Saturday, 24 October 2009

Talking to each other

Picture a hot, dry day. A huge trailer passes by, throwing up a cloud of dust which hangs for a few moments before disappearing, whilst the trailer moves on. So we had Fit for Mission or so it seems. I have not seen anything much happen locally as a result of Fit for Mission other than a church close and some proposals for future parish amalgamations. In Blackpool, the Deanery Pastoral Council defunctus est ( I got that from the Bayeux tapestry) and there is no rush to replace it. Whatever its faults might have been, though, it did represent a willingness and an opportunity for lay people to be part of the process of growth and activity in the Church in the area. Now there is no collective body in which lay views can be made known.

Whilst I would not be keen to rush into Deanery pastoral Council 2, it concerns me that there is no clear way forward; and who, is going to make the decisions about what happens in the Deanery. Fit For Mission, if it has not already been back -burnered must now be discussed at local level and that means a significant and continuing role for the laity.

The problem I have is that there is little or no communication within the Deanery. We need to look urgently at the issue of communication. If you don't know what is happening how can you contribute and if ,as a lay person, you can't contribute then where does that leave you in terms of being a Church member?
So is Fit for Mission dead? Are there any plans locally? Is there anybody there?

Amnesia of love

"Love does not bear a grudge.It appreciates others anew each day and with new love, and it forgets what is past."
Dietrich Bonhoffer
This amnesia of love requires us to live in the present moment. Love has no history,it has no future; it has only the present moment. Perhaps, not even that, because when we truly love as God loves, we step outside of time and into eternity.
Love is not a feeling, it is an action. To know how to love we look at Jesus and reflect on Paul's words in Corinthians 13. Corinthians 13, in fact, provide us with the perfect example for a daily examination of conscience. "Love one another as I have loved you" is the daily measure of our faith.
Bonhoffer says other things about most of our love being self-love, though heavily disguised. Perhaps the best antidote to the poison of self love is to remember that if God loves me, I don't need to waste any time on loving myself.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Benedict the Poacher

Much discussion in even the secular Press about the Vatican's proposals to welcome in more dis-affected Anglicans and to welcome them on a much more formal and structured way. I don't profess to understand the technicalities of the proposal but it does seem that provision is being made for a substantial Anglo-Catholic presence in the Church. These new entrants won't be just slipping quietly into the back pews. No, they will have there own distinct identity and practices and will form a church within the Church.

All this seems to have come upon the leadership of the Anglican Communion like "a thief in the night" and though positive, ecumenical noises are continuing to be made, it does have the appearance of making the best of a bad situation.

I don't think though that there is any place for triumphalism. If this has been arranged without clear and continuing communication with our Anglican brothers and sisters it does look a bit shabby. Not only that, there are many practical hurdles to leap over before these new entrants are fully integrated.
Where does it leave our relations with the rest of the Anglican community?
And where does it leave the "liberal" members of the Church of Rome who are witnessing a very clear shift towards a traditional, orthodox Roman Catholicism.

Benedict has set out his stall from the return of the the schismatic, Vatican 2 deniers. This new move makes clear his agenda and his vision of the Church.
I suppose my concern is that having identified his vision of the Church, are we going to move forward from that or continue to go backwards into a pre-Vatican 2 mindset? I hope that this move does not give encouragement to the more fanatical of our Traditionalist bretheren.
PS I am not amongst the "liberal" group. I value the Roman Catholic Church for its strong , clear doctrinal and moral teachings. I do not, however, want to return to a clerical, centralised autocracy.