Thursday, May 18, 2006
Appealing to ImaginationAmy has a very thoughtful essay, the best and most coherernt thoughts you'll see on her blog (or anyone else's for that matter) regarding all things daVinci Code. Skip the commentariat, though; they still don't get it. After reading her words I was struck by the need for the appeal to the human imagination. The pre-conciliar Catholic culture in the US (pre-WWI for Europe) appealed to the imagination more. Catholicism might have been rigid, racist, and a lot of other things that would be no-no's today. But it did appeal to the imagination. I suspect the pre-Vatican II liturgy was beloved--when it was done well--not for its fidelity to rubrics, but for the artistry of it all. This is why I have severe doubts about rubricism leading us back to some golden Catholic era. Modern society has drained much of the imagination away. Many people still long for some sense of ... what would I call it: adventure, exaltation, a sense of being part of something greater? Amy suspects people are hungry for authentic spiritual wisdom. The Passion of the Christ was appealing not for its window into Mel Gibson's sadism, but perhaps because many Christians long for something more substantive than a coffee-and-donuts gospel they get on Sundays. I had a phone discussion with someone the other week looking for answers. Why do Catholics pray to saints? Why isn't there anything in Scripture about the Communion of Saints, and intercessory prayer? Well, there is. If you're looking for an evangelical to show you, it won't be found. If you're waiting for a Catholic priest or lay minister unfamiliar with the Bible to show you, you'll be disappointed. I think a lot more people would find Christianity and Catholicism something to get excited about if we ourselves were more excited about it. And showed it. The lack of this contributes to the environment in which people take Dan Brown as gospel. (Personally, I'm far more alarmed about the percentage of people who believe in literal creation than some divine bloodline. The simple fact is that people with Jesus' family ties tried to make something of themselves in Acts. With respect to families everywhere, the highest familial connection there is is our grafting onto the vine of Christ in baptism. If we take our faith seriously (and imaginatively) we're closer than family. We're the same organism. If we lived in some strange alternate universe with living descendants of Jesus, and if one approached me with some outdated conservative notion of divine right or aristocracy or something like that, I'd have ask simply and bluntly, "Yes, but are you living your life as part of the Christ-vine? Are you longing for great and wonderful things for the rest of the body? Or are you just in it for yourself?" This post is a bit scattered, I realize. If you'd like to add your own clarity, feel free. Posting will be light from my end the next few days.