Welcome to Hadrian’s Wall

By Velella (Personal photograph taken by Velella.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsBy Velella (Personal photograph taken by Velella.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Velella (Personal photograph taken by Velella.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dear Superfriends and Blogofans,

For the past five years, I’ve maintained this blog as The Theological Wanderings of a Street Pastor. I started it as a place to reflect on the out-of-the-box ministry I was doing as Community Chaplain of St. James Mission, a position I left in 2012. Naturally, the shape of this blog has changed since then.

These days, the theological questions that vex me revolve around worship and the intersection of ecclesiastical traditions.

I am the world’s only Anglo-Catholic Presbyterian.

What exactly does that mean?

It means that I am a Presbyterian pastor with a High Church Anglican heart.

A part of me is very Presbyterian:

I believe…

  • The Reformed tradition works with a balanced polity and an even-keeled openness.
  • The Protestant Reformation was a movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church and a much-needed corrective to the abuses and distortions of its time.
  • Biblical literacy is essential to the work of the Church.
  • Ecclesia Reforma, Semper Reformanda (“The Church is reformed, and always being reformed”).
  • Salvation comes by trusting in God’s sovereign grace alone.
  • The royal priesthood of all believers.
  • No earthly authority can claim absolute obedience or infallibility.
  • I see the Holy Spirit at work in my denomination’s leaders and in the whole people of God every single day.
  • It was God’s call that brought me to my current congregation where I get to serve the most amazing group of people as pastor.

Another part of me is very Anglo-Catholic:

I believe…

  • The ministry of the Word by itself, without the Sacraments, leads to the equally dangerous pitfalls of fundamentalism and rationalism.
  • Informed sacramental worship, rooted firmly in the mystery of the Incarnation, should lead Christians naturally into the streets to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.”
  • “The Holy Eucharist [is] the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day” and not just something extra to be tacked onto the end of the service one Sunday a month.
  • Christ is really, objectively present in the Eucharist.
  • Whatever their form or administrative function, all denominations should retain the office of bishop within the lines of apostolic succession as a visible sign of Christian unity.
  • Fragrant incense, liturgical vestments, and Gregorian chant enhance our worship.
  • It is appropriate and spiritually beneficial to ask the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints in heaven.

This is the bizarre combination of qualities that I find within myself. I don’t really know what to do with that tension, except to hold it. That’s why I’m writing this blog.

I exist somewhere on the theological border between Anglican and Presbyterian. For those who don’t know church history, Anglicanism is the form of Protestant Christianity that took root in England in the 16th century, while Presbyterianism is the form that caught on in Scotland. The English remained relatively close to their Catholic roots, while the Scots followed the more drastic continental reforms of John Calvin. The spiritual territory I occupy rests squarely between these two traditions. And what ancient Roman edifice marks the long-standing border between England and Scotland? Hadrian’s Wall.

Hence, the new name for this blog.

All of the former articles are still here and available to read. The old domain name still works. It’s the same old blog, but with a new name, a new look, and a whole new set of questions to explore.

The Street Pastor is still wandering and you’re all invited to come along!

Pax Vobiscum,
Barrett
Wandering Street Pastor
Anglo-Catholic Presbyterian

One thought on “Welcome to Hadrian’s Wall

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