Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

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Tim Farron’s resignation symbolises the decay of liberalism

Good thoughts on some of the political goings on in the UK:


Some will claim that Tim Farron’s resignation yesterday shows that Christians in the Britain can no longer hold high political office. It doesn’t. What it does show, however, is something potentially more worrying: the decay of liberalism.

Source: Tim Farron’s resignation symbolises the decay of liberalism

The Dishonesty of “Bivocational Ministry” | Part 1 – David L Hansen

A big amen to my fellow School of Theology grad Pastor David Hansen on this one:

Simple logic would suggest that when we say “bi-vocational” we mean someone who is living into two of these vocations, two of these life-giving, joy-filled callings.

But we don’t.

When we say “bivocational” the most common meaning is someone who has (1) vocation that gives them life and joy and (2) a different job that gives them a paycheck.

Notice: Not a second vocation. A job. A paycheck.

That’s what we most often mean by suggesting bivocational ministry: “Do this ministry that is your vocation. And then go find a paycheck doing some other job.”

There are exceptions to this – people who genuinely live into the vocation of congregational ministry and a second vocation. That is a beautiful and also a rare thing.

There are also people who faithfully serve by having a job that pays (which they may or may not enjoy) while also serving in an unpaid or underpaid ministry position. And that is also a wonderful thing when (1) the individual knows full well what they are getting into and (2) the congregation is honest about what is going on.

But that is not what usually happens.

Source: The Dishonesty of “Bivocational Ministry” | Part 1 – David L Hansen

Margaret Atwood says religion isn’t the problem… human beings are – Home | Tapestry with Mary Hynes | CBC Radio

Good thoughts from Atwood:

“I sometimes hear the view that the world’s ills are due to religions. Some people have that view. I do not agree with that view because atheist regimes have done a good job of oppressing and murdering people too. It is true that Christianity has got some dark moments. And it’s had some dark moments in Canada. Dark moments of various kinds. But I don’t think you can put that down to a religion. I think you can put that down to human beings behaving the way they unfortunately sometimes do – whatever religion or non-religion they may happen to have.”

Source: Margaret Atwood says religion isn’t the problem… human beings are – Home | Tapestry with Mary Hynes | CBC Radio

Paul Ricoeur & Emmanuel Macron

Very interesting:

Does the presidency of Emmanuel Macron – a centrist who wants to overcome the left-right divide – show signs of being influenced by Ricoeur?

I find it helpful, in answering this question, to think back over some of the things that have been said in Paris recently about that connection. Olivier Abel, a former director of the Fonds Ricoeur, has made some particularly interesting observations. He suggests that the first place to look for a line of influence is in Macron’s political rhetoric.

“He draws our attention to Macron’s very deliberate repetition of the phrase et en même temps (“and at the same time”) as he announces plans to do two seemingly incompatible things such as liberalising the labour market and protecting those in the most insecure positions.

“For Abel, this rhetorical scheme sits comfortably with Macron’s Ricoeur-inspired ethics of responsibility. He says that Macron continually strives to integrate, into the process of devising political initiatives, a reflection on the way a proposed initiative will impact on vulnerable people.

“Abel uses Ricoeur’s borrowed term, ‘practical wisdom’ to capture the skill involved in this type of policy formation. And he would certainly see Macron as someone with that skill. I think that Abel is right about this.

{Read it all}

‘Marrying myself’ and the cult of personal happiness – Covenant

Thanks to Father Jonathan Mitchican for this:

“Marrying yourself is the wrong answer to many modern problems, but the problems are real. In our time, happiness is the mark of true value in life. Everything rises and falls upon it. Happiness is identified as whatever form of personal contentment an individual can find in life. These women have rightly understood that contemporary Western culture lies about the magic of marriage. We cannot expect to find this elusive notion of happiness fulfilled in some other person doting on us. But then where do we find it? For these women, shaped by the individualism of our age, the answer has been to look inside the self. It is an understandable but tragic turn.”

{Read it all}

Climbing the ladder of God’s delight – Covenant

I’ve been blessed with many such moments. It’s one of the benefits of spending as much time as I do in the outdoors. Light always seems to be a vital element. My memory of Tryfan is matched by a stunning sunset in the Blue Ridge Mountains that painted the air beneath a carpet of clouds a fiery gold, but also by a walk through the English countryside when a ray of light pierced dark, foreboding clouds to pick out a small village from the surrounding gloom, and a spectacular morning spent sitting outside my tent watching the sun rise above Geirangerfjord. I’ve previously written about other encounters on Cadair Idris in Wales and on the Laugavegur Trail in Wales. To taste moments of such delight is the reason why I walk.

Delight: it’s an idea that has consumed me now for more than 10 years. My first encounter with natural delight — during a walk in Ivestor Gap in the Shining Rock Wilderness — changed my life. Because of that experience, I ended up leaving my parish ministry in North Carolina to move to the United Kingdom. Since then, I’ve gone out into wildernesses and the countryside with increasing regularity, spending as much time as I responsibly can soaking in the natural world and learning how to delight. If the good Lord should choose to save me, then he will have done so through delight.

Source: Climbing the ladder of God’s delight – Covenant

The Oxford Movement’s sacramental interpretation of Scripture

The Incarnation is the mystery of human nature divinized, and the goal of the Christian life is “union with that mystery, whereby we are made partakers of the Incarnation.”[2] Learning from the Fathers how to see, as well as how and where to look, is a form of instruction in the character of that mystery, but this seeing, this reading, is also a way to come to share in, to participate in, the truth that is known. The basic insight of the incarnational approach is that the truth that is known is also the life into which one is drawn by participation, sanctification, and illumination.

C.S. Lewis offers a wonderful description of this desire for union, a desire for a sacramental or real connection rather than an external or nominal one:

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.[3]

Recovering the patristic approach to Scripture is not just Bible-reading, but a means of progressing into what we learn to see. For the Tractarians, reading the Bible was a form of instruction, and also a means of sacramental participation with the Word who speaks in the words and who is manifest in the histories, people, institutions, and rites of the Scriptures. Newman, Keble, and Pusey affirmed the “real presence” of Christ not only in the sacramental elements, but also, in a different way, in the lettered body of the Scriptures.

Source: The Oxford Movement’s sacramental interpretation of Scripture

Very interesting:

The white male effect in the U.S., viewed alongside the similar risk perceptions of native Swedish men and women, suggests that it can at least sometimes be the different social place, identities, and experiences of men and women in the world, rather than some enduring dissimilarity of biology, that underlie sex differences in risk perception. This is a vital point since, as we’ve seen, it is these subjective perceptions that underlie sex differences in risk taking. The idea that women have evolved to be biologically predisposed to perceive greater risks to health is intuitively plausible, but appears to be simply wrong. As the researchers who first identified the white male effect point out: “Biological factors should apply to nonwhite men and women as well as to white people.”

His Holiness Pope Francis: Why the only future worth building includes everyone | TED Talk |

My Mother Wasnt Trash | | This Appalachia Life

This is one of the most powerful personal reflections I’ve read in a long time. Have your tissue ready.

My mother died the day she turned 55.

This Sunday will be my first Mother’s Day without her, but nearly a year after she died, I still find it impossible to be heartbroken over her passing. As I wrote in her obituary, she suffered from both mental and physical illness for much of her life. However, despite her struggles, she selflessly loved and supported those who meant the most to her. In so many ways, she loved those who society deemed outcast and unloveable, and through her relentless love of others, her relationship with God was readily apparent. While I miss her dearly, it would be selfish of me to wish that she were still alive and suffering rather than at peace.

I suppose that my mother is the single biggest reason that I have devoted much of my career to studying poverty. My mother was what some folks call white trash, and by extension, that made me white trash growing up too. Truth is, she never stood much of a chance of climbing out of the poverty in which she became mired the minute she was born. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was (and still is) about as wicked a human as I have ever met. Mom and her sister mostly raised themselves, so it’s no wonder they got married and left their abusive home first chance they got. At 16, Mom married an alcoholic who beat her most every day until the night he came home drunk and she rolled him up in the bedsheets and beat the hell out of him with a baseball bat. Not long after, she got pregnant. Her firstborn child died before he was a week old. She named him Dustin David, and his loss laid heavy on her heart for the rest of her life. It was just one piece of a lifetime of heartbreaking burden that took a toll on her mental health.

Not long after Dusty died, she met my father and my conception hastened the bells of Mom’s second wedding. My father is a good man, but they divorced by the time I was out of diapers. After my father, she married a total of five more times, twice to the same man. She had the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known, but picking men was not among her gifts. She told me more than once that she didn’t think she deserved a good man. I was never able to convince her that she deserved a partner who treated her well.

Source: My Mother Wasnt Trash | | This Appalachia Life

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