Friday, November 30, 2007

My New favorite Phrase: Ghostly Father

I was reading Martin Thornton's book "Spiritual Direction" the other day and came across the phrase "ghostly child", which is a person under spiritual (ghostly; geist) direction. That makes his spiritual director the "ghostly father". So I told my wife that I was going for my monthly meeting with my "ghostly father", and she looked at me like I'd gone mad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

St. Etheldreda

Here is an icon of St. Etheldreda I recently did. It was a commission for a retired bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church. She holds a church because she restored an old church and founded an abbey (also the reason she has a pastoral staff) on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One of My favorite Interviews

Andy Warhol is one of the most fascinating artists of the 20th century. I highly recommend the book "The Life and Death of Andy Warhol" if anyone is interested in learning more about this highly unusual man. Here is an interesting interview with the artist himself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Predestination Bible Study

There are certain doctrines that I find more interesting to study than others. This is only natural. One doctrine that I have never been very interested in is the doctrine of predestination. My pragmatic mind just doesn't see the importance of getting too wrapped up in something as mysterious and divisive as the nature of God's divine election. But recently, due to popular demand, I lead of study of the history of this doctrine in my Tuesday morning class. I also lead a discussion on it during the Sunday School hour last week. It was amazing to see the passion that this doctrine arouses in some people. It just goes to show we are all different, and perceive some doctrines of the faith to be more important than others.

Predestination, or election, is biblical and catholic when it is understood in the ancient sense of St. Augustine and the Synod of Orange. Predestination in this sense is what is taught in the 39 Articles. The Articles, following the scriptures, ancient catholic tradition, the majority of the Reformers, and agreeing with the Council of Trent, affirm predestination to life only, as well as the free will of man. The Calvinist doctrines of Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints are not affirmed by any of these authorities. Further, as the Articles of Religion must be taken as a whole, we are bound to affirm that predestination occurs within a sacramental and ecclesiological framework. Thus, with Francis Hall and others we can say that it is the baptized who are the elect, but just because one is elect it does not follow that he or she is necessarily going to persevere till the end.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wedding Feast at Cana

This is a 2' x 2' icon I did recently that depicts the Wedding Feast at Cana. It is based on a Greek icon that I received as a gift from a friend whose wedding mass I served at a few years back.

The perfect synthesis of representational and non-objective imagery in a lot of classical/traditional Christian art is one of its most overlooked aspects. This synthesis is especially evident in iconography.

This icon is for sale for $800.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Willow Creek Model of Church

There is a fascinating book out that analyzes the effectiveness of the Willow Creek/mega-church model of Christianity that has so captivated the American Evangelical scene in the last few decades. The book is the result of an in depth study, three-year study done by WCA on whether or not the corporate, program-driven approach to ministry is effective in terms of producing mature disciples of Christ. Essentially Hybels and company admit that it has not been effective in that area. Participation in "programs" does not automatically make one into a mature believer. Hybels is to be lauded for his honest and frank assessment. I would encourage everyone to check out the links above.

As Anglicans we sometimes get discouraged because our congregations are rather small, and we take that as a sign that we are not being effective, or that something is wrong with us or our tradition. But clearly that view is not accurate. Sure, many of our congregations could use a shot in the arm in various ways, and many of us could be less lethargic in terms of outreach and evangelism. But there will always be a place in our society for the small church. In fact, I think that as the world becomes more diverse and "corporate" people will start to look for small parishes where they can get some one-on-one attention from their pastor and be connected to the church of the apostolic age. There are people that only a small congregation can reach. Further, any church that does not have apostolic faith and order is lacking a major element of the Christian religion.

I believe that our day is yet to come. Although Anglicanism is going through a rough time lately in history, I believe that God will use us in a vital way in furthering His kingdom.