Sheet Music

Bodies, Brokenness, and Bread: Towards a Vineyard Sacramental Theological Anthropology

Description
The efforts of James K.A. Smith1 in constructing what is arguably the beginning of of a ‘liturgical anthropology’ offer promising foundations for this paper’s attempt at furthering the effort in the name of a Vineyard anthropology. Building on the
Categories
Published
of 7
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  Thomas Creedy. MA Student, Mission and Ministry, St Johns College, Nottingham  BA, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham (2012) Trent Vineyard Church, Nottingham ‘  Bodies, Brokenness and Bread: Towards a Vineyard Sacramental Theological Anthropology ’ Paper presented at The Society of Vineyard Scholars Annual Conference ‘Being Church in the Time Between the Times’ i. Abstract ii. Introduction iii. Bodies iv. Brokenness v. Bread vi. Towards A Vineyard Sacramental Theological Anthropology i. Abstract The efforts of James K.A. Smith   in constructing what is arguably the beginning of of a ‘ liturgical 1 anthropology ’ offer promising foundations for this paper’s attempt at furthering the effort in the name of a Vineyard   anthropology. Building on the work of Bethany Joy Kim   and Jason Clark    , as 23 well as my own work on the Lords Supper in the Vineyard   , this paper will seek to propose a 4 sacramental anthropology, echoing the importance in the Vineyard of the presence of God, and the sacramental nature of key Vineyard activities. This paper will follow three key themes, echoing the importance of the Lords Supper, the  brokenness of humanity in tension with the healing power of the Holy Spirit, and the fluid importance of individual embodiment and the wider body of the Church. Each of these has a wider reflection for Vineyard ecclesiology; with bread being both central to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, but also a helpful motif for social justice and caring for the poor, brokenness being very much in the tension of the now and the not yet of the Vineyard’s theological centrepiece of the Kingdom of God, and the body being a concept fluid in our contemporary culture yet central to  New Testament Christianity, and indeed, religious expression more generally. ii. Introduction A key distinctive, both historically and in contemporary understanding, of the Vineyard movement has been the focus, theology and practice of worship within an understanding of the kingdom of #   James K. A. Smith,  Desiring the Kingdom ,  Imagining the Kingdom . 1   Bethany Joy Kim, ‘  Rereading Radical Orthodoxy: A Vineyard Perspective on Semantics, Ontology and 2  Participation ’, SVS 2012, http://www.vineyardscholars.com/bethany-joy-kim-rereading-radical-orthodoxy-a-vineyard- perspective-on-semantics-ontology-and-participation/   Jason Clark, ‘ Worship as Re-narration: The Unique Problems and Possbilities of Charismatic Evangelical Worship in 3  Late-Capitalist Society ’, SVS 2013, https://www.dropbox.com/s/rbyzlpdedfjsagn/CLARK.pdf    Thomas Creedy, ‘ Gathering for the Lord’s Supper: The Table at the Centre ’, SVS 2013, https://www.academia.edu/ 4 5285894/Gathering_for_the_Lords_Supper_-the_Table_at_the_Center   God. Worship is central to the majority of what Vineyard is and does, with a particular emphasis  placed on sung, musical worship. James K. A. Smith titles a section of his  Desiring the Kingdom the “ Call to Worship: An Invitation to be Human ”. It is this invitation that I seek to explore today.   This 5  paper will argue, using the three motifs of Bodies, Brokenness and Bread, that such an emphasis on worship should lead to an appropriately  sacramental   understanding of theological anthropology for the Vineyard movement. In line with my methodology of utilising relevant ideas and texts from other streams of the Church, I draw heavily on, among others, David Kelsey, Robert Spaemann, Oliver O’Donovan, Anthony Thiselton, and the Methodist scholar Elizabeth Kent. Given the centrality of the concept of sacrament to my project, I would like to clarify what I mean in this term. From my undergraduate interest in the Reformation and the Reformers, I am well aware of the historic and continuing controversy regarding this word and concept. As Thiselton notes, there is an “ absense of the actual term sacrament from the biblical writings ”, yet it is a vital 6 term in church history. Given the dearth of a definition in pre-existing Vineyard literature, as I have noted elsewhere   , in favour of the language of ‘ordinances’   , I would like to propose a tentative 78 definition of sacraments, in which I based this exercise in theological anthropology. I agree with Thiselton that a sacrament should be seen as “ eventful enactments or actions ”   . More precisely, I 9 argue that sacraments are actions rooted in the Christian tradition and biblical text that are given transforming power by the ongoing ministry and presence of the Holy Spirit. With this in mind, then, we must talk of bodies, brokenness and bread in an attempt to understand what kind of worship it is that transforms human beings from fallen sinners into redeemed saints, in the process I term a sacramental theological anthropology. iii. Bodies Wendell Berry has said that when, theologically, we speak of bodies, we must be quick to determine whether we mean individual bodies, the incarnate body of Christ, or the corporate body of Christ that is the Church. My contention is that, for our purposes, we must focus on individual bodies as vital for theological anthropology, the incarnate body of Christ as the vision of true humanity, to echo Barth and Thiselton, and the corporate body of Christ, the Church and her worship, as the location and site of transformation. It is in the body of Christ as gathered believers that the bodies (for which I would want to stress, in line with my paper on mental illness, I mean the whole self of a human being) of individual believers are transformed into the likeness of the invisible God. Embodiment, then, is vital. As Jason Clark notes powerfully in his SVS/VCUKI 2013 Paper, ‘Worship as re-narration’, his experience of positive bodily contact resulted in his remembering that “  suddenly, a whole new world opened up to me where I could imagine a future in which God was  for and with me ”. There is, perhaps, an echo of James K. A. Smith here, who writes that “ the way 10   James K. A. Smith,  Desiring the Kingdom , (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 2009)  ,  p. 159 5   Anthony Thiselton, The Hermeneutics of Doctrine , (Eerdmans, Cambridge, 2007), p. 510 6   Thomas Creedy, Gathering for the Lords Supper: The Table at the Centre , SVS 2013, https://www.academia.edu/ 7 5285894/Gathering_for_the_Lords_Supper_-the_Table_at_the_Center    Vineyard Statement of Faith 8   Thiselton, 2007, p. 517 9   Clark, 2013, p. 5 10  to the heart is through the body ”   , a notion that rings true for worship.   This is one emphasis on 11  body, but Clark is conscious of the other, corporate meaning. He interacts fruitfully with William Cavanaugh concerning, in Clarks words, the fact that “ the church is not just a rival polis to the State, but is a complete alternative time-space reality to the State, where the State is a false body ”   . 12 This is a helpful observation for our purposes, particularly within Clark’s context of worship, so I will focus briefly on this concept of false bodies. As a false body, Capitalism, like Postmodernism, is an example of what Anthony Thiselton identifies as “ corporate power and corporate self-deception ”   on the one hand, and in a more 13  positive light, perhaps we can observe that it “ tells part of the story about the human self, but not the whole story ”. This is what false bodies do and are - they are incapable of true transformation 14  because their pracices are not true worship. Clark writes convincingly and to my mind affectively of the way in which charismatic evangelical worship can be seen to embody “ a soteriology and theological anthropology that places the desire for God into more affective worship practices ”   . 15 With this in mind, then, we must consider what kind of theological anthropology makes sense of Clark’s claim. There is unintended parallel between the work of Anthony Thiselton and the Catholic thinker Sister Mary Prokes, in placing an emphasis on the importance of bodies to theological discussion. Prokes is clear that “ the significance of embodiment is crucial to all theological enquiry ”   , because “ our 16 bodies center us in the universe ”   . These are helpful for our purposes, and we can identify with 17 Clark and Bethany Joy Kim that Vineyard worship embodied, even if it is in a unique way   . The 18 kind of worship found in the Vineyard emphasises embodiment in a two ways, firstly the literal  bodily actions and engagement of our participatory style, and secondly the notion of the individual  body (at once part of and being absorbed into the body of Christ, the Church) as being the site of encounter, as Kim identifies   . The kind of worship that is Spirit-filled and transformative is the 19 kind that takes place in the church, for the church. In relation to the church, briefly, I would reference 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, which Thiselton sees as  being crucial, naming it “ Union with Christ and the Theology of the Body ”   . As well as the 20 individual body, with its relational capacity and physical limitations, etc, Thiselton also engages critically with the Church as the Body of Christ. Even as individuals are embodied, human beings, James K. A. Smith,  Imagining the Kingdom , (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 2013), p. 150 11   Clark, 2013, p. 13 12   Anthony Thiselton,  Interpreting God and the Postmodern Self: On Meaning, Manipulation and Promise , (T&T Clark, 13 Edinburgh, 1995), p. 137   Thiselton, 1996, p. ix 14   Clark, 2013, p. 16 15 #   Mary Prokes, Toward a Theology of the Body , (T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1996), p. 25 16 #   Prokes, 1996, p. 39 17   Kim, 2012, p. 11 18   Kim, ibid. 19 #   Thiselton, “ The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text  ”, (Eerdmans, Cambridge, 2000), p. 20 458  the wider church is itself a body. This is, to an extent, one of the mysteries of faith, but we see the corporate element of this passage brought to light by Thiselton, as he observes that “ it is precisely in how a person reveals themself as what they are in the bodily and everyday life that what it means to be “in Christ” emerges ”   . It is in this corporate body that the transforming sacraments of baptism 21 and the Lords Supper take place, as individuals are transformed in worship by the Holy Spirit in such a way that their identity is revealed as ‘in Christ’. When we speak of the presence of God in the Vineyard we mean neither a substantial change in the elements of the Lords Supper nor an emotional high detached from the rest of life, but rather are recognising the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the acts of worship performed in community iv. Brokenness As has been identified in countless contexts, one of the key texts for discussion of theological anthropology is the creation narratives of Genesis 1-3. Creation, as we can read, was created as good, and pronounced as ‘very good’ by God after the creation of male and female in his image   . 22 Rosemary Radford Ruether observes that this text (Genesis 1:26-7)“ continues today to be a key reference point for Christian theological discussion of anthropology ”, but a fair engagement with 23 the text must take into the events of chapter 3, known generally in Christian theology as the Fall. Here we see the influence of the serpent   in causing/persuading humankind to go against the single 24 command they had been given. The results of this are immediate, spoken by Yahweh who meets them in the garden and tells them the consequences of their action. The consequences of the fall must be taken seriously, and this seriousness can be seen in the effect on gender relations. Into a place where no hierarchy or specificity in male/female relationship had existed, there is a direct effect on that relationship, with Genesis 3:16b, “ Your desire shall be for  your husband, and he shall rule over you ” coming as a different way of relating, coupled with the  pain of childbirth for the woman and the pain of work and death for the man   . Helmut Thielicke 25 notes that “ the male-female duality remains as a constant  ” and this “ continues to endure through 26 the crisis of the fall, except that... it becomes a disturbed relationship ”   (1978, 13). Thielicke’s 27  project goes beyond the bounds of Genesis 3, with an interest in the overall thrust of Scripture as ‘Heilsgeschihte’, or salvation history, and we can note with him that “ in the order of redemption men are called back to the srcinal design of creation... as persons who stand equally under the #   Thiselton, “ The First Epistle to the Corinthians ”, p. 473 21   Genesis 1:26-7 22   Rosemary Radford Ruether,  Imago Dei: Christian Tradition and Feminist Hermeneutics , p. 267-288 in Ed. Kari 23 Elisabeth Borresen, The Image of God: Gender Models in Judaeo-Christian Tradition , (Augsburg Fortess, Minneapolis, 1995)    p. 267   Genesis 3:1, 4, 13, 14, emphasising the integral nature of this character to the story. 24   Genesis 3:17-19 25   Helmut Thielicke, trans. John W. Doberstein, The Ethics of Sex , (James Clarke and CO. LTD., Cambridge, 1978), p. 26 13   Thielicke, ibid. 27   grace of God  ”. This eschatological dimension here is crucial to note - even as we recognise the 28  brokenness of creation we must look towards, live for and hope for the restoration of things in Christ. It is from this brokenness, then, that the Christian church as the body of Christ is redeemed, and from this brokennes that we are transformed. From brokenness to wholeness, across a myriad of identity markers, from the essential fundamentals of gender through every other label we use to reference our place in the world. All of this is transformed. James K. A. Smith captures something of this eschatological trajectory of transformation in his  Desiring the Kingdom ; “ The practices of Christian worship over the liturgical year form in us something of an “old soul” that is perpetually pointed to a future, longing for a coming kingdom, and seeking to be a stretched  people in the present who are a foretaste of the coming kingdom ”   29   The eschatological viewpoint of the Kingdom of God only makes sense in the context of the entire  biblical narrative. New creation is linked directly to the fallen creation which is being redeemed. The practices of Christian worship, and I argue with Clark and others that explicitly Vineyard   worship emphasises the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ so helpfully, are the things which move us out of brokenness and into wholeness. But we cannot ignore the  brokenness of ourselves and our surroundings. v. Bread In my 2013 SVS Paper I attempted to tentatively and constructively explore where the relatively sparse pickings of Vineyard sacramentology might lead us in regard to the Lord’s Supper. It is from this work that I draw some of the key themes for the third key string in my proposal for a Vineyard sacramental theological anthropology. The Lord’s Supper, then, as a cornerstone of worship is a way of responding to Smith’s challenge that the Church is “ called to be a people of memory who are shaped by a tradition ”   . I have argued 30  previously   that there is a vital tension in the Lords Supper, with the bread taking on several roles. 31 Firstly, the bread is directly linked by remembrance and obedience to the ‘first Last Supper’, where Jesus recovered the passover meal for his followers, charging him to do this in perpetual remembrance. Secondly, the bread is important in tying our reflection and worship to a specific  point. This a ‘  Kingdom event - looking back and looking forward  ’   , that has a powerful resonance 32 with the present ministry of the Holy Spirit. Much ink has been spilt over exactly what happens to the elements, but it is clear that the Lords Supper is a vital and transforming part of the Christian worship cycle. Thirdly and importantly, the Lords Supper looks forward - reminding us that we are  being caught up in the growing and deepening body of Christ, a relational and corporate body being Thielicke, ibid. 28   James K. A. Smith,  Desiring the Kingdom , (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 2013), p. 159 29   Smith, ibid. 30   Creedy, 2013, p.4-6 especially 31   Creedy, 2013, p. 12 32
Search
Similar documents
View more...
Tags
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks
SAVE OUR EARTH

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!

x