The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Steppin' Out With STC...

So, I have recently received as a gift a subscription to The Anglican Theological Review, and, in reading my first two issues, found an interesting article by Jeffrey Barbeau, Coleridge, Christology and the Language of Redemption, which gave me new insight into the poet as theologian. The article traced Samuel Taylor Coleridge's symbolic view of the atonement (or, as he called it on at least one occasion, at-one-ment, a usage I've seen fairly often, though not attributed to Coleridge) and his concern for recapturing the language of Scripture as deployed in context. It's worth reading.

Bit here's a small facet of the article that leapt out at me: Coleridge, as quoted by Barbeau, rejected the notion of Jesus as pure example, or teacher: "But I want, I need, a Redeemer, and this is possible only under the two-fold condition which I find asserted in the New Testament and the creeds of the Universal Church--that he is my fellow-man but not my fellow-creature." (280; emphasis in original).

Coleridge further explains that the effect of Redemption is to replace the Old Man with the New--the self-centered with the Christ-centered life, which has the effect on us as of liberation from bondage, beginning our path to a new life. As he writes, the goal is for the human will to be "concentric" with that of God. And, Barbeau notes, these evolving views on the Atonement reflected Coleridge's own experience as he dealt with his opium use, and his "emerging recognition of the need for complete dependence on the Absolute Will". (276, n. 24).

Sound familiar? It should: In AA, the Third Step is for the alcoholic to have "[m]ade a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." And, if STC is to be believed, such is the beginning of the human side of the action of at-one-ment.

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