Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm A Radical Individualist Shot Down In Flames

Commenters at, in reaction to Kevin Johnson's posting a snip of one of my blog posts, skewered me for mis-using Luther's priesthood of believers doctrine among other things. My attempt to show Protestantism's duplication of many of medieval Rome's despised errors also brought about some pretty wild speculations, warnings and general goofiness on behalf of the commenters. I learned quite a bit about myself that I doubt my wife even knows.

I have a misconception of Luther's doctrine (comments #1 and #3), am headed for "house church" theology (#2), wrote a troubling post, have some kind of problem attitude, and am implied as being a radical individualist (#3), but the spirit of my post is what is important (thanks for noticing, Kevin! [Edit. Kevin was the poster]) (#5), am attributed - incorrectly - with saying that every [Protestant] pastor has begun to speak "ex cathedra" (#6), in combating the error of the tyranny of the community I have introduced the opposite error of tyranny of the individual (#7) haven't thought things through to their conclusions (#7), am alledged - incorrectly - with saying that the highest authority in existence is the individual (#8) - (which would of course make me God), and by extension "walk[s] with all the glory of a Metropolitan, each one with his own, custom-made, paper mache mitre stapled to his hair." (#8), and another commenter (#10) agrees whole-heartedly with comments 6 and 7.

Whoa, am I messed up! One commenter (#3) believes that my understanding "of of the point of the Reformation relative to the private individual is, though quite a common one held by Protestants, historically and theologically inaccurate." Now, he may have a point here. I admit that my understanding of Luther here is solely based upon what I have learned from my churches and accepted literature. So, maybe I should go outside of my community and, in the spirit of radical individualism, learn for myself about what Luther really believed. But of course, as these commenters proved, such an attitude is destructive, so maybe I'll just hold to what my churches have taught me and stand by everything I said in my post.

1 comment:

  1. Steve-

    Rethinking church gets some folks a bit tetchy. I think you may be on to something when you think about individualism and Luther. Luther lived at the beginning of the age of modernity when the concept of the individual started to become hegemonic, and the whole Protestant experiment may be characterized as a "modern" movement.

    I am struggling to become postmodern and to sever my Christianity from the categories and modes of thinking characteristic of modernity. I am starting to think a lot about what it means to be a responsible individual within a loving community. I don't have anything to show for this yet, but I am trying to get out of the box.