Monday, 27 July 2009

Have made a start

Well, I got my module handbook for the Anglican theology class (mostly) done today. There will be minor changes, but at least I have topics organised, and have chosen the vast majority of readings for each topic.

As well, it's dawned on me in the last few days that this year is the 75th anniversary of Temple's Nature, Man and God. Perhaps I should throw together an essay or two and see if I can get them published. I've just revisited Ch. XIX, 'Sacramental Universe', after hearing some dire stupidity about sacraments at a 'Fresh Expressions' event a couple of weeks ago. Temple's stuff is still pretty radical--even more radical is his 1922 chapter on worship and sacraments in Christus Veritas. Amazing to me, to tell the truth.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

So, what is Anglican theology, anyway?

Good question. Anglicans don't believe anything that many other Christians couldn't also believe in--Bible, Nicene Creed, Baptism, Eucharist, threefold ministry of bishops, priests, deacons. Hardly distinctive or controversial.

It's how that has worked out that is important. There is a lot of yakking about Anglican Christianity being both 'catholic and evangelical' (or 'reformed'), and stuff about the via media. But that can end up sounding a lot like it's a meeting-in-the-middle so that you don't offend anyone, and you don't hold anything particularly strongly.

But that's not what I think that 'catholic and evangelical' means, really. As MC Hammer said, 'breakitdownnow'. Let's get to the core meanings of those two words.

'Catholic'--universal, found everywhere.
'Evangelical'--describes 'good news'.

Yikes. The 'good news that is found everywhere.' A tall order, indeed.

So, a church that is catholic and evangelical is the church that gives the SAME good news in all places, by BEING the RIGHT good news for EACH place.

To me, this implies a commitment to place. And this is well-founded in our history. Augustine was sent by Gregory the Great to evangelise the English, and was told to adapt to the local customs, whether the somewhat debased Christianity that existed, or whatever habits of mind and heart he found that could be genuinely in tune with the Gospel. You do what is right for the place, and marry it up with the fullness of the Gospel. You meet the needs of the people. You persuade, rather than coerce. You do, more than you say.

Okay, that's the first baby-steps reflection.

My new blog

It's mainly for me. I'm working on my next big writing project, but also thinking about the thing that is nearest to my heart--Anglican Christianity. I'm hoping that by messing around for a little bit of time each day, I can get the juices flowing, test out ideas, and just generally kick-start the process!

Currently, I work for the Diocese of Canterbury, training Ordained Local Ministers and (Lay) Readers. Each day I pass this:

It should be, and is, an inspiring sight, and I keep saying that I'm going to get writing. But I haven't done much in the year I've been in post. It's been a steep learning curve, and a busy year. I finished off a couple of essays that will be coming out as part of a few edited collections later this year--but it's time for the next book, which will be in Anglican theology.

NOT another history of Anglicanism. There are tons of those, some better than I could ever write. I intend to write a book of the main topics in theology that Anglican Christianity has proven a particular genius for, and to give examples of how this has developed over the 500 years since the Reformation.

Tons of ideas--but they just haven't come together yet. Perhaps I can make them by committing to doing a few moments here each day.

Funnily enough, although I'm linking this to my signature for a couple of blogs I follow, I don't much mind if nobody follows this one. I'm not planning on putting much effort into making it interesting looking, and I don't care much if anyone comments. That's not what this is about.

This one is for me. Who looks, looks.

It maybe ought to be 'Angles ON Anglicanism', but so what? That's what editors are for. But as I start, I'm reading Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler, which actually isn't about fishing at all. A conversation I had a few days ago was about how it is sort of the quintissential Anglican book, and yes, I can see that. So I'm reading it semi-carefully, and thinking about this more and more as I start putting together ideas.

Okay, enough for today. Tomorrow, perhaps more.