Shifting Directions

Things Being Wrapped Up

After a very busy season, it’s time for an update…

The revision of my dissertation is done and has been sent off to Liturgical Press. The title I believe we’re going with is Reading Matthew with Monks: Liturgical Interpretation in Anglo-Saxon England. The first part focuses on early medieval monastic biblical interpretation centering on the role of the liturgy. In particular, I’m focusing on the Old English sermons and interpretive materials of Ælfric of Eynsham and his situation in the 10th century English Benedictine Revival. In the second part, I take four passages from Matthew, look at how four modern commentators have treated them, then look at Ælfric’s reading as illuminated by his liturgical context. Often, there is some really interesting interplay between the issues raised by the modern readers and the insights coming from Ælfric’s material. I don’t know exactly when it will be coming out, but I believe they’re looking at a late Spring 2015 release date.

I also just concluded a wonderful parish retreat at St. Andrew’s in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, at the invitation of Fr. Jeff Queen that focused on the background, spirituality, and use of the St. Augustine’s Prayer Book. We had participants from around the Cincinnati metro area (including some readers of the blog!); I had a great time, received a lot of thoughtful questions and feedback, and I think we achieved what we wanted to do. That was capped off by a gracious invitation to preach at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, and got to meet and spend some time with Fr. Manoj Zacharia and Mthr. Sherilyn Pearce.

My work on this presentation is going to largely feed into my part of the address that David Cobb and I will be presenting at the North American Society of Catholic Priests Conference in Toronto in the next couple of weeks.

Of course, I couldn’t be in the area with touching base at Forward Movement, and successfully met the height requirement to enter Scott Gunn’s office, Home of the Golden Halo(TM). Work is ramping up on the manuscript I finished earlier in the year on the spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer; I’ve been assigned editors and we’re currently talking about a possible April 2015 publication date, assuming no substantial delays. I’m very excited to work with both Richelle Thompson and Mthr. Melody Shobe on this project!

Of my major writing obligations for this season, that’s all but one… We’re still hard at work on A Great Cloud of Witnesses and have to get all of the revisions to collects and tags completed by the end of October when the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will meet to finalize our Blue Book submission. As a subcommittee, we’ve revised 75 collects and I’m still going through more. Once that work is off my plate I’ll be able to breath a big sigh of relief!!

Now—M has informed me that writing a book is like doing a full Ironman triathlon, but not necessarily for the reason you might think. You might think that she’s referring to the fact that’s a long difficult haul that involves a lot of focus and sustained effort in multiple disciplines like research and writing. While that’s true, that’s not what she has in mind. No, she’s thinking of something else… What you may not realize if you don’t participate in these sports is the huge volume of training time necessary just to complete an Ironman, which is compounded if you actually want to be competitive in one. For instance, it’s entirely normal to do a 50-mile bike ride immediately followed by a 10-mile run on a weekend. (And that’s a fairly moderate workout.) Activities like this take a while…  Due to the time and energy demands that this kind of training takes, most Ironman families & spouses insist that their favorite athlete can only compete every two or three years—because family life can’t sustain them more often than that! Thus, I’ve been banned from writing books for the next year or two in the interest of family harmony.

 Things Ramping Up

Instead of writing books, I plan to head back over to the digital side for a while. Over there, we’ve got a couple of big things on the horizon.

  • More Attention to the St. Bede’s Breviary! The SBB has languished a bit while I’ve been doing all of this writing. I’ve been trying to fix the occasional errors as they pop up, but haven’t done a lot of work with it otherwise. I am now in the final stages of a custom edition for the Companions of St. Luke, an Episcopal Benedictine group. Up next is fulfillment of a request from a good friend of the breviary to include the Revised Standard Version of the Scriptures. I also have some ideas around some new visual elements and an overhaul under the hood. (For my fellow coders out there, I’m moving to a fully object-oriented design.)
  • More Energy to the Anglican Breviary! Although I’ve not said much about it, the Anglican Breviary Online site is up and material is slowly being added. I drafted both Lil’ G and H as editorial assistants and put them to work entering psalms. Since our family vacations hit in August and with the commencement of school, this work has been on hold. I’m ready to pick that up again. I’ll be issuing a call for volunteers shortly once I’ve worked out MediaWiki’s edit permissions. Donations towards this work are gratefully accepted, and names will be listed on the Benefactors page. Gifts can be made in honor and memory of loved ones as well.
  • More Items To Be Added to the Anglican Gradual & Sacramentary! David White, the editor and architect of the Anglican Gradual & Sacramentary has completed his corrections to the files. I’ll be uploading these to the yet-rather-rudimentary page soon. I do intend to put them all into a PDF format, but I don’t see that happening until the beginning of 2015.

So—that’s where we stand on things. Lots to do; only 24 hours in a day to get them done! With help and lots of prayer, I’m confident we’ll get there…

6 thoughts on “Shifting Directions

  1. gaudetetheology

    The revision of my dissertation is done and has been sent off to Liturgical Press.
    Congratulations! And best wishes for the success of all the other many projects you discuss here.

  2. Géo McLarney

    Very much looking forward to having you at Trinity next week, can’t wait to hear all about the new SAPB. I was sceptical at the idea of revision at first but I couldn’t remain so for long with the project in such capable hands.

  3. Scott Gunn

    Wait, what? All the other priests get to be Father or Mother, except for David Cobb and I? I might have to change the height requirement to enter my office if you keep that up.

    On a more serious note, folks here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky were blessed by your presence, and I’ve heard lots of great stuff.

  4. Jon

    Yay for code revisions. It’s in PHP now, correct? Will it remain in the same language? I’d be delighted to help with the code rewrite although it might not be practical, especially since I work in C# and SQL.

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