My Week in Review

nonimmunitaecclesias.jpg Update 7-Oct-08: If you’re arriving via the link from Kelly “Beefcake” Hughes’ weekly email update, welcome. And just so you know, cat blogging is *not* the norm around here. Poke around and see for yourself.

The sign in the photo reads “Non gode l’immunita ecclesias,” which means, “Does not enjoy ecclesiastical immunity.” The sign removed a church’s right to offer asylum. The image just struck me though… the phrase “ecclesiastical immunity” hit me in a very different way when I discovered it mid-week with the photo, and I wanted to do something with it but didn’t know what. So which of us is immune, or can do whatever we want by virtue of our position in the church? Sadly, there are those who feel they are entitled, and who act that way even if they wouldn’t come right out and say it in those terms. These are the type who take God’s name in vain, which is what clicked for me at the end of the week.

Just Clearing my Head

refugeecamp-heartcity.jpg I was going to post this earlier this morning, but none of it had happened yet. This morning I was groggy-headed and bleary-eyed staring at my computer monitor. I had nothing to say and was too tired to say it… don’t know why, really. so I had a nap and then went out with my wife to do “errands”. You know those miscellaneous days when you both have odds and ends to get done?

  1. Returned library books and picked up one that was on hold; the waiting list was two months.
  2. Bought dog food.
  3. Washed the car.
  4. Listened to the news on the radio, with the lead story being about gas prices… which were going up 15¢/litre overnight on fears of Hurricane Ike. We found a station that hadn’t put their prices up yet, and after using our coupon, we filled up for 15-19¢ less than the going rate. The guy on the radio was giving away jerry-cans of gas.

Defaming God’s Name… Mad Enough to Spit

westbrobaptist.jpg As a peace-loving if somewhat mild-mannered apologetic Canadian stereotype, apparently I like murder victim Tim McLean, have “lived an immoral and godless life, just like all other Canadians.” The signs and placards said so. It doesn’t matter that the “lunatic sect” has never met or even heard of McLean before now — it turns out that Westbro Baptist Church, the continent’s self-appointed demonstrative repository of information concerning who God hates this week, has determined that the Tim McLean’s murder last week was “a gift from God.” WTF??? Tim McLean was the recent victim of an apparently random killing on a Greyhound bus, wherein another passenger went rather berzerk and suddenly began stabbing him repeatedly, eventually decapitating him. The crime was particularly gruesome: once the bus driver had pulled over and everyone had fled the bus and locked the attacker onboard, he was seen carrying the knife in one hand and the head in the other, apparently sampling the taste of human flesh. Clearly the man was not quite right in the mental capacity department. I might point out that he was born in China — for what it’s worth — simply as a way of noting the fallaciousness of Westbro’s account of the “facts.” Adding Canada to their hate-list, their news release, which refers to McLean as “The Headless Canadian” states,

Come to the Table! — Who, Me?

howison_cometothetable_cover.jpg I read Jamie Howison’s new book, Come to the Table on the weekend — or part of the weekend, as it’s only 76 pages. It actually began as a paper exploring the basis for the practice of “open table” at St. Benedict’s Table. Open table refers to the practice of serving communion to people who present themselves to receive the elements, regardless whether or not they have been baptized. Now, this is not a very Anglican thing to do, since strictly speaking, traditionally those who expect to receive communion should have been baptized and confirmed. None of this is really an issue in evangelical circles, but in others I understand it’s pretty much grounds for scandal. Indeed, “from my evangelical days, baptism is not viewed as inherently for regeneration,” so the question seems a little farfetched to some, but with a bit of thought to the subject, one realizes that the communion table has actually been the dividing line between many a denomination or church group.

I Have a Dream… Oration, Political Comparisons, & the Future of the Sermon

martinlutherkingjr.jpg barackobama.jpg I’m hoping that as we enter August, I won’t find everyone away and not in a talking mood… because I’ve got a couple things that I hope warrant some discussion this week… and I’m looking for feedback. Start thinking about communion and we’ll bring that one up tomorrow. For now, let’s tackle something else. First, I like Jim Collins’ book, except one thing… the horribly-named BHAG. If MLK had gotten up and proclaimed, “I have a BHAG…!” I rather suspect he wouldn’t have made near the impact. MLK was an orator, a beast we see less and less often these days. Oh, maybe it is because a distributor of snappy one-liners makes for a better sound-byte, but it could also be that there just aren’t as many true orators around.

Non-Virtual Connections

coffeecups.jpg Last night I took in St. Ben’s “Theology by the Glass” — a name change from “Theology Pub” since, technically, it’s held in a restaurant rather than a pub. We were discussing a brief interview with Phyllis Tickle last year on “The Future of the Emerging Church,” so the conversations ran to some interesting spots. Up for discussion was the contention that the church has a major shift every 500 years (so we’re due) and the metaphor of a “vortex like a whirlpool” where various traditions are blending into the emerging church. Of course, there were many an additional topic that we hit as well, from third places to missional vs. emerging vs. Emergent to postmodernity, even the names of Lesslie Newbigin, N.T. Wright, Brian McLaren and Ray Oldenburg came up. Book recommendations were made and written down, and of course the subject of the Anglican contribution the mix was thrown in for good measure. I met some new people that were full with good resonating conversation, and I had this strange moment of being a recognition target. A fellow who I’ve met a few times before (the legendary WInnipeg used book sale, kids in the same school, and of course St. Ben’s) said “So that’s Brother Maynard!” when Jamie Howison “outed” me. Turns out he’s been reading my blog for a while now, so it’s an interesting connection point. (Hi, John!) The evening ended for the last three of us out on the pavement around midnight a little while after the waitress told us they were closed and it was time to leave. Yes, we got kicked out.

Springtime in Winnipeg

bdi_320.jpg It’s been spring-ish in the ‘peg for a while now, though true Winnipeggers know not to trust the weather too early in the spring. We’ve seen bikers out on the highways, a sure sign. On Saturday I was out with my girls doing errands and killing time and whatnot. There was a bit of a cool breeze up, but it was fairly warm, so at the request of the kids, we visited the BDI — if you’re not from here, that might need some explanation. The BDI is the Bridge Drive Inn, where you buy your ice cream and then walk across a footbridge over the Red River while you eat it. You can take a walk about the Kingston Row area, then back over the bridge to your car. Good fun, not so good in the calorie department. My youngest ran into a friend from her class in school, which she thought was pretty neat. We also stopped off and picked up a mothers’ day gift despite having been told not to spend money on anything.

He Walked: A Christmas Song for All Year

Footprints in Sand Now that we’ve wrapped up our brief look at John’s Prologue as an introduction to the themes of Advent and Christmas, I wanted to dwell a bit more on the canticle I used for the compline in the fourth week of Advent, which was unfortunately too short this year. I carefully selected a song by Mike Koop of St. Benedict’s Table fame. John’s prologue is a hymn for Christmas and all year long, and if you wanted to know what an updated song for Christmas and all year long would look like if you wrote it with your head filled with gospel images while staring at the prologue to John (1:1-18), I think I have the answer. It would need to be something written as an epiphany, like John’s gospel — portraying Jesus’ entry into, accomplishment of his task, and exit from the temporal scene with the transcendence of an Eternal God stepping in and out of time at will. It would need to reflect the fullness of both his Godhood and his humanity, in the same breath wherever possible.