The Place of Dissent At The Table and The Challenge Of Unity

This weekend the Roman Catholic church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is also known by the Latin, Corpus Christi.

One place my mind goes to as I ponder and pray about this essential feast is that the etymology of the word companion is literally, “bread fellow.” Please note the name of this blog and read (or re-read) the Henri Nouwen quote under the header!

In 1 Corinthians 12 we are ever reminded that we are many parts, one body. This is the challenge of our Christian lives – to become that One Body. I am ever aware of the notion that it is not “my” way nor “your” way, but one way… The Way of Christ. Now the real fun begins as we all have many different ideas about that!

We must, I think, envision a table where all gather in peace, unity and into integrity, which is the figurative and literal “re-membering” of the Body of Christ.

However, it is simplistic and frankly, dangerous to imagine a table with no dissenters.

What is the place of the dissent at the table? This morning I am doing my housework, paying some bills, considering the religious and practical elements of our weekend and thinking about these things.

I am reminded that all dissenters are not prophets… However, it seems to me that in some way or another, all prophets are dissenters.

How do we know the difference? And do we know the difference in our own time? Consider the many prophets, Jesus chief among them, who were rejected heartily, even unto death, in their own time.

This is why I am more a questions than answers person. The questions are the pathway, the answers are the portals, the portals lead to other pathways. I hope to always walk these pathways with my companions; sometimes even in dissent.

As an aside, as I conclude, the study of theology, something close to my heart represents this. Theology means, faith seeking understanding.

It is always seeking, moving. That, in and of itself, seems like a form of dissent. Being Roman Catholic is very much about being counter cultural.

What dissent even means deserves our thought and discussion.

Two recommended posts for today, both of which relate to this topic:

  • Fr. Austin Fleming, the Concord Pastor, reflects on the meaning of Eucharist here.
  • Mirror of Justice has a post about a Loyola University Chicago School of Law panel, sponsored by Lumen Christi, about the role of Catholics in public life today. Among the panelists was Melinda Henneberger, journalist, author, editor and Roman Catholic, whom I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting in the past year. 

Don’t feel like reading? Here is a song for you. Some people love it, others will find it abhorrent. I am in the former!

    3 thoughts on “The Place of Dissent At The Table and The Challenge Of Unity

    1. Teresa of Avila called herself a faithful dissenter. I consider her my patron saint in more ways than one đŸ™‚


    2. I appreciated your comment on my blog, and I agree with you here. It is funny that the previous commenter brought up Teresa of Avila, because this post also made me think of her. I loved Edith Stein's recounting of how Teresa was criticized for preaching "as if she thinks that she is a doctor of the Church!"I also think of Paul and how he confidently asserted that "after the way which they call heresy so worship I the God of my fathers." What others call heresy is of little importance compared to true worship. Yet it is of utmost importance that we maintain unity in its truest form. And I think that sometimes that means clinging to those with whom we have significant disagreements, rather than seeking perfect divisions.


    3. Oh Rae… this is really good: "And I think that sometimes that means clinging to those with whom we have significant disagreements, rather than seeking perfect divisions."Thank you!


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