Sunday, May 20, 2007

Time For Some R&R

Gone for some much needed R&R

Phones Off, no computer, no Palm, no bosses

Wife √, Kid √, Books √, MP3 Player √, Fishin' Rod √, Hikin' Boots √, Shotgun √

be back next week

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Report: Hong Kong Authorities Ponder Labeling Bible 'Indecent'

The only thing that surprised me is that this did not happen in San Francisco and/or Berkley, yet.

I'll care to wager that those people calling for the ban have never even read one verse themselves and are relying on what this web-site and other media outlets (controlled by a communist government) are telling them (spinning, paraphrasing and misquoting) is in the Bible.

It would not surprise me if someone proposes a similar ban at TEC's next general convention.

Report: Hong Kong Authorities Ponder Labeling Bible 'Indecent'

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Newsboys - He Reigns

A great way to get this week started, a powerful, catchy and uplifting song.

OK here's the thing, I did this post out of You Tube on Monday and it doesn't get here until Thursday, I think this is the 2nd most aggravating thing, next to blogger's gremlin text editing.

Oh wait it gets better, I add the previous blurb to the post and the video disappears........nice

Right, I am going to re-post this from You Tube c&p the text from this post, if it works in a timely fashion then I will delete the original post.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (329 - January 25, 389), also known as Saint Gregory the Theologian or Gregory Nazianzen, was a 4th century Christian bishop of Constantinople. Gregory is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. As a classically trained speaker and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine ecclesiastics. He is remembered as the "Trinitarian Theologian," since many of his homilies refer to the nature of the Holy Trinity and the one essence of the Godhead.

Gregory was born in Arianzus, near Nazianzus, in southwest Cappadocia. His parents, Gregory and Nonna, were wealthy land-owners. In 325 Nonna converted her husband to Christianity; he was subsequently consecrated bishop of Nazianzus in 328 or 329. The young Gregory and his brother, Caesarius, first studied at home with his uncle Amphylokhios. Later he studied advanced rhetoric and philosophy in Nazianzus, Caesarea Cappadocia, Alexandria and Athens.

While at Athens, he developed a close friendship with fellow student Saint Basil of Caesarea, he and Basil compiled an anthology, called the PHILOKALIA, of the works of the great (but somewhat erratic) Alexandrian theologian, philosopher, and scholar of the previous century, Origen.

Gregory also made the acquaintance of Julian, the later emperor who would become known as Julian the Apostate. In Athens Gregory studied under the famous rhetoricians Himerius and Proaeresius. Upon finishing his education, he also taught rhetoric in Athens for a short time.
In 361, Gregory returned to Nazianzus and was ordained a presbyter by his father, who wanted him to assist with caring for local Christians. The younger Gregory, who had been considering a monastic existence, resented his father's decision to force a decision between priestly services and a solitary existence, calling it an "act of tyranny". Leaving home after a few days, he met his friend Basil at Annesoi, where the two lived as ascetics. However, Basil urged him to return home to assist his father, which he did for the next year. Arriving at Nazianzus, Gregory found the local Christian community split by theological differences and his father accused of heresy by local monks. Gregory helped to heal the division through a combination of personal diplomacy and oratory.

By this time Emperor Julian had publicly come out in opposition to Christianity. In response to the emperor's denial of the Christian faith, Gregory composed his Invectives Against Julian between 362 and 363. Disparaging the emperor's morals and intellect, the Invectives assert that Christianity will overcome imperfect rulers such as Julian through love and patience. This process as described by Gregory is the public manifestation of the process of deification (theosis), which leads to a spiritual elevation and mystical union with God. Julian resolved in late 362 to vigorously prosecute Gregory and his other Christian critics; however, the emperor perished the following year during a campaign against the Persians. With the death of the emperor, Gregory and the Eastern churches were no longer under the threat of persecution, as the new emperor Jovian was an avowed Christian and supporter of the Church.

Gregory spent the next few years combating the Arian heresy, which threatened to divide the region of Cappadocia. In this tense environment Gregory interceded on behalf of his friend Basil with Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (Maritima). The two friends then entered a period of close fraternal cooperation as they participated in a great rhetorical contest of the Caesarean church precipitated by the arrival of accomplished Arian theologians and rhetors. In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of the emperor Valens, Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant. This success confirmed for both Gregory and Basil that their futures lay in administration of the church. Basil, who had long displayed inclinations to the episcopacy, was elected bishop of the see of Caesarea in Cappadocia in 370.

Faced with a rival Arian bishop at Tyana, Basil undertook to consolidate his position by maneuvering Gregory into the position of Bishop of Sasima, Gregory was consecrated Bishop of Sasima in 372 by Basil. This was a see newly created by Basil in order to strengthen his position in his dispute with Anthimus, bishop of Tyana. The ambitions of Gregory's father to have his son rise in the church hierarchy and the insistence of his friend Basil convinced Gregory to accept this position despite his reservations. Gregory would later refer to his episcopal ordination as forced upon him by his strong-willed father and Basil. Describing his new bishopric, Gregory lamented how it was nothing more than an "utterly dreadful, pokey little hole; a paltry horse-stop on the main road...devoid of water, vegetation, or the company of gentlemen...this was my Church of Sasima!" He made little effort to administer his new diocese, complaining to Basil he
felt "like a bone flung to dogs." He refused to reside at Sasima. Basil accused him of shirking his duty. He accused Basil of making him a pawn in ecclesiastical politics. Their friendship suffered a severe breach, which took some time to heal. Gregory suffered a breakdown and retired to recuperate.

Following the deaths of his mother and father in 374, Gregory continued to administer the diocese of Nazianzus but refused to be named bishop. Donating most of his inheritance to the needy, he lived an austere existence.

Valens died in 378. The succession of Theodosius I, a steadfast supporter of Nicene orthodoxy, was good news to those who wished to purge Constantinople of Arian and Apollinarian domination. The exiled Nicene party gradually returned to the city. From his deathbed, Basil reminded them of Gregory's capabilities and likely recommended his friend to champion the trinitarian cause in Constantinople.

Gregory went to Constantinople to preach, for 30 years the Orthodox had no Church there, so Gregory converted his own house there into a church and held services in it. There he preached the Five Theological Orations for which he is best known, a series of five sermons on the Trinity and in defense of the deity of Christ. People flocked to hear him preach, and the city was largely won over to the Athanasian (Trinitarian, catholic, orthodox) position by his powers of persuasion. The following year, he was consecrated bishop of Constantinople. He presided at the Council of Constantinple in 381, which confirmed the Athanasian position of the earlier Council of Nicea in 325. Having accomplished what he believed to be his mission at Constantinople, and heartily sick of ecclesiastical politics, Gregory resigned and retired to his home town of Nazianzus, where he died in 389.


The Collect

ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, whose servant Gregory steadfastly confessed thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to be Very God and Very Man: Grant that we may hold fast to this faith, and evermore magnify his holy Name; through the sane thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Wisdom 7:7-14

I CALLED upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them. I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.

The Gospel - St. John 8:25-32

THEN said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Cited Sources:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Julian of Norwich

The Lady Juliana was born about 1342, and when she was thirty years old, she became gravely ill and was expected to die. Then, on the seventh day, the medical crisis passed, and she had a series of fifteen visions, or "showings," in which she was led to contemplate the Passion of Christ. These brought her great peace and joy. She became an anchoress, living in a small hut near to the church in Norwich, where she devoted the rest of her life to prayer and contemplation of the meaning of her visions. The results of her meditations she wrote in a book called Revelations of Divine Love, available in modern English in a Penguin Paperback edition. During her lifetime, she became known as a counselor, whose advice combined spiritual insight with common sense, and many persons came to speak with her. Since her death, many more have found help in her writings.

The precise date of her death is uncertain.

Her book is a tender meditation on God's eternal and all-embracing love, as expressed to us in the Passion of Christ.

She describes seeing God holding a tiny thing in his hand, like a small brown nut, which seemed so fragile and insignificant that she wondered why it did not crumble before her eyes. She understood that the thing was the entire created universe, which is as nothing compared to its Creator, and she was told, "God made it, God loves it, God keeps it."

She was concerned that sometimes when we are faced wiith a difficult moral decision, it seems that no matter which way we decide, we will have acted from motives that are less then completely pure, so that neither decision is defensible. She finally wrote: "It is enough to be sure of the deed. Our courteous Lord will deign to redeem the motive."

A matter that greatly troubled her was the fate of those who through no fault of their own had never heard the Gospel. She never received a direct answer to her questions about them, except to be told that whatever God does is done in Love, and therefore "that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

Speaking of her visions of heaven and hell, she said, "To me was shown no harder hell than sin."

Of our response to the sins of others, she said (ch. 76): "The soul that would preserve its peace, when another's sin is brought to mind, must fly from it as from the pains of hell, looking to God for help against it. To consider the sins of other people will produce a thick film over the eyes of our soul, and prevent us for the time being from seeing the 'fair beauty of the Lord'-- unless, that is, we look at them contrite along with the sinner, being sorry with and for him, and yearning over him for God. Without this it can only harm, disturb, and hinder the soul who considers them. I gathered all this from the revelation about compassion...This blessed friend is Jesus; it is his will and plan that we hang on to him, and hold tight always, in whatever circumstances; for whether we are filthy or clean is all the same to his love."

"Glad and merry and sweet is the blessed and lovely demeanour of our Lord towards our souls, for he saw us always living in love-longing, and he wants our souls to be gladly disposed toward him . . . by his grace he lifts up and will draw our outer disposition to our inward, and will make us all at unity with him, and each of us with others in the true, lasting joy which is Jesus."

The following was translated by Liz Broadwell.

And from the time that [the vision] was shown, I desired often to know what our Lord's meaning was. And fifteen years and more afterward I was answered in my spiritual understanding, thus: 'Would you know your Lord's meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Keep yourself therein and you shall know and understand more in the same. But you shall never know nor understand any other thing, forever.'

Thus I was taught that love was our Lord's meaning. And I saw quite clearly in this and in all, that before God made us, he loved us, which love was never slaked nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his work, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we had a beginning. But the love wherein he made us was in him with no beginning. And all this shall be seen in God without end ...

She is commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church on May 13, and by both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a renewer of the Church and the Anglican Church on May 8.

A modern statue of her has been added to the facade of the Anglican Norwich Cathedral.

Bible Readings:

Psalm 27:5-11 or 103:1-4,13-18 - Hebrews 10:19-24 - John 4:23-26


Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Cited Sources -

Friday, May 4, 2007

Departing from EGYPT—in heart as well as body

The Rev. Dr. Toon has brought out the point as to why I went with the Continuum, when there was a local "Orthodox (read conservative) Anglican" Parish. The Church building is large and very nice, in a beautiful area of a premier community, a large Congregation all is perfect, almost.

This parish had gained some notoriety in 2000 as it found itself in impaired communion with it's Bishop over liberal trends in the Church, then in 2004 it locked-out it's new Bishop over his support of V'GeR and finally in 2005 they severed ties with ECUSA and went to the Southern Cone with the 1979 "Prayer Books" super-glued to their hands and seemingly not interested in changing to an Orthodox (read traditional) Book of Common Prayer.

It is my hope that someday this may change and these folks will be able to come to the understanding that the flaws in the theology of the 1979 BAS is what led them to leave ECUSA in the first place and to finish their mission, they will need to embrace a new-old BCP.

The Prayer Book Society: News: Departing from EGYPT—in heart as well as body

Monnica of Hippo - Mother of Saint Augustine

We know about Monnica almost entirely from the autobiography (the Confessions) of her son Augustine, a major Christian writer, theologian and philosopher (see 28 August). Monnica was born in North Africa, near Carthage, in what is now Tunisia, perhaps around 331, of Christian parents, and was a Christian throughout her life. Her name has usually been spelled "Monica," but recently her tomb in Ostia was discovered, and the burial inscription says "Monnica," a spelling which all AC (Archaeologically Correct) persons have hastened to adopt. (On the other hand, it may simply be that the artisan who carved the inscription was a bad speller.) As a girl, she was fond of wine, but on one occasion was taunted by a slave girl for drunkenness, and resolved not to drink thereafter. She was married to a pagan husband, Patricius, a man of hot temper, who was often unfaithful to her, but never insulted or struck her. It was her happiness to see both him and his mother ultimately receive the Gospel.

Monnica soon recognized that her son was a man of extraordinary intellectual gifts, a brilliant thinker and a natural leader of men (as a youngster he was head of a local gang of juvenile delinquents), and she had strong ambitions and high hopes for his success in a secular career. Indeed, though we do not know all the circumstances, most Christians today would say that her efforts to steer him into a socially advantageous marriage were in every way a disaster. However, she grew in spiritual maturity through a life of prayer, and her ambitions for his worldly success were transformed into a desire for his conversion. He, as a youth, rejected her religion with scorn, and looked to various pagan philosophies for clues to the meaning of life. He undertook a career as an orator and teacher of the art of oratory (rhetoric), and moved from Africa to Rome and thence to Milan, at that time the seat of government in Italy. His mother followed him there a few years later. In Milan, Augustine met the bishop Ambrose, from whom he learned that Christianity could be intellectually respectable, and under whose preaching he was eventually converted and baptised on Easter Eve in 387, to the great joy of Monnica.

After his baptism, Augustine and a younger brother Navigius and Monnica planned to return to Africa together, but in Ostia, the port city of Rome, Monnica fell ill and said, "You will bury your mother here. All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord. Do not fret because I am buried far from our home in Africa. Nothing is far from God, and I have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world."

Propers for St. Monnica of Hippo

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and bast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Monnica, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9

REJOICE in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23

JESUS came down and stood in the plain, with the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coasts of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kinedom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye still be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven.

Cites Sources:

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Anglican Mainstream » The SORs with a vengeance: The ominous US ‘Hate Crimes’ Legislation

Anglican Mainstream » The SORs with a vengeance: The ominous US ‘Hate Crimes’ Legislation

Here we go, the assault on the First Amendment begins in Congress.

I wonder though, do you think that burning the Flag will be considered a hate crime if this legislation passes? neither do I. The only flags that will be protected is the rainbow one and probably the Mexican and Green banner of Jihad.

If this gets to far we might as well shut down our blogs, redact The Bible, especially Leviticus and crawl under a rock. Probably any criticism of Congress will be considered hate, so anyone speaking out against them will be jailed and they will be able to systematically gut the Constitution unopposed.

The left tells us that the "Patriot Act" is to intrusive and unConstitutional, at least it targets legitimate enemies of the Republic, this hate crimes bill is more oppressive than the Sedition Act.

I am sure that the crew in the TEC are all about helping to get this past and will dance for joy if it becomes law. Odds are that if it is ever passed that it will have its day in the Supreme Court and will probably be struck down by the Justices as unConstitutional. But while that process happens, many people will be hurt by it.

So call your Representative, your Senator and the White House and made it known how you feel about this.

Update : The President has already threaten to veto the measure -

Text of the Legislation :

Senate Version :

Well contacted people in Washington - One of my Senators and my Representative are co-sponsors of the measures in their respective chambers of Congress

Former Governor James McGreevey Accepted Into Seminary School - Former Governor James McGreevey Accepted Into Seminary School

He is going to feel right-at-home in TEC.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 05

Part 5 of the series

St. Athanasius

Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Theologian, Doctor of the Church

2 May 373

Athanasius of Alexandria (Greek: Αθανάσιος) (also spelled "Athanasios") (ca. 293 – May 2, 373) was a Christian bishop, the Bishop of Alexandria, in the fourth century. He is revered as a saint by the Anglican, Latin and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and regarded as a great leader of the Church by Protestants. Roman Catholics have declared him, earliest living, one of 33 Doctors of the Church, and he is counted as one of the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church. His feast day is (May 2) in the Coptic Orthodox Church (7 Pashons), January 18 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and May 2 in the Anglican and Latin Churches.

Outside the pages of the New Testament itself, Athanasius is probably the man to whom we chiefly owe the preservation of the Christian faith and should be looked upon as a role model for maintaing sound Christian Doctrine.
He was born around AD 298, and lived in Alexandria, Egypt, the chief center of learning of the Roman Empire.

Athanasius seems to have been brought early in life under the immediate supervision of the ecclesiastical authorities of his native city. A story has been preserved by Rufinus (Hist. Eccl., I, xiv). The bishop Alexander, so the tale runs, had invited a number of fellow prelates to meet him at breakfast after a great religious function. While Alexander was waiting for his guests to arrive, he stood by a window, watching a group of boys at play on the seashore below the house. He had not observed them long before he discovered that they were imitating the elaborate ritual of Christian baptism. He sent for the children and, in the investigation that followed, it was discovered that one of the boys (none other than the Athanasius), had acted the part of the bishop, and in that character had actually baptized several of his companions in the course of their play. Alexander determined to recognize the make-believe baptisms as genuine, and decided that Athanasius and his playfellows should go into training in order to prepare themselves for a clerical career.

Sozomen speaks of his "fitness for the priesthood", and calls attention to the significant circumstance that he was "from his tenderest years practically self-taught". "Not long after this," adds the same authority, the Bishop Alexander "invited Athanasius to be his commensal and secretary. He had been well educated, and was versed in grammar and rhetoric, and had already, while still a young man, and before reaching the episcopate, given proof to those who dwelt with him of his wisdom and acumen" (Soz., II, xvii). That "wisdom and acumen" manifested themselves in a varied environment. While still a levite under Alexander's care, he seems to have been brought for a while into close relations with some of the solitaries of the Egyptian desert, and in particular with the great St. Anthony, whose life he is said to have written.

In 313 the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which changed Christianity from a persecuted to an officially favored religion. About six years later, a presbyter (elder, priest) Arius of Alexandria began to teach concerning the Word of God (John 1:1) that "God begat him, and before he was begotten, he did not exist." Athanasius was at that time a newly ordained deacon, secretary to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, and a member of his household. His reply to Arius was that the begetting, or uttering, of the Word by the Father is an eternal relation between Them, and not a temporal event. Arius was condemned by the bishops of Egypt (with the exceptions of Secundus of Ptolemais and Theonas of Marmorica), and went to Nicomedia, from which he wrote letters to bishops throughout the world, stating his position.

In about 319, when Athanasius was a deacon, a presbyter named Arius came into a direct conflict with Bishop Alexander. It appears that Arius approached Alexander for what he felt were misguided or heretical teachings being taught by the bishop. Arius’ theological views appear to have been firmly rooted in Alexandrian Christianity, and his Christologial views were certainly not radical at all. He embraced a subordinationist Christology (that God did not have a beginning, but the Logos did), heavily influenced by Alexandrian thinkers like Origen,[3] which was a common Christological view at the time. Arius was subsequently excommunicated by Alexander, and he would begin to elicit the support of many bishops who agreed with his position. Athanasius may have accompanied Alexander to the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the council which produced the Nicene Creed and anathematized Arius and his followers.

The party of Athanasius was overwhelmingly in the majority. (The western, or Latin, half of the Empire was very sparsely represented, but it was solidly Athanasian, so that if its bishops had attended in force, the vote would have been still more lopsided.) It remained to formulate a creedal statement to express the consensus. The initial effort was to find a formula from Holy Scripture that would express the full deity of the Son, equally with the Father. However, the Arians cheerfully agreed to all such formulations, having interpreted them already to fit their own views. (Those of you who have conversed with members of the Watchtower Society, who consider themselves the spiritual heirs of Arius, will know how this works.) Finally, the Greek word "homo-ousios" (meaning "of the same substance, or nature, or essence") was introduced, chiefly because it was one word that could not be understood to mean what the Arians meant. Some of the bishops present, although in complete disagreement with Arius, were reluctant to use a term not found in the Scriptures, but eventually saw that the alternative was a creed that both sides would sign, each understanding it in its own way, and that the Church could not afford to leave the question of whether the Son is truly God (the Arians said "a god") undecided. So the result was that the Council adopted a creed which is a shorter version of what we now call the Nicene Creed, declaring the Son to be "of one substance with the Father." At the end, there were only two holdouts, the aforesaid Secundus and Theonas.

No sooner was the council over than its consensus began to fall apart. Constantine had expected that the result would be unity, but found that the Arians would not accept the decision, and that many of the orthodox bishops were prepared to look for a wording a little softer than that of Nicea, something that sounded orthodox, but that the Arians would accept. All sorts of compromise formulas were worked out, with all shades of variation from the formula of Nicea.

Eventually, Christians who believed in the Deity of Christ came to see that once they were prepared to abandon the Nicene formulation, they were on a slippery slope that led to regarding the Logos as simply a high-ranking angel. The more they experimented with other formulations, the clearer it became that only the Nicene formulation would preserve the Christian faith in any meaningful sense, and so they re-affirmed the Nicene Creed at the Council of Constantinople in 381, a final triumph that Athanasius did not live to see.

It was a final triumph as far as councils of bishops were concerned, but the situation was complicated by the fact that after Constantine there were several Arian emperors (not counting the Emperor Julian, who was a pagan, but correctly saw that the most effective way to fight Christianity was to throw all his weight on the side of the Arians). Under one of them Arian missionaries were sent to convert the Goths, who became the backbone of the Roman Army (then composed chiefly of foreign mercenaries) with the result that for many years Arianism was considered the mark of a good Army man. The conversion of Clovis, King of the Franks, in 496, to orthodox Christianity either gave the Athanasian party the military power to crush Arianism or denied the Arian Goths the military supremacy that would have enabled them to crush Athanasian Christianity, depending on your point of view.

Athanasius spent a good deal of his energy on polemical writings against his theological opponents. Examples include: Orations Against the Arians, his defence of the divinity of the Holy Spirit (Letters to Serapion) in the 360s, and On the Holy Spirit) against the Macedonian heresy.

Arguably his most read work is his biography of Anthony the Great entitled Vita Antonii, or Life of Antony. This biography later served as an inspiration to Christian monastics in both the East and the West. The so-called Athanasian Creed dates from well after Athanasius's death and draws upon the phraseology of Augustine's De trinitate.

Since Alexandria had the best astronomers, it was the duty of the Bishop of Alexandria to write to the other bishops every year and tell them the correct date for Easter. Naturally, his annual letter on this topic contained other material as well. One Easter Letter (or Paschal Letter) of Athanasius is well known for giving a list of the books that ought to be considered part of the canonical Scriptures, with a supplementary list of books suitable for devotional reading.

For the New Testament, he lists the 27 books that are recognized today. (If you will look at your list of New Testament books, you may note that Matthew through 2 Thessalonians were never in dispute, that the next four were subject to relatively little dispute, and that the remaining books had more trouble being accepted. There were also a few books that looked as if they might make the list, but eventually did not, the most conspicuous being the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, and the Shepherd of Hermas.)

For the Old Testament, his list is like that used by most Protestants, except that he omits Esther, and includes Baruch, with the letter of Jeremiah. His supplementary list is Wisdom, Sirach, Tobias, Judith, and Esther. He does not mention Maccabees.

In the spring of 365, after the accession of Emperor Valens to the throne, troubles again arose. Athanasius was once more compelled to seek safety from his persecutors in concealment (October 365), which lasted, however, only for four months. In February 366 he resumed his episcopal labours, in which he henceforth remained undisturbed. On the 2nd of May 373, having consecrated Peter II, one of his presbyters, as his successor, he died quietly in his own house.

Propers for ST. ATHANASIUS

The Collect:

ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, whose servant Athanasius steadfastly confessed thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to be Very God and Very Man: Grant that we may hold fast to this faith, and evermore magnify his holy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Corinthians 4:5-14:

WE preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:23-32:

WHEN they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

SS Philip and James, Apostles

SS Philip and James, Apostles

The Collect
O ALMIGHTY God, whom truly to know is ever-lasting life; Grant us perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life; that, following the steps of thy holy Apostles, Saint Philip and Saint James, we may stedfastly walk in the way that leadeth to eternal life through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. James i. 1.
JAMES, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptations for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

The Gospel. St. John xiv. 1
AND Jesus said unto his disciples, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye maybe also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and bow sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you ,I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

The Son of the Church Lady

Well, guess I segued my last post and didn't even know it at the time and don't think I use this blog as a big echo chamber, but Jay Slocum over at Reformed Anglican finds great stuff.

This time I will spare everyone the rant.

These videos are great, and both sides have some valid points and I tend to favor the "Christ Follower", but the term Christian is still valid to describe believers, whether they are sincere or not and I prefer the KJV Bible.

The "Christian" is the "Son of the Church Lady" and the "Christ Follower" is a little too laid-back, going to the "Starbucks" Church. In true Anglican fashion I will take the "via media" :)