2013 Doctrine and Worship Committee Anglican Diocese of Toronto 11/1/2013
Talking Theology Faith Seeking Understanding
Table of Contents
Foreword by the Archbishop of Toronto Parish ministry has been the heart of Anglican ministry for centuries. It is enormously rewarding – at least some of the time! It is also extremely demanding, drawing on the depths of the spiritual and intellectual resources of the pastor. These need to be replenished on a continuing basis. I know personally how easy it is to let the all consuming demands of ministry eat into the best intentions to read and reflect theologically. And in a time of rapid change in attitudes, information and practices, whether in church, in society or across the world, it can be so tempting to either hunker down with what you already know or be swept along in the latest current without pondering the implications. But what am I going to read? What will feed mefeed me and even stretch me? When will I have time? With whom can I tease out the ideas and discuss the questions that the reading generates? Our diocesan Doctrine and Worship Committee has drawn together a number of timely, short and provocative pieces to generate such discussion on a range of topics: preaching, sacraments, biblical interpretation, mission, transitions, knowledge and language. Each is accompanied by a series of questions to prompt discussion not to contain it. None of the articles makes claim to provide the definitive answer but each is educative in the true sense of the word: leading you out into a larger space. St. Anselm, some 1000 years ago, wrote both as a theologian and as a pastoral Archbishop of Canterbury that each of us, according to our ability, is to engage in the theological endeavor of “faith seeking understanding” or as a recent author interpreted Anselm’s motto: “an active love of God seeking a deeper knowledge of God.” I strongly commend these documents to you and ask you to begin a series of theological discussions at clericus. The gathering of the deanery clergy, all of you theologically educated, sharing a common tradition but expressing and living it in a variety of ways, is an ideal venue for this. In fact, that is what the diocesan canon on regional deans says clericus is intended to be: “for the promotion of closer fellowship, for group study, for conference on the state of the Church, and for the organization of special educational or financial efforts” (Canon 20) I am grateful to the Doctrine and Worship Committee for providing us with this excellent resource so we can engage as clergy in Talking Theology.
The Most Rev’d Colin R. Johnson, 3
Archbishop of Toronto
How to use This Guide This study is intended for the exclusive useexclusive use of clergy licensed in the Anglican diocese of Toronto. Clergy willClergy will need two applications to use theuse the study: Acrobat® Reader and Dropbox. Adobe Acrobat® Reader is available as a free download here: http://www.adobe.com/products/reader.html. Once installed Acrobat® Reader is as easily accessible as any other application from your start menu or task bar. Look for this icon to open Acrobat® Reader: It is usually the default application for opening Presentation Document Format –PDF files, and should automatically open this guide. Dropbox is available as a free download here: https://www.dropbox.com . As the study is restricted, Mary, Mary Conliffe will manage access, by invitingby clergyinviting clergy to connect to a clergy only Dropbox folder. Once installed Dropbox will appear as a blue icon on the lower right hand side of your screen: Once Acrobat® Reader andReader and Dropbox are installedare installed on your computer and you have accepted Mary Conliffe’s invitation to connect to the “Talking Theology” folder , you, you are ready to use this study. Open theOpen the “Study Guide” sub-folder:
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Copyright Permissions Great care has been taken to ensure copyright clearance for each article included in the project, Talking Theology: Faith Seeking Understanding. You will notice a wide variance in the expression of copyrights granted coming as they do from several different publishers ranging from free access, to a single sum, to a per page cost. The publisherâ€™s authorization is copied at the beginning of each excerpt with the Introduction and Questions. Included in the copyright arrangement is the understanding that the articles can only be used by the clergy of the diocese of Toronto for the purposes of this project.
Abiding in the Body by Ben Quash “Abiding in the Body,” in Abiding: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2013 by Ben Quash. (London: Continuum, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc., 2012), 10-40. Copyright Permission Permission is granted to reproduce the copyright material stated above subject to the following conditions: 1. That no alterations, deletions, additions or amendments may be made to the material without our written permission. 2. That this permission covers non-exclusive English language rights in the following territories: Canada” Introduction Ben Quash is a Professor of Christianity and Arts at King’s College, London, England. This particular text is part of the annual series of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lenten Studies and is a great book for both personal devotion and reading groups. It is vey accessible and profoundly insightful. From the Dust Cover, “Abiding is not a word we have much use for in everyday conversation. Yet Ben Quash shows that this one concept is central to the Christian life. … Drawing on the wisdom and imagery of modern fiction, film and art, as well as key examples of key figures in the classical Christian tradition, Quash skillfully and creatively explores the implications that ‘abiding’ has for our bodies and minds, our relationships and communities, and our spiritual lives.” Each chapter of the book has a “Coda” to it with some focused questions for discussion. This particular chapter asks, “Think about your community – your place – Think about a way you might show your commitment to it; might help to “curate” it.” Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/rb6w6i6q853aox2/Quash%20-%20Abiding%20in%20the%20Body%20pp%201-23.pdf https://www.dropbox.com/s/wp285da3s6ny3r4/Quash%20-%20Abiding%20in%20the%20Body%20pp%202440.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. How does Quash think of abiding as a theological concept and does his explanation of the concept contrast with our experience of life as being so profoundly transient? 2. What do you find challenging about his concept of abiding as not the “same as keeping things just as they always have been” or the same as “sheer staying power.” 3. In this chapter he looks at the character of St Benedict as a man who created a community and lifestyle of stability in a context of profound change. In light of Quash’s concept of abiding, how might this endeavour by Benedict be seen as appealing in your own context? Quash has a little discussion on “fresh expressions” of church and the parish model of being church. How does he relate this conversation to his concept of abiding and what strength can you draw from it as you engage in parish ministry?
“Cold Dead Hands Upon our Threshold”: Josephine Butler’s Reading of the Story of the Levite’s Concubine, Judges 19-21 by Marion Ann Taylor “’Cold Dead Hands Upon our Threshold’: Josephine Butler’s Reading of the Story of the Levite’s
Concubine, Judges 19-21” by Marion Ann Taylor, in The Bible as a Human Witness to Divine Revelation: Hearing the Word of God through Historically Dissimilar Traditions, edited by Brian Irwin and Randall Heskett. (London: T&T Clark an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc., 2010), 259-273. Copyright Permission Permission is granted subjectgranted subject to the following conditions: 1. That no alterations, deletions, additions or amendments may be made to the material without our written permission. 2. That this permission covers non-exclusive English language rights in the following territories: Canada.” Introduction This paper raises several important issues related to biblical interpretation and God's call to care for the marginalized. The first raises the issues of how to deal with so- called texts of terror in Scripture. Can we hear God's voice speaking to the church in stories like that of the Levite's concubine in Judges 19-21? The second raises the issues of methods of interpretation. Many contemporary biblical scholars are seeing the value in methods of interpretation that historical critics outrightly rejected. Butler models the usefulness of reading Scripture canonically, intertextually and figurally. Thirdly, the paper raises the issue of God's people’s responsibility to speak prophetically to the church and to culture more broadly, calling them to listen to the cries of the oppressed and to act on their behalf. Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/bve4nk61tvfh796/Taylor-Cold%20Dead%20Hands%20Upon%20Our %20Threshold.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. What theological teaching does Josephine Butler draw out of the story of the Levite's concubine? 2. Discuss Butler's use of other passages in Scripture as intertexts to illuminate the story. 3. Specifically how does she use Luke 7:36–50, Luke 8:40–48 and Rev 3:20 to help her locate the gospel message in this gruesome story? What other Old Testament and New Testament passages relate to the themes in this passage? 4. Stories of violence are regularly omitted from the lectionary and rarely preached on. Butler herself had never heard anyone preach on Judges 19. Would you preach on this story? Can you hear the whispers of God in Judges 19? 5. If you read this story as a "typical tragedy" as Butler suggests, where would you place yourself and the church?
The Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann “The Life of the World,” in For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy, by Alexander Schmemann. (New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1973), 11-22. Copyright Permission The text is used with permission of the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press... The book may be found at: (http://www.svspress.com/for-the-life-of-the-world/ ). St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (Press (914-9612203). The text is not to be further distributed. Fr Benedict Introduction Schmemann was a Russian Orthodox theologian who studied in France and taught in the United States. For the Life of the World was intended for his students but has appealed to a far wider audience. Speaking of secularism and the Church’s response of an “almost Manichean rejection of the world,” Schmemann argues for realigning our understanding of the Church in relationship to the world. He looks to “that living and unbroken experience of the Church which she reveals and communicates to us in her worship, in the leitourgia always making her that which she is: the sacrament of the world, the sacrament of the Kingdom – their gift to us in Christ.“ Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/br256uo9qjtf6b6/Schmemann-For%20the%20Life%20of%20the%20World.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. Schmemann speaks of the accumulation of a disregard for God as “the original sin that blights the world.” He also states that the source of the Fall is a “non-Eucharistic life in a non-Eucharistic world.” What does he mean by these statements? How would Schmemann’s understanding of us as priests in creation affect the way we view the world, and such things as the ecological crisis? 2. The Eucharist is central to Schmemann’s argument in this chapter: ‘in Christ, life – life in all its totality – was returned to man, given again as sacrament and communion, made Eucharist.’ How might his understanding of the Eucharist as much more than ‘an escape into a timeless spirituality’ challenge us in the way we think of it today? 3. Schmemann criticizes “secularism” and “materialism” which wrongly isolate the world from its Creator. However, he is equally critical of “religion” which seeks to keep the “spiritual” separate from the world. How does this impact us in terms of our understanding of the church and mission? 4. While Schmemann discusses food as simply one example of how we have created a sacred/secular divide, it is clearly a very important one for him. What practical choices can we make in terms of how and what we eat in order to recapture the sacramental character of eating in our daily life? What is the relationship between everyday eating and the celebration of the Eucharist? 5. Schmemann’s understanding of Christ’s presence in the world has implications both for our understanding of the Church and of faithful people of other religions. How would you understand those implications?
The Narrative Embedment of Prophetic Preaching by Walter Brueggemann “The Narrative Embedment of Prophetic Preaching,” in The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipatory Word, by Walter Brueggemann. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012),1-19. Copyright Permission Permission has been granted for this use. Michael Moore | Copyright Administrator Augsburg Fortress Publishers 100 S Fifth Street, Suite 600 Minneapolis, MN 55402 Introduction From the dustcover: “The unavoidable context of prophetic preaching today, Walter Brueggemann argues, is ‘a contestation between narratives.’ The dominant narrative of our time promotes selfsufficiency at the national level (through militarism) and the personal (through consumerism). But a countervailing narrative describes a world claimed by a God who is gracious, uncompromising – and real…Here [Brueggemann] writes for those who bear responsibility for regular proclamation in communities of faith, describing the discipline of a prophetic imagination that is unflinchingly realistic and resolutely faithful.” Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/g17cctliix3yve8/Brueggemann-Practice%20of%20Prophetic%20Imagination.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. How do you preach the Old Testament? How does this chapter challenge your homiletical approach to the Old Testament? 2. What is prophetic preaching in your context? 3. Brueggemann proposes that we image God as non interventionist on the one hand or “God as a pet,”orpet, “or a biased interventionist concerned with a particular “nation, party, race, gender or ideology,” and on the other represents a “conventional idolatry.” In your opinion, have these idolatries or similar idolatries been visible in the Church? If so, what are the consequences or implications for the Church’s current situation and future potential? 4. Brueggemann proposes that prophetic preaching presupposes God as “a real character and an effective agent in the world,” and is then “the staging and performance of a contest between two narrative accounts of the world”: that of the socially transformative, justice oriented, compassionate Gospel narrative versus that of the idolatry or atheism implied in the dominant narrative of “military consumerism.” In your opinion, how is the Church either embedded in or contrasted to the dominant narrative? In contesting the dominant narrative, does prophetic preaching have a valid role in the public square?
Faith as the Way to Knowledge by Lesslie Newbigin “Faith as the Way of Knowledge” in Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship by Lesslie Newbigin. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995),1, 1-15. Copyright Permission Eerdmans policy is to grant gratis permission for uses of material for church study groups so long as the photocopies have a citation on their front covers (see above) and are not distributed outside of the small study groups. Tom DeVries Subsidiary Rights Manager Introduction Lesslie Newbigin (1909-98) was a larger than life figure known for his deep humility, sharp intellect and powerful preaching. He was a theologian, missionary, and pastor whose stature as missionary to South India (1936-74), ecumenical leader (WCC 1959-65), “retired” pastor/teacher in Birmingham, and prolific writer made him one of the most respected voices in the twentieth-century global church. The introductory chapter excerpt from his Proper Confidence is but a drop distilled from his long and fruitful career. The focus he developed from his years of missionary work, coupled with his interest in science as expressed in his absorption of Michael Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge, yielded an application of the cross-cultural transmission of the Gospel to a post-Christian society that relegated religion to a private sphere. He stressed the empowering viewpoint that science and religion were alike in bringing to their spheres communal thought patterns that enabled understanding much as a lens clarifies vision. Unlike the pluralism of postmodernism where everything is “true for you or true for me,” Newbigin proclaimed the message of the New Testament as an announcement of the particular that is universal. We are prophetically called to be energetic witnesses, the new Israel, the Christ-embodied church giving away the Good News. Hope lies not in our successes or achievements but in the actions of God against all odds. It is this hope in the risen Christ, and not our own performance, that gives significance to all we do. Along with an autobiography published in 1993, Unfinished Agenda, Newbigin has produced 18 major works and many articles. The following website from the Newbigin Archives provides an excellent historical context for his life and works: http://www.newbigin.net/general/biography.cfm . Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/vnernbgxxl0c8gk/Newbigin-Faith%20as%20the%20way%20to%20Knowledge.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. Written in 1995, Proper Confidence distillsdistils much of Newbegin’s thinking vis-à-vis the church’s mission to Western culture, now as alien to Christianity as India had been to the gospel. Building on the work of Michael Polanyi, Newbegin challenges the separation of science and faith into two worlds governed by different suppositions. Each brings a plausibility structure of belief that is not always articulated. How does Augustine’s famous “I believe in order to understand” intersect with Descartes’ notion of doubting in order to understand? Where does your emphasis lie? 2. Just as Newbegin confronted the authority of a science that claimed objectivity, we too need to confront the reigning paradigm that relegates religion to a private, subjective sphere. This dualism is 12
foreign to the Scriptures that present an embodied God in Christ and an embodied church in the world. How does this insight inform the modern mission of Christ to the world? 3. The God encountered in the Old Testament and in the Son Jesus in the New Testament ask us: “Adam, where are you?” and “Who do you say that I am?” How does Newbegin’s explanation of personal knowing assist in answering these questions? 4. Many educators would argue that an important part of teaching is helping students learn to ask questions. In proper confidence Newbigin suggests that the Incarnation confronts us with a reality which forces us to rethink the questions we are asking. Indeed it involves allowing ourselves to be questioned. How might this perspective shape the way we understand teaching and preaching in the Church? 5. In speaking of the Benedictine monastic communities and how they were formed or catechized Newbigin suggests, ‘The biblical story came to be the one story that shaped the understanding of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.’ In what ways would this be true or not true of the church today? What are some practical ways we might understand what it means to be formed by the biblical story? 6. Newbigin challenges the distinction between theory and practice suggesting that in the context of faith we only know God as we live in response to God. How does this distinction impact our church communities today and what might we do to address these issues? 7.
The Mission-Forged Church: Participating in the Mission of God by Graham Hill “The Mission-Forged Church: Participating in the Mission of God” in Salt, Light, and a City: Introducing Missional Ecclesiology” by Graham Hill. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2012), 151-179. Copyright Permission Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers. www.wipfandstock.com" Tyler Stewart IT Systems, Rights and Permissions, and Custom Reprints Wipf & Stock Publishers 199 West 8th Avenue, Suite 3 Eugene, Oregon 97401-2960 USA Introduction Graham Hill’s contribution to the burgeoning literature of practical missiology addresses a missing element: the interrelationship of missiology, ecclesiology, and theology. Ecumenical in orientation, the book explores the ecclesiology of twelve ecclesiologists beginning with the Roman Catholic contribution of Joseph Ratzinger through representatives of the Orthodox, Protestant, and Free Church traditions, all of whom situate mission as the church’s raison d’être. Strongly biblical in perspective, Hill is culturally sensitive and welcoming of reform that goes beyond simple enthusiasm and entertainment. This chapter is a seedbed of references in the current missiological literature that will inspire you to further reading. It is a small slice of something much larger and tantalizing, a timely resource for our Toronto Diocese whose interest in mission is erupting. Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/jscnjdp1kccj8yd/Hill-The%20Mission-Forged%20Church-Participating%20in%20the %20Mission%20of%20God.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. How does the missio Dei shape your understanding of Christian ministry and leadership? 2. In what ways does your church need to be more hospitable and open to difference? 3. If you were to create a list of the “marks of the true church” (notae ecclesiae), and a list of the “missional marks of the church” (notae missionis), what would you include in each? Other Resources 1. Breen, Mike and Alex Absalom. Launching Missional Communities: A Field Guide. Pawleys Island, SC: 3DM, 2010. 2. Driver, John. Images of the Church in Mission. Waterloo, ON: Herald, 1997. 3. Frost, Michael and Alan Hirsch. ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2009. 4. Frost, Michael. Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2006. 14
5. Jenkins, Philip. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 6. Newbigin, Lesslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989. 7. Phan, Peter C. In Our Own Tongues: Perspectives from Asia on Missiology and Inculturation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2003. 8. Seamans, Stephen A. Ministry in the Image of God. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2005. 9. Van Gelder, Craig and Dwight J. Zscheile. The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011. Websites and Blogs 1. Alban Institute 2. Ekklesia Project 3. Emergent Village 4. Friend of Missional 5. Gospel of Our Culture Network in the UK/US 6. Missional Church Network 7. Missional Network 8. New Monasticism 9. Newbegin.net 10. Next reformation 11. Vintage Faith
The Church’s Way of Speaking bySpeaking Robertby Robert Louis Wilken “ The“The Church’s Way of Speaking” by Robert Louis Wilken in First Things. August/September 2005. Accessed June 24, 2013. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-church8217s-way-of-speaking-24 . Copyright Permission “The Church’s Way of Speaking” is reprinted with permission from the August/ September, 2005 issue of First Things (www.firstthings.com ). Introduction
Robert Louis Wilken is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity Emeritus at the University of Virginia. His publications include Remembering the Christian Past (Eerdmans, 1995), The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God (Yale, 2003), and The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity (Yale, 2012). This article was chosen for its focus on questions of liturgical language which are highly pertinent to a traditional church in transition. As we seek to reach out to the "unchurched" members of our (profoundly secular) society, Wilken's article invites us to ponder what are the constituent elements of the cultural identity of a Christian community. Article https://www.dropbox.com/s/709sxtd35904yhg/Wilken-The%20Church%27s%20Way%20of%20Speaking.pdf
Reflection Questions 1. What is "the Lord's style of language"? What are some examples of uniquely Christian ways
2. Is language a defining part of the Christian community? Is the Christian faith "embedded in
3. What is accomplished when we learn to speak the Church's language and "think the
4. How is "Christian culture to be sustained and deepened" in the face of a surrounding
culture which is hostile to it? Further, how can it take up "its role as teacher to society", "inspiring the culture" around it, rather than "capitulate to the ethos of the world"?
5. Wilken writes, "If the Bible is the lexicon of Christian speech, then the liturgy is its grammar,
a place to come to know and practice the Christian idiom and to be formed by it." What would it look like for people to be formed by the liturgy (rather than assuming the liturgy should be formed by us)? 6. Wilken describes the process of translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, and
then into English. "There must be translation into the Lord's style of language," he writes. What might be the implications for ethnic groups and indigenous peoples developing an authentic Christian language within their mother tongues? 16
Other Resources 1. Romano Guardini, The Spirit of the Liturgy (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1998) 2. Uwe Michael Lang, The Voice of the Church at Prayer: Reflections on Liturgy and Language
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012). 3. Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Louisville: Westminster
John Knox Press, 2007)
Bibliography Brueggemann, Walter. “The Narrative Embedment of Prophetic Preaching.” In The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipatory Word, by Walter Brueggemann, 1-19. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012. Hill, Graham. Salt, Light, and a City: Introducing Missional Ecclesiology. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2012. Newbigin, Lesslie. Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans , 1995. Quash, Ben. Abiding: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2013. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. Schmemann, Alexander. “The Life of the World.” In For the Life of the World:Sacraments and Orthodoxy, by Alexander Schmemann, 11-22. New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1973. Taylor, Marion Ann. ““Cold Dead Hands Upon our Threshold": Josephine Butler’s Reading of the Story of the Levite’s Concubine, Judges 19-21.” In The Bible as a Human Witness to Divine Revelation: Hearing the Word of God through Historically Dissimilar Traditions, by Brian Irwin and Randall Heskett. eds., 259-273. London: T&T Clark, 2010. Wilken, Robert Louis. “The Church's Way of Speaking.” First Things. 2001 йил August/ September. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-church8217s-way-of-speaking-24 (accessed 2013 йил 24-June).