Philotheos Bryennios was born in March of 1833 at Constantinople. He was educated at the Theological School in Chalce of the Great Church of Christ and the universities of Leipsic, Berlin, and Munich, and in 1861 became professor of ecclesiastical history, exegesis, and other studies at Chalce. He was appointed master and director at Chalce in 1863, though he soon resigned these two positions. In 1867 he was called to Constantinople to be the head of the “Great School of the Nation” in the Phanar, or Greek quarter of Constantinople. He remained there until 1875 when he was sent by the Most Holy Synod of metropolitans and patriarchs to the Old Catholic conference at Bonn, where he receved a patriarchal letter announcing his appointment as metropolitan of Serrae in Macedonia. In 1877 he was transferred to the metropolitan see of Nicodemia, and in 1880 went to Bucharest on behalf of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchal and other independent churches to participate in a commission dealing with Greek monastaries that had been plundered in Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1882, at the instance of the Holy Synod of Metropolitans in Constantinople and the patriarch Joachim Il., he wrote a reply (published by the Holy Synod) to the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII concerning the Slavic apostles Cyrillus and Methodius. The man was no theological slouch, and despite this list of accomplishments, none of these are the thing for which he is most remembered following his death in 1914 or 1918.
I’m just barely returned from the world of Harry Potter. Having put off reading the books for so long now, I finally gave in and picked up a couple of the books in a used bookstore. After they sat on the shelf for a month or so, I finally started reading. Of course I’ve heard many things about the books, and am aware of the controversy that they caused in some ultra-conservative circles who forgot that C.S. Lewis also wrote children’s fantasy with magic in the books. I’d heard that they were well-written, and I now have to say that indeed, they are. Much better than a John Grisham novel, and not sloppily-written as a number of the bestselling authors are in the grownup world. As a writer, I confess I’m a little taken with the story of a single mother in a tiny apartment crafting a novel series in her spare time after work and landing a worldwide sensation. Also as a writer, I’ve been making a point of reading well-written fiction in the past few years, and despite being branded as children’s literature, the Harry Potter series landed squarely within this category for me.
The other evening, we did a hand-blessing ceremony in our home fellowship, let by one of the women in our group.
For missional communities, it is good to be reminded of our hands. Not that they require special sanctioned programs for “ministry opportunities,” but to be reminded that they are always in the process of doing things, of touching others. This is the point of being intentionally missional… or perhaps it might be better put, mindfully missional, valuing the contacts in our everyday lives.
Blessed be the work of your hands — Holy God.
You hold us in your hands.
So I took my oldest daughter down to the Christian bookstore to buy an “Adventures in Odyssey” CD for my youngest daughter’s birthday. The first store, subtitled a “Christian Store” (Er, I’d like to buy a Christian, please) didn’t have any, so we went downtown to the second, a much older long-established store. It’s the largest such store in the city.
Is that “Remiss-age”? I have to beg forgiveness, but every 122 weeks or so, I need the freedom to miss a “Random Acts of Linkage” post. I’d cobble one together even now (a little late, but better than never, right?) except I’ve don so little reading this week that there still wouldn’t be much to link… barely enough to make a post of, in fact. But I do have some random thoughts.
For instance, I saw the Miley Cyrus movie with the kids last night (which I tweeted from the theater). And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The plot wasn’t overly complex, but there was one, and it turns out the girl really can sing. It’s not all just marketing — who knew? Okay, maybe I’m the last to find out. Note: Billy Ray may be rather more shrewd than originally credited. Now if only his girl doesn’t go all Brittany or pull a Li-Lo, she could just hold onto her respectability and have a major career on her hands.
Following last week’s series introduction, Streams of White Light into Darkened Corners, We open the series in 1974 where Larry Norman’s introduction left off, and from the opposite angle. We begin our series of Hymns from the Radio Dial with a decidedly non-secular song that hit big on the pop charts. In some ways, perhaps this was the acme of the trend that Larry Norman described. In a significant way though, it was a milestone in the formation of what came to be called “contemporary Christian music,” something of which Norman himself was a pioneer. His introduction (last week) sets the stage onto which this particular song emerged.
The author of the second-best-selling book in history (next to the Bible) would have been 80 years old today — June 12th — had she not died in March of 1945. Ironically, on June 20, 1942, she wrote, “It seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old schoolgirl.” This was one of the earliest entries in the Diary of Anne Frank, who wrote offhandedly on May 11, 1944, “Just imagine how forgetful I’ll be when I’m eighty!” The innocence with which she wrote and the unthinkably tragic way in which her story ends are a jarring contrast, and perhaps this has somehow contributed to her diary becoming one of the key texts of the 20th century. Events are planned to commemorate the occasion. I’ve mentioned Anne Frank before, but it seems to me that she is one of those standout voices that somehow resonates with us all.
I think I mentioned an event coming up here this October featuring Phyllis Tickle speaking on her book The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. I’m one of several people who have been asked to present a workshop and sit on a discussion panel over the course of the one-day conference. At the moment, October 31st seems such a long way off, but I’ve been asked for a topic and a brief description of the workshop I will present.
You mean I have to plan ahead? Oh, of course — I knew that. I fired back saying I’d do something on “Navigating Times of Change” to offer a description of some of the characteristics of liminal space and its effect on leaders and churches. I need to flesh that out a bit further, which will take some digging and reflection to know what’s important to present and what to cut. I think I’ve selected a good topic though, so that gives me a good start.