I’m now writing from New Haven, Connecticut where I have been all week at the Convocation of the Yale Divinity School. I attended a twenty-fifth reunion dinner (along with Sam Candler from the Cathedral of St. Philip), caught up with friends and colleagues, attended some first class lectures by Peter Hawkins (which will be available through the YDS website and are well worth watching and was honored with the privilege of being one of the convocation preachers for the year (sermon text available on our own website).
Some brief notes from the week:
• A friend described her first year or two on a new parish as ‘the crucifixion of the ego’. This sounded like the idea of ‘unmasking’ that I was preaching about, and which is addressed by our Holy Week preacher from 2006, James Alison in an essay called ‘Worship in a Violent World’ in his book Undergoing God (Continuum, 2006).
• Peter Hawkins on ‘the preacher’s hell’ (Beecher Lectures) following Dante’s Inferno: “What would it be like if we really and truly succeeded in living entirely for ourselves (that is without God)?” and “It may be as dangerous to be a connoisseur of evil as to pretend that evil does not exist.”
• Don Saliers (of the Candler School at Emory and soon to be a major speaker at an Arts Theology event at All Saints') preaching the first day on growing up in Christ. He made some great remarks about the collect for purity and how the idea of being completely known by god seemed a threat to him when he was younger, but now comes as a gift. There is something about being completely known (“from whom no secrets are hid”) that is liberating.
• Linda E. Thomas of Howard University: Knowing that we are beautiful in the sight of God, --especially when the world tells us we are not—is liberating. Beauty is part of God’s salvific work.
• Jane Williams, (Mrs. Rowan Williams) was the Pitt Lecturer on ‘Sin and Salvation’. She gave a straightforward talk on doctrine urging that we take sin seriously and so grasp our real need for God’s saving work.
• Harold Lewis, friend, colleague, rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh preached on the parable of sewing new cloth to patch an old garment. If the new cloth is not ‘pre-shrunk’ is will tear (schisma) the garment when it is washed. Good stuff.