Sunday, April 09, 2006

Yea, Lord, We Greet Thee


Matthew 21:1-11 // Luke 19:28-44 // John 12:12-19

Jesus rode into town, riding on a donkey’s colt. A great number of Anglicans came out to meet him.

The Evangelicals’ expectation was that this prophetic drama heralded Jesus’ intent to rally to him a popular uprising to overthrow the Roman occupiers; for this was how their Scripture foretold that the Messiah would come to town – and any other interpretation of the action would be wilful revisionism of the texts. Their anticipation was high; so much so that some of their number lowered the tone of the occasion by tearing off palm branches and waving them in an excessive act of charismatic worship…

The Anglo-Catholics’ expectation was that this prophetic drama heralded Jesus’ intent to rally to him a popular uprising to overthrow the Roman occupiers; for this was what their Tradition decreed that the Messiah would do when he came to town – and any other interpretation of the action would be dismissive of the history of the People of God. Their anticipation was high; so much so that some of their number raised the tone of the occasion by tearing off palm branches and waving them in a liturgical procession…

The Liberals’ expectation was that this prophetic drama heralded Jesus’ intent to rally to him a popular uprising to overthrow the Roman occupiers; for this was what their sense of Justice dictated that God would do if he were to come to town – and any other interpretation of the action would be immature, irrational hogwash. Their anticipation was high; so much so that some of their number turned the occasion into an impromptu rally by tearing off palm branches, writing “Romans Go Home!” on them, and waving them in demonstration against the oppression of the powerless by the powerful…

And Jesus? Jesus wept. For he loved the Evangelicals, with their love of Scripture, and their strange idea that truth was propositional not relational; and he loved the Anglo-Catholics, with their love of Tradition, and their strange idea that God was hidden in unfathomable mystery; and he loved the Liberals, with their love of Justice, and their strange idea that he was a metaphor for their nobler aspirations…and he wondered at how their various loves and strange ideas had led each, in time, to forget their first love…


11 comments:

  1. wow
    Thank you...Reading this the morning after, it provides a very helpful counterbalance to the junkettings of the day.

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  2. Thanks Andrew. I'd never quite looked at it like that. Another example of the richness of thought, experience, and practice that is represented by our diverse global blogging community.

    Paul

    http://prodigal.typepad.com

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  3. glad to contribute to the richness of the community : )

    Kathryn - I've added your voice to my blog roll...

    Paul - yours has been there for some time - thanks for what you bring to the table...I just dropped by again, and read the post citing de Certeau: on Prodigal Kiwi[s] AND e~merging kiwi's recommendations, I think I ought to track-down his writings first-hand!

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  4. This post has attracted a number of links, which I appreciate. It has also been re-cycled in a way I am uncomfortable with, and I copy a comment I left on another blog below simply to highlight the issue. I am aware that e~mergent kiwi has had a similar problem recently. Let's honour each other's work, not violate it:

    "I don't mean to be rude, but you have re-published my work in an edited form without citing my name or the fact that you have removed an entire paragraph, and on both these counts you are violating my Creative Commons copyright.

    "You've also 'removed' what I wrote from its original context, which further changes it. I write as an Anglican, and this piece is not intended as Anglican-bashing, but to provoke Anglicans to reflect on their own assumptions and their assumptions about other Anglicans in different traditions (including the Liberal tradition you edited out). But by removing it from the context of my blog, it can be read as 'knocking' Anglicans - something I would not want to be associated with.

    "Please may I respectfully ask that you be more careful in your use of other people's work? Thank you.

    "Every blessing,
    Andrew"

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  5. Anonymous3:45 am

    The post-modern Christians expectation of him was that he would bring meaning to their world by inviting them to converse with him and join him as they danced towards the temple. Together they would advance an holistic conception of the kingdom of God. Not bound by constraints of text or tradition they would deconstruct any authority that disrupted the building of this community of meaning.

    Their expectations of him were so high that some of their number began to throw palm branches in front of Jesus, others threw their coats down - in a spontaneous display of the equal validity of differing approaches to worship.

    And Jesus? Jesus wept. For he loved the post-modernists with their embracing other-centredness, and their strange idea that he was only 'their way, their truth, and their life' and the the way that they stared in blank incredulity everytime he defined his mission in terms of the metanarrative of Israel and the people of God.

    He wondered at how their various loves and strange ideas had led each, in time, to forget their first love…

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  6. Anonymous - I suspect that you have missed the point of what I was trying to do. For example, in each case I used the same expectation, not least to highlight that different traditions within Anglicanism - which often set themselves against each other, and define themselves by what they are not - have much in common. Moreover, though I draw on some of the real and stereotypical characteristics of each camp, I am not being critical of any of them; rather, I hope to suggest that we all examine our own assumptions and prejudices. There is a degree of lampooning lampooning going on.

    Writing a very different "expectation" suggests to me that you are more interested in making critical comments about "post-modern Christians." This is heightened by your use of "Anonymous" [rather than Other, if you don't have a Blogger account]. Using Anonymous strikes me as a way to have one's say without actually engaging in a conversation.

    I also suspect that you don't really understand either "post-modern Christian" [I am a Christian, at the end of Modernity in my culture; I can be no other than a post-modern Christian] or emerging church, which you appear to lampoon without mentioning by name. I do not think that relativism is a valid accusation to make in this context; nor would I think that many involved are anti-metanarrative...

    ..but then, every time we dare to write publically, we put ourselves at risk of being misunderstood and misinterpreted - as, indeed, I may have misunderstood and misinterpreted you. If I have, I apologise!

    Every blessing.

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  7. Anonymous4:25 am

    Maybe I was lampooing myself! In which case irony seldom tasted sweeter.

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  8. Anonymous10:52 am

    I apologize for not showing your work due honour. I thank you for bringing this to my attention, I have corrected my error, if this has not been done to your satisfaction, please get in touch ASAP. I'm sorry for any distress this has caused you, and I'll do all I can to see it doesn't happen again.

    BD

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  9. BD - thank you : ) I appreciate the comments you made on your blog.

    [other] Anonymous - irony never tastes sweet; it is always bitter. John's Gospel is full of it: it isn't "clever Jesus scores a point against the religious leaders!" but "how incredibly sad that Jesus was in their midst and they didn't recognise him..."

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  10. Charlotte USA2:36 pm

    I ran across your site as I was looking for Prophetic Drama and Art, which I am starting a club in and through our church for kids 10 to adults & including their Parents. I hope to expand into the nations via the Internet. I'm in the USA where are you located?

    I've been a Children's minister for about 30+ years...You are my son's age 35...they have 3 beautiful daughters!

    But, this prophetic Drama & Art is something comepletely new and different from what I've done before...God is unfolding it as I go...It will be for acting out dramas from prophesies today and from the Bible...We write it and draw it, then, figure out how best to act it out in a creative way.
    Does this sound interesting to you?
    The new site will soon be www.CalvaryCountry.org ...Now, you can visit my live digital space
    www.kidsInspired.livedigital.com or
    MySpace www.myspace.com/charlotteswebworks.com I created these in search of a safe place for a kids' web site and decided to do one by itself...things have sure changed since 1989 when I built my first CalvaryCountry.org site! I'm on a major learning curve...all for Jesus!
    Are you a pastor?

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  11. charlotte usa - firstly, I'm astounded that something I posted in April 2006 should attract a comment in September 2007 :-)

    Your comment was made on the day I attended my grandfather's funeral, which fell during my first week at theological college, and so I must apologise for not having the time to respond as fully as I would wish.

    I was a lay minister in a church in Sheffield, England, from 2000-05. Since then, I've been on a journey of preparation and selection for training for ordained ministry within the Church of England, and have just this week started two years study at St John's College, Nottingham. Most recently, I have been working very part-time, with disabled adults in a sheltered housing scheme, and with children (not disabled) in an infant school. So the adjustment into full-time study will be a major gear-shift (I've studied in the past, to PhD level, but that was ten years ago now).

    For what it is worth, let me say that I think fostering a godly imagination - dreaming God's dreams after him - is key to ministry - because that is the starting-point for transformed lives. As Martin Luther King said, in the face of segregation, "I have a dream..."

    How we might do that will vary from context to context. For me, one way is my creative writing and my photography.

    May God bless the dream he has placed in your heart, and bring it into fruition in the lives of many others.

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