Welcome to the eleventh Christian Reconciliation Carnival. It is my pleasure once again to be your host as we explore some of the best blog posts from the past three months on topics related to ecumenism, mutual sharing, and healing the divisions within the body of Christ. These entries were all written on or before March 31. Lest this Carnival be mistaken for an April Fool’s prank, however (we CRCers would never stoop to such shenanigans), I’ve waited until today to put it up. Even so, I think you’ll agree this quarter’s offerings were worth the wait.
Reconciliation and Liturgical Time
I proposed the topic of “Reconciliation and Liturgical Time” due to the disparity within the Christian family with respect to the date of Easter/Pascha. Although real life intervened to keep me from developing the post I would have liked to enter on this topic, I did manage to offer a brief meditation on the benefits of observing Holy Week‚Äîan observance only recently gaining widespread attention in my own Baptist tradition. Check out “Can You Get to Easter from Here?”
Chris Tilling of Chrisendom has a brief comment about “Liturgy and Theology” in which he commends to our attention the book Rhythm of Doctrine, in which the author, John E. Colwell, “structures a systematic theology around the liturgical year, bringing theology back home to its doxological roots.” Sounds like a great read to me, and well in keeping with this Carnival’s theme!
Mark Olson posted “Tic Toc” at his Pseudo-Polymath blog. It is a nice reflection on the importance of liturgical time in unifying the diverse Orthodox Christian family. He has also called for members of other communions to share their liturgical calendars in a kind of ecumenical calendrical file sharing project, and I hope many of you will join in the project. (PS: Mark’s post is also up at Stones Cry Out.)
Weekend Fisher furthers the conversation with “Reconciliation and Liturgical Time” at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength. She ponders “whether it would be possible to use the calendar as a low-key way to inch back towards unity: when the theological issues cannot be resolved at this time, to at least resolve the calendar issues.” She concludes with a simple, practical step that churches can take in this direction.
Other Reconciliatory Goodness
Weekend Fisher has also weighed in with “‘Pagan Christianity,’ eager audiences, and some legitimate criticisms,” which reviews the reactions (more so than the book) by Frank Viola and George Barna. If I may hazard to put words in her mouth, her post is a plea for a more “maximalist” interpretation of the church’s heritage rather than the “minimalism” that often marks the free church movement in general and certain strands of evangelicalism in particular.
On the other hand, some evangelicals are discovering the church’s tradition and liking what they see. Both Don Bryant and Rick Mansfield linked to (or reproduced) a great article exploring this phenomenon by Chris Armstrong in Christianity Today: “The Future Lies in the Past.”
Meanwhile, Michael Spencer aka Internet Monk, a fellow Baptist, has been elbowing with Mainline Protestants and has lived to tell the tale in “Three Days among the Mainlines.” Go see what he has to say about what is right with a group of Christians many of a more conservative bent are likely to write off. And while you’re at it, check out “The ‘Happy Enough’ Protestant,” in which Michael explains why he is content to remain within the Protestant fold despite its foibles, while maintaining a magnanimous attitude toward the Catholics and Orthodox.
For me, Christian reconciliation is all about community. So I was pleased to read “What Is Community?” by Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed. In a similar vein, Kyle Potter of Vindicated posted some thoughts “On Choosing a Church.”
Bonnie at Intellectuelle enters the egalitarian-complementarian debate in “Godly womanhood and manhood: a first look“: “If [Wayne] Grudem is suggesting that the final word on the matter is God‚Äôs design for man and woman, and that His character is evident in the godly expression of both manhood and womanhood, then I agree. However, I don‚Äôt think that manhood and womanhood themselves hang in the balance. What does hang in the balance is Christian charity, unity, and godly character” (emphasis mine).
Finally, I would commend to you Nick Norelli’s excellent work in putting together the 2008 Trinity Blogging Summit at his blog, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. I believe genuine Christian reconciliation must be rooted in our “highest common denominators,” and this compilation of diverse voices expounding on the doctrine of the Trinity gives us a pattern for further projects centered on those truths we all hold dearest of all.
That’s all for CRC#11. Be sure to watch this space for information about CRC#12, scheduled to appear in early July.