Comments: George Herbert and Hieronymus Bosch

Justin is presumably after publicity with a title as provocative as that. I suppose the best response is to politely ignore it.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Friday, 27 February 2009 at 9:15pm GMT

Well that was pointedly, and unnecessarily, aggressive Simon (or did you miss out the irony tag?).

Of COURSE I'm after publicity, if by that you mean, I would like as many people as possible to read my book, because I think that the ideas contained in it are important, substantiated, and constructive. This is 85,000 words (with footnotes for God's sake!) on how the church is driving its clergy into the ground with a misplaced, misremembered, misbegotten misuse of George Herbert's life and work.

However, please feel free to have an opinion about my work before, during, after (or instead of) reading it.

Posted by Justin Lewis-Anthony at Saturday, 28 February 2009 at 12:03am GMT

Thanks for the links. Food for thought, as the folk saying goes. Digging into things like this is a key fulcrum part of what called me to TEC in the first place during college. Gee, no, I do not mean that other Fulcrum. Not open enough, that other one. Who does not want to be part of a worshipping community where things get looked at, investigated, sorted ...with open ends and with specific scholarship? And very little time spent framing it all with reasons why believers do not have to face challenges because they already are safely and finally and eternally truth-ified as believers?

Though it may take quite a bit longer to work through the detailed summary discussions on witness, watch-person-ship, and weaving the life fabrics than the blog title 3-Minute-Theologian suggests.

The review of clergy and burnout accords well with my own dissertation work, though passing time moves that out of date, too. Ah, how lovely the research flows as they do move onwards.

The ongoing displacements of Christendom and post- are now calling me back to that NT parable where Jesus talks about a little leaven that nevertheless affects the whole lump, presumably by helping the plain nourishing bread dough rise.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 28 February 2009 at 12:37am GMT

"(and may his false memory stop bugging those of us who are left to follow in his footsteps!)
- Justin Lewis-Anthony -

This scurrillous aside, addended by J.L-A after his publication of the Collect commemorating the life of Anglican Divine, Geroge Herbert, is a clue to what might follow in this priestly author's summation of the value of a much-loved priest and poet of the Church of England.

Having celebrated the memory of George Herbert at the Mass of the Day in New Zealand, in the presence of two of Herbert's descendants, it is rather unsettling to read such a dismissive account of Herbert's contribution to the priestly tradition of our world-wide Anglican Communion.

One hopes the author's forthcoming publication will receive the lack of attention it deserves.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 2 March 2009 at 10:23am GMT

I do hope that those who will comment (and have commented) took the trouble to read the entire Killing George Herbert series. Some of us have read it and have seen something worth thinking about, and indeed, it is worth reading whether or not one agrees with Fr. Justin's concerns about the multivalent parish priest model.

It does make one wonder whether this site is still called "Thinking Anglicans." For the first time, I suppose, such a comment is being made outside the contexts of the problems of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Ren Aguila at Monday, 2 March 2009 at 12:54pm GMT

How wonderfully pompous of you, Fr Ron. I am glad that you were able to celebrate a requiem in the presence of two of Herbert's descendants. I am sure that makes it all the more valid. However, your pomposity prevented you from seeing the important word in my "scurrilous" aside: namely: "false". It is a *false* memory of Herbert which is the burden to Anglican parochial ministry today, and it is the *false* memory which I describe on my blog and in my book.

However, please don't let the actuality of what I have written get in the way of your prejudice. You seem content enough in it.

Posted by Justin Lewis-Anthony at Monday, 2 March 2009 at 4:34pm GMT

Could someone explain what the model of priesthood is that is so contentious?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 March 2009 at 3:29pm GMT

If the blog entries represent it fairly, this is another incoherent book.

Posted by Douglas Lewis at Tuesday, 3 March 2009 at 3:48pm GMT

"Could someone explain what the model of priesthood is that is so contentious?" - Ford Elms

Ford, perhaps your question here should be better tackled by author Justin Lewis-Anthony, whose thesis is that George Herbert's model of priestly ministry in the C.of E. is no longer tenable in the Anglican Church of today.

However, in the New Zealand publication: 'For All The Saints', used by the Anglican Church in N.Z., there is a short summary 'for liturgical use' of Herbert's life in the following words: quote -

'George Herbert was a classical scholar and gifted musician who gave up a promising career to study for the priesthood. He was born in 1593 and died in 1633. his collection of poems includes such well-known hymns as "Teach me, my God and King", "The God of love my shepherd is", and "Let all the world in every corner sing". In his other writings, Herbert presented a vision of the clergy which became a model for future generations. although he had fewer than three years in his own parish, his life was such that his name continues to be remembered as a shining example of faithful ministry' - unquote

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 4 March 2009 at 9:05pm GMT

"that George Herbert's model of priestly ministry in the C.of E. is no longer tenable in the Anglican Church of today."

Yes, but what IS Herbert's model? I have little truck with the "Oh, that's old fashioned, it has no place in the 'modern' Church." It strikes me as arrogant silliness. "Oh, we moderns are so much better than those dirty peasants who thought the world was flat." All the same, I might agree with Justin if I knew what he was talking about.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 5 March 2009 at 3:07pm GMT

Justin
Unlike my good old friend Fr Ron (we really have been friends for a long time: when Ron was a thurifer in my father's church in the 1950's, I was his boat-boy!) I have read your postings. That is, I read the ones about GH, I got a bit bogged down once you moved onto ++'s Ramsay and Williams.

I think you are onto something very important and profound - thank you for your insights and provocative way of expressing them. I am sure you are right about the myth of Herbertism.

I have been doing some reflections on another different but overlapping myth, that of the parish church as the centre of the community. That myth, which probably predates Herbert (I'd be grateful for your thoughts on that one) says that everyone in the village belongs to the church, by virtue of being in the village. It is a very potent myth, and one that has a time-honoured place in the ethos of the Anglican approach to pastoral and evangelistic ministry.

The problem is that, despite our rhetoric and theology, most of our members don't see it that way. They see (or behave as though they see) the church as existing primarily for sake of the worship and pastoral needs of its own members. Trying to bridge that gulf of expectations is one of the prime causes of stress to the clergy.

Edward Prebble
Diocese of Waiapu, NZ

Posted by Edward Prebble at Friday, 6 March 2009 at 1:05am GMT
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