Thursday, November 03, 2005

On the feast of Richard Hooker

We make a great deal of Hooker in the Episcopal Church.

Not that many of us have taken the time to pick up and read his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. In fact, I can honestly say that besides my professors in seminary, I know of only one priest (not me) who can boast of having hammered his way through the thousand thousand pages of late-Reformation ecclesiological yoga that Hooker left as a legacy to us Anglicans.

On the up side, he began to clarify and define a vision of inclusivity in the Church that continues to haunt us today.

The bright side of the debate over the "middle way" of Anglicanism means that we get challenged, again and again, to answer the question "Guess who's coming to dinner?" with, "the beloved of God in Christ." Talk about being stretched! This challenge goes head and shoulders beyond any myth of the three-legged stool that we ascribe to Hooker...That the Church should be founded on a "fair and balanced" concept of discernment based, literally, on the concept of and informed by a three-pronged foundation of scripture, reason and tradition.

The Collect for the day challenges us to see the "via media" not as "a compromise for the sake of peace" but "as a comprehension for the sake of truth."

No easy task. That means that we have to make ourselves available, not just to the beauty of holiness but also to the truth that too often we reject that same holiness because it assaults our definitions of propriety, comfort and the norms of common society.

In this season of stewardship, Trinity seems to be getting off to a good start. In and amidst the storms of the season, we are receiving a healthy, early response to our call for support. The deficit reduction plan led by the warden is getting response. We have shaved off just about 1/3 of the deficit in about six weeks. The first Sunday of the "stewardship ask" brought in just over 95 pledges with a total of around $349,000. That is the good news. The other side of that early impression is that we still have 2/3 of the way to go on ending the year flat, and we still have the other half of the journey to make on the way to a balanced budget for nest year.

I am still jumping up and down for joy, though, at the early momentum. It speaks to me of hope and commitment, and that we have the ability...Still...To dream great dreams of where Trinity might go to in the future.

All this as we prepare to move into All Saints' Sunday. It is a season, like everyone other one in the calendar, of saying both hello and goodbye. We will baptize two little boys by the names of David and Timothy (I love that, Hebrew Scripture and New Testament side by side at the font) on Sunday. There will be a parade of saints as the children of the Church School model the personae of those beloved of Christ whom we remember fondly in this feast. Finally, lovingly, there is Evensong. With music from pew and choir...Particularly offerings from Charles Stanford for the Magnificat and the Nunc. Great stuff.

If I can just stay awake!

I have had one of those cold starts after a vacation. Lots of good work to do, but...Unfortunately, not enough hours in the day to get it all done. There are phone calls to answer, mail to prepare, missives to dispatch and connections to be made. There is diocesan convention (and THAT is going to be a humdinger, from all early reports) and a day spent in Philly.

Not much time for theological reflection!

All around. A season of plentiful harvests, in just about every field I pass.

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