On-Going Events

Just got back from a couple days away on work. I see there have been some interesting things happening over at the Episcopal Cafe upon which I would have commented had I not been otherwise occupied.

In particular I’m looking at:

More later as time allows…

17 Replies to “On-Going Events”

  1. This is the kind of thing the Rector of St. Clement’s now? Too bad there’s not much employment for me in Philly.

    “I can live happily without an Anglican Communion and will happily see it disappear if it means that I can disown the Archbishop of Sydney who denounces the Mass as a blasphemous fable, or the Archbishop of Nigeria who says that homosexuals are lower than swine, and supports laws punishing them by imprisonment. Not to mention the hypocritical Bishops, clergy and laity of our own Episcopal Church who are divorced and remarried, but say that they oppose women priests and our one (honest) gay Bishop because such things are contrary to the Word of God – by which they mean the Bible, not the real Word of God who was made flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  2. Yeah, I was surprised to see the rector of St. Clement’s write something like that. When I was in Philly I was always under the impression that St. Clement’s was the “conservative” A-C parish (St. Luke’s being the “liberal” one).

    I’m also trying to understand the urgency of the CWOB debate. I’m not convinced by the arguments in favor, but are there really hordes of unbaptized people scrambling to get at the Table in your churches? A TEC parish in my neighborhood advertises itself as the “church of the open communion” and I always wonder as I’m walking by why a non-Christian is supposed to be so excited about taking communion.

  3. I’m also trying to understand the urgency of the CWOB debate

    You and me both…

    are there really hordes of unbaptized people scrambling to get at the Table in your churches?

    Not that I’m aware. And that’s one of the things about it that frustrates me about it—it seems more like a hypothetical issue that some folks have really seized on and can’t bear to think that this policy might see unfriendly or “exclusive”.

    Come to think of it, I wonder how this plays into the whole “active participation” notion… The idea that everybody has to be doing the same thing at the same time or else there’s some kind of “exclusion” going on. I’m thinking in particular of the modern (and Reformation) notion of linear worship rather than layered worship and some useful comments about the same on the Ship

  4. CWOB infuriates me because while it purports to be inclusive, I find it rather exclusive. Sounds to me like–if you’ll forgive the analogy–“you can fool around with us, the Body of Christ, but we’re not going to marry you.” You can play at some of our sacraments, but we’re not really going to bother loving you enough to bring you into the church. More like, “stay out” than “come in.” (Also, if we really believe what we say we believe, aren’t we inviting these unsuspecting folks into true danger by introducing them to the Lord’s Body & Blood unprepared?)

    Of course, I agree with the previous commenters–is this a real issue or just PR? Are there scads of unbaptized folks lining up to receive communion, or is does this just afford clergy the opportunity to smugly announce that “ALL are welcome at the Lord’s table in OUR church”?

  5. Among the problems with CWOB is that it feeds into a typically American consumerist mentality. While purporting to be hospitable in a biblical sense, it actually has more in common with the “hospitality” industry of hotels and restaurants. Instead of a body with a mission that includes mutual responsibilities and accountabilities gathered around – and held accountable by – the Eucharist, the church becomes more of a spiritual restaurant with “god” the menu. It plays to a contemporary spiritual dilettante mentality rather than calling folk to Christian discipleship.

  6. For whatever reason, WordPress isn’t letting Christopher comment again. He sent this to me which I relay to you…:

    Erika gets my point exactly. From where I stand, CWOB is liberal nobless oblige rather than equal claim of Christ on our lives. There are parishes on the Left Coast that practice CWOB outright, so it actually is an issue here. Are hoards coming forward? Not generally. But that is besides the point. We are more bent out of shape about the same-sex affectioned taking on discipline than we are about evacuating discipline altogether… And I have to go, “huh?” All in the name of supposedly including us. A bit ironic, no?

    And I think it is also being pushed as a way to look welcoming without taking seriously the claim upon our lives that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion demand. Holy Communion isn’t just a cracker snack–it’s very Jesus Christ. Holy Communion suggests that we have found ourselves claimed to take on the responsibility of Communion with one another and for the needs of the world.

    Younger folks are looking for faith of serious practice. CWOB communicates anything but.

    I’ve experienced anaphorae in which all were to offer the doxology. Which of course, my high church sensibilities disallow…only a matter of time and we’ll all be saying the Eucharistic Prayer in toto. I am not a presbyter, and I find it down right irritating that the only way we can think of the full participation of the lay order is to assimilate us to the presbytery. We have our own responsibilities in the liturgy and our own calls as baptized.

  7. As a member of the parish that is almost certainly Patient Zero for CWOB, the popularity of the invitation used, “Whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome to receive the bread and wine made holy, we’re very glad you’re here” has very little to do with communing the unbaptized. Maybe some clergy think so, but that’s not the message the laity get.

    I think Erika’s language is useful here: Holy Baptism is marriage with the Christian community that is itself married to Christ. But if your marriage has been physically/emotionally abusive, there’s nothing so nice as hearing that whatever has been done on either side, you are welcome to “bed and board” once more. That’s what touches people. I’m not sure that contributes to a good theology of sin, grace, and redemption, but that’s what’s conditioning the mind and heart. Many people who attend the church describe themselves as being “in recovery” from others “contending for the name of Christ” and so CWOB while not necessary to include them still makes them feel more included.

    Of course, the underlying theology is seriously defective, but many Episcopal clergy find it successful for building a congregation.

  8. “Younger folks are looking for faith of serious practice. CWOB communicates anything but.”

    I think Gen Y is still looking for belonging without necessarily always understanding the institutions to which they want to belong, especially as older generations modify them beyond recognition.

  9. Paul, you may be joking, but when I was at a Reformed Episcopal church a week ago, the congregation joined in for the Canon from after the dominical words on!

  10. Geoff,

    I was joking, but I know of any number of anecdotes similar to yours, and that’s the way we’re heading in some theologies of liturgy, apparently.

  11. Well, I have to admit that after spending so much time serving at Smokey Mary’s I do pray the Eucharistic Prayer along with the celebrant (sub voce) if it’s Prayer A. It helps me focus especially if the girls are being fidgety. However, that’s a completely different spirituality and theology from insisting that we all having to be doing the same thing at the same time.

  12. Caelius,

    I think you’ve hit on something key there with the whole notion of clergy and congregants “in recovery.” I think a lot of current Episcopal practice is reactive against how other denominations structure or communicate things and are rooted in a back-lash mode.

    Some things that come out of that back-lash mode are indeed good and need to be resisted and communicated against—but staying in a back-lash mode and remaining reactive is the door to bad theology and spirituality. As with conversion in general, it shouldn’t be a running from something but a movement too something. The same should hold for thoughts and habits.

    This probably deserves its own post…

  13. Derek,

    I think that silently mouthing the texts being recited by the celebrant one of the other ministers is a far cry from what some are proposing as the next new thing; in fact, I seem to recall that some authors recommended it as a devout way to assist at mass.

  14. Paul, I’m relieved to hear you recall the same thing – as I have always recited – completely in silence – the canon as a way of going deeper into the Eucharistic mystery. (Though elsewhere I was warned this was a dangerous and heterodox proactive).

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