Saturday, 20 February 2010

It's all potentially dangerous

A post that I'd written for some friends was put up on their site last Sunday and since then it has generated considerable comment (see Polycarp beats Valentines at

I was essentially arguing for Christians/the Church to re-think how they order their year and saying that instead of following the world's festivals/yearly routines, we should instead pattern our year on something more like the medieval Church year (the same post appears here

Understandably, some of the comments against this view are concerned that such practice carries with it lots of dangers such as the veneration of the saints and the embrace of empty/self-justifying ritual. I completely agree.

Nevertheless, we want to be careful when we make such criticisms. Everything in God's creation carries with it some dangers. In other words, it is all potentially dangerous. Think about it. Money, sex, food, alcohol are areas where abuse and misuse easily occurs. Thus Scripture has warnings for us to be careful how we handle each of these things. But notice, it never says X is dangerous therefore it is to be abandoned. This would be to fall for the ascetic error of denying the goodness of creation and retreating into a supposed pure enclave (as some attempted to do with the establishment of monastries). For us to abandon and reprove the use of something in creation, we would need Scripture to say

"X is dangerous because it is sinful" rather than simple "X is dangerous" (which is a statement that I think applies to all creation)

I want to suggest therefore that a more biblical approach before repudiating an issue because of it has inherent dangers, is to ask a follow up question i.e. If X is dangerous, in what ways is it dangerous? Once this question is answered clearly - Scripture in hand - we will be in a place to see that there are ways in which alcohol, food, sex, money and even the Church year can be embraced without falling into sin.

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