Morality As Worship

And while we’re on the subject of acting rightly…!

“Why should Christians act morally? Because if they do they will go to Heaven and if they don’t they will go to Hell? Surely that can’t be the answer. For as the New Atheists rightly point out, a morality based on self-interest is no morality at all.

It seems to me that the Biblical answer is that God demands worship and that acting morally is a form of worship… We are all baptized as priests, and I believe this is the key thing: we are called to give God right worship through our entire lives, including through right living.”

Source: Morality As Worship

I agree, and I think one of the keys, here, is the word “worship” itself. Originally stemming from “worth-ship,” it was something you gave another who deserved it: to “give worthship,” later contracted to “worship,” meant that you gave them the honour, and the behaviour, which was their due. You accorded them worth, and behaved accordingly.

Nor was it originally limited solely to the Deity: knights swore fealty to their lords “of life, and limb, and earthly worship,” and the old Prayer Book marriage service had the husband-to-be pledging to his new wife, “with this ring, I thee wed; with my body, I thee worship; with all my earthly goods, I thee endow.”

But God, of course, is uniquely deserving of worship, since He is the Source of all that is, and even when we give (whether it be worship or other forms of offering), “of Thine own have we given Thee.” So it makes sense that, as part of our “worth-ship” given to God, we include living and behaving in those ways which we are told in the Scriptures are pleasing to Him, and to refrain from those things that are un-pleasing.

If you truly love and give worth-ship to your wife, you would intentionally do things you knew were displeasing to her, would you? And if you were a knight, you certainly wouldn’t intentionally do things you knew were displeasing to your lord! The same holds true, or should – and if anything, even moreso – when it comes to God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and also the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Church.

Of course, this is an ideal which we, as humans, are incapable of perfectly living up to. That’s where penitence comes in! But we can certainly make the effort.

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The Liturgy As The Union Of The Three Transcendentals

Source: The Liturgy As The Union Of The Three Transcendentals

“… one idea that’s struck me and that I want to doodle on here is based on the rediscovery of the Three Transcendentals of ancient philosophy (which has so greatly shaped Christian Tradition): the True, the Good and the Beautiful. To destructively compress Plato and the Neoplatonists, all truth points to the transcendent Truth; all good points to the transcendent Good; all beauty points to the transcendent Beauty; and in turn, the transcendent True, Good and Beautiful is the One, the source of all being, which classical theism identifies as God, and is in turn identified with the God of the Bible by orthodox Christianity…

“If we see the Liturgy as an encounter with God and if we understand this ancient knowledge about God, we understand that beauty is not an ancillary aspect of the liturgy; not a nice-feeling part of it, but an intrinsic part of it. God is the union of the True, the Good and the Beautiful–and so, therefore, must be the Liturgy.”

The relativism, utilitarian aesthetic — if it can even be called an aesthetic! — and general “good enough” approach of the modernist and, even more, post-modernist world has, sadly, infected even the liturgy. This is a short but excellent treatise on why it’s important to strive not only for the Good and the True, but also the Beautiful, in the liturgy as in all other aspects of life.

As St. Paul put it in his letter to the Philippians,

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 RSV).

Chesterton on the limits of democracy

Chesterton Democracy Plutocracy

Chesterton, as usual, makes a good point. At the very least, democracy devolves into plutocracy and oligarchy, absent the “eternal vigilance” which we are reminded is “the price of liberty.” And sadly, here in America, that vigilance has long been quiescent, lulled to sleep by the modern equivalent of “bread and circuses”: cheap food, cheap consumer goods, and cheap entertainment, on TV and the internet.

With the downfall of the Constitutional, representative republican form of government bequeathed to us by our Founders (“What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” “A Republic, madam — if you can keep it!”), we are finding the ancient and inevitable decline into “pure democracy,” resulting in the aforementioned plutocracy and oligarchy, which is likely to yield demagoguery and dictatorship (perhaps following a brief descent into anarchy).

Sadly, save for our time as part of the British Empire under the British Monarch, we have no native tradition of monarchy to fall back upon…

(See earlier posts in this blog as to why that would be a good thing!)

The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee – The Atlantic

Do mission-driven organizations with tight budgets have any choice but to demand long, unpaid hours of their staffs?

Source: The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee – The Atlantic

“It is time to revisit the idea that working for the public good should somehow mean requiring the lowest-paid among us to support these efforts by working long hours, many of which are unpaid.”

Amen!!! Why am I doing what I’m doing, instead of historical and/or cultural history interpretation, or sustainable agriculture education? Because I can’t make a living doing those. 😦 People in general tend to value living history sites, parks and nature centers, and educational farms, often highly; but somehow that appreciation doesn’t seem to translate into enough dollars – grant-wise or otherwise – to support them.

Ironically, in 2014, the value of volunteer hours — generally in support of non-profit organizations — reached $23.70/hour. Yet it’s hard to find a paying position at such a site for even half that! Can someone explain to me, please, how we can value our volunteers (wonderful people, all, and absolutely vital to the organizations they support, don’t get me wrong!) more than twice as much as the people who actually work there for their livings? Or to put it another way, why do we value paid staff only half as much as volunteers?

Of course, it’s easy to say “you’re worth such-and-such” when you don’t actually have to pay the person that, and that’s the crux of the matter. If we as a culture really do value natural and cultural history interpretation, and related fields, then we need to figure out how to pay a living wage to those who provide it.