As usual, when reading your posts the problem is to be found not in the lack of golden nuggets, but in determining which one to run to first!
How provocative it is, to me personally, when you point to the seductive element contained within a removal of all which would stand between us and the *Word* of God. But, even more so, if I were to change one word in your proposition/question, and recast it again in the following:
There is a level at which it is seductive to say that we put nothing between us and the *Church* of God; but in so doing, do we not restrict ourselves terribly?
I think this question could be understood differently by different folks; but, I wonder what some others may think on this very point?
And, when you say:
Quote:That does not make our reading of scripture superior in itself, it simply means we read it in the fullest illumination, and therefore what we receive is fuller. However, part of that fullness is the realization that Christianity is an experiential Faith; we cannot just read it in a book, or practice it by believing in certain doctrines and accepting certain dogmas. There is the living encounter with the Risen Lord in the Eucharist. There is also the realization that living the Christian life is a process, as is Salvation; the notion of Theosis seems to me one which the West has indeed lost sight of.
I think you have answered my last question very well[!], if I may be so bold. Yes, I especially appreciate your linking of the words 'fullest'-'fuller'-'fullness' with such concepts as illumination and experience. Because, from where I sit, as you say, "Christianity *is* an experiential Faith." It is a process; but even more so, may I suggest that it is a Presence.
To me this is a 'given' thing. Much like I feel catholicity is a 'given' thing. All questions of superiority or a higher standing (or who does or will sit at the right hand of the Lord) fall to the wayside when the view is focused on this ground. In reality, even the question that I asked initially:
Quote:"Is there one particular group which is superior to all others in their service/treatment (and education) which they provide?
And, if so, what is their name?
is an absurd question that makes no more sense now than it would have if asked in the days of the early Church! Can you imagine the looks that I would get from some of the earliest Church members if I would have posed this question to them?
There is no one particular group is there? Because our unity is constituted in the person of Christ. And, this unity, this 'experience' and 'illumination' necessarily has to involve a catholic ethos, doesn't it? So how could there be one particular group to the exclusion of others? To even speak of such a thing would be to make a move to a plane whereby a sort of an 'autonomous catholicity' is established. And, I am not one to shy away from a metaphysical plane just because it is a metaphysical plane; but, I must confess, to set up a system which is constituted by a catholic ethos which is understood only in itself does not sound too good to me.
But, you are not suggesting this here John. You are pointing to an experience and an illumination as a way of knowing and truly participating in the Life of Christ. You are not demanding anything, least of all what is already 'given.'
And, as we continue to consider such things as a fuller Faith or the fullness of the Faith, God willing, we can move beyond such mindsets which involve questions of particularism and superiority. Because what do such things have to do with a Generous Orthodoxy? What do such things have to do with the Presence of Christ? And, I guess this is why I keep harping away at this, this is why I keep hammering away over and over about such things as individualism, particularism, and community . . . because I am fully persuaded that until we fully understand that the fullest Faith is found in a Christological reality then, in my view, there can only be a running around in circles in the dark.
In other words, I think, there can be no ecclesiological notions of any sort of catholicity, if there is not first a recognition of the very fact that Christianity is a Christological reality and 'an experiential Faith' as you have said. Otherwise, we are left with what we have, particular groups of Christians claiming autonomous catholicity. And, now we are really getting up in the clouds here, but again in my view it can only be a Generous Orthodoxy which transcends all divisions in Christ--and regardless of what name or label we give to this or these who stand on this common ground what else is there?
And, this is getting too long now, so I will cut if off right here. But, yes as you have concluded in your last post about the abundant life, I would like to agree with you wholeheartedly when you say:
Quote:It is more about bearing witness to the Life Abundant which He has brought.
Possibly, after all is said and done, this *is* really all we can do.
Hopefully, to some degree we are.