Signs of the Times pt.4

So we have charted the demise of the Holy Spirit over the past 500 years. We have looked at the deleterious effects of this Christomonism. The person of Jesus simply can not bear all the weight that is placed on’s as if history stopped when Jesus “died for our sins.”—full stop, end of story. Hardly. Not only does  this not make any sense—as we were not around  at that time but this undue emphasis on the Christ event seemed to foreclose the future and as Jurgen Moltmann reminds us, “Christianity is eschatology, is hope, forward looking and forward moving”. Well not much forward movement when you are constantly looking through the rear view mirror.We would then have an Easter church—but no Pentecost.

Look at the history of the early Church and the absolute proof that the failed Jesus cult was anything but.The greatest proof of Easter and Pentecost is the growth of the Church.The promised Comforter seems to be afoot building up the Body—but the Spirit should never be seen as totally the preserve of the Church which increasingly became bureaucratized.

Now on the other hand a too facile emphasis on the Spirit leads to a certain amount of craziness—as we have seen in the outbreak of excessive Pentecostalism. Utterly convinced that through their tongue speaking, exorcisms, putative healings and emotional outbursts that God is sanctioning their arcane stances, Pentecostalism as all isms needs to be grounded in a holistic understanding of the Trinity. For a Christian everything leads back to the man, Jesus who is “the sign of the time.”

It is obvious as the bumper sticker says When did Jesus become pro Rich pro War and only  pro-American?

Much damage has been done  to Christianity by the proliferation of weird sects and top heavy bureaucracies like Catholicism. when they are not tethered to the historical nonviolent jesus and the beatitudes.

The Eastern (Orthodox churches) managed a connection between Christology and pneumatology.

I finish this essay with a few comments on the dangerous problems in the Roman Church when it “forgot tthe Spirit.”

Now as stated before there were always mystical break outs, holy fools and prophets who were reminding the Church that it had ceased being energized and warmed by the spirit. here we may mention “Il Poverello”, the Little Poor Man, Francis and his followers who staked the claim to Jesus the defender of the poor; look at his friend Clare(d.1253) who challenged the arrogant papacy in similar terms.We have the Rhineland mystics—Hildegarde, Mechtilde, Meister Eckhart and really a host of others whose writings railed against the excessive institutional  control, the hyper rationality which ended in dogmatism. As Alfred North Whitehead said, “Religions commit suicide when they find their inspirations in their dogmas.” Or as Newman laconically observed, “Nobody dies for a conclusion.”

Writing in 1926,Whitehead warned That “You  cannot limit the inspiration to a narrow circle of creeds. A dogma – in the sense of a precise statement – can never be final; it can only be adequate in its adjustment of certain abstract concepts.

The Roman Church forgot this by 1500 and we were brought up with finality, the lack of spirit, an ossified fundamentalism later shattered by the physics of our evolving universe.And this: a papolatry which morphed under JP ll and Ratzinger into “creeping infallibilism.” Our hearts were not touched but as we shall see the Church attempted to fill the gaps with another symbol: Mariology.

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