A moment of quietness in which one can contemplate this topic is what I find myself in also this Sunday afternoon (no kiddiewinks!). As for the less than ordered thoughts, knowing this is a rare exception in your case, how could the pot even think about calling the kettle black? :wink:
I learn so much from you and from my interaction(s) with you, this is always and only a pleasure on my end to contemplate, discuss, and sometimes even just think out loud.
And, with that shared, I have heard it said of this time in the history of the Church to which you refer can best be characterized as a 'passing of the baton' in many ways. While I was not particularly fond of this expression the first time I heard it, I think it can be helpful to employ it at times. And, also, I think it goes without saying that there are reasons why some groups place an emphasis on their Bible, while others place and emphasis on their Pope, and others on their Tradition. But, to point to the primacy of one is where I think things start to possibly become unbalanced, and we see both agendas and what may be called knee-jerk reactions (to these concepts which are not in opposition to each other to be sure).
But, I guess what I'm driving at here is that it is easy to spot a, shall we say, extremist or unbalanced position when it appears that one worships the Bible, or one worships the Pope, or when one worships Tradition. And, along this vein of thought (and knowing my background may be handicapping me here) I wonder how we may view a worshipping of the Eucharist or if we may consider the Eucharist to hold the place of primacy?
As I begin to consider this possibility, honestly, my mind I am forced to reject any of these things afore mentioned as holding the place of primacy as it relates to our present discussion. As I consider what Christ left us, His Church, or possibly better yet, what was sent only after his departure . . . it is clear in my mind that it is the Comforter, the Holy Spirit in which we find our Teacher and Guide which gives identity to and serves to identify Himself the "Community of communities."
And, as we may consider such as 'personal revelation' or a 'personal relationship with Christ' . . . in many ways John, I think this consideration has some things in common with the topic of ecumenicalism. I think you know what I mean here as we know there is a good kind of ecumenicalism as there is a bad kind. Not all ecumenical efforts are bad just as not all ecumenical efforts are good. And, maybe that's enough in that direction for now, but I do know what you mean in this area. It is so easy to appeal to personal revelation to justify anything and everything, and as you well know some who claim to serve the Eucharist, adhere to the Scriptures and Holy Tradition, and submit to their hierarchy do just this in a very unembarrassed way.
But, in the End, regardless of what one may point to or stand on in order to support one's position . . . what is superior to the Way of the one Who was sent? It is said we are not saved alone or dammed alone, and admittedly I'm not 100% sure exactly what is being said here (it seems like this goes without saying). However, again, in my view it has to be a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ which brings a genuine knowing/relationship about through a personal relationship with Christ in order to not hear those dreadful words on that day, "I never knew you, depart from me."
And, to push this a bit further John, I have never come into contact with any particular community that I could point to, (like I can point to the horse in the field behind my backyard now) whereby I would say or think therein lies my sanctification/salvation exclusively . . . as if to say that if I am not in this group then I am destined for warmer climes.
So possibly, there is room to continue with this as I am suggesting it is not any one particular group, any one particular hierarchy, or the Bible, or Holy Tradition, or even the Eucharist that saves us . . . these can be and are great helps, great vehicles . . . but they are in no way agents. So if we are in agreement to this point, meaning that it is not the vehicle that saves, but it is the agent which saves . . . then I would like to submit that there is nothing which effects our sanctification/salvation or holds the seat of primacy over the synergy found between the Holy Spirit and the one in his direct and responsible relationship with Jesus the Christ. And, in this sense even though this could not possibly be more subjective/mystical, I would like to further suggest that the ones who participate in this experience/encounter and collectively form this Community, that cannot be pointed to in reality, stand on what has been called a common ground, or a Christocentric ground as One "divided without division" (although they may all have different labels, and possibly even different emphasis's, and maybe even just different agendas.)
Is to speak of the Church to speak of Christ. Some would say yes. Others would say no. Either way, an old question which has become cliche comes to mind now, as it has been asked, are we Christ centered or are we Church centered? Do we promote a Christianity or a Churchianity? In some groups one's ecclesiology is one's christology, but in others there is a distinction.
It's kind of a cloudy and gray day here, but it is very peaceful and quiet and very pleasant.
Peace and Joy to you John.