|A "Post-Evangelical"s view of Catholicism|
|Written by Michael Fones|
|Tuesday, 24 April 2007 11:24|
A fascinating look at issues of discipleship and formation from the other side: Internet Monk (a "post-evangelical" Christian) looking at the resources of the Catholic faith:
"Every time I feel like I have lost my way in the Christian life, I find myself back looking at monasticism, and the lessons I learned in two decades of reading Thomas Merton.
I’m not attracted to Catholicism, but I am very much attracted to the tradition of self-conscious, disciplined spiritual formation into a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is a great failing of our side of the church.
As much as we Protestants talk about being shaped by the Bible alone, most evangelicals are thoroughly formed and shaped by the communities where the Bible is handled, taught and practiced according to a “rule” or accepted authority, and by the media that supports and communicates the values of that community.
It is, without a doubt, one of the most appealing and positive aspects of Catholicism that it is self-conscious about its “rules” and authorities for spiritual formation. (Rule as in “way,” as in The Rule of Benedict.) It surely must be humorous to knowledgeable catholics to look at the various sects, denominations and varieties of evangelicalism and fundamentalism, all claiming to “just read the Bible.”
"It’s amazing how many Christians conceive of almost the entirety of discipleship in terms of argumentation. This is seen in the pastoral models they choose, the books/blogs they write and the spiritual activities they value most (debate and classroom lecture.)
These largely unarticulated forms of spiritual formation can be seen in what is not important. I note with interest that one simply cannot say enough bad about most kinds of contemplative prayer, and any sort of silence among many of the reformed particularly. Any kind of intentional approach to spiritual formation, and any kind of intentional approach to discipleship (Dallas Willard, for example) is undertaken amidst a barrage of criticism. If the imagination is mentioned, all fire alarms are pulled and a search for Oprah Winfrey ensues."