Monday, January 26, 2009

A good series from Derek Olson

One of our up-and-coming scholars, Derek Olson, is working on a few articles for Episcopal Cafe.

Here is part of his most recent work on why the year 1054 matters to Anglicans...

As a result, the beginning of the problem in the Church began in the 2nd and 3rd centuries when the churches in Rome and north Africa began doing theology and liturgy in Latin rather than Greek. By the 4th and 5th centuries, two separate paths diverged—one in Greek, the other in Latin. Nowhere is this more evident than in the linguistic capabilities of the great Doctors of the Church in the patristic age. St Augustine himself admits his inability to converse in Greek; St Gregory the Great spent six years in Constantinople yet never learned Greek. St Leo too could neither read nor write it. While Sts Ambrose and Jerome were quite fluent in Greek, Jerome’s program of translating great Christian works from Greek into Latin further reduced the need for western clergy to learn the language—and formulations—of the eastern theologians. Photius, one of the greatest scholars of his age, knew no Latin.

Read it all here...It is a good reflection on what is currently happening in the Anglican Communion.

From the, "Can you believe this?" department...

Can you believe this stuff...the New York Times reports...

Pope Benedict XVI, reaching out to the far-right of the Roman Catholic Church, revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops on Saturday, including one whose comments denying the Holocaust have provoked outrage....

Among the men reinstated Saturday was Richard Williamson, a British-born cleric who in an interview last week said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers. He has also given interviews saying that the United States government staged the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan.

A good thing to remember the next time the Vatican tries to lecture Episcopalians on our moral condidtion in the midst of ordaining women and recognizing the rights of gays and lesbians.

If you can stomach it, the whole article can be read here...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bp. Jenkins post Katrina

They are an unlikely pair, chatting up people on porch stoops in the poorer neighborhoods of New Orleans: Bishop Charles Jenkins, 57, the son of white, rural north Louisiana and pastor to 18,000 south Louisiana Episcopalians, and Jerome Smith, 69, black and rumpled, son of Treme, a former Freedom Rider from the civil rights movement.

Before Hurricane Katrina, in the days when Jenkins says he was focused more on the well-being of his predominantly white church than his predominantly black city, they might never have crossed paths.

But since Katrina, they have forged a relationship in which Jenkins, now deep into a profound personal and spiritual transformation, said he has come to love and rely on Smith. Smith, a sometimes fiery activist in whom Jenkins sees a gentle soul, has become one of the bishop's principal guides into New Orleans' poor African-American culture, a landscape Jenkins said he previously glimpsed but did not understand.

"He's my mentor, you know," Jenkins said recently. "It is a good day whenever Jerome Smith comes by."

But Smith is only one symbol of the journey of Charles Jenkins, and by extension Jenkins' diocese, since Katrina.

Bishop Jenkins was the speaker at our last diocesan convention. He is a true man of God. Read this article all the way through, it's worth the time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Episcopal Church in Inauguration Spotlight

President-elect Barack Obama will attend a private prayer service on the morning of his inauguration at the historic St. John's Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square, according to the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Kevin Griffis, spokesman for the inauguration committee, said yesterday that the prayer service will not be open to the public.

St. John's, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, is known as the "Church of the Presidents." Since James Madison, every president has worshiped there at some point during his tenure in the Oval Office. The church has kneelers embroidered in tribute to each president, and Pew 54 is traditionally assigned to the chief executives when they visit.

Read it all here.

Taking kids to church...

This is a quick read, and a good reminder about how children bring life and adoration into the context of worship that adults don't because they are grown up...

I had a whole new experience of church. I got to do something I’ve never done before - I got to take children to church. How different it makes the experience. Turning up at a strange church with twin nephews (and my father) was an absolute delight.

Read all of Kelvin's experience here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Bishop on YouTube

Although this is not local, I thought it was an interesting way to meet a new Bishop in the Church. Take a look and see what you think about a new purple shirt from across the pond.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Spending some time with Jesus...

This has been such a crazy week. Fantastic Evensong with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Parish Christmas party, 2 deaths in the parish, our monthly Requiem, a wedding on Saturday, and now a head cold.

The high point of the week was the glorious evensong. The choir and I sung the service using the Smart setting for the Magnificat (one of my favorites). We used our new monstrance during the benediction. It was one of those moments when time stopped and all of our gathered attention was focused on Jesus right in plane sight.

His presence was overwhelming and as our choir master, Justin, sung "Of the Father's Love Begotten," as a solo, there was not a dry eye in the place. It struck me in that moment how adoration and benediction are so wound up in the incarnation as to be the very foundation of this liturgical event. Jesus in the manger, Jesus at the Jordan, at the wedding in Cana, and Jesus on the Cross is the same Jesus who calls us into his loving embrace and shelters us in the midst of the storm.

Crazy aeh? The baby in the manger whose arms are open wide to embrace the world.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Epiphany gives us three stories of showing forth, when you bring the Eastern and Western traditions together, three stories in which the nature of Jesus is revealed in surprising and unexpected ways.

Today we start with the story of the wise men following a star to find the new king. The first visitors to the infant Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel are the wise men. Whoever they were, they were Gentiles. So, even though Matthew puts Jesus very much in a Jewish framework and his infancy stories are about portraying Jesus as the new Moses, Jesus is manifested first to foreigners. And that says that Jesus is for us too, all that he was, all that he did, all that he taught, was for us, for those who come because they have enough wisdom to follow the light and make the hard journey to come and kneel before the true king.

Then we get the story of the baptism of Jesus. The accounts show God proclaiming that Jesus is his son, and he is the Beloved, and God the Father is very proud of him. In all four Gospels, the baptism manifests Jesus’ divine origins.

And the triptych is completed with the story of the wedding at Cana, when the wedding feast, the messianic banquet, is enlivened by the new wine. Jesus is the one who transforms the ordinary water of our worship into better wine that you have ever tasted. Jesus brings in the kingdom of God which is fulfilled in the heavenly feast.

A thoughtful post at "Thinking Anglicans." Read it all here.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Something to think about...

You've seen the bracelets with the initials WWJD, "what would Jesus do." Have you ever given much thought to a year spent living this out. Here is an excerpt from a recent article describing one man's attempt to do just that...

"I've concluded that I am a follower, but I'm not a very good one," Dobson said. "If you get serious about the Bible, it will really mess you up." He has witnessed for Jesus in bars, picked up strangers needing rides and voted for a Democrat who he believes best reflects Christ's teachings. During recent Christmas celebrations, as Christians worshipped the Christ child born in a manger, Dobson appreciated more than ever the man who preached love, only to die on a cross...

Read it all here. It's very interesting.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cantuar's New Year's Greeting

Here is a taste of Archbishop Rowan's new year's greeting...

It’s always a relief to have a bit of space after the busyness of Christmas to relax at home and mull over the past 12 months and the hopes and possibilities of the year ahead. The prospect of this coming year, though, is one that produces a lot of anxiety and insecurity for countless people. There are fears about disappearing savings, lost jobs, house repossessions and worse. While the headlines are often about the big figures, it’s the human cost that makes it real for us...

Read it all here...