right? I was making fun of the witch hunts, although on the other hand it's no laughing matter.

Maybe this will help redeem me. I was on the Confessions and Christology Committee at GA a few years back. It was the year all the Lordship of Christ stuff came to a head. I could.not.believe. I got randomly assigned to such a cool committee. It was the year we approved the Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ doc.

Anyway, someone (predictably perhaps) made a motion that we direct the Office of Theology and Worship to develop a list of the essential tenets of the Reformed faith. Thank goodness it got defeated. I spoke against it; looking historically, the church has always resisted this move. We have the Book of Confessions. To create a Cliffs Notes version defeats the purpose of the BOC in its beautiful messiness; it creates a canon within a canon and sets us up litmus tests. Or did we learn nothing from the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy in the 1920s?

Yes, I am a tremendous theology and Presbyterian history geek.

Anyway, I hear you.

Friday Mom said...

I'm laughing so hard at the "wondering if my heart is warmed or if I need to take Tums."

Here, here! I'm tired of the tests of orthodoxy. I've been through it with one denomination already, and suppose I'm in the middle of it again. It's wearisome.

nightwoodkitty said...

Ok, Nightwoodkitty is a layperson here(cradle Presbyterian, life Calvinist) who isn't shocked by John Wesley and wonders why I should be?

Can the theological Wunderkinden give me a good answer for why Mormons are not Christians. I know they are considered a cult, and after reading Under the Banner of Heaven, I am appalled, but I need a good response to this one, when people say, "they call themselves Christians, why aren't they?" There is a growing Mormon ward in my area [Our Chamber director was one, one cleans my teeth] and this is of interest.

Mendel's Garden said...

Nightwoodkitty ---
I'm not a Wunderkind. Indeed, to follow the theo-bloggers requires a dictionary at my side.

However, I grew up in a Mormon splinter sect (the Reorganized LDS, now the Community of Christ). Jesus pulled me up out of the muck when I was in college, and I began to examine the whole Joseph Smith / Book of Mormon issue. I have a lot of problems with the story. At a minimum, the denomination is heretical, at least from a traditional Protestant perspective.

But at the same time, it is very clear to me that --- at least in the local church is which I grew up -- God is active and working. Christ is professed, worshipped, and praised.

Which makes the question, at least to me, can you be a Christian and worship within a heretical sect?

Is God loving enough to accept my profession of faith, regardless of the name on the door of the church?

I choose to believe that He is.

That said, I have not been able to worship in the RLDS since college, more than 30 years ago. My family and I are active Methodists, and I'm probably in the middle of the theological spectrum.

But I can assure you, I have a somewhat broad and ecumenical view of what it means to be a Christian.


Mendel's Garden said...

Nightwoodkitty et al. ---
You can e-mail me directly if you choose at

Fr. Gregor

St. Casserole said...

Reverendmother! I knew you were teasing me! I just used your clever humor as a diving board into the idea of orthodox litmus tests.
You are correct. If we turn the BOC into Cliff's Notes, we'd be losing a beautiful part of our history (and a part which serves us well).
You make me think and I appreciate you for this!

St. Casserole said...

Nightwoodkitty, The Mormons believe in pre-existence that people were "alive" on another level before this life, that marriage is forever (as are families), they baptize the dead, they aspire to life on another planet, they accept the revelation of John Smith as on par with the Bible. They have a separate set of scriptures. These few issues, and there are more, are OUTSIDE a definition of Christian Orthodoxy.
One hesitates to refer to them as a cult or heretics because they are our dentists, teachers and neighbors and are so very "nice" in their values of thrift, family life and so on. I hesitate to call "names" anyway but as I understand orthodoxy, the Mormons are outside of the fence. If one wears special underwear which is supposed to protect you from all harm, isn't that a bit unusual? The strength of the Mormons is their clean-living, hard-working, community reliance and a unique American story.
Thanks for asking. I have to leave now....

PPB said...

The Tums comment was hysterical. Spent 4 years working for the strangely warmed folks, but still tested out as a Calvin. I guess the warmth wasn't that infectious.

I hate tests of orthodoxy because I tend to fall as an unorthodox, or at least suspected of one. I figure that makes me extra biased, extra sensitive or extra paranoid.

Probably all three.

Anonymous said...

I read part of the Book of Morman when in college and my memory of it is sparse. Perhaps Gregor can enlighten me.

I remember thinking this:

The have the story of the lost tribe of Jews, who come to the Americas, split into two groups-one good and the other gone native so to speak, but the good group also goes bad and God lets the other group wipe them out, leaving the lost-Jews/gone-native/native-American-Indians. I thought it allowed Mormons to believe that going out West and re-locating or killing Indians was just further punishing the bad Jews.

I could have this all jumbled and would love to know---without having to read the book again of course.

With apologies in advance,

Anonymous said...

I think you have a really good blog, and you obviously write stuff that people want to read. In less than a year you have had many thousands of visits. That is impressive. Keep doing what you do.

Best of luck


Mendel's Garden said...

Expeditus ---
There are a lot of us "recovered Mormons" out there, some much angrier than I tend to be.

St. Cass's perspective on the position of "the fence" is dead on. The heresies which she cited are not necessarily common to all of the Mormon sects [although as I recall, those are valid for the SLC-Utah LDS]. For me, one of the most dangerous heresies is elevating the words of the current church leader (declared to be God's Prophet) to be equal to the Canon of the Holy Scripture. If I am The Prophet of The Church, my words today have the same weight as those of Christ in the Gospels.

The BOM as an anti-Native American tool, justifying the US expansion across the continent? Interesting perspective, and one that had not occurred to me before. But I suspect that it is just a simple reflection of the historical perspective of when the BOM was written (the US in the 1800s), and the US culture at that time.


Mary said...

Teehee, I say "life is so lifey" all the time! It works well when I want to REALLY say something much more detailed and, uh, less G-rated, if you know what I mean. ;)