Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tushnet and Zaleski on the institutional church

"All institutions are 'structures of sin'; but without [them] there is no virtue."

Eve Tushnet,

"One still hears complaints about the 'institutional church'--the very expression betrays a parti pris.  But how would we know Christ without the institutional church?  Who else would preserve the great secret of the gospel for us through the centuries, keeping it safe in the wilderness of opinions?  We live in a world of institutions or in no world at all, and the institutional church is surely the greatest institution the world has ever known. . . .
"Do we have more reason to trust experimental, free-floating forms of religious life?  Give me an institution any day, a big sprawling, international one, where authority resides in structures and traditions and is not invested in particular personalities; where my own personality is of little account, and yet I get to keep it.  The ship of faith has its anchorage in the world, and I thank Constantine for it."

Carol Zaleski, "How my mind has changed:  Slow-motion conversion," Christian century 127, no. 1 (January 12, 2010): 30-31 (26-31).

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