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Entries for #Essay

Seeking a Charitable Orthodoxy

Knowing and owning one’s theological lens is a good thing in pastoral ministry. Theological lenses, however, become problematic in chaplaincy and other ecumenical contexts. In my time as a chaplain at a nursing home and now in a jail, I have personally struggled with how to minister to those with differing theologies from mine while maintaining and affirming my own Anglican commitments. How can I “conform to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of Christ as this Church has received them” as the ordinal directs while also ministering within a non-Anglican context? Read more...

Posted: Wed, Nov 28, 2018, Words: ~9300, Reading Time: 44 min

Practical Guidance for Anglicans in Ecumenical Eucharistic Worship

This is part four of a four part project. The final project is here. The genesis of this project starts with my confusion and unease communing at a Disciples of Christ led ecumenical Eucharist service inside a jail each week. Starting with the Chicago statement of Protestant Episcopal Church in 1886 and culminating with the great ecumenical work Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry coming out of Lima in 1984, much academic and theological work has been done within and outside the Anglican Christianity on the path towards visible unity in the Church. Read more...

Posted: Thu, Nov 1, 2018, Words: ~3300, Reading Time: 16 min

Plene Esse, the Holy Spirit, & Intercommunion

This is part three of a four part project. The final project is here. “For a long time the Conference on Faith and Order shied away from and avoided directly addressing this problem [ecumenical Eucharist]. It was the type of issue so loaded with emotional dynamite, that we feared it might with the first little thrust set off a spark that would explode our entire movement into pieces.” Dr. Read more...

Posted: Wed, Oct 10, 2018, Words: ~2900, Reading Time: 14 min

Charitable Apostolicity

This is part two of a four part project. The final project is here. As a chaplain, I find myself worshiping and serving during the week more often in contexts outside of my own tradition than I do within. Weekly I face the question of whether a non-catholic1 minister’s orders and, thus, the sacraments she or he presides over are valid — partially or otherwise. At the onset of this project, I described my main concern as finding a path towards a generous orthodoxy. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Sep 25, 2018, Words: ~2300, Reading Time: 11 min

Seeking a Charitable Orthodoxy (Definition)

This is part one of a four part project. The final project is here. My journey through Vanderbilt Divinity School (VDS) has been a difficult one. Deep within the inner workings of progressive Christian theology and politics, I quickly learned that traditional liberal values of tolerance, free speech, free thought, and civil debate were more easily affirmed — if even affirmed — than lived. In the words and deeds of many of those around me, it was made clear that there was little space for certain theological questions or viewpoints. Read more...

Posted: Sun, Sep 2, 2018, Words: ~1500, Reading Time: 7 min

Why Worship with a Book of Common Prayer?

The English Church, her descendants, and her colonial heirs worship with a common book of prayer for a few historical and theological reasons. It might come as a surprise to many North American Christians, but liturgical worship is by far the norm in contemporary Christianity and, prior to the Reformation, was the universal form of worship in the Church. Before the upheaval of the Reformation, East, West, Ethiopian, Syriac, and more all worshiped God using liturgies attributed to the saints and apostles. Read more...

Posted: Fri, Aug 24, 2018, Words: ~1200, Reading Time: 6 min

Holy Money contra Empire

St. Timothy teaches in 1 Tim 6:10 that “the love of money is the root of all evils.” In an economy as complex as ours with as many variables and systems at play, can money be the root of the evils of oppressive empire and economics? By exploring the origins and history of money and banking, money’s fall from grace at the hands of empire is vividly apparent. By understanding where we are and how we got there, it is possible to take money ad fontes to God’s original gifting intent of creation. Read more...

Posted: Mon, Apr 30, 2018, Words: ~4600, Reading Time: 22 min

Las Casas: Hope in Sin's Darkness

For the modern theologian, Bartolomé de las Casas presents quite a number of difficulties. Las Casas’ turn from a participant and supporter of the Spanish encomienda system of Indian enslaved labor to an ardent opponent and the theology behind it is to be greatly admired. Las Casas’ theological anthropology provides a foundation for a theology whose trajectory points to the imago Dei within each human being and the equality of value of all within the Kingdom of God and all who the Kingdom looks upon. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Apr 10, 2018, Words: ~2000, Reading Time: 10 min

Martin Luther: Christological Implications to Eucharist

Martin Luther’s Small Catechism – though short and concise – presents a clear window into Luther’s understanding of Christ’s nature and how that nature works itself out in the ordo salutis. Historically, Luther’s writings on the Sacrament of the Bread and Wine followed the path of the Reformation debates on the Mass as a sacrifice and how – or even if – Jesus was present in the Eucharistic elements. Theologically, however, Luther’s views on Sacraments, specifically the Eucharist, can best be understood through his Christology. Read more...

Posted: Fri, Mar 2, 2018, Words: ~2500, Reading Time: 12 min

Parables, Desire, and Salvation: A Counter-Reformation Reading of Mark 4:10-12

In the Synoptic Gospels, each Evangelist narrates an event where Jesus explains to the Disciples and the other people standing around him the reason for his use of parables (Matt 13:10-17, Mark 4:10-12, and Luke 8:9-10). Jesus says that he teaches those who follow him the μυστήριον τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ1 — the “mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11). To those outside of his circle, however, he does not reveal God’s mystery. Read more...

Posted: Thu, Nov 30, 2017, Words: ~3400, Reading Time: 16 min

Baptism: Sacramental Ark of Holiness and Salvation

The Articles of Religion of the Church of England state in article XXV that sacraments are “not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession” but that they are “sure witnesses,” “effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us.” Further, sacraments work “invisibly” in humanity and “not only quicken but also strengthen and confirm” humanity’s faith in Jesus. It is within these bounds that Lancelot Andrewes preaches his sermon on the Holy Spirit on Pentecost — Whit-Sunday — in 1625. Read more...

Posted: Wed, Nov 29, 2017, Words: ~2000, Reading Time: 10 min

Anglican Baptism: Regenerative and Salvific Through Sacrament and Faith

Anglicanism is a diverse and varied tradition. Before the Reformation, Anglicanism refers to whatever Christians were doing1 in the British Isles. Post-reformation, Anglicanism applies to the ecclesial bodies identifying with the pre-denominational Christianity of Britain and continuing to live in that communion.2 Anglicanism, on the one hand, identifies as an ancient expression of the Christian faith existing before the Great Schism. Thus, Anglicanism is — with the Roman and Eastern churches — a Catholic and apostolic body. Read more...

Posted: Mon, Oct 30, 2017, Words: ~2800, Reading Time: 13 min

Adopted into a Holy Family of Love

Humanity’s adoption by God as his children is a theme throughout Hebrew and Christian scripture. By his own free will God has chosen Israel and the Church established on her foundation to be his children. God’s adoption of humankind gives theological richness to what it means for people to be in relationship to God, to live a life of holiness, and to be free. Relationship Throughout Scripture, God is time and time again referenced as Israel and Christians’ father and parent. Read more...

Posted: Mon, Sep 25, 2017, Words: ~1200, Reading Time: 6 min

Humanity & the Church

Introduction Humanity and the Church or, to cast them in more theological terms, theological anthropology and ecclesiology, are highly related doctrines that often get overlooked in the Christian theological community. First providing a brief history to setup a framework for theological discourse, I seek to better understand what humanity is in the eyes of and relationship to God and to define what the Church is and is called to be in the world. Read more...

Posted: Fri, Apr 28, 2017, Words: ~6100, Reading Time: 29 min

Jesus, Center & Surplus

At the center of what makes Christian theology distinct from the general theological conversations of the religious traditions of the world, is the Christian engagement of Jesus. Other traditions – Judaism and Islam particularly – have something to say about the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth; his life, ministry, and teachings. Only Christianity, however, places cosmic implications on Jesus. Within the Christian tradition, Jesus is not only prophet, rabbi, and rebel, but also Messiah, Christ, or “Anointed One. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Mar 14, 2017, Words: ~1400, Reading Time: 7 min