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Apr
28

Things Episcopalians say (2): “You don’t have to check your brains at the door.”

Things Episcopalians say (2): “You don’t have to check your brains at the door.” After all, is there any Christian tradition that more effortlessly embraces a sophisticated intellectual idiom within a refined aesthetic sensibility?
Apr
27

Grace, grace, and grace: how to battle Osteenism in our time

Grace, grace, and grace: how to battle Osteenism in our time We must take the Osteen out of our own eyes before we go looking to remove it from our neighbor's.
Apr
24

“It is finished”: the residue of the Passion in Eastertide

“It is finished”: the residue of the Passion in Eastertide Jesus’ ministry in the world was, as it were, a betrothal. But the Cross is the consummation of the union of divine nature and human nature.
Apr
23

Going to an ancient land

Going to an ancient land We are called to rejoice in the fellowship of those we cannot see or hear or touch, but who witness to us, urging us to "Build well."
Apr
23

An academic and pastoral lens

Richard Hays offers an exemplary commentary on 1 Corinthians, naming the challenges and exploring how we can honestly engage with a biblical text we seek to make authoritative in our lives and our Church.
Apr
22

Mysterium fidei

Mysterium fidei Through the Paschal mystery, dear friends, we are buried with Christ by Baptism into his death, and raised with him to newness of life. So declaims the celebrant to the liturgical assembly, according to the use of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, at the Great Vigil of Easter and on other occasions when baptismal vows are publicly renewed. It is beyond obvious that there is a wide variety of narratives...
Apr
21

A different sort of scholar

A different sort of scholar “My entire worldview has been shaped and transformed by my involvement at the parish near campus.” A junior in college wrote this sentence about the life and work he’s found hanging around the upstairs choir room in the church he attends two blocks from his university campus. Last year, he was confirmed there when he was a sophomore.  He had stumbled in as a freshman, looking for...
Apr
20

On the harrowing of hell

On the harrowing of hell Sam Keyes responds to a question submitted to the Covenant blog regarding the harrowing of hell.
Apr
17

Woe to Assyria

Woe to Assyria Westerners cannot use reason to talk IS out of conducting jihad. So what is the solution?
Apr
16

Being in remission

Being in remission Once in awhile, something that I say as a part of the liturgy just leaps off of the page and grabs me.
Apr
15

6 characteristics of growing churches

6 characteristics of growing churches If you want your church to grow, here is a six-pack of growing church characteristics backed up by data.
Apr
14

The end repeats the beginning

The end repeats the beginning The liturgy is a ritual enactment of the Last Day, a corporate enactment of our collective hope. But it also mirrors the beginning of days.
Apr
13

Easter Communion

Easter Communion The poetry of Easter is so very rich — reaching out as far as we can reach in our limited vocabularies for a way to say what needs to be said.
Apr
9

Why so serious?

Why so serious? The levity of the saints is a lightness that is bright with mirth, heavy with joy, thick with intention and devotion.
Apr
8

Against liturgical seasons

Against liturgical seasons When do we get to talk about the Cross again?
Apr
6

Analog Christianity

Analog Christianity Convenience is sometimes overrated. It can even obscure what is good, holy, and true.
Apr
2

The enemies of the Cross

The enemies of the Cross How have we set ourselves up as enemies of the Cross? In what ways have we avoided the suffering which establishes community?
Apr
1

Too much stuff

Too much stuff Last year my big brother, Randy, and I met in south Louisiana for the shared task of preparing our mother’s home for sale. Mom had died early on Valentine’s Day, and we agreed to let our grief settle for a few months before we took on the big dig. I had dreaded this work for decades, picturing myself locked in months of indecision while sorting through deep stacks of swing music, family photos, report...
Mar
31

Grace, growth, and God’s dream: three types of sermons

Grace, growth, and God’s dream: three types of sermons There are only three types of sermons.
Mar
30

Honor, shame, and the Gospel in the American South: Part I

Honor, shame, and the Gospel in the American South: Part I This series of posts discusses the honor-shame dynamic of the American South, a Christian challenge to injustice that takes into account the region's social paradigm, and Jackson Wu's "4 Keys to Evangelism in Honor-Shame Cultures."
Mar
27

Evangelicals still aren’t Jewish enough: a roundabout argument for infant baptism

Evangelicals still aren’t Jewish enough: a roundabout argument for infant baptism If you've lived in evangelical sub-culture long enough, you probably have Gentile friends who try to do the Messianic Jew thing, kippahs, tallits, shofars, and all. But it's not enough.
Mar
25

Meet the magazine behind the weblog

Meet the magazine behind the weblog Our parent magazine, The Living Church, invites all readers of Covenant to sign up for a free six-month subscription. In continuous publication since 1878, The Living Church served throughout the twentieth century as the Catholic-minded magazine of record in the Episcopal Church in the United States, in firm support of the advancing ecumenical movement and the rise of a global, interdependent Anglican...
Mar
25

Let’s be logical

Let’s be logical Anglicans pride themselves on being educated and intellectual, but I'm afraid we're no more rational or logical than any other branch of the Church.
Mar
24

What’s love got to do with it?

What’s love got to do with it? A few days ago I attended the annual meeting of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. One speaker spoke of the role of love in recovery.
Mar
23

Any way the wind blows

Any way the wind blows If the Church loses its grasp on meaning and hope, what do we have to give to the world?
Mar
20

Rachel Held Evans, adult conversion, and the necessity of confirmation

Rachel Held Evans, adult conversion, and the necessity of confirmation Let's not be quick to discard the best things we have to offer.
Mar
19

Echoes of silenced prayer

Echoes of silenced prayer The violence wrought by ISIS and the Syrian civil war threatens to destroy the religious and cultural heritage of the Middle East. Lost Origins Productions is attempting to preserve ancient Sufi and Christian chant in a series of stunning albums.
Mar
18

Wrestling with Christian pedagogy

Wrestling with Christian pedagogy Does the Church's method of teaching differ from that of the classroom?
Mar
17

Being a hypocritical Church

Being a hypocritical Church James Alison suggests that the vocation of a preacher is “Be a professional hypocrite."
Mar
16

Who needs an Anglican Father Brown?

Who needs an Anglican Father Brown? “Finally, an Anglican Father Brown.” Reading this endorsement, I confess that my first response was: “Really? Who needs one?” But I found myself gradually drawn in.
Mar
13

Poem: After an ice storm on Ash Wednesday

  Ice fell from the sky last night, and tree branches now bear its weight. We heard them groan and crack in the dark, gun shots ringing out through the still woods. In the morning some limbs hang at awkward angles, the pale flesh of their trunks gaping at us through the leaves. Above us other branches stretch to the sky, glittering as the sun adorns each one with a thousand diamonds. In these icy...
Mar
12

If you love Brené Brown, you might believe in original sin

If you love Brené Brown, you might believe in original sin You might not buy the story that grounds Christianity’s doctrine of original sin. But if you take Christianity’s doctrine of original sin and put it side-by-side with Dr. Brown’s assertions about shame, guilt, and perfectionism, you'll find they line up more closely than you first expected.
Mar
11

No thought for the morrow: St. Benedict Joseph Labre

No thought for the morrow: St. Benedict Joseph Labre Very few of us would be moved to emulate St. Benedict Joseph Labre's life. Even his biographer found it too extreme to propose for imitation.
Mar
10

A reflection on Hannah’s Child

A reflection on Hannah’s Child Reading Stanley Hauerwas for the first time was a bit like drinking from a new well only to find that the water tastes much the same as the old one. That analogy might almost be a definition of orthodoxy.
Mar
9

Seven theses on the episcopacy

Seven theses on the episcopacy One of the oddities of ecclesial life is that priests can’t be members of a parish. When ordained, the new cleric’s “residency” moves from a parish to the diocese; more specifically, the residency moves to the clericus, the body of clergy within a diocese. The same holds for a bishop, who upon ordination leaves the diocesan clericus to join the college of bishops (not simply the Episcopal House of...
Mar
6

Of a car and coffeeshops

Of a car and coffeeshops We come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide.
Mar
5

Sabermetrics for the Church?

Sabermetrics for the Church? In the mid-1990s, baseball analysts began to take advantage of the rapid rise of computing power. Is there a way the Church could ride the sabermetric wave?
Mar
4

Reconciling the irreconcilable

Bishop Dan Martins writes at Confessions of a Carioca regarding ecclesial conflict, rupture, and reconciliation: I am also resolutely a member of the Episcopal Church, and by the providential sufferance of Almighty God, a bishop therein. I attempt to lead and care for a diocese, and I attempt to dutifully take my share in “the councils of the church,” per my ordination vows. And as I go about...
Mar
4

Disability and the Church: an interview

Disability and the Church: an interview As people, we all need to come to terms with the fact that we all have or will have disabilities at some point, and I mean that very seriously — weakness or inability is human. Disability is not just about bodies that work differently, and there is no single story that fits "the disability narrative" completely. If the church wants to reach out to people with disabilities, then we need to be allowed to tell our own stories, explain our own feelings, and the Church's ministries need to listen well and be responsive.
Mar
3

Veiling crosses in Lent

Veiling crosses in Lent The other day a parishioner asked why we veil crosses during Lent. I didn’t know, so I offered a pretty speculative explanation. The question has stuck with me and got me thinking about this tradition and what it suggests about Lent. The custom at our parish is to veil all the crosses (excepting crucifixes) with plain, unbleached linen cloth for Ash Wednesday. On Good Friday, all the crucifixes are...

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