Wilfrid, Wulfstan… and currently, Dr John Sentamu, parachuting prelate extraordinaire.
Since when I started this blog, I promised myself I wouldn’t make one-sentence posts, let me use this empty space here to tell you a fabulous story about a fabulous person of my acquaintance.
Lounging in the courtyard one afternoon, waiting for the rest of a Reading Group to turn up, I was in the company of a gentleman who shall be known as the Venerable Philologist. You never quite know where a conversation with the Venerable Philologist will go, and this time, it went in the direction of church politics. After mutual complaints about the state of various churches these days, he looked solemnly at me and said:
You know, I think the Reformation was quite a mistake. It seemed like a good idea at the time, though.
We pondered the benefits and drawbacks of Protestantism, and I expressed my affection for the Uniting Church and it’s delightful inability to make a decision on anything, ever. The Venerable Philologist regarded me, and folded his hands, and remarked:
I liked the Uniting Church, really. But I had to leave them… over the filioque clause.
You’ve got to respect a properly trained medieval scholar who appreciates the importance of the filioque clause.1
1. Me? No idea if it’s in or out of the UCA-approved Apostle’s Creed. Uniting Church-goers, know their creeds? Good grief.
I can tell you we have some fancypants theologically unproblematic version of the Lords Prayer (in which God no longer leads us into temptation). I can also tell you that my elderly congregation stubbornly recite the old version. I, meanwhile, am the only one muttering all the ‘art’s and ‘thou’s under my breath. I have my reasons.