Bill and I continue our discussion about parish life and communication. We discuss using the tools of sociology (and just awareness of the broader culture) to understand what is going on in parishes without getting carried away and forgetting that Christianity was always meant to change us (avoiding the Andrew Greeley mistake). We talk a bit about where podcasters like us fit into the ecosystem, or the Kingdom of God for that matter, and in that context I mention the great Catholic Feminist podcast. In the end we return to the question of what we should do as parishoners at the bottom of the ladder of subsidiarity...the only spot where we can truly make a difference.
In this episode, Bill and Paul discuss the role of deacons and others filling the role of "elder" in the Catholic Church, and the need for parishes to work hard at learning how to communicate with each other in this new technologically mediated cultural world. Bill mentions new work by the McGrath Institute to help parishes with this task.
Photo: a deacon wearing a dalmatic, from Test Everything.
Paul, still missing his Watson Bill, opens up a discussion about questions of economics and political science, ranging from rural U.S. parishes to the geopolitics of an ideal future.
For my money, it's harder to believe in the Christian Last Things of life after death, judgment, and the end of the world than it is to believe in the "First Things" of creation and providence. The prophetic and apocalyptic literature of the Bible predict, or seem to predict amid very strange language, some very difficult things to square with our expectations both for the physical universe and for human technology:
- What could this "new heavens and a new earth" possibly be?
- How could Jesus appear in the heavens at the end of time if the human race has colonized multiple planets, or multiple solar systems, or multiple galaxies?
On the other hand, some of the predictions seem very possible, like the world being destroyed by fire (e.g., 2 Peter), which could take the form of several astronomical phenomena or our own nuclear holocaust.
In this episode, Paul sashays a bit into this even less frequented frontier region between science and Catholic doctrine.