This evening is in a way a day of closings. It’s the end of the week, and the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I think our television has been on almost nonstop for 17 days now. And it’s been good seeing our Canadian athletes doing so well. 14 gold medals, more than any country has ever won in any winter Olympics. I think the early glitches of the games were pretty much forgotten as we showed the world how we party at home. People in the street spontaneously singing the national anthem? That’s pretty remarkable for any country anywhere, I’d say. And of course, we made sure to remind the world that hockey is our game. I might have over-tweeted that point, but there it is. Here we are being Canadian… thoroughly proud to the core of all our athletes who scored a podium finish, and feeling sorry for those who didn’t, whether those others are Canadian or not.
If you recall my post on The Liturgical Bob Dylan, it may well interest you to learn that the music used in the liturgy has now been recorded as a 5-song rough-cut EP. The band consists of Larry Campbell, Allen Fehr, Lee Charles Garinger, Bobby James, and is fronted by Mike Koop. They have called themselves “The Multitude of Sins” and made this EP, “The Dylan Mass” available as a free download. For much more detail on the recording and the background of these musicians, visit the post at Music Ruined My Life which announces the recording and provides a download link via one of those free file download sites that makes you wait while a countdown flashes on your screen because you haven’t paid to bypass it. If that drives you nuts (like me), I’ve I’ve mirrored the download for your auditory pleasure. (The file is a .rar archive, and if you don’t already know how to extract that to its MP3-with-cover-art goodness, Google should educate you pretty quickly.)
On Sunday I posted a hymn that begged a comment about depression based on what seemed a simplistic response to a complex issue. Last night I attended a conversation about depression at my local liturgical hangout where a group of us began to explore the topic of depression and what it means to be a community that is a welcoming place to those who struggle with depression or other mental illness (hit the preceding ‘conversation’ link for a recap).
Back in the day, I was a college freshman with
Mike Gilmour at the same institution where he’s now a New Testament professor. I didn’t know at the time that he was a Bob Dylan fan, but he’s since written a book about the biblical themes in Dylan’s music, so I guess one could say he’s well-versed in the topic. I imagine books like his Tangled Up in the Bible: Bob Dylan & Scripture (CBD Link) represent an awakening to the spiritual themes ushered forth from places long-considered by the church to be simply “unspiritual.” This is a good thing, but let’s come back to it.
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.
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.
Today is the Feast Day for St. Benedict of Nursia (c.480-547). An Italian Saint, Benedict was the founder of twelve monastic communities, the most well-known being his first at Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. He likely did not intend to found a religious order — the Order of St. Benedict originated much later as “a confederation of congregations into which the traditionally independent Benedictine abbeys have affiliated themselves for the purpose of representing their mutual interests, without [losing] any of their autonomy.” In dealing with the number of people coming to the monastery, he wrote a “Rule of Life” referred to as the Rule of St. Benedict, which “became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason Benedict is often called ‘the founder of western Christian monasticism.'” The Roman Catholic Church canonized him in 1220.
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.