28 June 2010
For the readings click here.
The tag below for Anglican Lesser Feasts does not mean that this day is not important. It signifies that this observance is not in the 1928 BCP. I hope to comment on more of these important feasts in future.
25 June 2010
The nasty side of Roman life:
A horrific story is reported by the BBC News here. A mass burial of 97 new-born children, all 40 weeks old, next to a Roman villa at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire, has been excavated, and identified as waste products of a Roman brothel.
Imagine the story of human misery that lies behind these mute remains. The women were slaves, little more than children themselves. Raped incessantly until they got pregnant, then forced to provide whatever services they could in that condition until they gave birth. Then the child was killed, and the woman, still sore, sent back to lie on her back again. And so on, again and again, until death released them.
We take for granted so much that Christianity brought into the world. An end to the casual infanticide of the Roman era was one of those things. Another was the casual toleration of such evil. The emperor Constantine closed few temples, but one exception was that at Heliopolis in Lebanon, or Baalbek as it is now known. Travelling to Jerusalem he reached the town, and found that the whole place was dedicated to temple prostitution, and that there was not a married couple in the town. He closed the “temples” that had supported such, forced the inhabitants to marry, and did what he could to put an end to the trade.
Doubtless it continued in some form. It was very profitable, as the magnificence of the architectural remains today is witness. The trade was never to be extirpated. But a line had been drawn in the sand — morality had come into the world. The casual evil of the Hambleden brothel could no longer exist in broad daylight.
21 June 2010
A friend attended the local seminar by Ephraim Radner. Radner's ecclesiology centers around the idea that woundedness, or division, is the foundation for the Church's being. Wow, that's strange, the Nicene Creed states that Oneness, or Unity, is one of the four marks for the Bride of Christ.
Protestant scholars have the tendency to eschew Creedal language. They shoot the arrow first, then draw a target around the entry point. We are divided...so that must be a good thing! Let's build an ecclesiology around that chaos and then erect covenants to hold us together (cough, because the unity of Christ's person obviously isn't cohesive enough to do that).
"honey, are you wounded?"
"Girls, you have no idea"
15 June 2010
Here is a case from a close friend that went through an unexpected depression only to discover later that it was induced by withdrawal from pain meds.
Add Michael's blog to your roster for daily posts and enjoy his entry from today.
Final Update on My Depression (I Hope): "
It has been some time since I had an episode of depression. I cannot be sure, but I am fairly certain I know what caused it.
Neither my circumstances nor the pressures of my life have changed but I feel really good. I can be motivated, encouraged, and I am enjoying the things I normally enjoy. Yes, I did almost cry today when I listened to an old country classic with my wife, “Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw, but that is only to be expected! No more sadness over bizarre things like the aging of Matthew Mcconaughey, the memories of watching Justice League with my son Will, or my days at seminary. I think it is over.
When I wrote before, I said that I was not sure what triggered the depression. I only assumed that it was many things that had built up in my life that I failed to deal with properly. While those thing were factors during the depression, I do not believe that they caused it. So what did?
I mentioned about six months ago that I had been having trouble with my tail-bone. I have a fractured vertebra in my lower back from many years ago. Over the years it has given me lots of trouble. This time, according to the doctor, the trouble was “referred pain” into my tail-bone. I could not hardly sit down for a long time. After going to many doctors, the only solution they had was to get on pain meds until the inflammation went down. I have never been on pain meds before. I don’t even like to take aspirin (tough guy syndrome). But the pain was too bad this time. So I started taking Hydrocodone (Vicodin), which, as I understand it, is a powerful narcotic. It took the edge off and allowed me to function. It also put me in a pretty good mood.
I was taking about 30 per week under the supervision of my doctor. I knew that it was addictive, but I read up enough on it that I felt comfortable with my dosage and plans to get off. I was on it for about three months before the doctor started scaling down. I read up on side effects for coming off it and found that those who were addicted to it were taking much more than I was. Some of them took one hundred a day and did this for over a year! I figured I was safe.
After three and a half months, I decided to just quit cold turkey and skip any further scale downs. It was a week later that I went into the serious depression/panic. I know what you are thinking: “Duh . . . of course that was the cause.” I thought the same thing but dismissed it after I searched across the web looking for side effect of coming off the drug. Only rarely did they mention depression. Most of the time it was severe physical pain. I had none of that so I looked for other reasons. Plus, I watch House and know what he went through!
As you know, after about seven weeks, the depression symptoms disappeared completely. Since then I have talked with a few people who described the exact same thing after coming off the same drug. Because of this, even though I have not had any physical or mental inclination or drive to take the drug again, I have concluded that my depression was because I was addicted to the pain meds. I was going through withdrawals.
I think that there is a sufficiency in the probability that this was the cause due to the available evidence. Alternative theories are possibilities, but not probabilities! (Okay, inside stuff going on there.)
To be truthful, I am glad it was the drugs. I feel as if I don’t have to be timid and avoid emotionally distressing situations or thoughts. I had gotten to the point that I was scared to do certain things I needed to do fearing it would cause another collapse.
While in many ways it is “back to business” in my life, in other ways it will never be. I have said it before and I will say it again: that was the worst thing I have ever been through. I am glad it is over and I hope that I am right about the cause. Either way, my heart is with those who are there right now. Also, be careful with those pain meds. Count the cost for the small amount of relief (and euphoria) they provide. Right now, I will take tailbone pain a thousand times over rather than experience one day of the crash the drugs facilitate!
14 June 2010
Thanks to Sonitus Sanctus!
Catholic Chant Done...Anglican Style?: "So this is a bit embarrassing. Some of the finest free Catholic chant on MP3 I've found is here, on an Anglican website. Awkward!
Here's a sample, but hit the jump for the rest:
- Kyrie eleison, Mass in G - Franz Schubert: Download
- Gloria in excelsis, Mass in G - Franz Schubert: Download
- Credo, Mass in G - Franz Schubert: Download
- Sanctus, Mass in G - Franz Schubert: Download
- Benedictus, Mass in G - Franz Schubert: Download
- Agnus Dei, Mass in G - Franz Schubert: Download
- Motet, Panis angelicus - César Franck: Download
- Motet, O Salutaris Hostia - César Franck: Download
- Motet, Tantum ergo Sacramentum - Maurice Duruflé: Download
- Motet, Laudate Dominum - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Download
Very Positive Developments in the ACNA!: "The Living Church has a report on the recently concluded ACNA annual meeting. It reports a number of encouraging bits of news (italicized emphasis added by me).
Officials of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which launched a year ago as an alternative to the Episcopal Church, are reporting significant progress in their efforts to share Eucharist with other churches and to do evangelism alongside messianic Jews.
In a report delivered at the ACNA’s annual meeting in Amesbury, Mass., on June 9, ecumenism task force chairman Ray Sutton listed a series of recent milestones that show how the ACNA is forging connections outside mainline Protestantism.
Dialogues with the Orthodox Church in America have reportedly knocked down one of the centuries-old barriers that have kept Anglican and Orthodox Christians from sharing Eucharist. The big concession: when sharing Eucharist, the ACNA would confess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and not add the phrase and the Son, as Western Christians traditionally do in a formulation called the Filioque.
RWF: When I appeared before the Commission on Ministry to receive final approval to be ordained a priest the chairman asked me if I believed everything in the Nicene Creed. (It is good that they ask that question around here multiple times during the ordination process!) I told him I believed every single word of it with all my heart. But, I added, if the price of unity was the Orthodox Churches was our jettisoning the Filioque clause I would do it in a heartbeat as the West really had no business adding it unilaterally in the first place. So I consider this a great step in the right direction. May God hasten their efforts!
What’s more, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has lined up four meetings with ACNA representatives at seminaries later this year as the two denominations explore potential for Eucharistic sharing.
RWF: After I came to know Christ our Savior in my twenty-third year among the first works of theology I read were Luther's three great essays of 1521. Brother Martin's thought has deeply marked my own. (I will wager that I am the only clergyman in the diocese of Fort Worth who has taken a four-week 'Footsteps of Luther' study tour in Germany.) I would be absolutely delighted if this dialogue with the Missouri Synod bore fruit.
The ACNA is also inviting 17 messianic Jewish groups to a September summit to explore “how we can do ministry together,” Sutton said.
“We could get their congregations together with our congregations to fellowship, to pray and to seek ways that we be able to evangelize together among Jews and Gentiles,” said Sutton, rector of the Church of the Holy Communion in Dallas. “I think it will be a powerful witness for Jew and Gentile to stand together and proclaim Christ to our constituencies. It’s what happened in the New Testament.”
RWF: Interesting. May many people of all backgrounds coming to saving faith through this initiative.
Sutton’s report, which delegates received with rousing applause, comes as former Episcopal congregations now affiliated with the ACNA seek to establish a distinct, non-Episcopal identity. In addition to building bridges with other Christian communities, the ACNA aspires to define itself as a dynamic movement by planting 1,000 new churches within its first five years.
The ACNA is growing, albeit not as fast as some would like. Archbishop Robert Duncan, in his state-of-the-church address to about 100 delegates and bishops from across North America, noted that the church has swelled from 703 congregations a year ago to 811 now.
RWF: And now the bombshell:
Prospects for further growth, Sutton said, include welcoming as many as 150 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations that are considering a move to the ACNA.
RWF: WOW! I wonder how this affects plans for the North American Lutheran Church.
The theologically conservative ACNA continues to tread in controversial waters as it carves a niche. Evangelizing Jews, for example, would put the ACNA at odds with most mainstream Jewish groups, which oppose the practice as an affront to Jewish identity. Also, whether to ordain women to the priesthood remains “an issue that divides us,” Duncan acknowledged in his address. Women’s ordination was on the agenda for panel discussion at the June 10-11 College of Bishops meeting, which was closed to lay delegates and press.
For now, the ACNA shows little appetite for internal conflict. Content to tolerate diversity of practice on women’s ordination, delegates to the Provincial Council avoided the issue and characterized their movement as more about unification, rather than fragmentation, within Anglicanism.
“We’re coming together, not splitting apart,” said the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, founding missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a mission of the Province of Nigeria. “The Reformed Episcopal Church is now here after having been apart for 130 years. So we’re actually seeing the reversal of the fragmentation thing.”
Preserving certain strong relationships within the Anglican Communion proved to be a priority at All Saints Anglican Church, Amesbury, as the ACNA marked its first anniversary. The Rev. Lynne L. Ashmead, a deacon and the ACNA’s registrar, cautioned that dioceses need to follow specific record-keeping protocol in conformity with Communion-wide standards. Delegates likewise signaled deference to the Province of Rwanda when they affirmed the Anglican Mission in the Americas as a “ministry partner” that would remain under Rwandan jurisdiction rather than the ACNA’s.