Archive for June, 2012

Collect for St. Peter’s Day (June 29)

June 29, 2012

O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through* Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Liturgical significance of the “Fortnight for Freedom” » GetReligion

June 26, 2012

Although I am a regular reader of “Get Religion,” it often takes an unfortunate partisan turn. At least, that is the way I see it. This is a good analysis of the media coverage of “Fortnight for Freedom,” and its connection to the liturgical remembrance of St. Thomas Moore. You may recall “A Man for All Seasons.” I seem to remember that it was Best Picture in 1967. Thomas Moore was a man of conscience and I do admire his bravery in the face of Henry VIII’s move to control the Church of England. Permit me to observe, however, that Chancellor Thomas Moore did not seem to be one little bit concerned about  religious freedom for English Lutherans, who were burned at the stake on his watch. This does not automatically prove the alleged bad motives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but they might want to be a little more reassuring. Thomas Moore was no friend of Protestants and the Catholic Bishops seem to be taking aim at the religious rights of their employees who would like to practice contraception.

Here is what “Get Religion” has to say. Follow the link for the full story.

 

I’m out of the country right now visiting my in-laws in Mexico. They don’t have wifi! So my posting may be a bit lighter the next few weeks as I cobble together trips in search of internet.

Before I left town a reader commented on coverage of the Fortnight for Freedom:

I haven’t had the time to keep up with current affairs due to work and family, but I’m not sure if any reporters have drawn attention to the fact that the Fortnight for Freedom starts on the feastday for Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, natural patrons for a struggle against govermental encroachments on the Church.

Yes, I think reporters were a bit too busy running with the narrative that the bishops are a secret GOP front group. (Let’s please not talk about their stance on immigration reform, OK? Or the non-bishops who are opposed to the HHS mandate. It just doesn’t support the meme we’re going for.)

Liturgical significance of the “Fortnight for Freedom” » GetReligion.

The Theology of Gift— an Other Directed Blessing

June 25, 2012

Ben Witherington has a wonderful essay on his blog about the biblical concept of “gift” and I have linked it below. It seems to fit nicely with an item I wrote a week ago about “The Divine Gift of Human Friendship.” Read Witherington and then come back here and scroll down to my piece.

The Theology of Gift— an Other Directed Blessing.

June 24: Observance of St. John, Baptist

June 23, 2012

ALMIGHTY God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour by preaching repentance;* Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through† Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

I have a number of favorite days of observance. There are not that many in the slimmed down calendar of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Regular readers here know that I have an affection for Ascension THURSDAY, which complete the resurrection miracle by remembering the bodily ascension of Christ. I also like the mystic aspect of Transfiguration, which is kept beginning on the evening of my birthday, August 5 (the “feast” is on August 6. John, Baptist is one of my favored days because even the name is contrary. It is not “John THE Baptist.”

There is something odd, yet likable, about John. When all Judea came out to see this wild man baptizing people in the Jordan, the Pharisees joined them. When John saw this bunch of unctuous, self-satisfied, worshipers of their own reflections, coming out as spiritual tourists in search of scenes suitable for gawking, he said, “you brood of vipers!” We can presume that John was not much into seeker-friendly worship. “Who told you to flee the wrath to come?” John saw the hardness of heart and suspected that it was not guilt or shame that brought these well-heeled religious leaders to the water’s edge.

Here are some of the lectionary readings:

Is 60:1

Luke 1:57

Mal 3:1-6

Matt 3

Mal 4

Matt 11:2-19

FOOTNOTE: I should have mentioned that the observance for St. John, Baptist is a day of precedence. That is, if it falls on a Sunday, it is (supposed to be, if the local Anglican church feels like it) comemorated in the liturgy instead of the regular Sunday readings. (This is the rule for TRADITIONAL Anglican parishes and is by no means universally blinding.)

VirtueOnline – Biblical Economies and Mammon in America – Dr. Rob Sanders

June 23, 2012

Here is a link to a wonderful essay. I agree with it almost entirely, although I am certain it will provoke many stringing rebukes.

Biblical Economies and Mammon in America
You cannot serve God and Mammon (Luke 16:13)

By The Rev. Robert J. Sanders, Ph.D.
www.virtueonline.org
June 20, 2012

Given the economic downturn in which we find ourselves, the enormous concentrations of wealth that have recently occurred, the emergence of an underclass and all the suffering this entails, the purchase of our politicians by big money, the great importance Scripture ascribes to economic justice, and the near-absolute indifference and/or ignorance of many Christians regarding biblical principles of economics, it would be helpful to see what light the Bible and the Christian tradition can shed on our present economic circumstances.

Among other things, two fundamental points will be made: First, all economic relationships are aspects of personal relationships among human beings. Second, biblical economics begins with redistribution of wealth and, related to that, limits on accumulation. These two ideas will be presented in terms of Scripture, and then in relation to the formation of the modern system, and finally, the relevance of this for the church and political action.

VirtueOnline – News – Culture Wars – Biblical Economies and Mammon in America – Dr. Rob Sanders.

Fortnight for freedom: what are the Catholic bishops doing?

June 22, 2012

The headline above is a rhetorical question. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for two weeks of prayer and education before Independence Day in connection with its opposition to the mandates requiring employers to pay for insurance covering contraception and abortion. Sorting out the issues is a tricky proposition because so much of the supposedly objective news coverage is laced with subtle prejudice. Some of the Catholic arguments are not especially helpful either.

The presuppositions are easy to spot and they are very much present. Let me state a few. The top management of the Catholic Church is all male, therefore, it is inherently sexist and evil. The bishops of the Catholic Church have recently shown a shocking inability to manage lower level clergy and protect children, therefore, it is inherently evil (yes, total cheap shot, but a real vulnerability). All religious opinions are subjective and emotional and must never be used to make public policy (a subtle misunderstanding), therefore, the Catholic Church has no business imposing its narrow viewpoint on the rest of us by way of law and is, thus, inherently evil.

By far, the funniest presupposition goes to the suggestion that secretive big money organizations are funding the Catholic bishops. Let me try to tell you this gently, and it may be very disturbing to some of you, but it has been widely insinuated that the Knights of Columbus are footing the bill. Yes, the enemy wears a cape and a feathered hat. Yes, I am aware that the Knights is a multi-billion dollar organization and they are probably paying for some of the bishops activity. The Knights of Columbus is an organization for Catholic men and its purpose is well-known. Contributions are voluntary and they disperse money to groups that promote traditional Catholic beliefs. That may bump up against politics, but one doubts that a straight line connection could be drawn from the Knights to a political party. Yes, the leaders seem to have a particular political viewpoint, but that is not against the law. Attacking the Knights just might result in some very real and serious religious discrimination.
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Traditional Anglicanism is not grumpy or irrelevant

June 18, 2012

I attended a little meeting the other day at which the matter of traditional Anglicanism was brought up. How can we hang on to our traditions when so many have faded into history. Despite a moment of uneasiness, it was still a good question.

To begin at the ending, traditional Anglicanism can be properly described as the faith and practice of the reformed and catholic Church of England. Anglicans of the traditional mindset have a high view of the church and sacraments and seek guidance from the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Now, some of my friends just jumped up and shouted, “what about scripture.” The authority of scripture is wrapped up in the Articles. We believe the Bible without worshiping it.
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Collect for the Second Sunday After Trinity

June 18, 2012

O LORD, who never failest to help and govern those* whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Divine gift of human friendships

June 16, 2012

Last night I said good-bye to a friend. It was not that kind of farewell, it was not a wake. My pal Eric Guthrie is moving to the Oklahoma City area in order to be closer to the Every Nation ministry with which he has a close association. Eric is a true friend whose back porch has been a haven from the hazards of real life. I have been attending his “man night” for a couple of years now, and I will miss that time of lively conversation without the poison of politics. The truth is that I am experiencing an intense sense of loss.

My friend, Dr. Mark Quay, is moving to Birmingham in the next two weeks. He will be senior pastor of this big Anglican church. Nobody deserves it more. Mark is also a true friend and I wish it were possible to describe the gift he brought to my life. There is every reason to feel a little gloomy over his departure, but all of this has caused me to think about the nature of friendship.
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Collect for First Sunday after Trinity

June 16, 2012

O GOD, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.