Draw the Circle Wide

One persepective on some of what is occurring at Canada’s General Synod. I especially liked the pictures.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

12 comments on “Draw the Circle Wide

  1. Kendall Harmon says:

    The agenda is very crowded–too crowded he says. Sounds like General Convention South of the border to me. Ugh.

  2. The_Elves says:

    We’re reposting this for commenter Karen B. since there was a problem with the formatting in her post:

    Kendall, your posting this reminds me that I’d been wanting to point people to Jill Woodliff’s excellent comment over on Stand Firm today. In writing about the Muslim ECUSA priest story, Jill wrote:
    <blockquote>Greg, the examples you gave are the starkest. However, there are loads of other example that are not as stark but nonetheless troubling. For example, the theme of the Canadian General Synod is “Draw the circle wide. Draw it wider still!” It is not a biblical theme. When writing prayers for the Synod, I found few circular images in Holy scripture, and they didn’t fit into the line of reasoning of the organizers of the event. From their , I gather the theme has to do with inclusivity and the medicine wheel.

    The medicine wheels are the stone remains of ceremonial dance and spiritual events (especially those contacting the spirit world) celebrated by the Plains First Nations people. The remains are estimated to be 2500-3000 years old.

    A national synod is using a pagan symbol for a Christian purpose. Holy Scripture is virtually limitless in developing themes for the church. Why resort to a non-biblical theme?

    here’s the link:

    I was glad Jill raised this. I confess it’s been bugging me. Every time I would log into Lent & Beyond the past week or so and see Jill’s prayers for Gen. Synod and the mention of the “Draw the circle wide!” theme. And now we have news of yet more “smudging” (like at KJS’ installation).

    I think we have become blind to the extent to which non-Christian themes and practices infiltrate our church institutions at the deepest level. Part of our task in realignment and reformation is to shine the light on (or rather allow the HS to shine the light on) so much of what we have grown used to and accepted uncritically. May the Lord help us to truly be centered upon Him in all we do and say.

  3. The_Elves says:

    oh. bother.
    we give up on the formatting problem. At least the link to Jill W’s comment on SF works. You can read it and find the two links she’s posted there.

  4. Irenaeus says:

    “Draw the circle wide. Draw it wider still!”

    Easy to see how this overarching theme for the General Synod fits the ruling revisionists’ agenda.

    Christians have sometimes used circle themes, as in “Let the Circle Be Unbroken.” We could also certainly ask people to “come into the circle” (e.g., believe and follow Christ).

    But note that “draw the circle” literally suggests that the people remain where they are. Instead of calling people to change, we redefine faith, discipleship, right conduct, or the like.

    PS: Wiccans love circles.

  5. Larry Morse says:

    Ah, smudging? I thought this was for keeping mosquitoes off. Why are they doing this? LM

  6. Jill C. says:

    No wonder there have been so many prayers for the church in the North Country — specifically on Lent & Beyond! Smudging, ever-widening circles. And today was the summer solstice. Hmm . . .

  7. plainsheretic says:

    Sheepdog and Larry,

    Smudging is a form of using incense. It is a native american tradition used to symbolize purification before a ritual and a lifting of bad spirits. It is not much different than when a church uses incense for liturgy as a symbol of prayers rising. Or when a preist washes hands just before the celebration of Eucharist. Or the sprinkling of Holy Water on people. Smudging is certainly not necessary, but a ritual that has been incoroporated into use by native american christians and sometimes by the larger church that they are a part.

    It is an insult to your brother and sister christians to suggest they are pagans because they use a different ceremony you don’t understand.

  8. Irenaeus says:

    “Ah, smudging? I thought this was for keeping mosquitoes off. Why are they doing this?” —Larry Morse, #5

    Plainsparson [#7]: Try rereading Larry Morse’s comment #5. It does not suggest anyone is a pagan. It poses a question, which you have answered.

  9. plainsheretic says:


    The comment was directed to two people. You are correct. Larry’s asked a question. I’ll be more specific next time.

  10. robroy says:

    Why not come out and say, “Let’s widen the narrow gate!” Oh, maybe that wouldn’t go over to well.

  11. Irenaeus says:

    Robroy [#10]: Gate? What gate? Why would you have a gate unless you wanted to exclude people?

  12. williamscott says:

    Why are they doing this ?…
    William Scott Patrick
    Put The Message Where It Matters! WideCircles aka Wide Circles represents relevant, distributed, highly targeted and efficient internet word of mouth marketing using entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion using social network mediums such as blogs, forums, wikis and so on. http://widecircles.com