Monday 28 November 2011 at 4:55 pm
The question I have been wrestling with since taking the Chair has been this: how to strengthen and lead Aff Cath so that it can again be seen as a vehicle for the renewal of a confident Anglican Catholicism
Fr Jonathan Clark SCP
Naff-Cath, De-Cath, Affirming Catholicism gets it in the neck quite a lot.
Perhaps in being 'Affirming' it has represented a breadth of theology and practice that not all inclusive Catholic minded Anglicans have felt comfortable engaging with. Along with the SCP it has struggled to affirm what Catholic Anglican identity is - Theological? Spiritual? Liturgical? Is it about being in a Catholic parish or about being a Catholic in the parish?
Rather like the debates around Anglican Evangelicals staying or going in the late 60's we can hope and pray that this crisis of identity leads to a renewal over the next 50 years. As the Church of England moves increasingly towards an Open Evangelical consensus, Inclusive Catholics can support the full ministry of women whilst working hard for Sacramental Renewal and mission. The issue of sexuality is more difficult, but we can only be honest about our theological method. These ideas are hardly new on this blog.
So it is very positive to read this:
The calling of Aff Cath, I suspect, is not to try to become an all-encompassing body for everything bearing the progressive Catholic ‘label’. But maybe we are called to provide a focus and a catalyst for a more explicit, courageous re-statement of our belief in the Church as a sacramental body.
Fr Jonathan Clark SCP
Elsewhere in the same 2011 report Ian Mobsby writes:
I for one hope that Anglican Catholics can recover some optimism and faith in the tradition, to be able to reach out to the emerging post-secular generation of un-churched spiritual searchers who are seeking for that transformative spiritual experience which will hopefully lead into encounter of the Christian God. Experience leading to understanding …
You can download the full report from the website here.
Sunday 27 November 2011 at 8:52 pm
Hisasurani Bunoshima Sashite
With a single heart
Devoting myself to nothing else
It gives me bliss to pull on the oars
For the Island of Karate-do
The 31-syllable abstract Japanese poem or Tanka was written by one of the 19th century founders of the Japanese Islands Martial art. It can be translated in many ways, an alternative being
Forgetting mundane things
When striving for the martial isle
Paddling is joy
Its interpretation can be both practical and metaphorical.
Many Clergy are notoriously grumpy at Christmas. It is a busy time of year when commercial, liturgical and family pressures all seem to be pulling in different directions. Advent gets lost in the hubbub of Nativity’s and Carols. I know some who have tried to enforce the season, resisting the singing of Christmas carols ‘til after the day itself. Advent becomes a liturgical bah humbug response to the early festivities that assail it. ‘Merry Christmas Parson!’ a ‘Holy Advent to you’ comes the reply. But Advent is not a little Lent.
I was recently asked to describe the season of Advent for someone was completely un-churched
Tuesday 22 November 2011 at 2:10 pm
Over on a New Frontiers Theology blog the following statement has caused some frustration:
Within evangelicalism, four main lines of interpretation can be discerned. (Outside of evangelicalism, the response is fairly simple – Paul was a sexist simpleton who didn’t know any better; we’ve been enlightened now, so we should ignore him – although one wonders if the catastrophic track record of post-1960s white people when it comes to marriage will cause this approach to lose its lustre).
Following Dave Warnock’s comment and post the text was changed to ‘can be all too simple’, and in the responses Andrew Wilson the author recognised that ‘many non-evangelicals, particularly Catholics, would not see it that way at all.’
For those of us who see the landscape of world Christianity in sacramental terms, Orthodox, Oriental, Catholic and other Western Sacramental churches (including a good chunk of Anglicanism, Methodism and Reformed Churches) the tone of the original statement is bound to raise hackles. It reminds me very much of an undergraduate division of Christianity into (Sound) Evangelical and (Dodgy) Liberal ignoring the history of the Spirit’s witness in wider Evangelicalism let alone the Apostolic church. Clark Pinnock spoke of a Reformed Hegemony in Evangelicalism and he wasn’t referring to the URC. For the record I do not see Anglicanism as the centre of world Christianity, but drawing and yearning towards a common source that is hard to define.
But the more important question is how do non-Evangelicals see Paul?
Sunday 20 November 2011 at 1:39 pm
Not as you may think the bishops brave statement on benefit capping - although as a colleague of mine pointed out on Twitter the Bishops do not apply the same logic to clergy on single incomes with large families via Stipend top up.
Rather Bishop Richard’s pastoral letter on the Eucharist found here.
Although seen as a warning to those who use the Roman Rite that the Bishop does not support the use of the new translation as it further distances such parishes from the agreed English texts found in Common Worship, the Bishop makes a number of other clear points.
Bishop Richard affirms the real presence as basic Christian Orthodoxy, recognises the Reformers belief in the centrality of the Eucharist and questions the practice of Churches which side line the sacrament. This blog has made the same arguments many times.
Bishop Richard also outlines a sacramental understanding where each celebration is:
in solidarity with the bishop … that means offering every Eucharist in communion with the Diocesan Bishop and the appropriate Area Bishop.
This too is my understanding and why I struggle to support the legislation for female episcopacy as it stands, because I fear it fails to fully acknowledge that the Diocesan Bishop as kephale – head and source of all the sacraments offered by presbyters in Communion with her.
I firmly support the ordination of women to the episcopate, yet if we are also to seek to include those who cannot accept that women can be bishops I hope it is in a way that respects the broader understanding of episcopacy that I and other catholics share with them. As the Archbishops proposed, if all are to be included, then Diocesan Bishops and the whole church must make painful sacrifices.
Which leads me to wonder if as a church we are not thinking the implications of our practice through to our theology.
Wednesday 16 November 2011 at 12:34 pm
A Personal Journey
This article documents six experiences of church, six shapes of church, that were in some way emerging from their context. Some of the shapes have links to further articles that are not accessible from the main blog.
Thursday 10 November 2011 at 3:51 pm
Twitter has been on fire with discussion relating to clergy dress, both liturgical and every day. A number of folks have got quite hot under the collar (I am so sorry).
I have worked in a range of socio-economic contexts and the only folks I have ever known to object to clergy collars are … other Christians.
The history of the modern Clergy Collar goes back to The Rev. Dr Donald Mcleod - a Presbyterian in Scotland. From here it was adopted by other clergy. Roman Catholic Priests (and some Anglicans) traditionally wore cassocks as day wear, but they too have adopted the clerical collar, with cassock like black bands. Personally I see a black suit and such a collar as a more practical alternative to wearing the cassock every day.
The purpose of this distinctive dress is to ensure the ordained ministers of the Church are visible and available in the community. It is also a clear reminder that those ordained are not ordained because they are better Christians, more spiritual or more gifted than others, but because they are called. As Hebrew’s 5 reminds us – sinners – Priests in Weakness.
In my experience those who are opposed to clerical collars tend to have a different model of ministry. Yet I would follow my friend on Twitter who said:
I assume priests are finely tuned because they do God 24/7, but not superhuman
Which brings us to Jesus: Jesus ministered as fully human and fully God (and I have already explored the Hyper Kenotic heresy), but how did Jesus dress?
Tuesday 08 November 2011 at 12:00 am
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
The image of the wedding feast is one that re-occurs throughout the New Testament. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding in Cana, and Revelation draws to a close with the wedding feast of the lamb. It is a picture of intimacy with God, a consummation, of which the Eucharist, the Holy Communion we share on earth is a foretaste.
Weddings were no more a simple affair in the 1st century than they are today. The process would begin with an agreement between bride and groom with a dowry paid to the parents of the groom. The couple were then engaged for a year, the state Mary was in when she was found with child. Then it is thought that the bride and groom would be united for the marriage. The groom would arrive with his friends as torchbearers at the bride’s parental home - often late at night. The bride would be led with her bridesmaids, joining a procession to the bridegroom’s home. Here the wedding feast would take place, lasting many days, with the couples’ friends and family providing provision for the feast and joining them at different times. These events drew in the whole community in celebration with the newlyweds, they were public and shared.
Whilst Cana, Revelation and the Eucharist speak of the third stage - the wedding feast, the parable of the lamps speaks of that second stage. It is a parable of readiness and preparation.