Since I'm not recognized as a member of the Roman communion, my opinions about the new bishop of Rome may not matter much, but I think that the issues around this papal election reflect some of the major struggles of the 100 Year Lamb's War - will the YHWH faith be led by fear into an embattled prophetic message, or will we embrace a long term vision for a century of peacemaking inspired by the love and justice of God? This remains a critical question for us all regardless the pontiff's position on this spectrum, and there is work we can all do to support the continuing emergence of this ancient calling.
The former Cardinal Ratzinger's staunch adherence to the orthodox traditions is well attested to; in his address to the cardinals prior to this week's conclave, he made it clear that the next pope must make war on moral relativism by enforcing the established doctrines.
This raises the question: is orthodoxy - uniformity of doctrine - a faithful interpretation of the prophetic message of Avraham, Moshe, Yeshua, & Paulos? We must be careful not to depreciate the prophets of the ancient world by diluting their voices with halting shudders of our own prejudices and paradigms.
The prophets were neither unified by doctrine nor practice - the unity of their message emerged in their unique struggle to apprehend the divine and bring forth the blessed kingdom, a struggle most vividly illustrated by the cross.
Moved by the significance of this struggle and the image of this event, the early Quakers called their discipline Living in the Cross.
Patricia McBee writes:
“Living in the Cross” is to put our own will aside, and to submit to the guidance discovered through retirement and prayer. It means not to turn away from the suffering world, but to face even the suffering that we are powerless to alleviate. It means to allow the Light to shine into our dark spots and show us the way—and to follow that way even when we are tempted to take an easier path.
Living in the Cross is living at the threshold where tenderness and suffering meet, where pain awakens the love and justice of God deep inside us. It is a visceral experience that results in an immediate and unwavering commitment to establishing the reign of peace and Truth in every home and community. Can friends today take on this commitment and calling?
Although it is unclear what the new Pope may do to advance the Peaceable Kingdom – how he might promote demilitarization and active peace dialogue within and beyond the Roman communion – it is clear that we must not be misled into the easy faith of tough-sounding doctrines. Beyond these ruinous battlements, there is an even deeper struggle that demands our faithfulness regardless of our creed.
I'm still grappling with the implications, and I don't know if I've articluated this well at all. I hope this dialogue will throw more abundant light on this subject.
posted by john | April 20, 2005 05:03 AM