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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Eucharist
mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Was that a Freudian slip or was the EOC repressive of those of Khazar descent?

That I do not know.

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Gamaliel
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Fair enough, I must admit, I've always found the Orthodox refreshingly up front and direct about the faults, failings and sins of their own Church - although some converts and some cradles can be starry-eyed.

I'm not saying the West isn't. But on certain evangelical circles - even in the CofE - I've occasionally encountered a kind of Stalinist closing down of debate or a turning of blind eyes to mistakes as if they've never happened - rather than a learning from them, an acknowledgement and a moving on. I heard of a dreadful example in one diocese only recently.

I've often said that you need to have a short memory to be a restorationist or revivalist. I don't doubt, though, that other traditions do the same in different ways or according to their own characteristics.

Meanwhile, in fairness to Kaplan, Mousethief, you did rather make it sound that the list of features and failings you produced were defining features of Western Christianity per se, whether Roman or Reformed / reformed.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Jesus is so lucky to have us.

Another example of something where I wish the Ship provided a 'Like' button. Thank you Mousethief.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
... What advantages are conferred by the 'real absence' as it were, rather than the Real Presence. In what way do memorialists benefit that Real Presence proponents don't?

That's a very good question Gamaliel.

The Reformers would probably have pointed out that it discourages Adoration of the Host. Apart, though, from the RCC and a few very High Church Anglicans who copy them in all things, I don't think anyone else who believes in a Real Presence does that. I'm fairly sure the Orthodox don't.

I'm off to church fairly soon but can anyone answer it?

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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
... What advantages are conferred by the 'real absence' as it were, rather than the Real Presence. In what way do memorialists benefit that Real Presence proponents don't?

That's a very good question Gamaliel.

The Reformers would probably have pointed out that it discourages Adoration of the Host. Apart, though, from the RCC and a few very High Church Anglicans who copy them in all things, I don't think anyone else who believes in a Real Presence does that. I'm fairly sure the Orthodox don't.

I'm off to church fairly soon but can anyone answer it?

This creates for me a picture of people agonising over whether they should believe in Real Presence or Memorial. And, of course, this just doesn't happen for memorialists I have mixed with.

In general, people just follow the rituals of their own tradition. I can imagine that some might say that Jesus is always present when two or three are gathered in his name, (but that just popped into my head now). Personally, I would wonder if "Real" was used tautologically; but I would only wonder for a moment and then forget it as it is no big deal for me and I have never discussed this with anyone.

A quote from Simone Weil I came across the other day I take as a warning against going overboard.
quote:
The mysteries of the faith are degraded when made into objects of affirmation or negation, when they ought to be the object of contemplation.



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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Was that a Freudian slip or was the EOC repressive of those of Khazar descent?

That I do not know.
A puckish Freudian slip then.

And Latchkey Kid, perfect orthogonality to the false dichotomy.

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
... What advantages are conferred by the 'real absence' as it were, rather than the Real Presence. In what way do memorialists benefit that Real Presence proponents don't?

That's a very good question Gamaliel.

The Reformers would probably have pointed out that it discourages Adoration of the Host. Apart, though, from the RCC and a few very High Church Anglicans who copy them in all things, I don't think anyone else who believes in a Real Presence does that. I'm fairly sure the Orthodox don't.

I'm off to church fairly soon but can anyone answer it?

Cool - and thanks Latchkey Kid for your observations too.

Interestingly, perhaps, Fr Gregory (an Orthodox priest who used to post here at one time) observed to me recently that he felt that the whole memorialism thing was driven by a desire not to appear Roman Catholic as much as it was by theological conviction ... and that the theological conviction followed the abandonment of 'appearances' rather than it being the other way around ...

As an analogy, he cited the abandonment of prayer-mats and kneeling prostrations in prayer across the Eastern Churches once the Muslims had started doing it. These practices were dropped from Christendom not on theological or biblical grounds but because they had become associated with Islam.

He felt that a similar process occurred across the Reformed world. Hence, Luther and Calvin retained a 'high' view of the eucharist whereas the radicals abandoned that for a snake-belly low approach - a measure provoked by the desire to avoid accusations of eucharistic devotion as much as anything else.

I'm not sure how close or wide of the mark he is on that but it's an interesting point. It's sometimes been said of the early Pentecostals that they had their initial experiences and then set out to find chapter and verse to fit, rather than it being the other way round. 'Look, this is in the Bible, let's look for the experience ...'

As you might expect, I suspect it may have been a both/and thing in both instances - the radical reformed disavowal of the 'real presence' in the eucharist and the way that early Pentecostals sought biblical justification for their practices.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Do we really think that when central apostolic control was dissipated, until that central authority reappeared, that the churches didn't fall even further in many ways from the simple apostolic faith once received?

Do we really think that at no time between 33 AD and 1492, nobody fixed anything? The Church was just stewing in error until the brave Reformers came to save the day?

And further that even though everybody before 1492 had the same Scriptures that Luther and Calvin and so forth did, they were unable to see things that were just right there in plain view waiting to be found?

Well, the Reformers evidently thought so!
Probably a discussion for a different thread, but at least if Luther, Calvin and their contemporaries are meant by "Reformers," then I think it's rather evident that is not at all what they thought.

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Gamaliel
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No, it's what Mudfrog thinks they thought or wishes they'd thought ...

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You appear to think that the breakdown of that consensus was prompted primarily by intellectual and philosophical theological motives.

These no doubt came into play, but I would suggest that the motivation instead was primarily theological, soteriological and pastoral.

In other words, rightly or wrongly, those who questioned the traditional view of the Eucharist before and during the Reformatin genuinely believed that it was biblically wrong, and that it was implicated in wrong views of salvation and a human being's relationship with God.

No, I think it was primarily theological and pastoral. I'm not sure how I suggested otherwise.

What I'm saying is that the Reformers' theological and pastoral thinking happened in a specific context. It was prompted by that context and influenced by that context. In a different context, it might have taken a different trajectory, assuming it happened at all.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Probably a discussion for a different thread, but at least if Luther, Calvin and their contemporaries are meant by "Reformers," then I think it's rather evident that is not at all what they thought.

That was actually my thought as well.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't think that the radical reformed emphasis on memorialism is novelty for novelty's sake. I think it is the result of serious reflection and a serious attempt to reach a theological position.

But I'm afraid I'm now of the opinion that it loses something in the process.

I'm afraid I'm coming to the conclusion that much of evangelicalism has lost its way and become trite and trivial. A loss of confidence in the eucharist is part and parcel of that.

The issue is not what view of the Eucharist enables us to get the most out of it, or seems to do the most for us (individually or corporately), but what is theologically and scripturally true - or at least closest to the truth.

You appear to be confusing the two.

Yes of course memorialists can be shallow and nominal, but so can subscribers to the various receptionist theories across all the Christian traditions - and often a sight more superstitious, what's more.

[ 27. February 2017, 00:22: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
subscribers to the various receptionist theories across all the Christian traditions

Apologies.

My bad.

That should have read "subscribers to the various non-memorialist (ie receptionist and transubstantiationist) theories across all the Christian traditions".

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mousethief

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Superstition is a dangerous charge to fling about. Atheists fling it over all of us Christians. If you want to rid yourself of the possibility of being called "superstitious" you need to forego all metaphysics altogether. For my part I will stay with the continuous teaching of the historic church, even if you or anybody else wants to call it "superstitious." I've been called worse things and so has the Church.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, there are superstitious practices associated with 'real presence' understandings of the eucharist.

As I said upthread, perverse as some memorialists might find it, that's one of the reasons why the Western Church of the middle ages developed a more Aristotelian and philosophical approach in the form of 'transubstantiation'.

No, I'm not arguing for that particular understanding, and it seems to be we don't need to adopt such a view if we wish to retain or move towards a more 'realised' understanding of the mystery.

Which is in itself a paradoxical statement, how can we understand a mystery?

On the superstition thing, nature abhors a vacuum and in some ways popular forms of evangelicalism seem to me to have developed their own forms of that - not applied to physical objects such as hosts and relics but to particular Bible passages or eschatological speculation or loopy and eccentric interpretations of certain texts.

That's not to let the more Catholic traditions off the hook in respect to superstitions.

As to whether a receptionist, a transubstantiationist or memorialist position is somehow more 'true' to scripture - well as I keep saying - in an annoyingly 'catholic' way perhaps, we can't disaggregate the scriptures from the faith community/ies which produced them. They don't and can't 'stand alone' - I'm back to the guy in the white hat with the silver star and six gun again ...

I do think there is something of a reverse fundamentalism going on in the way some of the more sacramental traditions interpret some Johannine texts, for instance. But at the same time I can see how these texts and indeed hints and images throughout the NT can indicate that there is more going on than 'mere memorialism'.

These don't stand alone but operate alongside the commentaries and observations of the Fathers and early Saints. And, if we are RC, later Scholastic insights, or, if Reformed, the contributions of the Reformers, whether Magisterial or radical.

There ain't one of us here who isn't coming at it through one or other of those particular routes or lenses, as it were.

If we are going to claim this, that or the other view as more scriptural than any of the others, then we are going to have to acknowledge that we are doing so within the framework of one or other of the particular interpretive systems.

We can't claim otherwise. We can't claim to be the one in the corner of the saloon with the silver star and six gun.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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fletcher christian

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Posted by Enoch:
quote:

The Reformers would probably have pointed out that it discourages Adoration of the Host. Apart, though, from the RCC and a few very High Church Anglicans who copy them in all things, I don't think anyone else who believes in a Real Presence does that.

I've often wondered about this in terms of how you define adoration. For instance, I've been to memorialist only shacks where there was a more profound sense of adoration than what you can find in real presence shacks. I even found it in one place where the altar (or I probably should say 'table') was inscribed with the words, 'He is not here'! Yet in spite of all their protestations about being profoundly 'Protestant' the elements were treated with extreme reverence and you had a very powerful sense of being a part of something that had enormous significance. There was nothing casual about it and none of the vessels were what you would call normal table ware. Even the prayers and readings changed to a very mannered style. To me these sense of adoration was almost tangible and it felt like a very curious contradiction between this and what I knew they believed about it.

Or is adoration only to be considered in the context of a monstrance?

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Gamaliel
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Indeed, and that's one of the reasons why I think I stated at the outset of this thread that very often 'mere memorialism' is certainly not 'mere' ...

Nor, arguably, is some of it even 'memorialism' ...

On one level, however we celebrate the eucharist we are recalling or tapping into (as it were) something very, very real and something that derives from the practices of Christ and the very first disciples.

I've had a very profound sense of that at times in settings that wouldn't claim to be setting out to 're-present' Christ's Passion in any sacramental sense.

I suppose my position would be that at the very least we can be memorialist ...

We can't be 'less' than that ... but we can be 'more' or at least no 'mere' ...*

* And I'm applying that to those who celebrate communion in some way. I'm not entering into value judgements about those who, for whatever reason, don't 'formally' celebrate communion in any 'ordinance' or sacramental sense.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Superstition is a dangerous charge to fling about.

Indeed, and my reference to superstition was not to transubstantiation per se, subscription to which I disagree with, while respecting those who hold it.

It was rather to that vast, semi-underground literature of bizarre beliefs and events associated with the host, such as peasants stealing a portion of the host to carry out some sort of blessing or curse, and being betrayed by torrents of blood issuing from the pocket in which they had secreted it.

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Forthview
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Of course the good Kaplan will know that none of these things he mentions are official teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Kaplan Corday
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Oddly enough, there seems to be a superstitious element, their professed rationalism notwithstanding, in stories of militant anticlericals in predominantly RC countries using a purloined host, or portion thereof, for obscene sexual or scatological purposes.

It was as if they unconsciously believed they could negate its mojo by blaspheming it sufficiently.

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Gamaliel
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But as I've said, one of the reasons the RCs developed the more philosophical 'take' involved in transubstantiation was to try to batten down on such practices ...

Of course, it's not accident that some of the most obscene swear words in Spanish are based on scatological subversions of the eucharist.

'I shit myself on the Sacred Host' is a literal translation of a Spanish phrase, I've been told.

As soon as you have any sense of something being holy or sacred then you immediately set yourself up for subversion.

I remember Fr Gregory saying how, when he was an Anglican vicar, he heard some strange noises in the porch of his vicarage. He opened the door to find a couple in flagrante. It was as if the possibility of being discovered by the local vicar added an extra frisson to their al fresco frolics.

Who do we blame for that? The couple themselves or the establishment of a firm of religiosity to subvert or rail against?

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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It would be a strange argument indeed that said, as soon as you call something sacred, somebody is going to come along and try to desecrate it, therefore you shouldn't call anything sacred.

A form of letting the bullies run the playground.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I remember Fr Gregory saying how, when he was an Anglican vicar, he heard some strange noises in the porch of his vicarage. He opened the door to find a couple in flagrante. It was as if the possibility of being discovered by the local vicar added an extra frisson to their al fresco frolics.

Perhaps they were just a respectable married couple who were desperate for some intimate koinonia somewhere - anywhere - undisturbed by their kids?

It was once generally believed that many parents sent their kids off to Sunday School on Sunday mornings for the same reason.

[ 27. February 2017, 23:04: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Gamaliel
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Perhaps, but I suspect that's unlikely. After all, the porch of someone's house, whether it's a vicarage or whatever else, isn't a particularly good choice of venue if you don't want to be disturbed.

Who knows? Perhaps the prospect of being disturbed - and by a cleric too - added to the frisson?

Coming back to the plot ...

Of course militant anti-RCs or anti-anything elses are going to engage in iconoclastic behaviour that can topple over into the bizarre. In 1930s Russia, squads of Bolsheviks sent to rid the peasants of their superstitions would put icons on 'trial' in show-trials and then shoot them to pieces with machine guns in firing squads.

I wrote a poem about that once, it seemed such an interesting and arresting idea. There's a kind of reverse superstition going on in iconoclasm of any kind - be it pious Christians burning Masonic regalia - I've heard of that happening - or a charismatic Anglican bishop who removed or exorcised a riever's spear from a cathedral up near the Scottish borders because there was supposed to be a curse attached to it ... And yes, that happened not very long ago.

But we are straying into the territory of the superstition thread ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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