Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 24 May 2023

David Runcorn Beginning now – praying in uncertainty and perplexity

Steven Shakespeare Mary: Woman of the Apocalypse

Rachel Muers ViaMedia.News Conscientious Objection
Questions of Conscience (5)

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Survivor Engagement

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Clare Amos
Clare Amos
10 months ago

Lovely piece on Genesis 1 by David Runcorn. Very thoughtful and I have learned something from it. And I say that as the author of a commentary on Genesis.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
10 months ago

David Runcorn’s thoughts on creation fit in well with modern evolutionary, geophysical and cosmological theory. The world, the universe, is still being created as we speak. Species evolve, tectonic plates move and rearrange the continents and seas, stars and planets are being created and destroyed constantly.

God’s work of creation is never really completed.

Richard
Richard
10 months ago

Re Genesis: Everett Fox published “The Five Books of Moses” in 1998. https://wordpress.clarku.edu/efox/resources/first-time-readers/principle-1/

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Steven Shakespeare’s writing on Mary is beautiful, intuitive, and thought-provoking. I thought it was an evocative piece of writing. While we should be careful to “not risk deifying Mary”, yet she was called to be a conduit for the incarnation, brought up the human child with his human dependency, was and is eternally Christ’s mother, and arguably continues to be a conduit in the heavenly places for prayer and intercession. Of course we also find in Jesus Christ our intercessor, but perhaps the saints – and Mary in particular – have roles we cannot fully understand. Whatever the case, it… Read more »

Kate
Kate
10 months ago

We have pieces this week on Genesis and on Mary but neither addresses the obvious intersection of the two. Eve and her successors in womanhood were cursed but that curse was transformed when Mary gave birth to Jesus. I would suggest that’s a large part of why it had to be a virgin birth – to set up the contrast with Genesis. It would take a far greater theologian than I but I think the first couple of chapters of Genesis are intended to help us understand the Christmas story in the Gospels and the more mystical start to John.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Thank you to David for really thought-provoking words and especially drawing attention to “In the beginning when God began creating“… I believe it is so important, in our individual lives, and in the life of the Church, that we really take on board the fact that there is a dynamic going on, and that God’s calling to us is not ‘one time’ but ongoing through our lived experience, our reflection on the experiences of Bible authors, and through what we believe in conscience and prayer is being shown to us through continuing opening of our minds by the Holy Spirit appealing… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

I teach Hebrew for a living. I see no evidence for this reading of Genesis 1:1ff.

One can speak of God alive and working. “My Father is still working, and I am working.” And innumerable references in OT and NT. The sending of the Holy Spirit, which we commemorate this Sunday.

Genesis 1:1ff is covering other, crucial territory. It is critical on its own terms.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 months ago

I should add. Some translations can theorize a subordinate clause “when God created/began to create” rather than the prepositional clause and finite verb “In the beginning, God created.” This is because bereshith is a substantive, “In beginning” (Gr. en arche) and the question is how to read it with the following indicative sentence (or, into verse 2). (John 1:1 picked up on the exegetical potential here and heard Genesis 1:1 “In beginning” as “In (the agent) of beginning” or the Word; i.e., Nicaea’s “through whom all things were made”). The Fathers routinely searched for substantives like this. Proverbs 8:22-31 is… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 months ago

Thank you for this – some of which, I freely confess, is above my theological pay grade. In passing, it is my own choice and I imply no criticism, but I generally do not engage on social media with folk who do not give a personal name. I also recognise that there may be good reasons for this. But this instance I would like to follow up what you have written. ‘Anglican Priest’ gets me nowhere on Amazon. I do not know your name.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 months ago

If Anglican Priest will forgive me, this is the volume, and it is chapter 2: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-the-trinity-9780198712138?cc=gb&lang=en. It is a really valuable book (for nearly 20 years OUP have been publishing handbooks for a very wide range of subjects, which provide handy overviews of the latest developments in the relevant field). Here are two additional OUP handbooks which overlap with that volume: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-christology-9780198800644?q=oxford%20handbook%20of%20christology&lang=en&cc=gb and https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-early-christian-studies-9780199596522?q=oxford%20handbook%20of%20christology&lang=en&cc=gb.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
10 months ago

That’s the link. Thanks. I was also asked to do an entry in the recent volume on Orthodoxy. It’s on interpretation in the School of Antioch.

Simon W
Simon W
Reply to  Froghole
10 months ago

And who are you, btw, Froghole?

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon W
10 months ago

‘Who was that masked man?” lol. Cue the William Tell Overture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnNKsk2a0fI

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 months ago

There are so many reasons why in today’s society and church why people can be more open if they don’t give their full name.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 months ago

I have been ‘outed’ as Professor Seitz by Canon Godsall. He routinely addresses me by my first name. So I did not think this was a mystery. You can see me at Amazon and also at Wikipedia.

I am not interested in participating in another long thread on name usage. It seems over-wrought.

Last edited 10 months ago by Anglican Priest
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 months ago

On the April 15/23 exchange (see TA archive) in a reply to Tim Chesterton, Anglican priest wrote: “I was Canon Theologian there [Dallas]. George Sumner is an old Yale friend, the present Diocesan. Stephen Andrews is the Head where I am I Senior Research Professor.” So given your autobiographical comment, Andrew can hardly be seen as pulling the mask of the Lone Ranger. Anyone who has been been doing back and forth with you at TA for lo these many years would know who you are on the bais of your own comments historically. Previously, you seemed comfortable with that.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rod Gillis
10 months ago

should read….on the basis of

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Rod Gillis
10 months ago

No, he was already concerned to ‘out me’ at another site where I was using this name. I have never fully understood why one can’t just adopt a moniker in peace, but you’d have to dig into that yourself.

As I have said, the minimalism of ‘Anglican Priest’ suits me as it befits the state of affairs in this present Anglican day.

Or, call me ‘Professor Seitz’ if you prefer. I am still working. That is where my mind is. Day job and all that.

A leopard can’t change his spots.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 months ago

I live a sheltered life. TA is the only site I both read and comment on. I used to comment at Anglican Journal but that feature was discontinued with editorial independence. From time to time I have thought about using a ‘handle’ here; but I came to the conclusion that having commented so often so long, I’d be spotted right away. lol. Fair enough regarding the preferences stated in your comment. Re: “A leopard can’t change his spots”, there was an old comedy bit, Deep Thoughts with Jim Handy, from years ago on SNL. One of the gags was: “A… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Rod Gillis
10 months ago

Yes, you have got it.

You and I live different lives. My public life, publishing and writing trail is long.

I rather like to keep that from being so directly targeted in a context like TA.

My wife and I enjoyed our private life in France, away from so much turmoil, and full of vitality and beauty. I like to nurture that still. I do not understand this fascination with calling me by my first name, or insisting that I come alongside some unwritten rules about ‘Christian’ conduct.

Thank you for your courtesy on that front. Be well.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rod Gillis
10 months ago

having commented so often so long, I’d be spotted right away….”

I reckon so, Rod… you’d be bound to refer to Bernard Lonergan sooner or later… but also, each person has their distinctive writing style 😉

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Lol!

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 months ago

You asked me for a copy of the essay to appear on church division I wrote. I responded

“It will appear in a volume honoring Professor Radner. If you would like a copy of the essay from my desk directly, you can contact me at christopher.seitz@utoronto.ca

With respect, this is a site called “Thinking Anglicans” and I took that at its word. It is not “First-name Anglicans.” No reason such a site could not be launched.

Grace and peace.

Last edited 10 months ago by Anglican Priest
David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 months ago

So sorry. Juggling too much and I missed this.Thank you.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 months ago

No problems at all. I understand completely.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

I very often read (but don’t personally believe) that God “created everything all in one go.” He created computers and knew who would use them and who would reject using them. He knew when and where I would be born and that one day use a computer and (specifically today) write this post.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Richard
10 months ago

You might want to read about how the grandfather paradox can be resolved, that is how time travel is possible without offending causality. https://www.space.com/grandfather-paradox.html We know that God will be there “at the end of days”* so what if He could time travel? He could then be responsible for creation (a creation which axiomatically included Him and His destiny). Along the way some things would, according to science, just play out (philosophically we would have free will) but things necessary for the causality chain leading to the end times would be fixed (pre-destination). Prophecy is simply a way of recognising… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

A superb essay. Thank you. Figural interpretation functions somewhat analogously to what is being described here. Can an artist show the Virgin Mary inside the Burning Bush (as we see throughout the history of art)? Yes. There are loose ‘rules’ that the literal sense provides (shepherds as in Luke; Moses diverting his eyes; I am who I am and the Johannine “I am”, burning but not consumed” and so forth). That is, the Virgin Mary is never a ‘figure’ in, say, the parting of the sea. The exegesis isn’t sheer imaginative (post-modern) projection. (I use three examples from Chagall, Dierick… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Richard
10 months ago

If such were the case, what happens to free will. If God created me, already knowing everything I would do in advance, then what point to me making choices?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Pat ONeill
10 months ago

I think the purpose of making choices is partly for our own self-growth towards God, Even if God can see the whole of our lives from the perspective of eternity, allowing us to make choices and exercise freewill enables us (from our end) to grow in trust and open more to the vast consciousness of the divine.

Of course, one is speculating about mysteries, but that’s what I think.

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