December 2003 Archives

I've been reading Rowan Williams' (Archbishop of Canterbury) book Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement. In chapter two he writes of 'Charity,' "Since social activity outside the framework of 'charity' is regularly characterized by the sense of rivalry for limited goods, the festival or the fraternity comes to be a vastly important redefinition of what is involved in acquiring 'goods' at all. The material world appears as a world of scarcity - at least in the sense that no material acquisitions can be infinitely divided out. The game of 'charity' is based on the implied proposal that there are goods to be worked for that are completely different in kind from material goods, goods that exist only in the game, within the agreed structures of unproductive action..." (pp. 56-57; italics his)

In this context (rivalry of limited 'goods', although not in reference to a 'game'), I wonder whether the conflicts between different groups of Christians, and between some Christians and other religions, and between they and secularists, is a result of this notion: that salvation is a limited commodity so that there is a competition to see who gets it -- or -- God's acceptance and attention are limited, so that there is a rivalry to attain them. Thus, one group demands that their way be the only way and that their definitions be the only definitions to the exclusion of all others, securing for themselves God's salvation, attention, acceptance, and blessing.

I wonder whether for many there is an underlying concept of limit to God's grace and mercy, to God's salvation? The politicized Religious Right demands (in so many ways and at so many levels) that society accepts their understanding of what determines a Christian and their definitions, and accept their assertion that those who do not are not saved or are not Christian. Why? I know there all kinds of sociological, psychological, and theological explanations for such views and behavior, but I wonder within a theological context whether there honestly is a belief that God's grace and salvation are limited, and because of this there develops a sense of rivalry and competition that compels them to horde, to become exclusive, to deny others that which they claim for themselves? This could explain a lot in the way the conservative Religious Right is responding to the inclusion of homosexuals into society and the Church and their obsessive, fanatical opposition to any Christian person or group that advocates for such inclusion. I wonder?

God's salvation, attention, acceptance, and blessing are limitless, thus there is no need to adopt an economic or consumer model of competitiveness and rivalry to attain/obtain limited resources -- whether spiritual, material, a sense of acceptance or self-worth, forgiveness, love, etc. There is no 'charity' and no concern for the other in this model, just selfishness, ego, and pride -- which can and will lead to violence, whether spiritual, mental, or physical.

I've been reading Rowan Williams' (Archbishop of Canterbury) book Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement. In chapter two he writes of 'Charity,' "Since social activity outside the framework of 'charity' is regularly characterized by the sense of rivalry for limited goods, the festival or the fraternity comes to be a vastly important redefinition of what is involved in acquiring 'goods' at all. The material world appears as a world of scarcity - at least in the sense that no material acquisitions can be infinitely divided out. The game of 'charity' is based on the implied proposal that there are goods to be worked for that are completely different in kind from material goods, goods that exist only in the game, within the agreed structures of unproductive action..." (pp. 56-57; italics his)

In this context (rivalry of limited 'goods', although not in reference to a 'game'), I wonder whether the conflicts between different groups of Christians, and between some Christians and other religions, and between they and secularists, is a result of this notion: that salvation is a limited commodity so that there is a competition to see who gets it -- or -- God's acceptance and attention are limited, so that there is a rivalry to attain them. Thus, one group demands that their way be the only way and that their definitions be the only definitions to the exclusion of all others, securing for themselves God's salvation, attention, acceptance, and blessing.

I wonder whether for many there is an underlying concept of limit to God's grace and mercy, to God's salvation? The politicized Religious Right demands (in so many ways and at so many levels) that society accepts their understanding of what determines a Christian and their definitions, and accept their assertion that those who do not are not saved or are not Christian. Why? I know there all kinds of sociological, psychological, and theological explanations for such views and behavior, but I wonder within a theological context whether there honestly is a belief that God's grace and salvation are limited, and because of this there develops a sense of rivalry and competition that compels them to horde, to become exclusive, to deny others that which they claim for themselves? This could explain a lot in the way the conservative Religious Right is responding to the inclusion of homosexuals into society and the Church and their obsessive, fanatical opposition to any Christian person or group that advocates for such inclusion. I wonder?

God's salvation, attention, acceptance, and blessing are limitless, thus there is no need to adopt an economic or consumer model of competitiveness and rivalry to attain/obtain limited resources -- whether spiritual, material, a sense of acceptance or self-worth, forgiveness, love, etc. There is no 'charity' and no concern for the other in this model, just selfishness, ego, and pride -- which can and will lead to violence, whether spiritual, mental, or physical.

You can read a critique of this book by my friend Andy Lang on the Amazon website - click on the above link.

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I am leaving for home

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I am leaving for home today. The semester has ended. There are so many things I could have and should have written over these past few months, especially all the stuff going on with the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church. I have been obsessed over it all, and for good reason. Now, we simply wait to see how things transpire. There will, of course, be a flood of books soon, and this certainly is a case study for Philip Jenkins' book "The Next Christendom." (Read this excerpt from The Atlantic magazine).

This semester has been so full that just about everything else has been push out of my mind. I may, possibly, be able to get back to normal for a short bit, at least until spring semester begins. If I do not write until after the New Year - Happy Holidays (Merry Christmas) and have a very good New Year!

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The latest communication from one of the angry Anglican Provincials: this is on the AAC website.

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Okay, if you are from

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Okay, if you are from Detroit, go here!. You may not like it, but if we cannot laugh at ourselves, what's the point. No, I am not from Detroit, but I went to college at Bowling Green State University and visited Detroit several times - close enough.

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Over! It is all over!

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Over! It is all over! I took my last final this morning and it is all over!!!! Well, for this semester, anyway. Here is one of the questions we had to address:

We have addressed the topic of Christian monotheism this semester, and its implications for other aspects of Christian belief and practice. Write an essay in which you lay out your understanding of Christian monotheism, relating it to:
a. the natural world as creation
b. the human person as moral agent and social being, and
c. the presence of sin and evil in creation

I know we are supposed to be thinking theologically by now, and the question is a good integrating question, but when I have 45 minutes to deal with this question and we have never address monotheism in relation to the three particulars in class or in the readings, it ain't easy. But, it is OVER!

On a lighter note, I found out what kind of gay I am.

Butch
WOW! What a surprise! You're "Mr. Butch
Masculine Queer." You'd pretty much be
straight if you didn't like boys. Sometimes you
try to hard to look/act/be
"masculine" And sometimes it's
natural. You are every fairy bottom's dream man


What kind of queer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Okay. That's it.


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Conservative Episcopalians will not like the information coming from Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold concerning "alternative episcopal oversight." From the Episcopal News Service:


12/5/2003

Griswold says Canterbury wants a solution within ECUSA for unhappy parishes

by Jan Nunley

031205-2

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church needs to work out matters of "extended episcopal ministry" within its own provincial borders, and unhappy congregations should not expect "direct intervention" by anyone outside the Episcopal Church in the United States--including the archbishop of Canterbury, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold has written in a December 5 letter to the Church's House of Bishops.

Griswold met with his Council of Advice, a team of bishops elected from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church, in New York December 2-3. The council, which elected Louisiana Bishop Charles Jenkins as its new president, includes bishops Lloyd Allen (Honduras), Harry Bainbridge (Idaho), Richard Chang (Hawaii), Wendell Gibbs (Michigan), Robert Ihloff (Maryland), James Jelinek (Minnesota), Chilton Knudsen (Maine), Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana), and Jack McKelvey (Rochester).

"What they had to say confirmed much of what I have been hearing from you and others about the life we share in Christ and the complexities of the present moment," Griswold wrote.

Thanking the bishops for their "sacrificial expenditure of yourselves" in listening and serving as "ministers of interpretation and encouragement," Griswold alluded to his own struggles in the aftermath of General Convention's decisions to ratify the ordination of a gay priest as New Hampshire's bishop coadjutor and acknowledge the practice of blessing same-gender relationships. "I have certainly had my burdens to bear as well, though in a somewhat different way, and have had to experience the deep sadness of relationships becoming impaired or broken," he wrote. "At the same time I find an unexpected confidence stirring within me, and look ahead with a hope not of my own making."

No direct intervention

He then outlined the process for discussion of the draft plan for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care, which was circulated on October 31. The document is to be discussed at the provincial meetings of bishops.

Reactions to the draft and any implementation already underway will be taken up at the bishops' meeting in March 2004.

Griswold pointed out that the draft was also sent to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. "I have been in consultation with the Archbishop, and in a conversation earlier this week he made it clear that the responsibility for working out a form of extended episcopal ministry lies within our province," he said. "Indeed, the consultation envisaged in the statement of the primates following our October meeting is precisely that and does not involve some kind of direct intervention on his part." Calls for such direct intervention, either by Williams or the primates, have been made by various conservative groups within the Episcopal Church.

"The matter of Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care in the Episcopal Church is clearly the responsibility of our bishops--to whom is given the ministry of oversight--and we are obliged to treat it with full seriousness. It is my firm belief that by exercising generosity and pastoral sensitivity in a spirit of trust we can meet the needs of all of our congregations," Griswold went on. "I note here how important it is for all of us who hold jurisdiction to be full partners in this work, regardless of our points of view. The various speculations about alternative structures and realignments are unhelpful and draw us away from the hard work we must do together in order to be faithful as chief pastors to all of our people, and to honor our call to be ministers of Christ¹s reconciling love."

-- The Rev. Jan Nunley is deputy director of Episcopal News Service.

Conservative Episcopalians who are breaking away from the Church (not their understanding of things!) will not be happy with Presiding Bishop Griswold's statement concerning direct intervention by various primates from around the world. Read the Episcopal News Service article.


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Go here and listen to

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Go here and listen to this guy's sound files! His name is Ed Shepp. Have fun.

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It is amazing that with

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It is amazing that with just one mistake, I can become so discouraged so quickly. This just isn't like me. I arrived at the HealthCare Chaplaincy offices at 4:00 pm today for a CPE interview. I looked at the e-mail detailing the address and noticed that my interview was actually at 10:00 am this morning. My e-mail confirming the appointment has the correct time - 10:00 am. I don't know how I screwed up on this, but it is not a good thing. I have to do CPE this summer, or else everything is up in the air concerning ordination. CPE fills up quickly. When I realized I screwed up, my whole mood just plummeted.

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Bare with me for a

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Bare with me for a moment. This could be fun!

I want everyone to know that I have been designated a "Secular Humanist!" Yes, it is true, by taking the "Worldview Test" offered by "Worldview Weekends," sponsored by the "American Family Association," it has been determined that I am a secular humanist.

Here is what I propose: get as many people as possible to take their test to skew the results so that the statistics they are collecting reflect a more balanced reflection of Christianity and the American public. Also, it will drive them crazy - suddenly all these people, perhaps a majority depending on how well this goes, are designated "Secular Humanists" or worst! Yes, American is going to hell-in-a-hand-basket because of all these anti-God secular humanists, socialists, and communists. Terrible!

So, here is the webpage. Take the time to fill out the survey and let's get their panties all in a bunch as we show them that the majority of Christians in America do not support their extreme opinions.

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/test/register

By the way, the instrument they have constructed is horrible, terrible, unbelievably unscientific, so just remember that. It could drive some of you crazy!

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It is snowing - a

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It is snowing - a lot!

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There are so many things going on right now that I want to chronicle, but I have no time to do it. Writing about past events far from their happening just isn't the same, but I'm going to have to.

Two papers down, and one long one to go. The analysis of my field-placement parish is the longest paper, but the least research oriented. Once that is done, I'm ready for Reading Week, and then exams.

I have to be concerned about the CPE application process, financial aid forms, and scheduling classes for next term. I need to make arrangements for a dentist appointment while I'm back in Ohio. Forget Christmas cards - they just ain't happenin' again this year. And, I have not even begun to think about Christmas presents.

It really is too back I cannot write as much as I would like - not that the writing is good at all, but it helps me remember and reflect on the past and see how I've changed.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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