Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent and thus the beginning of Year Two in the Daily Office Lectionary. In addition to providing daily nourishment for personal spiritual growth, reading the Scripture passages assigned for each day contributes to progress toward the visible unity of the body of Christ as Christians across the divisions of the church together devote themselves to "the teaching of the apostles" and to "the prayers" (Acts 2:42).
The Anglican Book of Common Prayer and Roman Catholic Daily Missal both include daily office lectionaries along with other resources that guide personal devotions based on the daily office readings. A few years ago my wife gave me a Christmas gift that's become for me an indispensable resource for following the daily office: the four volumes of For All the Saints: A Prayer Book For and By the Church (American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1994-1996) include for each day the full text of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel readings, an opening and closing prayer selected from the whole of the Christian tradition in its historical depth and contemporary breadth, and a devotional reading from one among the company of the saints that develops themes from one of the Scripture readings for that day, along with the full text of the Psalter, other patterns and resources for individual and family devotions, and occasional icons connected with seasons and significant feast days of the Christian year.
Electronic resources for following the daily office include The Daily Office maintained online by the Mission of St. Clare (the "text by day" feature downloads well to cell phones) and the Forward Day by Day meditations posted online by Forward Movement Publications.
If you've not previously followed the daily office, try taking it up as an Advent discipline in the days between now and December 25. You might serendipitously encounter Christians in other churches who are doing the same thing, and you just might find yourself having the kinds of conversations with them that make for the increase of the "one hope" (Ephesians 4:4) for the oneness of the church in this most eschatological of seasons of the Christian year.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The issue of Baptists Today in which my guest commentary "The Church Still Needs Baptists" appeared (vol. 27, no. 8 [August 2009], p. 28) is now available online as a PDF file in the Baptists Today public back issue archive (click on hyperlinked title above).
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The re-launched Regent's Reviews published by Regent's Park College of the University of Oxford includes in its first issue a review of Baptist Sacramentalism 2, ed. Philip E. Thompson and Anthony R. Cross (Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 25; Paternoster, 2008), to which I contributed the chapter "The Sacramentality of the Word in Gregory of Nyssa's Catechetical Oration: Implications for a Baptist Sacramental Theology." The review by Paul Goodliff of the Baptist Union of Great Britain appears on pp. 7-9 of the PDF version of the issue linked here.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Gerald Stover, an active lay ecumenist with the Lehigh County Conference of Churches in Pennsylvania, has called my attention to a most helpful annotated bibliography of recent books on ecumenical themes maintained and updated periodically by the Washington Theological Consortium. Readers of this blog will note in the current listing notices regarding two volumes I've mentioned here: Paul D. Murray, ed., Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism (Oxford University Press, 2008) and John A Radano, Lutheran & Catholic Reconciliation on Justification (Eerdmans, 2009).
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Following up on a previous post on "receptive ecumenism" as a promising paradigm for ecumenical engagement: British Baptist theologian Paul Fiddes of Regents Park College, University of Oxford, presented a paper on "Baptists and Receptive Ecumenism" at a conference on Receptive Ecumenism: The Call to Ecumenical Learning at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Cadogan Street, Chelsea, UK in November 2007, later published in revised and expanded form in the journal Louvain Studies 33, no. 1-2 (2008). The Society for Ecumenical Studies has made the text of the published article available online in PDF (click on hyperlinked title above).
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
For those interested, a PDF electronic offprint of my article "Dei Verbum § 9 in Baptist Perspective" in Ecclesiology 5, no. 3 (September 2009): 299-321, mentioned in a previous post, is now linked from the Beeson Divinity School web site (click on hyperlinked title above).