Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remembering Keble

Today the Church of England is invited to remember John Keble...
I've just been googling and found a site with these "definitions" of the man as
  •  a hero and a model for the modern church
  • an amazing example of patient witness to the gospel truth 
  • a prominent Tractarian theologian and poet 
As a catholic Anglican I'm very conscious of the legacy of the Oxford Movement in both theology and worship. I've snarled quietly (can such things be?) as commentators have announced that there would be a "mass exodus of Catholics" if the Church of England ordained women to the episcopacy. I am a catholic by heartfelt conviction and for too long it has felt as if the church in which I minister has not, itself, been truly catholic in its ministry.

For me, being catholic is all about being the richness of worship, that involves all our senses, in a theology that recognises that Christ on the cross draws ALL to himself and in a practice that asserts "For everyone born, a place at the table". That sense that we have disabled ourselves by excluding people from ministry on the grounds of gender and of sexual orientation has been a heavy burden. That I've lacked the courage to speak about the situation in my daily context has also been a burden - heavier because this by my own choice, my own cowardice.

So I've been thankful for groups like Affirming Catholicism, Inclusive Church and Society of Catholic Priests  for articulating things I feel, and for providing community - which makes all the difference in anxious times.  I'm also thankful for Bishop David Stanncliffe's reminder of what we are all about

Authentic Catholic faith is grounded in Christ’s sharing of human life and his transformation of it. This is the hope to which we hold: the transformation of our lives,our Church and all creation. This is the Good News.

That Good News transcends all party lines...and should surely bring us together, under God. 
Exciting Holiness provided some lovely material for Mass this morning - but if I hear nothing else today, how about this for a word in season?

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6)

Lord, in your mercy hear my prayer.


Freda said...

Don't beat yourself up too much about not speaking out. Pastoring is a complicated process and much of it is about listening and gently trying to help people to consider possibilities about inclusion and acceptance. Every blessing

Jennifer said...

Freda's right, and part of speaking truth is doing so in love, and relatinship building takes time and patience. I'm thinking that you're probably more courageous than you admit...