Saturday, 18 May 2013

Holiness: More or Less

I continue to enjoy my St James Devotional Guide with its notes from Patrick Henry Reardon. For example, we started Leviticus this morning: 

A dominant motif throughout the Book of Leviticus is the mutual relationship of worship and holiness. In his salvific self-revelation to his people on Mount Sinai, God is experienced as supremely holy. Because of this, he is properly worshiped only "in the beauty of holiness." This is the "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). To be holy is to belong exclusively to God. Holiness is not cheaply bought. It requires a transformation of one's whole life, the deep reformation of one's lifestyle, and the strenuous eradication of whatever in our souls impedes the working of the Holy Spirit.
Patrick Henry Reardon. “Spring 2013 - The Daily Devotional Guide by Patrick Henry Reardon.” The Fellowship of St. James. iBooks. 

Exclusive, transformation, deep reformation, strenuous eradication—no easy words there. An uncompromising call to something more

The challenge is that we Anglicans live and move and have our being in an ecclesiastical environment where the deep and strenuous is being reinterpreted away and is being replaced by something less; an easier, less costly, more "reasonable" way. 

For example, I can't ever remember reading or hearing anyone arguing for increasing the Biblical tithe as the standard for faithful, Christian stewardship. Arguments, Biblical or otherwise, always advocate less. There is even something called an "Anglican tithe." Five percent. Half a tithe. Incomplete. Less. Theft, according to Malachi. Sigh.

I find a similar trajectory in the sexuality debates. So called "progressive" arguments always promote the loosening and deconstruction of "antiquated" Biblical standards, both hetero and homo. They often base their arguments on the "silence" found in this or that text (Jesus never spoke of homosexuality, for example), or on the theory that the pertinent texts are being misinterpreted because of their culturally primitive context. They always want to allow for more licence, never less. 

Not to mention the atonement…