I have blogged a couple of times (here and here) about my reading of Abbot Jamison's Finding Happiness. I am finding a lot of it very good.
However, there are some... err... oddities... And what worries me is that they all seem to be about the sacraments.
For example, he says: 'Jesus chooses food as the means by which his followers are to remember him in future.' (He then quotes Matt 26: 26-28, and continues) 'This eating and drinking continues to this day as the central act of Christian worship and remembrance.'
Perhaps I am being over-picky in finding that so inadequate as to be troubling. I would probably have overlooked it, had it not seemed, later, to be part of a pattern.
But he seems to short-change matrimony, too. Consider this, when discussing sexuality: 'The second choice is about status, where we can choose to be single, married or celibate (ie committed for life to being single). The status of long-term partners has also become common in recent decades, and while the Christian tradition does not sanction this status, it is nevertheless a sexual status choice made by increasing numbers of people. (...) the goal for true human fulfilment in sexual matters is chastity, remaining faithful to our chosen path.'
It seems to me that he is as inadequate in his treatment of marriage as he is in his treatment of the Blessed Eucharist: what he does not say, in both cases, is the really important stuff!
And then, I came across this: 'This desert practice of sharing thoughts would later evolve into the Catholic practice of Confession, known nowadays as the Sacrament of Reconciliation.'
That strikes me as very problematic: we believe that all of the Sacraments were instituted by Christ.
Again, perhaps I am being over-picky in my reading, and what he means is the way the desert monks shared their thoughts influenced the way in which the (already-existing) Sacrament of Confession developed.
But the impression given by the text is not that; and I find it sad - and troubling - that the three times (so far) anything sacramental has come up in this book, the treatment has been so inadequate.
It is increasingly clear to me that I will soon be leaving Abbot Jamison behind and going straight to Cassian. But I have got a lot from this book too - all I would say is caveat lector!
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