On the Resurrection and history

From N.T. Wright (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. III)

“Proposing that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead was just as controversial nineteen hundred years ago as it is today.” (10)
“There was once a king who commanded his archers to shoot at the sun. His strongest bowmen, using their finest equipment tried all day; but their arrows fell short, and the sun continued unaffected on its course. All night the archers polished and refeathered their arrows, and the next day they tried again, with renewed zeal; but still their efforts were in vain. The king became angry, and uttered dark threats. On the third day the youngest archer, with the smallest bow, came at noon to where the king sat before a pond in his garden. There was the sun, a golden ball reflected in the still water. With a single shot the lad pierced it at its heart. The sun splintered into a thousand glittering fragments.
“All the arrows of history cannot reach God. There may, of course, be some meanings of the word ‘god’ that would allow such a being to be set up like a target in a shooting-gallery, for historians to take pot-shots at. The more serious a pantheist someone is, the more likely they will be to suppose that in studying the course of events within the natural world they are studying their god. But the god of Jewish tradition, the god of Christian faith, and indeed the god of Muslim devotion (whether these be three or one does not presently concern us) are simply not that kind of god. The transcendence of the god(s) of Judaism, Christianity and Islam provides the theological equivalent of the force of gravity. The arrows of history are doomed to fall short.
“And yet. Deep within both Jewish and Christian tradition there lies a rumour that an image, a reflection, of the one true god has appeared within the gravitational field of history. This rumour, running from Genesis through the Wisdom tradition, and then into Jewish beliefs about Torah on the one hand and Christian beliefs about Jesus on the other, may yet offer a way for the circle to be squared, for the cake to be both eaten and possessed, for the transcendence of this god to come within bowshot.” (11)


The traditional understanding of the Anglican three-legged stool comprises: Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. Some may re-order the list – Anglo-Catholics may put Tradition first, Anglican-Evangelicals will leave Scripture first, and liberals or progressives may place Reason in the first slot. Wesley, to his death an Anglican priest and early in his life an Anglo-Catholic, added a fourth element: Experience.
The “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” thus comprises: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. I think this may be a more realistic and frankly accurate portrayal of how people come to belief and understanding, at least in the Anglican tradition, within which I include Wesley (and Methodism in general, although they have abandoned the more sacramental and liturgically catholic notions).
The Episcopal Church likes to think of itself as the “thinking person’s church,” because we are not fundamentalist, and we allow for a messy openness as we attempt to know and discern God and God’s will for this world. There is an allowance for diverse opinions, theologies, pieties, and practices within certain boundaries of our common prayer. At least that is the theory. What I have come to realize through study and by antidotal evidence is that because Experience generally is not included in the Anglican system, many Episcopalians do not have an experiential faith, an experiential relationship with God/Jesus. They have a belief system to ascent to, a pattern to follow, a method of seeking, but with not much behind all that. They see the edges of the forest and trees and attempt to explain it all, but never enter into the forest. They learn about the man from a distance, but never know him personally.
So, we read all these different theologies and theories of the origin and development of scripture, of God, of salvation, etc., and it all becomes so anthropocentric. New theories and new formulations of Christ, of God, of humankind, of belief, of evidence, of anything just so that it is different than traditional understandings of all these things. They are welcome in the mix of thought and practice of Anglicanism.
Yet, without experience, these theories often destroy the faith of people. Without an experiential relationship with God – the reality of it – they are all just theories, just good lessons, just nice ways to live, all is reconfigured and reformulated and reinterpreted to fit into a cosmology that cannot allow for anything other than the material.
I can read all these different theologies and say, well, that there may be aspects of truth in each and they may all contribute to our overcoming the fact that we see through a glass dimly. However, my faith is not a bit shaken when I encounter a theologian who reconfigures the resurrection story to be just that – a story told by primitive peoples attempting to understand life and to hand-down their understanding to their children. My faith is not a bit shaken when the Jesus Seminar strips scripture of almost any authenticity concerning the human Jesus and his sayings, his mission, and his understanding of himself, let alone being God incarnate.
I experience the reality of scripture, it seems because I believe that scripture can be true. Consider the lilies of the valley and the birds of the air – I have experienced the provision of God in ways beyond just coincidence or good fortune or luck. Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds – I experience this. The joy of the Lord is my strength – I experience such things. I sense the presence of God in my quite-time, during worship, as I mumble through prayer (yes, “senses” and “feelings” can be fickle and deceiving). The psalmists wrote from their hearts to God and about God – I have experienced and realized so much of what they write. I experience God, and nothing a theorist postulates to explain away the wellspring, the source, the beginning point of these experiences traditionally understood has yet to convince me that my experiences have not been valid or true. To some the gift of healing, to others the gift of tongues and some others, prophesy – I have experienced such things.
Jonah and the whale – who knows? The lessons are valid, the lessons are knowable, and whether historically or literally true or not, they all speak of relationship with God and the writers’ experiences with God, not simply an attempt to understand the world.
Too many people cannot believe in a god who is personal – a god who is experiential. They cannot believe because they do not allow for such a thing. There are many reasons why they cannot believe, I know, but I hear over and over again how this or that person read this or that certain theologian and suddenly their faith is shattered and they descend into this funk, and then they can no longer believe.
It is more than the Dark Night of the Soul. I think it is anyway. It certainly resembles such a thing, but what are the origins of the experience? God? Man?
I am so glad I began my spiritual life in a system that emphasized the experiential nature of God, descendents of Wesley, because if I started in the intellectualism of much of the Episcopal Church that puts far too much emphasis on the reason leg of the stool, I donÂ’t know whether I would be a Christian right now. I might be a Christian through the ascent to a belief system, but I donÂ’t think I would know and be with my Father in Heaven.


I have said repeatedly of late that I do not know what has happened to the Republican party. Well, I do know, it has been taken over, but I am perplexed that so many in the party have allowed it to be taken over.
More Republicans are asking the same question, and are determining to do something about it, if it isn’t too late already. The party is no longer “conservative,” unless one wants to define “conservative” to mean only that which deals with morals and family values as defined by a small group of men and women who lead American para-church organizations.
The following essay was written by Garrison Keillor. If sums up some of what I feel, although I do not necessarily agree with everything he writes. Here it is…
We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore
by Garrison Keillor
“Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The
genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned–and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

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the dark night

The Dark Night
by: St. John of the Cross
“On a night of darkness,
In love’s anxiety of longing kindled,
O blessed chance!
I left by none beheld,
My house in sleep and silence stilled.
In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder and disguised,
O blessed venture!
In darkness and concealed,
My house is sleep and silence stilled.
By dark of blessed night,
In secrecy, for no one saw me
And I regarded nothing,
My only light and guide
The one that in my heart was burning.
This guided, led me on
More surely than the radiance of noon
To where there waited one
Who was to me well known,
And in a place where no one came in view.
O night, you were the guide!
O night more desirable than dawn!
O dark of night you joined
Beloved with belov’d one,
Belov’d one in Beloved now transformed!
Upon my flowering breast,
Entirely kept for him and him alone,
There he stayed and slept
And I caressed him
In breezes from the fan of cedars blown.
Breezes on the battlements –
As I was spreading out his hair,
With his unhurried hand
He wounded my neck
And all my sense left suspended there.
I stayed, myself forgotten,
My countenance against my love reclined;
All ceased, and self forsaken
I left my care behind
Among the lilies, unremembered.”
Here, John writes of rejoicing in his union with God by the path of spiritual negation. Very sensual, which is common among the mystics.
There have been times past when the sense of God’s presence and my great desire for God have been so great, that I have experienced spiritually, emotionally, and physically such things – such passion, such… I just don’t know how to describe it.
That was a good while past. I don’t know whether the passion has waned, whether the desire is gone, or maybe just different now.


Off to Baltimore again this year for Thanksgiving. I could sense that my mother really wanted me to come home this year. All the concerns surrounding my grandmother and the problems concerning my uncle, my mother’s brother, do nothing but add to her frustration and worry. She wanted to come to New York – she would have loved to have seen the balloons being inflated or even gone the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. That is not happening, and this is my last year here. They will be at my grandmother’s for Thanksgiving.
Maybe I should have gone, but part of me just can’t. Selfish? Maybe so. I will have an incredible Thanksgiving meal. I will be in a place that is so relaxing. I will be with people I am comfortable enough with, although…
Another Thanksgiving. What am I honestly thankful for? Am I far too removed from real life to stop, even for a moment, to think and be thankful?


I have a great view of the children’s garden a few stories below my bedroom window. The toddlers and kids up to around three or so are out there playing, and I heard one crying, only half paying attention.
I looked out my window and saw one of the kids just hugging another one and patting her on the back. She did this for a good bit of time, releasing and hugging again. After it ended, the hugee wiped her eyes and they went back to playing.
Kids are amazing things!

The name “Griffith”

I have a more reputable source for the mean and origin of the surname, “Griffith.” I heard from another Griffith years ago that the name was Welsh and stood for “red headed tribal chieftain.” Thatç—´ a lot of description for one little word.
So, according to The Family Chronicle, here is the definition:
Griffith is British-Welsh and comes from the middle Welsh “Gruffund;” “und” means lord. The name is taken from or based upon the first name of the ancestor’s father, which makes it patronymic.
And, according to The Sweetest Sound from PBS, it is number 358 out of a possible 55,000 of the most popular surnames in the USA. Go figure.

Ashton & Princeton

Ashton coaches the Princeton Equestrian team. Today, they were high point team and one of the women was high point rider. They won by the highest point spread in the school’s history. Ashton has been coaching them for less than a semester, but boy have they improved.
He also qualified for regional competition, on his way to nationals once again!
(There have been problems with this weblog since my website host company has some screw-up once again. I have spent all afternoon rebuilding this stupid thing, which means I have done nothing with my liturgy paper which is due tomorrow.)

Emergant Quote

I find the Emergent Church movement very interesting. From what I observe, it seems to be an organic merging of many aspects of Evangelicalism (from the children who are tired and skeptical of the Baby-Boomer Evangelicals that have created the Religious Right) and aspects of the ancient sacramental and liturgical Church. Not really like true Anglican-Evangelicalism, but not far off. Not at all like the “Anglican-Evangelicals” that have become so reactionary and appear more like the worst of “American Evangelicalism” than honestly Anglican.
There are many aspects of this nascent movement that are very appealing to me, especially as an Anglican who thinks about evangelism, and especially considering unchurched young people.
There is a sea-change afoot in the Christian religious landscape in the West and a little further out in time in the world. If we are not careful, the worse of us will be triumphant in this country. I want to help keep that from happening.
What is authentic in a personal experience of the Divine – a relationship with God (“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” as a name for God) through Jesus Christ? A different question: How do we authentically experience God and community as we worship God together – experience God in the community of faith?
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and left untried.”

G. K. Chesterton


I am tired. I’m tired of a year through which we had to deal with aftermath of Bishop Robinson’s consecration. I’m tired of a year through which we had to deal with a presidential election. I’m tired of month period where the Windsor Report was issued, and a president was elected.
I am tired of all the lies and fear mongering perpetuated by the anti-gay establishment in both the Church and the State.
I am tired of living in a society where few have really learned anything about loving one’s neighbor as one loves one’s self. Don’t you think it is about time we start honestly doing what we are called to do as Christians?