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A minor


Friday, September 29, 2006

On Finn's First Birthday
Heavenly Father, you sent your own Son into this world. We thank you for the life of this child, Finn, entrusted to our care. Help us to remember that we are all your children, and so to love and nurture him that he may attain to that full stature intended for him in your eternal kingdom; for the sake of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer [Episcopal Church, 1979], page 841, "Thanksgiving For the Gift of a Child")

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, September 23, 2006

28th Birthday
After I miraculously managed to leave work a few hours early yesterday, we opened presents (bottle opener, The Office Season Two, shirt, candy and original cards from the boys), went out to lunch at O'Charley's, and dropped off the boys at Hollie's parents', where they stayed the night. Hollie & I ended up driving over to Vicksburg again and playing penny slots at the Ameristar. Got a free drink and won $28 (Coincidence? I think not!), which more than covered gas (down to $2.05 in Tallulah) and dinner at Waffle House. Yeah, we sound like old losers, but I'm pretty sure they were the ones still pouring into the casino when we left - I was just too tired to keep up with them, despite the fun of playing penny slots with my beloved penny pincher.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Books from Vicksburg
We went to Vicksburg this afternoon, drove through the military park and then hit the outlet mall, where the Book Warehouse is closing shop tomorrow and all paperbacks are $1 and all hardbacks $2. Pretty picked over, but I still came out with a handful of books for about $10:

  • George MacDonald: An Anthology - 365 Readings (plus a bibliography), edited and with a preface by C.S. Lewis (1946). HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. From the back cover: "According to C.S. Lewis, everything he wrote was influenced by the genius of George MacDonald. Lewis said, 'I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.' George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a popular Scottish lecturer and writer of novels, poetry, and fairy tales. Born in Aberdeenshire, he was briefly a clergyman, then a professor of English literature at Bedford and King's College in London."

  • Breaking the Fall: Religious Readings of Contemporary Fiction, by Robert Detweiler (1989). Westminster John Knox, 1995. Winner of the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Publishing. Reviewed by Eugene Peterson in Theology Today. Detweiler is professor emeritus of comparative literature at Emory.

  • Wormwood, by G.P. Taylor. Putnam, 2004. Taylor began his working life as a punk-rock promoter in the music industry, became a social worker, then a police officer, then a Church of England vicar and exorcist, and is now a bestselling author of youth fantasy with a multi-million-dollar movie deal. He's also hosted a TV series on the paranormal and continues to serve as a now-itinerant priest.

  • Recycling Biblical Figures: papers read at a NOSTER colloquium in Amsterdam, 12-13 May 1997, edited by Athalya Brenner and Jan Willem van Henten. Also published as Studies in Theology and Religion 1, edited by Johannes C. De Moor on behalf of the Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Theologie en Religiewetenschap = NOSTER). Leiden: Deo, 1999.

  • Bobos* in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, by David Brooks (*bourgeois bohemians). Simon & Schuster, 2000.

  • William Law: Selections from A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. Forward by Walter Wangerin, Jr (2005). Edited by Emilie Griffin, HarperCollins Spiritual Classics. Original translation published by Paulist Press, 1978. From the back cover: "William Law (1686-1761) was an Anglican priest who specialized in providing spiritual direction."
Even if I never read any of these, I at least enjoyed finding them for little of nothing.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Natchez Anglican Monastery
Just ran across this today: St Joseph's Monastery, an Episcopal Benedictine community in Natchez, MS. Among other things, they "offer spiritual direction and three or five-day directed retreats for individuals at the monastery" and make themselves "available to lead retreats and give programs for parishes and other groups outside the monastery." Anybody heard of these guys or know where they stand on the current crises in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion? According to the OSB page where I found them (click here and scroll to the bottom), they're pretty recent - founded in 2001; adopted the Rule of St Benedict in 2003.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Balthasar & Barth on Church (Dis)Unity
Here's a must-read excerpt from Volume 3 of Hans Urs von Balthasar's Theo-Drama (via Jeff Steel). Balthasar's quote from Barth is especially poignant:

The plurality of churches...should not be interpreted as something willed by God, as a normal unfolding of the wealth of grace given to mankind in Jesus Christ [nor as] a necessary trait of the visible, empirical Church, in contrast to the invisible, ideal, essential Church. Such a distinction is entirely foreign to the New Testament because, in this regard also, the Church of Jesus Christ is one. She is invisible in terms of the grace of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit,...but visible in signs in the multitude of those who profess their adherence to her; she is visible as a community and in her community ministry, visible in her service of the word and sacrament.... It is impossible to escape from the visible Church to the invisible.

If ecumenical endeavor is pursued along the lines of such a distinction, however fine the words may sound, it is philosophy of history and philosophy of society - it is not theology. People who do this are producing their own ideas in order to get rid of the question of the Church's unity, instead of facing the question posed by Christ.... If we listen to Christ, we do not exist above the differences that divide the Church: we exist in them.... In fact, we should not attempt to explain the plurality of churches at all. We should treat it as we treat our sins and those of others.... We should understand the plurality as a mark of our guilt. (K. Barth, Die Kirche und die Kirchen. Theol., 9-10).
For more about Balthasar, see Garver's helpful pages.

jon :: link :: comment ::

That's right, SPREAD: The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine (via wyclif). Well, I'll be.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Friday, September 8, 2006

Local Interest
According to our new parishes* and despite the M in ULM, the campus is apparently closer to Richland and Morehouse Parishes (=Counties) than it is to, say, Kinko's, even though it only takes 2-3 minutes to drive from campus to Kinko's. Too bad Hwy 165 wasn't built a couple miles further east.

I know you can't please everyone and you have to draw geographical lines somewhere, but given the stated reasons for forming parishes, these lines seem singularly unfortunate to me. Just think of any students who might live on campus and not have cars. How are the good folks in Start, Rayville, and Oak Ridge their neighbors (unless, of course, the out-of-towners were to drive in to Monroe for all parish events)?

I write this in the spirit of iron sharpening iron, just as I'm sure it will sharpen me to be in the Richland/Morehouse parish group (St Mark's) for the time being.
* For background, see Pastor Steve Wilkins' article and my previous post.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Methodists & the JDDJ
Saw this in Touchstone:

Meeting in Korea in mid-July, the World Methodist Conference signed the joint declaration on justification that the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation had signed in 1999. The conference, which represented 70 million Methodists around the world, also declared that "it is our deep hope that in the near future we shall also be able to enter into closer relationships with Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church" and approved a resolution authorizing further dialogue with the Catholic Church, with the stated aim of "full communion in faith, mission and sacramental life." Lutheran and Catholic leaders praised the decision. "We have overcome a theological difference which has divided Western Christianity since the time of the Reformation," said Ishmael Noko, the general secretary of the World Lutheran Federation. Cardinal Walter Kaspar, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called the statement "a gift from God" and "one of the principal successes of ecumenical dialogue." At a meeting with the conference's leaders, Pope Benedict XVI said that their signing the declaration "would contribute to the reconciliation that we ardently desire and would be a significant step toward the objective of full and visible unity in the faith."
For background on the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), see Wikipedia's entry and read the text of declaration on either the Vatican's or ELCA's sites (or download a PDF from the LWF).

jon :: link :: comment ::

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