Friday, June 22, 2007

The Strange Business of the Muslim Episcopalian

I have over the last few days been attempting to get my mind around the assertion of the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding that she is both a Christian and a Muslim. I have done my research by going back to the "source" documents to make sure that I have fully grasped what this is all about. Then this morning, my day off, as I have been going about my chores I have been turning it around in my mind.

The furor surrounding Ann Holmes Redding has a number of fascinating dimensions, not least the appropriateness of her status as a priest in the Episcopal Church. During the last few years it seems that some of us have been regularly lectured about obedience to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church, and there have for some been dire consequences for stepping outside it. Now Dr. Redding has provided an interesting test case about whether all the talk about the doctrine and discipline of the church of these years is really serious, or if deep down it is about something else.

While the Episcopal Church has turned itself into a maximalist when it comes to obedience to the discipline and canons of the church as interpreted by the leadership, it has steadily become increasingly minimalist regarding doctrinal affirmation. Yet however many fundamental Anglican formularies are shaved away, the Nicene Creed is one fundamental doctrinal statement that the overwhelming majority say they accept.

If Ann Holmes Redding is now free to continue her idiosyncratic course without action being taken, then the creeds are up for grabs and any pretence of being a catholic and reformed church is being deliberately abandoned. That her bishop, Vincent Warner, does not seem to understand the theological implications of the statements Ms. Redding has made is a sad and ominous sign.

But there is more going on than this. I must begin by saying that I respect Ms. Redding's willingness to approach the Islamic faith with reverence and respect. While the aggression of popular Islam around the world has caused gred grief, I have learned from the likes of Bishop Kenneth Cragg that I will never fully be able to understand this religious confession if I do not treat it respectfully. I confess that as much as I attempt to do so, I find this extremely difficult.

Yet it seems Ann Holmes Redding has only managed to make this dual commitment to Christianity and Islam by stepping aside from a biblical and historical understanding of the nature of the trinitarian God and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, toward a theology and Christology that has robbed from our Lord and Savior his must essential distinctives.

To be a Muslim is to accept Christianity as a way station preparing for the fullest revelation that is the Islamic obedience, and Jesus as a prophet making straight the way for Mohammed. The great rift between Islam and Christianity is radically different understandings of the nature and person of Christ.

As the Seattle Times summarizes Ms. Redding's belief system it is clear she has wandered far, far from anything that vaguely resembles the historic Christian faith. "She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally. She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus. She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans. What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will."

Perhaps her "progressive" Christian faith has led her in this direction, but her jump to Islam while attempting to continue holding onto her Christian standing would suggest that when it comes down to it the Christian doctrinal tradition is of little importance to her.

But there is more here. If she has in the past questioned what she might have considered to be the unfounded biblicism of those of us who are orthodox Christian believers, how is she going to handle the Islamic belief about the inspiration of the Quran as dictated directly by the angel Gabriel to Mohammed? That same Quran denies the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, something that she says she believes in. It would seem that these two paths to most thinking people are incompatible.

It would be wonderful to think that this priest had discovered an appropriate way to breach one of the most agonizing religious gulfs in human history, and that neither Christians nor Muslims would have to compromise their beliefs to become brothers and sisters in faith together. However, it would seem that what it seems she has actually done is to deliberately let go of the most substantial distinctives of her Christian heritage in favor of an understanding of God that cannot appropriately figure within Christianity.

The more I have thought about Islam over the years the more I have come to appreciate the assertion of one of my seminary professors that Islam is actually a Christian heresy, and in its formative period borrowed much from the Christian church. Some have even suggested the the Nestorian church of the east, with its less-than-thorough grasp of the nature of the Trinity readily prepared for Islam to sweep the faith away through much of what is today the Islamic world. If I did not know the saving mercy of redemption that is available through Jesus Christ, there is much in the stark ethic of Islam that I might find attractive. However, it seems to me that with the best will in the world it is hard to consider these two religions as compatible bedfellows.

I would suggest that Dr. Redding has for a long time probably affirmed a somewhat relativistic understanding of the Christian faith that has now met and is being steadily subsumed by the appeal of Islam, and her embrace of it. Which way she goes will be interesting to see, but while she is making up her mind it is entirely inappropriate for her to be considered a priest in good standing in the Episcopal Church, however theologically suspect this denomination is.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Victors Reaching Out To Losers

Hands Across the Divide -- A Sculpture in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

I love having satellite radio in my car, and the other day I was listening to a piece as I was driving about peacekeeping and reconciliation. It was from the BBC World Service and was by Paddy Ashdown, a former military officer, British MP and party leader, and then international representative in Bosnia.

He started in Berlin at the museum established to commemorate the occupation of Germany during the immediate post-war period. Ashdown and his interviewees talked about the peacekeeping success of Germany in that era from which many lessons were learned and applied as difficulties have arisen elsewhere.

One example that was pulled from the hat was that the victors sought to reach out to and make friends with the losers. The museum apparently highlights this in many of its exhibits, and Ashdown and the curator to whom he was talking discussed this.

That one statement got me off thinking about the crisis in the Episcopal Church, where no such thing is going on. Indeed, there seems to be a determination by the present "victors" to drive forward their agenda regardless of the distress it causes to the apparent "losers," or the damage it might be doing the denomination. I'm not sure how a reaching out and making friends would take place, but certainly that moritorium on litigation would be a great starting point, for then it would be possible to sit down to try and talk our way through this issue to some satisfactory resolution without an axe hanging over the heads of any of the parties involved.

People will inevitably complain that this would take far too long, but there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to these kinds of circumstances. Besides, it seems that prolonged stretching out of what might be right and worthwhile is never a good reason for not doing it. John Bauerschmidt, our bishop, points out that church conflicts seldom sort themselves out quickly -- and this one should be no exception. Yet our fallen-ness tends to encourage us to put speed ahead of what might be a faithful way of proceeding.

The other day, as I was thinking this through, I tried out my thoughts about victors reaching out to losers on a friend whose insights I value. He thought about it for a few moments then said something to the effect that do we know who the winners and the losers are?

Good point. It do not doubt that it will take several generations before we are able to see this time in perspective and only then will we have some clarity. However, I have in my mind this hunch that ultimately these difficult events through which we are now living will appear very differently then than they do now to those of us who are living through them.

As I read over and over again the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, the reaching out of victors to losers, and vice-versa, seem to have to do with the very uncomfortable teaching of our Lord. There is some turning the other cheek stuff going on here, which itself in the Sermon is a lead up to the loving of our enemies. Oh, and while we seek to love our enemies we are called to "pray for those who persecute" us (Matthew 5:44). Now here are some challenging words in these circumstances.

If we are looking for a way forward, a way out of the present impasse, then we would cannot do much better than to really soak ourselves in the words and actions of the One we consider our Lord and Savior. These values of the Kingdom are demanding, and I am not sure a godly way forward is possible until some of us on ever side of this sorry affair start taking them seriously.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Long and Winding Road Home: Pt. 2 - The Episcopal Church

The Chiltern Hills and the fields among which I grew up

While I will continue to be a priest of the Diocese of Tennessee, as I leave active involvement in the Episcopal Church in early September it will be with tangled and knotted feelings. For most of my three decades here I have appreciated being part of this denomination, and it has been a setting in which I have grown as a disciple of Christ and as a person.

There have always been elements of Episcopal life that have irritated me no end, high on the list has been this church's inability to take seriously the need for doctrinal clarity, but then there have been all sorts of other components of Episcopalianism that have enriched me, stimulated me, challenged me.

The Episcopal Church forced me to reach outside the tiny little Anglican box I had inhabited prior to my first crossing of the Atlantic, and for this I will always be profoundly grateful. Yet it has been recent years that have floored me, with deficiencies of the church getting out of control in such a way that they have completely overwhelmed many of the benefits.

There was a time when with a sense of genuine appreciation I could tell people "I am an Episcopalian," yet these days I try to avoid such identification, and when it is necessary to make it with mingled emotions of regret and embarrassment. The turmoil of these recent years has, in effect, stolen the church I loved, and started the process of putting in its place something so distorted that at times the only descriptive words I can come up with are bizarre and even grotesque.

The extreme lurch that the Episcopal Church into the arms of the Zeitgeist has disfigured it to such an extent that part of me is very tempted to get back into that tiny little box that I once inhabited. Certainly, it has been made abundantly clear by those who control the denomination that those of us who occupy the broad mainstream of Anglican Christianity are no longer wanted nor particularly welcome. The most recent actions of the Executive Council are further illustrations of this, and such things will always be a source of personal sadness.

I came to America in the first place because God made it clear that this was the setting to which he was calling us, and we believed that we were being asked to play a small part in the renewal of the Episcopal Church that was gathering strength at that time. There have been all sorts of good things that have happened, and over the years we have seen God's hand at work in things we have been part of, and enterprises we have undertaken. There have been some successes, and there have also been a number of obvious failures.

Yet the present climate excoriates what we considered to be advances, and what I had thought had been worthwhile contributions to the life of the Episcopal Church in obedience to the demands of the Kingdom, is being treated by the postmodern majority as some sort of a defacing of the tradition (although the postmodernizers are very much making up what they believe the tradition to be as they go along). While I do not like what has become of the Episcopal Church, this is the setting in which God has placed me, and it has become a very difficult boat from which to fish in recent years.

While the Episcopal Church seems determined to rid itself of many of the major contributions I and my ilk have made, I honestly do not see much in the new alphabet soup of Anglican entities that is emerging as anything more than a temporary holding pattern, and not necessarily a wise one at that. I agree entirely with Archbishop Drexel Gomez that much of this separating has seemed extraordinarily premature.

While the doctrinal side of me finds is much more at home with these slivers of Anglicanism than the ailing denomination from which they have turned, I am sure that if I were to be part of one of them, then I would be peculiarly uncomfortable about their life as well. While I respect many of those who have made these moves, there is no reason to believe that separation solves the problems we have -- which are so much bigger than the presenting issues that have disrupted the life of the church.

This battle is about nothing less than who God is, how God has revealed himself to us, and what the implications of that might be in daily living. The starting point for any debate or discussion has to be the Trinity, and certainly not human sexuality.

What has happened is that we have been shoo-ed by God out into a Wilderness, we have been dispatched into Exile. After the Jews were taking into exile in Babylon, a couple of generations passed before God began speaking to them with the red-blooded words of that great prophet in the tradition of Isaiah.

Exile is agony and can be utterly debilitating, but evidence from the history of salvation is that it is the place where God meets and renews his expectant people, having allowed them to shed much of the unhelpful baggage that they were carrying. My work with the Russian church in the 1990s brought me face-to-face with a church who had been forced to learn some incredibly painful lessons from a different kind of exile, now it is our turn.

If we look at the experience of the Jews and of church history, it is in exile that we experience theological and spiritual renewal that would have been impossible if our standard had still been flying high. In humiliation and sitting amidst the ruins we are called upon to wait until the Lord God is ready for us again. Maybe all this will take decades and not months, and all the time our demeanor should be humility in sackcloth and ashes.

There is much from the Episcopal Church that I will miss, but most of these things are from the old Episcopal Church, the one that used to exist, not the one that is being born in the confusion and error of today. I have fond and thankful memories, and my prayer is that even an ocean away I will be able to do something that will play a tiny part in the restoration of North American Anglicanism to the favor of the Lord.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Long and Winding Road Home -- Part One

Around this time thirty-one years ago I was wrestling with a whole cascade of ideas and emotions. It was one of the hottest summers on record in England, but it was the United States that was so much on my mind as the days ticked by, and we found ourselves getting ever closer to pulling up our roots and moving across the wide Atlantic Ocean.

We were venturing into the unknown. As exciting as the prospect was, fears and anxieties jostled and adrenalin pumped. Was this the most colossal mistake we had ever made in our lives? How would we ever adapt to living in such a strange and alien country as the USA? How would our children fare amidst so much change? How would we adjust to the American Church? And so the inner debate went on and one.

Between keeping our little girls clean and fed, we were packing up our home, and bringing to an end the happy years of our ministry in Bristol, England. During the long light summer evenings Rosemary and I talked endlessly about what we were about to do, praying, and at times holding onto each other as both reasonable and silly fears swept over us.

I will never forget the moment the British Airways 747 lifted off and the roofs of Heathrow Airport quickly disappeared beneath the mist. I fought back tears, felt nauseous, and wondered whether ever again we would see our beloved homeland. It seemed we were about to fall over the edge of the world. If crossing the Atlantic was as emotionally fraught as this for us, how must it have been for the first settlers in Virginia and the Pilgrims?

Three decades have passed since these things took place and many of those same feelings have again become our companions. However, this time we are preparing to make the return journey. The days are ticking by for us to go back to England, and after a half a lifetime of Americanization I now find myself anxious and concerned about whether I will be able to fit back into a very different Britain, and a much altered Church of England from the one that we left.

While there is a sense of adventure about all this, in my calmer moments I wonder whether issues of sanity come into play when people consider migrating across an ocean for the second time in their lives! Yet how many folks get the chance to serve the Lord in a position that perfectly fits their gifts and skills when they are in their early sixties?

A number of years ago when trying to prepare for the latter years of my active life, I had this sense that God's purposes for me might be in the realm of bringing to birth the next generation of Christian leaders, but as time passed and nothing came of it I concluded that I had misread the signs. Then when such dreams had been forgotten, out of the bright blue yonder came Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Now I find myself amazed that I will be able to wrap up four decades of stipendiary ministry playing a small part in this vital enterprise of getting the next generation onto the front lines. In many respects I can hardly believe my good fortune, but leaving our world here is the price that we have to pay.

Right now we are wrestling with realtors, and beginning to part with precious possessions, wondering all the time whether we can financially make it in a place where a modest apartment costs about as much as a significant mansion in this neck of the woods. There are fears galore, and while England isn't an unknown there are trends and subtleties within the culture that are sure to come as a huge surprise. How will we adjust back to the English Church? Isn't it going to be very difficult to leave our younger daughter, a physician and wife, here on this side of the water? Meanwhile the question of thirty years ago comes up again to haunt us: are we making the most colossal mistake of our now considerably longer lives?

My late Aunt Mary has been a warning to us. After twenty-five happy years in Montreal, Canada, and having been widowed, my father's elder sister returned to our hometown in the 1970s to live. It didn't work. The woman who had left the United Kingdom for the Dominion of Canada in the year of the Queen's coronation, had been altered by the New World out of all recognition. She chafed at the smallness of English life, and it wasn't too long before she sold up and returned westward, never even wanting to visit her birthplace again.

I find myself wondering in my darker moments if it is going to be the same for us. I am already bracing myself for my first year back in England's green and pleasant land. Like my aunt there are bound to be elements of English life that will chafe, irritate, drive me mad, make me angry, and trigger reverse homesickness. I live here amidst a residual Christian culture within which I am comfortable, how will I adjust to the European side of the ocean where such a thing is long gone, and the most significant religious challenge of the 21st Century is how to address the rising tide of Islam?

During these many years spent in America we have experienced periods of intense homesickness. At first it was an agonizing sense of loss, but as time has passed it has turned into a delicious bittersweetness -- more romantic yearning for a Masterpiece Theatre figment of the imagination than a longing for the England that is really and truly there. At this point I find myself walking into a bracing north wind that is blowing such dreaminess away. England is not about rose-covered cottage doorways and Jane Austen country house society, but is an over-populated, thrusting, secular realm which at times has a very nasty edge to it. It is to this England that I am returning, and to which I must readjust.

It should be no surprise that as we let go of our American life we should be be looking back and assessing what it has all been about. For a start, I am immensely grateful for the time that I have spent here. For nearly a quarter century I have been a citizen of two countries, never entirely at home in either, and I expect this to be true for the rest of my life. There is so much about the United States that I love and admire, and I hope that during our years here we have been shaped bysome of the very best in American culture and Christianity.

The United States may be far from perfect, but I recognize that this is an extraordinary country that still has extraordinary potential, and while here I have had the privilege of knowing some of the most remarkable people that walk the face of this planet. I hope that I will carry back to the Old World some of the great benefits that are mine because of the time that I have spent here in the New.

I am not entirely sure of how it is there now, but the Britain I left was one where some of the brightest ideas would very politely have cold water poured over them (unless they came from someone who was very forceful, or who had the right background and connections). The America to which I came was one that was willing to take a calculated risk and give something new and different a try. Failure was not seen as terminal, and space is given to folk to pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and move forward after such a hiatus. I still believe this to be the case, and it is part of the strength of the American spirit.

I want to ponder the Episcopal Church at length in a later piece, but I cannot finish this one without some reference to it. I came to the USA believing that God was asking that we play our small part in its renewal. During the years I have been here we have seen some remarkable things happen and God acting in ways that were beyond our wildest dreams. But now as I prepare to go back to England, the Episcopal Church has reduced itself to a pitiful tatter of its former self.

I grieve the fragmentation and the rich web of relationships and ministries that have been badly damaged or terminally broken. It seems increasingly evident that the Episcopal Church I have known and loved has committed itself to the garbage heap of history, but I am not sure the course which has been taken by many who have been fellow-travelers and colleagues in the past is the right one. I said many years ago that if the Episcopal Church were to split then the only people to gain from it would be the attorneys. Alas, from what I am seeing and hearing, this sad prediction looks set to turn out to be true.

I try to comfort myself that we are passing through that time of confusion that inevitably precedes a new beginning. It is my prayer that after this time of upheaval steadier hands will take the tiller of the Episcopal Church and its separated daughters, and with it wisdom and willingness to face up to what the Kingdom of God demands will emerge. Perhaps the Spirit of God will take that American can-do mindset and enable us to come out of this slough of despond into which we have fallen, and help us to create a missionary body that knows how to reach the hearts and souls of post-Christian, post-modern America, with the Good News of Jesus Christ in all its fullness.

Meanwhile, my job is to get on with the process of sorting my things, wrapping up my life here, and getting ready to go back to my homeland and all the challenges and opportunities for the Gospel that await us there.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Being A Man In This Brave New World

Many things have either died or been stillborn as a result of the Episcopal Church's tragedy that has been unfolding since August 2003. For me one was a book I was in process of writing following a powerful gathering of men that took place in Florida in early 2002.

Convened by Bishop John Lipscomb and Jay Crouse, who worked in men's ministries in the Diocese of Southwest Florida, it was an attempt to assess what must happen if we were to give ministry among the male half of the population its rightful place in the church's life. I remember enjoying that gathering almost more than any I have ever participated in, and came away with quantities of material and research ideas that we hoped would result in a book that would have a profound impact on ministry amongst men in North American Anglicanism.

Alas, we were derailed. Our intentions were diverted by the slow motion train wreck that has been taking place ever since the Episcopal Church declared, in effect, that it was totally confused about what it means to be a man, to be a woman, and how we human beings of differing genders relate to one another. I sometimes wonder how many other magnificent Kingdom opportunities were lost as Gospel-inspired dreams have given way to the banality of keeping up with a crumbling culture?

But I am getting off topic. By that time I had written six chapters of a book on the challenge of reaching men in the topsy-turvy world of today. Although I have brought them out and dusted them off every now and again, occasionally using them as the basis for a talk or two, the book has never seen the light of day, and publication is probably now never likely to happen.

Just this week in our parish we are attempting to expand our early Tuesday morning men's bible study into something that reaches out in appropriate ways to the males living round here. With the encouragement of some of the guys I decided there may be a few useful thoughts in this manuscript that would be worth sharing with a wider audience because the book is unlikely to see the light of day.

So I have launched another blog Being A Man In This Brave New World, that is simply an attempt to make these thoughts that I had several years ago accessible. The chapters will be posted in installments as I rework the materials, sometimes needing to bring some up-to-date, and perhaps modifying ideas that might seem a little undeveloped as a result of mature thought.

If anything, I have an even deeper concern for the plight of males, seeking to work out what it is to live as a man in this strange culture that is emerging from the demise of centuries of a predominantly Christian culture.

While women have found themselves in all sorts of ways in the last forty years, men are floundering. Here is a huge challenge that many seem incapable of taking up, often because of shrill voices that seem quite happy to either abandon or relegate to insignificance a huge proportion of those of us who suffer from what might be called testosterone poisoning.

I doubt whether my words on this subject come up with much that is new, but they have been thought out within the context of a denomination that has been one of the least successful at holding onto its male membership, or addressing the deeply felt needs and yearnings of masculine hearts and minds.

I suspect that such a manuscript will be interpreted as anti-women, but that is certainly not its intention. The four human beings who I love more than any in the world are all female: my wife, my two daughters, and my one and only grandchild, a little girl called Hannah. Over the years I have been profoundly influenced by the elder three of these females, and I hope I am a better person because of it. I am sure that Hannah will join the others in shaping her Grandpa's thinking and behaving in due course.

In addition, I have been privileged to serve Christ in his church alongside some outstanding women, as well as gaining much from many of the females that I have known in the various congregations that I have served over the years.

All this leads me to assert that the life of the feminine half of the race might be so much richer if males can rediscover their masculine genius, complementary to the glorious richness that women bring to the mix of humanity. "Vive la diference" the French have been known to say about the genders, to which I would add that the difference means that we really do need each other if we are to be whole as God intends.

So, in coming weeks keep your eyes open for what gets posted on the new blog,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Scriptures & Preaching in hard times

The other day I was doing due diligence checking up what was going on in the confused and confusing world of Anglicanism when I came across a powerful article on TitusOneNine ( that dealt with the issue of preaching. It was written by a Roman Catholic priest from Rhode Island, David Lewis Stokes, Jr. ( The trigger for the piece, published in the Providence Journal, was a story of a local minister had recently been caught "recycled sermons without acknowledging his sources."

The outcome was a thoughtful analysis of preaching and its decline in our culture for, as Fr. Stokes says, "To climb up into a pulpit week after week has become much like the tight-rope artist who must amaze a demanding audience with ever more daring routines."

Stokes' piece was timely and well-modulated, producing several helpful insights that everyone who undertakes the weekly spiritual striptease of preaching would do well to meditate upon. While he skirts around what it might be that reduces preachers to wrapping themselves in someone else's rags, it is implicitly a warning to each of us that we should engage the world of the Bible that it might engage and shape the lives we live in the world of today.

When I read the piece on TitusOneNine I found myself looking forward to the responses to David Stokes and eagerly went several times a day to the article to see what people were saying. After only two slim comments I posted something myself to see if that might stimulate some discussion. Only two more thoughts came trailing in.

Meanwhile, folks were getting hot under the collar by the dozen as they responded the the ecclesiastical political stories being posted, coupled with the banal and bizarre that has become the stock-in trade of much of the Episcopal Church. My inner response was one of exasperation.

One of the most exciting and wonderful things that ordained leaders are called to do is to be privileged to open the Word of God for the People of God on each passing Sunday (and sometimes in the week as well). While there are some who would dispute the priority I give to it, I believe that preaching is a Christian leader's most important task and we belittle it or minimize it at our own and the church's peril.

This, indeed, is what we have done for generation after generation, in Anglicanism and way beyond the borders of our little church. Instead, we get far more agitated about who will attend the Lambeth Conference, whether the Archbishop of Canterbury is a good guy, and so forth.

Yes, we have some intensely difficult ecclesiastical conundra before us and I don't mind admitting that each twist and turn of the Anglican-Episcopal merry-go-round leaves me ever more confused. It is almost impossible to see what is happening in the wider church and it is probable that only with hindsight as the years pass that we will be able to see precisely what has been going on.

The place where the life of the church continues day by day, week by week, month by month, is not the diocese, and is definitely not the national church, but is the congregation. God's way to bring in the Kingdom is by the local community of Christ's people being faithful in their witness both in season and out of season. However, they cannot be faithful if they have not been fed by the incarnate Word from the written Word, and through the work of the Holy Spirit.

This is where preaching comes it, for it is what happens around the work the pastor does in the pulpit that forms and shapes a congregation, helps it set its agenda, asserts its priorities, and attempts to feed the sheep who have gathered around the table. Word and Sacrament go hand-in-hand, but without the Word the Sacrament loses much of its meaning, for the Word is God speaking.

While it would be ludicrous to suggest that we have a moritorium on church politics, although this priest would heartily welcome such a thing, it would not be so foolish to suggest that each of us who is called to the awesome task of rightly expounding the Word of God to manage our time differently. Perhaps we should spend an hour or two less each week surfing the net for the latest howler from the Presiding Bishop and such, and to give that time to marinating ourselves in the Scriptures so that we can pass on something substantial to those we are called to pastor.