Thursday, April 29, 2010

Staring out the Window on a Thursday Evening

Phos Hilaron...

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Enjoying a serene evening in Suburbia Majora.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday with Molotov

John Darby's (correct or incorrect) views towards a premillennial, pretribulation rapture has spun off books, films, and a virtual cottage industry for kitsch over the last century or so. It has also here in the States, created a caste of me-monkeys that have cast aside the Great Commission for
Mr. Molotov takes this to task...

Monday, April 26, 2010

On the Feast of St. Mark

From the BCP:
Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Mark; A man who started his career as the kid who ran away naked at Christ's arrest in the garden, to being a point of contention between St. Paul & Barnabas, to finally being "useful" to St. Paul in his final Epistle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Tragically Misinformed Ruling

Last week, we were given yet another WTH moment as in a move of judicial alchemy, Federal District Judge Barbara Crabb issued an opinion that ruled 36 U.S.C. 119 unconstitutional. This is the federal statue directing our nation’s President to proclaim the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer”. In short, this statue simply states:

“The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May that a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.”

Judge Crabb, in addressing 36 U.S.C. 119 opined:

“(The Statue) goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context.” She added, “Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic.”

This case was brought to the Bench by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a minority group that has busied itself in attempting to eradicate any and all expression of faith in American public life. Taking the foundation’s stated goals, it would appear that they’re bent on not only erasing 400 years of history, and using judicial tyranny as a weapon against communities of faith.

Though the Justice’s ruling may have passed the Political Correctness muster, its an abysmal failure as standing up to both a constitutional and common sense muster. In this statue, there is neither “establishment” of a “state religious body”, nor preference shown to an existing faith community. It simply invites and encourages those whose faith ethos includes prayer to a Divine personage to lift up prayer on behalf of our Republic. If this proclamation were to encourage turning to the Bible, Torah, Koran, Book of Common Prayer, Talmud, Catholic Missal, et al, then the statue would fall on its face before the establishment clause. Too, there is absolutely no coercion in this proclamation. Justice Crabb’s assertion that such a statement may be seen as “threatening” to the atheist is little more than a straw man. The idea that this minority group might be discriminated against is simply claptrap.

Considering the tense atmosphere that has gripped our nation in these recent months, preventing the Chief Executive from issuing a “call to prayer” simply leaves on scratching their head. The Cuban Missile Crisis aside, I know of no more perilous days than the ones where we find ourselves. If ever there was a time to pray for our Republic, now would certainly be the time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

For those who mourn in Mountcoal, WV

From the Book of Common Prayer:
O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that
thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men:
Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servants for whom
our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy,
nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of
thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon them, and give
them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Almighty dry the tears of those who've lost friends and family in Mountcoal, and across this land today. And may we who've been consoled, bring consolation to the brokenhearted.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Why I am Anglican - Part Two


About a month ago or so, I had the pleasure of being in the historic church of the The Falls Church to hear a discussion by Archbishop Robert Duncan, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACANA). During this discussion, the Archbishop described Anglicanism as an “adequate” expression of Christianity. Without disrespect towards his grace, I disagree with this as he seemed to almost be apologizing. No, Anglicanism is a majestic and powerful expression of historic Christianity. I’d be both arrogant and foolish to say that it is the only legitimate expression; its one of several. Where the Archbishop seemed to give Anglicanism a C+ - B-, I would grant the expression a rock-solid A. Frankly, I don't see an A+ expression until the bride is joined to her bridegroom, and we’re perfected in the image of the Almighty.

I my first essay, I discussed the the journey to my Anglican identity. Between that fateful Easter Sunday in 2005 and today, much has occurred. There was the resignation and surrender of my ministerial license with the Church of God. There was a long and protracted period of discernment and formation. And finally, there was the ordination to the office of vocational Deacon in November 2009. Suffice to say, this was a slow and deliberate process that wasn’t entered into without counting the cost and considering the vows of an Anglican cleric. Today, in Easter week 2010, four reasons for my being Anglican are Leading, History, Historicity, and continuity.

I place “Leading” at the top of the list for two very important reasons, First, I’m absolutely convinced that the hand of the Almighty was very present on the path from point a to point b. Though there were no burning bushes or talking donkeys, there multiple providential events that given careful thought, reveal Divine fingerprints. Too, there was the watershed when the celebrating priest broke the bread at the Fraction. I was filled with an overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit; my eyes welled with tears and my heart cried “I’m home”. Despite the fact that the Episcopal church was listing to the left and taking on water, there was a clear sense of being at the center of God’s will.

This faith is a historic faith, with her roots sinking deeply into the post-apostolic era when the Gospel was carried to the British Isles by faithful missionaries. She gave birth to Celtic Christianity and thrived for centuries until being eclipsed and absorbed my the Roman expression of Christianity. Even so, Anglo-Christians seemed to flow along different lines than their continental and eastern cousins. It was within the Anglo-Christian expression where the Spirit moved on proto-reformers like Wycliffe and Tyndale.

My Roman brothers will contend that Anglicanism is rotted from its roots. They may contend that a lecherous murdering despot attended the birth of Anglicanism. True enough, that gout-ridden old goat was present but I contend that Anglicanism was born not because of Henry VIII, but in spite of him.

Again, providence was in play. While Mr. Tudor was playing the bad actor, the Holy One moved upon faithful men the likes of Doctors Cramner, Lattimer, and Ridley. Like their Reformation brothers on the Continent, they sought not to scuttle the faith, but to see it reformed of error and returned to a state of Biblical and Christian orthodoxy. Tides would ebb and flow. There would be a bitter blowback following the aborted reign of Lady Jane Grey and the ascent of the reactionary Mary of Tudor. Ultimately, the matter was settled in the reign of Elizabeth I. To this day, Anglicanism is expressed in three interwoven streams, these being Catholic, Reformed, and Charismatic.

The catholic stream sees Anglicanism as part of the universal church of Christ Jesus, in unbroken continuity with the apostolic church, and later medieval church. This is expressed through its subscription to the historic councils and creeds of the church, those being the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. The reformed stream has been shaped by the theology of the sixteenth century protestant reformation. This stream is probably best expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. Its charismatic stream recognizes that without the leading, guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, its would be both completely ineffectual and powerless as a witness in the world.

So much of this flies in the face of American evangelicalism and pentecostalism, which finds its roots in Anabaptist thought and theology. Unlike the reformed or Anglican fathers, the Anabaptist fathers sought a complete break with the church. These seemed to think that the “
gates of hell” had stood against the church, and the whole institution needed to be scrapped. In the contemporary, we see those who would try to reinvent the way they “do church”. There were even those in my former circles who seemed to convey the idea that the church lay dormant between the close of the Apostolic age, and the pentecostal revival in the 1880’s.

I believe that in this line of thought, much of American evangelicalism has unwittingly robbed itself of many blessings and unknowingly separated itself from historic, orthodox moorings.