Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcoming All Baptized Christians to Communion

A friend of mine posed the following query: What do you think about open communion for all baptized Christians, regardless of their belief in the Real Presence?

Here is my answer:

The ICCC policy has always been open communion for all baptized Christians, regardless of their views on the Real Presence. We believe very strongly in the Real Presence, the doctrine that the bread and wine, once consecrated in the Eucharist, become the Body and Blood of Christ. But I think believing fervently in transubstantiation while living a sinful life is far worse than living a godly life and receiving, even though one sincerely holds a memorialist view (the view that they only represent the Body and Blood of Christ, rather than becoming them) -- I think it's the welcoming of Christ into one's life through the Eucharist that is important, rather than having the exactly correct view of how it happens.

To use an imperfect analogy -- much better to think flipping a light switch causes a light to turn on because there are monkeys in the walls who are riding bicycles to generate electricity, but be current on one's electric bill, than to completely understand how electricity works but refuse to pay the bill.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Welcoming a New Blog to the ISM Blogosphere

There is a rabbinic understanding of heaven as being a yeshiva where rabbis will learn Torah and argue over the intricate points of the law throughout eternity.  

A little over twenty years ago, when I was a second-year student in divinity school, I walked into the registrar's office and introduced myself to a young first-year student.  It turned out that we were both, at the time, Episcopalian, and I remember that he told me that in Arkansas, where he was from, when they got rid of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, "they got off their knees and got their guns", and thus began a friendship that has lasted ever since, albeit with times of more and less contact.  Both of us later made our way in the Roman obedience, each trying religious life (oddly enough, with a mutual classmate, even though ten years separated our experiments, and the sketchy mutual classmate had undergone a name change in the mean time).  Both of us have now made it into the Independent Sacramental Movement, and last weekend, it was my great privilege to share in the laying on of hands as he joined the clergy of our movement, as a priest and then as a bishop.  Throughout our friendship, we have discussed many aspects of our Christian faith, often arguing over the intricate points, even as we share a love of Christ, and I have the blessed hope that we will continue arguing together in heaven in the next life, much as the rabbis pictured heaven.

He now has a blog (he has had well-read blogs before, being an excellent and entertaining writer), and I commend it to you:  I'm sure there will be posts with which I agree and posts with which I disagree.  He did the great favor of quoting me in one of the posts, and he is egging me on to do more posting of my own.  Please check it out.