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Letters

Jews, Christians, and God

I would just say that Jews and Christians hold each other's keys. The Christians need the Jews to understand the church in Acts, and the Jews need Jesus to fill a gaping hole in their history, which, as the people of history, cannot be left empty.


The Romance of the Cloister

This Catholic theologian has been enjoying your publication for several years, and I hereby renew my subscription. The recent issue was particularly good except for Mark Galli's trek ["The Romance of the Cloister," January/February]. I know Protestantism abandoned monasticism, but there are no Christian imperatives that no Christian should pray any more than any other. Monks who cultivate tomatoes in between their prayers have no more "left the world" than Galli has. They do not refuse "to enter into life's evils and sufferings, to subject [themselves] to the vicissitudes of life" any more than his home bound wife does by cleaning diapers, dishes, clothes, and bathrooms when she is not at prayer. They are no more impractical, out of the world, uninvolved, socially negative than she is.

Galli came at the subject with the prevailing attitude of the dying NCC that only social work or political activism expresses Christian faith, opposing "a community divorced from the world [the monastery] to a community engaged with it." That's a high schooler's rhetoric. He questions whether monks "have a great deal to teach us about experiencing the uniquely Christian God." I doubt if anyone could be accepted into a monastery who said his goal was to "experience God." Roman Catholics, monks or not, are not about "experiencing God," but as many of the monks quoted in the article tried to say, they are seeking closer union with God. While personal union with God in what ever degree oftentimes brings (never unambiguous) spiritual effects that can be experienced, if I sought sex with my wife only for my pleasure, she would be inaccessible, and rightly so.

Galli's own categories blinded him somewhat. ...

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