Inspired in part by Walter Savage Landor’s Imaginary Conversations of the Greeks and Romans and in part by the cheesy old 1970s TV show Meeting of the Minds, I imagined this conversation with Protobresbyter Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory as a way of facilitating, even if only in my mind, a dialogue I’d like to have with a respected churchman. The first speech below, which appears in italic, is taken from The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983. All the rest I made up.
I’m posting this problematic bit from Fr. Alexander’s Journals, as I think it contains some interesting points, and serves as a convenient place to examine the issue of discernment of the mind of Christ (and who gets to..). I’ll come back and add my own comments later (I’m actually off to the Liturgy now), but please chime in, all.
The idea I mentioned of individual uniqueness could be construed by rubricists of every ilk as the slippery slope to situational ethics, the mantra of pre-Woodstock ditching of all societal norms. However, I still maintain, as the central discovery of my priesthood, that we are moment to moment “sent” on an unprecedented discovery of a unique creation of God, that has never before been imagined, and will never be repeated. To that creature, I must find a unique response, willed by God. I won’t find answers in a book, though the books may guide me. Like a good physician, I now have to bring to bear everything in my arsenal and make a once-in-a-lifetime decision. This act is a cross, which in my falleness I seek to avoid; I recuse myself from life by appeal to the dead letter of secure laws.