Theologian’s Job Of Work

This morning I woke up early to meet David Jasper at the Queen’s Street train station and catch the train to Edinburgh for the winter meeting of the Doctrine Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church. You may guess how I feel about committee meetings in general, and ecclesiastical committee meetings in particular — but in this case, you’d be wrong (unless you guessed “excitedly looking forward to,” in which case you are so wrong about my general frame of mind as to raise questions about whether you navigated to the blog you thought you were looking for).
The meeting was really cool, inasmuch as the Scottish Episcopal Church calls upon us as theologians-by-vocation to deliberate on the life of the church and prepare carefully-reasoned theologically grounded responses to church life (and the issues that confront the church). We don’t determine anything in particular, but the SEC seems to take our input very seriously. It’s a consultative and educational body, and that’s the way (un huh, un huh) I like it.
My cousin Adele asked on Facebook if there was a quiz; thankfully, there was not, because I am not fully au courant with the specifics of Scottish Episcopal history and ecumenical relations. There is, however, a lot of homework of the sort I relish. I’m assigned to collaborate with the newly-elected bishop of Glasgow and Galloway on a paper about the doctrine of marriage (with some attention to the state of Scotland’s civil law), designed to guide and inform discussions with ecumenical partners. And I will participate in the annual group composition of a Grosvenor Essay, the topic of which will be Incarnation (my remit involves writing about the biblical articulation of the virgin birth). The meeting involved thoughtful, respectful, professional (if I may say so) group efforts in response to queries directed to us from various other committees and boards; they actually encounter theological problems, and refer them to us to gnaw at. It’s the kind of activity that makes me feel as though I’m in the right place, doing what I’m meant to be doing.
Now, I didn’t really get all the way into the heart of Edinburgh. Forbes House — the SEC HQ — is in Haymarket, the rail stop before Edinburgh. But it was my first trip on ScotRail, and now I have a better idea of how that system works. This makes it slightly more likely that I’ll navigate my way to St Andrews successfully next week, when I head over there to give a talk a week from Thursday afternoon.

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