Monthly Archives: October 2006

A Bishop in Tennessee

I have intentionally refrained from commenting on the recent election of the Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt as the twelfth bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Tennessee (now comprising the central part of the state, the west and east of the state each being their own dioceses now) until I’d had time to reflect on it more.I want to say to begin with that I don’t envy Fr. Bauerschmidt his job. To be a Bishop at this point in the life of the Episcopal Church is a difficult task with a great deal of uncertainty. I am pleased and hopeful that Fr. Bauerschmidt was elected and I look forward to working with and supporting him as I can. I was impressed with his responses to the questions submitted by the search committee and liked him when I met him in person. In speaking with him he seemed to be a person who “gets it,” and understands the current situation in the Anglican Communion and indeed in global Christianity, i.e. that what goes on in the US–while spiritually important–isn’t as practically important as many American Episcopalians in our self-important bubbles, believe it to be (I include myself at least partially in that indictment). In short I think that our bishop-elect understands the importance of communion, the importance of maintaining our relationships with other Christians, especially those in our own communion around the world as well as the fact that the average Christian (to say nothing of the average Anglican in particular) is non-white, poor and female.

All-in-all I’m looking forward to interacting more with Fr. Bauerschmidt, and I believe the Diocese of Tennessee will be in good hands when he takes office. I pray that we will be able to build on the wonderful work for the Kingdom that has taken place during Bishop Herlong’s episcopate, particularly his church planting initiative which has meant so much to the numerical and spiritual growth and health of the diocese.

Ruth Gledhill on Rowan Williams’+++ visit to China

And it has taken our living, loving,
religious poet of the present, the Archbishop of Canterbury, himself
intellectually resplendent in the ancient ascetics of the Fathers, to point us to the paradox of a Western society driving itself towards mindless secularism while China herself turns back and contemplates capitalising on the social benefits of religion.

There are almost too many ironies in all this even to know where to begin. But I do feel that those who criticised Dr Williams for
failing to intervene on behalf of the unregistered, underground church
were missing the point just a little.  Archbishops of Canterbury tend
to visit China every decade or so and, as I recall, George Carey
suffered similar criticism last time round. No way was this Archbishop ignorant or unfeeling
of the plight of the unregistered Christians in China, but it is
difficult to see what he could have achieved by launching an open
strike on their behalf. I accept though that people who know China
better than I do might see things differently.

It is more helpful to look at what Dr Williams could and did
achieve, and what unique gifts he took with him on his visit. Surely
one of the most fascinating aspects is that he is himself described by
some who know him well as an “unreconstructed Marxist” in many of his
political ideals and personal philosophies. So here we have this
formidably intelligent, left-leaning academic
driven thrust slightly unwillingly to the top of a recalcitrant Church
that is the product of the ultimate in monarchical, capitalist systems,
in a country without a constitution that has never suffered or enjoyed
a revolution. On the social scale, he sits immediately below the Queen
in the hierarchy. On the socialist scale, they couldn’t be further
apart.

{read it all}

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Sick as a dog!

I would like to request your prayers please… I’ve been sick now for about two days…right now I look something like this:

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First Impressions: Fr. Carter Paden

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Note: Apologies for not getting this up sooner, life has interfered and it’s taken me longer to transcribe the notes I wrote on the paper materials. You can see my earlier posts regarding the Bishop election here: “And they’re off!” in which I discuss some of my hopes for the next Bishop of Tennessee as well as my impressions of the candidates in the following, “First Impressions: Fr. John Bauerschmidt” and “First Impressions: Fr. James Burns.” Given that they’ve withdrawn from the process I won’t be posting thoughts regarding Frs. Russ Levenson and Thack Dyson.

Fr. Cater Paden:

First off, it may be a little disingenuous to call this post “First Impressions” in regards to Fr. Paden because I have met him in the past, and spoken with him a little in the course of a Restorative Justice class in seminary. I will say that he struck me as a personable, kind and from what I could tell, pastoral priest. I know that he has a heart for restorative justice and for giving people (especially youth) a chance to change direction, as embodied in his involvement in the “VORP” (Victim-offender reconciliation program) in Chattanooga.

I appreciated the tone of Fr. Paden’s opening and found myself resonating with certain aspects of it as I had with Fr. Bauerschmidt’s. With Bauerschmidt I connected in terms of an affinity for “Mere Christianity” and the view of the faith encouraged by that work, as well as through a similar experience of coming into the life of the church at a time when many of our contemporaries were checking out. With Fr. Paden I find a shared experience in the way he experienced his the Eucharist for the first time at an Episcopal Summer camp as a Presbyterian from a family of devout Presbyterians. Paden describes his experience thusly:

The great words of the Prayer Book were etched into my heart, and I felt deeply the sense of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love—something I hadn’t experienced in the stern tradition I knew until then. Kneeling in the sand between the split logs of the pews in the A-frame chapel that had no walls with the sun just coming up over the mountain and filling the lake with fire, I knew myself to be in the Presence of God.

This description is similar not to one, but to two different experiences I’ve had, one that brought me into the Episcopal Church and the other that brought me to Sewanee for seminary. Like Fr. Paden, I knew in each instance that I was in the presence of God. What I appreciate most about Fr. Paden’s writing is that it tells a story about his experiences: about what he’s done and where he’s been, and that opens up a little more of who he is, and what sort of Bishop he might be. His experiences at various Episcopal parishes are interesting. It is interesting that he once worshiped and was confirmed as St. Andrew’s Church, Nashville, considering that his relationship with this parish as a member of Forward in Faith will no doubt be complicated by any decision a Bishop Paden might make in terms of the oversight of the Presiding Bishop elect. This brings up an interesting point… one may well desire to avoid bitterness–the comment of Paden’s conservative old farmer is a good one, i.e. that remaining bitter is “like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”, yet still feel bound by the faith to take certain actions–on both left and right–that furthers the gaps between all “sides” rather than working towards reconciliation. The real question for Paden and the other candidates is how they are going to handle the current conflict… what leadership will they display and what decisions might they make. Will they be legalistic or magnanimous… can they afford to be gracious…

I think it is particularly interesting to note how Fr. Paden so often refers to “our call” in reference to the call that God has placed upon both he and his wife. I find this refreshing to a degree, and believe that it reveals a truth about a married priesthood, i.e. that no call or vocation can be pursued without the support and agreement of one’s spouse–if God has called you to marriage, then he’s not going to call you to anything that would sever that relationship, though there may be times when we need better communication with one another– yet I would like to see more detail about Fr. Paden’s particular call. (Something he addresses a little more further on…).

Another place that I felt a strong kinship with Paden was in his discussion of his ambivalent feelings toward the institutional Church. With an honesty that I admire in this time–it can be detrimental in some quarters these days to admit to having negative feelings toward the institution, since paranoia seems to have set in about how to preserve it–Paden discusses his mixed feelings of frustration and joy with the institutional church…feelings of frustration “when it fails to embrace opportunities I feel would serve the Lord and joy when the presence of God shines clearly forth in its worship.” Continuing he notes–rightly–that the Church has never been free of struggle, and (my perception is that) he is saying that it’s not our job to separate the wheat and the tares, something I agree with. At the same time, I think there is some danger is the understanding of the Church as semper reformanda, i.e. always reforming, and instead have more affinity to what Ithilien describes as semper renovanda, or always renewing–but that’s a personal peeve and I don’t know that we would disagree if Fr. Paden was allowed more time to unpack that statement..indeed, I tend to agree with what many people mean when they talk about the Church being always reforming. I find Fr. Paden’s rhetorical emphasis on the Church as servant community encouraging, as is his statement that “nothing someone else can do elsewhere that can prevent one from being a Christian here and now.” Additionally, I felt that Fr. Paden strongly noted why he would feel call to minister specifically in Tennessee. This is something I find very helpful.

In regards to Leadership I appreciated what Fr. Paden had to say about leadership being based on trust, and trust being based not on any given authority, but on relationship and experience. I believe such an understanding of leadership and authority as something to be lived into rather than conferred is one that might help in the current situation if there is a recognition of the need to make some decisions that some people will inevitably disagree with and be troubled by.

One thing I would like to know more about are the circumstances surrounding the departure of some within his parish to found another parish–first as an independent Anglican entity and later as an AMiA parish:

One of my achievements was to work with my current parish St. Peter’s to develop a long range plan for the church in 1997, and then the following year to develop a long range plan for the school. These are two very different constituencies and two very different organizations. Having set forth the long range plans, we accomplished the goals of each within three years, and these successes led to the joint $4.5 M expansion that we dedicated in September of 2005. This was accomplished despite the withdrawal of a significant number of communicants in 2004 who founded an AMiA church in Chattanooga. Those who left did so without rancor, and although they no longer pledged to St. Peter’s, the vast majority of those who left fulfilled their pledges to the building fund. St. Peter’s School now serves twice as many children and the Church has a facility that supports its missions rather than hinders them.

I have many questions as I read this, but primarily I’m interested in why, given Fr. Paden’s leadership, this group of parishioners felt led to leave St. Peters and found another congregation? I appreciate the fact that there was no rancor or negative feeling (if only that were more often the case!) but I wonder what the issues were that led to this decision, and why Fr. Paden was unable to satisfy this minority (not that one can run one’s ministry like a focus group… God forbid it… we don’t need any more people pleasers in the ministry (Gal 1:10). I wonder also if Fr. Paden would consider this departure failure of his leadership… was this one of the situations resulting from a “failure of process or communication?” These are the sorts of things I wonder about…

Considering the late unpleasantness

As I mentioned in my previous posts, question three is one where a lot of emphasis will be placed by people. In his discussion of the current conflicts in the Church, I am thankful to see that he highlights the fact that our mission has been all but hamstrung by our in-fighting, but I wonder if he perhaps gives short shrift to the importance of the issues that divide us. While one can agree with his statement that “it seems a little disingenuous to point only to homosexuality or to fundamentalism as the issues,” and it is positive that he questions the widespread acceptance of premarital sex, abortion and other attacks on the human person, i.e. slavery, sex trafficking and tourism etc.., what he doesn’t say is equally interesting. For instance, while he discusses the methods he employed at St. Paul’s, inviting:

those in [the] parish to listen to one another and to check their knives at the door. For some the discussion was too intense and they had to leave. For those sacrificially committed to more than a false community based on preferences, it became a place of beginning. How do we listen to one another? What part of this is about justice? What does holiness of life look like now? Who is called to lead? How will we choose? How do we all stand beneath Scripture for encouragement, and how does the plummet of God’s righteousness judge us all? It is not either/or—there is a continuum of opinion, and there is a shadow to each side that must be acknowledged honestly.

While we have been fighting among ourselves, our worship and mission have been neglected. We have neglected to plan for tomorrow which is the cost of reactivity.

One almost gets the impression from this that Fr. Paden bears some resentment toward those who found the discussion “too intense,” since he follows that with a compliment toward those who stayed, calling them committed to “more than a false community based on preferences…” This makes me wonder on what terms these folks left. Were they more liberal or conservative? Were they truly obsessed only with their only preferences, or did they have convictions that made it impossible for them to engage in such a discussion. One can imagine people on all sides of the current conflict who hold their convictions so closely that they find it painful to discuss them in such ways–does this mean they are uncommitted to community? Sometimes… but more often it means the wounds are still raw and many times “reconciliation” and “healing” are approached in such a way as to rub salt in fresh wounds. That said, the questions Fr. Paden asks are appropriate: “How do we listen to one another? What part of this is about justice? What does holiness of life look like now? Who is called to lead? How will we choose? How do we all stand beneath Scripture for encouragement, and how does the plummet of God’s righteousness judge us all?” But I would challenge his assertion that “it is not either/or” in the sense that there are certainly opinions and beliefs that are at odds with one another in today’s Episcopal Church… the question is either/or in regards to what the institution will present as truth, what will be official and what will be recognized as legitimate, not as personal opinion but as corporate expression, and certainly as Bishop Fr. Paden would have the responsibility of making either/or decisions that may be seem to be covered in shades of grey when one is a priest or a lay person. Also, while I understand where he is coming from when he discusses how our worship and mission have been deleteriously effected by an obsession over our disagreements, some of these questions must be resolved, at least on a parish and diocesan level, before mission can be usefully engaged in.

I am thankful that Fr. Paden expressed his desire to see people work together to ensure that the Episcopal Church remains a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and to see such an emphasis on the importance of scripture in his response. I also appreciate his citation of the Windsor Report’s section on the reading and interpretation of scripture, one of the strongest sections of the report. As with others, and with the same caveats about understanding the limits of time, space and knowledge, I would have liked to see more practical discussion of where Fr. Paden believes we are as a church, and where he would like to see us go. How, in other words, will he begin to direct the Diocese of Tennessee in the current situation in the Church should he be elected on the 28th.

What about being a BishopI liked Fr. Paden’s reflection on what it means to be a Bishop… I especially appreciated his observation that scripture focuses on their “character rather than their function,” in a time when we seem to overemphasize function to the neglect of character. Additionally, I liked what he had to say about the Bishop as a “person for others,” I would have liked more discussion of what motivated us to serve others though, i.e. a short summation of his understanding of the Gospel imperative to do good… why do we do good… how does Jesus fit into the picture. The social gospel is great as long as it is more gospel than social, which sadly is often not the case (though certainly there are Christian communities that are overflowing with things to say about Jesus but whose fervor rarely translates into action… we don’t want to be caught in that trap either). I especially appreciate the time Fr. Paden took in explaining why he felt these qualities to be important for a Bishop, rather than simply listing them.

I enjoyed the glimpse at Fr. Paden’s humor during his discussion of his fishing trips with his father and brothers…

Once a year for the past twelve years, I have spent a week fishing with my father and two brothers. Brother Tom is a song writer and adds much humor. Our only major disagreement on these outings occurred during the first few years. A few days into the trip, Tom would casually inform the guides and other anglers that I was a priest. This revelation created some unfortunate results—counseling and hearing the guides apologize for every profane word they had uttered. We agreed after the fourth trip that Tom would tell everyone that I was a “fire insurance salesman,” and that ended all the hypocrisy and allowed me to enjoy our time together.

No one wants to talk to an insurance agent while fishing.

Fire insurance salesman indeed! I’m of the opinion that a sense of humor is one of the gifts of the Spirit, and anyone who hopes to be successful in the Episcopacy in these trying times will need one. I think Fr. Paden has one, for which I’m grateful… (after all, I’ve taken upon myself the writing of reviews of men, one of whom may one day soon be my new boss!).

All-in-all I enjoyed Fr. Paden’s responses and am glad he’s one of the candidates. I think I’m still leaning toward Bauerschmidt, but were Paden to be elected, I would be hopeful as well. My prayer is that the will of God be done for the Diocese of Tennessee and the the good Lord will anoint a true leader for this diocese.

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First Impressions: Fr. James Burns

This post is a continuation of my “first impressions” post relating to Fr. John Bauerschmidt. As I mentioned there, I will attempt to go through the state of candidates and write up my “first impressions” from the notes that I took as I read their responses to the search committee questions.

Fr. James L. Burns:
This first thing I notice about Fr. Burns’ response to the Episcopate committee questions is the length: he wrote three pages (really more like two and a paragraph) where the other two remaining candidates wrote 7 and 10–as a result I felt there to be much less detail and depth in his response as compared to Frs. Bauerschmidt and Paden and in all honesty, he came out the worse for it.
Fr. Burns begins by discussing his experience of call in terms of his early “determined flight from it” during which time he sought to serve people, as he believed his vocation to be, just not in the context of ministry in the Church. Of his decision to enter the discernment process, and the subsequent sense that his calling was affirmed by those both within and without the Church, he quotes Frederic Buechner’s definition of vocation as “the place where one’s deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
In reflecting upon his relationship with Jesus Christ, Fr. Burns states that his relationship with the Lord has grown over his 24 years of ordained ministry. As admirable as this is, I’m left with some questions regarding what he says next, that his relationship has grown:

not so much in my certainty about what His will is for all things, but in my trust in Him and my dependence on His love and guidance in my life. I find that I sometimes understand Him less while wanting to know Him more. When I attend to my relationship with Jesus and offer myself in His service then occasions for that service arise along with a better understanding of what He would have me do.

I’m simply curious as to how this reflection plays out in his life. I think I know what he means, but I’m unsure, as it almost sounds contradictory. I wonder if this statement is a fertile soil for relativity, i.e. I know what Jesus says for me, but I have no clue what his message is for you. While there definitely needs to be a great deal of humility when talking about God’s will in order to avoid acting out of hubris and self-righteousness, yet I would prefer more clarity of speech. Additionally,
Fr. Burns neglects to even mention the Windsor Report in his responses, and he doesn’t seem to show real familiarity to the current conflicts within the Episcopal Church, let alone the Anglican Communion.

Considering the Late Unpleasantness:

His answer to question III seems to be the least informative and leaves a great deal unsaid and many questions lingering. While the focus on covenant and the comparison of the relations within the Church to a marriage relationship, is helpful, Burns misses the opportunity to explain what exactly he believes this covenant to consist of, i.e. what is its purpose and goal. It seems as though Burns is saying that one is to continue in “covenant” for the sake of the covenant if for the sake of nothing else. While
there is certainly some truth in this, it lacks the depth of conviction–one could say this simply for the sake of the institution and for nothing else. It would be helpful to hear some clarification about what exactly Fr. Burns feels goes into covenant, and where the marriage covenant is similar to our calling as Christians. While I certainly have my own opinions about why the analogy itself is a good one, I’m not certain he and I would come at this from the same direction and one would’ve appreciated
more depth in this section of the response given the wide variety of feelings on the subjects involved. A large portion of the question also related to the hopes the respondent has for the Church and the Diocese. Again, Burns misses the opportunity to provide more clarity for those reading and explain what his hopes entail and instead finds it sufficient to say “My hope for the Church is that it can actually be a witness to the power of covenant.” which I for one found to be very
unhelpful–perhaps it would have meant more if he had clarified beforehand what his understanding of covenant is, and how it specifically applies not only to the Church at all times, put in particular in our time.
Reflection on the Office of Bishop
Again, there’s not a lot of information here, in a part of the questionnaire which one would hope to see a great deal more reflection upon what it actually means to be called to the office of Bishop. What follows is the entirety of Fr. Burns’ response to the question: “What are the most important attributes in one who is called to be a bishop and why?”
I believe that the most important attributes for one called to the office of bishop are: Proclamation – one who can articulate and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ in the context of the world in which we are now living. Pastor – one who cares for those in his or her charge, especially the clergy and lay leadership of the Diocese. Presence – one who is willing to be the face and voice of the Church in his or her community.
First things first: Burns doesn’t fully answer the question–if this were a graded exam he’d start out in a hole on this question regardless of anything else he said. But he does say a few things…but leaves many more unanswered questions. For instance, one appreciates where he begins, i.e. in saying that the most important attribute of the Bishop is to “articulate and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ in the context of the world in which we are now living.” It would have
been more helpful if Fr. Burns had taken his own advice and taken the time to articulate what that Good News is, or to offer any elaboration on how this might be achieved in our context. Again, I understand that it is very hard to provide any specifics about what one might do as a new Bishop in a Diocese with which one is largely unfamiliar (granted Fr. Burns came out of the Diocese of TN, but it has been many years since he has been here), but some elaboration would seem necessary…from
what I’ve heard there hasn’t been a whole lot, though I will say that after meeting Fr. Burns last Wednesday, he is a very nice man who does indeed seem to be pastoral and a people person. I will also say that I appreciated his understanding that a Bishop (as to an extent is any priest, and indeed, any Christian) is the recognizable face and voice of the Church in a given community.
So there you have it…my first impressions… my notes on Fr. Paden are coming right up…

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Brown University, Slavery and Place

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Kendall has posted a bit from this New York Times article regarding the attempt by Brown University to acknowledge and atone for the institution’s ties to Slavery. I posted the following comment on Titusonenine about the article:

I for one am glad to see an institution facing the reality of its past and its ties to slavery–particularly a northern one–rather than pointing a self-satisfied finger at the benighted South. As long as this doesn’t turn into a complete vilification of those figures in Brown’s past with ties to slavery, then it seems to be a healthy approach–though I am unsure how the plan to recruit more minority students from Africa and the West Indies is supposed to help them come to terms with the past–that part seems thrown in only to placate some liberal guilt.

Also, I have to disagree with Maryland Brian–I don’t think one can say that dead union soldiers who died while fighting for many motives under orders given by men with their own can be said to have died specifically to wipe out the blot of slavery from the nation’s soul. After all, it was Honest Abe himself who in 1838 said “Towering genious. . .thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen.” The Union no more fought specifically to end slavery than the South fought solely to defend it (though certainly it was very, very important and a central motivating factor for the upper classes at least).

This is a very important issue for the United States because it stands contra our national and personal myths of sinlessnes and chosen-ness. Americans, for the most part, have little sense of history or place and as a result, little or no understanding of sin. This is one place that I’ve felt the South, at its best, can act as mirror for the rest of the country, as an image of the nation’s shadow side, the place where place and history, family and generational connectedness is not forgotten, where the “past is not even past” and therefore sin–even generational sin–can be clearly seen when one is looking. This is the only way Americans will ever come to grips with the mixed bag that is our history. It is a lesson that other nations and peoples have learned–there are no unsullied motives or sinless leaders shining brightly. There are only broken and sinful people stumbling around, occasionally embracing the “better angels” of their nature.

Perhaps, rather than condemning such actions on the part of institutions such as Brown, my fellow conservatives should do more to direct such reflection and soul-searching in a more productive direction–one that leads to the recognition that we are all guilty, and all in need of the saving love of Jesus Christ, individually and corporately.

Finally, with apologies for rambling, I would like to recommend the book “Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story” by Timothy B. Tyson. It is very good.

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A desk meme

Mike has tagged me with my most recent meme… a desk meme. So I’ve decided to post not one, but TWO pictures of my home workspace. The long table you see to the left of my desk is Anna’s work area and the keypad in one of the corners is the side of our printer.

picture of desk from right

My desk from the left

Well, there you have it…I think I’ll tag Anna, Will, David and Jonathan.

Old family picture

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This is an old family picture from my mother’s side. As far as I know it was taken in Madison Country NC and is probably of my great-grandpa or one of his brothers. I am still moving many of my pagers from my old server onto this one, and there are a lot of image files as well… I may post some of them as they come up.

What about Wal-Mart: Caleb Stegall responds to George Will

The underground conflict between traditionalist and neo-conservatives continues…

The sheer size and power of Wal-Mart ought to make any conservative wince. A private entity the size of the U.S. military with the economic clout of the Federal Reserve is no friend to liberty. It should be clearly understood that the conservative’s objection to centralized power and wealth–either in its statist or its corporate forms–is primarily, perhaps exclusively, an objection to its capacity for imposing servility and dependence among his fellow citizens, who should be free.

In this, postwar American conservatives are heirs to the Jeffersonian, anti-Federalist and populist arguments of the 18th and 19th centuries. These decentralists, state’s-righters and agrarian champions presumed a basic level of democratic and economic sturdiness and self-sufficiency in the common man. Left to his own devices, it was thought that the common and working classes–the Minutemen of the Revolution, the pioneers of the West–would not willingly don the yoke of servitude, but would prefer to be free,
despite the sacrifices and hardship such a life might entail.

These traditional conservatives would not have seen the rise of a giant, dominant retailer like Wal-Mart as an advance in “consumer sovereignty,” but rather as forced dependence on faraway manufacturers, cultures, money and decision-makers–and with it, a diminishment of political and economic freedom.

{read it all}

you can see Will’s original editorial, “This big-box is good for the economy” here.

 

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Continue reading

Farewell to the New Pantagruel

pantagruel-feast2It’s a sad day as the New Pantagruel signs off… I’ll miss their lively articles, interesting essays and fiction, and their occasional poetry. So now the Whorehouse is quiet, the music is dying, no sounds to be heard above the clink of glasses and occasional
curse… least of all hymns to refocus our attention on what is important. But sadness is not the only emotion… no one should dwell on what is lost, least of all Christians… and the people of the New Pantagruel themselves do not see this as a negative… indeed they say, their foray was never intended to be long term… consider their summary of their three year task:

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction…

[…]

Ours can largely be summed up as a localist, decentralist, anarcho-Christian and authentically conservative approach to politics and culture. As we have written previously, we believe that to suffer one’s place and one’s people in the particularity of its and their needs is the only true basis for finding love, friendship, and an authentic, meaningful life. This is nothing less than the key to the pursuit of Christian holiness, which is the whole of the Christian adventure: to live in love with the frailty and
limits of one’s existence, suffering the places, customs, rites, joys, and sorrows of the people who are in close relation to you by family, friendship, and community–all in service of the truth, goodness, and beauty that is best experienced directly. The discipline of place teaches that it is more than enough to care skillfully and lovingly for one’s own little circle, and this is the model for the good life, not the limitless jurisdiction of the ego, granted by a doctrine of choice, that is ever seeking its
own fulfillment, pleasure, and satiation.

{read it all}

Here’s a collection of my favorite essays and articles from their archives:

Take some time and look through these and other thought provoking pieces on the site. I wish the folks at tNP well…

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