Monday, February 25, 2008

Request for Prayers

This coming weekend, the Independent Catholic Christian Church will be having its first jurisdictional Gathering. On Saturday, God willing, I will be ordaining our seminarians Michael and Carol to the minor order of Doorkeeper and our seminarian Marian to the minor order of Acolyte. Please pray that the Gathering is a time of grace for our community, and please especially pray for those being ordained.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch

Chris Tessone, a priest of the jurisdiction of which I'm a part, has an excellent post about today's feast, and the issues of church polity it raises. I would just add one thought, about infallibility.

The essence of idolatry is to attribute to a creature attributes that properly belong to God. Only God is infinite -- we as humans are by definition finite in every respect. God is omniscient -- we are not. God is omnipresent -- we are not. God is eternal -- we are not, and only know eternal life through God's gift.

Infallibility belongs in this category. No human being, regardless of the office he or she holds, can ever make any statement that is infallible. Nor can any book or institution claim infallibility or inerrancy. The belief that was promulgated by the Roman Catholic denomination at its first Vatican council, that the bishop of Rome is infallible when speaking ex cathedra, is an attempt to claim for a human being something that properly belongs only to God. Similarly, the teaching of the Southern Baptist Convention and others that the Bible cannot contain error is an attempt to claim for a book something that properly belongs only to God.

The Scriptures are a great gift to us, and through them we come to know God's self-revelation through Jesus Christ, fully God (and therefore genuinely infallible) and fully human, and our great redemption through Christ's death and resurrection. We believe that bishops and other church leaders are given grace to lead the church. But to attribute infallibility to either the Bible or church leaders is to distort their roles and put them in the place of the God to whom both are meant to point.

Friday Cat Blogging

First, here is a picture from a couple of weeks ago of Allie peeking out from behind the refrigerator -- it came out very surrealistic:
Next, here is a picture from a couple of nights ago of both cats on the couch -- I've created a little cubbyhole for Allie, which she finds comforting -- I've concluded that she's somewhat agoraphobic:
Charles is not shy at all -- when friends were over for Vespers on Wednesday, he jumped up by one of them and promptly rolled over and demanded that she give him a bellyrub (a demand with which she happily complied).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Book Meme

Chris tagged me with a book meme that is going around (Grab the nearest book that is at least 123 pages long, open to p. 123, go down to the 5th sentence, type in the following 3 sentences.) My book is Cyril of Jerusalem's Catechetical Lectures.

"The Son of Man shall come to the Father, according to the Scripture which was just now read, on the clouds of heaven, drawn by a stream of fire, which is to make trial of men. Then if any man's works are of gold, he shall be made brighter; if any man's course of life be like stubble, and unsubstantial, it shall be burnt up by the fire. And the Father shall sit, having His garment white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool Daniel 7:9."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ember Friday Prayer and Cat Blogging Post

First, an Embertide prayer all bishops should pray fervently, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who hast purchased to thyself an universal Church by the precious blood of thy dear Son; Mercifully look upon the same, and at this time so guide and govern the minds of thy servants the Bishops and Pastors of thy flock, that they may lay hands suddenly on no one, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons, to serve in the sacred Ministry of thy Church, And to those who shall be ordained to any holy function, give thy grace and heavenly benediction; that both by their life and doctrine they may show forth thy glory, and set forward the salvation of all men; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sadly, Charles has picked up an additional bad habit:

And I am happy to report that Allie is beginning to feel comfortable, at least some of the time, socializing with the rest of us rather than hiding under bed, couch, bookcase, or behind refrigerator:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging

I am happy to report that last Saturday, I adopted two cats -- Charles and Allie.

Charles was named after a basketball player, Charles Barkley, who must have made of lot of touchdowns or RBI's or the like, but I have renamed him Charles Borromeo-w, as is more suitable for a cat living in a religious household. Sadly, he is a vandal and a user of recreational drugs -- he chewed open a bag of catnip his aunts Carol and Lyngine gave him and got high while I was at work one day, and has chewed holes in his food bag (despite there being food in his bowl) and a treat bag (all safely in cabinets now). But he is very sweet and affectionate, and follows me around hoping for a treat or a bellyrub, both of which he frequently gets. Here is a picture of him on one of the couches (he has taken naps on all four couches):

Allie is cloistered, observing strict enclosure. She spent the first day under a bookcase using the Lutheran Family Bible Game as a pillow (an ELCA pastor friend gave this to me some years ago), hiding behind the stacked Grove's Dictionary of Music (Third Edition). The second day, she spent under the one couch with flaps at the bottom that can hide her. The third day, she was under my bed, before finding the tiny area behind the refrigerator, where she spends most of her time now. I had a nice picture of her peering out from behind the refrigerator, but my cameraphone was full and it didn't save -- I'll try to take another one. In the meantime, here is a picture of her under the bookcase next to the Lutheran game -- which you can see much better than her face:
I hope to have better pictures next Friday!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

A parishioner wrote to Fr. Joseph and me and asked how we personally observe Ash Wednesday. Here is what I wrote back:

One thing I always do is take Ash Wednesday off from work. I try to use the day as a day of reflection. The words that are traditionally used when ashes are placed on Christians' heads are "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return", and it is a day to reflect on our mortality, and where our life is going, in the knowledge that, sooner or later, it is going to end. It is easy to become so busy that we don't take the time to stop and think about the larger picture in our life (and being clergy, it is easy for me to even become too busy with church to do this!) , and Lent in general and Ash Wednesday in particular, gives us that opportunity to do that.

Often, funerals are a time when people, in the shock of grief, and realization that since life is short, they are not necessarily living as they wish they were. It might be helpful to think of Ash Wednesday as our own "funeral", where we come face to face with our mortality, mourn it, and come to terms with how it will affect our living. Of course, baptism is our "dying with Christ so that we might rise with Christ", and Lent was traditionally the time of preparation for baptism, ending in the Three Days when we celebrate Christ's death and resurrection. So as we contemplate our deaths on Ash Wednesday, we also look forward to the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ at Easter, which is a promise of our own resurrection.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Cat-Blogging -- February 1, 2008

I have a momentous announcement to make -- tomorrow, I will be adopting two six-year old cats, Charles and Allie (although they may be given additional names in due course). I will be posting photos of them once I have them, but in the meantime, in honor of their imminent arrival and in honor of St. Ignatius of Antioch whose feast those of us using the traditional Western calendar celebrate today, I offer this icon of cats:

(Don't they look more like they're playing than like they're attacking and eating good St. Ignatius?)