For theology buffs. (I don't have time to explain the jargon but I thought at least a few of you would be interested in this even in its non-popular-writing form.) This is about and from Rosemary Radford Ruether's first book, The Church Against Itself, published in 1967! (The non-Ruether writing is copyright by moi, Jane C. Redmont, 2009. Mishandle it and I'll go legal on you.)
...Related to this tension between the reign of God and the church is Ruether’s predilection for dealing with the church in its historical concreteness. The Church Against Itself heralds Ruether’s ecclesiological preoccupation with the church as it is present in the world, not as an ideal image, principle or model. "It is necessary," Ruether writes, "to disentangle ourselves from the self-delusion of triumphalist ecclesiology which confuses the church’s historical existence with its divine essence. This confusion," she continues,
*****has the most serious theological consequences. When the church naturalises itself in history and disregards the tension between its existence and its eschatological telos, then it constructs a myth around its past that and present which distorts its true situation so radically that a reversal principle comes into play and the church itself becomes everything that it was formerly defined against.
....Another theme in Ruether’s later work announces itself explicitly here: the Christian tradition from which she starts and which she examines is the Christian tradition as a whole in its historical and ecumenical variety, not simply her own Roman Catholic church family.
More eventually. Stay tuned.