In my last post, I described some changes in direction for SPI/SSP. But now, in my new role as communications guy, I get to do what I love best: sharing SPI and the Society of Scholar-Priests.
What do I get to share? I get to share a vision. SPI exists to welcome theology home, back into the life of the parish. We all know the suspicion of theology that hangs like a ghost in our parishes’ hallways. We’ve all been in the Adult Education class where Jesus’ radical social ethic and St. Paul’s call to holiness are dismissed with the “eschatological hand wave.” We’ve all seen clergy and parishioners alike who find no solace in the great spiritual resources of the Christian faith because they have been told that none exist there. When we welcome theology home, when we rekindle theological vocation and imagination, it’s not about dogmatics. It’s about finding in the spiritual riches of our common past the lanterns we need to illumine spiritual pathways for the journey ahead.
I get to tell the story of the Society of Scholar-Priests, a society full of great people from across North America. We have had over 120 members from The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. They are rectors and postulants, seminary professors and PhD students, all pastors and teachers in what we’re calling North American Mainline Anglicanism. They have committed themselves to a life of both academic inquiry and pastoral presence. The deep exploration of theological waters happens right alongside the warm embrace of people longing to find the peace that Christ offers.
The Society is, and is becoming, a place of mutual encouragement and support. It’s true that we meet once a year for a conference, but we also help out in smaller, more personal ways. We have two writing groups running that gather weekly to talk about their research progress and their upcoming goals. Another group will meet for lunch at this year’s AAR/SBL. We know that scholar-priesthood is an uphill climb. We’re here to bear one another’s burdens along the path.
And we have a lot of fun, as we learn to live into our mission and values. What SSP reminds us is that scholar-priesthood is possible. Theology done for the parish can once again be done in the parish. SSP is already welcoming theology home. Why not join us?