Monday, July 5, 2010
What Evangelicals Teach Us: Personal Relationship
Let's not react against this term 'personal relationship'. I admit that it gets thrown around a lot these days, especially with how it's different from 'religion'. (See my first post ever, It's Religion AND Relationship.)
Scripture does call us to a personal relationship with God: "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." (Jn 15.15) The Psalms are people's honest feelings towards God.
God is indeed God and should be respected as such. But God is both transcendent and personal. That's the mystery of the Incarnation.
Of course, as some evangelicals will freely admit, evangelicals often miss the transcendent aspect. At its worst, the personal emphasis in evangelicalism can be downright sacriligious (see left). But most evangelicals do not embrace such attitudes.
The Catholic Church seems to do a very good job of communicating the transcendent part, particularly in the old Tridentine Mass. But do we also communicate God's personal nature? It seems there's been an attempt at it in the Novus Ordo, whatever your ultimate assessment of it might be.