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Oct
17

Sanctified wealth

"You cannot serve God and wealth." But God has an inheritance for us. And surely our institutions and their wealth are part of this, as they are placed in the service of sanctification, holiness, by God’s grace.
Oct
16

Seeking the Lord’s face and seeing his back

Seeking the Lord’s face and seeing his back On Monday, July 21, the Word of the Lord came to me. Sort of. But I only recognized him when he had already gone.
Oct
15

The next culture war?

The next culture war? What are the beliefs that are so integral to our faith that we must act upon them, even in the face of laws that allow no room for religious exemption? What are the convictions we hold in common that we can act upon together, even in opposition to the cultural consensus?
Oct
14

More Catholic than the Pope

More Catholic than the Pope “That’s no way to talk to the Pope.” This gratuitous and immature comment was my lame attempt at humor. The occasion was the reading of the notorious incident in Syrian Antioch, narrated by St. Paul in Galatians 2:11-14, Paul upbraiding Cephas.
Oct
13

Transitions: the search process

Transitions: the search process Pastors come and pastors go. I am in the middle of that at this moment, an experience that many of us have had on either side of the pulpit.
Oct
10

Christian worship is boring

The Holy Eucharist is supposed to be boring. So claims the Catholic theologian James Alison. He says, “When people tell me that they find Mass boring, I want to say to them: it’s supposed to be boring, or at least seriously underwhelming. It’s a long term education in becoming un-excited.” He’s right, I think. Let me explain. Alison’s claim about the Mass being boring or unexciting...
Oct
9

My son’s autism is making me holy (and I hate it)

Our lives center around my son’s autism. It is the compass that keeps us ever pointing away from ourselves and towards some unknown horizon.
Oct
8

Living water

Living water A few weeks ago, the city of Columbia suffered a break in the water line near my house. For the next two days, I didn’t shower.
Oct
7

Ecclesiometry

Ecclesiometry The Constantinian synthesis has run its course. One might well ask, then, in a world of apostolic mission, what might be the most helpful measure of ecclesial health and vitality?
Oct
6

Your own personal Jesus

Your own personal Jesus A relationship with Jesus that purports to be without rules, without "religion," will turn out to be not a relationship but a fantasy.
Oct
3

Formative literature 1

Formative literature 1 The Facebook thread: books that changed our lives (or some such). Mine tilt heavily toward the modern and contemporary, but God, in the form of truth, meets us through our loves and fears. He finds us where we are, having arrived himself in advance.
Oct
2

The unashamed Anglican: Stephen Sykes, 1939–2014

The unashamed Anglican: Stephen Sykes, 1939–2014 Do Anglicans have doctrines? Or is Anglicanism an empty container, into which one can pour whatever one likes?
Oct
1

Blood on my hands: being a hunter and a Christian clergyman

Blood on my hands: being a hunter and a Christian clergyman A foray into vegetarianism during high school was inspired by Tolstoy. His argument ran as follows: you know that you can be perfectly healthy without eating meat; so, if you eat meat, you are doing it to gratify your appetite at the expense of the lives of animals.
Sep
30

A plea for intellectual honesty

A plea for intellectual honesty Academic discourse ought to be the last place where anything is ever considered settled.
Sep
29

Searching for light: another word on TREC

Searching for light: another word on TREC Larger ecclesiastical structures are of course inevitable, but they aren’t of much interest until it’s clear what difference they make on the front line.
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?

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