Benedict XVI with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey
Any headline involving the words “Oxford professor” (turns out it’s a church history professor, too!) and “hissy fit” has me intrigued, to say the least. Add the fact that I had no idea what an “Ordinariate” is, and I jumped right on this article from the London Telegraph’s blogsite. But first, to understand that oddball (to me) term, I had to read another article, about Church of England bishops jumping ship to become Roman Catholic:
The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to announce this week that two Church of England bishops are becoming Roman Catholics. Continue reading
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, with the Bishop of Rochester
From an article in a British Christian online magazine. Though I am always suspicious when someone starts talking about “Judeo-Christian values” (there’s a lot of slipperiness in this language), I like this guy 🙂 . Also, based on my own recent research into the origins of hospitals in the West, I have to agree with his statement (see below) that the nursing profession as we know it is Christian in origin. Finally, his examination of the origins of modern British systems of law and governance fascinate–I’ll be looking into the details of his narrative . . .
If school kids don’t learn more about Britain’s Judeo-Christian heritage we risk losing our national values, a bishop has warned.
The Rt Revd Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said: “The Judaeo-Christian tradition provides the connecting link to ‘our island story’”.
Children should know about the role of Christians in abolishing the slave trade, caring for the sick and improving working conditions, the former Bishop of Rochester said in an article for Standpoint magazine. Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants, Resources for Radical Living
Tagged Christian history, education, England, health, Judeo-Christian, law, medicine, Michael Nazir-Ali, natural law, nursing
A sad reflection on non-religious reasons to preserve the hundreds of English churches with almost a millennium of history and only a handful of worshipers.
One of my favorite people from the Patron Saints for Postmoderns book is the early 19th-century Cambridge pastor and mentor Charles Simeon. A curmudgeon, perhaps, with evident character flaws (albeit softened by increasing humility as he grew older), Simeon is perhaps most praiseworthy for sticking out a very difficult ministry in a very difficult time to be a “gospel preacher” in the England’s Established Church:
Destined to Wage War
The timing was both auspicious and difficult. If John Newton’s time was the gawky adolescence of the evangelical church in England, then Charles Simeon’s time was the movement’s early manhood—but it was a challenging manhood. During the early 1800s the movement, begun nearly a century before, was sustaining heavy damage from political intrigue within England’s state church, from an apathetic and dwindling Anglican membership, and from a continuation of the same internal struggles that had marred Newton’s day—Arminian vs. Calvinist, Established Church vs. nonconformist. It was beginning to look as though “gospel Christianity” had seen its day in its birthplace, and the calmer, more reasonable and less activist faith of the Deists and their ilk would swallow up the movement in its very cradle.
But not if Charles Simeon could help it.
Striding resolutely from his rooms at Kings to preach at Holy Trinity, only five feet eight inches tall but “accustomed to ‘bearing himself so well he seemed taller,’” Simeon walked with a hint of a swagger. He wore an ensemble on the showy side of formal, including a “short black coat, breeches and gaiters, black gloves, white ruffled shirt and voluminous preaching gown trailing behind.” Under his arm he tucked a fancy umbrella. Continue reading
The Christianity Today history blog has just posted a piece by me on the British mystery author and lay theologian Dorothy L. Sayers. And yes, the great modern theologian Karl Barth not only enjoyed Sayers’s detective stories, but called her one of the “outstanding British theologians.” He himself translated three of her essays into German.
So you think medieval monks just sat in their cloisters, doing without stuff and looking pious? Check out Boniface (680 – 754):
How a brilliant monk laid the groundwork for Christian Europe
By Chris Armstrong
“Irony” seems a concept invented for such a situation as this: The man historian Christopher Dawson once called the most influential Englishman who ever lived is the patron saint of … Germany.
And, as journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto has recently reminded us, the 60th anniversary of D-Day is also the 1250th anniversary of this man’s death.
There is one more layer of seeming irony in this story of the man who evangelized Germany and set the stage for Western Christendom: he was a monk. Continue reading
England’s churches were reawakened by 1,100 young ministers, who learned their craft from an awkward, unpopular, and sometimes angry mentor.
(Published in Leadership Journal)
How did an awkward loner—unpopular in his youth for his affected manner—raise a generation of passionate ministers who changed a nation?
“Proud, imperious, fiery-tempered; a solitary individual, eager for friendship, whom others avoided because of his conceits, eccentricities, and barbed words.” This is how Charles Simeon’s biographer describes the great minister and mentor. Yet during his lifetime (1759-1836), he did more than any other to awaken churches in England. Over some 54 years, 1,100 young ministers sat with him on Sunday evenings, absorbing his passion for Christ, taking it to cold pulpits, and igniting parishes across the country.
He was an unlikely candidate to do so. Continue reading