Daily Archives: August 13, 2014

[Anglican Mainstream] Christian spirituality, British values, and contemporary teachers

[i]The Rev. Andrew Symes at Anglican Mainstream offers a reflection on the challenge of balancing “the inward and the outward life,” critiques former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ recent interview “How Buddhism Helps me Pray,” and examines British values and Christians’ response in the face of the challenges presented by multi-culturalism. -the elves[/i]

So the life of discipleship is oscillating between rest in God, and fruitful action in the world; both undergirded by active, unhurried, worshipful, compassionate, sometimes agonized prayer. It constantly moves between the two poles of wonder at the sacrifice of Christ dealing with my sin and winning my forgiveness, and engaging sacrificially with others, enabled by the indwelling divine living presence. There is an enormous richness in teaching over the centuries, in different church traditions, on Christ-centred prayer, and on maintaining these two poles, sometimes paradoxical, of inward and outward life, rest and yoke, of abiding and being productive, of atonement and empowerment. Yes there might be imbalance in the teaching of different groups, just as each of us because of our personalities tend to prefer contemplation or activism. But that doesn’t mean we are at liberty to reject clear teachings of Scripture or go searching outside the Christian tradition when Jesus commands us to come to him.

But sadly this is exactly what Rowan Williams advocates in a recent interview:

The whole article is about Williams’ morning spiritual disciplines ”“ what evangelicals might call his “quiet time”. He begins encouragingly by talking about the ”˜Jesus Prayer’ (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”) ”“ one would think that this could be a great opportunity to explain its meaning to the secular readers who clearly are interested in this detail of the personal life of a celebrity. But the phrase does not prompt reflection, in order to worship or pray to the living Christ ”“ it is simply repeated as a mantra, as part of a Buddhist-inspired technique of focusing on one’s body living and breathing in the moment. The former Archbishop does not give any indication at the end of the interview that God might really exist out there, a divine person separate from us, calling on us to repent and come to him in Christ. Rather “God ”˜happens’: a life lived in you”, and the uncomfortable meditative technique is apparently a way in which anyone who puts in the work can become aware of this “inner light”.

Is Rowan Williams embarrassed about embracing and articulating fully the Christian story and the wonderful resources that Christ offers his followers by grace? Does he feel that Jesus is not enough, and the insights and practices of others faiths are needed to get closer to God, to feel loved, to have strength to face the day and help others? Or perhaps he believes that in synthesizing aspects of different religions, he is modelling inclusivity and helping to promote community cohesion between the different faith groups in Britain? This is suggested by his recent appearance as a speaker at the Living Islam Festival at the Lincolnshire showground. But again, is modern Britishness best achieved by a synthesis of Christian, secular, Islamic and Buddhist ”“ and if so how, given the radically different worldviews of these four faiths?

Christianity is in retreat, yet secularism and Islam are becoming more confident in demanding the hegemony of their values. Many orthodox Christian leaders are responding by self-ghettoisation: increasingly arguing that faith is a private matter and that Gospel values, the ethics which flow out of taking on the yoke of Christ and being fruitful in him and on which the best “British values” are based, are only applicable to the converted. We continue to thank God for groups like Christian Institute and Christian Concern who have resisted this route. Liberal thinkers such as Rowan Williams want to engage in the public square, but seem to do so with embarrassment about the apparent former dominance of Christianity: the result is the articulation of a more “generous and inclusive” faith which synthesizes, merges with and ultimately submits to other worldviews rather than confronting, challenging and transforming them.

Read the full entry at Anglican Mainstream

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Multiculturalism, pluralism, Spirituality/Prayer

[BBC] Robin Williams and the link between comedy and depression

…Professor Gordon Claridge, of the University of Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology, studied personality questionnaires filled in by 523 comedians (404 men and 119 women) from the UK, US and Australia.

“We found that comedians had a rather unusual personality profile, which was rather contradictory,” Prof Claridge says.

“On the one hand, they were rather introverted, depressive, rather schizoid, you might say. And on the other hand, they were rather extroverted and manic.

“That was a rather unusual profile. The actors we compared them with didn’t show that, and this was highly significantly different from the norms on the test.

“Possibly the comedy – the extroverted side – is a way of dealing with the depressive side. Of course, this is not true of all comedians.”

Laughing to cope

It is not. Not every comedian has difficulties, and depression is far from particular to creative personalities.

Depression is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK, according to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm). It touches all corners of society…

Read it all

Posted in * General Interest, In Memoriam

Resources to Nourish the Soul–Bruce Hindmarsh on Praying with Thomas Cranmer

From Saint John’s, Vancouver, Bruce Hindmarsh, the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology, speaks on the Book of Common Prayer which he first encountered as a teenager at a bookstall in a mall in Winnipeg. Listen to it all–wonderfully nurturing and encouraging stuff.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, --Book of Common Prayer, Canada, Christology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Seminary / Theological Education, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Growth in Grace to Begin the Day

We beseech thee, O Lord, to give us more love to thee, more joy in our worship, more peace at all times, more longsuffering, more kindness of heart and manner. Grant us the grace of meekness and the power of self-control. May we know something of what it is to be filled with the Holy Ghost; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

Summer Open Thread #2: Your Chance to be a Guest Blogger

[i]With Kendall away, and we elves also having limited blogging time, now’s your chance! If you were Kendall (or an elf) for a day, what entry or entries would you post at T19? In the comments, please provide links to any good articles, videos, sermons, etc. that you think T19 readers would enjoy and find edifying. Please provide more than just the link itself, but a sentence or two as to what the article, etc., is about, and why you recommend it. Thanks. -the elves[/i]

Posted in * Admin, * General Interest, Featured (Sticky)