Thursday, July 28, 2016

Je Ne Suis Pas Jacques Hamel

A perceptive article in First Things be Jean Duchesne entitled "Je Suis Jacques Hamel" is worth reading. Notable is this paragraph:

"This, today, was something else altogether. The target of this revenge was not the West in general, nor its complacent and egotistical prosperity, which can seem insulting to the penniless inhabitants of the world beyond. The target of this revenge was the root of the West, the West’s living source, even when it is unremembered—namely Christianity, in the time and the place where, tacitly but invincibly, it becomes most explicitly and intensely real: the celebration of the Mass."

It is only a short article so it is excused for not mentioning what others have mentioned about this killing of a priest, that now on the shores of Europe the fate of many Christian priests and laity in the Levant as well as Copts in Egypt is being experienced. Martyrdom is in the West's own neighbourhood.

My title here is the opposite to Jean Duchesne's because I think there is a "both/and" here. We are "Je Suis Jacques Hamel" as we identify with Jacques as our brother in the suffering Christ, along with all present day Christian martyrs. We are also, because we are alive, our throats have not been cut, "Je Ne Suis Pas Jacques Hamel." What is God calling us to do and be as those not yet martyred?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A new job for me?

LinkedIn is hilarious. Below is an excerpt from an email sent to me overnight. Apparently, from my rather thin CV supplied in my profile, I am eligible for the following jobs.


Top job picks for you



University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury
Canterbury & West Coast, New Zealand
5 days ago



Massey University
Massey University
Auckland, New Zealand
14 days ago



The University of Auckland
The University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
14 days ago



University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury
Canterbury & West Coast, New Zealand
15 days ago



University of Otago
University of Otago
Otago & Southland, New Zealand
6 days ago



The University of Auckland
The University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
12 days ago



Massey University
Massey University
Taranaki, Wanganui & Manawatu, New Zealand
14 days ago



Massey University
Massey University
Auckland, New Zealand
6 days ago



new

The University of Auckland
The University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
12 hours ago



Massey University
Massey University
Taranaki, Wanganui & Manawatu, New Zealand
1 day ago


Now, natch, I consider myself an amateur psychologist second to none, along with professional if not professorial level abilities at creative accounting (OK, so the word "creative" is not actually in the titles above). Also I have friends who are accountants.

Tourism, well, I have travelled a bit, and know most of the South Island like the back of my hand while thinking the North Island is foreign country. As for "creative writing" ... you are reading this blog. Perhaps you could supply a reference?

I think I will stick to serving the Anglican church, boosting its psychological well-being, beefing up its finances, generally touring about from parish to parish ... and blogging :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Surely this is the person who should be next US President

What a great speech by a great person.

She could unite a nation and she already believes the US is great :)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The state of New Zealand "journalism" (#anglicanunknowing) and "etc"

Do we Kiwis lack the blessings of thorough, no details left undone investigative journalism?

Here is an NZ Herald article on the state of finances of some of our larger non-mainstream/historic denominations.

At the end of the article we read this sentence:

"The ­Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia has declared assets of $1.7m and ­an annual income of $1,997,265."

Now, if you believe that is a true description of all Anglican assets in these islands then I have a bridge, a floating jetty and a $9 coin to sell you. I assume it is something like the assets of our General Synod Standing Committee (i.e. the wherewithal to house and fund our very lean "national" church office).

It would only take a bit of Googling around, a phone call or two to pretty much any clergyperson or churchwarden for the Herald to realise there was a lot more to investigate - our separate dioceses and their trust funds, including the funds held in trust for the parishes, to say nothing of estimated asset value of church buildings. All of which would add up to a pretty sum, dwarfing the other sums mentioned in the article. (And, shhhhhh, don't say anything about the biggest "Anglican" trust of them all ...). Incidentally, we spend what we earn on mission and ministry, and very helpful it is too.

In personal news, I am just back from a trip to Sydney which took in a conference organised by the Sydney College of Divinity on Justice, Mercy and Social Well-being. Some brilliant papers and some not so brilliant ones (e.g. my own, but a useful exercise in critical response to a paper based on a chapter in a book I am writing on mercy).

It was fascinating being an Anglican in a conference of this kind as some key voices were from Greek and Coptic Orthodox churches, voices not normally present in theological conferences on this side of the ditch (in my experience). It was a pleasure to get to know Fr Antonios Kaldas a little and I am adding his blog to the blogroll here on ADU. (He gives an engaging video presentation here on some interesting questions).

And by the end of this week I need to be ready for the next Anglican Studies course here in Christchurch ... there may or may not be much posting this week :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Social Services Sunday 2016

Ace resources here for Social Services Sunday which is this Sunday. I can't possibly say who the co-authors are. Agents of the status quo are watching everywhere.

Addendum to my "Way Forward" Part 4

In a post below, Part Four of my "Way Forward" series, Malcolm Falloon responds to my proposal with some important criticisms, which I will respond to here in a series of comments. My attempt here is to respond constructively because I think some issues are finely balanced in terms of what is the right/wrong/helpful/unhelpful way to move forward, so I am less interested in rebutting what Malcolm has to say and more interested in furthering discussion, to which other commenters may like to contribute ... my comments are in italics.

From Malcolm Falloon:

Peter,

I disagree with you on the viability of using the recent changes to how services are authorised to bring about the compromise you propose. Among other things, it would be destructive of good order to bypass Part G, section 4 of the constitution on what has proven such a controversial issue.


Comment: it would be destructive of good order if a resolution of our church fostered the controversy rather than settled it. The point of what I am proposing (or indeed of any proposal that GS on all our behalfs might agree to) is to settle the controversy rather than deepen it. So my question would be whether in this specific, distinctive, even unique matter of controversy, might it be a good thing to "bypass Part G, section 4"? 

Your proposal also seems to hinge on a distinction between doctrine-as-enshrined-in-the-formularies and doctrine-as-expressed-in-the-church's-worship: formulaic doctrine as opposed to permissive doctrine. That is too subtle for me.
Whether General Synod changes its doctrine of marriage (which it seems reluctant to do at present) or redefines the church's understanding of chastity (as you propose in your clause 3), both involve changes to the doctrine expressed in the fundamental provisions of the constitution.


Comments:
(1) On the distinction between "doctrine-as-enshrined-in-the-formularies and doctrine-as-expressed-in-the-church's-worship: formulaic doctrine as opposed to permissive doctrine." My point here is that I consistently hear the anxiety of colleagues concerned that they may, in accepting a licence to minister, be required to sign to believing doctrine they do not agree with. Avoiding the doctrine/formulary route is, in my view, a way round this particular difficulty. A related point is that already our church grants "permissive doctrine" in the sense that it permits military chaplains to bless warships, clergy on St Francis' Day to bless pets, as well as giving clergy the option of blessing the remarriage of a divorced person or not. In principle and in practice, there is a distinction of the kind Malcolm describes as "too subtle" already at work in our church.
(2) There is indeed an issue about whether any change to which GS might agree on these matters is, or is not, a change to "the doctrine expressed in the fundamental provisions of the constitution." On this matter I suspect Malcolm and I would agree that no commission/working group/chancellors' advice to date has given a satisfactory response!

As an aside: I consider these two alternatives to be mutually exclusive: if you extend the doctrine of marriage (as proposed by the Working Group), you don't need to change the definition of chastity; if you change the definition of chastity, you can not but diminish the doctrine of marriage. If the church effected both changes at once, the church would be left with a nominal doctrine of marriage that was only a matter of personal preference.


Comment: Indeed!

You ask me for a better pathway. The only viable pathway, in my view, involves structural change and constitutional revision. We should not be under any allusion that accommodating such a compromise will involve far-reaching changes. I am less certain, however, that we have the collective will to pursue such a course.


Comment: in which case, for those who disagree with me, and especially from a conservative perspective, could we please have, whether from an individual theologian such as Malcolm, or from the Latimer Fellowship or from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a proposal or proposals to consider, digest, improve through discussion and then submitted by 1 October 2016!

Malcolm

Friday, July 15, 2016

A vicar's daughter

Austen Ivereigh has a lovely article here about Theresa May's upbringing via a vicarage and her current active faith as a member of her local parish.

I find it heart-warming to think that Christians can continue to influence the course of political life on the global stage.

UPDATE: And this, generally, on politicians who are children of pastors