Comments: bank holiday weekend reading

Writing as one involved with rare books for many years, the British Library's interactive online exhibition is a wonderful piece of work.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 3:13pm BST

There has always been a tension not just between Paul and Jesus, one who is more univesal to one who is local, but also between Paul and Paul, partly because some in the name of Paul is not Paul (and another point of disagreement between liberals and others). There is Paul the revolutionary, for whom everything has changed, and Paul the patriarchal traditionalist, thanks to some later Church-based correctives. The supernaturalism of both Jesus and Paul present difficulties, however, and its eschatology is something of a lost world.

You can see Isaih Berlin in the viewpoint of Charles Taylor, and it is in the toleration and clash of liberal values, a different position from non-objective difference in postmodernism. I'm more with the postmodern, but a pragmatic approach as with Richard Rorty. In the end an objective approach has to end up with a truth (as with Jurgen Habermas) but I cannot see this in the world of values (including applied to Christianity).

Rabbi Sacks talks of a short period of the golden age of Jewry, and worries that globalisation is causing intolerance. Comparatively, though, this is an age of tolerance, despite the terrorism and war in parts of the world, and it has to be asked why religions now come up with little of powerful artistic expression (in literature, painting and the rest) and why they exist in a situation of intellectual poverty.

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 3:40pm BST

Ah, the Luttrell Psalter. Funny thing is, though EVERYONE has heard of the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Luttrell Psalter is almost unknown in its home county of Lincolnshire (but we have a facsimile sitting on my wife's desk. Who needs to eat?). NB the scenes of C14 life.

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 5:20pm BST

May I humbly suggest that the Rev.Dr. Doll is knocking over a Straw Man to make his (dubious) point?

No knowledgable Episcopalian (least of all the House of Bishops this past March!) argues that TEC hasn't had/shouldn't have a relationship of *interdependence* within the Anglican Communion.

The question before us---as has been forced upon us w/ increasing frequency since Lambeth '98---is whether or not TEC should be mandated into a state of unique *dependency* upon (i.e., *subordination* to), specifically, the governance of the Anglican Primates.

It is this dependency/subordination to the Primates that we Episcopalians---true to our history (heading north to Scotland, to avoid an allegiance to the Crown!)---have RESISTED.

...and I also humbly suggest that *any other Anglican province*, facing ultimatums as we have, would resist in *precisely* the same manner.

It is in and through our resistance, that we Episcopalians are NOT being "uniquely American", but rather, *typically Anglican*.

God bless the Episcopal Church---God reform the Anglican Communion! :-)

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 8:54pm BST

Like JCF, I found some of the Doll['s strategies bemusing.

I came out of the article feeling like he was talking about oranges whilst contemplating apples. There were comments about the basis foundations of the US Episcopal Church after the American Revolution, which were then compared to the foundations of the original Church of England after the reformation.

The error is that he should not have been comparing the US to the UK's king. The equivalent to the US's stance of independence against the UK should have been compared to the CoE's stance against the Church of Rome after the reformation.

When you take that accurate dynamic (or who is asserting independence against whom and why), you then see a consistency in theological decisions and alliances.

The same applies today. CofE is independent of Rome, the US is independent of the king of England. They might be couteous to each other, they might have interdependent relationships with each other, but neither is bound by the other. The conventions of decency are there because both parties are committed to civilised behaviour. To impose upon the other without their consent is an act of aggression.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 11:03pm BST

As always, a good selection of articles. Sacks' was beautiful.

Fraser's made me laugh (the comment about Jung and Mohammad). Paul was selected for his strategic drive, it was needed to get the apostles and early church past a hump. That did not mean Paul was perfect, like the apostles, Paul had his strengths and weaknesses. Unlike the disciples, we don't have the conversations between Paul and Jesus. Thus Paul's writings do not contain the educating and disciplining lessons that are contained in the gospels. That gives the impression that the Pauline texts are "better". But in actual fact, that lack of refining notes on Paul's character actually weakens these texts. That is not an obstacle, as long as it is taken into account by the student. A naive student would do well to remember that autobiographies are always more flattering than a biographies.

On Howse's article. Heresies come and go. One of the things about heresies is you usually see this accusation flying when some complacent souls have lost the debate and the bible legitimises the other interpretation. The idea of accepting something so revolutionary e.g. Jesus is God incarnate, sends conservative souls into an attacking frenzy because they fear the collapse of their internal world order and power if the heretical idea takes root.

I would clarify Howse's sentence "But he (Jesus) was born as a man and he died as a man, and now lives as a man. As God he existed from all ages and lives for ever." The second sentence has the wrong tense. Rather "As God he exists throughout all ages and lives for ever". God did not die when Jesus died. Nor did Spirit. The Trinity exists throughout all time. How could they not? As God created time and space.

My other contemplation this week is that if souls don't like the shekina/spirit/daughter of zion or this worldly manifestation; they are quite welcome to leave. No one is making them stay. However, if they are going to stay would they please have the courtesy of not insulting and desecrating either the covenants or occupants of this world.

God chose to be vulnerable when God gave humanity free will. God chose the risk of being denied and rejected. Largely because the joy of mutually accepted genuinely consented love is far more satisfying than any amount of sex with any number of whores or prostitutes.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 11:24pm BST

What I think the Rev. Dr. Doll fails to recall is that there were no Bishops in the US prior to the revolution. Remember, confirmation was (formerly) required to receive the Eucharist and a Bishop was (and is) required for ordinations. The colonial church was under the governance of the Bishop of London from 1609 - 1789. There were no bishops ordained for the sake of the colonies that actually lived in the colonies.

The Episcopal Church had a choice. It chose to be democratically governed and to be a church with Bishops. It was both. The foreign prelate comment in the American HOBs communique points to the destructive nature of being ruled by a foreign prelate. I would imagine that it points to (if nothing else) a fundamental breakdown in mission. It was only in self-governance that we were able to do what was in our missional best interest.

Perhaps Dr. Doll should like to be ruled by a foreign prelate... it looks like ++Peter Akinola is available should he wish to swear allegiance.

Posted by Fr Sean at Sunday, 6 May 2007 at 9:14pm BST

"What I think the Rev. Dr. Doll fails to recall is that there were no Bishops in the US prior to the revolution. Remember, confirmation was (formerly) required to receive the Eucharist and a Bishop was (and is) required for ordinations."

Particularly in the early days, the hardships and perils of the long sea voyage kept the numbers of priests down in some of the colonies as well. The results are still with us in some places. For example, vestries grew powerful when most small, isolated congregations saw an actual priest 3 or 4 times a year, and vestries in the Diocese of Virgnia today still have more power than in other parts of the country. If you read the history of the formation of the post-revolution church, you will find some intriguing maneuvering around whether we should have bishops, and how much authority they should have. I'd recommend a book or so but can't remember titles for the life of me this morning. Soon off on a short retreat, where body, spirit, and braic cells will be restored!

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 1:47pm BST

Fr Sean

"Perhaps Dr. Doll should like to be ruled by a foreign prelate..."

Indeed, I think that is some souls' aspiration. There is a desire by some to reform the authority of Rome and the Pope, but not with the actual Catholic Church. After all, these elite Anglicans know that the Catholics got Mary and the Saints wrong, so there's no way Jesus is going to accept them on Judgment Day.

It's blatent dynasty building. I just give thanks to God that their ambition is so strong as is their belief that they have the only theology that their Jesus will tolerate on Judgment Day.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 11:32pm BST

Even Reuters understand this is blatent organisational power plays

Instead of the courtly sycophants sending Daniel to the lions, we have the puritans sending GLBTs and their sympathisers to the wilderness.

Daniel survived by not giving into fear and trusting God. Therein lies the lesson.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 10:28am BST
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