My Conversation with an Anglican

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Changes at the seminary.  Today there is no chapel, but small groups.  I do not know what that means.

I spoke at length with an Anglican man this last week.  He was attending the symposium.  We entered into conversation when I noticed him milling around one of the end of the day mixers without anyone talking to him.  I went over, introduced myself, and we began talking.  I went in with the usual, (sadly too usual) mindset toward liberal anglican church types.  I was shocked after a few moments.

Now the man held a theology much like the one held by the men who walked out of the Seminary.  However, that did not seem to interfere with our conversation as much as I thought.  There were four areas of which he spoke with which I resonated.  I do not know if I will remember them all, but I will try.

  1. He was amazed that the Synod is not supporting the students of the Seminary with full tuition.  He was then even further amazed at our “screening process.”
  2. He was shocked that our entire school day was not oriented around the prayers of the church in the daily offices.
  3. He could not believe that there would be any other man other than the pastor who would officiate over the Lord’s Supper.  (We talked about this when I stumbled onto the fact that there are churches and pastors who authorize vicars and laymen to preside over the Eucharist.)
  4. I do not remember this one.  Perhaps it will come to me later.

Changes at the seminary?

Needless to say I believe there is a great interconnection between some of these points, the first two specifically.  The prayer life of the men at the seminary is to be one, in my opinion, that is a beacon to the church.  However, chapel and the prayers in certain cases is despised, no matter what camp of the worship wars you fall into.  Just sad.  However, I must refrain from attending chapel certain days because my family needs support from me.  I need to work.  So I have a job on campus and a few others which make ends meet.  If I am not worried about tuition cost, perhaps my wife and I are living on campus, participating in daily prayer…  If there were to be a more rigorous admittance policy and not one based on the fake necessity for more pastors, I think that might help also.  Limit the men coming in a focus on the ones you admit.  There are obviously other veins that can be thought through. Those are my thoughts on what my Anglican Conversation pal and I spoke of.

Sittting in the Pews

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I looked up from hymn 557.  Guntars is holding the hands of his two sons.  They come down from the rail, behind the pulpit, his boys are swinging on the tree-trunks which resemble normal human arms.  Smiles all around.

“In every need, seek Him indeed, to every heart, He will impart, His blessings without measure.”  I think his sons believed this hearty message.  As we sang their smiles grew.  They might have gown because they were spending time with their father and savior.

I look to my right and there is Rev. Fr. Harrison.  Needless to say, I was not expecting him being there.  I whispered like a two year old to my friend next to me, “do you see who that is?”  Obviously I was expecting him to have already started his international jet-setting which I had become more familiar with for presidents of our Synod over the last few years.  No, he was there with us.  By himself, as a man before God, like us all.

I like the image of the President of our Missouri Synod being at the Seminary with us.  Kneeling, with other men and women who do not know each other but who are bound together by the eating and drinking of bread and wine-body and blood. He is not above me, below me.  He is a man in need of forgiveness and regeneration as we all are.  There is no prestige at the rail.  There is no superiority among those who kneel.  We are there, all, as sinners before the Incarnate One.

Look

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Sadness, or maybe exhaustion.  They seem to have similar traits.  When a human is sad or exhausted their shoulders drop.  They stare.  The focus on one spot for a long time.  They want stability.  Rest from what they have been through in locked vision.

She was hanging onto the metro rail.  Staring.  She looked sad or exhausted-maybe both.  I wanted to speak to her but I was afraid.  I did not want to disturb her rest.  I did not want to take away what might-have-been her only chance to be still, silent, calm, collected, even if there were dozens of people sardined around her.

To many times I see these stares in the church.  Looking for rest from their labor and ends to their sadness.  Perhaps I should have been more courageous.  Rest does not come in momentary amnesia but in conquering victory.  Exhale.  The battle is one and the war over.  All you who are weak and heavy laden are free.  All you who are broken hearted and injured are bound up and healed.

Do not be afraid and do not let your hearts be trouble.  This world is overcome.  A new life is dawned with its light secured in the Body and Blood of Christ.  Repent, join-up, the Kingdom is here and now.

What Happened?

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I thought it would be easy.  But, falling asleep has never been more difficult.

Melvin, one of our dogs began whining.  Sometimes that happens in the night.  He wants to stretch his legs out of his kennel.  I hear him, wake up, get up, and take him out.  It is 4 a.m..  I put him back in his kennel and came upstairs.

I crossed the top step.  Turned to go into my room.  There was Cassie and then there was the scream.

It was  blood curdling I-think-I-am-about-to-get-stabbed kind of scream.  Loud, ringing in my ears.  I did not know what was going on.  Is someone behind me!  No. She is half asleep.  She thinks I am in bed because I had not thrown off the covers when I got up.  She hears me close the basement door.  She gets out of bed thinking someone is in the house without waking me up.  She screams.

The scream was like a baseball bat.  Not one of the new ones.  A Babe Ruth bat.  68 oz. of hard wood across the face and teeth.  It killed me with fear.  I fell down to my knees.  Exhaling and screaming in a weird mix of vocalizations “Its Me, Its Me!”  I was there on the floor for ten minutes.  Crying.  As Cassie, laughing in the bed, called me back to bed.

“Why are you crying?  What did you think was happening?”  she asks.  “I don’t know.  This is not one of my most rational moments.  it is 4 a.m. and I was expecting to come back up here with you laying all over my side of the bed.  I was half asleep.  Damn, there is no way I am getting back to sleep now!”

Through her laughter, over my crying mixed now with laughing, she says, “I think you will be able to fall right back to sleep.”

At 5:30 a.m. I think it finally happened.  Falling asleep has never been so difficult.  I still do not know what happened really.

I am glad I did not have a handgun anywhere.