Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: February 2006 (Page 1 of 2)

The Nihilism of Narcisus: Or what Happens when a Sadomasochist lives by the Golden Rule.

Recently I saw a comment on Titusonenine that mentioned a piece by Benedict XVI entitled “Europe and its Discontents” which appeared in the December issue of First Things (since I’ve apparently allowed my subscription to lapse, I missed it until now), in which the Pope argues that Europeans have given themselves over to a troubling sort of self-loathing. Here’s a selection:

The last element of the European identity is religion. I do not wish to enter into the complex discussion of recent years, but to highlight one issue that is fundamental to all cultures: respect for that which another group holds sacred, especially respect for the sacred in the highest sense, for God, which one can reasonably expect to find even among those who are not willing to believe in God. When this respect is violated in a society, something essential is lost. In European society today, thank goodness, anyone who dishonors the faith of Israel, its image of God, or its great figures must pay a fine. The same holds true for anyone who dishonors the Koran and the convictions of Islam. But when it comes to Jesus Christ and that which is sacred to Christians, freedom of speech becomes the supreme good.

This case illustrates a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological. It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost all capacity for self-love. All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self-acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.

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The Hand of Welcome: Hope in a Contraceptive Culture

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).

“Come to me, all who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

That contemporary western culture has many problems is beyond dispute, as a cursory glance at the current affairs section of any bookstore will illustrate. What is debated is exactly what those problems are and where they stem from, what are their root causes? Despite the differences in description and definition advanced by cultural commentators there is arguably a common thread that wends its way through all of them, namely the original human sins of pride and accidie; “accidie is a spiritual listlessness or depression, a reluctance and finally a refusal to respond to God. Pride on the other hand, puts the self in God’s place.”[1] The prevalence of these in our society has led to a variety of situations that, while promoted or accepted by different facets of our society and the political spectrum are all at a basic level, affronts to the Gospel.

The spiritual restlessness that is a hallmark of our time is the result of these sins. Pride and the “sickness that stalks at mid-day,” as accidie is sometimes called, bring people into a sort of spiritual no-man’s land where allegiance is won by the highest bidder.[2] People find themselves searching for fulfillment in a variety of places and ways. Like Qoheleth, satisfaction is sought from good food and good drink, power and authority, material wealth, hopes for posterity—but found to be illusory and fleeting. Many who have experienced some or all of these attempts at satisfaction discover that the desire for something has only grown stronger. Yet there still remains a sort of spiritual despair arising from a society that has rejected the idea that truth can be anything beyond individual. Ours is a society wherein people have the means to invest in themselves and covet the things they believe will bring them happiness. But there are visible fruits of spiritual decay all around us.

The particular evidences of these sins cut across time and ideology, being confronted or supported at different times by people of varied political persuasions. But it is the same spirit, the spirit of sin and death, the spirit of our first parents’ rebellion against God that animates each of these actions whether politically supported from left or right. Our society manifests this spirit of decay in many ways, but at a fundamental level they all consist in the use or abuse of others toward our own (individual or corporate) ends. This is a situation that may seem ironic in a society that so highly values the individual; yet, in such a society the individual comes to be seen as a commodity as well. The structural elements that lead to these abuses are implicit within liberalism and capitalism whenever they are unmoored from basic virtue.

At the close of the twentieth century liberalism triumphed over its sibling ideologies; communism and totalitarianism are entertained by few people as viable alternatives and socialism, once so vibrant an ideology in Europe, has begun to give way to liberal thought as European politics have increasingly become more Americanized. Today European conservatism and socialism have “increasingly lost [their] more socialist respective conservative features and become variations of a basically liberal polity.”[3] Even in those nations where totalitarianism is attempted, leaders use plainly populist and liberal language to justify their rule.[4] Indeed, the primary threat to liberalism today seems to be terrorism, which may owe its own existence to the fruits of liberal ideology.[5]

As capital markets expand, they seek to predict and control human action and desire; as an outgrowth of the intellectual and political order arising after the enlightenment capitalist practice shares many assumptions with ideologies that have their roots in this era, for “it is clear,” as Alisdair MacIntyre notes, “that the Enlightenment’s mechanistic account of human action included both a thesis about the predictability of human behavior and a thesis about the appropriate ways to manipulate human behavior.”[6]  The history of the ideologies arising out of the enlightenment has been one of continual attempts to control human behavior.  Communism, socialism, totalitarianism and liberalism agree that humanity must be controlled but differ as to the means of that control and the best means for the satisfaction of human desires. Each begins either by freeing the individual from traditional bonds, or in constructing new identities to superimpose over the old.

In seeking to empower the individual—often morally, usually economically—our society has extended what it means to be free in the Anglo-American school of thought. This school of thought bears some differences to the continental school. John Dewey articulates the difference this way in Freedom and Culture:

In the American and English liberal tradition, the idea of freedom has been connected with the idea of individuality, of the individual. The connection has been so close and so often reiterated that it has come to seem inherent [. . .] in the continental European tradition the affiliation of the idea of freedom is with the idea of rationality.[7]

In the continental school the person is most free who has the most reason, whereas the Anglo-American concept is that the person is most free who has the most individuality, the most choice. The world wars, especially the second, stand as testament to the failure of the continental belief in freedom; again from Freedom and Culture:

The same difference in contexts that give freedom its meaning is found when representatives of totalitarian Germany at the present time [pre WWII] claim their regime is giving the subjects of their state a “higher” freedom than can be found in democratic states, individuals in the latter being unfree because their lives are chaotic and undisciplined.[8]

Few people today would associate freedom with discipline, instead the Anglo-American principle of freedom equating to individuality has become standard.

Granting these differences, the common point of departure for both the Anglo-American and Continental schools is that people desire safety. In their own ways both guaranteed safety. But safety from what? Ultimately the safety sought is from facing one’s own mortality. But the goal is more: it is with making people feel truly safe by empowering them to make choices, choices that help them forget about death.

The Anglo-American system, with its focus on autonomy, seeks to empower the individual, to make the person feel as though they have control over their choices and by extension over their life.  The function which government and to a broader extent society, has taken upon itself has been to expand the amount and means of choice, seeking to give people a feeling of control and authority over their own mortality and life—the ultimate expression of this being assisted suicide. As Stanley Hauerwas relates:

[W]hen you live in a liberal society like ours, the fundamental problem is how you can achieve cooperative agreements between individuals who share nothing in common other than their fear of death.  In liberal society the law has the function of securing such agreements. That is the reason why lawyers are to America what priests were to the medieval world. The law is our way of negotiating safe agreements between autonomous individuals who have nothing else in common other than their natural fear of death and their mutual desire for protection.[9]

The progression is: more choices equate to more power, more power equates to more control, more control means more authority over life and circumstance. So in some ways a new jaguar is an evocation of the power exercised over life and fate, or rather, it is the pretense of power and control. Of course, this belief is not totally unfounded; after all, those with more money often do exercise greater control over their health care and other important issues than the poor who lack such resources.

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General Ordination Exam Set I: Christian Doctrine and Missiology

QUESTION:
At the First Council of Constantinople, a movement led by Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus, among others, resulted in the declaration of the Full Divinity of the Holy Spirit and the adoption of the third paragraph of the ‘Nicene’ Creed. In a three page essay:

1. Describe the theological issues concerning the Spirit’s divinity at the time of the First Council of Constantinople, the extent to which they were resolved, and how.

2. Identify the ongoing theological implications of the First Council of Constantinople for contemporary pneumatology. Include in your answer appropriate consideration of the doctrine of divine providence.

*********

MY ANSWER:

There can be no greater support for Prosper of Aquitaine’s dictum “legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi” than that provided by the study of the history of Christian thought. From the time of our Lord onward, we find believers struggling to come to intellectual terms with what they see, hear and believe—with what they already practice. The biblical narrative itself clearly illustrates and supports a belief in the divinity of Christ long before any definitive creedal statement on the matter (this is perhaps most easily illustrated in John’s gospel and in the letters of Paul where Christ is so frequently invoked along side the Father). That creedal statement, with the Creed of Caesarea serving as a basis, was produced and promulgated by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and portions of it are intimately familiar to Episcopalians. Yet, the Creed as we know it did not take shape until several decades later at the First Council of Constantinople (381), hence it is also known as the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

All things being fulfilled in their time, the time was ripe in 325 for a clear statement of Christology, of Christ’s divinity and relationship with the Father. At the time however, little theological reflection had taken place on the role or character of the Holy Spirit, as such pneumatology was not sufficiently developed to support a clear statement of belief, and as such the authors at first Nicea left us with as much of an affirmation as they were prepared for, i.e. “And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit.”[1]

When there is not clarity there is variety; this was certainly the case in regards to beliefs about the Holy Spirit in the interim between Nicea and Constantinople. Despite their defeat at the Council in 325 Arians remained a force within the Church. Post-Nicea the Nicene party who supported the formulation that the son was homoousia sought rapprochement with the semiarian party that favored the term homoiousia, indeed, compromises at Synod in 362 put the two groups on a path toward settlement—one which Athanasius, the great defender of the Nicene cause, was able to see beginning during his correspondence with Basil of Ancyra, a leader among the semiarian party, toward the end of his life.

The foundation for the final resolution of this controversy however, was laid by the subsequent generation of theologians, particularly the three leaders known as the Cappadocian Fathers: Basil of Caesarea, his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and younger brother Gregory of Nyssa. Their task involved a difficult work of clarification and differentiation. Because of the ambiguity of the words ousia and hypostasis—used as synonyms in philosophical literature and even at Nicea—both of which could refer both to “the individual subsistence of a thing as well as to the common essence of which all the members of the same species participate,” a great deal of disagreement had emerged over the decades.[2] For instance, Origen could never have affirmed the Nicene formula that stated the Son was of the same substance as the Father for he “understood homoousios to designate co-ordinate members of a single class, beings sharing the same properties,” and the gnostics he had so ably argued against believed that the souls of the holy were of the same substance as God, leading him to perceive such an affirmation as a belief that God was subject to the possibility of change or corruption, something Origen could never countence, and important element in the debate since the Nicene and anti-Nicene parties could in certain terms be seen as left-wing and right-wing Origenists, suffering in the same semantic confusion as their predecessor.[3]

The first step toward clarity offered by the Cappadocians was the strict definition of hypostasis “as the individual subsistence of a thing,” and the use “of ousia to refer to the essence that is common to the various members of a species,”[4] hence the Trinity is defined as three individual subsistences participating in one essence or three persons in one substance. Such clarification offered the chance for fruitful debate and set the path forward in Christian theology.

Despite the great benefit offered by the clarity of the Cappadocian definitions, there was still a great deal of disagreement surrounding the nature of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s relationship to the Father. Basil understood this, and knew that it was pointless to defeat the Arians in the realm of Christology only to succumb to the Pneumatomachians, who were “Arian” in regards to the Spirit—i.e. they argued that the Spirit was a creature and not co-eternal or co-equal to the Father—in the realm of Pneumatology. Basil demonstrates the connection between the issue of Arianism and the Pneumatomachi in that his published work Against Eunomius (an Arian) in the third book, where he affirms and attempts to prove the Divinity of the Spirit. His most extensive work on this subject was his treatise On the Holy Spirit, which was written in response to criticism of his liturgical changes.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Basil’s effort to affirm the divinity of the Holy Spirit is the role that prayer and liturgy played. Basil altered the Caesarian liturgy, specifically the doxology, that had stated “Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Ghost,” which he altered to state “Glory be to the Father, with the Son, jointly with the Holy Ghost.”[5] Basil justified this change theologically on the grounds of the Baptismal formula; his argument can be summarized thusly: “If saving regeneration begins through baptism in the name of Father, Son and Spirit, with name in the singular, then Father, Son, and Spirit form a coordinate series, with all three sharing equal rank.” Indeed, as Jaroslav Pelikan notes (as a generalization), quoting Hans Lietzmann in Credo, “It is indisputable that the root of all creeds is the formula of belief pronounced by the baptized, or pronounced in his hearing and assented to by him, before his baptism.”[6]

Though Basil died (c. 379) shortly before First Constantinople, his work was carried forward by his friend and brother, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa. The success of his arguments is strikingly illustrated by the virtual end of the Arian controversies at the first Council of Constantinople shortly after his death.[7]

The ongoing implications of the decisions of First Constantinople are manifold, not least in the West because of the charge that the filioque creates a hierarchy in the Trinity, at least implicitly lessening the status of the Holy Spirit, and ecumenical opinion seems to favor a version or modification of the Eastern view, i.e. sans filioque and its negative accretions.[8] There is no doubt that the most direct way that the Council of Constantinople affects us currently in the Episcopal Church, as well as in the other liturgical Churches that recite the Nicene Creed on a regular basis, is in its addition of the third paragraph to the Creed itself.

It has been noted that people often limit their concept of the work of the spirit to the process of sanctification, and it is certainly a true and important aspect of the Spirit’s work. And yet, as the Creed demonstrates, this is not the limit of the Spirit’s role. The Creed affirms that the Holy Spirit is Lord and the giver of life—the Spirit in other words is that aspect of God’s triune being which gives life to the lifeless; the Spirit is called our advocate and comforter in scripture. In Acts the Spirit descends upon the fledgling church in tongues of fire and in the Gospel of John, Christ breaths on the disciples and says “receive the Holy Spirit” (possible biblical support for the filioque.) The Holy Spirit is that Person of the Trinity which inspired the prophets, speaking through them the words of God, and like the Father and the Son he is to be worshiped and glorified.

Whether one accepts the filioque or not, the intimate connection between the Persons of the Trinity cannot be denied. Indeed, wherever one Person of the Trinity is, the other two are there also because of the perfect harmony of the Godhead. The Perichoresis in which the Trinity exists is such that the Persons are indivisible even as they are individual. Through the testimony of Scripture and the Creed we see that the Spirit is the giver of live—God breaths life into Adam, and the Spirit (breath/spirit—ruach in Hebrew) animates the earth creature. Indeed, the Spirit of God as the Person of the Trinity sent to inhabit and imbue the Church both corporately and individually, is intimately involved in the fulfillment of God’s divine purposes, the eschatological summing up of all things.

God’s providence is such that it can embrace his will both for the entirety of creation and for the individual soul without differentiation. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God who desires to dwell with his people, to redeem them from their sins and restore creation which groans for redemption. The Work of the Spirit is therefore unitive, restorative and sanctifying. The Spirit is unitive as it indwells the believer, offering strength and sustenance. The Spirit is restorative as the Comforter who heals the people of God from their self-inflicted wounds and is sanctifying as the giver of all good gifts (charismata) which testify to the Kingdom of God and its power in our world. The Providence and provision of God is such that the Spirit works out the salvation of the individual and the restoration of the cosmos through its indwelling power, restoring all things to relationship with the creator and allowing participation in the very life of the Triune God.

Bibliography

Bettenson, Henry, and Chris Maunder, eds. Documents of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Cross, F.L., and E.A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Third Revised ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon. Vol. I. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987.
Hastings, Adrian, Alistair Mason, and Hugh Pyper, eds. The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought: Intellectual, Spiritual, and Moral Horizons of Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Pelikan, Jaroslav. Credo. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.
Williams, Rowan. Arius : Heresy and Tradition / Rowan Williams. Rev. ed. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002.

[1] Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, eds., Documents of the Christian Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 27-28.
[2] Justo L. Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon, vol. I (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987), 287.
[3] Rowan Williams, Arius : Heresy and Tradition / Rowan Williams, Rev. ed. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002), 135.
[4] Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon, 287.
[5] Ibid., 309.
[6] Jaroslav Pelikan, Credo (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 382-83.
[7] F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Third Revised ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 167.
[8] Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason, and Hugh Pyper, eds., The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought: Intellectual, Spiritual, and Moral Horizons of Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, {2000), 305.

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Theology of the Body/Vocatum: Re-visiting Brokeback, for the sake of re-maining hip

My father, like the cowboys in the Brokeback film, knows that forces of nature are as strong and sudden and driving as wind and rain and the procreative instincts of animals, and that they can be just as deadly. Nature can break the back of the weak and leave it for dead. And it is not love.

An insightful review of the film that has come to represent so much of the culture wars.

{Read it all}

Now playing: [I’ve Been Delivered~The Wallflowers~iTunes Originals – The Wallflowers~4:59]

Last year: From Lutheran Bishop Obare

The Most Reverend Walter Obare Omwanza
The Presiding Bishop of
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK)
Gothenburg, Sweden,
February 5th, 2005

WHY ARE WE HERE TODAY?

The date of February 5, 2005 will have it’s permanent place in the future history of Lutheranism. On this very day, The Mission Province of Sweden received the first Bishop in the person of Arne Olsson, an assurance of two more bishops in the very near future. On this same day Lutheran Christians in the Lutheran Churches in Sweden and Finland received newly ordained pastors who are to serve them with the Word of God and the Holy Sacraments. In all this that we have accomplished here in Gothenburg, the passage of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians has, once again been realized, “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men” Eph. 4:8.

This date of February 5th, 2005, naturally raises the question, why are we here having arrived from various parts of the wide world? Why us, from Africa, Eastern Europe, Germany, Scandinavia and North America? This question can be addressed to us even with a certain degree of indignation. The same question can also be asked out of perplexity and embarrassment. But we should not forget either, that there are Lutheran Christians in Sweden and Finland who can answer this question with the deepest thankfulness. Their prayers have been heard as was heard the request from Macedonia to St. Paul: “Come over and help us!” (Acts 16:9). We have not come to Gothenburg out of frivolous love of adventure. I want to make the reasons of our coming very clear to all who, for one reason or another, raise this question.

1. We are here demanded by the Christian love and solidarity. Time and time again, the motivation for my resolution to come over and help Lutheran Christians in Sweden and Finland has been expressed in the words of St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, concerning the well-being of the mystical body of Christ, the church, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Cor. 12:26). This was also my Biblical reply to the letter of the Primate of the Lutheran Church of Sweden a full year ago, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” My decision to take this step has not been an easy one. I have struggled with this call. But a call it is, a call from God. I did not make my decision lightly. How many times have I been tempted to listen to well-meaning advice not to come here! I have received an abundance of such advice. Yet, my conscience is in bondage to the truth. I have received my Episcopal office in a Lutheran Church to serve the divine truth and Christian love. Christian Biblical truth and love cannot be insensitive in the presence of suffering. This suffering has been felt even on other continents and this is the reason why we are here. The state of emergency among our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, has been heard and felt. This state of emergency is not an issue of yesterday. Indeed, it has been an open wound in the Lutheran body for decades, at least since 1983 when the 1958 clause of conscience was abrogated in Sweden after an intense and politically well-orchestrated media campaign.1 What is worse, such a clause was never adopted in Finland.2 What this meant in practice was that Lutheran Christians have been denied their fundamental Christian freedom to attend apostolic services in their churches. Instead, various attempts have been made to force them to church services that are not conducted according to the Bible and according to the order handed down to us by the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I speak out openly. In Africa and in other parts of the world, we completely fail to comprehend this kind of rigid ecclesiastical tyranny in the age global human rights, including the freedom of religion and worship. Civil and church regimes that resort to coercion and even tyranny are never promoting a good cause, on the contrary. As long ago as the 17th century, England left the tyranny of the kind Archbishop William Laud 3 pursued, seeking watertight ecclesiastical uniformity by unscrupulous, merciless, worldly means. Germany has left behind the years when the Prussian king even used troops to crush the peaceful resistance of his Lutheran subjects who could not accept church union with Protestants whose teachings ruined the Lutheran doctrine. 4 Scandinavia should have left this kind of tyranny against Christian consciences far behind in the 19th century when governments, laws, state-church bishops and diocesan chapters persecuted in many and various ways popular Lutheran revivals in the Nordic countries.

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Frank Schaeffer: “Stripped of Spiritual Comfort” from Orthodoxy Today

Its sad, but it helps to know that Episcopalians aren’t the only one’s dealing with a church heirarchy with more to say than thought to back it up.

Stripped of Spiritual Comfort
Frank Schaeffer
No endorsement implied.

Orthodox Peace Fellowship robs peace of military parents.

A few weeks ago my wife, Genie, and I got the news that our Marine son, John, would shortly be deployed to the Middle East. He is gone to war now. We have been dreading this moment. We don’t dare go for a walk. What if he should call? I wake with a sickening jolt each dawn. Genie is quieter than usual. I snap at her over small things. The ground feels brittle under my feet. My one comfort has been prayer and church. Now I’m feeling forlorn even about going to church.

I am a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Some Orthodox Christians calling themselves “The Council for the Orthodox Peace Fellowship in North America” have circulated an antiwar declaration harshly condemning the U.S. government’s policies in Iraq. In this “peace statement” the authors call all soldiers who kill in battle murderers, no matter what the cause. They accuse our country of using “any means” to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

I don’t agree with the authors, and I believe they have simplistically misrepresented the teachings of my church. But that is not the point. They are entitled to say or believe anything they want, as individuals and private citizens.

I am saddened because so many of my bishops and priests have signed this antiwar statement in the name of my church and my God. They have dragged not only my church but Jesus into their stand against our government and the war in Iraq.

This last bit could have been written about any nymber of things the Episcopal Church USA has done recently. Spiritual arrogance comes to mind.

{read it all}
Now playing: [April The 14th (Part 1)~Gillian Welch~Time (The Revelator)~5:10]

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Flashback, Touchstone: Convert Provocateurs

Both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches have, during the past decade or so, received a growing number of converts from Protestantism, most notably Evangelicals searching for a “more authentic” form of Christianity. Not surprisingly, these converts tend to embrace their new Tradition with an enthusiasm and loyalty that is not generally the norm among those who were born and raised within that same Tradition.
The convert from Evangelicalism has usually thought long and hard before deciding in favor of Rome or Orthodoxy. He has probably read a good deal, discussed doctrinal concerns with priests and pastors and fellow travelers, weighed theological differences, and experimented with the various devotional and liturgical aspects of the prospective Church. Serious Evangelicals are inclined to investigate such matters rather thoroughly, and they don’t move precipitously. Converts from Evangelicalism also know what it is to be misunderstood by their Evangelical friends, to have relationships severed, even their salvation questioned and character distrusted by former friends if they opt for Catholicism or Orthodoxy. And, lastly, such a convert in search of the “more authentic” must choose between these two great claimants for the honor of being regarded as the original Church.
This last aspect of the quest is more difficult for some than for others; but here, too, there is a very definite choice to be made. If one heads Romeward, one will need to adopt a particular vision of the church’s shape and life; if one heads towards Orthodoxy, one will necessarily adopt a rather different vision of these same things. Both visions represent what is, in fact, the only surviving institution of the classical Western world; and by adopting one or the other expression of it, the convert has involved himself, like it or not, in an ecclesiological schism more historically deep-rooted than that of the Reformation (the latter presumably being more familiar to him, and providing him with his only experience of a division within Christianity).

{Read it all}

Now playing: [Red Clay Halo~Gillian Welch~Time (The Revelator)~3:14]

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From Kyle Potter: Genius or the reult of a fried, battered Mars bar? you decide :-)

“I was telling friends the other day about my opinion that the charismatic renewal and sacramental theology / Anglo-Catholicism are very close cousins. So should I walk into Wycliffe Hall and start laying hands on people, it would seem perfectly consistant to me that they would “fall down under the Power,” and when they get back up again, rush into the chapel to build a tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament, hit their knees, and start adoring.”

{read it all and visit Kyle’s blog Vindicated}

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