25 February 2009

Spiritual Disciplines

Okay, here are my three spiritual disciplines for Great Lent.

First to offset the desserts I will exercise. I had once developed the habit of jogging, but we'll see just what I settle on. Maybe I'll go for a variety of choices.

Second to counter the Facebook infatuation I will read and prepare better for my upcoming class. I love to read, but lately I just haven't been very disciplined to log off Facebook long enough to get a page in edgewise! This should make the efforts of my upcoming class better. I will be composing papers on William of Saint-Thierry's and the Oxford Movement's contributions to Western [primarily Anglican] spirituality.

Third, another admission. In order to combat the tendency to watch too much sport on the telly, I will engage in a better routine with the Daily Offices. I have let that one slip I'm afraid. Clergy are generally expected to keep this as proficient as possible. In case you're lost on this one, Anglicans have a daily lectionary to read through scripture and a daily prayer 'office' that was handed down from the medieval monastic Book of Hours. Anglicans have a Daily Morning and Evening prayer 'office' that leads us through an Old Testament reading, select Psalms, collects, a New Testament reading, a Creed, and several confessions and prayers. Clergy should practice this as a daily habit, lay people should also keep the discipline as often as possible.

24 February 2009

Great Lent

"Great Lent" is the normal name given in Eastern Christianity for what we in the west simply call Lent. I personally like 'Great Lent' because Advent was a lesser penitential season while Lent is the Greater one.

For this season I plan to refrain from 3 vices, or 3 weaknesses, in order to pour better things in to my soul. First is Facebook. Yes I'm on Facebook, and yes it is very addictive. I have 300 friends on that site that I like to follow. Since joining back in the summer of '08 I have felt the zap from energy better spent elsewhere. So don't look for me on there for at least the Lenten season.

Second, I will put down another encumbrance that so easily besets me. This one is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I'm sorry, I've been watching this since it debuted on TV just after the first Contender. Again, it started with a bimonthly event on cable and another couple events every year on PPV. Now there are monthly PPVs and many different shows highlighting the sport every week. They can cripple the late hours of the evening watching back the recording that my DVR faithfully records. I'm signing off for Lent. Since I know that March Madness and other sports could quickly fill the void I'm going to fast from all televised sport until after the Great Lent.

They next one should not be admitted by a type-II diabetic, but hey, I'm confessin' me sins. I will also abstain from desserts.

Tomorrow I will post the 3 disciplines I plan to practice in place of the three vices. That, after all, is the point of fasting during Lent--to grow closer to the Lord through spiritual excercises and proficiency.

19 February 2009

Pelikan brief

In his last chapter of The Vindication of Tradition Jaroslav Pelikan describes our task in the Church as that of an Olympic long jumper. He contrasts our task with the standing-long-jumper.

The latter try to jump from a standstill. They ignore the terrain behind them and leap forward with awkward footing. Alas they cannot get very far.

The former begin their jump at...the beginning. They do not ignore the centimeters [read centuries] of the course up to the launch pad. They traverse the entire length before they jump.

He sums it all up with a quote from Goethe:

What you have as heritage,
take now as task;
For thus you will make it your own!

St. Ignatius on Discipleship, part 5

Discipleship and Christology

Ignatius’s statements about the person of Christ echo the scriptural polemics against Docetism and incipient Gnosticism. There is no certain answer concerning the number of heresies he was attacking.1 Certainly we can see that he fought Docetism. No less prominent at the turn of the first century was Gnosticism. One of the elements in his passionate desire for martyrdom may well have been an attempt to differentiate himself from his Gnostic-docetic milieu.2 His writings follow the pattern of the apostle John, who linked 'loving the brethren' to proper Christology. Imitation entered Ignatius’ understanding of his death only in regard to the person of Jesus Christ.3

Ephesians 4:2-3 “Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And do ye, man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, ye may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that ye are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus ye may always enjoy communion with God.” Unquestionably, Ignatius here describes the relationship of loving the brethren, an act of faithful discipleship to Christ, to one’s ability to believe correctly about the Son of God. Therefore those who believe wrongly about Christ manifest this in improper action within the community.

Ephesians 5:1 “who are so joined to him as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity.” Here he simply argues for the unity of the Church from the basis of Christ’s unity with the Father. We are to understand that to be a logical relationship. If you are living according to Christ, it will look like the union of Christ to his Father.

Ephesians 11:1 “being stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God.” This symbol captures the overall scheme Ignatius uses to illustrate his concept of salvation. Man and God have responsibility and actions in his view. It is Trinitarian and highlights the idea of human activity in salvation. The description retells his thought on the place of the church in God’s program. Since the word "stones" is plural we are reminded that he is addressing a congregation...not an individual. A group could not perform this obedience unless it is unified.

Ephesians 17:1-2. “For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church. Be not ye anointed with the bad odor of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ?” Reception. He implores them here to adhere to the doctrine of their mentors. Notice how this doctrine is to be handed down, but not to be developed. So that unity with the bishop connects the believers to the true heritage of the Church, the Apostles.

Magnesians 1:1-2. “For as one who has been thought worthy of the most honorable of all names, in those bonds which I bear about, I commend the Churches, in which I pray for a union both of the flesh and spirit of Jesus Christ, the constant source of our life, and of faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred, but especially of Jesus and the Father, in whom, if we endure all the assaults of the prince of this world, and escape them, we shall enjoy God.”

Magnesians 7:1. “therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him.” Again he points out the glaring emphasis on the unity of the Father to the Son, as an example for us to follow in our Christian lives.

Magnesians 7:2. “There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Do ye therefore all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.” His inclusion of ‘ones’ here highlights the unity between God and between the believers.

Magnesians 8:2. “There is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence and who in all things pleased Him that sent Him.” The concept of silence could be treated independently as a paper topic. The Father sends the Son in who is his word, not in silence, but in full expression. God’s love is expressed fully in the sending of the Son, the word. The father is not silent, for the word is going forth, incarnating in the flesh.

Magnesians 13:1-2. “Study, therefore, to be established in the doctrines of the Lord and the Apostles, that so all things, whatsoever ye do, may prosper both in the flesh and spirit; in faith and love; in the Son, and in the Father, and in the Spirit; in the beginning and in the end; with your most admirable Bishop, and the well-compacted spiritual crown of your presbytery, and the deacons who are according to God.” This description encapsulates the thesis of Ignatius’ letters to the Churches. It warns of false doctrine, calls for unity of the body, and includes submission to Christ-appointed leadership.

Trallians 6:1-2 “I therefore, yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, entreat you that ye use Christian nourishment only, and abstain from herbage of a different kind; I mean heresy. For those [that are given to this] mix up Jesus Christ with their own poison, speaking things which are unworthy of credit, like those who administer a deadly drug in sweet wine, which he who is ignorant of does greedily take, with a fatal pleasure leading to his own death.” In one of his clearest examples of polemics against heresy, Ignatius parallels the concept of accepting new teachings to taking a poisonous drink, enjoying its pleasure yet ignorant of its harm. A lot of scholars claim that doctrine was not firmly developed by this time. Ignatius shatters that ultra-modern & liberal assumption. One cannot 'mix' purity with impurity and create orthodox doctrine. The deposit of faith, the rule of faith, the 'faith once delivered' was already being defended against poison.

Trallians 9:1-2. “Stop your ears, therefore, when any one speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly born, and did eat and drink. He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; He was truly crucified, and [truly] died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He was also truly raised from the dead, His Father quickening Him, even as after the same manner His Father will so raise up us who believe in Him by Christ Jesus, apart from whom we do not possess the true life.” Here Ignatius outlines the proper understanding of the Son incarnate. The connection to his earthly lineage affirms his unity. No one who believes otherwise can be truly a Christian. Docetism clearly embodies the heresy refuted here. Docetism asserts/ed that Jesus 'merely appeared' to his disciples to return to them from the grave. Stop your ears when you hear it!

Romans 3:2. "For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." For our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is with the Father, is all the more revealed [in His glory]. Christianity is not a thing of silence only, but of [manifest] greatness.” Again silence is contrasted with the Son. Since the Son is glorified with the Father, the church carries on the word with the assistance of the Spirit.

Romans 7:3. “I desire the bread of God, the heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.” This Eucharistic prayer conveys the link between the body and blood of the Son and the incorruptible divine nature. When we take the Holy Communion, we sup on the medicine of immortality.

Philadelphians 9:2 “But the Gospel possesses something transcendent [above the former dispensation], viz., the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, His passion and resurrection. For the beloved prophets announced Him but the Gospel is the perfection of immortality. All these things are good together, if ye believe in love.”

Philadelphians 11:3 “May the Lord Jesus Christ honor them, in whom they hope, in flesh, and soul, and faith, and love, and concord! Fare ye well in Christ Jesus, our common hope.”

Smyrneans3. “For I know that after His resurrection also He was still possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now. When, for instance, He came to those who were with Peter, He said to them, "Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit." And immediately they touched Him, and believed, being convinced both by His flesh and spirit. For this cause also they despised death, and were found its conquerors. And after his resurrection He did eat and drink with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father.”

Smyrneans5:1-2. “Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us. For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death.”

Smyrneans 6:2 “Let not high place puff any one up: for faith and love are everything, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a heretical opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty.”

1 A. A. K. Graham, “Their word to our day, IV. Ignatius of Antioch,” The Expository Times 80 (Jan. 1969): p.102.

2 Ibid., p.108.

3 Daniel N. McNamara, “Ignatius of Antioch on his death, discipleship, sacrifice, and imitation,” (Ph.D. diss. McMaster University, 1978) p. 248.

14 February 2009

Richard Dawkins points out the 'departure' of a UK Bishop from the foundations of Christianity!

This is the video from YouTube.



13 February 2009

Which came first...the fish or the human?

I like how this guy pauses to answer a simple question.

What is your response to it?

Source:CMI INFObytes.

12 February 2009

R.I.P. professor

Dr. Harold Hoehner, longtime professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary entered the presence of the Lord today.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Thou only Creator Who with wisdom profound mercifully orderest all things, and givest unto all that which is useful, give rest, O Lord, to the soul of Thy servant who has fallen asleep, for he has placed his trust in Thee, our Maker and Fashioner and our God.

With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy servant where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.

REMEMBER thy servant, O Lord, according to the favour which thou bearest unto thy people, and grant that, increasing in knowledge and love of thee, he may go from strength to strength, in the life of perfect service, in thy heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us
τοιγαροῦν καὶ ἡμεῖς, τοσοῦτον ἔχοντες περικείμενον ἡμῖν νέφος μαρτύρων, ὄγκον ἀποθέμενοι πάντα καὶ τὴν εὐπερίστατον ἁμαρτίαν, δι᾽ ὑπομονῆς τρέχωμεν τὸν προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα

Bear your cross, dear ones

After reading this story I am more and more convinced that we will bear our crosses publicly.
The prayer from our Baptism also comes to mind.

WE receive this Child (or person) into the congregation of Christ’s flock; and do +sign him with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ’s faithful soldier and servant unto his life’s end. Amen. ~1928 BCP.

hat tip to Valle Adurni.

06 February 2009

Children at Church

I was startled by a sign I recently saw in the dentist's office. Here it is...

"You don't have to floss ALL your teeth...just the ones you want to keep!"

Brilliant. By way of analogy let me announce my philosophy of children in Church. All parents should keep this in mind when struggling to muffle the outcries of their little ones during worship.

"You don't have to teach ALL your children to worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness...just the ones you want to keep!"

After all, family is our first vocation. Our children are the litmus test of our parenting. We have a responsibility that is beyond our ability.
LORD have mercy!

04 February 2009

St. Ignatius on Discipleship, part 4

Discipleship and martyrdom

Some erroneously contend that Ignatius yearned for death.1 For Ignatius, discipleship entailed death. Suffering was the natural path of following Jesus Christ. Death was the natural end of suffering. Therefore to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, death should be welcomed just as our Lord ‘set his face toward Jerusalem.’ One writer says of Ignatius, ‘the “self” does not really come into being until it suffers; suffering is not simply something that happens to a person. Rather, it is the means of achieving real selfhood 2’ while another feels that being a disciple had nothing to do with suffering or martyrdom.3 But Ignatius firmly decries that position by stating so often that Christ’s suffering is to be followed. One could further state that real discipleship does not come into being until one suffers. For example, Ignatius writes that he is not yet ‘someone’ and would not be until he was perfected in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3.1), i.e. until he was martyred. ‘Perfected in Jesus Christ’ is his way of saying, ‘I followed Him to the end, suffering as He suffered, dying as He died, demanding nothing but God's glory above self gain.’ Ignatius’ theology is not shrunken into the kernel of a quest for personal redemption.4 Rather his personal goal was to perfectly follow the Lord Jesus in life, suffering, proclamation, shepherding, and death. Ignatius understood pain not as something to be avoided but as providing a benefit—union with the divine Savior of the world.5 In the incarnation, the Son embraced human flesh and human suffering , so Ignatius would not shy from his own upcoming suffering. “It is not a question whether he would appear as an individual of abnormal psychology today, but whether he was such to his own contemporaries.6” Perhaps this vivid approach to death is clouded by our distance from his situation. Perhaps his contemporaries could identify with his resolve. He had a foreboding and earnest desire to become a martyr, and wished for nothing more than to seal with his death the truth of the gospel to which he had borne such a loud and convincing testimony for so many years.7 He would be a disciple to the death. Christ’s suffering is his essential message, and Christians’ acceptance of suffering is the sign of their commitment to his message.8 Death was a means to bring unity for St. Ignatius [where ever would he get such an idea, wink]. His community suffered from persecution and disunity. Some assert that Ignatius was the cause of the civil unrest. They claim that is why he was arrested. But just as our Lord was innocent of the charges against Him, I am compelled to think that Ignatius was falsely accused too. The Empire under Rome could pull off such a fraud. Ignatius followed Christ in death for the sake of unity, as we shall see from his own comments about death and suffering.

Magnesians 1:2. ‘ . . . In him enduring every abuse of the ruler of this age and escaping, we will meet God.’ Here Ignatius connects the idea of suffering to discipleship by using the word ‘enduring.’ Usually he speaks of ‘attaining God.’ Here though, he uses the term ‘meet God,’ rather than ‘attain.’ This could mean that martyrdom was not on his mind, but rather living sacrificially. But the allusion to Christ’s suffering at the hand of the ruler of this age and ascending to the father cannot be overlooked.

Magnesians 5:2. ‘ [God]. . . through whom, unless we willingly die into his suffering, his life is not in us.’ Here he speaks of us imitating Christ’s death. Does Ignatius imply that we die a martyr’s death in order to prove our faith? Perhaps this language implies our dying by embracing the inevitable suffering connected to Jesus Christ’s new life. In any case this is an allusion to Christ’s suffering in the context of our imitation.

Trallians 4:2. ‘For while I love to suffer, I do not know if I am worthy.’ Somehow Ignatius connects the concept of suffering to that of worthiness. ‘Worthy’ occurs over thirty times in these brief seven epistles. Most of the occurrences speak of being ‘worthy of Christ’ or ‘worthy of God.’ Does that not sound like being an authentic disciple? While it could be a self-deprecating expression, his use of it referring to others seems to suggest that our connection is contextual.

Trallians 10:1. ‘But if . . . he (Jesus Christ) [only] seemed to suffer, why am I bound? And why do I pray for battle with wild beasts? Then I die for nothing.’ This verse speaks of Christ’s passion in light of our suffering in a new way. He confronts the idea of false teachers’ saying Christ did not really suffer by arguing that his present bondage is directly related to Christ’s real suffering. In other words, he would not risk personal injury were he not certain that Christ suffered as an example. He even disputes with the Docetists in mind of being an imitator, a true disciple.

Romans 2:1. ‘ For if I am a word of God, but if you love my flesh, I will be a voice.’ This enigmatic expression is unclear. What is clear is that he asks again that the Roman Church not interfere with his plight, lest his message, and his faithfulness to God, be somehow diminished. So his suffering must be a ‘word’ and his rescue merely a ‘voice.’

Romans 4:3. ‘Not like Peter and Paul do I give you instructions. They were apostles, I am a convict. They were free, but I am till now a slave. But, if I suffer, I will be a freedman of Jesus Christ and will arise, free, in him.’ This is another clear passage where Ignatius relates suffering to the goal of his Christian life. He almost hinges the idea of his resurrection to his personal martyrdom.

Romans 6:3. ‘I long after the Lord, the Son of the true God and Father, even Jesus Christ. Him I seek, who died for us and rose again. Pardon me, brethren: do not hinder me in attaining to life; for Jesus is the life of believers. Do not wish to keep me in a state of death for life without Christ is death. While I desire to belong to God, do not ye give me over to the world. Suffer me to obtain pure light: when I have gone thither, I shall indeed be a man of God. Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of Christ, my God. If any one has Him within himself, let him consider what I desire, and let him have sympathy with me, as knowing how I am straitened.’ He again requests no help from the believers in Rome. But now he says that Christ is the life of believers. Somewhat platonically, he affirms that life begins in death and if they help him stay in this world, they actually hinder his coming to life. He also does not consider this a personal quest alone. Isn't he asking us to consider his path, to sympathize with him...perhaps to suffer with him too.

Philadelphians 5:1. ‘ In whom being bound, I fear much, for I am as yet incomplete.’ Again Ignatius describes his faithfulness to Christ as incomplete because he has not yet died for the Lord.

Trallians12:3. ‘My bonds, which I carry about with me for the sake of Jesus Christ (praying that I may attain to God), exhort you,’ and ‘And do ye also pray for me, who have need of your love, along with the mercy of God, that I may be thought worthy to attain the lot for which I am now designed,’ and Philadelphians 5:2. ‘But your prayer to God shall make me perfect, that I may attain that to which I have been called, while I flee to the Gospel as to the flesh of Jesus Christ.’

Philadelphians 7:1. ‘For though some would have deceived me according to the flesh, yet the Spirit, as being from God, is not deceived. For it knows both whence it comes and whither it goes.’

Smyrneans 4:2. ‘For near the sward is near to god, next to wild beast is next to God. Only in the name of Jesus Christ, to suffer jointly with him, do I endure all things, and he, the perfect man, empowers me.’

Smyrneans 9:2. ‘If you endure all things on account of him, you will reach God.’ This is an echo of the exact same statement in the other letters.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Acts 5:41. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.2 Corinthians 1:5-7. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2Cor. 12:7-10. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10. Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the Church. Colossians 1:24. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 2 Timothy 1:8; This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 2:9. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.1 Peter 4:12-19; To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed, Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.5:1,9. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10; Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 5:8; Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 10:32.

This long list of scripture supports the idea that Ignatius was within the biblical bounds when he wrote anticipating his own suffering and death. The central text is the 2 Cor. 12:7-10 passage. It boldly states that in suffering, Paul gladly boasts in his weaknesses. Strange it is that we cannot easily establish this connection. Perhaps it is our own desire for personal prosperity and well-being that blinds us to Ignatius’ proud statements about his own death. In short, suffering and death were not foreign to the biblical writers or to the Apostolic Fathers. Ignatius represents perhaps the most scriptural view of death-as-an-end-to-discipleship within that group9 of early Christians. Moderns might not apprehend his claims immediately. But rather than dismiss him as fantastic, we do better to ask, "who is out of step with whom?"

1 A. A. K. Graham, “Their word to our day, IV. Ignatius of Antioch,” The Expository Times 80 (Jan. 1969): p.108.

2 Judith Perkins, “The “self” as sufferer.” Harvard Theological Review 85 (July 1992): p.264.

3 Daniel N. McNamara, “Ignatius of Antioch on his death, discipleship, sacrifice, and imitation,” (Ph.D. diss. McMaster University, 1978) p. 247.

4 Willard M. Swartley, “The Imitatio Christi in the Ignatian letters,” Vigiliae Christianae 27 no. 2 (1973): p. 102.

5 Judith Perkins, “The “self” as sufferer.” Harvard Theological Review 85 (July 1992): p.263.

6 Frederick Augustus Schilling, The mysticism of Ignatius of Antioch, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1932), p. 72.

7 John Gambold. The martyrdom of Ignatius: A tragedy. ([Philadelphia?]: I. Ashmead & Co. for J. Wright, 1832), p. 17.

8 Judith Perkins, “The “self” as sufferer.” Harvard Theological Review 85 (July 1992): p. 263.

9 Some of the pseudepigraphal writings actually do push the envelope with fantastic stories about martyrdom and other strange ideas about Christology. If our devoted Father Ignatius had done that, the Church would have condemned him a heretic.

02 February 2009

W.H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectureship

Just a note to let you know about the spring Lectureship at Dallas Seminary Feb. 3-6.
The speaker is Dr. Thomas C. Oden, Professor of Theology Emeritus, Drew University;
General Editor, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Intervarsity Press.

The four individual topics will be as follows ...
Feb 3: A Story Awaiting Discovery
Feb 4: Christian Beginnings in Cyrene
Feb 5: Early Christianity from Marmarica to Tripolitania
Feb 6: Why Are We Talking About Libya?

Convince Me

Fox recently began a new series called Lie to Me. I've been a big Tim Roth fan so tried this new show. Its premise surrounds Roth's character, a man that has made a science of body language. His research finds that your facial expressions, twitches, nervous ticks, mannerisms...all your quirks tell whether you are being honest or not. He has studied uncivilized cultures to prove that his thesis is universal to humankind [except perhaps himself, but we're only two shows into the season]. It's a cool kind of show where he comes off looking like a magician because he can tell whether you are lying in any situation. Your body will not let you lie without visible protest. It's just a certain as not being able to hold your eyes open during a sneeze! He observes those protests to prove that you lie.

That got me thinking. Bear with me a moment. I have a handful of friends and such that seem content to go down with the TEC ship. I have always puzzled over this. For me, the Episcopal Church really never drew me more than it repelled me. I simply never envisioned myself there. But I know loads of folk that are content to remain for whatever reason. Why do you do this? I'm not saying that you shouldn't, I know you have enough pressure on you. But I do have an unsettled feeling about your stance.

So let me put it this way. Pretend I am just where I was 5 years ago [& I'll note that I most certainly am not]. Back then I was not happy with my Church nor it's views of doctrine and worship. I was looking not only for a place to raise children, but a place to seek vocation to life-long ministry. Convince me that you are happy and fulfilled and genuinely convinced that there is a future for your Church. Describe that future to me. Convince me that I should go no other direction but to bind myself to the Episcopal Church. I really want to know what you'd tell a recruit to the ministry.

You may say, "Well, noting how you came to this question through a TV show call Lie to Me, I already think you'll try to pick apart everything I say and call it a lie!" Not true. Roth's character exonerates just as many people as he exposes. I just wonder what you'd tell me about such a monumental decision.

01 February 2009

Feast of Blessed Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, by whose grace and power thy holy Bishop and martyr Ignatius triumphed over suffering and despised death: Grant, we beseech thee, that enduring hardship, and waxing valiant in fight, we may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle
Romans 8:35-39.
WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Gospel
St. John 12:24-26.
VERILY, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Today, Feb. 1st, is the Western observance of the Feast of our blog's Patron Saint. Check out some good reads on his importance.