My spirituality is froth

I remember a church service I went to while at Calvin, in the Wealthy Street Baptist Temple (fundamentalist). I had never heard such faith and conviction, such joy in the music, such love of Jesus. I needed to focus my aroused love of God on an object. But God is invisible, and we are not angels. There was no religious object in the church. It was a bare, Protestant church; images were “idols.” I suddenly understood why Protestants were so subjectivistic: their love of God had no visible object to focus it. The living water welling up from within had no material riverbed, no shores, to direct its flow to the far divine sea. It rushed back upon itself and became a pool of froth.

(Peter Kreeft)

Raises a point:   blank minds (or blank walls) in worship, besides being ineffective, can also act as a conduit for idolatry.  RPWs like to say they don’t worship according to vain imaginations, but they are still worshipping God in a way constructed by their own mental frameworks.

As even Calvinist author James K. Smith notes on hermeneutics, we never approach texts (or worship) without mediation.  It is simply a myth, and one easily refuted (see a coming post on St Augustine and interiorities), that we approach something *im*mediately.  It is always filtered by our own traditions, cultures, and mindsets.

Therefore the RPWist is simply wrong to assert that they worship God purely and without spiritual crutches.   Since their mind is itself a filter, even if blank and empty by their own terms, they are using a crutch.

It also explains why I could never really pray for a long time in my Puritan days.  I’d read stories about heroic hours of prayer, but I always got bored after ten minutes.  I would turn the lights off, close my eyes, clear my mind, and start praying for various and sundry things.  and run out of things to say around the 7 minute mark.  I would then think of other things and ran the risk of praying in a way that Jesus rebuked in Matthew 6.  But it was inevitable, I suppose.


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