|Publication Date: 15 Aug 2019|
|Publisher: SPCK Publishing|
|Page Count: 192|
|Author: Alan Bartlett|
In this book, Alan Bartlett celebrates the tradition of English Anglican ordained pastoral ministry by affirming the value of vicars’ ministry and way of life, and the great gift they have in relating to our communities and churches. The ‘vicar’ (parish priest, pastor, minister) still leads her people in prayer and praise, cares for them in their sufferings, rejoices with them in their joys and does this both with those who ‘come to church’ and those who don’t. This deep wisdom has sustained the Church for centuries but are we losing confidence in such a ministry? Because our communities have not . . .
Concerned that there is a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the author asks how we can be better equipped to make wise decisions about the way church ministry needs to evolve now, in order to meet the clear need in our parishes for an institutional church. He aims to lift the morale of C of E incumbents, while helping them to continue to adapt, theologically, spiritually and practically.
[On HUMANE CHRISTIANITY] This plea for a humane Christianity will encourage those who have suffered from the cruelties of institutional religion, and show how faith can really affirm the worth of the human person.
At a time when many conceive of religious faith in terms of rigidity of mind and violence of action, it is vital to listen to those voices which rightly understand Christian faith in terms of astonishing divine grace and compassionate human wisdom. Alan Bartlett is one of those voices.
What makes his book different is that it is written from an Evangelical (or, more accurately, post-Evangelical) perspective; and that it appeals a good deal to English and Anglican tradition, and especially to the writings of Jeremy Taylor, Richard Hooker and Julian of Norwich, in making the case that the Church should take a more affirmative approach to both the human condition and the totality of creation.
[On A PASSIONATE BALANCE] It is perhaps telling – and, in fact, encouraging – that in introducing the ‘Spirituality of Anglicanism’, Bartlett introduces not merely methods of prayer or mysticism divorced from content, but the history and theology of the embodied community of Anglicanism (and all the messiness and ambiguity that those three imply). That this is the case means that the book does not occupy itself with spirituality narrowly de?ned, but rather with introducing Anglicanism itself in the broad sense, of showing its elemental intuitions and impulses as seen historically in the tradition. This is an introduction to spirituality in the best sense of the word, and in its speci?cally Anglican form.