Skott Freedman’s new album, The Cottage Sessions, is just great. I started listening to him when he truly was just a little older than a kid (18 or 19). With this album, his voice, lyrics, and music in general have matured – but it is all still very much Skott Freedman.
There is a great commentary by Derek Olsen over at Episcopal Cafe about his experience in and thoughts on Anglo-Catholicism. It is very good, in my humble opinion, and gets at much in my own thoughts about a way forward for this Church and this Communion.
Read it here: Anglo-Catholicism: what the heck is it?
To be a catholic Anglican all must first begin with prayer, the heart of the ancient Christian Disciplines, the Tradition, that has survived the eons through persecution and trial, through many different cultures and languages. Derek calls us to act like catholic Anglicans more than just fight or debate or divide over it all. Absolutely! He asks whether we actually practice this faith we proclaim to believe in. Absolutely!
For the Red Hook Project and the ImagoDei Society, the heart of my thought for both is a way to return to the simplicity of the Christian Disciplines, as difficult as they are to consistently practice in these days within this culture and context, and see what God does within us as we do. We will be transformed, and there is no way around it. Do we have the guts? Do we have the desire? Do we have the intention and a persistent enough devote to live them out?
I don’t know how many people have heard or read about the gay-bashing of a 49 year old man, Jack Price, in Queens a couple weeks ago. You know, sitting here in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan and having this story all over the news in all of NYC, I just realized that the incident barely registered on my radar. I don’t quite know what that says about me – too busy, too expectant of gay-bashing incidents even in New York City, hardness of heart towards or numbness for victims, cynicism about whether our society will ever get beyond such things (and I mean really get be on them, not just having Political Correctness forced upon too many people that brings nothing much more than a shut down in honest dialogue and real education than the changing peoples’ hearts and minds) – I just don’t know.
Well, here I am, and over in Queens a guy had to be put into a medically induced coma in order to survive.
A brief article in the NY Times.
I was going through some old photos on Sunday and came across some old Web addresses. One of them was for a website started and operated by a guy I met years ago through Soulforce, so I tried to see if it still existed. It did, and on the splash screen was an update on the guy attacked in Queens entitled “Idiots for Christ.” Here is the picture from a channel 7 (ABC-NYC) news segment that was posted on the website. Watch the full video of the news piece, with the interview of this guy.
What in the world would possess a straight guy in New York City to be tattooed with this verse? This guy, Gelmy, was defending his friend, one of the guys arrested for beating Jack Price. Why would someone get that particular verse tattooed on his arm? Alright, he may have a thing against gay people, but to go to the extreme of permanently tattooing such a thing on your arm where it will be exposed often is beyond me.
And, yes, this is the natural outcome of all the anti-gay Religious Right rhetoric that has been going on for the past 20 years. When you scape-goat a population, that population gets screwed. As much as the Religious Right organizations and leaders want to claim that their anti-gay stuff is all about saving souls and society, it is about power and money. There are those who have real theological positions opposed to homosexuality, but the Religious Right groups are unprincipled and dishonest and are not made up of these people.
The attack was caught on a surveillance video.
Well, it seems that Rome has made a new provision for Anglicans wishing to align with Rome, but maintain Anglican traditions. There has been talk of this over the past year and many believed that nothing would come of it. This perception primarily came from more liberal minded Episcopalians and Anglicans who tend to refuse to consider that their actions are in fact a primary cause of the troubles of these past six years (with, of course, the schismatic “conservatives” who are acting more like congregationalist American Evangelicals than Anglicans).
The new Catholic church structures, called Personal Ordinariates, will be units of faithful established within local Catholic Churches, headed by former Anglican prelates who will provide spiritual care for Anglicans who wish to be Catholic.
They would most closely resemble Catholic military ordinariates, special units of the church established in most countries to provide spiritual care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents.
Levada declined to give figures on the number of requests that have come to the Vatican, or on the anticipated number of Anglicans who might take advantage of the new structure.
The new canonical provision allows married Anglican priests and even seminarians to become ordained Catholic priests â€” much the same way that Eastern rite priests who are in communion with Rome are allowed to be married. However, married Anglicans couldn’t become Catholic bishops.
The Vatican announcement immediately raised questions about how the Vatican’s long-standing dialogue with the Archbishop of Canterbury could continue.
However, the Vatican’s archbishop of Westminster and Williams issued a joint statement saying the decision “brings an end to a period of uncertainty” for Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic Church. The statement said the decision in fact could not have happened had there not been such fruitful dialogue between the two.
I came across this interesting comment by “Freddie” over at “The League of Ordinary Gentlemen” concerning his frustration as an a-theist with anti-theists. He is responding to another interview with Richard Dawkins at Salon.com.
Read, “A-still does not imply Anti-“
I agree with Freddie when we suggests (my take on what he writes) that anti-theists are similar to religious evangelists. I’ve often said that there are anti-religion people that are as fundamentalistic as those they so vociferously oppose.
The following quote from Freddie is very telling, I think.
“But there is an elementary consonance between evangelist religion and evangelist antitheism that I find inarguable, that both insist that their adherents have duties and responsibilities that are a product of their theological stance. I chafed early and often against the social expectations of atheism for a simple reason: I dislike being a foot soldier. I cannot work my mind to the headspace necessary to believe that emptiness insists that we must be conscripted into a grand cultural war. I have said before that the real benefit of being an atheist is that you never have to get up early to go to church or temple. I say that only partly in jest: to me, what makes atheism attractive as a practical matter is that it requires nothing of me. It asks me to observe no sacraments. It imposes no ideology on me. It provokes me to do nothing and leaves me only to live in a way consonant with my conditional and contingent values.”
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan and the Daily Dish
I haven’t done this in a very long time, but for a while there were several bloggers who posted their first 10 songs that randomly played when their iPods were put on “Shuffle.”
So, here are my first 10 from today:
1. 30 Seconds to Mars, from album 30 Seconds to Mars, song – “End of the Beginning”
2. Eastmountainsouth, Eastmountainsouth, “The Ballad of Yong Alban and Amandy”
3. Sacha Sachet, Lovers & Leaders, “What You Are”
4. Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Toward Ecstasy, “Mary”
5. Aimee Mann, Whatever, “Way Back When”
6. Coldplay, Parachutes, “Track2”
7. Norah Jones, Feels Like Home, “Don’t Miss You at All”
8. Doug Barr, The Sickle & The Sheath, “Stranger in This Land”
9. Underworld, Beaucoup Fish, “Push Upstairs”
10. Welcome Wagon, Welcome to the World, “Sold! To The Nice Rich Man”
There is (or perhaps by this time was) a very interesting discussion on the changing aspect of authority as we move from a hierarchical construct to a networked construct of social relating.
Read it here.
I wonder, though, not with the fact that we are transitioning into a “networked” society, particularly among the younger folk, but whether the interpretation of what that means is significantly different between those who observe the phenomena (particularly Baby-Boomers, but also older GenX’ers) and those who are living it.
One commenter stated:
“I think that fitting into the equation today is credibility. For younger people, and, really, most of the western world, if one has no credibility, one has no authority. That goes for the church, too.” (James)
Most of Anglicanism takes upon itself the Catholic understanding of the office and ministry of bishop, but unlike other jurisdictions our bishops’ authority rests more with persuasion and positive influence (when it is positive) and not princely or dictatorial rule, as do, say, United Methodist or Roman Catholic bishops.
There is a review by Mark Galli, An Evangelical Lament, of a new book written by journalist Warren Cole Smith entitled, A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church. I’ve just finished reading Frank Schaeffer’s, Crazy for God, and his recounting of his and his father’s (Francis Schaeffer) influence on the rise of the Religious Right and his subsequent disillusionment with the movement. I’ve noticed more and more books that more negatively critique the current American religious landscape dominated by the politicized Religious Right of American-Evangelicalism, and now this book.
I think they are all right in the basic critique that something has gone terribly wrong with the expression of American Christianity. That is no surprise to anyone I talk to about this subject or to those who may have read this blog from time-to-time.
Part of my work in the development of the ImagoDei Society and the Red Hook Project is devoted to finding ways to regain once again the central mission of the Church – the Cure of Souls – and to simply call people to and help bring about reconciliation between God and people and between people, period. Mainline Christianity from the 1960’s through the mid-80’s lost that imperative with the rise of the Social Gospel when liberal sociopolitical ideology overwhelmed theology (liberal or otherwise) within the predominate mainline denominations. Evangelical Christianity lost that imperative from the mid- 80’s through the turn of the century with the rise of the Religious Right as neo-Conservative sociopolitical ideology has overwhelmed Evangelical Christianity in America. What, then, can we do to regain the central focus of the Church, God’s call to us for reconciliation of soul and life, without descending into yet another “liberal” or “conservative” trap? That is the challenge.
Here are a couple paragraphs from the review:
In writing about what he calls “the Christian-industrial complex,” Smith estimates that $50 million a year is collected and distributed to copyright holders of contemporary worship songs. And he notes that whereas in the past, theologians and trained church musicians determined what songs would go into hymnbooks, now it’s “what gets played on Christian radio [that] gets promoted to church musicians and church leaders.”
As Smith sums up, “As we pursue these industrial models of ministry, industry thrives, but ministry is weakened. One of the ironies we’re beginning to see is that â€¦ even the world wants the church to be the church. It is the church that doesn’t want to be the church. That’s the core problem.”
Here is a review by Gary Haywood in The Charlotte World. A couple paragraphs
Joel Osteen’s effervescent smile to the contrary, all is not well in American Evangelicalism. If you grew up evangelical, or spent all your Christian life in that domain, you might, like the proverbial frog in the kettle, not know how influenced by American culture modern American Evangelicalism is. Warren Cole Smith, veteran journalist and fellow evangelical traveler, is our guide to how accomodative and consumeristic we evangelicals are in relation to culture.
Evangelicals are also often guilty of a new provincialism. Provincialism usually means our outlook is narrowly determined by our small localized setting. For evangelicals, our narrowness is due to being stuck only in the “now.” Regarding seeker-friendly churches that are seeking earnestly to be relevant, Smith states,”Everything about these new churches reflects the rootless, existential, modernist condition of the world.” Smith says that such evangelicals are so into the “ever present now” that they are disconnected from the lessons of history, (what C. S. Lewis called the “clean sea breezes of the past.”) (I wonder – could this be the reason that some thoughtful evangelicals have been attracted to Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, or even Roman Catholicism? It does bring to mind Joseph Sobran’s comment that he “had rather be in a church that is 500 years behind the times that one that is five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing, trying to catch up.”)
For the last six years, I’ve been avidly following the political, social, and ecclesial meanderings of so many people dealing with our current Episcopal Church (TEC) crisis. Like Christianity itself, there has never been a time when all was well in either Anglicanism or TEC or when everyone agreed, but during these past six years I have come to the conclusion that much of the problem, at least in this country, is generational. The most ardent of both those who are organizing a new denomination (in very American-Evangelical fashion, but not at all by Anglican-Evangelical norms, since Anglican-Evangelicals understand that Anglicans of whatever strip are Catholic) and those who will snub their nose at the worldwide Communion are generally of a generation.
Six years past, a whole lot of typing and argument and mental and emotional turmoil, and I’ve determined to let go of this whole thing. Those whose purpose in life is to fight and destroy in all their vainglory can go right on doing so. I don’t want to play any longer, basically because no real good is coming of any of it. Those who are determined, will be determined, and will do what they will do.
For me, I am sidestepping all this and returning to intention, persistence, humility, and simplicity as I strive to live out the Way of Jesus Christ. If this Church is ever to regain its balance (for surely it is out of balance now and getting more so everyday), the next generations will make it happen. Of course each generation will have its problems, but this present generation is worthy of an asterisk in the history books. The next generations are not out to usher in the Age of Aquarius or remake all things old into their new and sparkly image. So, while we will eventually winnow out the bad from the good contributions of this present generation, during that time of transfer of authority we will realize continued decline and the rebuilding will be all the more difficult. With God’s help, it will be so. Of course, what I just wrote smacks of generational arrogance, but for this piece I will claim myself to be a Baby Boomer, even though I am on the cusp and really regard myself as an X’er.
I am hoping that the ImagoDei Society and its ministries and the doing and thinking of the Red Hook Space will be the realization of a different way of doing things, that are really the very old ways of the Faith from generations past to generations present.
I’ve spent the last two weeks on vacation, first with my brother, dad, and brother-in-law salmon fishing in Alaska. The first photo above, with me on the left (then Todd, Dad, and Tony), was taken with the Childs Glacier and Copper River in the background). The second photo is during a sunrise with fog surrounding everything, the third photo is mist rising off the Miles Glacier, and the final photo is me with two salmon caught in the Eyak River.
Then, I it was down to Portland, OR, to see two old friends. Steve was my best friend in High School, and I hadn’t seen him for nearly 29 years. While our time together was brief, it was wonderful reconnecting with him. Our lives lived were and are very different. He has a 23 and a 21 year old sons (I think those are the correct ages). He is a successful family man. His kids grew up in the same house – they have a real home. My life has been all over the place, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both kinds of lives. I was honestly surprised by how our memories differed on a variety of things. He talked about significant events that I don’t remember for the life of me, and the same with some of my memories.
Russ I met and grew to know while living in Akron and working at Kent. We went through a variety of personal things together and he became one of the people with whom I can share very personal things. Not quite a confessor, but a friend with whom I can confess. Not quite a spiritual director, but a friend with whom I can struggle through the faith. I am challenged by him and encouraged. My contact with Russ lessened dramatically when I left for New York and he ended up in Texas, and two years ago to Portland.
One thing I envied of Ashton was his life-long friendships. He is still good friends with and in regular contact with friends he developed in his latter elementary school days. To have people who have known you for so long and through all the stuff of life we suffer through, to be so well known, to be so comfortable with people must be a wonderful thing. I can sense that kind of wonderful from only the edges. I’m terrible at keeping up with people… that is my fault. I also know that many of my closest friends from years past would not easily abide with where I have landed concerning orientation and faith. Such is life, I suppose.