Friday, November 09, 2007

Older Ruins

There is a rather haunting and, at moments, beautiful piece in the current Commentary by R.R. Reno. He met Juliana, his Jewish wife, at Yale - where the power of American liberalism is acute.
It is like a cultural neutron bomb: the structures of ethnic and religious culture are left standing, but they are emptied of life.
And so, a Christian marrying a Jew was painful, but possible. Then however, his wife decides to get serious. He considers her new commitment and its transmission to their children.
Now I was to learn what it meant to be a resident alien in my own kitchen, an onlooker and supporter of her determined decision to burrow into the encompassing world of God's commandments.
He then contrasts it to his own lack of discipleship and that of his ever accommodating Episcopal church (since departed).
Not only had my church rejected the need to mark the body with the knife of circumcision, it had rejected the very idea that God's commandments can shape or control how we used our bodies. Nothing needs to be submitted to God other than the fine sentiments of the heart.
Reno's conversion to Catholicism may have alleviated the pains of Protestant-Catholic division, but he lives with the pain of that much earlier - and because Christ is indeed the Messiah - all the more awful division in the people of God. But the pain teaches, for it is carried in love. One gets the sense that any meditation on the division of God's people unaccompanied by such grief is deficient.