Sarah Dylan Breuer has posted this list of things that hopefully everyone in the Episcopal Church can agree on.

It includes:

  • Jesus is Lord.
  • Jesus and the God who created the universe are one.
  • The Old and New Testaments were inspired by God, and are useful for teaching and Christian formation (a la 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • Jesus of Nazareth was an actual historical person who was born of Mary, gathered disciples and taught, healed, and confronted evil powers in ministry the first-century Roman province of Palestine, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate’s authority.
  • Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Christ of God.
  • The God of Israel raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. I know some Christians struggle with this, but I believe this was a bodily resurrection, and the tomb was empty (and John Dominic Crossan never persuaded me that there was no tomb).
  • Jesus’ disciples met the risen Jesus — some had visions, some corporeal encounters (though Jesus’ body was different in some ways — e.g., he didn’t seem to need doors to be opened or unlocked to get into a room), but in all cases reported in the New Testament it was Jesus they met.
  • I think the list of canonical books in the New Testament is a good one. There is no non-canonical gospel that I would have liked to see in the canon, and no book currently in the canon that I’d exclude if I could.
  • I believe that the kingdom of God was inaugurated in Jesus’ ministry, and that Jesus will come again to realize fully his work among us.
  • I believe that the God of Israel has chosen Jesus, the Christ, as judge of the nations.
  • I believe that Jesus is really present in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
  • I believe that Jesus is really present wherever people gather in his name.
  • I think I can agree with this list.  At least, any disputes I have with it are trivial enough to be not worthy of splitting the church over!

    There is some good discussion on her site.  Although it is falling a little bit back into the same old “but I believe this and why don’t you” discussion, it is always good when people are talking!

    j

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    Homily on the Empty Tomb

    April 29, 2007

    I had to write a homily recently for my Spanish class…  It took me a lot longer to translate it than it did to write it!

    j

    Gospel:  Mark 16:1-8
     

                Mark gives us a picture of some wonderful women in this passage, who come to the tomb despite concerns about being able to get in to do their job of anointing the body of Jesus.  “How will we get past the stone?” they ask.  Does it keep them home?  No.  They come anyway.  They are so bound and destined to see their beloved friend and teacher that they set out on the journey to take care of his body anyway.  They just do it.  Call it faith.  Call it stubborn.  Call it ignorance.  But they do it.

                They come anyway and they find something quite unexpected.  The Gospel of Mark is so interesting because the people around Jesus never quite fully understand what is going on.  The women arrive at the tomb, despite their reservations, and they find a surprise.  They get scared.  They aren’t quite sure what to do with the news they get-   this ‘Jesus’ friend of theirs whom they loved yet never quite understood is gone missing.  They flee in awe – the Greek translated as ‘fear’ is better translated as ‘reverence’ or ‘awe’ here- and tell nobody.

                But perhaps the most wonderful thing about Mark’s account of this gospel is that we, the audience, are invited into the story.  There is no prescribed ending; we must finish it ourselves.  Jesus is alive- he is in Galilee, and we may bump into him when we turn the next corner if we only have enough faith to believe it may be so. Read the rest of this entry »

    Dane Cook and Liturgy

    April 28, 2007

    Funny…  if you don’t like four letter words, don’t watch.

    j

    On Ecumenism

    April 24, 2007

    This post, an address to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement by the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams, was forwarded to Walking With Integrity yesterday.

    It’s a wonderful address.  I want to address one issue which it touches on briefly:

    Ecumenists believe that institutional tightening and clarity are required to get the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox to take the Anglican communion seriously as a conversation partner. Their question is perceived to be, is there enough/anything to the Anglican communion to negotiate with?

    I agree with her and I find it troubling.  I have heard and read accounts of ecumenism as being about trying to restore the “true unity” of the church that we have lost through our own sinfulness, or similar accounts.

    That may be one way to characterize ecumenism.  But it needs clarification.  What does “unity” mean?  It does not necessarily mean that we need return to the days of uniform polity, uniform authority, uniform doctrine, nor uniform practice in worship. Read the rest of this entry »

    The Archbishop Speaks

    April 18, 2007

    +++Rowan spoke today.

    And I wasn’t unhappy, for the first time in a long time after reading his comments.

    You can read them here and here.

    The key is this:

    St Paul’s denunciation of homosexuality in Romans 1 v 27 also needed to be properly heard as an ancilliary point in an argument about another matter entirely. That did not diminish its force but made it harder either to discard it or to use it as a definite proof text.

    ‘It is not helpful for a ‘liberal’ or revisionist case, since the whole point of Paul’s rhetorical gambit is that everyone in his imagined readership agrees in thinking the same sex relations of the culture around them to be as obviously immoral as idol-worship or disobedience to parents. It is not very helpful to the conervative either, though, because Paul insists on shifting the focus away from the objects of moral disapprobation in chapter 1 to the reading / hearing subject who has at this point been happily identifying with Paul’s castigation of someone else … Paul is making a primary point not about homosexuality but about the delusions of the supposedly law- abiding.’

    I’m too tired to comment much tonight, but it is at least a move in the right direction.  I don’t particularly like his characterization of “liberal,” as I consider myself liberal in many senses but not in the way he characterizes liberal theology.  I certainly don’t consider myself a revisionist.

    j

    On the Covenant…

    April 14, 2007

    Via Fr. Jake, I found this article by Lionel Deimel on The Kind of Covenant We Do Need interesting.

    High points are:

    1. That the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot discriminate in his invitations to the Lambeth Conference. All bishops of a particular kind must be invited or not.
    2. That no primate may be excluded from the Primates’ Meeting.
    3. That diocesan boundaries are inviolable.
    4. That jurisdictions should not overlap.
    5. That breaking communion with one province breaks communion with all.
    6. That Communion-wide rules govern the transfer of ordained persons from a jurisdiction in one province to a jurisdiction in another.

    The post goes on to discuss various bishops who have sought transfers from one province or ecclesial boundary to another in order to avoid presentment for various reasons.

    Deimel’s concept is an interesting one– it focuses on defining our Anglican borders by making a safe space for all Anglicans in our common discourse as we seek together to discern God’s will, rather than focusing on ways to draw borders around those Anglicans who don’t fit certain characteristics as we move forward together on our journey.  Creating a safe space for Anglican dialogue and dissent is better than creating a “fear zone,” at any rate. Read the rest of this entry »

    I’ve been writing in this week and last on God, who did not cause the crucifixion but responded to it with new life– doing what God always does in the face of death, destruction and sin.  The God of abundance, the God who cannot be defeated, the God who loves us even when we cannot love each other or ourselves, the source of light even in the darkest hour, is what the whole narrative of our faith is about.

    The Tradition has focused too often on judgment.  There are some texts about judgment, it is true.  But the predominant stories are of hope, of restoration, of hope of restoration, of creation, and of life from death, of light from shadow, and of triumph in the face of darkness.  Biblical scholarship many times can explain the judgmental texts– some of which I have even heard characterized as “texts of terror”– by authorship, locality, cultural situation, and other factors “behind the text” that inform the text to help us enlighten the text, usually putting us back in the place where God is right back where I started– with God as an abundant giver of life. Read the rest of this entry »