I’ve always been a dreamy girl — maybe not quite as dreamy as Walter Mitty — but dreamy just the same. When you grow up and grow into it they call it “creativity” and “introspection” — as the Emily Dickinson line goes, “Dwell in possibility.”
This post is not about that kind of “head in the clouds.”
This post is about the “cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1 — all of the faithful who have gone before us. If you’re a Christian, the word for that is “a saint.”
(Protestants just flinched)
Protestants don’t like the word “saint,” but they should — every Christian should. Many Protestants (and maybe some vague and haphazard Catholics too) believe that Catholics have a demi-god system of categorized saints to pray to about various things when the cosmic prayer vending machine doesn’t seem to be working out. That’s not quite right, though there is the tradition among Catholics of petitionary prayer to saints to request that they may pray and intercede with God on our behalf. Another — older — traditional understanding of the saints is as ” God’s cheering section.”
Amen to that.
In the West, for about 1,500 years, the Roman Catholic Church was the only game in town: if you were a Christian, you were a Catholic. And yet? There seems to be an ever-increasing push against ecumenical ANYTHING from the Protestant side of the table, especially among modern evangelicals. I’m sorry, that’s shallow.
I realize that there definitely ARE differences in theology between Catholics and Protestants, I don’t dispute that nor is it my purpose to argue it. My point and purpose is that so many people are too quick to throw a vast amount of richness in Christian thought “out with the holy water,” so-to-speak. That’s just plain wrong. No theologian is without some controversy, and we are all to greater and lesser degrees products of our own time. What I am disputing and arguing is that we’re missing out to discount the lives, words, and thoughts of so many who have gone before just because we’re squeamish about potential theological disagreement.
That said? If you talk to me these days, I’ve got my head in the clouds — the cloud of witnesses — and Catholic or Protestant, modern or ancient, I’m just plain inspired!