Monthly Archives: June 2007

Communion Without Baptism Discussion

My latest post is up at the Episcopal Cafe. It takes on the issue of Communion without Baptism. I feel strongly that this is a critical issue for the church to discuss. Thus–if you feel comfortable revealing your name per the Epoiscopal Cafe’s policy, please comment there; if you do not, then feel free to have the conversation here pseudonymously.

I won’t be around much today, regretably, but y’all know the protocol here: comment as you like, feel free to disagree, just be respectful to one another…

The Weekend

We had a great–though completely exhausting–weekend.

Saturday was The Party; Lil’ G is turning 4 this week and we had a big party for G in conjunction with one of the other girls at her daycare who was also turning 4. The kids had great fun. It was at a sort of place I never knew existed until last year–essentially a big recreation hall with giant inflatables specifically for children’s parties. As for the adults, a few knew each other–but most didn’t. We only see each other in passing at drop-off in the morning except for those who live near each other or who have older children of an age. I quickly labeled it: Suburban Hell, Party Edition. That’s not to say M and I didn’t know anybody–Anastasia came bringing Kizzy and Thumper, and they came over to the house after the party concluded. All in all, a fun–if slightly surreal–time.

There’s a post in me somewhere about princesses and the marketing of northern European mythology. For those without preschool and primary school girls, princesses are a huge industry. All of the girls know all of the princess. The Disney princesses, that is. And the stories–as Disney tells them…or Barbie…or whoever is doing the packaging. What I find odd is that I see in and through these princess narratives bits of Germanic and Scandinavian epic cycles and elements. On one hand I’m glad something of these ancient stories is being passed down; on the other, they appear in their altered state for the sake of selling units that contribute to sucking children into a consumer culture that undercuts the very virtues, values, and realities encoded in those epics. Maybe we should sic Dr. Nokes on it as a warped materialistic form of medievalism…

Father’s day was grand. I grilled steaks, played with the girls and received–not a tacky tie–but an iTunes card and this: The English Office

A review will be forthcoming…

Benediction Question

The on-going motu proprio discussion thread has made its way around to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (the paraliturgical adoration of Jesus in the consecrated host most often attached to Solemn Evensong) and has brought up questions for me on use and official policies.

As we all know, the BCP is the official source for all public liturgies within the Episcopal Church supplemented by the Book of Occasional Services.

Neither of these contain Benediction.

That means that to officially do Benediction, the parish must receive permission from the bishop or else do it under the radar.

My sense is that most bishops turn a blind eye to parishes doing Benediction—but I don’t know that for sure. So, here are my questions:

  1. Are there any Episcopal dioceses where the bishop has given permission for Benediction?
  2. How does your bishop handle Benediction (if at all)?
  3. Has anyone heard of a bishop disciplining diocesan clergy for doing Benediction?

Dissertation Update

The Original Plan…

The plan coming out of my year-end review at the beginning of May was to try and have a full draft before I start teaching again in the Fall. At that point I had a mostly finished draft of ch 1 and a large and diffuse ch 2 that would be divided into two manageable and logically structured chapters. Ch 2 would become a comparison of modern academic and medieval monastic culture, ch 3 would become an exposition on the liturgical practices that shape early medieval monastic interpretation. The hard work would be chs 4 and 5. Each of these would be split in half. Each of these halves would tackle a Matthean text, walk through representative modern interpreters, look at Ælfric’s sermon on the same, reconstruct and analyze the liturgical environment, then synthesize what I found.

To keep on schedule I’d essentially have to do one of these halves a month…

I just got back from a meeting with Fr. Director before he heads out of state for several weeks. He has looked with favor upon the results of my most recent work; while some minor editing and the reworking of one page need to be done–my first half chapter is complete.

Weighing in at a healthy 29 pages (and 109 footnotes) my analysis of the first pericope is done. And I’m still more or less on schedule.

Why We Rock…
(h/t Anastasia ;-))

I’m quite pleased with my progress since my review. It’s not been terribly easy going; I’ve been working 65 to 70 hour work-weeks and writing in addition to that, reserving my weekends for M and the girls. Of course, if you do the math on that you’ll see two things–first, I’m not sleeping a whole lot and second, I’m not home a whole lot. Most days I’m there for an hour and a half for dinner between jobs, then arrive back after midnight to write an hour or two before snatching some sleep and doing it all over again.

What this means, of course, is that during the week M is by herself with both girls during their entire waking hours (The hour/hour-and-a-half I’m home hardly counts as parenting…). And working on finding a job. And writing sermons for supply work. And paying all the bills, maintaining the household, buying all the groceries (with two wild ones in tow), etc…

I do try and give my entire attention to the girls and M on the weekends–but without sleep I’m not exactly my usual cheery self… I usually find myself spending the day with the girls and only getting to spend time with M in the evening when we’re both completely worn out.

This whole time has not been an easy one for M at all and she has done an amazing job trying to juggle everything she has going on. There is absolutely no way I could get half of what I get done without all of the work she puts into it. I literally could not do it without her. I don’t thank her enough for everything that she does–so here’s a big public thank you for everything that you do, M! I love you!

Partial Ordo Romani XIIIa

I keep loosing this file so I’ll stick it out here…

This is a partial (though mostly complete) rough translation of OR XIII that I did on the train from NYC when I was living in Philly–and thus had a limited dictionary with me. The source is Michel Andrieu, Les ordines romani du haut moyen age, Louvain : Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense Administration, 1961-1974.

This ordo provides directions for the Night Office lectionary through the year. Although used in monastic settings, its origin is secular as is evident from the reference to three nocturns during Triduum. Andrieu places it as originating in Rome in the first half of the eighth century.

The bold headings are my own for ease of reference and do not appear in the original. This text breaks off rather abruptly–I don’t think there was much more but will correct and update this post as I have the time to do so…


1. In the beginning of Septuagesima they place the Heptateuch until the fourteenth day before Easter.

2. On the fourteenth day before Easter they place Jeremiah the prophet until Maundy Thursday.

3. On Maundy Thursday they read three readings from the Lamentations of Jeremiah and three tracts of St Augustine concerning the Psalm Exaudi Deus orationem meum cum deprecor (Ps 64); three from the Apostle where he says to the Corinthians Ego accepi a domino quod et tradidi vobis (1 Cor 11:23ff); nine psalms, nine readings, and nine responsaries complete everything. On the following morning, Matins having been completed, we do not say Kyrie eleison, nor ne nos inducas in temptationem. Also on this day we do not say the introit nor Dominus vobiscum. A lesson is read from the Apostle and neither a responsary nor an antiphon is sung at communion. Kissing, the brothers pray for their victory (??). After Mass is completed, the deacon does not call Ite but they exit in silence (check).
4. Similarly on Good Friday three readings from the Lamentations of Jeremiah the prophet, three from the tract of St Augustine concerning Ps 69, three from the Apostle where he says to the Hebrews: Festinemus ergo ingredere ad illam requiem (Heb 4:11ff). Then Matins follows.
5. Similarly on Holy Saturday the Psalms, readings, and responsaries are all completed as we said above and, if there are proper sermones, they should be read.

6. In Easter is placed the Acts of the Apostles—after that, the seven canonical epistles. Then following, the Apocalypse until the Octave of Pentecost.

After Pentecost
7. In the Octave of Pentecost are placed Kings and Chronicles until the first Sunday in the month of August.
8. In the first Sunday of the month of August are placed the books of Solomon until the kalends of September, that is, until the first Sunday in the month of September.
9. In the first Sunday in the month of September is placed Job, Tobit, Judith, Esther, and Esdras until the kalends of October, that is, until the first Sunday in the month of October.
10. In the first Sunday of the month of October is placed the Maccabees until the kalends of November.
11. In the first Sunday of the month of November are placed Ezekiel and Daniel and the twelve minor prophets until the Feast of Andrew, that is, until the kalends of December.

12. In the first Sunday of the month of December, that is, in the first Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ is placed Isaiah the prophet until the Birth of our Lord.

13. In the Vigil of the Birth of the Lord, are placed first three readings from Isaiah, that is, the first reading begins: Primo tempore adleviata est terra Zabulon (Isa 9:1); the second reading begins: Consolamini, consolamini (Isa 40:1); the third reading: Consurge, consurge, induere fortitudine (Isa 52:1). And these readings are not bounded; rather, the prior may continue as he sees fit. Then are read sermons or homilies of the Catholic Fathers pertaining to the day, that is, by Augustine, Gregory, Jerome, Ambrose, and others.
14. In the Feast of St Stephen are read the Acts of the Apostles and readings of the orthodox Fathers pertaining to the day and similarly sermons congruent with the celebration.
15. In the Feast of St John the Evangelist are read the Apocalypse and similarly sermons congruent with the celebration.
16. In the Feast of the Innocents also the Apocalypse and in the same way, if available, sermons for their feast.
17. In the Octave of the Lord the same psalms and readings which were also for the Birth of the Lord, or sermons if they are available of the day.
18. In Epiphany similarly three readings from the prophet Isaiah. The first reading begins: Omnes sicientes venite ad aquas (Isa 55:1ff); The second reading begins: Surge, inluminare, Hierusalem (Isa 60:1ff); the third reading begins: Gaudens gaudebo in domino. Then they read sermones of Augustine, Gregory, Jerome, Ambrose, or others.

After Epiphany
19. In the Octave of Epiphany, the same psalms and lessons as at Epiphany.
20. After these festivals which we have written about concerning the birth of our Lord, they place the Apostle or the commentary on the Psalms by St Augustine until Pentecost.

Specific Saints
21. In the Feast of St Peter (that is at the vigil), they read three readings from the Acts of the Apostles. The first begins: Petrus et Iohannes ascendebant in templum. (Acts 3:1ff). The second reading begins: Factum est autem Petrum dum pertransiret universos devenire ad sanctos qui habitabant Lidde (Acts 9:32ff). The third

Yet More On Preaching

It’s a homiletical bonanza…

This is because the Episcopal Preaching Foundation’s yearly Preaching Excellence Program just wrapped up; and here’s an article summarizing the presentations.

A few notes:

  • On Tom Troeger’s poetry selections: perfect! I often use these two poems myself in talking about what Anglican preaching should be. I love George Herbert’s poetry in general and these two are fantastic choices.
  • Speaking of George Herbert and “general”, M and I were thrilled on Sunday to sing one of his texts to one of our favorite tunes—General Seminary. (I forget the hymn number…)
  • As they seem to have noted, a life-long commitment to spiritual practices and disciplines rooted in Scripture is the chief way of becoming a better interpreter of Scripture and therefore a better preacher. The article did not mention if they promoted any particular practices, but you know what I recommend
  • Playing with the Scriptures is precisely what we do when we read for preaching—but play can only be edifying play when it is in the communal practices of the faith. If the Scriptures are a great field in which we run and play, the boundaries are marked out by the creeds and the playground at the center is the experience of the Triune God rooted in the Mass and Office.
  • As for the intersection of liturgy, preaching and music, the way the article presents the presentation seems almost backward to me. A proper homily is not something separate from the liturgy. Rather, it is an integral part of it. It’s the improv section within the liturgy. Thus, when considering the very shape and nature of the sermon, the preacher should think carefully—yes, about the hymns, but not just the hymns—about the whole liturgy and consider how the homily will be an agent for clarifying how the whole liturgy is an invitation into the presence of God. (And I don’t think, from the sounds of it, that the presenter would disagree with me; it’s just a matter of emphasis…)