Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Taizé Is Worshiped Here

Driving up Colorado Boulevard, a few blocks north of Colfax Avenue, I passed by the Messiah "We take the Bible seriously, not literally" Community Church. (Yes, that is actually part of their statement of faith) 

I enjoy reading their sign out front because it's a great indicator of which direction the Emergent Church is stumbling each week. The Messiah Community Church is a member of the ELCA and is "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" which makes them a bellweather of heretical teaching. The sign out front of their building will espouse everything from the worship of Evolution to the sanctity of feminism. I fully expected their church sign to congratulate Bill Nye on his Emmy Nomination for the Gender Spectrum Horror Show, but it simply said "Taizé Style Worship" This,of course, sent me in to a spiral of research to find out what Taizé style worship is and unfortunately, I found out. 

The Taizé Community was founded by a Roman Catholic monk named Brother Roger. Roger was born and raised a protestant but fell ill with tuberculosis in 1940. During his convalescence he began to feel drawn to a monastic way of life and he disliked formal preaching. He grew to love the frippery and idolatry of the catholic church;
I have found my own identity as a Christian by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone - Brother Roger, 1980
In 1940 he founded a ecumenical monastic community in Taizé, a village in Burgundy, France, where Roger devoted himself to reconciling the different Christian churches. He did this by targeting Christian youth. He encouraged in them a spiritual quest as a common endeavor  "... to go on searching through silence and prayer, to get in touch with our inner life."

Roger's little monastic community survived WWII and slowly grew over the years until Roger was stabbed to death by a mentally ill woman in 2005 at the age of 90. The Taizé website actually compares his death with that of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. One can only wonder why Abraham Lincoln and Julius Caesar were not included.  

I'm having a bit of trouble finding a Taizé statement of Faith. I'm sure there is one somewhere, and when I find it I will post it. I did look through their doctrine to see what they believe. To begin with, Taizé believes that not only is baptism an outward expression of the change in orientation away from the sinful world and toward God but it's also "the welcome of the Spirit of God which turns human beings into new creatures" in other words, you have to perform the physical action of baptism to allow the Holy Spirit into your life so you can be born again. How does this square with Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
So what does Taizé believe? as I mentioned before, they believe in the need of baptism for salvation, they also believe in the Catholic preaching of transubstantiation and the Eucharist. They really like candle light, Orthodox icons, and chanting prayers. They also believe that hell isn't really real, and when Jesus spoke of it, that was just Jesus' way of getting the attention of the crowd.

The Taizé service is not for Christians who believe with an active mind, it is for the "contemplative" who rather than seek the edification, education, and encouragement of a Christian service instead seek the mystical and mysterious. Margery Eagan describes her experience:
Imagine the scene. Silence. Church lights dim. On the altar table and the floor and steps around it, dozens of candles flicker, some atop pillars of pink and purple, the Advent colors.
In pews, 50 or 100 or maybe hundreds of worshippers hold their own candles, long and slim, then light each others’ one by one until the church is alive with even more candlelight. They chant together, slowly repeating a single line over and over as they rise and carry candles toward the altar, adding their own flames to the ones already burning.
Returning to pews, worshippers then sit in silence just beholding this magical scene: hundreds of small flames on and around the altar like a sunburst in shadowy darkness. There is no other light. There is no sound save the occasional cough. And nothing moves, save the flames, which dance...
...You could hear a pin drop as well on Monday night at St. Ignatius. Dozens and dozens of us sat side by side in stillness. Together we chanted, “Wait for the Lord, Whose Day is Near.” Together we chanted “Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus” (which translates: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good). We heard a reading from St. Paul to the Romans, “the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought.” For 45 minutes we sat in shadow and stared at fire, some staying long into the night after the 8 p.m. closing prayer.
Prayers are sung and chanted, short chanted prayers that are repeated again and again such as what Margery mentioned: “Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus” The room is filled with icons, and candles and repetitive chants, then long contemplative silenses; specifically what we were told to avoid (Matthew 6:7). Taizé is an unbiblical attempt to connect with God, but there is no expounding on the word of God. Paul tells us that faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), instead Taizé gives idolatrous images, repetitive chants, and a mystical setting filled with silence and candle light to crate a false sense of serenity and unity. 

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