Friday, October 10, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out

Literally.

I found a date through zombie harmony - one of the best free dating sites for zombies

A Republic, if you can keep it.

For the full monty, go here. In these trying times, it's important to remember that we live in a land of opportunity: We have the opportunity to succeed and to fail.

Those who seek a land of government-backed promises are not seeking the dream of America.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

On Becoming a Reformed Catholic

I'm thinking of making a weekly rule (not sure yet...bear with me) on blogging. Thursdays would be reserved for Theology. Wednesdays for Worship. Saturdays for silliness. Mondays for musings... Anyway, here's an early stab at Theology Thursday.

A major hurdle in my journey from Presbyterianism to Anglicanism was being forced to abandon the Westminster Confession of Faith as my doctrinal standard. (Yes, I had scruples but they were primarily in the area of praxis.) I'd long known that the Westminster began as an expansion of the 39 Articles of Religion which had been the basis of the Evangelical Reformation of the Catholic Church in England. But something I admired about Westminster was its comprehensiveness.

After a year of intense reading and soul-searching, I've come to cherish the 39 Articles. I cherish them as an irenic statement of evangelical truth, written from a pastoral perspective. The shepherding qualities of a bishop are clearly evident in them. For instance, ..

In a new journal for orthodox Anglicanism, 39 Articles, I came across an article titled "Kindred Spirits" which addresses the continuities and discontinuities between 39 Articles and WCF. It was a blessing to read. Here's an apt snippet:
While the preface to the 1549 prayer book notes that “There never was any thing by the whit of man so well devised, or so surely established, which in the contin­u­ance of time hath not been corrupted. . . .” both documents do set forth a very concise system of doctrine that is easily understood by any that care to read them. It is in the setting forth of the doctrine contained in Scripture that both documents find their wholeness, and that is what determines the degree to which they remain un­cor­rupted. The system set forth is as harmonious to the Word of God as the work of man can be. Ac­cord­ing­ly and not surprisingly, both are systems that have with­stood the test of time and temp­tation.

There is another way in which both documents, at least from a Calvinistic point of view, are com­plete. Historically, Calvinists have defined a true church by the following marks: the preaching of the gospel, the right adminis­tration of the sacraments, and church discipline. In both docu­ments, The Thirty-Nine Articles and the Westminster Confession of Faith, we find excellent and con­cise definitions of these marks, discussions that are both in harmony with each other and with scripture. From a pastoral stand­point — and this is indeed the where the rubber meets the road — they are wonderfully complete. The documents then find their ultimate completeness in their usefulness to the church.
I encourage you to read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Losing God the Father

Last Spring, a seminary friend of mine was invoking his privilege as a senior to give one sermon at the midweek chapel service. The senior sermon serves as an opportunity to share something of your faith with the community that, for two or more years, has been part of shaping that very faith. There are basic, "broad middle" sermons. Some sermons that question the person's call after 2.5 years of education. Many sermons that criticize the Bush administration. And a plethora of GLBT, Social Justice, or other standard Christian Left sermons. Fine and dandy.

But my friend was called in to the dean's office. His crime? He dared to use masculine pronouns and speak of God the Father. Apparently, inclusive language isn't meant to include half of the population.

Don't get me wrong. Inclusive language in regards to humans is a good thing (though it can make for poor writing in the hands of less-skilled writers). It's a seminary policy to use inclusive language.

But a recent Touchstone article asks, "What are we losing?"

A lot of feminist and post-modernist theologians talk about how people have felt excluded by masculine god-talk. (Which, let's be clear, is MASCULINE, but not necessarily MALE.) They want to jettison 4,000 years of linguistic reflection on the basis of 40-60 years of empowerment talk. But I don't think they've thought through all the implications. They can tell you why they don't want masculine god-talk, but have a harder time justifying the alternative they propose.

Do you know why masculine god-talk is important? Please feel free to use the comments section to elucidate. And stay tuned...the vicar is about to stir things up.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

Epistolary Epiphany

Sunday was Proper 22A, and the appointed epistle reading was from Paul's letter to the Philippians. The passage begins so familiarly - "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." With texts like these, the sermon simply writes itself. The parable of the tenants was the more challenging text, and it's what I preached.

Yet, I found myself struck anew by Paul's words...or rather, his emotion, as the epistoler read the lesson this morning.
"For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ."
While he later mentions a striving between Euodia and Syntoche, I don't think that's what is in view here. Rather, I think Paul is grieving for people who have fallen away from the faith.

We read the letter to the Galatians and think that Paul is just ready to give both barrels to anyone that dares sniff of apostasy. And in 1 Corinthians, he doesn't hesitate to hand a notorious sinner over to the devil for judgment. Yet here in Philippians, Paul is talking about someone who used to strive to attain the heavenly calling...and then fell.

Heretics.
Liberals.
Apostates.
ReFORMERlies.
Mainliners.
Corpse-churchers.

Whatever you've said about them in the past, did you do so
even with tears?

I know I haven't...not until this morning.

Thank you, Jesus, for still speaking to those of us you've called to speak for you.