Let's begin the discussion of 'Seizing the Episcopal Moment here' - than a few of us will be meeting in a few weeks to organize a larger "gathering,' which will hopefully include each of you 12.

By then Karen's rework of the paper will be completed - and we can discuss the final copy.

You can download the "as is" copy on Anglicmerent's main page...

Tags: anglican, episcopal, expression, fresh, michigan, mission, ordination, west

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First, I'd like to say thank you for inviting me to this discussion. I am very excited and see a great deal of potential for heartfelt dialogue on this work.
Just the intro is providing so much to talk about. I love Brian’s reference to this era, this time in our history as “the Episcopal Moment” and I’d like to begin a conversation on the relevance of that expression the “Episcopal Moment” as it pertains to the Eucharist, living tradition, mission and Scripture in our liturgical expression. Brian writes, “...the Prayer Book was an indispensable resource at every turn.” And I can’t agree more! I come from a highly liturgical background and have moved my way through liturgies Western and Eastern from both sides of the altar and I have to say that the Book of Common Prayer as an expression of the way the Early Church expressed itself is an amazing tool and one that I think Anglimergent communities should embrace as part of their missionary expression. Brian further wrote, “I see in the Anglican communion a store of theological, liturgical, spiritual, and relational treasures that could create space for millions of people who are currently and increasingly disaffected from conventional Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Mainline Protestant church life.” And again I am in so much agreement! We have a springboard to new life in the Church if we embrace it in a new and honest way like Brian, Rev. Donald, and Karen talk about here. I've already written a page here and I haven't moved past the title page... I'll let someone else talk.
I will second Michael here, while sticking (for the moment) to the intro by McLaren. What McLaren brings to the discussion here and in his presentation to the Diocese of Washington (called "The Episcopal Moment" found here) is a sense of immediacy and urgency that is rarely seen in our discussions. What I mean is not that we never talk about the bleak, dreaded future of doomidy doom with our ancient/no children church--we talk about this incessantly--but that we don't actually believe that change must come now to prevent these horrific visions of the future from becoming a reality.

McLaren's is truly a hopeful theology, and one of great opportunity and courage. He is clearly urging The Episcopal Church to take on itself with courage and audacity. This seems to me to be the missing piece in our collective behavior. Instead of running from one end of the indifference/the-sky-is-falling spectrum, we can actually address our hoped-for future today.
I was very glad to see this paper for two big reasons: the openness about the struggle that St. Gregory of Nyssa had, and the boldness of Karen's proposals for the church. I think both characteristics show a lot of hope and promise. I am particularly excited that there are real, flesh-and-blood people in my own region who are engaged in this conversation and seeking a way to bring it to a wider group in our diocese.
Rev. Donald Snell: - open hearted faith that’s genuinely rooted in Christian tradition

My $.02: An open hearted faith is a faith open to discussion. In recently years I’ve come to see that faith for many is a closed book. For High Church / hierarchical types, the Church is its dogmas, its liturgical forms, and the words of those in the know / the “infallible” in whatever colored robe and hat they wear. For the Low Church, the Church is the Word in whatever translation they are pushing from the KJV to the Message and there are fanatics on both sides and everywhere in between. Neither of these extremes is rooted in Christian tradition “genuinely”, neither of these extremes is rooted “genuinely” in Christ.

The Christian tradition is rooted firmly in Christ and with open hearts, open minds, and dialogue Christians become genuinely rooted in both. Faith that condemns the other, faith that excludes from the discussion is not genuinely rooted in tradition or Christ. The Church stands in constant dialogue with the Divine, or it should (this is where I feel many of the “churches” have gone wrong, where I personally have failed at times). If we rest on our laurels, if we settle into the routine of our praxis, we betray our tradition and our God.

Even the Scriptures and the Sacraments were not static, ARE not static, they developed and continue to develop in the life of the Church. Firming up the Canon of the Scriptures, and settling there, we have neglected to see the sacred writ of the “Living Church”. I think of the Letter of St. John Chrysostom to St. Basil on the Priesthood, the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius, Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa de Ahumada, the prison letters of Bonhoeffer… are these not a Sacred Writ? Perhaps they are not in the classical interpretation part of the Holy Bible, but they are part of the life of the Church, they are important and meaningful and speak to us Christians through out the ages. Sacraments and sacramentals, signs of the invisible God in the visible world, should we say there are but two firm Sacraments or seven or even one hundred as some did in the Early Church or are there as many mysterion / sacramentum as there are ways in which God speaks to his people. I personally see the world itself as a Sacrament of God, revealing his spirit and will to us in the natural and mysterious order of things (after the thoughts of the Romanian priest Rev. Dimitri Staniloe).

Remaining open hearted means refusing to deny the validity of another’s walk with God, no matter how strange or foreign that walk may seem to us, this is a genuinely rooted faith and the Anglican tradition is in a unique place as a Catholic / Protestant and truly Orthodox faith community to find and embrace the God in all and for all.
This week, in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, we celebrated Augustine "First Archbishop of Canterbury". In the write-up, it discusses Augustine's appointment by Gregory the Great, and how they maintained some correspondence. In one of them, Gregory wrote:
"If you have found customs, whether in the Roman, Gallican, or any other Churches that may be more acceptable to God, I wish you to make a careful selection of them, and teach the Church of the English, which is still young in the faith, whatever you can profitably learn from the various Churches."

There are two words/sentiments that I think are relevant to our discussion here: the first is 'careful' and the other is 'profitably'. In one sense, Gregory is suggesting the Via Media, and in other, he is suggesting adoption of local customs and adapting to the locality. But what I am taken with is that Gregory is encouraging care and profit from the endeavor. That decisions are made carefully and with great benefit. This seems to be the central reality of those that support emergent conversation and, at the same time, the primary concern of its opponents. Those that are worried or concerned about what we are looking at doing in/to our faith seem to believe that we are either not being careful or that we will not benefit the church, and yet, these are the things that we are primarily concerned with!

The text concludes the quote from Gregory by saying:
"For things should not be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things."

Beautiful words--and I couldn't agree more.
I read these last night at our Wednesday service and thought I'd share.

Drew+
Thanks Drew for this thoughtful and historic reflection...
I finally had an opportunity to read "Seizing the Episcopal Moment" and it fits perfectly with conversations the COM has had, and the challenges we face. I'm going to email a copy of this essay to COM members
It is so lovely to be in this diocese! Thank you Bill for your openness to this conversation.
I concur with Nurya! I am also elated to hear that the COM members will have an opportunity to review this document.
Thanks Bill - Especially since reading through Brian McLaren's "sermon" from the Convention - I'm very hoping that the COM might be willing to sit down with a few of us to dialogue. What are your thoughts on this happening soon?
Indubitably! Dialogue is good! Soon is good! :)
Is this paper still available? Can't locate it on the main page...

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