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Sep
26

Liturgical anti-intellectualism

Today, the liturgy is to Anglicans what the Bible is to evangelicals: a debilitating intellectual crutch used to excuse indifference to — and even hatred of — the ecclesial commitments borne and sustained by rigorous and thus humbling study.
Sep
25

Do not hinder them

Do not hinder them How do we welcome our children and not hinder them in their search for Christ? We begin by honoring them as people made in the image and likeness of God and taking seriously their ability to worship God in a manner that is just as full of awe, wonder, and power as any adult.
Sep
24

A school of character

Heart-rending details are not the main point of this book. Grace is — both God’s grace for the Murphys and Ian and Larissa’s grace for each other.
Sep
23

Homesick at home

Homesick at home What, then, is the strategy for staying in the Episcopal Church? To borrow from Chesterton, it means at times being “homesick at home."
Sep
22

Get off A.O. Scott’s lawn

Get off A.O. Scott’s lawn The fact that A.O. Scott writing in the New York Times cannot possibly decry the decline of adulthood (particularly, manhood) without being dismissed as a patriarch shows that we’ve lost the ability to conceive of manliness or grown-up adulthood without immediately hearing authoritarian patriarchy.
Sep
19

A Great Cloud of Witnesses—a step forward

A Great Cloud of Witnesses—a step forward The Calendar Subcommittee of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has published a report on its continuing work on the calendar. It is to be commended for its efforts. But what ongoing recommendations do I have?
Sep
18

The same but different

The same but different In Norfolk, England, where I spent most of my teens, there’s a saying. “It’s the same but different.” I’ve never fathomed quite what it means but I find it delightful. We have stumbled into a world where difference is in style.
Sep
17

Reclaiming time

Reclaiming time “Seven times a day do I praise thee; because of thy righteous judgments”, sang the Psalmist. In an age when the motion of the clock seems increasingly without form and void, ordering time according to the rhythms of grace is a subversive act.
Sep
16

Radically centered

Radically centered People that know me know that I will often count the number of times Jesus is mentioned in a sermon, article, blog post, or other written or spoken medium. I will admit that this is a bit of spiritual OCD on my part.
Sep
15

Lamentabili voce

Lamentabili voce Many, including myself, looked on with profound respect earlier this year when several Russian Orthodox monks from a monastery of the Kiev caves placed themselves between disgruntled Ukrainians and the government police in what appeared to be a peace protest. The politics of these gestures, however, were inevitably more complicated than met the eye.
Sep
12

Theology and electroshock

Theology and electroshock I’m going to interrupt the regular learned commentary on this site to propose a somewhat ridiculous thought experiment. What if we imagined a religious Milgram experiment? What if the experimenter coldly instructing a subject to punish a failing learner with electroshock had theological authority?
Sep
11

The metrics of reform?

The Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church has delivered a 3,000-word document in language somewhere between the satire of Dilbert and the jargon of a Bain Capital report.
Sep
10

Curiosity’s children

Curiosity’s children I wonder if the unencumbered thirst for knowledge that is so glorified in our culture has brought with it an inclination towards vice, or a particular kind of vice, that might otherwise go under the radar.
Sep
9

Praying for the world when bad news abounds

Praying for the world when bad news abounds On a trip to the Holy Land in 2008, I found myself riveted by an unusual mosaic of Jesus on the Church of All Nations, depicting Jesus as our intercessor, kneeling at the center of the image with two groups of people flanking him.
Sep
8

Digital charity: creating a healthy online church community

Digital charity: creating a healthy online church community It’s a situation that is becoming more and more common: the parish rector maintains an active presence on Facebook and someone manages to become offended, perhaps at a very innocuous comment.
Sep
5

WelbyWatch 1: the Community of St Anselm

WelbyWatch 1: the Community of St Anselm Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth. Thus, the Community of St Anselm.
Sep
4

One needful thing

One needful thing The first definition of the human creature is "homo adorans": a mortal is first a priest. The Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve stands in the center of the world and unifies it by blessing God.
Sep
3

Musings on Calvary

Musings on Calvary Calvary is really about being a Christian, which means being willing to follow Jesus into the valley of the shadow of death, confident even in the midst of fear and pain that “thou art with me” (Ps 23:4).
Sep
2

The ecclesial ethics of moving furniture

The ecclesial ethics of moving furniture Moving the furniture one inch per year is not simply folk wisdom. It's sound theology.
Sep
1

Star Wars, play, and story: priestly formation

Star Wars, play, and story: priestly formation There’s a distinction between playing the game and knowing the game. Being “right” about the nature of the Dark Side was important for how roleplaying worked, but it wasn’t the point of the game The point was doing the good, given the constraints of the story.
Aug
29

Anxiety and the cross

Anxiety and the cross Bobbie Carlyle has sculpted the statue of the Self Made Man, the ideal icon of the present age. It is also a myth. One wonders if an adequate interpretation would be of an anxious person trying to shed the weighty stone entrapping him.
Aug
28

He has her eyes

He has her eyes A simple question. Does Jesus have Mary’s eyes? Does he have her smile? Does he have that same odd expression she makes when she can’t quite get the jelly jar open? Jesus, Son of God and son of Mary, likely did and does look like his mother. What does that, something so simple and so familiar and so quotidian, mean for us?
Aug
27

The rotten fruit of ‘niceness’

The rotten fruit of ‘niceness’ The problem is that a gospel of niceness provides little support for the true terror and tragedy of life. It doesn’t stand up to death, loss, failure, and the reality of other people’s sinfulness and our own.
Aug
26

Brought up short

Brought up short I am an almost classic case of the evangelical on the Canterbury Trail, but I don’t see the evidence that the graceful aestheticism of liturgy “produces” gracious persons or that worshiping in the beauty of holiness makes holy persons.
Aug
25

Review: Rowan Williams, Being Christian

What does being Christian entail? What distinguishes the Christian community from other communities? What do the diverse Christian traditions hold in common?
Aug
22

Mary: an icon of human destiny in Christ

Mary: an icon of human destiny in Christ Mary shows us our own destiny as children of God and as heirs with Christ of the promises of the Father. The Blessed Virgin shows us what it looks like to be a finite creature wrapped, by grace and faith and love, in God’s own eternity.
Aug
21

Christian discipline

Christian discipline Culturally speaking, the word discipline brings to mind notions of strictness and censure, but the discipline of following Christ is not primarily about following rules.
Aug
20

The assumptions of the Assumption

The assumptions of the Assumption On the face of it, Mary’s Assumption, body and soul, into heaven, is one of the most challenging traditions of the Church. One of my seminary professors loved to say that, for him, the Assumption was just too much of an assumption. It certainly presents a unique obstacle to many of our Protestant brethren. And this is in large part because the event does suggest, in a strange way, that the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus wasn’t enough, that there had to be something more.
Aug
19

The future of the Church

The future of the Church The young people who comprise these choirs develop an ability (now rare) to articulate matters of faith with true conviction and confidence by praying and singing the Psalms and the great music of the Anglican tradition week in and week out and by being encouraged to think about the meaning of what they’re singing and to consider why a composer might have made the musical choices he did.
Aug
18

Common prayer and conflict

Common prayer and conflict Is boutique religion a lasting trend? Shall each congregation seek to fashion itself to cater to the delights of a significant number of local people to keep the doors open?
Aug
15

The assumption of labor

We bear hope that the present wounds in the Church might themselves herald the arrival of something ever old and ever new, the appearance of the City with eternal foundations. Indeed, we have faith that God wishes to build something out of the weeping ruins of our division.
Aug
15

Mary’s yes to God

While among Christians Jesus has escaped his detractors, his mother still carries the weight of human detraction, or perhaps worse still types of adoration that rob her of her humanity.
Aug
8

Teaching with power and love

For those who have been called to teaching, “we should not think it is sufficient for our salvation” if we shirk our duties in a time of theological malaise; it is not enough if we come up simply to the level of an “untaught crowd” (Bede, Homily 1.20). Make no mistake: the teachers of the Church will be judged for this turn.
Aug
6

Memory and delivery: World War I

Last Tuesday I had a morning with the Dorset Army Cadet Force, at their annual camp. I reminded them of a Russian proverb: "Dwell in the past and you’ll lose an eye. Forget the past and you’ll lose both eyes." We are here today to remember.
Aug
1

Covenant relaunch

Covenant relaunch Covenant is about to enter a new stage of its life. Filling a long-needed niche in the Anglican blogging world, it will be a place for generous, orthodox commentary, conversation, and mutual formation that is evangelical and catholic, academic and pastoral, Anglican and ecumenical.
Jul
25

The Anglican way

I shall seek to write down that which I believe to be the essence of Anglicanism. None of the elements I note are in themselves the exclusive property of our tradition, but taken together they express what our church—with a small c—has sought be at its best.
Jul
18

Apostolic sacrifice

We never read apart from our experience of the rest of life. My own reading of A Brutal Unity was overshadowed by an exciting but overwhelming task whose discharging lay just on the other side of the Covenant retreat in La Porte.
Jul
17

Let conscience go

The whole notion, which shows up with dogmatic insistency in A Brutal Unity, that conscience is something that can and should be sacrificed will appear to many Christians as an incomprehensible foreign intrusion into what we take to be the very essence of Christian existence.
Jul
16

Tough medicine

The Covenant Seminar was just what I needed. Of course, the fellowship was delightful: to form new bonds of friendship and renew old ones is a valuable thing in itself. The beautiful setting, reverent worship, and time away from my parish all worked their medicinal effects.
Jul
15

Reading Radner (part 1)

Of all the delights in the day-to-day work of the Living Church Foundation, the greatest may be the opportunity we have to encourage and give voice to young leaders in the Church, and to be challenged and refreshed by them in turn.

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