Have I engaged this topic in a way that leads to the flourishing that you very beautifully call forth from male leaders? One day God will make this clear. But isn’t the point of dialogue to enter into the fray and to refine each other through enhanced mutual understanding?
By keeping the love of our neighbor and working toward shalom in our communities at the forefront of everything we do, we can engage in these conversations with a love and humility that will then lead to the mutual thriving of those in our communities and extend outwards to the world around us.
A return to the parish model would involve training seminarians and young clergy to create core groups of lay people who live into their baptismal promises, having the courage to be missionaries in the territorial parish, caring for the sick, relieving poverty, providing young people with tools to live for Jesus in a secular world.
When it comes to many of the dominant assumptions of the cultural landscape in East Texas (what Charles Taylor and others call the “social imaginary”), I do plan to continue to undermine them. Historic, Christian orthodoxy, mediated by classical Anglicanism, is a much better way.
Since I have been kicking around the church as a priest on both sides of the Atlantic for more than fifty years, I was recently asked if I had a few tips when searching for another call. I came up with this rag-tag selection of ideas. When he read them, my friend suggested these might be helpful to others at a transition point in their ordained life. So I offer them to that end.
The work of preparing to receive Holy Eucharist is not meant to scare us off. Nor is it meant to erect barriers. On the contrary, our preparation is meant to instill within us reverence and respect for the incredible gift of the Eucharist.
Hospitality does not mean inviting people into the most sacramentally intimate spaces of the Christian life, it means being honest about intentions, healthy boundaries, the shape and form such commitments will take, and yes, eventually, the intimate sharing of one body with another. If consent is important in our debates about sexual boundaries, how is it also not important for sacramental boundaries?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has not stood still across the centuries, and neither have the Lindisfarne Gospels. When the monk penned Old English words on this gorgeous manuscript, his community was in exile, chased from their ancient home by Danish invaders. After the Norman invasion in 1066, monastic life in England grew quickly. A new priory was established on the tiny island, and the monks of Lindisfarne came home, bringing their Gospels with them. The English church would revolve around the life of monasteries like Lindisfarne for the next half millennium, counting on them to spread the good news to the English people.