This is Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.'s Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.'s activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.
Recent Activity
I would "ditto" Craig's reply above and also thank both you and Derek for your posts. As someone who has found substantial meaning in their works and has read most of what they have published in the "popular" forum (I do not read Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc, so it is my only access to this type of scholarly work), I would suggest that we not characterize Crossan, Borg and Pagels as "theologians," as they are historical biblical scholars, primarily. Of the three, only Borg has strayed more extensively into "theology" as he tries to incorporate the conclusions of historical Jesus research and higher biblical criticism into Christian religious life. All three of them (2/3 are Episcopalians, of course) have never, as far as I know, said anything against religious _practice_, (in Derek's post, "rejecting traditional expressions of faith" and thus having "jettisoned the tools" to allow us to "experience" or, I would prefer, "incarnate" religious belief). What "jettisoned the tools" was, I believe, the loss of the ability to see our religious narratives and beliefs as story/myth/parable/allegory/mystery and an associated insistence on logical literalism. This was the result of enlightenment thought rather than "the new theologians" of the 20th and 21st century. Derek is right, of course, about the "breaking of icons," I believe. Much of traditional orthodoxy has resisted making "idols" out of any singular formulation of religious belief and practice (like reducing the essentials to a laundry list of fundamental beliefs such as our 39 articles-sorry, I couldn't resist that "dig"). I would argue, however, that the historical biblical scholars and the new theologians are allowing us rather to break out of the "modern" paradigm of literal/factual belief and move back to metaphor, mystery and experience. As for practice, we Episcopalians have a great primer for "technique" in "achieving the psychological states"--the BCP. I don't think that we need for the historical biblical scholars to "teach us to pray."
1 reply
Having read your post and the sermon excerpt from the ABC earlier, I later came across this tidbit in Origen from his De Principiis: "And since many saints participate in the Holy Spirit, He cannot therefore be understood to be a body, which being divided into corporeal parts is partaken of by each one of the saints; but he is manifestly a sanctifying power, in which all are said to have a share who have deserved to be sanctified by his grace. " I am particularly struck by the idea that the saints "participate" in the Holy Spirit. This "bi-directional" view is one worth a bit of contemplation, I think.
1 reply
I have already expressed my support for this idea of the BCP as a source of our Anglican Unity. I agree that the specific tests of the prayerbooks are not as important, however, perhaps as the fact that we are organized around prayerbooks and that our corporate liturgical experience is a center of our identity and source of inspiration. There are a lot of "sola scriptura" Protestants for whom a more or less literal biblical reading is at the center of their identity, but that is not us. The RC church has centered more on the magisterium as the center of their identity, but again, that is not us. Although one finds many "uses" of the prayerbook liturgy, it is the mere fact that we commit ourselves to a common liturgical experience in an English and Western (and somewhat Celtic) tradition that distinguishes us. Karen Armstrong, in her most recent books, has spoken of the need to experience the Bible not as a literalistic text and religion not as a set of propositional statements that we must affirm but an experience that we have both corporately and individually. The prayerbook is, I think, our vehicle for this experience, again both corporately and individually. In this sense, it is the deliberate practice of our spirituality that is so essential for us. We "live" as it were, our religious experience together liturgically. It is this "unity" that can be a haven from so much discursive argument and divisiveness. I found one Karen Armstrong quote from her new book,The Case for God, particularly apt about this issue of "practice" and the nature of God and religious experience: "People practice their faith in myriad contrasting and contradictory ways. But a deliberate and principled reticence about God and/or the sacred was a constant theme not only in Christianity but in the other major faith traditions until the rise of modernity in the West. People believed that God exceeded our thoughts and concepts and could be known only by dedicated practice. We have lost sight of this important insight, and this, I believe, is one of the reasons why so many Western people find the concept of God so troublesome today." This emphasis on "Practice" as opposed to "principle" or "proposition" could perhaps prove salvific for us and others in a very divisive time in our religious history.
Toggle Commented Oct 30, 2009 on The BCP as Anglican Covenant at Entangled States
1 reply