Sunday, December 16, 2012

To be lost is to be found...apparently...


Lost logoSo, R and I just finished watching Lost.  I think we made it through most of the series in the last six months.  Needless to say, it has been roller coaster!  I loved the character development and how you initially hated some characters, but came to love them dearly at the end, and others, who were newish, you came to love as you saw them grow in the short time they were there.  Yet the ending...I must say there may be spoilers ahead, but then again, it has been two and a half years since it aired, and if you knew anyone who watched it then, you probably heard plenty about the series if you had never watched it, especially from those who *despised* the ending!

I didn't despise the ending, but am processing it.  Really, that is probably the whole point of it.  However, in talking about it with R, she made the comment that it kind of makes you think of where the culture is now (or where culture has seemed to always have been in pop religion...).  It all works out in the end, there is a happy ending somewhere, even if it isn't here, it's raining somewhere, so let's drink (sorry, that's Jeffersonian anecdote I heard years ago, not Lost...).

Yet, it did drive me to quite a speech with R.  I just came out of an ethics class in seminary this semester and really, there are a few things to say that relate here, I believe.

I love Virtue Ethics.  Especially after reading N.T. Wright's After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters.  It was tonight that I realized that a few things that I read from Peter Kreeft's Christianity for Modern Pagans (one of my favorite books, for reasons that I can't go into here) perfectly line up with Lost in, sort of, an inverse kind of way.

You see, Pascal saw man as both wretched and great, and in some ways great because he could see his own wretchedness.  But the answer to man's paradoxical way of life was through Christ.  We could only become great by embracing our wretchedness (seeing that we had no way out of it) and through that embracing Christ.  Culture, however, sees us either as great or wretched.  Pascal nailed it when he said, "Man is neither angel nor beast, and it is unfortunately the case that anyone acting the angel acts the beast."  We are neither, but culture, seems to think that we are one or the other.  And because of this, we come to think that if we are angels all we have to do is summon the strength from within to act appropriately, or in terms of Lost, find ourselves on the Island and discover who we really are.

On one hand, there is some truth in this.  It is right that we can't simply get to heaven from what we are now.  We don't get there from here, we have to change what we do.  Think of the scene when Hurley says, "Dude, I didn't know Ana Lucia would be here," and Desmond replies with, "She's not ready."  Her time on the Island didn't fit her for "heaven" and she needs to spend time in this in between place of the "flash-sideways" to get it right.  See, everything works out in the end, just not at the same time for everyone.

Yet in this sort of truth that we can't get to heaven from where we are right now, is the dangerous lie that we can get to heaven if we change ourselves, whether drawing from within, or from responding properly to outside forces, or some combination of both (the Island, maybe??).

It's all very Aristotelian, actually.  What, you ask, does that even mean??

Aristotle put forward what is called a "Virtue Ethic."  There is an end goal to life, that is, to be happy (in the good ol' Greek sense, a well formed life, not our uber subjective understanding of it today).  To get to that goal, though, we have to develop virtue.  How does one do that though?  By observing and imitating those who are virtuous, of course!  But we don't seem to have any virtue to get us started....You see where the problem arises.  To cut the tension, one has to assume that we have at least the beginnings of virtue within us and we need something to bring it out.  But, is that in anyway true?  Is there some "seed" of virtue within?

I would say that answer is "No."  But with some qualifications...I'm not saying that we can't ever do something that is good, but I am saying that whatever "good" we do is not really good enough to count for actual virtue.  We can't get to the end goal of a "happy life" from where we are now, we just don't have it in us at the end of the day.  Our imitations don't even come up as good as my three year old son's drawings of the field outside our house that consists of merely a circle of brown with some green scribbled in it!  Now, hear me out here...we aren't total beasts (we do some things that can be considered good), but we aren't angels (who would presumably be able to do actual good, that is, virtuous things).  We're somewhere in-between.  Something that is neither angel nor beast, but a whole different category.

That is the mistake I see in our culture, though.  There is no third category.  We are simply irredeemable (in both positive, not needing it, and negative, unable to be so).  That is, we are so lost that we can't be found, or we weren't ever lost and so don't need to be found...Really, we need to see that we are lost and thus, in need of being found.

I'll say some more about this and virtue later, after I hash it out in my own brain some more...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Word about Bishops



As everyone who has ever looked at this blog can figure out, I'm an Anglican. One of the things that Anglicans have that a lot of other churches don't have are bishops. Why is this


Well, most people argue for bishops simply from history because they say that bishops don't really have scriptural support or that the bishopric was not very developed in the New Testament, so we have to look at history to discover that bishops are an acceptable form of church government. This is a little annoying because many want to understand why we have bishops from the Bible! In the next few posts, I am going to talk about a scriptural basis for having a church led by bishops. I'm doing this because it is important for those who aren't Anglican to know why we do what we do. But it is also important for those of us that are Anglicans to know why we do what we do also!


So, I am going to be doing a few blog posts about this and maybe you'll agree…maybe you won't, but at least see that we Anglicans do have a truly biblical argument for out use of bishops as opposed to some other form of church government.


image h/t:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A departure from the theme and yet not...

I found this on another blog tonight:

And by justice sin must have death,- death, our death, for the sin was ours.  But if we had died to sin, we had perished in sin; perished here, and perished everlastingly.  That His love to us could not endure, that we should so perish.  Therefore, as in justice He justly might, He took upon Him our debt of sin, and said, as the Fathers apply that speech of His, Sinite abide hos, “Let these go their ways” (Joh 18.8).  And so that we might not die to sin He did.  We see why he died once.

Why but once?  because once was enough, ad auferenda , saith St. John; ad abolenda, saith St. Peter; ad exhaurienda, saith St. Paul; ‘to take away, to abolish, to draw dry,’ and utterly to exhaust all the sins, of all the sinners, of all the world.  The excellency of His Person that performed it was such; the excellence of the obedience that He performed, such; the excellency of His humility and charity wherewith He performed it, such; and of such value every of them, and all of them much more; as made that His once dying was satis superque, ‘enough, and enough again;’ which mae the Prophet call it copiosam redemptionem, “a plenteous redemption” (Ps 130.7).  But the Apostle, he goeth beyond all in expressing this; in one place terming it huperballon, in anotherhuperekperisseuon, in another pleonazon,- mercy, rich, exceeding; grace over-abounding, nay, grace superfluous, for so is pleonazon, and superfluous is enough and to spare; superfluous is clearly enough and more than enough.  Once dying then being more than enough, no reason He should die more than once.  That of His death.
Lancelot Andrews, “A Sermon Preached Before the King’s Majesty at Whitehall, on the Sixth of April MDCVI, Being Easter Day on Romans vi 9-11″

I think that sums up a great deal about where we are going over the next few days in our lives as we come to the end of Lent and enter into the Easter season.  Thank the Lord that Easter is not just one day, but is celebrated for seven weeks and thank the Lord that every Sunday can be termed a "little Easter."

Quote courtesy of

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Theological Revolution

Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail 9780819214768
I have been blogging a lot lately about the various and diverse reasons that led me down the Canterbury trail.  I am something of a mutt when it comes to theological breeding and that does not really bother me.  In fact I think that it gives me something of a reflective nature on the nuances of theology, but also, a kind disposition toward those who are "inconsistent" in their views.

The one thing that led me away from Lutheranism of the conservative brand (besides the seminaries being in Fort Wayne, In and St Louis, Mo, both of which are cooooold), was the hard line on theology.  It was an all or nothing approach to the Book of Concord.  That is wonderful.  They are a confessional people.  They love their Lutheranism (and I love quite a bit of it too!), but I knew that I couldn't commit all the way to Lutheranism…I mean, this blog used to have the tag "Too Lutheran for the Calvinists and too Calvinist for the Lutherans" for a reason.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Liturgical Formation



And I believe what I believe is what makes me who I am. I did not make it, no it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.--Rich Mullins, from the song Creed

Rich Mullins knew what he was talking about with the lyrics posted above. While he was speaking of the Apostles' Creed, I believe what he ways really applies to the whole of liturgy.

Liturgy plays an important role in our worship in many ways, but I think that the most important is how it forms us into "better" believers. Everything that I have said before danced around this notion. Liturgy gets into us, it is habitual and repetitious, it teaches us theology and practical prayers for life. All of these things are formation. Liturgy forms us into who we need to be.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Liturgical Theology

So...I couldn't really find a picture to put on this there...

Liturgy is theology applied to worship and even to all of life. What do I mean? What we all believe is encapsulated in how we worship. This is part of the reason the so called "worship-wars" have happened in the church throughout the past two generations. There has been a struggle to determine if how one worships affects how one believes. I think that in the long run, it does. If you water down the worship, it will be extremely hard to overcome what you are indirectly teaching (or learning). If worship is flippant, then our view of God becomes flippant. If worship is all about experience, then we become convinced that the Christian life is built on experience or how I feel that "my faith" is doing today.

Of course, my use of liturgy here is narrow. When I use it, I mean an explicit liturgy, one that follows the contours inherited from the church of the first 500 years or so. Because, as I said previously, all churches have a liturgy. It's just that some don't have an explicit one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Liturgy in Me


Let me talk about the aspect of liturgy getting into me (and you too, when you experience it!):

The use of the same prayers is important because you learn them by heart. It is important that we learn them by heart because they connect us to one another and also to all who have come before us in the Church. In fact, many of them that are used in the traditional liturgy (like that of the Book of Common Prayer) date back to the first 500 years of the church.

Anglican Fever~

Great video. Much of what is said here actually meets with my previous post and the next post that is coming! Enjoy!

I think that they did a good job with all that they had to say...a couple of minor errors in reporting, but it's a complicated situation right now in the formation of the new province.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Liturgically Experienced

BCP2(8)[1].jpgAnd I believe what I believe is what makes me who I am. I did not make it, no it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.--Rich Mullins, from the song Creed

After spending a year attending a Lutheran church, I had truly fallen in love with the liturgy. I remember that we had talk about having a contemporary service at the church and it had so many people upset. They were primarily concerned that we would lose our liturgy, I think (at least some of them were). The liturgy is highly important to those of us who take seriously the entire purpose of it.

So why is liturgy so important??

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lutheran and beyond

After Rachel and I joined the Lutheran church, we eventually felt a weight lifted off of us from having been at our previous church. The traditional liturgy freed us from the never-ending circle of getting excited and feeling like we worshiped God on any given Sunday. We could just go to church and fall in line with everyone else and worship. The sense of needing to have some type of emotional response to worship was gone! I feel like people don't understand what this is like because many have never realized how much their worship is really centered on how they respond to the "uplifting" music and how worship leaders work and work the crowd to get them to have this response. Of course, many have never had the experience that Rachel and I had while at our previous church.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Another Step Along the Way

My journey continued forward. My future wife, who's name is Rachel, and I finally began dating in late 2002. This would last for nearly a year before we completely broke up due to our various struggles. It was mostly that I still didn't have my head on straight from all the stuff that was going on inside of my mind. In the following months, we had as little contact as we could with one another, which was especially hard since we had virtually all the same friends! Along with this, I had to find a new church since we always went to church together...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Continuing Journey

As my life continued, I found myself at a new college in the fall of 2000.  I had dropped below my required GPA to remain with my scholarship, so I transferred to a new school and hoped to have something of a new start to my life after so many tumultuous events prior.

I pursued the faith that I had come back to after two years of fleeing from it.  Though there were ups and downs in the days preceding East Tennessee State, I was being led forward by the Spirit in His so mysterious providence.  I eventually began attending a Baptists church just before Spring of 2001.  Here I was shaped in the college ministry and through its minister discovered my love for philosophy.  I had also become involved with Campus Crusade for Christ during this time.  I had made some good friends and was growing in my oh so small faith.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Continued Story

Picking up where I left off last night....My siblings and I became involved in the Methodist church that we had attended very infrequently after my mom's stroke.  In our little town, it was very Baptist in my ways.  I wouldn't have known that there was much of a difference between my church and any other except that our sign said we were Methodists. That and we baptized infants, but we didn't have very many of them because we were a small, old church.  When I say small, I mean 35 tops on a good Sunday!  And when I say old, I mean that we were the only family that wasn't over 50...or at least it felt that way. But I didn't care too much about that because it was my church and I loved the people there!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Beginning of the Journey

As stated in my last post, I've decided to discipline myself for Lent by blogging about various reasons that I became Anglican.  I'm going to start with a few days of briefly sketching out the contours of my life.  I do this to give some context and background because nothing is without some context in life.  

And now I begin....

One of the most formative moments in my life was a night in 1988.  Sadly, I would need to ask my siblings what day it was as I haven't thought about the specific date in a long time, but the event is burned forever into my psyche.  It was the night that my mom had her stroke.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Something for Lent...hopefully

So...I've been quite quiet for a while on here.  I've just struggled with what to say and what to do with this blog.  I used to enjoy writing so much, but have been overwhelmed of late with doing it....

It is a sad state.

I hope to remedy this during Lent and maybe be able to get a habit going for the future.

During Lent, I hope to blog about why I ended up in the Anglican camp.  There are various categories that go into this.  I don't guarantee that everything will be accurate according to the various theological representations within Anglicanism that seem to believe that their particular vision of it is exactly what Anglicanism was 450 years ago.  But this is purely from my perspective, how I have observed and understood Anglicanism through the back drop of a "theological mut," so to speak.  It is true, I am a "mut" of sorts or maybe to put it more nicely, "a bit eclectic" theologically, as I said the other night to a friend.