Signs that make me laugh: Big Daddy’s Computer Lounge

I love this picture.

First, because the name is amazing.  Not only is it Big Daddy’s, but it’s a lounge.  So much better than an internet cafe.

Second, because of the cartoon face, which I presume is based upon a real person who calls himself Big Daddy.

Third, because they are selling PCs for $99.

Fourth, because they unnecessarily used an apostrophe on PCs.

Fifth, because the unnecessary apostrophe is upside down and backwards, meaning they are re-using a comma as an apostrophe (thanks to Anney for pointing that out to me!).

On Coxwell just north of Queen.

The Salvation Army and the Paulist Fathers: two interesting cases of missional diversity in the church

I’m switching gears now with my dissertation and moving into writing about two historical case studies: The Salvation Army and the Paulist Fathers.   While these two particular movements might seem like an odd pair, there are a number of reasons why I’m looking at them.

First of all, there are a number of similarities between their two founders, William Booth and Isaac Hecker.   They were near-contemporaries in age (Booth lived 1829-1912 and Hecker 1819-1888).  Both have Methodist roots, with Booth originally ordained in a Methodist tradition  and Hecker raised at Forsyth Street Church in New York City.  Both are, in many respects, men of their time, typifying the optimistic, industrious, world-encompassing spirit of the nineteenth century.  Both were “home missionaries,” who brought a missionary approach to ministry in their native countries, and each could be classified as “revivalists” in their respective traditions.  Both Booth and Hecker began their ministries in other movements – Booth the Methodist New Connexion, Hecker the Redemptorists – and both ended up branching out to found their own missionary societies because of conflicts with established leadership of those movements.  Finally, both eventually developed comprehensive visions for the worldwide mission of the Church.

I’m also interested in these two movements because they both raise interesting questions about unity and diversity in the church – questions I think might be addressed using the theology of ecclesial charisms.

The Salvation Army is an interesting case because of its original insistence that it was a missionary movement, and not a church, even while it remained independent of any formal ties to a church. Its members were not members of any other churches, creating the strange situation where Salvationists could claim to be Christians but to not be part of any church.  A decisive historical moment in the movement’s history came in 1882, when a series of serious discussions with the Church of England caused William Booth to ask himself if The Salvation Army should remain an independent mission or be placed under the auspices of the Church (if you’re interested in this episode see Roger Green, The Life and Ministry of William Booth, 140-145). The fact that such discussions took place shows that Booth was not completely sure whether or not he wanted the Army to remain autonomous.  The fact that they decided to remain independent was the result, I believe, of a lack of clarity regarding ecclesiological questions (noted by Green, p. 144-145).  The Army’s independence was of decisive significance for its future course, including its non-sacramental stance and its slow progression towards claiming “churchly” status.

The Paulists, on the other hand, were never outside of the Church’s fold, but rather press the question of unity and diversity from the side of the Church’s authoritative discernment.  First of all, very early in their history they were forced to make a compromise regarding their specific mission.  The founding members wanted to be an exclusively missionary society, but they could not find a Bishop who would support them unless they took on a parish.  This meant that they had to divert some of their energy to traditional parish concerns.  It seems that the bishops they approached did not recognize the particular gift of the Paulists, and so, in order to remain a part of the Catholic church, they were forced to compromise.  Another Paulist “gift” that wasn’t recognized was Hecker’s progressive ecclesiology, in which he saw the Spirit at work, adapting the Church to particular cultures and places, in concert with the providential developments in each society.  In Americathis meant making Catholicism more “American,” by becoming more democratic and embracing the separation of Church and state. This was not received well by a Catholic hierarchy which was struggling to ensure uniformity around the world, and had been marginalized by democratic governments throughout the nineteenth century.    After Hecker’s death, his ideas were taken out of context and twisted into the “phantom heresy” of “Americanism,” which was censured by Pope Leo XIII in Testem Benevolentiae, issued in 1899.

If the theology of charisms is in fact useful in helping us to understand reform movements as a legitimate form of diversity in the Church, then it should be able to be applied to these two cases.  My hope is that a study of their history and self-understanding, along with a sustained critical engagement with the theology of charisms in the context of the question of the church’s visible unity, will clarify some of the questions surrounding the limits of legitimate diversity in the church.

Fourth Annual Wesley Studies Symposium at Tyndale

On March 13, Tyndale Seminary will be hosting its Fourth Annual Wesley Studies Symposium, organized by Dr. Howard Snyder, Chair of Wesley Studies at Tyndale.

I’ve been privileged to be a part of the previous three events, and it has been exciting to see the Symposium grow from about a dozen participants in 2009 to well over 50 in 2011.   We’ve had some great presentations from established scholars, practitioners, and graduate students.

Most importantly, it has provided an opportunity for networking among people who are interested in Wesleyan history and theology.  The Wesley Chair is an interesting partnership between five Canadian denominations and Tyndale: the Brethren in Christ, the Church of the Nazarene, the Free Methodist Church, The Salvation Army, and the Wesleyan Church.  It has been wonderful to build connections, share resources, and encourage one another across denominational lines via these events.

This year’s program looks very interesting, and covers a wide variety of disciplines and topics (detailed schedule available here).  The papers to be presented are:

  • “Statistical Profile of the Wesleyan Community in Canada,” by Rick Hiemstra (Director of Research and Media Relations, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada)
  • “Graced Practices of the Salvation Army,” by Major Wendy Swan (ExL Program Director and Asst. Professor of Theology, Booth University College; PhD student, King’s College, London)
  • “Herbert E. Randall: From Canadian Holiness Missionary to Pentecostal Leader,” by  Dan Sheffield (Director, Intercultural and Global Ministries, Free Methodist Church in Canada)
  • “The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley”by Dr. Jeffrey McPherson (Asst. Professor of Theology, Roberts Wesleyan College)
  • “Toward a Wesleyan Holiness Homiletic,” by Mark Schnell (Ph.D. student, Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology)

In the evening, we’ll have a keynote lecture by Dr. Victor Shepherd, on the topic “Wesley as Theologian and Leader in the Universal Church.”  Dr. Shepherd is Professor of Theology at Tyndale Seminary, and was the first occupant of the Bastian Chair of Wesley Studies at Tyndale.

The Symposium will be held in the auditorium of Tyndale’s new Bayview Campus.  If you’re in the area and interested in Wesley Studies, please consider coming, and register here.   The event is free but we do need people to register so we can plan for meals.

Hope to see some of you there.

Jerusalem, my happy home

Try to get this song out of your head:

I first heard it in The Tudors, where it features in the final episode of season 2 – the episode where Anne Boleyn meets her end at the Tower.  This haunting melody was a great choice to accompany the story of those sad events.

Though I first watched the episode months ago, I’ve only gotten around to actually looking up the words today.  It seems like it could be a fitting text for Advent, because Advent is traditionally a time when we think about Christ’s future coming in glory.  This poem is all about the longing for the “New Jerusalem,” which Christians believe will be established with that second Advent of Christ.

According to Cyber Hymnal, the words are ascribed to “F.B.P.”, thought to have been a Catholic priest, and the original manuscript, dated ca. 1583, is housed in the British Museum.   It was published in Psalms and Hymns for Public or Pri­vate De­vo­tion (Shef­field, Eng­land: Brit­tan­ia Press, 1795).

In spite of her many faults, you can’t help feeling sorry for Anne Boleyn.  I imagine this song might echo some of the yearnings she felt during her final days.

The text is very long, and I had a hard time finding the verses sung by Anuna on this recording, so I’ve bolded them below (though they’ve altered the words a bit).

Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end?
Thy joys when shall I see?

O happy harbor of the saints!
O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found,
No grief, no care, no toil.

In thee no sickness may be seen,
No hurt, no ache, no sore;
There is no death nor ugly devil,
There is life for evermore.

No dampish mist is seen in thee,
No cold nor darksome night;
There every soul shines as the sun;
For God himself gives light.

There lust and lucre cannot dwell;
There envy bears no sway;
There is no hunger, heat, nor cold,
But pleasure every way.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
God grant that I may see
Thine endless joy, and of the same
Partaker ay may be!

Thy walls are made of precious stones,
Thy bulwarks diamonds square;
Thy gates are of right orient pearl;
Exceeding rich and rare;

Thy turrets and thy pinnacles
With carbuncles do shine;
Thy very streets are paved with gold,
Surpassing clear and fine;

Thy houses are of ivory,
Thy windows crystal clear;
Thy tiles are made of beaten gold—
O God that I were there!

Within thy gates nothing doth come
That is not passing clean,
No spider’s web, no dirt, no dust,
No filth may there be seen.

Aye, my sweet home, Jerusalem,
Would God I were in thee:
Would God my woes were at an end,
Thy joys that I might see.

Thy saints are crowned with glory great;
They see God face to face;
They triumph still, they still rejoice
Most happy is their case.

We that are here in banishment
Continually do mourn:
We sigh and sob, we weep and wail,
Perpetually we groan.

Our sweet is mixed with bitter gall,
Our pleasure is but pain:
Our joys scarce last the looking on,
Our sorrows still remain.

But there they live in such delight,
Such pleasure and such play,
As that to them a thousand years
Doth seem as yesterday.

Thy vineyards and thy orchards are
Most beautiful and fair,
Full furnished with trees and fruits,
Most wonderful and rare.

Thy gardens and thy gallant walks
Continually are green:
There grow such sweet and pleasant flowers
As nowhere else are seen.

There is nectar and ambrosia made,
There is musk and civet sweet;
There many a fair and dainty drug
Is trodden under feet.

There cinnamon, there sugar grows,
Here nard and balm abound.
What tongue can tell or heart conceive
The joys that there are found?

Quite through the streets with silver sound
The flood of life doth flow,
Upon whose banks on every side
The wood of life doth grow.

There trees for evermore bear fruit,
And evermore do spring;
There evermore the angels be,
And evermore do sing.

There David stands with harp in hand
As master of the choir:
Ten thousand times that man were blessed
That might this music hear.

Our Lady sings Magnificat
With tune surpassing sweet,
And all the virgins bear their part,
Sitting at her feet.

There Magdalen hath left her moan,
And cheerfully doth sing
With blessèd saints, whose harmony
In every street doth ring.

Jerusalem, my happy home,
Would God I were in thee!
Would God my woes were at an end
Thy joys that I might see!