Sunday, September 4, 2005
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
— 2 Corinthians 5:21
Among Christians, few accept to be sin for others; for many, sin is still The Other.
I wrote this as a comment on Dr. Ben Witherington III’s blog post, "But the Lord was not in the wind.....":
Georges Bernanos said in his Last Essays,
The scandal of the universe isn’t suffering but freedom. God made His Creation free—that’s the scandal of scandals, for all others proceed from it.
This may relate to some of what Dr. Witherington wrote; but I don't want to join the debate about whether or not a good God can cause evil. Rather I point to Bernanos' use of the word "scandal," and ask, Do tragedies like the Lisbon earthquake, the Holocaust, the recent tsunami, and Sunday's hurricane and aftermath prevent belief in God? I say no, at least for the persons most immediately affected (I should like to know more about the Jewish violinist). A believer would be more like Job, not denying but wanting to be even more acutely aware of God. A non-believer might think his non-belief reinforced, but should he ever approach belief, he would not find tragedies a stumbling block.
Are you Ben Witherington III, who wrote a book I enjoyed, The Jesus Quest?
In his homily, Father P did two things for the first time that I remember. First, he asked the congregation to stand up and look around (afterwards connecting this to “where two or three are gathered, etc.”—fortunately there were more than two or three of us); he had never ask for “audience participation” before, except when instructing the congregation in how to fill out their pledges for the Bishop’s Appeal. Second, he spoke standing in front of the altar, rather than from the lectern or the high pulpit (depending on the Church calendar). If this continues, I may ask him why the changes. Another thing, Father P quoted a sentence from Karl Marx (something about the Church having had its chance for so many centuries, and so on) that I had seen quoted a few days before on the Internet. Coincidence, or does Father surf?
Picnicked on our deck with our neighbors the Hs and D and SMAN. JR has pinkeyes and could not be with us. I asked JH, who during summer vacation had been attending daily Mass, whether he continues to do so. Apparently not, and the last two Sundays he has spent at the Albany Friends Meeting House. I think the silence attracts him, certainly not the political announcements at the end, liberal though he is like most of our friends. As we said goodnight, I lent him one of my copies of Thomas R. Kelly, A Testament of Devotion. I again recommended Dom Armand Veilleux to J, who had not heard of him during his days of visiting St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass.
Had a polite e-mail exchange with the author of the blog post, “Katrina’s aftermath is as much a local as a national disgrace.” What did we talk about? Read Agnes Repplier.