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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 the minister to direct an exhortation to the sick person. He or she is to know "certainly" that "your sickness...is God's visitation."
Nov
26

C.S. Lewis, my spiritual conductor

C.S. Lewis, my spiritual conductor November 22 was the day we remembered C.S. Lewis in the Episcopal Church calendar. To honor him, I decided to write of his influence on me.
Nov
25

The baggage of evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail

The baggage of evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail Fortunately or unfortunately, there still seems to be an ever widening stream of ex-evangelical converts to Anglicanism, sometimes to the mutual benefit of those involved, but often to the loss of evangelical denominations.
Nov
24

Goodbye to my guitar hero

Goodbye to my guitar hero I am overwhelmed by Bruce Cockburn’s preference for ideological purity over doctrinal clarity, his contempt for conservatives, and his follow-your-bliss sexual morality.
Nov
21

Quiet reforms: the Vatican and priestly marriage

Quiet reforms: the Vatican and priestly marriage Without announcement (and with almost as little notice), a Vatican reform was published in the official directory of the Holy See: it plain states that the Eastern churches in Communion with Rome may have a married presbyterate anywhere in the world they happen to be.
Nov
20

The precariousness of Christian lives in some regions

The precariousness of Christian lives in some regions The headlines reporting this story seem as though they are reaching for a way to absolve the murderers of guilt.
Nov
19

The contradictions of Paul Moore

The contradictions of Paul Moore Paul Moore was bishop of New York for almost twenty years, the capstone on an illustrious life in the ministry. But his sexual life more or less left behind a long wake of emotional destruction, the brunt of which was borne by his two wives.
Nov
18

Congregations rule

Congregations rule The bottom-up, congregational model is legally mandatory in Texas. So, a professedly Methodist congregation is only connectional if it chooses to be so and signs legal documents to that effect.
Nov
17

Graveyard homes

Graveyard homes My wife and I are raising our two sons in a graveyard. For the churchyard is clearly a place for the living, as well as the dead.
Nov
13

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm Samuel Johnson’s 1755 The Dictionary of the English Language defines “enthusiasm” in this way: "A vain belief of private revelation; a vain confidence of divine favour or communication." I admit that I am an enthusiast.
Nov
12

Henri de Lubac and human nature

Henri de Lubac and human nature A key contribution of Henri de Lubac is his argument against "pure nature," the notion that we could conceive of human nature independent of its created end and goal. But creation is never independent from her creator.
Nov
11

Changes at the helm

Changes at the helm He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens.”  (Luke 13:54 Looking simply at the sheer number of turnovers in leadership at Episcopal seminaries in the last three years suggests that change is in the wind. The recent debacles surfacing at General Theological Seminary and before that, at Episcopal Divinity...
Nov
10

The not-so-reverend Reverend

The not-so-reverend Reverend Some of us need to be reminded that, while the Church is indeed a divine institution, it can oftentimes be all too human.
Nov
7

Sacramental depth in difficulty

Sacramental depth in difficulty Might it be that theological insight is most likely to occur in the state of “vulnerability and unprotectedness,” in those moments that seem very dark indeed? There might be evidence for this in the thought of Bonhoeffer and Merton.
Nov
5

Ebola anxiety, West Africa, and the quality of mercy

Ebola anxiety, West Africa, and the quality of mercy I am only doing small, specific things that I can easily do. You too can do some small, specific things.
Nov
4

Liturgy and becoming a “less bad” person

Liturgy and becoming a “less bad” person One thing that I’ve noticed on this blog is a willingness to criticize inflated claims for the liturgy. But, properly chastened, can we make claims that the liturgy "works," making you a better person?
Nov
3

Church of the Japanese holdout?

Church of the Japanese holdout? Hiroo Onoda spent twenty-nine years fighting a war that had been over for a long time. Is this an analogy for the Church?
Oct
31

Halloween thoughts

Halloween thoughts What is the connection between devils, witches, goblins, and All Saints, and is it pernicious to participate in the revelries of the Eve if one is a believer who honors the Day?
Oct
30

Liturgy, language, and reliving Christ’s life

Liturgy, language, and reliving Christ’s life I had grown up as an evangelical, so it came as a surprise that I ended up in an Anglican church in college, but I discovered gifts of church tradition there that I had never encountered before.
Oct
29

No one is a no one

No one is a no one There is not a man, woman, or child that we will not declare a no one if it suits our interests, that we will not drive to the brow of the hill, so that we might hurl them off the cliff. But no one is a no one.
Oct
27

The art of prayer