Monday, September 24, 2018

A bit of a blogging break

Dear Readers
Various circumstances mean I need to take a break from blogging for a bit.
I hope it might only be a couple of weeks.
With your new spare time, you could always pray a bit more!
Another Gulf War brewing?
Trump wrecking the world economy?
Planet heating up?
Engaging a world in which truth is unbelievable because #fakenews generates intense hermeneutics of suspicion about truth claims: the authenticity of the gospel as true truth, more than ever, is in how gospel people live ... the Jesus of the gospel must be met in us who witness to him.
In Christ
PS Brexit is a metaphor of our Anglican times: ponder that :)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Keeping the main thing the main thing?

So far being bishop-elect is very interesting (many different aspects of ministry leadership being met for the first time) and very demanding (lots of things to attend to). I am rapidly learning new skills in time management!

I am already conscious that in a sea of details I could get lost.

What is the main episcopal thing which I need to keep the main thing? (Your comments appreciated).

I am not without ideas about what the main episcopal thing is - in simple terms, it is leadership through teaching and pastoring, with a special emphasis on raising up leaders to share this common task of care for God's church (i.e. discerning people for ministry leadership and appointing leaders of ministry such as vicars).

But I can see that to keep that main thing the main thing will be a challenge.

Fortunately yesterday evening's OT reading is helpful (Exodus 18:13-26).
But as I said to someone yesterday, I am finding that even when tasks are delegated, new tasks come in which need new delegations :)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Enclave theology or ecumenical theology?

Thanks to a recommendation here a post or five ago, I am dipping into a beautiful book on eucharistic theology, The Eucharist and Ecumenism: Let Us Keep the Feast by George Hunsinger (Cambridge: CUP, 2008). A Reform theologian builds bridge towards a way for our eucharistic theology to unite us across our differences. Brilliant. A man after my own heart.

Hunsinger captures something which I have never quite expressed in my own mind about theological difference by invoking the concepts of "enclave theology" and "ecumenical theology." It is worth thinking about. Here is some of his explanation, pp. 1-2, 8-9 .

"By "enclave theology," I mean a theology based narrowly in a single tradition that seeks not to learn from other traditions and to enrich them, but instead to topple and defeat them, or at least to withstand them. Enclave theology is polemical theology even when it assumes an irenic facade. Its limited agenda makes it difficult for it to take other traditions seriously and deal with them fairly. Whether openly or secretly, it is not really interested in dialogue but in rectitude and hegemony. It harbours the attitude that the ecumenical movement will succeed only as other traditions abandon their fundamental convictions, where they are incompatible with those of the enclave, in order to embrace the enclave's doctrinal purity. ... Enclave theology makes itself look good, at least in its own eyes, by making others look bad. ... [p. 1] 
Ecumenical theology takes another approach. It presupposes that every tradition in the church has something valuable to contribute even if we cannot yet discern what it is. The ecumenical movement will succeed not when all other traditions capitulate to the one true church - whether centred in Geneva, Constantinople, Canterbury, Wittenburg or Rome - to say nothing of other symbolic locales like Lima, Cape Town, New Delhi, Canberra or Beijing. On the contrary, it will succeed only by a deeper conversation of all traditions to Christ. Ecumenical theology, though properly grounded in a single tradition, looks for what is best in traditions not its own. It seeks not to defeat them but to respect and learn from them. It earns the right to speak only by listening, and it listens much more than it speaks. When in the midst of intractable disagreements, it searches for unforeseen convergences. Its hope for ecumenical progress means that no tradition will get everything it wants, each will get much that it wants, none will be expected to make unacceptable compromises. Each will contribute to the richness of the whole, and all will be expected to stretch to accept some things that at first did not seem possible. Ecumenical theology, while unable to avoid speaking pointedly at times, seeks a charitable spirit which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:7)." [p. 2]

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fancy Karl du Fresne noticing something I said!

I love reading Karl du Fresne's columns. He is straightforward, clear and generally conservative in a reasonable way. However I never expected him to notice a minion like me and the words I have said.


Now, it is entirely fair of Karl to critique the role of the church in politics and society, and no doubt we do our share of virtue signalling and falling over ourselves to be relevant in ways which, er, turn out to be not that relevant.

But as a reporter of many years, Karl might at least give me and other church leaders the benefit of the doubt on one matter: that we might have talked about Jesus with our interviewers and those interviewers might have thought it less than newsworthy to report that a Jesus follower thinks Jesus should be at the centre of life.

Blessings, Karl, if you should read this!

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Week in the Life of

Sunday: Lovely Prophets at the Cathedral event with challenging message about importance of pacifism. News that a vicar has resigned.

Monday: Quiet day working from home. Archbishop rings at tea-time. Voting is complete. Majority is replete. Letter of Offer coming.

Tuesday: Sign Letter of Offer. Meet Charlie Gates of The Press for interview. Think that goes well. Sign Declarations with my father as witness. Am now officially "Bishop-elect of Christchurch." Media release. Work afternoon tea. Lovely photo of Teresa and me on the Stuff website.

Wednesday: Buy two copies of the Press to take to Auckland. Dad and me are on the front page. Interviewed by Susie Ferguson of Morning Report over my phone while in airport departure lounge. Not as scary as I thought it would be. Fly to Auckland for two day meeting at ST John's College.

Thursday: Check Morning Report files on internet. No interview to be seen. Either I am Mr Boring or the announcements at the airport made for poor sound quality. Memo to self: arrange interview times not to coincide with airport lurking. Conduct another radio interview. Everyone asks about the cathedral and about same-sex blessings. My colleague whom I have shared a room with says I will never need to share a room again. He is right: there are too many emails and I will need to get up at 5 am when away.

Friday: Post Ordination Training but I cannot make the whole day. Meet with Archbishop Philip x2 in the afternoon. Then to the TC for a celebration of the signing of the Cathedral joint venture agreement - it is the joint venture agreement which means I do not have to work out which mix of mortar is best for the cathedral reinstatement.

Saturday: believe it or not, I get some gardening done. Potatoes planted on 1 September. Strawberries too.

Sunday: Lovely service at St Aidan's Bryndwr. News that another vicar has resigned.

There have been some ups and downs in my first week as bishop-elect but overall Teresa and I have this amazing, and unexpected excitement about the role and about the future of the Diocese.