East and West In Christ

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blessed are the Poor

While a number of people have commented on George Wiegel’s article “The End of the Anglican Communion”, I found one part very striking:

“I gave him a copy of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II; we spoke of John Paul’s theology of the body, and then fell to discussing the difference between “sacramental” and “gnostic” understandings of the human condition. The former insists that the stuff of the world – including maleness, femaleness, and their complementarity — has truths built into it; gnostics say it’s all plastic, all malleable, all changeable. The sacramentalists believe that the extraordinary reveals itself through the ordinary: bread, wine, water, salt, marital love and fidelity; the gnostics say it’s a matter of superior wisdom, available to the enlightened (which can mean, the politically correct).” (Weigel)

The Lord has been working on my gnosticism. No, I’ve not been reading the Gospel of Judas. I mean that He has been challenging my living in my head, hiding in my castle of ideas and imaginings. This definition of sacremental is what got to me here, because if I use it I wind up seeing our Western culture as gnostic. Period.

What bothers me is that his definitions make sense. I firmly believe that secularism is related to urban living, to the deficit produced by living within a highly artificial (re: man-made) environment. This deficit leaves us highly deficient in daily doses of Truth that seep in through unnoticed avenues from Creation. Is Hell the gnostic Paradise, where God does not enter because we shut him out totally?

On a more positive note, this has motivated me to focus more on Creation to “find” the sacramental—a very pleasant enterprise. The only thing that gets in the way is my own cranky virtual reality, which flees Creation as it runs from the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps this is why the anawim inherit the kingdom of God—they cannot afford to escape Him and so they are saturated with Him.