I make no claims to being a scholar. I try to keep up with some reading to continue my education. Usually I try to take a few hours a week in my field office (Mel’s Café) with a book. Some weeks I get no reading done as I spend a fair amount of time interacting with the regulars and building relationships with the community. I tend to be more of relational and experiential priest than an academic.
Being at St. George’s has been a challenge in a number of ways. I give thanks for Biggar as it helped me discover who I am as a priest and develop the skills and experiences for the ministry to which I have come believe God called me. Biggar helped me discover, St. George’s is helping me to grow more fully into that priest in the context of a Church that may not be quite ready for that type of ministry.
I have always struggled with Paul. My mother and I would get on a rant about Paul and my father would just shake his head at us and call us heretics. But both of them brought me to read the Gospels through the lens of social justice and the prophetic tradition. Because Dad was my priest for the first 20 years of my life I didn’t even realize that there might be different lens until I was about 18 and out in the world a little more.
While at St. George’s I am becoming re-acquainted with the BCP including the readings on any given Sunday. My early morning service on Sunday is the Service of Holy Communion out of the BCP. In keeping with that service I do use the lessons in the prayer book rather than the Revised Common Lectionary. It often means two different sermons on a Sunday morning which can be a challenge but I am discovering a few of my challenges are making more sense.
Given that a fair number of my congregation have gray hair, and usually they are the ones that are most hesitant to change, becoming reacquainted with our traditions through the BCP has been a real blessing as it is helping me to better understand where they come from. Granted St. George’s uses the Book of Alternative Services as its main resource for worship but most of the older members were formed by the BCP.
So where am I going with this meandering? I am trying to piece together in my mind some of the issues over resistance to reach out more consciously into our communities. So this will probably be the beginning of a few posts as I try to work through what I have so far. It is by no means academic as I make no claims to being an academic (I have come to believe that placing most of our emphasis on academic understandings has helped keep us from a practice of incarnational faith in our communities. We will send money but often will not give of ourselves. I respect the academics as they often provide the thoughts that spark my thinking but I do believe they need to be balanced by experience as well as theory.) As I am a “right brain” person it will appear to meander at times but will eventually reach a conclusion – I hope.