Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: March 2005

Christ is Risen, The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia, Alleluia!!

Icon of the Resurrection

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious ressurection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection: through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

LORD, help us understand the silence of your tomb.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. AMEN

14:1 “Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.
2 He comes out like a flower and withers;
he flees like a shadow and continues not.
3 And do you open your eyes on such a one
and bring me into judgment with you?
4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
There is not one.
5 Since his days are determined,
and the number of his months is with you,
and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
6 look away from him and leave him alone, [1]
that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.

7 “For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
8 Though its root grow old in the earth,
and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put out branches like a young plant.
10 But a man dies and is laid low;
man breathes his last, and where is he?
11 As waters fail from a lake
and a river wastes away and dries up,
12 so a man lies down and rises not again;
till the heavens are no more he will not awake
or be roused out of his sleep.
13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,
that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14 If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my service I would wait,
till my renewal should come.
{Job 14:1-14}

Now playing: [Free Until They Cut Me Down~Iron & Wine~Our Endless Numbered Days~4:34]


We beseech Thee, O Lord, purify Thy family, and cleanse it from all contagion of wickedness; that the vessels which have been redeemed by their Lord’s Passion may never again be stained by the unclean spirit, but may be posessed by everlasting salvation; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord AMEN

Almighty and everlasting Father, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to be the great High Priest, the eternal and perfect sacrifice of our confession; to cleanse us by His blood, uphold us by His mercy and guide us by His example. We humbly pray that, as you did not forget Israel in the times of her transgression and forgetfulness, you would remember us in the times of our folly, forgetfulness and error. Strengthen each of us Lord, so that we may have the fortitude to conform our wills with your will, our hearts with your heart, our loves with your love. Have mercy Lord, have mercy on a rebellious and broken church, and on this day of our most Holy Lord’s passion, cleanse our thoughts and minds by His blessed sacrifice. Remember not our rebellion, but Christ’s obedience, not our infidelities but Christ’s fidelity, not our hatreds but Christ’s love. And, at the last day, bring us with all your Saints into the perfection of your Kingdom, where you will dwell with us and we with you, in perfect unity, knowing and being known in truth and in the Spirit. AMEN

Now playing: [Psalm 39 ‘ I Said I Will Take Heed to My Ways,’ Anglican Chant, Setting By C. Hylton-Stewart~George Guest, John Scott & St. John’s College Choir, Cambridge~The World of Psalms~5:08]

Quo Vadis … Where are you going?

Holy crap, I’ve been Cloned!

The title of this blog is “Quo Vadis?” and comes from a tradtional Roman Catholic story about the life of the Apostle Peter. In this story, which is set during a particularly difficult period of persecution for the early church in Rome, Peter has been arrested along with several other members of the Christian community, but has somehow been released or escaped from prison and is fleeing the city. On his way out of the city Peter sees Jesus coming toward him. . . “Quo Vadis, Domini?” Where are you going, Lord? I am going to Rome to be crucified again. I will go with you. . .So Peter returned to Rome and was crucified, upside down.

The reason I chose this as a title for my blog is because I believe this is one of the questions that God is eternally asking us… by his presense Jesus was asking Peter “Where are you going?” even though it was Peter who said quo vadis Domani. I like to remember this question at the begining of my prayers–Quo vadis, Jody? Where are YOU going? Where are we going…?

This question takes on dramatic significance in our era, although it’s been significant since our first parents ate the fruit. But in our time, as the pace of science quickens and the majority of people can no longer reach the level of understanding or investment that made visions of a participatory scientific polis, such as that discussed by John Dewey, possible. Not only has the speed of development and the intricacy of scientific knowledge made the vision of broad scientific understanding more difficult and perhaps naieve, the dependance of scientific experiementation upon corporate and governmental funding has tainted the myth of scientific objectivity, even for those who once accepted it.

Which brings us to the issue at hand; Rhys, a blogger commenting on the Terri Schiavo situation at Deepsoil raised the issue of stem cell research:

If we keep Terri alive long enough – stem cell research will provide a cure but US conservatives then have to decide whose hopes for life are of higher value: a woman who was in the prime of her life when she was struck down by brain damage, or a group of cells forming part of an embryo of four or 5 days existance.

Ms Schiavo’s case may be treated by the right as a black and white moral issue butcomplex consequences will have to be resteled with for years to come.

Stem cell issues are indeed very important and have not, amid the cultural conflicts of our time, recieved the attention or public debate I believe they deserve. News coverage and public debate/discussion are two separate things.

But before we discuss the intricacies and ethics of stem cell research, why don’t we consider some of the assumptions implicit in Rhys’ comments. Consider {punctuation added}:

“If we keep Terri alive long enough – stem cell research will provide a cure but US conservatives then have to decide whose hopes for life are of higher value: a woman who was in the prime of her life when she was struck down by brain damage, or a group of cells forming part of an embryo of four or 5 days existance.”

The dichotomy presented by Rhys will bear some unpacking. I believe it to be a false dichotomy; the idea that there is a need to evaluate the intrinsic value of two individual lives, indeed even the possibility of such a calculus from the perspective of a Christian world-view is simply a non-starter.

Who has more value, “a woman who was in the prime of her life. . .” or “a group of cells forming part of an embryo”? Who has more value… neither…

{get ready, more coming when I have more time}

Bibles, Brownies and Bribes . . .

Charles Henry Twain lived during the latter part of the seventeenth century, and was a zealous and distinguished missionary. He converted sixteen thousand South Sea islanders, and taught them that a dog-tooth necklace and a pair of spectacles was not enough clothing to come to divine service in. His poor flock loved him very, very dearly; and when his funeral was over, they got up in a body (and came out of the restaurant) with tears in their eyes, and saying, one to another, that he was a good tender missionary, and they wished they had some more of him.
– A Burlesque Autobiography

In contextual education today we began class with a discussion of Oscar Romero and used that as a jumping-off point to discuss the question:

“Can the Church be neutral?”

We began this discussion with the question of poverty and the poor. My own opinion about this and other issues that is that the responsibility of the church–of each individual Christian–is to proclaim the Gospel. The problem with some liberation theologies is that they think there has to be an active alteration of theology and the gospel in order to effect change. On the contrary, true liberation theology is the recognition that where there is injustice in the world it is essentially opposed to the Gospel, and when tension exists between the World and the proclamation of the Gospel, it is because of the movement of the World and the Church, the people of God, must be fundamentally and intrinsically opposed to the World in those areas. Its all part of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.

Another of my classmates raised the issue of a rescue mission he had worked at, which required that those who came for supper first attend chapel {the line for the meal began on the other side of the chapel door}. The issue that arose from this policy was that the former parish of my classmate had withdrawn thier support from the ministry because of this policy; my classmate admitted that he was torn by this decision because he believes that it is the purpose of the Church to proclaim the Gospel, yet he isn’t necessarily comfortable with the policy of making chapel a pre-requisite for food. This tension is similar to the tension of, and criticism directed at, missionaries and the so-called “rice Christians.”

   This reminded me of the volunteer work I did at ABCCM a few years ago, during which I learned a bit about their work with homeless addicts. They had a policy at the time–I don’t know if it is still in place–that anyone living in the shelter had to be actively looking for a job, participating in rehab etc… as part of thier rehab they were expected to participate in worship. The view of the program was that the worship was intrinsic to the rehab and inseparable from it. And that’s the rub… for some, it looks as though Christians are laying out “poll taxes” or something of the like, that the people they are attempting to minister to must pay–but to Christians, the proclamation of the Gospel is of basic importance, indeed, without the Gospel, no lasting benefit can be achieved.

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