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Jan
16

Christ in the Old Testament: the story of a seminar

Christ in the Old Testament: the story of a seminar What ties the project of theological exegesis together? Can we read the Old Testament allegorically and christologically? If so, what are the controls?
Jan
15

What Benedict taught me about liturgy

In 2010, I adopted a two-year-old German Shepherd, and I named him Benedict. There was a man of German descent on Peter’s pontifical seat, and I was in seminary: it all seemed very clever. As usual, the Holy Spirit took the joke a step further — into truth. When we go to a cabin in the mountains, I take Ben out for his morning jaunt in the pasture, and I enjoy a moment of quiet in the dull but...
Jan
14

Fragmented formation: training clergy

Fragmented formation: training clergy Most of the conversation on ministerial formation is a load of crock. I suspect we engage in a little false advertising along the lines of: "Be transformed in three easy steps or your money back."
Jan
13

Feed the children

Feed the children When the words “controversy” and “the Episcopal Church” are combined, they almost inevitably lead to the topic of human sexuality. While this is understandable, it obscures the fact that there are other, less headline-grabbing debates going on within our beloved church. One that keeps popping up among my friends, particularly those with young children, is the issue of infant communion. Having...
Jan
12

Against empathy?

Against empathy? Is there a Christian alternative to empathy? Can we react to others with compassionate warmth and care without imagining that we need to experience what they experience?
Jan
9

Transitions: saying Goodbye, saying Hello

Transitions: saying Goodbye, saying Hello In the fall, Calvin Lane wrote on the search process in clergy transitions. This follow up post explores the practical details involved in ending pastoral relationships and beginning new ones.
Jan
8

Practicing the presence of place

Practicing the presence of place Wendell Berry: "It is by the place we’ve got, and our love for it and our keeping of it, that this world is joined to Heaven."
Jan
7

Some hard ecumenical questions

Some hard ecumenical questions It is unlikely that Geoffrey Wainwright’s Faith, Hope, and Love: The Ecumenical Trio of Virtues found its way into many stockings or under a lot of Christmas trees this year. Nevertheless, the slim volume is worth reading, because it forces difficult questions on the reader.
Jan
6

For the joy of marriage

For the joy of marriage When Christian teaching about marriage focuses primarily on the brokenness and hard work of marriage, we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Jan
5

How radical a revision?

How radical a revision? Urban T. Holmes claimed that those who resisted the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, as well as the charismatic renewal movement, reflected “a nostalgia for a classical theology which many theologians know has not been viable for almost two hundred years." But is that what the BCP represents?
Jan
2

Blind justice? An exchange on Ferguson: part 2

Blind justice? An exchange on Ferguson: part 2 The chief task remains one of “squarely facing our own complicity in our condition” — to borrow the President’s phrase.
Jan
1

Blind justice? An exchange on Ferguson: part 1

Blind justice? An exchange on Ferguson: part 1 Racism is a horrible scar on the American soul, but we need to fight it appropriately.
Dec
30

Good and evil, Scrooge and Cosby

Good and evil, Scrooge and Cosby None of us are either good persons or bad persons. All of us are persons who do both good things and bad things. All of us are flawed, sinful persons, whether we are Ebenezer Scrooge or Bill Cosby.
Dec
29

The ox knows its owner

The ox knows its owner The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.
Dec
26

No sweet little town of Bethlehem

No sweet little town of Bethlehem As a young child, one of the first Christmas songs I learned was "O Little Town of Bethlehem." I began to think of the song as sweet but a little schmaltzy until I learned that Philips Brooks wrote the song after visiting the town itself.
Dec
25

A call to arms

A call to arms Just the other day, I was reflecting on an influential saint of modern times, whose voluminous songbook has had considerable influence across the globe. His Christian name is Vincent Damon Furnier, but extant evidence demonstrates that he preferred the more ecclesiastical title of Alice Cooper. He is best known for his thesis on Judas, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and his reflection on human...
Dec
24

God making room

God making room "He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him." At the nativity, there was no room for God in the world.
Dec
23

Advent anticipation

Advent anticipation This Advent has been different. The early push to Christmas decorations in the mall and the early rush to Christmas music on the radio grated, if it is possible, a little bit more.
Dec
22

John’s Advent epiphany

John’s Advent epiphany John the Baptist figures prominently in our Advent worship, but, in some of the lectionary readings, we meet a Baptist not only charmingly eccentric, but, well, unpleasant.
Dec
19

Wonder Woman and the power of truth

Wonder Woman and the power of truth In a weird way, and one that her creator, William Moulton Marston, certainly never would have anticipated, Wonder Woman is an icon of Christian discipleship.
Dec
18

It shall not be among you

It shall not be among you To chase after the rationalized concept of leadership is already to have half-forgotten the tradition of ministry within the Church. It is to have lost touch with the Church's own culture, imagination, symbolism, and ethic. It is to view it as an outsider, as the cold analyzer,
Dec
17

A church or a faction?

A church or a faction? Next year, the Episcopal Church will elect a new Presiding Bishop. One hopes that those who permit themselves to be nominated as candidates for the office will seek a quiet corner and read about William White.
Dec
16

Do not be afraid: an Advent meditation

Do not be afraid: an Advent meditation In the narratives of Jesus’ birth, one of the most striking elements is the angelic imperative “Do not be afraid!” It sounds forth time and again like a musical refrain.
Dec
15

Advent Calendar: on a poem by Rowan Williams

Advent Calendar: on a poem by Rowan Williams Lord Williams of Oystermouth is inter alia an impressive poet and translator of poetry, and each Advent, I’ve found myself returning to one of Williams’s poems: “Advent Calendar.”
Dec
12

Getting out of the expert position

Getting out of the expert position If the therapist is to be any help, he or she must get out of the expert position and learn to tolerate uncertainty. What would it mean to put away the idol of the clergy as expert?
Dec
11

The ethics of travel

The ethics of travel I write from the road, on the latest of my long trips for the Living Church Foundation. It leads me to wonder about the proper movement of Christians on the earth.
Dec
10

The sanctification of Jeb

The sanctification of Jeb Blaise Pascal once drew an analogy between man’s relationship with dogs and God’s relationship with man. I was reminded of this one morning.
Dec
9

The maternal priesthood

The maternal priesthood There are two things that reliably make me cry: Mary and babies.
Dec
8

WelbyWatch 2: God is (still) not dead

WelbyWatch 2: God is (still) not dead A couple weeks ago, Justin Welby did it again. He insisted that he had "no fears about the future of the church of God."
Dec
5

Proverbial wisdom: why Christians can think with Murray Bowen

Proverbial wisdom: why Christians can think with Murray Bowen Parish priests find themselves thoroughly embedded in families in nearly everything they do. In my judgment, Bowen Family Systems Theory offers a way forward for parish clergy to negotiate the challenge of pastoral care and leadership.
Dec
4

A holy gluttony?

A holy gluttony? There is a holy gluttony in which we have only begun to indulge. May we remember to do so this Advent.
Dec
3

Raising Rory & raising Ruth: on Gilmore Girls

Raising Rory & raising Ruth: on Gilmore Girls Stars Hollow, CT, is a school for holiness, in which the Gilmores receive a thorough education and by their graduation day leave all devotees with proud tears in their eyes.
Dec
2

Good news in Advent

Good news in Advent Jesus came for the people who know how it feels when you say "sin."
Dec
1

The broken glass of the world

The broken glass of the world My cousin and I have an ongoing conversation that could be titled “What’s Next?” Our exchanges normally revolve around the dreadful state of education and the arts, whose jagged shards we break into even smaller bits. It is mostly an exercise for getting grouchiness out, while keeping it away from our wives, children, and in my case, parishioners. In our better moments, we have wildly optimistic ideas about how to put the pieces back together in the form of something holy and beautiful.
Nov
28

God’s visitation

God’s visitation In older Anglican prayerbooks, "The Order for the Visitation of the Sicke" instructed th