Rector’s Blog

GAFCON and the Anglican Communion

People often ask about the relationship between the Anglican Churches worldwide that have joined GAFCON (Global Anglican Futures Conference) and the Anglican Communion.  This essay by Dr. Stephen Noll is an excellent place to start.  He includes the text of the Jerusalem Statement from GAFCON’s founding meeting in Jerusalem in 2009 and a brief commentary on each clause.

Here is a quote:

The Gafcon fellowship, to be sure, is not a church but a communion of churches that God raised up when the official Communion abdicated its authority to maintain doctrine and discipline in central matters of Christian faith and life.

Dopamine Detox

Three-weeks ago I decided to make some radical adjustments to my online consumption.

Week 1: I committed to no YouTube, and only looking at the headlines — the “front page” of my usual news sources. No clicking.

Week 2: I renewed my YouTube “fast” and upped the ante on the news: I committed to not even opening my news websites at all.

Week 3: Renewed my Youtube “fast” except for the C.S. Lewis prep for Adult Ed.  Continued the news black out.

This is Week 4: Last week my nephew sent me a link to the video below.  I told him I would have to wait till today to watch it.  I’m still on news blackout.

Turns out the video confirms what I am starting to do.  I can already feel the difference.  So far I think the American political soap opera has not felt my absence, and I have certainly not missed the “characters.” I find them boring.

WARNING: This YouTube contains some “honest” language and deals with some adult struggles.  I doubt the creator is a Christian.  But the insights are valuable.

This week I am allowing myself one hour of non-church related YouTube, in case you are wondering.  I’ve already used 30 minutes.

A Prayer From the Heart

This hymn was the anthem of the great Welsh Revival.  I hope it blesses you as much as it has me.  I’m particularly moved to hear it sung by young voices.

I’d love for us to learn and sing it regularly at St. Peter’s.  Could it become our anthem too?

The lyrics are in Welsh.  See English below.

 

1 I seek not life’s ease and pleasures,
Earthly riches, pearls, nor gold;
Give to me a heart made happy,
Clean and honest to unfold.

Chorus:
A clean heart o’erflown with goodness,
Fairer than the lilies bright;
A clean heart for ever singing,
Singing thro’ the day and night.

2 If I cherish earthly treasures,
Swift they flee and all is vain;
A clean heart enriched with virtues
Brings to me eternal gain. [Chorus]

3 Morn and evening my petition
Wings its flight to heaven in song;
In the name of my Redeemer,
Make my heart clean, pure, and strong. [Chorus]

“Free Beer Tomorrow”

“Have a good day!” has become for most of us a banal and meaningless expression.  It can at times be annoying, even infuriating.

And yet, what if we really did “have a good day” today?  What would that look like?   Wouldn’t it be good to have one?

However you define “good,” a good day will be made of good moments.  A good year, indeed a good life, will be made up of a succession of good days. There is no other way to have a good life, except by amassing a long string of good days.  If that is so, is there anything more important than “having a good day” today?

Where should we focus our attention?  What kind of goals should we set? What kind of visions or fantasies should we cultivate?

We are encouraged to dream big. But I’m pretty sure there is nothing more counterproductive, and even dangerous, than grand goals that take our eyes off today.  A big dream can give energy, but if it is not broken into day-size pieces with day-size accountability, nothing bigger than today will never be realized.

Christian author Jamie Buckingham said: “Attempt something so big, that unless God intervenes, it’s bound to fail.”  Fine.  But remember that big thing will happen–or not–one day at a time.

Is there anything “bigger” than a life of sobriety and healthy relationships to an alcoholic?  Anything more dependent on God’s intervening grace and power?  And how does sobriety happen? One day at a time.

It’s not impressive to talk about, but I wonder if there is anything “bigger” or more dependent on God’s intervention than a truly good, faithful, victorious day.  If that  doesn’t seem big enough or miraculous enough, just reflect on how few of them you have managed to have in the last year through your own efforts and good intentions.

Do you ever comfort yourself in the face of a “small” failure or a “bad” day by re-visiting and savoring that fantasy of the grand future–that will start tomorrow.

That’s not to denigrate the value of fresh starts.  God’s mercies are “new every morning,” as the Good Book says.  But those mercies are for that new day, not for the day after.

The miraculous intervening grace of God is meted out to us in daily doses.  “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Right after Jesus told us to “Seek first the Kingdom of God” — How’s that for a grand dream?! — He said: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Combining those two thoughts you get: “Seek first the Kingdom today.” 

That sort of takes all the fun out of it. I was hoping for something a little grander than “today.”  “I mean, how much can I get done for the Kingdom today?”

One of the most annoying things about today is that it is so dang concrete! So real. So tangible. So resistant to fantasy. But it is also powerful and wields enormous influence far beyond its size.

Victory through today’s trouble will increase the odds of a better tomorrow, far more than dreaming, planning, and worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or my retirement, today.

I love the little plaque often seen in Pubs: “Free beer tomorrow.”  That’s where most free things will always be.

While you can catch a “manager’s special” from time to time, most of the stuff we need today will be going at the regular price. But usually the price is quite affordable. Somehow there seems to always be enough for today’s “expenses.” Especially if we used yesterday’s allowance wisely.