Did you catch it?
Not once does she mention Jesus!
Did you catch it?
Not once does she mention Jesus!
I wrote a chapter in An Altar in the World on getting lost - on not going where you meant to, or leaving the beaten path. Even in the Gospels, there is a particular word for particular people. It is not often the same word to every person. To some, the word is "Get up and walk," and to some it is, "Go into your room and pray." The word to me on the fire escape [in the memoir An Altar in the World] was "Do anything that pleases you, and belong to me." That was the word just to me. There is alarming human freedom in that - alarming!
I am Christian enough to think there is still a narrative. My narrative is probably not creation, fall, and redemption. It is definitely a narrative of genesis, flood, new life, and resurrection. ... I have spent enough time in other protestant traditions to grow up thinking there was something essentially, originally wrong with me. I know that I am essentially liable to do the wrong thing, but I don't think that's because there is something originally wrong with me. I think I was made in the image of God. There has to be another way to theologize about why I do the things I do, and why people do the things we do. I no longer accept some of the early explanations for that. I do not read "fall" in Genesis history. I can't see it. The words are not there. The snake is a snake. It is not the devil. Sin isn't anywhere in the chapter, so that's a later reading of a primary text.
I read that narrative more like a Jew, who would read the story of Mount Sinai as more a story of collective, communal sin, when you have been given a living God and you choose an idol instead. Every best seller on the self-help and religion shelf is about knowing the difference between good and evil. If that is a sin, Christians sure are all over it.
Brent was the outstanding ﬁgure of the Episcopal Church on the world scene for two decades. The central focus of his life and ministry was the cause of Christian unity. After attending the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, he led the Episcopal Church in the movement that culminated in the ﬁrst World Conference on Faith and Order, which was held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1927, and over which he presided.Bishop Brent also wrote one of my favorite collects (included as one of the collects for mission in the rite for Morning Prayer in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer):
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us with your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.Below are some of Bishop Brent's thoughts on Church unity. They strike a timely chord for those who desire greater unity among Anglicans worldwide.
The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon is forwarding an Open Table resolution to General Convention that would change the rubrics and practice of The Book of Common Prayer to invite all to Holy Communion, "regardless of age, denomination or baptism.”
Adopted unanimously by delegates to the 2010 Diocesan Convention, the resolution recently was ratified by Diocesan Council for submission to General Convention. It would delete from the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church Canon 1.17.7, which says "No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this church."
However, the explanation attached to the resolution says that “We know from our strivings within ecumenism and mission that the communion Christ intended for all is perilous and difficult, and that boldness in offering radical hospitality is our calling, rather than canonically driven caution.”
Now "communion without baptism" is practised thereabouts and hereabouts in the Anglican world, but, as far as I am aware, no formal Anglican canon anywhere endorses or legalises this practice. Were the GC [General Convention of the Episcopal Church]to agree to the resolution it would be a change or innovation to millennia old Christian practice, received and continued by the Reformed Church of England. It would also be a change which could reasonably be considered as affecting the definition of Anglicanism because it involves our understanding of sacramental ministry. One related concern would be whether it impinged on our ongoing ecumenical conversations.
In short: here is a change which looks like an internal matter for a member church but can reasonably be raised as an external matter for all member churches to consider. In terms of the Covenant and Section 4, it is a matter for consideration by the process set out there.
My observation in response to pitching this as "radical inclusivity" is simple: The church is radically inclusive and baptism is the means by which people are included. Communion is the celebration of that inclusion, not its means.
It is supremely ironic that a church that spends so much energy (rightly) celebrating the baptismal covenant could then turn its back on its significance in what seems a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of these two sacraments, and their interrelationship.
... abandoning baptism as the standard of membership represents a failure of our religious nerve so profound as to tip the balance against our institutional continuance. What's the point of a church that by implication admits that being a part of it is of no real consequence?
Communion Without Baptism is anathema; this is not negotiable.
In the Episcopal Church, as in all organizations overtaken by secular leftists, the trend in matters like these always moves from descriptive to prescriptive: What begins as “living into” some “facts on the ground,” sooner or later becomes That Which Must Be Done Or Else. Matt Kennedy explains how resolutions like this one make their way from germinated seed to full-fledged spawn, but it’s important to add that the way these folks work is that what today is described as something you may do, tomorrow becomes something you must do. So today it may be scandalous to know that the Episcopal Church may give its official approval to CWOB, but tomorrow the scandal becomes those who refuse to do so.
History will judge Rowan Williams to have been a great archbishop of Canterbury in all sorts of ways, many yet unsung. As his biographer, I sometimes wonder whether more fractious members of his flock realise how lucky they have been to have him. Institutionally, though, his decade in office will probably end in honourable defeat.
The deepest issue facing [++Rowan] has not been over gay clergy or women bishops, as many assume, but a question he sees as even more pressing – how the church makes up its mind on disputed questions. ...
Williams's main motive is simple. He is a devoted ecumenist. It is his conviction that disunity within the body of Christ is the gravest wound of all in church life that led him, after much heartache, to row back on his earlier, more liberal instincts towards gay clergy. ...
Long before he announced his intention to bow out, many were asking whether a man of such evident godliness and erudition had the stomach for so political a job. It is true that Cambridge will probably provide a better fit for Williams's many gifts. But leading the second-most international church on earth, yet with scarcely any executive power, is exceptionally onerous. Could anyone else have done better? I doubt it.
Perhaps much of the confusion about the Archbishop of Canterbury is really about us. As we have become more politicized and more cynical, it is harder and harder for us to rest easily in the presence of brilliance and holiness, bound together with amazing humility. Leaders aren’t like that. They are not supposed to be like that. We don’t much mind if such persons are buried away in a monastic library or a university lecture hall. When such a person occupies a significant leadership role, we are befuddled. No politician could be like that. The only way we can manage is to press onto such a person our own world-weary pattern of leadership, despite the fact that the pattern doesn’t fit, couldn’t fit.
Then we grumble that the person who combines honesty and intellect and holiness, humility and a sense of humor doesn’t match up to our expectations. For ten years now we have sought to frame +Rowan in our own images, wrap him in our own standards, press him into our own causes and as a result have been disappointed and aggrieved. ...
Now we speculate on a successor. The great danger is that we will recoil from holiness and settle for managerial and political savvy. I don’t think either talent will fix things and of course that’s what we want, whether we are progressive or traditional. We want our own way and we want a Communion and a church which conforms to our own day dreams of what the church should be like. For while we have been pressing our own pattern on +Rowan, we’ve been doing the same on the Communion and the Province in which we live. We may say that we believe in “Holy” Church, but we much prefer scrappy political church or tidy narrow church.
It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision. During the time remaining there is much to do, and I ask your prayers and support in this period and beyond. I am abidingly grateful to all those friends and colleagues who have so generously supported Jane and myself in these years, and all the many diverse parishes and communities in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion that have brought vision, hope and excitement to my own ministry. I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to continuing to serve the Church’s mission and witness as best I can in the years ahead.
The news that ++Rowan will step down as Archbishop of Canterbury in December will lead to many of us across the Communion giving thanks for his oversight and the body of teaching which he leaves - a body of teaching which has deeply enriched Anglicanism's response to the call to live as part of the church catholic. ...
On behalf of those laity, deacons, priests and bishops in the Communion whose discipleship and vocation has been strengthened and enriched by ++Rowan's ministry and teaching, Deo Gratias.
Matthew gives us the specifics of Jesus' temptation and trials in the wilderness. The depiction of Satan as a companion with Jesus in the wilderness is troubling to many. And yet, the gift of the tradition in portraying the tempter as a person is a reminder that the temptations in our lives to turn away from God are all very personal. There are very few generic temptations in my life. What is held before me as an alternative to God always speaks to the particulars of my life. Evil always seems to be very personal with a knowledge of my very particular weaknesses. The personal figure of Satan seems to fit that reality quite well.
Christ says, 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked - the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.'