Strange and Common

"We have made the Church strange and alien to the world, as if she were of a completely different order than the institutions of common social and political life. Paradoxically, the result of this estrangement has been to reshape the Church into the image of the world.

The Church is strange: she is the creation of the Father through the Word and Spirit, the community of those who have been united by the Spirit with the Son, and therefore brought into the eternal community of the Trinity. She is a city whose town square is in heaven. She is a city without walls or boundary lines, a polity without sword or shield. Of no other society can that be said.

But she is ordinary: the Church is made up of human beings, with features that identify her as a culture among the cultures of the world. God did not enter a world of books with blurks; He did not intervene in a world of rituals and meals with spatuals and gleals; He did not call His people to live according to the specific quormal principles or to promote a particular uphos.

Rather, God created a world of stories, symbols, rituals, and community rules. Into this world of stories, God introduced a rival story; into a world of books, God came with His own library; in a world of symbols and rituals and sacrificial meals, the Church was organized by a ritual bath and a feast of bread and wine; in the midst of cultures with their own ethose and moral atmosphere, God gathered a community to produce the aroma of Christ in their life together.

Only by insisting on the Church's ordinariness can we simultaneously grasp her strangeness."

-Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, 17-18.

No comments: