“After all, the surest way to uphold or restore our endangered Church, will be for each of her anxious children, in his own place and station, to resign himself more thoroughly to his God and Saviour in those duties, public and private, which are not immediately affected by the emergencies of the moment: the daily and hourly duties, I mean, of piety, purity, charity, justice. It will be a consolation understood by every thoughtful Churchman, that let his occupation be, apparently, never so remote from such great interests, it is in his power, by doing all as a Christian, to credit and advance the cause he has most at heart; and what is more, to draw down God’s blessing upon it.”—
“If Jesus is indeed what God communicates to us, God’s language for us, his cross is always both ours and not ours; not a magnified sign of our own suffering, but the mark of God’s work in and through the deepest vulnerability; not a martyr’s triumphant achievement, but something that is there for all human sufferers because it belongs to no human cause.
Breathing spaces again: if the cross is what we say it is, it requires that kind of hesitation, that kind of silence.”—Rowan Williams, Writing In the Dust (via invisibleforeigner)
“The unity of Christendom is no longer a beautiful dream. It is a pressing necessity for the arousing of that passion for Christ which will be the most flaming thing in the world…Nationalism began to eat into the body of Christendom four hundred years ago and has continued to work until Christianity has been nationalized instead of the nations being Christianized…Until the churches unite we shall have to move as men grievously wounded—haltingly, lamely, without a supernational and final guide in the moral and spiritual movements of the time. We shall be unable to invite the nations to walk in the light of the Kingdom of God and in this way bring their glory and honor, together with that of their rulers, into it.”—Charles Henry Brent, Bishop of the Philippines, and of Western New York, 1929 in “The Authority of Christ”
While much of [Paul’s] writing was done in less than perfect conditions (jail), under less than perfect deadline pressure (death), and with less than perfect remuneration (persecution), his deep-seated conviction, that life in Christ was an all or nothing affair, pierced every text: “For me living is Christ and dying is gain.” (Phil 1).
Paul’s motivation was passion. His reward was martyrdom. His legacy, to every writer everywhere, is to write with conviction. Paul empowers authors to believe that their greatest work is to channel that which is deep within them, to affect a world far beyond them, through a presence mostly unknown to them. Here’s to a guy who did all sorts of amazing stuff, still found time to write about it, and never made a nickel.
The church is radically inclusive and baptism is the means by which people are included. Communion is the celebration of that inclusion, not its means.
It is supremely ironic that a church that spends so much energy (rightly) celebrating the baptismal covenant could then turn its back on its significance in what seems a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of these two sacraments, and their interrelationship.
“Soul of Christ, sanctify me: Body of Christ, save me: Blood of Christ inebriate me, runs a classic post-communion prayer, the Anima Christi. At the Lambeth Conference of 1980 the world’s Anglican bishops, awfully arrayed in their thousands, reluctantly disapproved the practice, then universal in the Church of Malawi, of mingling in the thurible frankincense with marijuana. The problem was that marijuana is (rightly or wrongly) illegal, and the Church ought not habitually to flout the law. But the Malawian’s impulse was not bad. We ought to grow inebriated at the Mysteries, we ought to be lifted out of our normal selves, through sense and through incense - Good, thick stupefying incense wrote Browning, that excellent Protestant poet, sneeringly. Browning was a Victorian, and had forgotten that intense sensation does not stupefy, it hones. Every day sense is what stupefies, with its endless dull well-lit overplus. It is when sense is churned up, by art or emotion or wine or ritual, that it pierces through nature and fathoms truth. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Ecstasy is the sanest state. We think and feel more and better when the senses are swimming, we are more truly ourselves when lifted out of ourselves. We taste then more vehemently the first and last truth of our dealings with God, which is: desire.”—from “Drunk on Smoke” in “Censing” (4-5) by the Rev’d Dr Richard Major (from The Epic of God, or the Freeze-Frame Mass)
“You may take away from us, if you will, every eternal ceremony; you may take away altars, and super-altars, lights and incense and vestments…and we will submit to you. But, gentlemen…to adore Christ’s Person in his Sacrament – that is the inalienable privilege of every Christian and Catholic heart. How we do it, the way we do it, the ceremonies with which we do it, are utterly, utterly, indifferent. The thing itself is what we plead for.”—James De Koven, Presbyter, to General Convention 1874
“The climax of the gospel contains two great miracles. One is obvious, the one that God did - the miracle of resurrection. The other is subtler, and it comes right at this moment in Matthew’s Gospel. It is the miracle of what Jesus didn’t do. He didn’t come down from the cross. He stayed there. He outlasted our hatred and cruelty and enmity. After everything humanity could throw at him, physically and verbally, he was still there. His endurance demonstrated the love that will never let us go. His perseverance demonstrated that nothing can separate us from the love of God.”—Sam Wells, Be Not Afraid (via invisibleforeigner) (via zurik)
There was recently an episode of the television series House in which an ailing novitiate comes in to the hospital for a diagnosis. One of the doctors on House’s team came to medicine after dropping out of the seminary. He tries to test the faith of the aspiring nun by asking…
“No heresy has ever raised up so radically and so completely against the
God-Man Christ and His Church as has the Papacy, with its dogma of the
infallible Pope-man. There is no doubt: this dogma is the heresy of
Archimandrite Saint Justin Popovic, “Man and God-Man”, Athens, 1987
However, Orthodox shouldn’t get cocky about it. Philetism is far more disgusting and inexcusable.
In the mid-sixteenth the tyrant Henry VIII, surely the wickedest person ever to rule England - not excepting King John or Neville Chamberlain - usurped control of the Church of England. He needed a biddable Archbishop of Canterbury, and head-hunted for the purpose a Cambridge don named Thomas Cranmer. (A don is a university professor, and Cambridge is a university of sorts, built of multi-colored brick in an immense bog beyond Ely.)
This Cranmer was an odd creature, in most ways a shoddy piece of work: full of snuffling doubts and moral dufges, easily bullied and bounced. He leaned towards Protestant heresy - he had to because, although sworn to priestly celibacy, he had secretly married a German Lutheran. Henry came to value Cranmer because he was so biddable about marrying, divorcing, or killing the king’s wives for him, one after another, and also about enforcing on the Church Henry’s religious views, which swung back and forth between Catholicism and heresy. When Henry’s daughter Mary swung back to the Pope, Cranmer swung too, but she burned him alive anyway, about which it is hard not to feel a certain glee.
Like Edward Gibbon, Jefferson, and Rousseau, Cranmer was a man of small soul and great prose - that mysterious combination. His theological views wavered and quibble and blurred (which, is to be fair, how thought is done in Cambridge) and not even Protestants value them. He had none of the hearty empirical inconsistency of a healthy English mind. Hence he drifted helplessly toward radical systems concocted on the Continent (this is another Cambridge trait, and the reason so many Cambridge men found themselves Calvinist regicides in the seventeenth century and in the twentieth, Soviet spies). He was intellectually not particularly English. Nevertheless, it is for his English that we value Cranmer. He wrote the most beautiful prose, or rather liturgical poetry, and he had a literary genius for translating and adapting the ancient Latin liturgies into stately English. In the mid-sixteenth our language was entering onto its golden age: it was nearly impossible to write badly: but no one wrote it as melodious and nobly as did this wretch. Allied with his terrible taste about what things liturgy should say was an ethereal discernment about how it should say them.
“The contemporary American church is so largely enculturated to the American ethos of consumerism that it has little power to believe or to act. This enculturation is in some way true across the spectrum of church life, both liberal and conservative. It may not be a new situation, but it is one that seems especially urgent and pressing at the present time. That enculturation is true not only of the institution of the church but also of us as persons. Our consciousness has been claimed by false fields of perception and idolatrous systems of language and rhetoric.”—Walter Bruggemann in The Prophetic Imagination
“I die in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith, professed by the whole Church before the disunion of East and West: more particularly, I die in the Communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from all Papal and Puritan innovations, and as it adheres to the doctrine of the Cross”—Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells
“Beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that “good” means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the “beautiful” is something pleasant to apprehend.”—St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (via philosophilae)
“Who is the covetous man? One for whom plenty is not enough. Who is the defrauder? One who takes away what belongs to everyone. And are not you covetous, are you not a defrauder, when you keep for private use what you were given for distribution? When some one strips a man of his clothes we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not—should not he be given the same name? The bread in your hoard belongs to the hungry; the cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked; the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute. All you might help and do not—to all these you are doing wrong.”—St. Basil the Great
“Beyond empire, beyond a church frightened by a collapsing culture, we see in Patrick the call of the Church to live out the mission of the Triune God. In contemporary societies shaped by the collapse of modernity, in churches disoriented by the end of Christendom, Patrick is more than the patron saint of the Irish. He exemplifies the hope that even the wilderness of postmodernity can, through the Church’s proclamation, become like Eden.”—BC in “Patrick and Hope in the Wilderness”
It’s obvious you’re really religion, but are you catholic or what? And what’d you mean earlier when you said you may go into religion or whatever? What do you want to do? Just curious.
I’m Christian, and specifically a member of The Episcopal Church, which is both catholic (but not Roman Catholic) and Protestant. I’m an Anglo-Catholic, which means I’m on the “catholic” end of the spectrum. And I’m the kind of Anglo-Catholic that doesn’t care whether the priest on the altar is a woman, or in a committed relationship with someone of the same sex.
I may become “religious” in the sense of becoming a monk, and if I do that, then I’ll spend some time living with a group called the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (aka the “Cowley Fathers”) to decide whether or not I want to commit myself to poverty, chastity, and obedience. I might also want to become a normal (or “secular”) priest, who (in the Episcopal Church) can get married and have children and live a normal life. Or I might just want to be a really religious accountant. Who knows?
“All our Christian language is an attempt to say something quite new, quite unexpected, gratuitous has happened. We couldn’t have predicted it, it didn’t come from us. And we’re feeling our way around that great mystery that’s been put down in the middle of us.”—Rowan Williams
“If you feel that Catholicism or Christianity or religion is not represented, by detractors or defenders, in ways that honor its profundity and beauty, live out its profundity and beauty. To do this is more telling than any argument.”—Marilynn Robinson at Holy Cross, May, 2011. (via stfrancis)
“I am grateful for Rowan Williams’ service as Archbishop of Canterbury during an exceedingly challenging season. We can all give thanks for his erudition and persistence in seeking reconciliation across a rapidly changing Anglican Communion. His leadership of that reconciling work through Indaba and Ubuntu is bearing remarkable fruit, and I believe this will be his most important legacy. I give thanks that his spiritual and intellectual gifts will continue to bless the larger world, albeit from a different vantage point. May the coming months bring well-deserved peace to him and his family, and may we join in blessing his ministry. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’”—The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church
“If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then that is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understand it. This path is the shortest way to salvation and attracts the grace of God. Unpretentiousness, guilelessness, frankness of soul - this is what is pleasing to the Lord, Who is lowly of heart. Except ye become like children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God (Matt. 18:13).”— Elder Leonid of Optina
“Glory to You, O Christ; with how many good things have You filled us! How have You provided for our health! From how great monstrousness, from how great unreasonableness, have You set us free!”—St. John Chrysostom (Homily 7 on Colossians)
“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”—C.S. Lewis (via keeperofkeys-)
If the entire world is a kind of musical harmony whose artisan and creator is God as the Apostle says (Heb. 11:10), then man is a microcosm, an imitator of Him who made the world. The divine plan for the world at large sees this image in what is small, for the part is indeed the same as the whole. Similarly, a piece of small, transparent stone reflects like a mirror the entire sun’s orb in the same way a small object reflects God’s light. Thus I say that in the microcosm, man’s nature, all the music of the universe is analogously seen in the whole through the particular inasmuch as the whole is contained by the particular. The structure of our body’s organs follows this example, for nature has skillfully constructed it to produce music. Observe the tube-like structure of the windpipe and the harp of the palate where the tongue and mouth resemble a lyre with chord and a plectrum.
Since everything natural is compatible with nature, music too is in accord with our human nature. For this reason the great David combined his singing with his teaching on the virtues and sprinkled his lofty teachings with honey’s sweetness by which he carefully examines himself and cures our human nature. This cure is a harmonious life which to me the singing seems to offer through symbols.
“I am in favour of same-sex marriage not because I am a wild liberal but because I am instinctively a traditional Anglo-Catholic. I believe in the sacrament of marriage; I believe we all need a disciplined framework for faith and love; and I believe we all need God’s grace and blessing to live by it”—Dr. Jeffrey John, Dean of St. Albans
What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason.
It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn.