The call for reform is double-edged: It contains a critique and an affirmation. The call wears the mantle of hope and optimism and it wears the mantle of change — hope and optimism for the future and change of the status quo. At the Threshold never wants to lose sight of both confidence and change. From moment to moment what is to be said will focus on one instead of the other, but everything said is part of the dynamic between the two mantles. It is, if you will, dialectical, always within the context of driving deeper into hope and change, change and hope.
For the next few weeks, At the Threshold will focus on what may be termed “Easter thinking,” that is, on the way resurrection can only come out of the difficulties and struggle that produce and even require death.
We begin by asking you to examine the response of Notre Dame philosophy professor Gary Gutting to underlying criticisms in the light of the election of Pope Francis. Gutting says that it is possible to embrace the Catholic understanding of reality together with the scientific and modern understandings of reality since the Enlightenment. For many of that tradition, and perhaps especially for theologians, the shifting within a “long game” away from medieval scholasticism is already taking place in a viable process.
Then, we ask you to examine what one of our regular contributors, Donald Schell, has to say about the passion of the cross and resurrection, by examining what it means to use the terms “love” and “passion” in the earthy ways we human beings know the terms. Schell takes his cue from the great, but too often overlooked, declaration of Ignatius, “My Eros has been crucified.” Any airy-fairy-piety or religiosity is rejected in that declaration about the meaning of Easter. Schell offers special focus on the Easter celebrations of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
A reader of Schell’s insights will notice that he makes reference to the Worship Society of St. Polycarp. We will be offering an introduction to what that little group of experimental worshiper in New Orleans is discovering about liturgical reform with a description in simple outline of what they did for the three services of Easter. This will be followed in the coming weeks with more detail and discoveries.
We urge you to respond and participate in the discussions as At the Threshold provides new models for worship and new insights into the church during its origins in the first century, today, and to come.