Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Reverie

Something gentle and soulful at the end of a grinding Monday.  Exhale and enjoy.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Re-imagining "Three Streams"

It's the middle of March and there is snow in my yard.  What remains of Monday's snowstorm will likely be gone this evening as the temperatures will be in the mid-forties and accompanied by rain.  It's been a long winter and I'm ready now for spring.

At the start of my Anglican pilgrimage, I became acquainted with the term "Three Streams".  For those who don't speak "Anglicanese", this term is shorthand, representing what many believe are the three traditions influencing Anglicanism, namely Catholic, Evangelical, and Charismatic.  I found this intriguing as one who had left a Pentecostal church.  Along the road, I would also learn that this concept is far from being universally accepted within the tradition.  It's also interesting to see how the BTU levels rise in online discussion forums on Facebook when the concept is raised.  Most recently, I witnessed this at the passing of Father Terry Fullam, a leader within the Charismatic Renewal movement within the Anglican Church back in the 1970's.

We could play a quick round of word association with each term.  At the mention of Catholic, many might associate this to ritual, "bells & smells" or the like.  Evangelical may link to thoughts of Protestantism, conservatives, or bibles.  Charismatic?  You may be thinking of boisterous demonstrative worship, or even aberrant theologies.  In my experience with these discussions, Charismatic has been the most problematic.  In fact, some have vehemently denounced the very notion that there could somehow be a Charismatic component to our dignified pipe smoke-imbued, tweed-cloaked Anglican traditions.  

It may surprise some to learn that I share many of the concerns over what is being passed off as "Charismatic worship".  It was one of the driving issues that prompted my departure from a Pentecostal denomination over a decade ago.  This is a discussion for another day though.  So, onto the discussion...

We are catholic in our expression.  Not Roman Catholic, not Anglo Catholic, but catholic.  We are a branch on an ancient and eternal vine that is Christ's bride, His church.  We were conceived in the mind of God in eternity past and born 50 days following the resurrection of the Christ.  We didn't come into being in the Tudor courts or even at the tables in the White Horse Inn.  Our life as a church was born in the words of the Great Commission and set into motion as Saint Peter uttered those words, "Men of Jerusalem...".

Our catholicity is also reflected in the sense that our lines are unbroken.  Unlike the Anabaptistic churches which separated and reinvented, our Anglican forerunners dressed the branch by pruning and reforming where it was clearly necessary.  And, our catholicity is reflected in our creeds.  We confidently state that we believe in "One holy catholic and Apostolic Church".  I've seen and heard individuals stumble at this point, sometimes substituting the word "Christian" for catholic, or just refraining from the c-word altogether.

This catholic stream defines who we are, we are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Not  the only church but a visible expression of an invisible body, mystically married to the Lord of eternity.

Part II -- The Charismatic Stream

Part III  --  The Evangelical Stream

Friday, March 07, 2014

Baby Blue is Eight!

The Baby Blue Cafe has turned eight years old this week.  I want to pause to pay homage to the Lady and the Blog that inspired me to launch The Catbird Seat.  Good on ya' Mary! Here's to the next eight.  May our LORD bless, keep and inspire you.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lent 2014

From the Book of Common Prayer, the Collect for Ash Wednesday...
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
And, the call to pursue a Holy, and purposeful Lent...
"Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer."
Its a cold March morning.  So cold that the temperatures would be more suited to waking up in Northern Germany after the previous night's Faching revelry.  But in 45 days, this bleak cold winter of 2014 will have given way to the green of Spring (God willing...)

So many Lent's have started with lofty spiritual goals, only to be dashed by the disappointment of our own failings.  I fear that I would have turned stones into bread or far worse out there in the Judean desert.  Fortunately, my fear of heights would have prevented the header off the pinnacle.  But that too would demonstrate self-preservation over obedience to the Word.  Perhaps another facet of Lent is to remind us us how dependent we are on the almighty.  Like St. Peter, with Divine empowerment we can walk on water or sink like an anchor when we turn inward and away from the Light.

Yet we embark on another Lenten journey.  My prayers for Lent this year are a bit humbler than previous year's.  I'm praying for a purposeful Lent; one with small but significant gains.  I'm praying for the power to sluff off certain niggling little sins that cling and cause drag and friction.  

May your Lenten journey be joyous!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Countdown to Lent

Father Matt Kennedy is senior pastor of the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghampton, NY. I don't know him personally but everything I do know tells me he's a faithful priest and brother in the faith.  Matt shares his thoughts on the coming Lenten season in this short video.