Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Perfect Birthday...

...because growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s, I heard this every Monday through Friday during Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade until I started first grade. And, since I had the record, a whole lot more times until I wore it out.

Scheduled to post on the 56th minute of St. Patrick's Day, Pacific Standard Time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Campaigning for Bishop (or Pastor)

The office of the bishop is political in the best sense of that term. Many of Basil [of Caesarea]'s letters reflect situations of high political intrigue where Basil extended the power and authority of his specific see to shore up and support the struggling churches in outlying areas or areas where orthodoxy had only a fragile hold on the clergy and people. Frequently he intervened in episcopal elections urging the clergy and people to elect a man who would be faithful to the traditions oreceived fromt he apostles and the fathers.... What we gain from Basil's handing of a crisis such as this is a good conception of the historic continuity in shaping the character of the pastoral office. As bishop one is not only placed into a congregation which extends back several years or even several generations, but as bishop one has a responsibility to be faithful to the totality of the Christian experience as it has unfolded over the course of centuries. There is a corporate identity to the church which cannot be reduced to the sum total of the present situation, for in defining what it means to be Christian the totality of the Christian past must be taken into consideration. Basil's point is that the office of the pastor is one of the chief means by which the Church is able to maintain and articulate the meaning of Christian faith from generation to generation.

In Basil's own situation such awareness gave him freedom, for it allowed him to look beyond the immediate squabble with Arianism and the allinace of Arianism with the emperor. Perhaps Basil's comments have a conservative ring to our [modern] ears, for those who today frequently call for loyalty to the past are really hindering our dealing with the present and restricting our freedom to cope with the future. But I doubt wheter this is really the case, for the past about which they speak is frequently the immediate past.... Seldom is it a appeal to the fullness of the tradition, a genuine catholic attempt to see the Church in larger terms than our immediate denominational tradition.... They usually mean the tradition of the last fifty of seventy-five years.
Robert L. Wilken, "The Practice of Piety: Basil of Caesarea and the Pastor Office," Una Sancta (24:4, Christmass, 1967), 79-80, as it appears in the March 2015 issue of Forum Letter which arrived in today's mail.