Friday, July 28, 2006

Love is...

I guess I’ve been contributing to a lot of anti-Liberal snipery lately. My remarks that ordaining a woman priest is akin to baptising a stone on a recent Liberal blog were true, but perhaps too terse. My main worry is that I stop speaking out of love. I am supposed to interact with all people in love observing only their humanity and not who they are. It is pertinent therefore for me to remind myself periodically of what love is and what its properties are.
According to I Corinthians xiii which I reproduce in Greek:

4 η αγαπη μακροθυμει χρηστευεται η αγαπη ου ζηλοι η αγαπη ου περπερευεται ου φυσιουται

μακροθυμει - Love is slow to anger, slow to burst into a flame of passion. This points to the lengths that God has gone to endure on behalf of humanity, and the direction we must go in coming together in God.

χρηστευεται - Love shows itself χρηστoc, literally "useful" but in a moral sense "good" or virtuous. The word χρηστoc also means "profitable" which the goodness of God always is. I believe that this points to that abundant growth in God that results from and in good works.

ου ζηλοι - In a good sense, this means zeal (Gee, where can that word come from?) or ardour such as when the young man pays court to his lady. When another captures her affections, the young man captures the negative side of zeal where the same ζηλοc-energy remains but is directed negatively at the object of his desire.

ου περπερευεται - The Lover does not make much of self, for vaunting oneself is a distortion of what is true.

ου φυσιουται - St Paul says knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Love has a substance rather than knowledge which will largely vanish away when the perfect comes.

5 ουκ ασχημονει ου ζητει τα εαυτης ου παροξυνεται ου λογιζεται το κακον

ουκ ασχημονει - This has a sense of deformity which in the NT is taken for a shameful nakedness - the display of the self purely for gratification. Love is not a ecdysiast. Her beauty is gently revealed through mutual self-giving in a secure and committed relationship.

ου ζητει τα εαυτης - To seek after the things of the self, a warning against total independence. To seek after one's own comfort is to ignore the need that the self has of giving itself to another.

ου παροξυνεται - Coming from the idea of sharpening, one is led to think about the axes we have to grind. Love is one for burying hatchets and certainly not in the backs of our antagonists.

ου λογιζεται το κακον - To plan evil cannot be an act of Love. Guile is not an attribute of love. Shrewdness is, we are told, but the active planning of hurt and worthless action (worthless being the opposite of the profit meant in χρηστoc) is not an attribute of love.

6 ου χαιρει επι τη αδικια συγχαιρει δε τη αληθεια

ου χαιρει επι τη αδικια - Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness: there is no joy in that which is contrary to God for only God is the source of righteousness.

συγχαιρει τη αληθεια - Love and Truth enjoy each other as they sit in each other's presence eternally: they cannot be separated.

7 παντα στεγει παντα πιστευει παντα ελπιζει παντα υπομενει

στεγει - To bear: love carries faithfully all the burden that is thrown upon it.

πιστευει - This does not mean that Love believes all things in the sense that any doctrine would do. Can you see Love believing "there is no God?" Love isn't a fool. No, Love is always ready to have a confiding reliance in the veracity of a person. The Lover is always ready to accept the word of a partner as reliable.

ελπιζει - Love does not lose hope in its object. If God had no hope in our repentence then we would have been consigned to Hell from the outset.

υπομενει - Hope perseveres. He that shall endure to the end shall be saved because he has the quality of Love.

8 η αγαπη ουδεποτε εκπιπτει

Love never fails. Quid plus?

So where does this leave us?

The Truth is the Truth; it is unalterable since, like Love, it is eternal.

I could write on further about how the Liberal doctrine ζητει τα εαυτης but this isn't the purpose of what I'm writing here. I need to ensure that I always communicate with Love.

Do I understand where the Liberals are coming from? I believe that I have some inkling. Certainly the fact that women have been oppressed for a large amount of time is true and it may well be due to an unloving reading of the doctrine of St Paul which has been embroidered upon throughout the ages. Women are very capable of leadership, of speaking the Truth, of guiding people in God's way. Their relationship skills are generally much better than those of men, and indeed this has been invaluable in the moral growth of humanity. Their desire for the priesthood is understandable since the ridiculous notion that priests are somehow "superior" members of society has proliferated, and subsequently the days of women's liberation, there has been a need for women to assert themselves as competent in whatever field a man is competent.

There are women who feel called to serve Christ. Of course they are called to serve Christ in preaching in teaching and in spreading the Gospel and, most importantly of all in doing what Christ tells them. The Church is historically guilty of not affirming the ministry of women. That shouldn't mean that it drops all the rules that she has been given "just to be fair".

The fact that there is an underlying fallacy of facere possum ergo facio contradicts the following of the self. So how do I communicate that in Love?

Likewise I think of the oppression of homosexuals. It isn't fair that they have been targeted as being less than human and hated and victimised. I rejoice in the homosexuality of some of my friends, because that homosexuality is part of who they truly are.

However, the fact that these people have been hurt and oppressed does not change the truth. Women cannot be sacramental ministers - they have far more important work to do. Homosexuals are called to lives that are far better than expressing their love for a partner sexually. I suppose as far as my calling takes me, I must show them of their higher vocations which must involve their bearing and enduring sacrifices of will and desire. Their oppression must be ended, but in turn they must look beyond the Temporal to the Eternal. Only there will their True Love be revealed.

Monday, July 24, 2006

God - the Destiny of Man

One of the themes that we seem to forget in the Anglican Church is
"the Son of God was made man so that man might become the son of God." As St Iranaeus of Lyons once said against heretics. The idea of Theosis seems almost blasphemous in its idea, but the fact is that our destiny in our existence is to pertain to our Creator. St Maximus the Confessor says, "Having become God by deification, human beings would have been able to contemplate, with God Himself, the works of God. They would have received knowledge of them in God."

Our receipt of the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass builds our substance into Him. We are not gods because of ourselves - we become God because that's the gift He has given us. The trouble is that Masses in the Anglican Communion have tended to be so congregation-centred that our deification is seen as something blasphemous. This is only a result of the demystification and iconoclasm begun in the Enlightenment and continued apace in the 20th and now early 21st centuries. Time for reversus apsidem, methinks.

Fr. Hart has written an excellent article on this on the Anglican Continuum blog.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Shadows in the fireplace

When my laptop died, I lost many sermons that I would have published here. However, I've been fortunate to find the manuscripts of some of my sermons in amongst some papers, including this which I enjoyed preaching.

Sermon preached at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Swanscombe on Trinity Sunday, 22nd May 2005, based on 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Jeremy Harding is quite brilliant.

He's already received a starred first at Cambridge,
and has decided to stay on
and complete a doctorate in theology
before he finally gets ordained.

He's spent that last few years
reading and learning all about
the Christian Faith in very great detail,
and his ideas have gone down very well
amongst the fellows
of the college.

They regard him as having
the potential to do something
very special in the Church.

They have place Jeremy for study
under the guiding light of
Professor Alexis Pangnosis.

Professor Pangnosis himself is
a fantastically gifted human being
with enough letters after his name
to write a new letter to the Corinthians.

His office is large
and filled with bookshelves,
containing mostly the books
that he himself has written.

We find Jeremy and the professor
sitting by a roaring fire on a cold,
dark October evening.

"So, Jeremy," says Professor Pangnosis,
"have you any thoughts on the direction
your research will take?"

"Yes, Professor," says Jeremy,
"I'd like to understand the Holy Trinity."

"Understand the Holy Trinity?"
says the Professor sitting back
into his aged armchair
stroking his long white beard.

He pauses,
lost in thought for a moment.

The fire crackles in the grate
and this brings the Professor round.

"Look to the far wall of my office,"
he says,
"what do you see?"

"Nothing but the shadows caused by the fire,"
says Jeremy.

"Exactly," says the Professor.

"Oh," says Jeremy
struck by sudden realisation.

He promptly gets up,
quits his Ph.D.
and goes home.


An interesting response,
don't you think?

But then human beings react
very oddly to shadows, don't they?

Think back to your childhood.
Do you remember sitting awake
in the middle of the night
with your bedclothes
pulled up to your face
because the shadows
on the wall opposite
frightened you?

How the branch of a tree turns
into the arms of a monster?

Or how a dressing-gown turns into
someone lurking behind the door?

Your imagination runs riot in the night,
doesn't it?

But in your heart of hearts
you know that everything's okay
and that you really shouldn't have stayed up
to see "Dracula AD1972".

You know that in the cold light of day,
the ghost lurking behind the door
turns back into a dressing-gown,

and the monster tapping on your window
turns back into a tree...

...until tonight!


Do you remember when you first found out
what a shadow is.
when it became clear to your
that a shadow is an absence of light,
that a shadow is caused by light being blocked
by an object in the way?

The people who built this church building
knew how to use shadows to their advantage.

Beneath one of the windows
is a simple sundial,
so it's the shadow that tells the time.

Think about it,
the absence of light
actually tells you something useful,
or at least it did to our ancestors.

For an artist,
the absence of light is sometimes
more important than the light itself.

By understanding how the shadows look,
you can build up a picture
of what the object is.

But there's a problem with this approach!


As you go on an evening walk in the fields
with the Sun behind you,
the sky glowing a warm evening orange,
look at your shadow in front of you.

How long is it?

Do you yourself look as long and thin
as your shadow does at this time?

Do some of you wish that you looked
as long and thin as your shadow?

That's the problem
shadows can get so very distorted;
you can't rely on them
to provide an accurate picture
of the object
that they are supposed to be shadows of.

At night time,
your brain can't make a great deal of sense
from the many shadows,
which is why it resorts to imagination.

You know that the hand tapping at your window
is just a branch moving in the night breeze,
that the shape behind the door
is just your dressing-gown,
but they look like something else in the dark.

Shadows are unreliable.


St Paul famously describes our knowledge as
"looking throught a glass darkly,"
that we wander about, seeing merely
the shadows of things as they are.

All that we know
or can know
is just a collection
of shadows of the truth.

So who casts the biggest shadow?

Think about it.

What do we actually know about God?

It doesn't matter who we are,
all we know of God
and all that we will ever know of God
is just a collection of confusing shadows
of Him:

the shadow of a Creator
who built and constructed the Universe;

the shadow of a God who is a proper human being
and yet not just a proper human being;

the shadow of a Paraclete
a comforter;

all different and distinct persons
yet One True God.

If we try to build up a picture
of this One True God from His shadows alone,
then all we get is a distortion.

If we think we have the answer,
then God says to us
"Who has measured the waters in the hollow
of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust
of the earth in a measure?"

Great things!


Incomprehensible things!

How can we hope to understand
this wonderful God in truth?

Can we really understand the Holy Trinity?


The answer depends on what
you want to understand about the Holy Trinity.

Let's look at the shadows.

There is just the shadow of a Creator Who is God.

There is just the shadow of one Man Who is God.

There is just the shadow of a Comforter Who is God.

Each shadow is different, distinct,
so the Creator, the Man and the Comforter
are all different people.

Each Person has His own character,
each single Person is fully God,
yet there is only one God, not three Gods.

We can say confidently
from the shadows that God shows us
that there is One God in Three Persons,
but we can't understand it
becuase all we can ever see
is shadows.


But there is a big difference.

Didn't we agree that shadows
are just the absence of light?

Can this really be true of God's shadow?

If God is the Light of the World,
how can He cast a shadow of Himself?

If God is the Light of the World,
then we can't look at Him.
He is far too bright for us to see until,
as St Paul tells us today,
we become complete.

So what does God do?

To help us to try to know Him,
He dims His light,
shows us shadows of Himself,
not expecting us to understand
Who He is and what He looks like,
but to show us that He is there
with us
to the very end of the age.

His brilliant light dazzles our poor little minds,
but that same light illuminates our souls,
and throws up shadows for us to see
in our lives.

It is written in the Song of Solomon:
"I sat down under His shadow
with great delight."

No scary trees or dressing-gowns,
just the Love of God
and a wonderful place to sit.

Can you see God's shadow
in your lives right now?

Wil you sit down under it
with great delight?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Grinding of the Axe

Sermon preached at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Swanscombe, on 16th July 2006 based on Amos vii.7-15 and St Mark 6.14-29.

There’s a scream.

Dan sits bolt upright in bed,
sweat pouring off of him,
his heart thundering in his chest,
his mind trying to work out just where he is.

He sits in the darkness of his bedroom
trying to gather himself.

The display on the bedside clock
says that it’s 3:05AM,
and he realises that he is at home,
in bed and safe.

Everything is okay,
he’s just had a nightmare.


The alarm goes off at 06:30 as usual,
and Dan gets up, showers,
dresses in his suit,
has his Crunchy Nut Cornflakes,
and heads off to the office in his new Mazda.

As usual, he’s ¼ of an hour late at the office
- things would be much different
if the gas company were not constantly
digging the road up.

Still, Emma,
Dan’s secretary is on hand with his coffee,
his biscuit and today’s paperwork.

Dan sits down at his desk,
takes a swig of coffee and grimaces.


Please remember
that I only have 1 sugar in my coffee,
not two.

It tastes like you’ve drowned Bertie Bassett in it!"

The biscuit is a garibaldi
and not a Jammie dodger
and the paperwork is not quite arranged
in the order he’s used to.

"Well," says Dan to himself,
"that’s the price I pay for hiring a temp.

Still she’ll be gone by next week."


The morning is spent
reviewing customer accounts.

While Dan is pleased to see
that he has received payment from 5 customers,
he is annoyed by the fact
that Mrs. Klein is still in arrears
and owing over £15,000.

He decides that he will deal with that after lunch.


A chicken dinner later,
Dan returns to the office,
assumes his seat and takes out
Mrs. Klein’s account.

Just as he reaches for the telephone,
Emma bursts in, giving him a start.

"Emma, for goodness’ sake,
what on earth are you doing?"
shouts Dan,
wiping the erstwhile contents
of his glass of iced water
from his trouser leg.

"I’ve just fired one secretary,
I don’t want to fire you after only three days."

"I’m sorry, Mr. Lovell," says Emma,
"But it’s Mrs. Klein.

She’s demanding to see you, now!"

"Ah, I want to see her," says Dan, "send her in."


Mrs Klein enters the office.

Dan is rather surprised
by the fact that she was eighty-two last birthday.

"Well, Mrs. Klein,
what can I do for you?"

Mrs. Klein shuffles nervously.

"I want you to cancel my debt," she says.

"I’m sorry, Mrs Klein, I really can’t do that."

"But, Mr Lovell,"
says Mrs Klein softly,
"how do you expect me to pay £15,000?

I only borrowed £7000 from you."

"Well," says Dan,
"I’m afraid that’s your problem.

I am sorry, but
the Erodian Personal Finance company
clearly states its interest rates
on the documentation I gave you.

I simply can’t afford
to let you off such a great debt.

It would be in breach of my contract."

"That’s not what Miss Penfold
told me in Church the other day.

She told me that your company
has been charging exorbitant interest
on everyone’s accounts
and could easily afford
a much lower interest rate.

She also told me that you sacked her
when she told you that
the company was being immoral
and you were being unfair.

You forced her to go
without any means of support
for her or for her two little twins.

You axed that poor woman’s
only way of making a living.

Do you really think that’s acceptable behaviour?"

"Mrs. Klein,
I'm sorry.

I must enforce
the Erodian Personal Finance Company’s
policy on staffing.

I had no choice whether or not to sack Miss Penfold
on the grounds of disloyalty,
even if she was a very good secretary.

...not that it is any business of yours.

It was your business
to check all the paperwork
before you signed it.

You borrowed £7,000;
according to the contract you signed,
I'm sorry to say you now owe
the Erodian Personal Finance Company

Now, I am a reasonable man.

Just before you came in,
I was going to phone
the bailiffs to pay you a visit.

I’m going to be generous
and give you ‘til the end of the week
before I decide to pick up
the phone and tell Mr Lugg…
What on earth’s that?"

Dan’s eyes are fixed
upon the surface of Mrs Klein’s hand
where he spots a large tattered hole,
which passes straight through
from one side of the hand to the other.

He looks at her other hand
and sees another hole,
like the first.

"There’s one on each foot as well,"
says Mrs. Klein her voice changed,
"and one more just here."

he looks her in the face
to see a forehead covered in scratches,
indeed there are thorns in her hair.

Then he looks into Mrs. Klein’s eyes
and sees not a little old lady,
but the eyes of a man and not just any man,
but the Son of Man staring back at him
like a mirror
showing Dan his own soul.

Dan takes one look and screams!

A scream!

There’s a scream.

Dan sits bolt upright in bed,
sweat pouring off of him,
his heart thundering in his chest,
his mind trying to work out
just where he is.

He sits in the darkness of his bedroom
trying to gather himself.

The display on the bedside clock
says that it’s 3:05AM,
and he realises that he is at home,
in bed and safe.

Everything is okay,
he’s just had a nightmare.


When do you think Dan will realise
that you can kill a prophet,
but you will never kill their prophecy?

Do you think he will ever listen?

Have you heard the voice of the prophet?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Facere possum ergo facio

I believe this to be the problem with many Christians today: "I can do this, therefore I shall," or possibly "I can do this, therefore this is what God wants me to do." The fact that one possesses a faculty is a carte blanche to exercise that faculty.

The trouble is that this approach is terribly false. Certainly Biblically the great heroes are the exact antithesis of this statement: Moses, Gideon, David, Elijah and the apostles were not able to do what God wanted, but God gave them the faculties necessary to complete his command.

Likewise Amos, a shepherd and vine dresser was called not to be a shepherd and vine dresser but a prophet of God. If Amos had followed the ideas that proliferate certainly in Protestant Churches, he would never have left his sheep or his vines, but "exercised his faculties to the glory of God."

No wonder Anglican Masses are in a terrible state today. Some of them are just concerts for choirs or worship groups who perform the music to help people "feel like worshipping", others are as vehicles for the "latest liturgy innovation."
The whole women's ordination and homosexual sex issues are examples of facere possum ergo facio. What is missed here is the idea that God may not want certain faculties exercised in this life. There is many a celibate who willingly withholds certain faculties in order to operate as a Roman Catholic priest.

Just because I can sing both alto and tenor doesn't give me the right to sing alto in a choir which has 15 altos and no tenors. For the good of the choir, I must sing the part that is needed.

It is God to whom we must offer our souls and bodies as living sacrifices for him to use as He will, not as we will. He may use our weaknesses more than our strengths in order to effect some glorious miracle, or some fantastically effective ministry. If this is the case then, rather than offer God that which costs us nothing (i.e. exercising our strengths), we should limit ourselves to His desires. From this we will get a sure sense of fulfilment. He will rejoice in our strengths when He pleases, and we will enjoy them too.

Monday, July 10, 2006

How can you know?

I'm not a poet.

Occasionally though I get glimpses of poetry which need fashioning. This is where I need a friend like Ed Pacht who is a proper poet.

Here are my words followed by the polished version that Ed has rescued.

How can you know?

How can you know the pain you've caused,
leaving me behind to flounder in the dark

How can you know the homelessness I suffer
now that you have forced me out of the place
where I have loved you, enjoyed being with you
enjoyed sharing what we had together?

How can you know, in spite of your good intentions
of your desire to include, to validate, to make amends,
that your love, though precious, is oblique
and misses the Truth?

How can you know that your love,
although you believe it to be for the common good,
is common only to your ideals,
your goals,
what you want for the world,
and for me?

How can you know, that your love
does not obey the nature of Love,
but shuts it away with me behind a locked door
whose key, you claim, has rusted away?

How can you know, if you say you are a listener,
but don't even hear what I have said in love to you?

And now the polished article. (Copyright 2006, Ed Pacht)

How can you know the pain that you’ve caused,
in leaving me lost in the dark where you walk,
in leaving me flound’ring alone?

How can you know the exile I feel,
forced from the home that I’ve shared with my friends
from the home where I’ve loved you in truth,
and walked so content with you by my side,
with pleasure and sharing and joy?

How can you know, so blind and confused,
the damage of good intent,
the merciless havoc that comes from false love,
leaving correction, attempting to soothe,
and utterly failing to save?

How can you know that the love that you claim
is only veiled love of your self,
only intended to take from the world
that which opposes your will,
and wishing that I be wrest from the path,
long built by the hand of God?

How can you know that your love is not love,
and is but rebellion toward God,
shutting away the truth of His Word,
locked where it will not be seen,
in a cold, dark room that has no door,
where eyes do not see,
where ears do not hear,
and my words of love are ignored?

How can you know that my love will not cease,
nor my endless prayers?
But my constant knocking, joined with His
will ever sound at your door,
and you may come,
only hear,
only hear.

Thank you, Ed.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Not feeling too good.

Today has been one of the worst days of my spiritual life. I can't think why, I've seen it coming a mile off. I knew what would happen, why wasn't I prepared? The point is that the C of E has not seen this.

To mess with the Apostolic Succession is to mess with one's doctrinal basis. That has happened and I cannot see any way how the C of E can claim to be even part of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Many around me would tell me to get a grip. It's not an important issue. I'm being prejudiced against the ministry of women. People like me are just the reason why the Church is irrelevant today. Believe me, I know this because I've read the comments of what people think on the BBC website about this issue.
They tell me that I need to go out and do some proper Christian work like heal the sick, care for the orphan and the widow and work to freeing the oppressed.

If these accusations are true then I must pray for forgiveness, but I say this. What of those who are spiritually sick? Who are spiritually orphaned, widowed, oppressed and crushed? "Ah but that's the easy option," they say. No. It's by far the hardest. This world is spiritually sick and getting sicker with every passing second. God help me to play my part in the relief of this illness.

For me the Church is the body of people whom I ought to be able to trust. The Church is made from Militant, the Suffering and the Triumphant, and there are many saints and martyrs whose blood has been spilled in order to convey accurately the message of the Gospel, not just by their words, but by their deeds, by their actions, and simply by their being. St Lawrence roasted alive, St Sebastian shot with arrows, Thomas More and John Fisher, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley all bringing something valuable to the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church. Blessed John Henry Newman had his character assassinated again and again for speaking and holding to the truth. And yet their work is now deemed irrelevant, old hat, not part of modern thinking. Their faith has been ridden over roughshod, and their martyrdom continues.

Then there are the noble Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Nicholas, Cyprian, and Athanasius who worked so hard at hearing the Truth and literally forcing it into the creeds.

In this vote, proper Anglicans have been betrayed, as has the faith of those plucky Anglicans who have lived for the Truth and burned for it. The Reformation should never, ever have happened, but the work of so many in the Anglican camp and in the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation to seek that Truth in integrity shows the brilliance of the Christian Faith's struggle and success to heal that divide.

As for me, well, I'm now sitting here, confused, dazed, and feeling terribly betrayed like a sheep that's just watched the others go in the wrong direction. I love my parish (it drives me mad, but I still love it) and I don't want to leave. I enjoy being a Reader. I love the Church music (hate the liturgy with a passion!) and the Anglican culture, but to be honest, these aren't the reasons I go to Church. I go to Church to worship God in the way that He wants to be worshipped, not in a "let's please ourselves and God'll enjoy it with us", but in turning towards Him in an awestruck silence and watch as He gives us Himself as Sacrifice to offer to Him as Priest according to the ways that so many people throughout History have done together.

So what do I do? Do I have a choice? Surely it's to leave the C of E, but whither? Is the Roman Catholic Church in England any less the slave to zeitgeist. I hope that my ears deceive me when I'm told that not even the priests believe in what they are doing. There are no Continuum Churches near me, and I am too out of the loop, too busy, too exhausted to start up my own. Or do I remain and slowly become even more embittered, unable to worship with my friends, having the words of hymns choke in my throat?

If you would offer a few prayers in my direction, I'd be grateful.


Chabod is Hebrew for Glory. When the glory disappears... well see here. Thanks Ed.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Well, that just about wraps it up for the C of E.

The Archbishop of York moved:10. ‘That this Synod welcome and affirm the view of the majority of the House of Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England is consonant with the faith of the Church as the Church of England has received it and would be a proper development in proclaiming afresh in this generation the grace and truth of Christ.’The motion was carried after a division by houses:

Bishops For 31; Against 9

Clergy For 134; Against 42

Laity For 123; Against 68.

If this is indeed "consonant with the faith of the Church as the Church of England has received it" then the Church of England is either correctly identified by the Roman Catholic Church as a cult, or it has been hijacked by people bent on changing it into a cult.

Obviously God doesn't get a vote at General Synod; He's automatically assumed to go along with the majority(!)

Second verse of "the Mush-Merging song"

And so the Church of Blighty now has given the green light
to allow a lady priest to claim a bishop's oversight.
The fact that God don't want it means that "oversight" is right,
and the rot goes marching on...

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Jefferts Schori ain't a ruler.
And now ECUSA's rot
has become poor Blighty's lot
and we ain't in this cult no more!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hearts and minds and hands: Antidotes to Koyaanisqatsi

Slowly but surely I have been becoming aware in my own life of the presence of feelings. Dreadfully inconvenient things, feelings. They mislead terribly; they can however do the exact opposite point to some very deep truths if we know how to use them properly.

St Benedict's wonderful Rule speaks of balance between hearts and minds and hands - prayer, study and work. Each one of us, through our fallen nature, need to exercise one of these three more than the others, and do exercise one of these more than necessary with the result: Koyaanisqatsi - life out of balance.

What is blatantly clear from some of my previous posts is that I often argue too analytically without the facts and the learning. This comes from my personal Koyaanisqatsi of working my brain until it runs on empty. It's the same with all of us.

I do look at the Anglo-Catholic Church (I am inlcuding Anglo-Papalists here), and what I see are a group of usually highly educated people minutely defending their practices from an increasingly apostate world and often against some heresy threatening.

What a lot of people don't see from the true Anglo-Catholics (i.e. those who actually are concerned with Catholic Doctrine and Praxis, as opposed to those docetical Churchpeople who like to appear Catholic) is the welter of hurt and pain that has been done to them by other Churches who regard their sticking to doctrine as "politically incorrect", "antediluvian", "inappropriate" or "restrictive". The trouble is that with a Koyaanisqatsi biased toward the intellectual, an Anglo-Catholic struggles to deal with feelings intellectually rather than emotionally. I am sure that this produces the "spikiness" of attitude that the Liberals experience when they come into contact with the more vociferous of our Anglo-Catholic members. while an Anglo-Catholic prays deeply using rosaries, novenas, ikons, breviaries et c. there is no way that they can express the depth of their emotion save through their reliance on a clear Orthodox doctrine.

The other trouble is that of doing. Generally being intellectuals, Anglo-Catholics don't quite know what to do with their hands other than sign themselves with the Cross. What they usually consider a physical pastime is to add to a myriad of technical, and erudite, but thoroughly dry information on a blog. (Oops) What they miss then is some activity, some concrete means of doing Anglo-Catholicism. Personally speaking, the best activity that an Anglo-Catholic needs to be concentrating on right now is the Union of Anglo-Catholic Churches in the Continuum. We need to go out, and meet, pray, think and do Anglo-Catholicism together in equally balanced measure after the Rule of St Benedict.

To sit around a table and theorise about divisions is okay, but if that's all we Anglo-Catholics do, then we turn into rather dry, puffed up individuals that everyone resents, and we will only focus on divisions which may or may not be important.

To go into an oratory and pray together is okay, but if that's all we do, then we will start to argue about the precise patterns of the liturgy and which lectionary we are following and whether Fr. Vervoorst should have four ridges on his biretta or not.

To share our emotions is okay, but they must be shared honestly and not analysed too seriously. To work together is where I believe we need to focus. Getting together, finding out ways in which we can find activities that will get some Christian Charity spread into the world. But then, our work must not stop us from thinking about ways of recognising our differences and work to resolving them.

But then again, what do I know?