the patron saint of post-modernism

29 Jun

“I nominate Pontius Pilate as patron saint of post-modernism.”Quest for the Creed

My, did this turn on some lights for me while reading outside this morning (while it was still refreshingly cool).

Who would have thought a book by an ex-Anglican, now practicing Catholic priest named Longenecker entitled Quest for the Creed would be so consistently enlightening and soul satisfying.

And the places he goes in a chapter of meanderings about the simple phrase “suffered under Pontius Pilate” were delightful. Pilate as the patron saint of our post-modern age. There’s a cover for Time magazine! And then he goes on and contrasts Pilate and Peter. I’ve seen Peter compared and contrasted with many different characters, but this was a new one that I find wondrously stretching. How like Pilate we can be — sensible, calculating, poll-considering, spouse-consulting, crowd-pleasing, political-pulse-feeling, tension-managing, career-weighing. And cynical. “What is truth?’ sounds like such a responsible, mature question from such a calm, mature mind.

And then there’s Peter…

I’m going to let Longenecker draw out the compare and contrast. Consider. It just might nail you too…

Pilate washed his hands in a ceremony of detachment. Peter cries out to Jesus, “Do not wash just my head, but wash me all over!” Pilate is dispassionate while Peter is almost purple. Pilate seems wise in his detached deference to reason; Peter rashly plays the fool time and time again. Consider how Peter steps out of the boat on a stormy night to take the walk of faith. He rocks and reels as he walks on the water, then he finally starts to sink. Like Pilate, the detached agnostic remains safely in the boat and decides to ride out the storm. Like Peter, the person of faith steps out and walks forward into a world as uncertain as waves and wind — a world that opens into perplexing possibilities. While faith too often ossifies into ritual and rules, in itself faith is that quality of life which surges within us and urges us to step out of the safe little boat and approach the edge of chaos. Faith takes us into the unknown, and at that point our tiny lives teeter on the brink of destruction, and on the brink of a life which is perpetually expanding into unimagined dimensions.

Oh, how readily I prefer Pilate fare…

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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in haverings


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