The Episcopal Church 101

Rethinking Ordination

Our Book of Common Prayer tells us that only priests and bishops are ordained to “Absolve, Bless, and Consecrate” things. This is sometimes referred to as the “ABC theory of priesthood.” While this might give us a good operational delineation of the different things ordained clergy can do versus non-ordained laity, it has never felt like a good pointer for what clergy SHOULD be doing. At least not this clergy person.


Read more...

fides quaerens intellectum (Faith Seeking Understanding)

Today, April 21, we commemorate Anselm of Canterbury on our church calendar. He is an 11th century Archbishop of Canterbury who served and quarreled with two English kings.  His motto of “faith seeking understanding” does not mean he hoped to replace faith with understanding. Anselm is the most significant theologian in the western church from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas, a span of 800 years. We would do well do consider his ideas.


Read more...

In Praise of Bishops

I write this the week before our new diocesan bishop arrives for a “visitation.” It might be helpful for us to review some things about the office of bishop in the Episcopal Church.


Read more...

Commemoration of Gregory, Apostle to Armenia, 280

Armenia is the first nation to become Christian, long before Constantine and the Roman Empire. Situated between the Roman Empire to the west and the Parthian (Persian) Empire to the east, Armenia has been a battleground for political and religious dominance throughout history. Gregory suffered torture and imprisonment when he returned in mission to the country of his birth. After a decade of severe treatment, he was consecrated the first bishop of Armenia.


Read more...

Gregory of Nyssa

I wrote this on Tuesday morning this week, very early. It was the feast day observing Gregory of Nyssa, one of the “Cappadocian Fathers” (Gregory, his brother Basil and their close friend Gregory of Nazianzus). The two Gregorys were appointed bishops against their will by their elder brother, Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea, all, in modern-day Turkey.
 

Read more...

Voting

I dedicate today’s reflection to that wonderfully democratic notion of voting.
 
The American experiment in democracy was founded during the intellectual period of the Enlightenment. Isaac Newton’s laws of gravity and mathematical calculus were towering achievements that set the course of modern technology to this day. The basic laws of physics and chemistry were being worked out in Europe and in the colonies during Jefferson’s day. It was an exciting time to be alive.
 

Read more...

Intransigence

Our online dictionary defines this as “refusal to change one’s views or to agree about something.” I hate to say it, but this pretty much defines the perspective of a large portion of Christianity – the Orthodox churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Churches including the Episcopal Church, the Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists. But the old (pre-COVID) world out there is rapidly fadin’ and we “better start swimmin’ or we’ll sink like a stone” as Bob Dylan said, for the “times, they are a changin’.”


Read more...

The Social Contract

Good afternoon everyone. I hope that this new year finds you healthy and hopeful. I would like to spend a few minutes talking about the social contract under which we live and the relationship of organized religion with that contract.


Read more...

God’s Preferential Option for the Poor

In a recent interview, actor George Clooney was asked what he hoped he would give to his children as a legacy. He said that he hoped they would stand up to and challenge those in power and help those who had no power. This desire strongly reflects God’s preferential option for the poor.


Read more...

St. John of the Cross

I thought it was odd today in Morning Prayer to read about the betrayal of Jesus when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then I read the “Commemoration” which is a day on the church calendar when we remember the lives and witnesses of various people ancient and modern. Today, we remember Juan de Ypres y Alvarez who was born in Spain in 1542 during a period when the Protestant Reformation was ramping up in northern Europe and England.


Read more...