Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: August 2011

Reading up on Cranmer’s Eucharistic Doctrine

“It has been a common mistake to assume that there was no fourth alternative open to Cranmer besides Catholic, Lutheran, and Zwinglian. There was in fact, a fourth available possibility in Virtualism, the Eucharistic doctrine according to which, while the bread and wine remain unchanged after the consecration, the faithful communicants receive with the elements the virtue or power of the Body and Blood of Christ.  This was the view of the Eucharist affirmed by Martin Bucer, Henry Bullinger, Peter Martyr, and John Calvin.  It has been argued at length by C.W. Dugmore in The Mass and the English Reformers and more recently by Peter Brooks in Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist, that Cranmer’s was a high Calvinist doctrine.


Furthermore, however close to Calvin or Zwingli Cranmer’s Eucharistic beliefs were, it must be noted that Cranmer and Zwingli differed in their evaluation of the importance of the Eucharist.  Cranmer, like Calvin, desired a weekly Eucharist, whereas Zwingli settled for a quarterly Eucharist.  On balance, then, I think Cranmer moved from a Catholic through a Lutheran to a Calvinist or Virtualist doctrine of the Eucharist, and that the final stage was accompanied by the strong influence on him of Nicholas Ridley, relying on the Nominalism he found in Radbertus.  Cranmer, it must be insisted, affirmed that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the true consecratory agent in the sacrament, Christ with all the benefits of his passion and resurrection was spiritually present at the Lord’s Table, and that this was known in the hearts of believers by the interior testimony of faith.  Faith did not create the presence–that would be blasphemy.  Rather it confirmed the presence through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Cranmer would undoubtedly have agreed with the statement made by his mentor, Ridley, in the Cambridge debate of 1549.  There Ridley stated that the three practical benefits of the Eucharist were unity, nutrition, and conversion.  (Worship and Theology in England, Book 1: I. From Cramner to Hooker, 1534-1603; 2. From Andrewes to Baxter and Fox, 1603-1690, p. 183 & 185)

Random question

In his well-known book Christ and Culture H. Richard Niebuhr has this wonderful section early on where he talks about our picture of Jesus, and how our perspectives tend to shape it.  Niebuhr writes:

[Jesus] can never be confused with a Socrates, a Plato or an Aristotle, a Gautama [Buddha], a Confucius, or a Mohammed, or even with Amos or Isaiah. Interpreted by a monk, he may take on monastic characteristics; delineated by a socialist, he may show the features of a radical reformer; portrayed by a Hoffman, he may appear as a mild gentleman. But there always remain the original portraits with which all later pictures may be compared and by which all caricatures may be corrected. And in these original portraits he is recognizably one and the same. (Niebuhr, 13)

My question is this: what is a Hoffman?  Is it slang for an actor, a dandy, a gentleman… what?  Neither the Oxford English Dictionary or the Urban dictionary have a clue–perhaps someone reading this will.

John Keble: United States

John Keble, c. 1860

“Because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste: Therefore thus saith the Lord God; behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus.” —Ezek. xxvi. 2, 3.

Tyre of the farther West! be thou too warn’d
Whose eagle wings thine own green world o’er-
Touching two oceans: wherefore hast thou scorn’d
Thy fathers’ God, O proud and full of bread?
Why lies the Cross unhonour’d on thy ground,
While in mid air thy stars and arrows flaunt?
That sheaf of darts, will it not fall unbound,
Except, disrob’d of thy vain earthly vaunt,
Thou bring it to be bless’d where Saints and Angels

By Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus

How do colleges manage it? Kenyon has erected a $70 million sports palace featuring a 20-lane olympic pool. Stanford’s professors now get paid sabbaticals every fourth year, handing them $115,000 for not teaching. Vanderbilt pays its president $2.4 million. Alumni gifts and endowment earnings help with the costs. But a major source is tuition payments, which at private schools are breaking the $40,000 barrier, more than many families earn. Sadly, there’s more to the story. Most students have to take out loans to remit what colleges demand. At colleges lacking rich endowments, budgeting is based on turning a generation of young people into debtors.

As this semester begins, college loans are nearing the $1 trillion mark, more than what all households owe on their credit cards. Fully two-thirds of our undergraduates have gone into debt, many from middle class families, who in the past paid for much of college from savings. The College Board likes to say that the average debt is “only” $27,650. What the Board doesn’t say is that when personal circumstances go wrong, as can happen in a recession, interest, late payment penalties, and other charges can bring the tab up to $100,000. Those going on to graduate school, as upwards of half will, can end up facing twice that.

via The Debt Crisis at American Colleges – Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus – Business – The Atlantic.

Catholicity and covenant: York Minster and the Anglican claim to continuity

In the course of a recent Catholic Herald column attacking entry charges for York Minster, William Oddie indulged in ultramontane triumphalism:

I have had this problem before, getting into Anglican cathedrals built by the Catholic Church and purloined at the Reformation.

In this week’s Herald, the Dean of York Minster – the Very Rev Keith Jones – responds to Oddie and in doing so articulates a generous but appropriately robust Anglican vision of the English Church’s historic relationship with both the English people and the See of Rome:

Read it all:catholicity and covenant: York Minster and the Anglican claim to continuity>.

Fundamentalist Christians use the rod and kill the child in the name of God

Jesus blesses the little children

Anna mentioned this to me earlier today. I’m thankful these folks have been sent away. This is a horrible situation, and people need to be warned about this book.

“If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Click below to watch the video/news report.

Continue reading

Adora Svitak: Would You Buy This for Your Daughter?

In his book Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement, Rowan Williams points to the sexualization of children (and the formation of childish adults) as the key in the spread of points of view where adults and children are seen as competitors for resources, for attention etc…  This is an extension of that trend.

The issue of the over-sexualizing of girls from an early age has come to the forefront with a recent news story about model Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau posing suggestively for the cover of Vogue magazine. Over a series of photos, the ten-year-old is shown sprawled on leopard-print cushions, wearing a skimpy gold dress, stiletto heels, and posing heavily made-up, with rouge and lipstick. She’s ten years old, yet she looks scarily adult in the photos.


The question is, should we be so surprised? We’ve had it coming for a while now. After all, we live in a culture where the walls of any Abercrombie and Fitch store are adorned with some dude’s naked torso and skimpily dressed girls, where JCPenney, Macy’s, and Aeropostale’s websites all feature comprehensive selections of lacy G-strings and thongs on their juniors pages. “Aerie,” American Eagle’s undergarments line aimed at teenage girls (According to a press release: “aerie by American Eagle is a new line of intimates and dormwear designed for girls 15 to 25 years of age”), features on its homepage “Drew–Our New Pushup Bra That Adds 2 Cup Sizes,” with the heading “Double Whoa.” Do fifteen-year-olds really need an extra two cup sizes?

via Adora Svitak: Would You Buy This for Your Daughter?.

Twin reduction abortions: Why do they trouble pro-choicers? – By William Saletan – Slate Magazine


Slate discusses the discomfort many pro-choice folks express about the increasing request for “twin reductions:”

To pro-lifers and hardcore pro-choicers, this queasiness seems odd. After all, a reduction is an abortion. If anything, reduction should be less problematic than ordinary abortion, since one life is deliberately being spared. Why, then, does reduction unsettle so many pro-choicers?

For some, the issue seems to be a consumer mentality in assisted reproduction. For others, it’s the deliberateness of getting pregnant, especially by IVF, without being prepared to accept the consequences. But the main problem with reduction is that it breaches a wall at the center of pro-choice psychology. It exposes the equality between the offspring we raise and the offspring we abort.

via Twin reduction abortions: Why do they trouble pro-choicers? – By William Saletan – Slate Magazine.

For the record, I don’t think this sort of thing is less repugnant to pro-lifers–at least not the ones I know, or myself.  The author seems to be overlaying a rather utilitarian view onto why people are pro-life/anti-abortion.  Since many pro-life folks have problems with the consumerism that equates the willful termination of a human life with (for some even laudable) choice, there’s no reason they would be any less keen on challenging these procedures–indeed, I think many folks in the pro-life movement would place such procedures on par with late-term abortion, which are seen as being less necessary in difficult cases (i.e. health of the mother, rape, incest, pregnancy at a tender and biologically difficult age).

Thirty Three Things V.1

Here are some random things I’ve been reading/discussing online lately:

  1. The Lead: Study explores educational level and religiosity.  Note: the results aren’t what you’d likely expect.
  2. Bishop Pierre Whalon on “What is Anglicanism”
  3. Preaching to their own Choirs: on how folks didn’t change their minds about heaven or hell after reading Rob Bell or Francis Chan
  4. Education needs a digital age upgrade (NYT)
  5. A National Debt of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion. (NPR)
  6. Why Bank Bailouts haven’t led to jobs (Harvard Business Review)
  7. Stuff on Adam & Eve, evolution etc… (seems like this has been a popular topic, so I have a few links: Hermeneutics, Origins & Ethics (JD Kirk), Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve (Jesus Needs New PR), The Search for the Historical Adam (Christianity Today)
  8. About Original Sin being the only empirically provable Christian doctrine
  9. The Brain on Trial (The Atlantic)
  10. Bert and Ernie will not marry, despite the efforts of signers of an online petition (BBC).  Money quote: A statement from the show’s makers said: “They remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.”
  11. Harry Potter and Running from Death (Front Porch Republic)
  12. Why Hospitals in Portland are Banning Early Births (The Atlantic), how inductions and c-sections are actually harming the health of mother and baby.
  13. The Least Pivotal Time in American History (The Atlantic)
  14. Why bother with Marshal McLuhan? (The New Atlantis)
  15. What Neuroscience cannot tell us about ourselves (The New Atlantis)
  16. Place and Placelessness in America (The New Atlantis)
  17. Happy Birthday Herbert Hoover: The Lost Legacy of a Hated President (The Atlantic)
  18. The New America (Church & Culture): “It’s now official. The United States is ‘bigger, older, more Hispanic and Asian and less wedded to marriage and traditional families than it was in 1990.'”
  19. Anglicanism’s Magisterial Authority (The Creedal Christian)
  20. Speaking of Hoover.  At the end of the campaign, when he arrived in Palo Alto, he opened a telegram that read “Vote for Roosevelt and make it unanimous.” (Google Books)
  21. Europe’s Conservative Confusion: nearly every government on the continent is center right.  So why can’t they get along and figure out how to get along and save the EU economies? (Foreign Policy)
  22. What isn’t behind the London Riots (Called the “Shopping Riots” now by some) (The Washington Post)
  23. Can Motherhood be Criminalized? 
  24. Where have all the Girls Gone? It’s true: western money and advice really did help fuel the explosion of sex selection in Asia. (Foreign Policy)
  25. The Kids Aren’t Alright: What’s really behind Britain’s wave of youth violence? (Foreign Policy)
  26. The Sons of Brixton: Cameron’s Failed Politics of Austerity (Foreign Affairs)
  27. Bearing the Cost of War: Why the U.S. Should Raise Taxes — Just As it Has in Previous Conflicts (Foreign Affairs) “Most Americans have made no sacrifices at all for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The burden should be shared. It’s long past time for Congress to enact a wartime tax, something it’s done in almost every war in the past.”
  28. GetReligion talks about the various Adam & Eve and Evangelical stories out there recently–and who should have credited who
  29. Augustine’s Origin of Species: How the great theologian might weigh in on the Darwin debate. (Christianity Today)
  30. Two Churches that closed down the show (Internet Monk)
  31. Peter Berger talks about the accusation of being “On the Wrong side of History.”
  32. The Fading Shadow of the Habsburgs
  33. The Progressive Crisis

Well… there you have it.  Let me know what you think of any of these pieces.

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