Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Where have I been?

No updates for a while so...

  • The community is going well. Meeting regularly and just hanging out, sharing life together, loving one another, eating, drinking and praying.

  • Coralie(Chris' wife) unfortunately had a miscarriage this week and is in hospital tomorrow to have the process completed. Whilst it has been a hard time for us we are thankful that we already have children and that we have been surrounded by so many caring and compassionate friends and family.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Looking back again…

Hope you liked the poem in the last post. R S Thomas is one of my faves…

I have been rediscovering Anglo Catholicism at the moment.

I thing there are Three reasons for this

(1) My last post on social action and faith. The English slum priests were amazing at showing God’s love in action, without slipping into social gospel or reducing belief in any way.

(2) My father was an Anglo-catholic Priest who, now he has joined me in the RC’s, has bequeathed me many of his books. I am reading one in particular at the moment “The Parish Communion” which is both a practical handbook and apologetic for the Eucharist in the Church of England. It was written in 1937, when the Eucharist was generally just listened to ( as opposed to participated in) and sometimes celebrated as little as twice a year. The theology is wonderfully catholic, the pastoral understanding brilliant and the wisdom invaluable. 70 years later it is continuing to deepen my understanding and participation in the Eucharist.

(3) Driving past the local Anglican church which I thought was Evangelical and seen on their notice board times for DAILY MASS and Confession!
Go figure?

I have no real desire to go back to where I came from, but deepening my understanding of my families religious history, and studying some amazing theology and people (esp. Newman and Mascall), whose beliefs are pure Catholic and Patristic, is wonderful.

Didn’t the song say “Read the books your father read…” ? Hmmmm.

Heres a great bit from “The Parish Communion”:

In our worship of God through Christ in his Sacrament we are one in Him;
There we must go to find our unity, and by that road we shall come in time to a real understanding of one another…

As I celebrate the Eucharist tomorrow I will pray for our unity.
Please do the same.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it.
But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that
had treasure in it. I realize
now that I must give all
that I have to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receeding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

by R. S. Thomas

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Over on Martha Martha, they have a very confronting display of depression images.

I searched for some of Australia and found an excellent resource here and here.

It was awful time in the history of the world. Poverty. Pain and despair.

Even here in “The Lucky Country”

One of the traps I find in any church movement, be it Emerging or Catholic or whatever, is balancing spiritual concerns with social justice. My natural tendency is towards silence and solitude, multi textural liturgy, rich and deep. But how does a concern for the poor fit into this?

But all of this is useless if I do not love the world around me – doing what I can to be a light to those around me and share their journey.

I think of the great Anglo Catholic Anglican priests of the 1930’s who lived and worked with the poor. The monks throughout the world who open their doors to the stranger and guest, without judgement or expectation of payment.

All of them living a rich liturgical life, lifting the hearts of the weary and broken into the mystery of God.

These saints are a model for me; Serving God's people with Balance, Compassion and Grace.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Maybe the Boomers aren't the bad guys...

When I found this article, I sent it on to an Anglican Minister friend of mine (at my wife Coralie's parish, in Cottesloe). I am helping out with the liturgy there - trying to get better flow and use the Arts more effectively. Anyway, when I visited on Sunday he had printed it in the bulletin (anonymously thank goodness!) What do you think?

Maybe the Boomers Aren't the Bad Guys After All"My heart goes out to the Boomers," I muttered to myself, as I sat through a traditional service I visited recently. "They were raised with this stuff, and they ran away. I don't blame them."I've been pretty hard on the Boomers. They moved the church from the urban to the suburban, from the older church building to the suburban mega-complex, and they removed all symbols and rituals from worship and replaced them with praise choruses. What's to like?

I've spent some time visiting some traditional denominations recently, and I have begun to develop some sympathy for the Boomers. These communities, upheld by the Silent Generation, participate in rituals that have lost their meaning. If meaning is what something is and does in the life of a community, then I see no meaning in these activities. In some of the places I've visited, these rituals were lifeless and unconnected to the rest of life. They did not communicate in the 'real' world at all, at least not in mine. This communion really does seem reduced to grape juice and bread. Bread of life? Not in that service!

So, maybe the Boomers did what they could in simply moving away from practices that no longer carried meaning. They introduced rock and roll to church because none of the church music integrated their everyday life to God. They removed Communion because it was anything but that. They moved the church to the strip mall because that is where they lived. I constantly give credit to Emerging Churches for retrieving rituals and integrating them with popular culture -- rooting the community in a tradition while fostering a contemporary vigor. The Eucharist, the Christian Calendar, Ignatian prayers, body prayers, the Jesus prayer, praying the hours, lectio divina, labyrinths, the use of icons, all have a home in Emerging Churches. The difference is that Emerging Churches integrate these rituals into their everyday lives, and these practices are now pregnant with meaning, both corporately and individually. But maybe Emerging Churches were able to do what they did because the Boomers cleared the way. Just maybe..

PS I agree with much of what he says BUT I also think that life is present in the Liturgical Churches (I do wonder what he means by traditional? Protestant? Catholic? Presbyterian?) but it is only "visible" to us when when we are present to it - which takes exposure, time, understanding and grace. And of course, these are prime reasons for my Catholic conversion!

The original, and a very interesting site, are here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


A Meal.
Glass of Wine.
Easter Candle.
Salva Regina in Latin.

Save us Lord, While we are awake.
Protect us while we sleep.
That we may keep watch with Christ,
and rest with him, in peace.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

From the Carthusian

When I say Christ is our Joy, I mean the total Christ. For our joy is realised not only in our communion with Jesus, but also in our communion with those we love in him, with those who are his dear members. The joy of the love of a dear one, the joy of loving them in Christ, that is the pure joy of the Spirit in us.

Let us accept this joy, openly and gently from the hands of Christ.

Thank you for being my joy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Confessions of a Liturgical Christian

I am a Liturgical Christian.

But what do I mean by this? Why is Liturgy a good thing? Why do I get grumpy, especially with the boomer generation, who don't seem to, or even want to, get it - or at least want to change it constantly?

For me, and the community, Liturgy is the foundation of our expression of the faith. It is a means by which both the truths of faith are expressed (Readings, creeds, homilies, hymns) and God is seen and experienced (Sacraments, Rites, Rituals, Seasons).

The mystery of God can be expressed liturgically in silence, in confession, in celebration, in simplicity, in brokenness.

We join with the whole history of Christians in worship - especially in the breaking of bread at the Eucharist.

It creates a holistic environment where God is palatable among us. I have sensed God's presence in the liturgy which has bought me to tears - in a way beyond words or explanation.

Liturgy pulls the attention off us and directs us to God. We in turn become formed by the Liturgy - its rhythms and depths opening to us through our participation.

Enough for One day. Off to say Lauds!

Monday, May 01, 2006

More on Practice

As I think about the outward shape of my Christian life again, I have rediscovered a terrific book - which is now part of a series.

Benedictine Sister Mary Mary Funk (also here and here) has written a terrific book - "Tools matter for practicing the Spiritual life".

In it she lists 25 practices which can sustain and support our spiritual journey.

Some she lists are Lectio, guarding the heart, watchfulness of thoughts, fasting, dreams, repentance, ceaseless prayer, manual labor, the cell, vigils, manifestation of thoughts, humility, ministry, and the common table.

It's quite a list, but one which gives me hope and encouragement that I can find a way to pray in the midst of whatever life experience I am having.

She has also written two other books "Thoughts matter ..." And "humility matters...". Think I would like to read these!!

These themes - about how we practice faith and prayer - are being picked up all over the place. Try these cool writings from some of my web friends and people I admire. Here and Here .

How's your prayer life? What is sustaining you today?