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Oscars and equal pay

I rarely, if ever, write about the goings-on in Hollywood because, well, it’s Hollywood. But this morning there was a prevalent 87th Annual Academy Awards - Showstory in my news-feed. At the Oscars last night, Patricia Arquette, during her acceptance speech for her Oscar, made a statement about equal pay for women. Meryl Streep heartily agreed from the audience. You can see her reaction here. Apparently, Twitter exploded in affirmation. And I would concur that this is an issue we need to address as a nation.

Moreover, according to a variety of sources, Patricia Arquette took very little salary for her role in the movie Boyhood. That most definitely is something to be commended.

But it did strike me as a little ironic. Here, amidst some of the wealthier Americans, was a call to equal pay for equal work. Contradictory because the call issued by Arquette, while laudible, was made to a nation of people who make significantly lower wages than Arquette or Streep.

Let’s be clear before we go any further. Does a gender pay gap exist? Yes. Do we as a nation need to address this problem? Yes. Should women make the same amount as men, for the same work? Most definitely, yes! I say this as a father of a daughter who deserves, whatever her future career, the same pay as her male counterpart. However, while this call to action is necessary, it struck me as a little paradoxical coming from someone who is in the income bracket of Arquette; though not for the reasons one might think. Before we get to that, let’s look at what Arquette and Streep face in their industry.

There are unequivocally fewer roles available for female leads. When a female actor lands one of these roles, they are paid decidedly less. Furthermore, I will be quick to point out that not all actors are making the coin that Arquette is; so this is a particularized situation. All of that said, a call to action is necessary. But the action that is necessary is not limited to the gender pay gap.

What I began to think about after reading several stories of Arquette’s impassioned speech was those who are many times forgotten; forgotten amidst the labor statistics and reports of current economic growth. I thought specifically of those who are paid minimum wage.

Before detractors cry “Socialist,” I most definitely am not advocating for a redistribution of wealth based upon those principles. Nor am I advocating that pay should be divorced from the type of work we do. That being said, the elephant in the room is that we pay enormously higher wages to actors/directors/producers in the movie industry that the average American makes working their job. And it was in a room majoritively filled with such people that this impassioned speech was made. Yes, these persons gathered do a job that I cannot do. Trust me, you don’t want to see me act! However, to paraphrase Jesus – where your treasure is, there your heart will be. So in one sense it is a critique of American culture – we are amusing ourselves to death.

The current economic system does not play fair – whether by gender or race or economic situation. One might argue that hard work and effort will provide success both monetarily and vocationally. But that may not be the case. Socioeconomic background, educational qualifications, and myriad other reasons play into our success. For those of us who want to address economic injustice, such as Arquette passionately pleaded for, we need as a nation to advocate for a living wage. Again, I am not a socialist, nor a Marxist. I am a Christian, and therefore it is my calling to advocate for the least and the lost. Ah, you may say: But didn’t Jesus say that you will always have the poor among you? Yes, yes he did. But he most definitely did not say that we were to do nothing about it. A living wage is necessary and long over do.

If we were to implement a living wage what might that look like?

A living wage, that had kept up with worker productivity, would currently be… wait for it… $21.72/hr., as of 2012 according to a study by Center for Economic and Policy Research. If minimum wage had just kept up with inflation it would currently be $11.00/hr., as of 2014. Moreover, the minimum wage peaked according to some research in 1968. 1968!

Beyond the need, and to tie into Arquette’s call to arms, a living wage benefits women, who make up the majority of minimum wage earners. According to the National Women’s Law Center, “Increasing the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage are key steps toward fair pay for women.” (See here.) So if we want to reduce the pay gap for women, a living wage is necessary.

The annual salary of a full-time worker receiving minimum wage is: $15,080. That is using the current minimum wage of $7.25/hr. Even if we were to increase the minimum wage to $11.00/hr, the annual salary of a full-time worker would be: $22,880. Is that enough for the average family of four? No. But it’s a start.

There are many people more intelligent and well versed in economics than myself. But even to this economic amateur, a living wage seems a no-brainer. While I applaud Patricia Arquette’s desire to see the wage gap eliminated, her impassioned plea does not go far enough. For all of us, especially as a person of faith, I must seek more. I must advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves – a living wage for those who need it. That’s the kind of salary speech I want to hear. That’s the kind of America I want to live in.

its-not-because-things-are-difficult-that-we-dare-not-venture-its-because-we-dare-not-venture-that-they-are-difficult-senecaYou can read more about raising the minimum wage at: http://www.raisetheminimumwage.org/

Or just Google it – living wage vs. minimum wage

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How John Calvin made me a Catholic…

Interesting article. Take a look

Strangely, mastering Calvin didn’t lead me anywhere I expected. To begin with, I decided that I really didn’t like Calvin. I found him proud, judgmental and unyielding. But more importantly, I discovered that Calvin upset my Evangelical view of history. I had always assumed a perfect continuity between the Early Church, the Reformation and my Church. The more I studied Calvin, however, the more foreign he seemed, the less like Protestants today. This, in turn, caused me to question the whole Evangelical storyline: Early Church – Reformation – Evangelical Christianity, with one seamless thread running straight from one to the other. But what if Evangelicals really weren’t faithful to Calvin and the Reformation? The seamless thread breaks. And if it could break once, between the Reformation and today, why not sooner, between the Early Church and the Reformation? Was I really sure the thread had held even that far?

Calvin shocked me by rejecting key elements of my Evangelical tradition. Born-again spirituality, private interpretation of Scripture, a broad-minded approach to denominations – Calvin opposed them all. I discovered that his concerns were vastly different, more institutional, even more Catholic. Although he rejected the authority of Rome, there were things about the Catholic faith he never thought about leaving. He took for granted that the Church should have an interpretive authority, a sacramental liturgy and a single, unified faith.

http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/how-john-calvin-made-me-a-catholic/

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A Different Way to be Church

Over the last year and a half God has been birthing a vision in me about a different way to be church. I’ve been looking at different models and ways to be church. At the present time this is where it stands. Below you’ll find a framework for a different way to be church. Again, I stress that this is a framework. The purpose of such a framework is to provide a structure in which to build the life of the Church, not to be a black and white, this-and-nothing-else, mentality. Take a look. I’d love to hear responses and thoughts.

A different way to be church:

Community Vision


Much is being said and written about church planting in the Anglican context at the moment. For me to join the cacophony of voices in some ways seems redundant. However, I have yet to see a community express this vision in such a way as to resonate or identify deeply with my own. Therefore, I feel the need to put it down on paper. The following is a beginning. It will continue to unfold in the future I’m sure. Nonetheless, this is the starting point.
What follows will be divided into different sections. Each section represents a core understanding of the heart of the Community. Each section will highlight the starting point and a different facet of the ethos of the Community.

Rule of Life/The Four Practices


This idea is taken from St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Lexington, KY., although there is some modification. Much of what follows is directly from their practices literature; which can be found here.

For many churches, if you want to become a ‘member’ of a particular church the path is pretty standardised. Begin by going to church on Sunday morning. Or you may come to the church for a specific reason – i.e. baptism, wedding, etc.  After an initial period of attendance,  you become more involved by attending a programme – a short course, a home group, etc. As you do this  you get to know people to varying degrees. You begin to participate in more programmes. At a certain point, you are invited to lead/organise something. Lastly, you become a leader for a specific ministry. You are now giving time, tithe and talents to this specific church. By this stage you have become a member, whether there is a formal ‘rite’ depends upon the church.
This is the way most people become part of a local church. The specifics of the story may vary, but the basics are the same. This model of participation in a local church is affinity based. But what if we could be the church in a different way? What if we participated in a local community based upon a different foundation? What if church was not based upon the programme or what we do, but how we live and who we are as a community?
When we read Acts, we see the early church struggling to be the Church. But Luke doesn’t mention anything about Sunday school classes, Alpha courses, personal development programmes. Programmes or courses or Sunday school are not bad things unto themselves.  They just aren’t mentioned by Luke as what the early church did. However, Luke does speak about that to which the church devoted themselves. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2.42ff) They devoted themselves to being a community based on these things, not based on the programmes they put on or how many ‘ministries’ they ran. They wanted to be disciples of Jesus and that was the passion to which they devoted themselves. This is the foundation for the Four Practices: worship, community, formation and mission. (For the sake of brevity, refer to the Four Practices from St. Patrick’s for a fuller explanation of the Four Practices.)

All that the Community does stems from these four practices. As St. Patrick’s mentions, the only thing that they commit to do is Sunday worship. Everything else is done based upon need and is only done as long as there is a need perceived by the community. In practise this provides freedom to the community to change and develop. No longer do we have do do something simply because ‘we’ve always done (fill in the blank – Alpha, Marriage prep, Sunday school).’
Moreover, the Four Practices form a Rule of Life to which every member commits. A Rule of Life is most closely associated with religious orders. However, Cranmer in the Book of Common Prayer(BCP) does many things to imply his desire for a Rule of Life to be the norm for all Christians, not just monks and nuns. For instance, Cranmer redacts the Daily office from 8 times to 2. This idea is evident to such a degree that the 1962 Canadian BCP includes at the end of the catechism a statement about the need for everyone to have a Rule of Life.
There are certain aspects of the Rule which will be common to all, such as regular attendance at the Eucharist or the Daily Office (the twofold office of Morning/Evening prayer being essential; the fourfold office encouraged – mid-day and compline in addition to morning/evening prayer). However other things will be specific to that person; a personal expression of their Rule.
Both the Four Practices and the Rule of Life form the core of the Community. Everything else flows out of this perspective. Everything else is inherently derived from the Four Practices and the Rule of Life.

Intentional Community

Community is one of the Four Practices, but encompasses a broad swath of concepts. Community in many churches is found in a variety of settings. However, there can be a distinct separation between these community events and the community we live in on a daily basis. It is my belief that we must be intentional about community. Moreover, it is my belief that such a community needs to be local and close in proximity. (This was originally one of the outcomes of the parish model.) However, to simply live close to someone does not naturally foster community. The heart of this desire will be throughout the Community. However, the expression of intentional community may vary. For some, they may desire to live in a house with others, sharing meals, living space, etc. For others, community houses may be an expression of intentional community. Families, individuals may live in community houses which are in strategic locations in their neighbourhood. Co-housing may also be another possibility. No matter the expression a commitment to regular shared meals, the Daily Office, and a commitment to live in a posture of hospitality and service to each other and their neighbourhood will be the norm. The aim of any intentional community is to become more like Christ and serve His world.
Community in many church contexts has been viewed as optional or at the very least limited due to a variety of reasons (proximity, worldview, etc.). The purpose of a church community which intentionally pursues community with each other will hopefully have the outcome that this community will extend beyond the community to the surrounding neighbourhoods. The purpose of community is twofold. First, it is for the body to become through relationships more like Jesus. Second, the purpose of community is mission; where God has placed them geographically has meaning and intent. Therefore, intentional community leads us to be more like Jesus and take this to those surrounding us.

Celtic Abbey/‘Hub’ church/Minster Model

The third major understanding of the vision is what some have called a Celtic abbey or ‘Hub’ church or Minster model. For some people there are presuppositions, both positive and negative, which are attached to certain terms. Therefore it is helpful to begin with what this model will be, rather than what it is not.

An Abbey church is:

  • a district (larger than a traditional parish. Originally were know as parochiae.)
  • composed of a variety of sizes of worshipping communities
  • local and regional (at the same time)
  • composed of a variety of worship styles
  • collegial in leadership (made up of both ordained and lay leaders. Leaders may serve in different worshipping communities at different times; though their local community will depend upon their locale.)
  • missional (both local and regional)
  • empowering to local communities
  • flexible
  • both bounded and centred (set theory)
  • outward looking
  • able to use resources regionally


An Abbey church is not:

  • a revamped expression of a diocese
  • a parish with small groups
  • defined by ‘parish’ boundaries
  • led by the ‘1 priest’ model
  • resourcing only 1 parish

The abbey model fosters both a local and regional, inward and outward focused community. Moreover, with local worshipping communities coming to worship at the ‘abbey’ at least once a month (this would probably be much more frequent in the beginning), there would be a distinct identity which is aptly expressed in the concept of dual citizenship. Lastly, the abbey church fosters holistic and organic expressions of worship, in their broadest sense – art, dance, music, commerce, creativity of all kinds.

For further discussion of the church as abbey see here:
http://chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com/2008/03/03/the-church-as-abbey/
http://chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/ten-marks-of-the-church-as-abbey/

Conclusion

The three sections above – the Abbey church, the Four practices, intentional community –  are the three pillars of the vision which God has been birthing in me. Each of these pillars is practised to one degree or another in varying contexts. However, there is a tendency in many expressions to favour one of the pillars over another. For instance, St. Patrick’s in Kentucky where the Four practices originated, does not seem to have a deep desire to express intentional community as described above. (This is not intended to be a criticism, rather an observation. I do not know the extent to which they foster community. I can only surmise from thier website.) Another community strives to embody intentional community, as many neo-monastic communities do, yet do not fully express the missional nature of the church as abbey or express mission in the same way as found in the Four practices. Others take aspects of the Abbey church, such as ministry to the marginalised (found particularly in the charism of the Franciscans), and place them above other expressions. My hope and prayer is that the three pillars will provide a suitably balanced and sustainable way of being the Body of Christ, the Church, and living this call wherever God has called us.

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Great post….

For those who cannot understand why, here’s why….

Anglican on Purpose
Posted by Eric under O God, come to my assistance

It seems Anglicans across the blogosphere can’t help but post on the pope’s most recent apostolic constitution. I posted the letter from archbishops Rowan and Vincent from Canterbury and Westminster and that was all I planned on doing… until now.

If you’ve happened to see the conversations I’ve had with Nicholas or Chad via comments you will not be surprised that the Vatican’s latest action does not really impress me all that much. I do not mean that with any negative feelings toward the pope, the Vatican, or the Roman Catholic Church; I actually hold all three in great respect. But, it is times like this that we non-Roman Christians who adhere to the catholic faith can further reflect on why we are Anglicans, Old Catholic (See of Utrecht), etc.

To those for whom the pope’s announcement is a great blessing on their personal journeys into the Roman Catholic Church, I offer nothing but well wishes and blessings. That being said, I continue to have a concern about the inferiority complex of Anglicans (particularly Anglo-Catholics) that urges them to constantly seek the approval of the Vatican or one of the Orthodox patriarchs.

Believe it or not, there are some of us Anglo-Catholics who are Anglican on purpose – even Episcopalian. I am an Anglican because of the historic appeal to Scripture, reason, and canon law.* I am an Anglican because of our venerable liturgical tradition. I am an Anglican because of the via media.** I’m an Anglican because I hold Anglicanism to be one part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church but cannot stomach any claim by any ecclesial body to be the only part of it. I am an Anglican because I believe that all the baptized are welcome to receive communion. I am an Anglican because though I have a strong Marian devotion, pray for the dead daily as part of the Guild of All Souls, and find benediction of the blessed sacrament a powerful devotional experience I do not demand everyone do so. I am Anglican because I place much value in living a life of common prayer, but do not equate common with sameness.

I will continue to look to the day that Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism and/or Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy can come together in some visible manner, but until then I remain a catholic Christian in the Anglican tradition and I remain so on purpose.

——-

*”Scripture, Tradition, and Reason” as an Anglican formula is far too often wrongly attributed to Richard Hooker. Not only did he never use the phrase, but he was probably referring more to canon law than some nebulous body of tradition (it is found in his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity after all). Also, it should be clear that any Anglicans who hold these three to be equal are standing apart from Anglican tradition which has always placed the emphasis on Scripture.

**Referring to a middle way between the poles of the Continental Reformation on one end and the Papacy on the other. I firmly reject this phrase as an excuse to water down anything and everything as a “middle way.”

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