Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lovin' N.T. Wright

"In any case, the Psalms give every indication that they stand intentionally at the intersection of God's time and human time, with all the tensions that brings as well as the yearning for resolution. They stand deliberately on Mt. Zion,  where heaven and earth dangerously meet in the Temple, but they also look out into the whole creation. And they invite and they facilitate that actual material transformation of the worshiper, of Israel as a whole, and of  God's world as a whole, of which they sometimes speak."

That's from N.T. Wright's wonderful The Case for the Psalms, which I am finding absolutely delightful. He follows up this statement by saying that this is precisely why we find Jesus in the psalms. Not just because of this or that christological interpretation that the Fathers have discovered, or the messianic prophecies that appear here and there:

"No. They resonate with Jesus because he was the one who stood, by divine appointment, precisely at the intersection of God's time and ours, of God's space and ours, of God's matter and ours."

I think I've found my lenten reading, except that I will be enjoying this so much that it won't seem appropriate for lent.

Okay, so is it okay to take instruction from the leader of an  Christian denomination that accomodates its doctrine and discipline to the times so readily as does the Anglican Church? Given how many of us have had our faith strengthened by C.S. Lewis, I've have to say yes, so long as we read Wright with our Catholic glasses on.

Welcome new blog followers  Tami and Patti. You are just in time for lent.


  1. I'd say it isn't Anglican doctrine that is "accommodated." It is matters of discipline that are re-examined and new decisions made by authorities and processes that exist for that purpose. The doctrine is that of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, and Wright writes with Catholic glasses on.

    1. HI Scott, I hope I didn't offend you with those remarks. Certainly I didn't mean to. From the RC point of view, several decisions about moral norms since 1930 do seem to impact doctrine on the nature of marriage, and of the priesthood. The ordination and/or consecration to the episcopacy of women, and --in the USA at least--of active homosexuals has been seen by many Anglicans as just such an accomodation, and as a result some Anglican bishops have formed independent dioceses, and many laity and priests to become RC within an Aglican ordinariate. So my perception is shared by others. But I do realize there are many Anglican bishops that are firm in faith and tradition, and Wright is certainly among these from what I have read so far (and hope to read lots more.)

    2. I'm also reading N. T. Wright's book and can say as a former Anglican that he is a first rate and respected theologian even within the walls of the Vatican. Our Catholic glasses don't have to very strong at all. There are 2 other matters that point to Wright's sensitivity and profound wisdom (and would probably get a strong nod of approval from Pope Fancis). Wright chooses to use "YHWH" instead of "Lord" respecting Jewish sensitivities and further translates the RSV/NRSV term "Law" as "Torah". For these changes we can probably thank the work of the Second Vatican Council.

    3. No offense, Daria, and I had second thoughts later about getting into the "we're Catholic too" line of discussion. Naturally Roman Catholics wouldn't agree with that and naturally we would. :) So no point in my going there. Let's just read N.T. Wright and get what we can get from his book, which is lots.