Sacraments and Repulsion

Church people often quote the familiar slogan that a sacrament is ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace’, which is true enough as far as it goes. But there’s more to be said: in a sacrament, the Church teaches that God has promised that what is signified in the sacrament will…

On Streams and Places

There’s been an almighty stramash in the past week or so concerning the importance or insignificance of praying from church buildings when videocasting services. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York forbid it; the Government allows it (and the Roman Catholic Church practises it); and various parties (myself include) have exchanged heated words about the proprieties…

Ersatz or Stopgap?

The estimable Revd Dr Canon Alasdair Coles (there should be an ecclesiastical office that confers that ‘estimable’ honorific; perhaps for parish clergy with earned academic doctorates or summat) of All Saints, St Andrews, called my attention to an article on becoming a distributed church without becoming a virtual church, by Bob Hyatt on the Ecclesianet.org…

Rough Injustice

Several weeks ago, the Executive Board of General Theological Seminary fired eight members of the teaching staff, patently construing their legal work stoppage as “resignation.” Since then the leadership of the Episcopal Church has opted not to intervene (although GTS operates “under the superintendence and control of the General Convention”), and the full Board of…

Remember Aaron

There’s something serious I’ve been thinking about this week, though I’ve put off writing anything here. Before I say anything further, it’s important that I emphasise that I don’t want either to co-opt Aaron’s death to my purposes, nor to diminish his life and death to an object lesson. My friends who knew and loved…

Vital Signs

A couple of my recent ecclesiastical posts have attracted a lot of attention, thanks (on one hand) to the convergence of digital activity around the time of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the USA and related areas (which I’ve dubbed, for shorthand purposes, ‘ECUS&’ — not out of disrespect for the non-USA…

This, and This

Here’s a shocking news flash: my boss at the Cathedral and I disagree about things. Shock! Horror! We disagree about things, and we go ahead with life and serving God, and he doesn’t try to stifle me, and I don’t try to undermine him. And as far as I’m concerned, we get along fine.  …

Pride By Association

One of the majestic blessings of my years studying in Duke’s graduate program came from spending time in seminars, in the grad lounge, and generally to and fro with a great man and a great theologian, Willie Jennings. I don’t think I’ve ever studied with someone alongside whom it was more fun to learn. Whether…

Come Now, Let Us Reason Together

In the aftermath of the Episcopal Church (USetc)’s General Convention, there’s been a flurry of breast-beating, moaning, finger-pointing, boasting, and other edifying demonstrations of ecclesiastical vitality (or not) in the various social media sites. So far, my favourite has been George Conger’s riposte to the Wall Street Journal’s slimy mendacity about General Convention, since Conger…

On Death, Part 3

To summarise the New Testament understanding of death, then: Death constitutes both an inevitable element of temporal life (life according to the flesh), and a representative figure for all the characteristics of temporal, physical life. Thus Death bears a defining connections to sin, not necessarily because sin causes death, but because both sin and death…

On Orders and Renunciation

In a curious development pertinent to my recent post about being obliged to ‘renounce my orders’ so as to serve in a different province of the Anglican Communion, the House of Bishops of the Province de l’Église Anglicane au Rwanda has had to instruct some its member bishops about orders and jurisdiction as well, though…