The March 31 articles by Stephen Kriss (“Recovering Catholicity”) and Ben Corey (“It’s Hard to Have Christian Friends”), could not be more poignant in light of the splintering forces tearing at Mennonite Church USA. The Protestant rebellion has spawned rebellious children, and Mennonites are among their chiefs. Despite its problems, Catholicism carries with it a tradition that generations of Catholics receive as a basis and starting point for faith. Protestants, lacking these historical bearings, thrive on defining ourselves against each other, with each new generation assuming that it, too, is privileged — even required — to authoritatively say what Christianity will be for itself. For all his lamenting about feeling marginalized by “tribe-exclusive” Christians, Corey fails to see the irony in his own tribal self-identification as a “progressive/emergent/neo-Anabaptist.” Kriss longs for a new kind of “catholicity” under which our theological “localities” might be subsumed. Having abandoned our true Catholic roots, who gets to say what a new “catholicism” means? Kriss? Me? What is there to keep our tribe(s) from next deciding it’s time to begin a new “dialogue” about improving the Apostle’s Creed? Having abandoned the authority of a received tradition, our precious faith is now left to the whims of activists and democratic majorities.
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