Friday, 5 April 2013

Affirming - and questioning - the Resurrection ...

There's an excellent post [here - 'The Matter of Butterflies'] at Catholicity and Covenant which neatly juxtaposes the Bishop of Chichester's orthodox and patristic take on the Resurrection (Christ the keeper of the garden who restores our primal innocence and inheritance) with that of the TEC Bishop of Washington's flat denial of the bodily resurrection of the Lord:
"The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, anymore than we can know what will happen to us."

And this is surely the only conclusion to draw from a theologically orthodox perspective:
"...The matter of butterflies ceases to matter because the matter assumed by the Word in the Incarnation does not matter - we are told that, at least potentially, his flesh has decomposed in a 1st century AD Palestinian tomb.  Dust is no longer bound for glory. What is particularly striking is that the authentic challenge to the consumerism and materialism of postmodernity - and its impact on the environment - comes not from a presentation of the Resurrection which flees from and appears to be embarrassed by physicality, but from a proclamation of this very physicality.  It is this physicality which proclaims that matter matters...."
He ends with a nice comment by Archbishop Rowan Williams which completely sums up the problem:
"...I have never managed to see how to put together such a theology without belief in the empty tomb. If a corpse clearly marked ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ turned up, I should save myself a lot of trouble and become a Quaker..."
But I have to say it, the real trouble is that (sincere but theologically misguided) people like Mariann Edgar Budde, the Bishop of Washington  are not Quakers; despite their theology, or even because of it,  they have been allowed to function in an episcopal role, and they have destroyed our Communion ...  or at least the project is now very far advanced.
There is a link in the previous post to research highlighting the extreme liberal theological stance of many women in ordained ministry - also see here for the (largely ignored) Cost of Conscience survey: I'm afraid it's the elephant in the room for those who claim theological orthodoxy and yet persist in championing the ordination of women... 
Of course women in orders are by no means the only offenders, but they have proved apt pupils of the whole list of those responsible for the fashionable theological teaching of the dark days of the '60s, 70s and 80s, including the likes of Spong and Holloway and the other boys in the band, many of whom have taken leave of God (not to mention Alexandria) for some time now...
W.O. is  only a symptom of Anglicanism's malaise, but it's the presenting symptom.

Christus Vincit: The Choir of Westminster Cathedral, directed by Martin Baker, sing the setting by James MacMillan.


  1. dear oh dear: when an anglican bishop can in all seriousness state 'The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death' without the remark causing a furore either in her own church or the wider anglican communion, then one knows that the point has been reached when truly the lunatics have taken over the asylum ...

  2. Fr. Michael, many thanks for the link to my blog and for your comments here. While we would disagree on the matter of WO, I give thanks for a common affirmation and proclamation of the Resurrection. +Chichester's sermon was a very, very good example of what the Resurrection means for the created, material order. I hope others do not miss the irony of a traditionalist catholic CofE bishop providing the theological basis for the Church's environmental concern while a progressive TEC bishop entirely undermines it!

    1. BC, thanks for your comments: faith in the reality of both Incarnation and Resurrection isn't a bad starting point in terms of common ground. And, yes, in terms of the thoughts of +Chichester and +Washington, the irony hasn't been missed! But there again, good stewardship of the Lord's gift of creation isn't altogether an untraditional concern, whatever words are used to describe it...


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