Monday, June 20, 2011

The Canadian Churchman's Round-up, #1 - A Compendium of Thoughtful Anglican Blogs

The Anglican blogosphere seems to be dominated by a group of stridently conservative bloggers whose voices tend to be overpowering. As you will all know, your friendly neighbourhood Canadian Churchman eschews association with any particular “church party.” I am pleased to be in conversation with church-folk of all types and read blogs that are intelligent and fair. I am not interested in close-mindedness or in highly polemical blogs. I do read the latter, from time-to-time, as an exercise in understanding, but I will not promote or commend them. There are, however, some very excellent, broadly-minded, Anglican writers out there in internet-land. Your Canadian Churchman feels that it is worth highlighting their work, and as such, I hope to offer this “round-up” feature on a semi-regular basis to commend their work to readers of this blog, with the view to building a community of bloggers who speak from the centre. I would be happy to learn of new blogs that are worth sharing.

This past Sunday was Trinity Sunday, a Sunday that is reputedly feared by preachers, but several of the Churchman’s online friends have posted very thoughtful homilies. For example, The Vicar of Wakefield tackled the subject head on in a reflection on the Nicene Creed. In as sermon entitled “On Belief, Doubt, and the Nicene Creed,” he has written, “I think of the creed as the skeletal structure of our faith. We each have bones and frames that look more or less the same, but the way we flesh them out, the way we bring them to life, is different for each of us.” For the Vicar, the Creed is both inclusive and yet, in its brevity, permissive. To recite the Creed rather than asking parishioners to sign on to complicated confessional statements or subscribe to hundred page catechisms is a truly Anglican way of growing into our faith.

Over at Refractions, in a post entitled, “From Entitlements to Practices,” the Rev. Dr. Michael Thompson took his lead from our Lord’s Divine Commission offered at the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel to make disciples through baptism in the name of the Trinity. He ponders the tension between discipleship and membership, reminding us that while membership is touted as something having privileges, for Christians “membership comes with a covenant, a purpose.” He goes on to articulate that purpose as expressed in the baptismal covenant.

Fr. Michael Marsh, at Interrupting the Silence, has written about “The Choreography of Love,” as a way of understanding the Trinity. Fr. Marsh stands in awe of the doctrine of the Trinity, and when speaking about the Trinity, much like speaking about love, he recognizes that words often fail us and lead us astray when we try to articulate what both the doctrine of the Trinity and what love mean to us. He helpfully offers up the language and analogy of relationship as a way into understanding the Triune life.

The Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett at Liturgy Pacific does not seem to have posted a Trinity homily, but has a fine homily for Pentecost entitled, “Would that All God’s People were Prophets,” in which he reflects on the vocation of a prophet: “For us the prophets do not foretell the future; they ‘forth tell’ God’s word to God’s people in particular times and particular places.” Given the “epic fail” of a recent rapture-predicting American preacher, his words serve as a solid reminder as to what a prophet is called to do and of our shared vocation to prophecy as inheritors of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost.

Fr. Tay Moss, long-time blogger and everyone’s favourite Ninja Priest, has posted some intriguing thoughts of “the Church-as-folding” after reflecting on a piece of origami. He brilliantly suggests an approach that can take us beyond what he delightfully dubs, “the confetti of postmodernism.”

The Rev. Maggie Dawn’s Pentecost reflection considers the word “inspiration” and views it as a gift to western culture, art and literature, descended from that first Pentecost. She also offers some thoughts on what that means to her as an author.

Rudolf Bultmann famously asserted that the three-tiered universal is an impossible article of faith in the age of the wireless. This is why the Ascension can be such a difficult subject to preach on. In a homily entitled, “Where is he Going?”Dr. Andrew McGowan, over at Andrew’s Version, offers some cogent and helpful thoughts on what the Ascension means, both in terms of the absence and abiding presence of Jesus, with the assistance of a classic text from St. Theresa of Avila.

On another note completely, Laurel Massé at Voice of the Swan has written thoughtfully in her post, “The City that Never Sleeps,” about ministry in the city and has shared a friend’s wonderful prayer for the life and work that goes on in New York City.

This should give you just a sampling of some of the many thoughtful homilies and reflections that Anglicans are posting these days. The Canadian Churchman hopes that you will visit these sites regularly, make comments on them, and commend them to others. Look for further installments of “The Canadian Churchman’s Round-up” in the not-too-distant future.

Fr. Dan

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