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A Generous Orthodoxy
10-04-2008, 08:50 PM
Post: #84
 
Dear Rick,

As so often you have asked the decisive and the big question; this is indeed at the heart of whatever we may think we mean by 'a Generous Orthodoxy'.

I went to St. Ignatius because he gives us the basic unit which forms the concept of a 'Church'; a community gathered around its bishop. I like to think that one of our advantages in the BOC is that that is what we are in reality. But, of course, your questions about ecclesiology and Church polity do indeed see the rubber and the road meeting, because they require me, and others, to raise our eyes to the wider horizon.

If, and I think you are in general, you are correct to say that there is absence of Churches following the Ignatian model, that in itself tells us something about the disconnect between our ecclesiology and the various Church polities. Indeed I am tempted to go further and to suggest that where there is a low view of our hierarchs that may have something to do with the failure to follow an Ignatian model. Should a bishop be a kind of CEO of 'Church Inc.' or should he be the father of his people, the shepherd of his flock? If we want the latter, then how are we going to help him do that? If we don't want a CEO, who is going to do those administrative tasks which need to be done? What is the relationship between those tasks and the bishop? We, the lay-folk, have to step up to the plate here and offer our services; no point complaining that our bishops have become administrators and then ensuring. by our silence and inertia that that is what happens!

I suspect the malaise you diagnose stems from this situation. Until and unless we all know what it is we want from our hierarchs, for that length of time we shall fail to be satisfied; but are our hierarchs happy with what we do? What is the role of the laity in Orthodoxy? Again, to be parochial, I am impressed in the BOC by the way in which deacons and readers are empowered and do much of the work which, in other Churches, falls on the priest. But here direction from the bishop is crucial- Abba Seraphim is one of the best delegators I know. I work with a lot of people in, effectively, CEO positions, and if he will not blush with the comparison, he stands high in the list of effective CEOs. I have never known him shy away from a decision or a big issue, or not to take a lead; but I have also never seen him disempower anyone else or fail to encourage them to step up and play their proper part; nor have I ever seen him fail to provide support when needed.

OK, that is Abba Seraphim, I know; but it is also an example of how the Ignatian model can work in practice. That does, indeed, need a bishop with the confidence to delegate; but it also needs one who sees why that is necessary. He will have to speak to his own view, but from my level, what I see is a Metropolitan who concentrates on the big picture, but who is well-informed on all manner of things and knows who to ask to do what. We don't always do it - but whose fault is that?

Now then I see I have sidetracked myself by getting too concrete and not dealing with the main questions, but let me come back to that in another post later.

But let me end this part of the discussion with the suggestion that when one has a bishop who follows the Ignatian pattern, the question of where should we 'move' becomes susceptible of a concrete answer. Abba Seraphim is active in his contacts with other Christian communities, and it is he, who as the shepherd, helps direct us to where the opportunities exist to make connections.

If he will permit me to cite something he has said which has stuck with me, the BOC, he has said, is not the 'Liberal Democratic Party at prayer'; that is we are not all things to all men. We are what we are. A confessing community of Christians who are part of the Oriental Orthodox tradition and who encounter our Risen Lord at the Eucharistic feast. That enables others to see us in plain view. But an acknowledgement of difference can also help us all see what we may well hold in common; but there (and I will say more in another post) we really are not Protestants. My view is not as valid as that of Abba Seraphim. He carries the seal of the Apostolic succession; upon his shoulders the weight of our Church is loaded; he has devoted himself to our welfare and to following the cause of our Lord. That gives him a decisive voice. It is entirely typical of him that, as with the good Ignatian bishop, he brings his flock with him through his example and his fellowship with us.

In that sense, the Ignatian model is very relevant; if we had more hierarchs like Abba Seraphim, we should make more progress. But that means that we, the lay-folk, also have to be willing to step up and do our part; just as it means having a bishop who encourages us. As in any other sphere of life, leadership is all.

That, is enough from me on this, and I shall turn to the other interesting issues you raise in a second post.

In Christ,

John

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Quote


Messages In This Thread
A Generous Orthodoxy - Rick Henry - 15-07-2007, 03:52 PM
[] - admin - 15-07-2007, 05:01 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 17-07-2007, 12:42 PM
[] - admin - 19-07-2007, 08:59 PM
On Transcending Divisions - Rick Henry - 20-07-2007, 12:57 AM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 20-07-2007, 01:56 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 20-07-2007, 04:38 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 20-07-2007, 10:05 PM
[] - admin - 21-07-2007, 09:48 AM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 21-07-2007, 03:42 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 22-07-2007, 01:24 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 22-07-2007, 03:13 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 23-07-2007, 12:04 AM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 23-07-2007, 11:30 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 23-07-2007, 01:32 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 23-07-2007, 03:52 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 24-07-2007, 01:19 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 25-07-2007, 08:27 AM
[] - admin - 25-07-2007, 11:10 AM
Re: a generous orthodoxy - Rick Henry - 25-07-2007, 07:29 PM
Thank You - Rick Henry - 25-07-2007, 08:21 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 26-07-2007, 09:35 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 26-07-2007, 02:46 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 26-07-2007, 04:23 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 27-07-2007, 03:59 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 28-07-2007, 11:25 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 01-08-2007, 02:11 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 01-08-2007, 03:24 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 02-08-2007, 08:37 AM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 02-08-2007, 11:21 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 02-08-2007, 12:09 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 03-08-2007, 08:31 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 03-08-2007, 02:54 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 03-08-2007, 03:46 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 04-08-2007, 10:37 AM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 04-08-2007, 11:26 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 04-08-2007, 12:21 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 07-08-2007, 02:15 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 07-08-2007, 02:57 PM
[] - admin - 07-08-2007, 04:04 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 07-08-2007, 05:06 PM
[] - admin - 07-08-2007, 07:38 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 07-08-2007, 07:44 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 08-08-2007, 12:28 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 08-08-2007, 12:38 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 09-08-2007, 01:55 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 09-08-2007, 02:40 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 10-08-2007, 01:56 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 10-08-2007, 08:43 PM
Re: A Generous Orthodoxy - Rick Henry - 11-08-2007, 02:17 PM
Love - John Charmley - 11-08-2007, 04:38 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 13-08-2007, 08:35 AM
God is Love? - John Charmley - 13-08-2007, 12:00 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 13-08-2007, 05:35 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 14-08-2007, 04:30 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 15-08-2007, 02:59 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 15-08-2007, 04:18 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 15-08-2007, 06:41 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 15-08-2007, 09:42 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 16-08-2007, 09:02 AM
Judgement - John Charmley - 16-08-2007, 01:35 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 17-08-2007, 04:21 PM
A Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 18-08-2007, 12:23 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 23-08-2007, 12:44 PM
Love - John Charmley - 23-08-2007, 05:54 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 04-12-2007, 10:15 PM
Generous Orthodoxy - John Charmley - 07-12-2007, 04:42 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 11-12-2007, 02:24 PM
Rubber and road - John Charmley - 12-12-2007, 05:47 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 13-12-2007, 10:03 AM
Generosity - John Charmley - 13-12-2007, 11:18 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 13-12-2007, 01:34 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 13-12-2007, 01:46 PM
To believe on Him? - John Charmley - 17-02-2008, 07:18 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 17-02-2008, 09:58 PM
[] - John Charmley - 19-02-2008, 06:31 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 20-02-2008, 12:39 PM
[] - John Charmley - 23-02-2008, 04:50 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 24-02-2008, 01:15 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 08-04-2008, 01:36 PM
Ecclesiastical communities - John Charmley - 08-04-2008, 04:48 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 09-04-2008, 02:58 PM
[] - John Charmley - 10-04-2008 08:50 PM
Part II - John Charmley - 10-04-2008, 09:15 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 11-04-2008, 01:28 PM
[] - John Charmley - 11-04-2008, 03:32 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 12-04-2008, 08:46 AM
[] - John Charmley - 12-04-2008, 12:14 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 13-04-2008, 03:42 PM
[] - John Charmley - 14-04-2008, 01:54 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 15-04-2008, 12:07 PM
[] - John Charmley - 15-04-2008, 09:09 PM
a generous orthodoxy - kirk yacoub - 18-04-2008, 09:48 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 18-04-2008, 12:16 PM
[] - John Charmley - 18-04-2008, 02:16 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 20-04-2008, 01:42 PM
[] - John Charmley - 20-04-2008, 02:40 PM
[] - Rick Henry - 20-04-2008, 06:04 PM
[] - John Charmley - 26-04-2008, 11:05 AM
Lest Foundationalism is Dead: - Rick Henry - 28-04-2008, 02:55 PM
[] - admin - 28-04-2008, 07:19 PM
[] - John Charmley - 30-04-2008, 07:04 PM
Transition/Transformation? - Rick Henry - 01-05-2008, 10:53 AM
[] - Rick Henry - 27-05-2008, 02:23 PM



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