Tuesday, November 30, 2010
As is evident from the Episcopal/Anglican media, the fantastic juxtaposition of the Archbishop of Canterbury's efforts to force the proposed 'Anglican Covenant" through the Church of England's synod with the GAFCON statement of rejection of same is rattling the comfort cages of a lot of people who have invested themselves in the thing's passage. This is, I suggest, a good and healthy rattling. Some continue to assume that the autonomous and autocephalous Churches should take their disagreements to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Where, one wonders, does this bizarre ecclesiology originate? The Episcopal Church has never, ever, been a subject of the Church of England. To the contrary, its existence is predicated on its rejection of Canterbury's claim to have authority over it.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Regarding the proposal for an 'Anglican Covenant, I recently witnessed a presentation by the Rev. Robert Pritchard of Virginia Theological Seminary. The presentation rightly noted that there was no such thing as the Anglican Communion, or even hints thereof, until the early to mid-twentieth century, since the Churches deriving from the Church of England were almost all colonial appendages of the Church of the Empire (C of E). Mr. Pritchard's presentation, though, was skewed toward presenting the history of the Episcopal Church as though our history has basically always assumed a world-wide 'Anglican Church.' In fact, Mr. Pritchard used the term frequently in his presentation, even though there is no such thing as 'the Anglican Church.'
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Probably the single most destructive influence in the Church of modernity and of the West is that of consumerism. Today, membership in the Church on all levels, from that of the individual in the parish or mission, to that of the Province in the Anglican Communion, resembles more an entitlement than a privilege and responsibility. The member in the parish, the parish in the diocese, the diocese in the Province, the Province in the Communion, all are using techniques of the enlightened consumer in holding the larger organization hostage to the particular wishes of the customer. It's the approach by which the client threatens to take his or her business elsewhere if the company or franchise fails to accede to his or her wishes.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Rector’s Study ~
I recently read the suggestion that one thing that all people have in common with one another is the universal capacity for God. I like this idea. Bernard of Clairvaux , 12th century monastic and theologian, wrote frequently of humanity’s capacity for love and of how any increase in this capacity is purely a gift from God. Bernard nearly equates love with God. Bernard is credited with introducing the idea of humanity’s capacity for love, and so is credited also with introducing the concept of humanity’s capacity for God.
His theory was that awe in wonder, pain in need, and joy in abundance or victory were all potential avenues by which people can meet and know God. The sudden need for God in a distressing situation, or the meeting of God in speechless awe can move a person to transcend himself or herself. In this moment, the person finds the inner capacity for God and for loving God is increased. It is in these moments, in these events, hat people are able to love others, and even to love themselves either in ways that are new to them or in ways that they have forgotten.