Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Molly Wolf writes for the Episcopal Café about Centipedes and souls (first published here).

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Pussy Riot’s crime was violating the sacred. That’s what got Jesus in court.

Karyn L Wiseman writes for The Huffington Post about John 6:35, 41-51: Not Another Bread Passage.. Please!

Tariq Modood writes for the ABC about Secularism in crisis? Muslims and the challenge of multiculturalism.

13
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
13 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
Father Ron SmithBill DilworthOld Father WilliamSteve LuskFeria Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Father Ron Smith
Guest

re Giles Frasers’ excellent article; this vendetta against the Pussy Rioters, though claimed as the protection of the sacred, is indeed an elevation of the political power of Mr Putin. This shows the present relationship of Church and State in Russia.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

Wiseman’s conclusion – that we are worthy of receiving the Bread of Life and that supposed misconceptions about unworthiness should be brushed aside – strikes me as seriously wrongheaded. To paraphrase the Prayer Book slightly, we are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under God’s Table, but we trust in God’s merciful nature to let us eat at that Table anyway. It strikes me that this is perhaps at the root of the Communion without Baptism controversy in the American Church. It may be that proponents of explicitly inviting non-Christians to Communion think that the traditional… Read more »

Gene O'Grady
Guest
Gene O'Grady

I’ve only been part of the Episcopal church for a couple of years, but I must say I have missed the controversy that Mr. Dilworth alleges. I have never seen any statement about receiving communion other than that all baptised Christians are welcome to receive.

So I can’t take seriously the claim that an ECUSA author might have written the column except as a bad faith attempt to cause trouble.

Paul Theerman
Guest
Paul Theerman

Bill– I see that you engaged this question on the Episcopal Cafe posting, where another commenter quoted Eucharistic Prayer B of the American Prayer Book: “In [Jesus], you [, Father,] have . . . made us worthy to stand before you.” There’s a good discussion between those two quotes. I don’t think this bears too directly on the “Communion Before Baptism” issue, though. CBB pertains far more to the nature of being in Christ, while the worthiness of those who commune bears far more on the power of God to make whole, a power, as the Collect of Proper 21… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

Mr O’Grady, it was actually one of the issues discussed at General Convention this year, and has gotten a fair amount of coverage in the blogosphere. For more information, see this news story from the Episcopal News Service: episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/05/15/communion-resolutions-open-the-table-for-discussion/

Feria
Guest
Feria

Dear Bill,

An interesting point about “worthiness”. As you say, the prayer of humble access contains the cry ‘We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table’. On the other hand, a little earlier in the Holy Communion service in the 1662 BCP, there is an exhortation which contains detailed instructions for how to ‘be received as worthy partakers of that holy Table’. I guess one could sum it up by saying that one becomes worthy by recognising one’s own unworthiness – which does indeed resonate with baptism.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

Paul, given the rhetoric of some proponents, I think that the issue if “worthiness” drives some of the practice. I’ve seen lots of arguments for it that appeal to the table fellowship of Christ – his having eaten with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners, claiming that if Christ ate with “sinners” then we should, too. Besides a bad…

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

…bad analogy (the corollary to the unbaptized in Christ’s ministry would be the Gentiles, not Jewish sinners), it puts us in the role of Christ rather than Christ’s guests. The implication is, at least for those proponents, that what keeps people away from Communion is their supposed unworthiness, and we need to assure them of their worthiness.

I also think that for many in the Church it’s not that we are made worthy through the mercy of Gos, but that God recognizes our inherent worthiness. They’re two different concepts.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

Feria, thanks for the tie-in to the Exhortation. Of course, when it was written and until fairly recently, I suppose there was an assumption that anyone likely to hear it had been baptized as an infant. Your summation of it reminds me of a priest, whose father (also a priest) pointed out how bad a guide our own judgments and feelings are at times. The subject was whether or not to wear the ashes imposed on Ash Wednesday throughout the day. His father said that if you were eager to wear them, you probably should wash them off in the… Read more »

Steve Lusk
Guest
Steve Lusk

The question of who is be allowed to come to the table is an old one, dating back at least to Isaac of Nineveh: “Did not our Lord share his table with tax collectors and harlots?” Communion before baptism was certainly discussed at General Convention, but the traditional canon was eventually affirmed by virtue of the bishops’ vote against the proposed vevision. The laity (77% in favor) and clergy (64% in favor) would have changed it to allow open communion. Of course, back in 1883, the bishops voted to adopt the “Sewanee Canon,” which would have put all the “negro… Read more »

Old Father William
Guest
Old Father William

The fact that we invite whoever comes through our doors to receive Holy Communion is seen by our parishioners as a central and defining characteristic of our ministry. This practice has become a growing movement within our Church and, indeed, it will not go away.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

Steve Lusk, a couple of observations: 1. When read in context, the quote from Isaac of Nineveh turns out to have nothing to do with Holy Communion at all, but comes in a discussion of who is a legitimate recipient of charity. Its use by the parish of St Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco, and its further popularization in Sarah Miles’ book _Take This Bread_ as if it were an endorsement of Communion without Baptism is a misapplication of St Isaac’s words. The quote itself can be found in context here: http://www.archive.org/stream/IsaacOfNinevehMysticTreatises/isaac_of_nineveh_mystical_treatises_djvu.txt 2. The House of Deputies did not vote… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

From historical evidence in the Church, we can see that it is the greatest saints who are only too well aware of their own worthiness before God. Saint Francis of Assisi often called himself the most unworthy sinner. Even Saint Paul acknowledges his own ‘righteousness’ as being ‘like filthy rags’. The nearer we come to Christ, the more unworthy we realise ourselves to be of God’s love and mercy. That’s called ‘reality therapy’. I suppose the real point for us sinners is that we can never account ourselves righteous – under any circumstance. We can only cling to the redeeming… Read more »