Thursday, July 24, 2014

Funeral Details

Lynda Patterson's Christchurch funeral will be at the Transitional Cathedral at 1 pm this Tuesday 29 July 2014. A day or so later her body will be flown to Northern Ireland, accompanied by Bishop Victoria Matthews, where there will be a funeral in Dromore Cathedral.

With Dromore in mind, and H/T Taonga, here is a lovely tribute to Lynda which all who knew her in NZ will endorse:

"“She was our Head Girl and our brightest star - the warmest, smartest and funniest individual one could hope to meet. Everyone in Dromore was very proud of what she achieved and the positive impact she has had on people both at home and in New Zealand. This is such sad news and my thoughts are with Lynda’s friends and family."

This is the full text of Bishop Victoria's letter to the Diocese a few minutes ago:

"Dear Friends,

As you are aware the Very Reverend Lynda Jayne Patterson died of natural causes at home this past weekend.  She was just forty years old.
Her New Zealand funeral will be at one o’clock (1pm) on Tuesday 29 July 2014 at the Transitional Cathedral.  There will be seating for approximately 700.  Following the service afternoon tea will be served. 

Clergy are invited to vest in an alb and white stole.  The vested clergy will form an honour guard for Lynda at the end of the service.  Due to the very limited space at the Transitional Cathedral, the Diocese requests that clergy vest at their cars and walk to the Cathedral in alb (or cassock and surplice) and white stole. The service will be a Requiem.

The casket will arrive at the Cathedral by 10 am on the 29th July and people are invited to come early to pray.
It is anticipated many of the Cathedral Deans and some Bishops of the Province will be in attendance plus numerous out of town friends and family.

Lynda’s Northern Ireland funeral and burial in the family plot will take place in Dromore Cathedral, later in the week.  I will accompany the body to Northern Ireland and will assist with the funeral there.

Thank you so much for your prayers at this difficult time.  Lynda was a friend of so many of us and the preacher, teacher and writer that regularly inspired our ministries.  Her extraordinary and delightful  intelligence always invited us to be our best selves and encouraged us to grow into the people God created us to be.  May her memory be honoured by our continuing to grow into the image of Christ.

“When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this immortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
Death has been swallowed up in victory”.  1 Corinthians 15.54

In the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ,

All manner of things shall not be well

One of the naffest things said amongst Christians - even by myself from time to time - is Julian of Norwich's "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well".

When we continue to read of the situation in Mosul for Christians and possible implications for rising Islamism in the world, for instance in this and this First Things articles, can we say "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well?"

Christianity's success in bearing brave witness has been where Christians have not been expelled or exterminated. The bravery of Christian witness in North Africa, for instance, got the church nowhere as Islam's sweep across that region in its first centuries swept Christians before it with the sword. To this day the church has only a little toehold, certainly not a foothold in North Africa (Egypt excepted).

Yet the chilling thing about ISIS' caliphate is not only that it is putting Christians to the sword but also any who oppose it's advance. So this morning I read in our Press of three Sunni clerics in Mosul killed by the footsoldiers of ISIS. Their crime was to oppose the advance of ISIS' peculiar Sunni-ism.

On a brighter note I have just had a most enjoyable few days at St John's College, Auckland. My primary reason for being there was to do some teaching on the Book of Revelation for a B.Theol. course but a stay either side of the classroom hours provided excellent opportunities to meet with Christchurch students and College staff. All manner of things are well at the College!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't worry folks, all religions are the same and their many ways all lead to the same God

I can think of no other way to explain this news out of Mosul than to say it is simply an expression of the plurality of religions which, at root, are just the same as the other.

No one religion has a monopoly on the truth.

It's all just happy families, this one great family of God's children.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Imago dei and the politics of Jesus - Monday 21 July 2014

Life is rushed this week, and there is the emotional upheaval engendered by the death of a colleague (see post below) holding a pivotal position in diocesan life.

So, this week, I will let someone else do the talking, here. What do you think of what Gary Ferngren has to say?

A final, brief thought: in the light of the terrible evil manifest in the world this week past, our election is an opportunity to give thanks to God for the many blessings we enjoy here.

We have lost a friend

The Diocese of Christchurch and many Christian brothers and sisters beyond the Diocese, throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, Northern Ireland and England (especially Oxford) are mourning the loss of our Dean, Lynda Patterson who died today of natural causes.

Taonga and Stuff report her death and briefly summarise her life and ministry.

This news is a shock to many of us who enjoyed friendship and collegiality with her. For myself I enjoyed both friendship and the special collegiality of co-authoring two Lenten studies together. We were in the process of composing the third in the series when she died.

As further news comes to hand I will endeavour to post it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Muriel Porter complains about representative democracy in the Australian Anglican church

Notwithstanding my support for women being ordained priests and bishops as well as deacons, I can see a silly complaint when I see one.

Muriel Porter, doyen of all things liberal in Oz Anglicanism, is now grizzling at the most liberal step any church can take, to allow itself to have representative democracy!

If only our ACANZP General Synod has similar representative democracy I wonder how voting on the likes of Motion 30 would go!?

Radner on women bishops or, Why I am an evangelical!

Ephraim Radner offers a few thoughts at First Things on the ecumenical implication of the ordination of women bishops in the CofE. Mostly it is a standard canvassing of familiar issues: this is a nail in the coffin of formal unity between Rome and Canterbury, but not the only nail and in any case the body inside is "null and void". There is a sideways glance at Anglicans not agreeing to such ordination, including a prognostication re ACNA resiling from the ordinations it currently accommodates. The article ends with this:

"Without knowing how it will be parsed out, I can say that there is much of this acknowledgement, truth-facing, examination, and confession still to come among Anglicans and their brethren on the matter of women’s ordination and consecration to the episcopate. As on much else. Our work now is to determine how this will happen."
I think this means that Anglicans, Romans and Eastern Orthodox might one day speak honestly and/or change their minds (one way or t'other) and/or repent of what they have or haven't done re ordaining women. (But I am not sure ... your help in comments appreciated!)

My own take on these kinds of thoughts is "This is why I am an evangelical!"

An evangelical is a Bible-reading (so far so most Christians), Bible-respecting (so far not as many Christians as those who read the Bible), Reformation-influenced (so far every Protestant and Anglican), Reformation-keen (not all Anglicans, in my experience) believer who is for ever questioning things passed on as "tradition" or "reason" in the light of the Bible and who poses those questions with Reformation theology as a frame for the questions and as a lens for inspecting the putative answers, with a particular twist which asks "What the gospel of new life in Christ means for this generation?"

That last question, incidentally, brings out the 'evangelical' (i.e. gospel-orientation) in many Christians, as (to take a famous instance) we see happening in the current Pope.

So, I am not that keen on seeing doom and gloom, or simply yet further confusion on the ecumenical front as some are doing.

My keenness is on finding our what the gospel means today. If that means as we read the Bible we are overturning 1 year or 10 years or 1500 years or even 2014 years of tradition, or critiquing received or perceived reason, then so be it. As we find out the meaning of the gospel we should be finding it out as Christians. We should be, as the subtitle to Radner's article says, be 'Facing Truth Together.'

On the ordination of women, why think and write as though Anglicans are misreading the gospel? Our question to Romans and Eastern Orthodox (and to some of ourselves) is, Why do you persist in misreading the gospel?

Ecumenism is a global reading of Scripture together. But such reading comes from 'Facing Truth Together' rather than from (say) 'Presuming Tradition is True' or 'We will be "Together" Facing Truth when you agree with us'

An evangelical never presumes that a majority reading is right simply because it is a majority nor that the traditional or rational reading is right because it is traditional or because it is rational.

Some evangelicals might part company with me when I also say, conversely, that an evangelical ought not to dismiss a majority reading out of hand (the majority might be the church on the way to universal agreement; opposition to the majority might be over-emphasis on individualism), nor a traditional reading (since for the most part tradition is about the accumulation of universal readings of Scripture) nor a rational reading (since our ability to reason is part of God's gift of humanity).

What is important for an evangelical is that the truth of the gospel is found. Whether it is through affirmation of tradition or deconstruction of tradition matters little.

What matters is being faithful to Jesus, what he taught and what he did, upholding and proclaiming the news which he announced through word and deed. This is a whole Bible matter, not just a concern for the four gospels, because the law and the prophets enable us to understand what Jesus meant and the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles chart the way for  faithful understanding of the meaning of the gospel.

So, Yes, Ephraim, "acknowledgement, truth-facing, examination, and confession". But let it be a renewal of ecumenical relationships through a renewed reading of Scripture together, an evangelical ecumenism.

My own understanding of 'honest' (i.e. what people really think deep down) Roman thinking on ordination is that many Catholics are open to the ordination of women.

It might be that Anglican decisions are God speaking again to fellow Christians about what the gospel means for the ordering of our life together in the one - there is only one - body of Christ.

SINCE WRITING the above I have come across these two responses to the decision: English and Welsh Catholic and Russian Orthodox.