Random Thoughts

  • bls had an interesting parish visit yesterday and thinks about the spread of “traditionalist-yet-welcoming” priests–specifically young women priests.
  • Speaking of young female “traditionalist-yet-welcoming” priests…M did some supply work yesterday at a parish in the area. (Did I mention “beautiful” in that list of attributes…?) It’s a very interesting parish; it’s a blend of long-time locals in what’s generously referred to as a “transitioned” neighborhood, some new people moving in with a revitalization initiative but the majority of the congregants are people with mental illness/special needs who live in nearby group homes. M had done spent a couple of months there several years ago and it was wonderful to see some of the faces and personalities I remember from that time. It was also wonderful to see M behind the pulpit and altar again (they have a nice east-wall altar but supply clergy don’t have the option of rearranging furniture) and to participate in a beautiful sung mass by some who takes the time to practice it beforehand…
  • Speaking of singing, looking at the Google click-throughs that have been directing people to the site, I think I may need to put up some resources on how to point various things for chanting and also something on Anglican chant.
  • I will also be putting up–as time allows–a page with some of the trial liturgies I’ve had here including the Anglican Offices of the Dead, a cleaned up version of my Anglican Lauds/Vespers (aka the commute liturgies), and an ordo for the standard BCP Offices. This one is my inspiration; while it presents a completely proper ordo that follows the intention of the Rite II service, I’ll post the version I use with Rite I that takes its cues from the 1662 book. It’s a version that tries to honor both the classical Anglican pattern while falling entirely within the rubrics of the current authorized American use. I’ll just warn you that time is rather limited; these may be a bit in coming…
  • If I had time, I might watch some movies… Two have come to my attention recently. The first is a review of “The Lives of Others” commended to us by Raspberry Rabbit. The other is, of course, Into Great Silence commended by quite a host of people including Caelius and, most recently, Anhaga of Old English in New York with whom I once sang Compline though neither of us knew it at the time…
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17 Responses to Random Thoughts

  1. bls says:

    I’m telling you: all these young Episcopal priests from the South – many are converts from more conservative sects – are exactly what we needed. That’s where the religious vitality is, and we can sure use it.

    We have something to offer in return: beautiful liturgy, plus freedom to argue about any topic – and freedom to argue with our own church hierarchy.

    Put ’em all together and you get revitalization. It’s happening. That’s my take on the story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

    Your visit yesterday sounds wonderful also – like true religion.

  2. Caelius Spinator says:

    Yes, bls, and they may be coming from the North, too. I keep making new friends from the local evangelical seminary.

  3. bls says:

    (That’s a college town, too, BTW. Actually, that church is one of the oldest in the country, I’m pretty sure.)

  4. bls says:

    I guess I always think there aren’t many evangelicals in the North Caelius. There are hardly any in this part of the world, anywa.

    But I’ll take your word for it, and am glad to hear it!

  5. bls says:

    Hey, check it out; it looks like Samuel Seabury was rector there during the 50s – the 1750s.

    ;)

  6. ‘Traditionalist-yet-welcoming’ has a nice sound. Roughly the same as what Fr Peter Robinson named ‘tolerant conservatism’ for me, a concept I’ve run with ever since and which you can find defined in my blog. (A virtue almost peculiarly English and Anglican?) I usually say Catholic for short to cover all that, as in ‘all are welcome to come and pray in a Catholic church’.

    I appreciate what you’re saying even if we don’t agree on some issues but of course you understand all that. ‘Larger church > everything else’ as part of the Catholic vision and I’ll admit ‘identity politics’ are bound up in that (‘party badge, Father’); misogyny is nothing to do with it from me.

    It’s a shame though that ‘traditionalist’ and ‘welcoming’ are contrasted like that, like the common man automatically thinks they’re mutually exclusive! Which could be partly our fault.

    That said, by Catholic I mean in part ‘it’s welcoming… because it’s traditionalist’. Not a gay parish, not a feminist parish, a Catholic parish.

    Among the people in the Anglican blogosphere and in real life I can talk to are (obviously) those Anglican converted from conservative churches who remain conservative including born Anglicans my age (40s) and older. I have good friends my age who either are born Anglicans or became churchmen as teen-agers; people who are sound on the creeds and on morals and with theology and churchmanship rather different to mine (the new book and women priests). Modern Central Churchmen: classic Anglicans.

    I even have some friends online with whom I disagree on morals. (Secular politics are more volatile; as a libertarian I get more stick from the establishment right than the left.)

    But I’ll point out that in my observations over the years often the conservative ‘modern Canterbury pilgrims’ from other churches are moving from Protestantism through liturgical, quasi-traditional churchmanship, (not necessarily on purpose) using Anglicanism as a changing-station to Rome or Orthodoxy – of course you know about the Orthodox convert boomlet. (In the blogosphere I can think of Taylor Marshall, Clifton Healy and Frs Matthew Thurman and former Episcopal priest Joseph Huneycutt for example.) Sorry but given the state of the Episcopal Church is it any wonder conservatives don’t stay? I do like to say, though, that such people probably would have remained happy in Anglicanism as recently as 50 years ago.

    I aim for respecting all seekers (Catholic: an open heart and a mind closed on something solid as Chesterton wrote) but the Anglican bloggers I usually can’t get on with no matter how I try are the liberalised angry ex-whatevers: angry gay ex-RCs and gay burnt-out ex-Protestant evangelicals.

    We have something to offer in return: beautiful liturgy, plus freedom to argue about any topic – and freedom to argue with our own church hierarchy.

    I’m with you on at least two out of three of those, bls. The freedom to argue about any topic is inherent in the concept of the university, which of course is mediæval and Catholic, the point of the Pope’s recent controversial Regensburg lecture in which he contrasted that with the simplistic theology of Islam. Or of American evangelicalism… (The university should not be treated like a catechism class.)

    As for arguing with the church hierarchy of course Catholics believe in church infallibility on faith and morals (when the bishops stand on defined doctrine and on tradition regarding morals); ISTM other issues are fair game though there is the virtue of obedience.

  7. bls says:

    I have no problem with Anglicanism being used as a “way-station” – unless the move to Catholicism or Orthodoxy is based in political/cultural motives, which it often is.

    There are several reasons I could never be either of those things – but actually neither has to do with the “gay” thing. I’m Anglican for a reason – for many reasons, in fact. Anglicanism is sui generis, IMO – and to my mind has the best ecclesiology by far. Also, it allows people to stay and experience the faith even while they may continue to doubt; that, to me, is probably the most important thing of all. It IS risky, but it’s necessary. It’s the only way that people who didn’t grow up in the faith can have a (small) place to stand, at the beginning – short of an immediate religious conversion, which is rare.

    So I’m quite happy that Anglicanism is what it is and does what it does; it needs repair and revitalization from time to time, but this is quite possible – and it’s what’s going on right now, I believe.

    As far as “liberalized gay ex-RC’s,” etc.: I can’t agree with you at all. In my experience, gay people tend to be among the most conservative of Episcopalians theologically. Particularly gay men, but also many women; believe me, most of us wouldn’t be here at all if we were “liberal” about what the Church says about Christ. Why hang around with people who really can’t stand you, and talk complete trash about you daily, unless you were dedicated to the program itself? I think it’s the “liberalized straight ex-RC’s, etc.,” you’re talking about.

  8. bls says:

    (The only other place I could possibly consider going, BTW, is to the Independent Catholic Church, or the Old Catholics. What I hope happens, actually – if TEC gets the boot from the Communion – is for a merger with some of those groups and churches.

    BTW, there are many in Anglicanism today who proudly describe themselves as belonging to the “largest evangelical denomination in the world.” Food for thought, no?)

  9. bls, of course I know what you mean; much of the Catholic Movement including many churchmen I’ve known have been homosexual men! I should have been clearer; by ‘gay’ I meant practising, insisting it’s not a sin… and demanding that others believe and teach it’s not a sin.

    In ways Anglicanism is sui generis, things to do with English culture as I said above, but more important to a Catholic is a common faith with the larger Catholic world.

    The only other place I could possibly consider going, BTW, is to the Independent Catholic Church, or the Old Catholics. What I hope happens, actually – if TEC gets the boot from the Communion – is for a merger with some of those groups and churches.

    Well, I think TEC except the conservative dioceses is essentially asking to be booted but more to your point ‘it’s a free country’; if it wants to merge with the indies then seriously it can go right ahead. I don’t see that happening though. I know that ‘indy’ priests sometimes seek admission as Episcopal priests, in their orders ‘as is’, and are turned down or told ‘you have to go through the process and to a seminary like anybody else’.

    And the Anglican Communion is of course in communion with the Old Catholics FWIW so if TEC is booted I don’t see that merger happening.

    More likely there will be a COCU-like mainline merger in America.

    BTW, there are many in Anglicanism today who proudly describe themselves as belonging to the “largest evangelical denomination in the world.” Food for thought, no?

    Makes sense when you consider the entire Communion – the robust minority of English Evangelicals, the Aussie Evos and of course the Global South!

  10. bls says:

    So there it is: a person is a “liberal” if they disagree with the young fogey about homosexuality.

    There’s nothing more to talk about, then. Add me to your list of people you can’t get along with – except I’m not an “ex-” anything. I wasn’t “angry,” either – until just now, when you decided that because you think you’re right I must perforce be a “liberal.” Ugh.

    People are “angry” because we’re being pigeonholed, ignored, dismissed, and misrepresented. For an example, I’ve nowhere said anything about “a free country,” so why are you saying I have? FYI, that sort of thing doesn’t help your argument a bit.

    If you really think that gay sex is the ultimate signifier, there’s no point in any further discussion – because I think it’s quite a minor issue. We’re deadlocked, in that case, so let’s just admit it and move on to something more interesting.

  11. bls says:

    And now you know why I’ve often considered the move to the Independent Catholics.

    The fixation on gay sex as the most important theological issue there ever was or ever will be, and the one true signifier of a person’s theological position is enough to drive anybody mad.

    How can you talk to people who apparently believe there’s an abstract thing called “homosexual sex,” detached from individual human beings? How can you talk to people who talk about “catholicsim” as “universal” – oh, except that there’s one particular group never to be included in the “universalism” of the “catholic” faith? How can you talk to people who believe with every fiber of their being that “homosexuality is a sin” – yet who can’t point either to Catechism or Scripture to justify this?

    The Independent Catholics at least recognize they don’t have a Magisterium.

  12. Liberal can mean lots of things depending on the context! For example liberality meaning charity or generosity. Politically as a libertarian I am a classical liberal. Then there’s modern political liberalism which sees the state as the answer to society’s problems. You can also use the word to describe disagreeing not only with me (which doesn’t mean much!) but the Catholic Church (I don’t necessarily mean Rome) past, present and future not only on morals (about which homosexuality is only a part – I’m not the one fixated!) but doctrine which brings us back to ‘traditionalist but welcoming’.

    Add me to your list of people you can’t get along with

    Your choice, just like what I meant by ‘it’s a free country’ (I wasn’t claiming to quote you); TEC can merge with the indies if it wants to. Why not?

    We’re deadlocked

    On that we can agree.

    How can you talk to people who apparently believe there’s an abstract thing called “homosexual sex,” detached from individual human beings?

    How can you talk to people who apparently believe there’s an abstract thing called ‘murder’ detached from individual human beings?

    How can you talk to people who talk about “catholicism” as “universal” – oh, except that there’s one particular group never to be included in the “universalism” of the “catholic” faith?

    That’s correct: unrepentant sinners of any orientation exclude themselves.

    How can you talk to people who believe with every fiber of their being that “homosexuality is a sin” – yet who can’t point either to Catechism or Scripture to justify this?

    Leviticus and Romans. (I know, ‘God hates shrimp’, ha ha ha.)

    Orientation is not a sin so in that sense ‘homosexuality is a sin’ is not an accurate description of Catholic teaching. The practice is.

    And now you know why I’ve often considered the move to the Independent Catholics…. The Independent Catholics at least recognize they don’t have a Magisterium.

    Well, thy will be done, bls. Like I said ‘it’s a free country’. As Voltaire is thought to have said I’ll defend one’s right to be wrong as long as one doesn’t harm others.

  13. lutherpunk says:

    More likely there will be a COCU-like mainline merger in America.

    Just to take it in a slightly different direction, I hope I never see anything like a merger. I think the inter-communion agreements have caused me to scratch my head enough.

  14. bls says:

    I feel sorry for people who can’t seem to distinguish between “murder” and “40 years of love and care between two human beings.” But I’m glad it keeps being brought it, as it makes clear what the issues are, and which side of this so-called “discussion” has a better grip on reality.

    P.S., fogey: I’m a woman (ha, ha, ha), and there just ain’t anything in Leviticus or Romans that addresses the topic. (And BTW, Augustine and Clement of Alexandria both agree with me on that score.)

  15. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Hmmm… quite a conversation since I’ve been away….

    The bottom line is that we can and will find all manner of things to disagree on–some more vehemently than others. What all of the posters here can agree on is that–going back to the whole “traditionalist-yet welcoming” point–the resurgence of people and priests committed to living out a creedal Christianity in the face of a plurality of other options is a Good Thing. Especially when it is accompanied by good liturgy and works of mercy that proclaim the reality of the resurrection.

  16. I agree entirely, Derek. Thank you. In the face of that plurality we can learn a thing or two from each other.

    lutherpunk, functionally the intercommunion agreements are mergers as they mean interchangeable clergy (non-episcopal ministers are declared to be the same as priests, an untenable situation for Catholics) but I understand your distinction.

    bls, AFAIK neither St Augustine of Hippo nor of Canterbury have left us a written defence of homosex as objectively good. IIRC the former, a prolific writer and church father, had his doubts and neuroses about heterosex! (Individually the church fathers could be wrong.)

    Anyway, your sex life and domestic arrangements aren’t my business as a citizen (because they are not a public health hazard) and as I am not your father confessor. Your home is your castle!

    The church has the right and duty however to teach its people (membership is ultimately voluntary) that homosex like adultery and fornication is wrong; if one doesn’t agree one is free to go somewhere else, a right that I defend.

    I do agree with you that being against homosex should not be the only reason for choosing a church! (A commitment that should be taken as seriously as a marriage.)

    And that’s the last thing I’ll write here on the matter.

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