Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Nice Story

A story of a conversion to Catholicism is by Alec Guinness, known to most of us as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the mega-hit Star Wars. While acting the role of a priest in Father Brown in Burgundy, France, he tells the story of a late-evening shoot that attracted a fair number of local folk, including children. In his autobiography he writes:

A room had been put at my disposal in the little station hotel three kilometres away. By the time dusk fell I was bored and, dressed in my priestly black, I climbed the gritty winding road to the village.

In the square children were squealing, having mock battles with sticks for swords and dustbin lids for shields; and in a café Peter Finch, Bernard Lee and Robert Hamer were sampling their first Pernod of the evening. I joined them for a modest Kir, then discovering I wouldn’t be needed for at least four hours turned back towards the station.

By now it was dark. I hadn’t gone far when I heard scampering footsteps and a piping voice calling, “Mon père!” My hand was seized by a boy of seven or eight, who clutched it tightly, swung it and kept up a non-stop prattle. He was full of excitement, hops, skips and jumps, but never let go of me. I didn’t dare speak in case my excruciating French should scare him. Although I was a total stranger he obviously took me for a priest and so to be trusted.

Suddenly with a “Bonsoir, mon père,” and a hurried sideways sort of bow, he disappeared through a hole in a hedge. He had had a happy, reassuring walk home, and I was left with an odd calm sense of elation.

Continuing my walk I reflected that a Church which could inspire such confidence in a child, making its priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable could not be as scheming and creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, longabsorbed prejudices.

From a link here

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I quite like this...

The rosary becomes a bond between heaven and earth.

One learns to see earth with the eyes of heaven, and heaven seems as near as earth.

The Mother of god prevents one from looking at one's whole life as a failure,

from grieving over the mistakes made,

the opportunities missed

the things not accomplished.

Adrienne Von Speyr.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Singing, Liturgy, Worship and Feelings

Great discussion on the way home in the car today from the Anglican Church where my wife works.

I commented (in a stirring sort of way!) that I didn't enjoy singing three songs at the start of church, and wondered why we needed to do it. Our travelling companion Michelle said she found it helpful to sing for an extended period as a way of settling into worship.

I retorted that if we followed the liturgy, which is not often followed in its completeness at this particular church, the opening rites of hymn, greeting, confession, and collect lead us into worship better than three songs.

Michelle quite rightly shot back that she felt that different ways appealed to different people, and that Church should be able to accommodate this.

To which I replied, we put aside the Liturgy of the Church, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, at our peril, especially if it just to include 15 minutes of singing at the start of the Liturgy.

Two different approaches, two different answers.

What you think? Can the two co-exist?

I enjoyed these comments on Elizaphanian on "Why Liturgy?" which seemed to reinforce MY position!!!! (I've edited it a bit, so check out the post for the whole thing...)

Why liturgy?

So that I can learn how to speak; and pray; and praise.

So that I can be taught the truth.

So that I can be shaped by the church; so that I can be made into a disciple.

So that the centre of gravity does not lie in my own feelings and vocabulary but in the expression of the church.It is not important how I feel when I say 'Glory be to the Father...'; nor is it important how wholeheartedly I believe what I say. It is a question of obedience - feelings and thought will ebb and flow in my life, but the persistence of discipleship is primarily manifested through obedience.

The point is to maintain the faith and trust in the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, whether it is day or night within me.

Liturgy assumes
a) that I don't yet know all that I need to know about Christianity,

and b) that the church has learnt some of what it needs to know about Christianity.

Liturgy is how that learning is passed on, and developed.

Liturgy is a whole body activity; when done correctly, liturgy is also an ecstatic, out-of-body activity.

There is no greater tyranny than the tyranny of choice.

I need to fall in with something that is more important than my own perspectives, within which I can find myself.

Liturgy is the spacious room in which the Lord has set my feet.

Liturgy is mystery.

Becoming Catholic causes BIG trouble...

Apparently, the head of the Evangelical Theological Society, Dr. Francis Beckwith, has re-entered the Roman Catholic Church, in which he was raised as a child.
You can read the story here at his website. I wish him well.

As you can imagine, the members of the ETS are NOT pleased.
James White posted his reactions here.

Apparently everyone seems to have forgotten Jesus' injunction to "love one another".

Some good blogging opinions here and here.

I am very aware that in posting this sort of thing I will just stir the pot more, but I truly believe events like this are a wake up for ALL Christians to be vigilant to pray for unity, and for love and respect between denominations of Christians to be on all of our agendas.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Odds and Ends

Into Great Silence start here in Perth on May 17th.
You can be sure we will all be going along to Cinema Paradiso to see it!

I have really been enjoying the writing at Hypersync.
Anglocatholic, thinking, concerned and relevant.

I have been reading lots of sites about the Book of Common Prayer, especially the 1928 edition.
I am also experimenting with praying Morning and Evening Prayer using these offices - but they sure are longer than the Roman ones..!
Tracing the journey of John Henry Cardinal Newman, I have been wondering what would happen to me if I prayed in some of that language for a while, and perhaps even read the same readings he did on the same day...
This is a work still in progress, but I am intrigued as to what exposing myself to Elizabethan English daily over a long period of time will do my thinking, praying and being...
Some great BCP sites here, here and here.

Oh, and according to one community member, there are no knobs in the Book of Common Prayer...

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Apparently, Someone was going to post about the language of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer...