December 2009 Archives

Metric

Metric w/ front Emily Haines

Icons not Doctrines

Over at "Sarx," the author details 10 points and asks us to "Discuss." I think they are very well written concerning what is the basis, the foundation, the essential (whatever word is best) for our Christian experience. I might use a different word than "icons," only because of the Eastern understanding of them, but I get the point... and it is a good point.

Read all 10 here.

A Blessing for the Purell Ablutions

Fr. Mike Kinman, on Facebook, wrote the following. We are all using copious amounts of Purell these days. I'm sure GoJo (based in my old town of Akron, OH) is pleased, even if, as Mike mentions in the blessing, we are initiating some sort of super-virus.

Holy God, creator of all things in heaven and on earth, we give you thanks for the gift of this Purell, for ethyl alcohol, it’s active ingredient and for Isopropyl Myristate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aminoethl Proponal and other inactive ingredients whose purpose is known only to you and in files that cannot be released by the Food and Drug Administration until 2079. We humbly ask that your love and care for all creation not extend to the microbes we hope to eradicate through our sometimes fanatical and paranoid cleansing and that you guard and protect us from all superviruses we might be unleashing on the world through the same. We also beg your protection and indemnification for ourselves, Johnson and Johnson, Gojo industries and all other subsidiaries from liability and physical or spiritual damage from the use of this sanitizer. Finally, may the chemical cleansing of our hands be a an outward and visible sign of the cleansing of our hearts, and may the pungent and alcohol-laden scent waft heavenward as incense in your presence. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, who, like Purell, comes as fire and burns away all that is not worthy of surviving in your presence.

Let the church say … AMEN.

Clarification

Someone pointed out to me that she was offended by a comment I had written a while back. It came from something I wrote that dealt with the rise of promiscuity and how she interpreted my comments - that I asserted that the fault lay at the feet of women.

I want to make a clarification in case others may have interpreted what I wrote in the same way. I don't know whether I simply wrote that piece badly or whether she misinterpreted what I wrote, either way I need to clarify.

First of all, just to be clear, I in no way believe that women are separately at fault for the rise of promiscuity! Promiscuity and infidelity have been the domain of men for as long as men have been around, to our shame. As Christians, neither are esteemed as positive or appropriate behaviors or attributes.

Women had a part to play with the rise of promiscuity and infidelity, of course - it takes two to tango, after all. What I think I tried to assert before was that the female contribution to the rise came out of what I consider to be a mistaken assumption or tactic of the woman's liberation movement of the 1960's and 1970's - that for women to have equality with men, they had to take upon themselves male attributes rather than demanding that men acknowledge, respect, value, and esteem unique attributes that women can bring to the table. For women to be equal, it seemed, they had to become like men. So, as the thinking might go, since women thought that to be equal they had to become like men, they too often took upon themselves the worst of male attributes.

Or, something like that.

Funny

From Facebook, a former fellow seminarian commenting on a post by another former seminarian.

"Two strings walk into a bar, bartender says I don't serves strings here, they leave. One ties himself up and messes up his hair, walks back into the bar and says, Give me a beer. Bartender says, Hey aren't you one of those strings I threw out of here. The strings says, I'm a frayed knot."

I just cracked up!

This guy, Richard Morrison, of the Times (UK) puts it all into perspective very well in his commentary, entitled, "Nothing but sex please, we’re vicars . . ."

His concluding paragraph (I recommend reading the whole thing!):

The tragedy for the Church is that it is missing a huge opportunity. There are millions of young people out there who are disaffected from mainstream politics but equally dissatisfied with the mindless consumerism and callous selfishness of modern life. You can see that from the numbers flocking to espouse green causes, or to work for charities this Christmas. With so many youngsters thinking deeply about what’s right and wrong for the world, this should be a golden age for Christianity — the most revolutionary of religions. But while the Church renders itself a laughing-stock over sex, it hasn’t got a hope of converting the young. At the moment some leading clerics come across as befrocked weirdos with one-track minds. And I’m not talking about their belief in God.

We can't help ourselves...

We can't help ourselves, can we? Liberals or conservatives, our collective pathology just won't let us compromise and resolve our differences in ways that show forth the very different Way of Christ.

Here's the thing... we read the reactions to Canon Glasspool's election from around the world that are pretty much just the same opinions repeated from those for and those against. Maybe I'm just perceiving things wrongly, but show me the proof that we are actually making things better for those with the most to lose. ...Show me the something different that actually works to resolve and heal
and that looks much more like the Gospel rather than socio-politics. The distrustful world yawns and stays away while we keep doing the same things again and again. But, I'm surely wrong, right?

Thinking Anglicans gives a good overview of what the chattering classes and the declaring classes have to say.

"The printed prayers are no less sincere, then?" asked the Doctor.

"Not necessarily so," replied the Rector. "Any prayer may be insincere. Sincerity is not in the prayer whether written or spoken, but in the heart of him who utters it. You may be quite as lacking in the spirit of worship in merely listening to a prayer as in reading it. It depends upon an inner condition that is quite apart from the method

"Some men have the gift of prayer; others have not. There is no greater burden placed upon a minister than to utter before a congregation a prayer that really carries upward the hearts and minds of the people."

"But do the written prayers accomplish that?" asked the Doctor.

"They at least enlist every particle of the spiritual energy of the people," said the Rector. "They make the act of prayer a positive act of the person, rather than a mere act of attention. And more than that, they cover every need, every aspiration, every sorrow, every hope of human life. Every person who attends church comes with his particular burden, his especial need. The prayers range over every phase of spiritual experience. They bring comfort to the sorrowing, hope to the burdened, courage to the tempted, joy to the despondent, and forgiveness to the penitent. Everyone who comes to Church with sincerity finds in the prayers some message to his own soul. The congregation in Church is like a group of voyagers on an ocean liner. Each is going on a different errand, for a different purpose, animated by a different motive. Yet for a time they share the same great pathway of an ocean voyage and mould their varied purposes into one great experience. Our services are like that. For a time all sorts and conditions of men share a great spiritual voyage in the service, in which each finds something which blends with his individual purpose. The prayers are so sublime, so free from any but the highest sanctions, so full of the needs of our common human nature, so complete in their religious expression, that no one need seek help there and not find it.

"Moreover...

Change

There is a very good post from Mark Harris, member of Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, on his blog PRELUDIUM, entitled, "Moving from corporate governance to incorporated governance."

Is the change they perceive/believe taking place really the change that is actually happening? I disagree with Fr. Harris, I think. I posted a response on his blog, and it is below -------

This is a good post, but I want to detail some thoughts that keep rolling through my mind as I read more and more stuff from the generation currently in power. I will say from the beginning that I could be absolultely wrong, so your responses are requested and welcomed. I'm sincere in this and don't want to come across as accusatory or demeaning, even though I will probably sound like it.

To start, I read and hear again and again from Gen X/Y'ers that Baby Boomers keep insisting that they understand, but they absolutely do not - they don't listen.

What I hear in this post is the insistence that there is a move afoot from an Episcopal form of governance to what might be closer to some form of egalitarian or "congregationalist" governance seated in the Executive Council. And that the justifications for such a change are being formed by the Baby Boomers in power as if coming out of what they perceive to be going on within the younger generations (notions of "Networked Societies," being an example).

It also sounds to me too much like the Baby Boomer imperative of opposition to whatever currently is and the inclination to tear it down in order to rebuild it into their own image regardless of the consequences. I think this is a generational inclination that comes near to being an obsession.

I think that many Baby Boomers assume they understand the inclinations of later Gen X and Y'ers in their Postmodern thinking and being. It seems to me that this is often more about the taking of Gen X/Y, Postmodern sensibilities and trying to find a way to force them into hipper forms of justification for "Age of Aquarius," Modernist sensibilities. Do Baby Boomers really understand? When I hear Gen X/Y'ers who are away from Baby Boomers, they say, "No!."

I wonder whether for too many Baby Boomers, the idea of taking off the rose colored glasses warn by their generation to honestly understand Postmodernism or the younger generations' sensibilities and way of dealing with the world and one another can occur. I don't know.

This is an issue, I think, for Baby Boomers. Postmodernism is the way of thinking and understanding for later generations. Baby Boomers may well understand this objectively, but perhaps not subjectively. It is very difficult for anyone to jump out of their fundamental formational model of conceiving (enculturation). So, Baby Boomers make connections between aspects of Postmodernism and their "Age of Aquarius" notions too often wrongly. This may be more than simply the common differences experienced between generations.

Postmoderns are certainly living into "Networked Societies" and do not respond to authority in the same way as do Moderns, but Baby Boomers in their anti-establishmentarianism and rejection of the strong informing force of times past seem to insist that this means there is justification in the usurpation of power from established norms.

The problem is that Baby Boomers are now "the Man," and later generations are rebelling in their own way against them and their way of thinking - which includes the strange sense of egalitarianism that results in the pulling down of anything they don't like. How about younger generations actually preferring traditional language, liturgy, music, and architecture?

The war between the "Conservatives" and the "Progressives" in TEC, as an example, is really a battle between people of a generation. Most Postmoderns I know think it is a lot of ridiculous they way you all are acting that results in the tearing apart of TEC and traditional Anglican sensibilities. That's just what I hear.

Executive Council may well take upon itself new powers and new authorities not specifically granted to it, but what is described here as a glorious happening is not really a Postmodern reaction, but a very generationally specific Modernist one.

We are witness to the change

In an article from Christianity Today, December 2009, entitled, "A More Social Gospel: Campus ministries swap pizza for compassion."

... Advocates believe such efforts reclaim the church's true calling.

"The social message and the traditional evangelism approach go hand in hand, " said Bob Marks, recruitment specialist for Chi Alpha, an Assemblies of God ministry active on more than 200 campuses worldwide. One example: The University of California, Irvine chapter focused on human trafficking last year.

Josh Spavin, an intern with the University of Central Florida's Campus Crusade for Christ chapter, said traditional evangelism still works, but times have changed with this generation.

"Students tend to not just take it unless they experience it or see it in someone else's life," Spavin said...

Spavin said he hopes his chapter will launch an HIV/AIDS outreach with a campus gay and lesbian group...


I've been saying as I've talked about the Red Hook Project and the ImagoDei Society that our culture is moving into a pre-Constantinian environment where society and the prevailing culture are no longer "Christian" - we are Post-Christian - and that if we hope to have an impact on people or society, then they have to see something compelling and different in the lives of those of us who claim Christ. They have to witness something different about us and that we certainly are not just a mirror image of the worst of the prevailing culture.

This quote from Spavin simply is another example of this trend or idea.

I also find it very interesting that a Campus Crusade for Christ chapter would be willing to do anything with a campus gay group. Of course, if they have an underhanded goal that this will be a vehicle for them to get these homosexuals to repent and give up the "lifestyle," without a willingness to even suspect that their presumptions could be wrong, then their efforts will most certainly fall flat. If they revert to such tactics, then they will simple go backwards into a way of being that at least with these later unchurched generations does nothing but reinforce the negative image of Christians in general.

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