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Wisdom from the East

Posted on Jan 26, 2018 in Featured, via media | 1 comment

After the season of the Incarnation, the Church calendar turns to Epiphany, heralded on January 6 by the story of the Magi, wise ones from the East. It is a story of how Jesus comes to be perceived as One in whom the very nature of God is uniquely revealed, not only to those shaped by Judaism, but also to those shaped by other cultures and geographies. This November, for the second time in two years, I had the privilege of travelling to China, not as a tourist, but as a guest and pilgrim – perhaps a kind of reverse Epiphany journey, discovering the wisdom of the East and the light it casts on the human and divine nature of Christ. I went as part of a small, unofficial group of eight touring West China. The theme of our...

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Shared Pain: The Power of Jeremiah’s Laments

Posted on Nov 24, 2017 in Featured, via media | Comments Off on Shared Pain: The Power of Jeremiah’s Laments

“You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.” ‒ Jeremiah 20:7-8 Jeremiah is known as the “Weeping Prophet.” These words are part of a series of laments in which Jeremiah pours out his anger, anguish, loneliness, sense of betrayal, and despair in a form similar to the laments found in the Psalter. Jeremiah ministered in Israel’s final years, through the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the peoples’ exile into Babylon. He called God’s people to repent and return to the goodness of covenant life (Jeremiah 1:4-19). Despite God’s assurance that he would be with Jeremiah and strengthen him,...

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Division and Unification

Posted on Oct 27, 2017 in Featured, via media | 2 comments

Anglicans tend to be ambivalent about the Reformation. Are we a reformed church or not? I can already see the letters to the editor answering this question vehemently from both sides – and that very disagreement tells us something about the Anglican Church. Certainly the Church in England was caught up in the political struggles of the time as the newly emerging nation-states centred on various monarchies asserted their independence from Rome, took control of their own taxation, and took control over their lands and laws. Following the Lutherans, we uphold the doctrine of “justification by faith alone,” but our Church has never made this a theological necessity. With Calvin we uphold the absolute sovereignty of God and the covenants that God has forged with God’s people, although we are decidedly ambivalent on predestination. Undoubtedly, one of the chief...

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A Return to Allegorical Readings of Scripture

Posted on Sep 25, 2017 in Featured, via media | Comments Off on A Return to Allegorical Readings of Scripture

There are texts in scripture that present moral problems and, throughout history, the Church has found it difficult to come to terms with many of the teachings and stories in scripture. Today, the Church employs various approaches to these difficult texts: the more conservative voices usually place the importance of maintaining the integrity of scripture foremost and, therefore, find philosophical justifications for God acting the way God did, while the more liberal voices place the importance on maintaining a moral integrity and thereby find ways to exclude these texts from their working canon of scripture. There are merits to both these approaches, but ultimately I am unsatisfied by them. I want to continue to have a high view of all of scripture, but I also recognize that there are some parts with which I will have moral concerns, no...

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Bob Dylan and the Theological Imagination

Posted on Mar 31, 2017 in Featured, via media | 1 comment

New York City was cold, muffled and mysterious, the capital of the world. On 7th Avenue I passed the building where Walt Whitman had lived and worked. I paused momentarily imagining him printing away and singing the true song of his soul. I had stood outside of Poe’s house on 3rd Street, too, and had done the same thing, staring mournfully up at the windows. The city was like some uncarved block without any name or shape and it showed no favouritism. Everything was always new, always changing. It was never the same old crowd upon the streets. ‒ Bob Dylan, Chronicles Bob Dylan succeeds where so many of us fail. We also walk familiar city streets but rarely see and feel so much. Michelangelo imagined magnificent sculptures locked inside stone, and similarly Dylan suspects hidden mysteries, “like some...

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