sacramental language

I’m going through this little struggle over whether it is right to use sacramental language, ( ie. references to the Eucharist, the sacramental life, the inbreak of the Kingdom) when I have no direct personal connection with a church that employs the sacraments as such. Many of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, Jean Vanier, Flannery O’Connor, NT Wright, Stanley Hauerwas, William Cavanaugh, and even Dietrich Bonhoeffer (though in a different way) all employ sacramental language to some degree. But when I take a serious look at the origin of the language I find theologians (like Teilhard De Chardin, Karl Rahner, Hans Urs Von Balthazaar, Alexander Schmemann) whose theology of the Church and sacraments rankles my own Christocentric protestant heritage. (Halden has a great discussion going now on Christocentrism and Catholicism.) I’m making a little promise to myself that, despite my love for these authors, I’ll refrain from using sacramental language until I can safely use it deliberately in an ecumenical context that’s faithful to my own church. I think it’s important to mean what I say, and not just banty language about because I like it in someone else’s experience. I have begun reading Alexander Schmemann’s book, For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy, and I’ll comment on it when I get it read.

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