Saturday, July 7, 2012

Charisma! We ain't got none...

Exscuse the Southern colloqualism. But the topic of my post today is about the charisma that often surrounds new religious movements, and how quickly it dissapates within the second generation. More than just charisma, though, is an electric energy that surrounds new religious movements. It could be anyone from Jonathan Edwards (the evangelist not the politician!) to our own greats like Bishop Hodur. Something else surrounds these great individuals, and that is doctrinal development.

How, you ask? Well, as I have often mentioned, Bishop Hodur was a proponent of universalism. In spite of the angst that this causes the Scrantonites as they wax philosophical about conservative values to entice the Romans and the various Anglican clefts, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Bishop Hodur continues the venerable tradition in the line of John Scotus Erigena who said: "Evil, being negative, as is punishment, neither can stand eternal." Indeed, we hope and pray that all of our sisters and brethren are saved, despite how many curses we lob upon them during life.

The same is true of the first Obispo Maximo of the Phillippine Independent Church. Theologically, at the end of his life, he was staunchly unitarian in his outlook. Now, am I saying that we need to rush out and adopt universalism and unitarianism? Of course not. However, I relish the position of devil's advocate. The larger, holistic argument is: are people who have different views from our own totally invalid? Are they no longer a source of inspiration because they waxed philosophical and came up with a different view?

The fundamentalists among us would say, definitively, "yes." If you do not agree with me you are crazy and none of your positions are valid. But look at the good that has come out of some otherwise curious traditions in our movment. The Mariavites, granted, were a little innovative when they elevated Maria Franciszka to hyperdulia. However, many things that they did were absolutely on point. They increased devotion to the Holy Eucharist, fasted and prayed, frequented Confession, built beautiful temples to praise God, etc. These are all laudable things! The same is true of the Liberal Catholic Church. More orthodox Christians would completely condemn them. Are some of their ideas not Orthodox? Yes. However, they preserve the Sacraments, and preserve a belief in Christ that can be non-existant among other esoteric traditions.

This extends to the mainstream church as well. St. Angela of Foligno, for instance, was said to eat the puss of penitents and proclaimed it "as sweet as the Eucharist." If true, this is certainly disgusting and totally nuts. However, she also brought thousands to Christ because of her mysticism and was renowned for charitable works. So, you take the good with the bad. We can disagree with each other and we can even think others are nuts. But, that does not mean that they are bad or that they do not have opinions and reasonings that are valid. There are plenty of new jurisdictional movements, especially in the ISM, that I think are nuts and potentially dangerous. Are they all bad? We cannot reason that something is completely bad, unless we're fundamentalists. So, take it with a grain of salt and leave the rest.

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