I am approaching my one year anniversary of ordination as a vocational deacon in the Anglican Church in North America. It has been a journey from 30 years of ministry in one tradition and now entering ordained ministry in a new (to me) tradition.
The vocational deacon is still being “formed” in the ACNA. It is honored and given the space as ordained ministry, but ask, “What is it?” and you will get as many different answers as the number of people you ask.
David French is bold: Let me respond bluntly: If you’re not seeing how reactionary politics and intolerant “anti-woke” militancy are manifesting themselves on the right, then you’re not seeing how Christianity and large segments of the new right are opposed to each other. A godless and hateful movement is taking root in all too many American pews, often (and perversely) spread in the name of Christ.
For a good portion of this year, my daily spiritual routine had me in an older practice. I sensed a leading from the Spirit to return to a practice of walking a little more deeply in Scripture like I did for years when I was first in ministry.
Scot McKnight has been walking through some structure of what it may mean to reconstruct faith after the battle to deconstruct as someone walks through the minefield of our current religious landscape. He writes behind a paywall, so I will list some things here.
When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
One of the hardest challenges is to truly love the Lord when you are in prosperity. You have need of nothing. It is easy to forget. This is the warning Moses gives Israel as they are ready to enter the Promised Land.
The second half of this Holy Post Podcast has an interview with Philip Yancey. They feature his latest book, which is his memoir. Yancey has been a challenging voice for me for decades. (His interview comes around 49 minutes in.) With our current struggle with terminology like “deconstruction”, Yancey represents the understanding that some form of deconstruction happens in every generation. I think you will love his thoughts on the three things that brought him back to faith.
Decades ago I remember a column or opinion piece written about our obsessions and warped values. At the time it was referring to the way we lift up people who work hard, work long hours, and don’t have time to “take it easy.” The prime example for that article was Dick Cheney (long before he was VP). Cheney had some heart issues (well… that’s just a sentence to get teed up, isn’t it?) and he was praised at the time for going into the doctor to get a stent or two in the morning then getting back to work that afternoon.
No one paused to say, “The man is a workaholic and that’s dangerous.” (Except for the author of the column or opinion piece.)
I’ve been on a wonderful trip with our in-laws through Pennsylvania. Gettysburg. Lancaster. Philadelphia.
As I’ve taken this trip, especially in Lancaster, PA, where James Buchanan and Thaddeus Stevens both resided, I’ve learned all over again it’s not about history.
It is histories. We don’t get the the whole story a lot of the time when we concentrate on one particular storyline. It is vital to keep digging throughout life to keep learning from as many voices as possible.