Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"The Mind of the Church"

Or, perhaps, "phronema".

I flippantly remarked recently when somebody asked how to "discern the mind of the Church" on a message board that it sounded like a "silly convert" thing to ask. I was being flippant and not entirely fair because I'm not a terribly nice person. Anyway, a conversation yesterday with a real-live seminarian made the pieces fit together, so I thought I'd discuss it here.

The seminarian discussed how they were being taught to acquire the mind of the Church in school, but this meant learning to think like the saints of the Church and apply their methods to discern the truth. The way the message board poster had stated it made it seem like it was about finding the one right answer (ie, "I have discerned the mind of the Church on this matter, it is now closed and I am done thinking about it."). The pieces fit together in my head now.

I'm still not being entirely fair to the man on the message board, because he could really be asking the same question: what method do we use to figure out what we should think?

Like science, it's far more about method than what's in the textbook. Another cheap comparison: in science, all you really ever know is what isn't true. Apophaticism, baby.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Resolved: Orthodox weddings are better than any other weddings.

Other weddings have their charms, of course. There's something to be said for a rather simple and traditional Episcopalian wedding straight out of the BCP or a nice Catholic wedding (best to be very, very Catholic). I am also by no means trying to diminish other, non-traditional weddings, as marriage is a pretty good thing no matter how it got done.