Monday, June 21, 2010

Marriage and the BCP

As the Church's discussion around marriage and same-sex unions now becomes determinative, it bears remembering that it is our Constitution and Canons, not the Book of Common Prayer, the determine the Church's theology of Holy Matrimony. The Prayer gives this theology expression, yes; but it does not determine it. Further, while it may be true, perhaps, that weddings have been celebrated religiously for thousands of years, yet even the most conservative estimate holds that Holy Matrimony is identified by any authoritative Christian voice as a sacrament no sooner than the sixth century, not defined papally as such until Innocent IV in the the early 1200's, and not is declared as such conciliarly until the Council of Florence in 1438. While some weddings may certainly would have been celebrated religiously before this time, many if not most were not. Certainly many if not most weddings throughout human history were not celebrated according to the Christian religion. So, the religious practice surrounding weddings either in history or today can hardly be leaned upon too heavily as determinative of the Church's current theological reflection and practice.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rector's Study June 2010

From the Rector's Study ~
As a season in the cycle of the Church’s annual life, Pentecost reminds Christians that we are living in a distinct era. Different from the age in which people lived in hope and anticipation of a promised, but not yet arrived, Messiah; different from the short period of time when Jesus lived among the people of Galilee and Judean; ours is the era of post-resurrection and post ascension. To understand this era as well as possible in body, mind, and spirit is to give this era fuller meaning for us. To understand this era as fully as possible helps us to appreciate more fully both the blessing and the responsibility of living in it.
Some refer to Pentecost as the birth of the Church. On Pentecost Sunday, someone wished me ‘Happy Birthday’ as a reminder of this fact. The Spirit is God become present to humanity more intimately than any could ask or imagine. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost certainly makes this ‘the age of the Holy Spirit.’ “The Spirit of Jesus indwells Christian consciousness. It animates the community of faith and leads to a deeper appreciation of the life and message of Jesus. That is clear.” So observes author and theologian Anthony H. Kelly in his book The Resurrection Effect: Transforming Christian Life and Thought. And while this is a fine concept, I find that I still have reservations that we Christians tend to move rather more quickly than we ought past Jesus’ resurrection. Author Kelly has his own reservations, noting that “the event of the resurrection as something happening to him [i.e. to Jesus] can be bypassed, a more or less mythic expression of the origin of a new spiritual awareness.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Letters from Lambeth

More Letters!

These letters from Lambeth are ticking time-bombs that threaten the life of the Communion. Yet, despite appearances to the contrary, it is not too late to rescue ourselves. We will, however, need to do the hard work ourselves. No 'Holy Father' is going to do this for us. And, as protestants and Anglicans, we would have it no other way.

The so-titled 'Secretary General of the Anglican Communion' has now announced his own letters, and the bizarre paradigm that Rowan Williams is attempting to create amongst the Churches of the Anglican Communion comes into greater focus. Canon Kearon's remarks are uncharacteristically brief, so one wonders if he himself is a bit dubious of the ABC's new affection for autocracy. However, inasmuch as Kearon bears the sweeping title of Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and despite the fact that he serves merely as a bureaucrat in the hierarchy of the Church of England, he is compliant. Whether he will remain happily complicit is another question. Is it a divine paradox, one wonders, that this Archbishop who has been terribly preoccupied with fears of the dissolution of the Anglican Communion is now himself the greatest threat to his own Office?