While you're waiting for more on spiritual disciplines, here are some things I've been reading, viewing, and thinking about since my last post.
I saw a pair of 1957 Ingmar Bergman films at the AFI Silver, where they're doing a Janus Films retrospective this summer. I had not seen either one since early in grad school. In The Seventh Seal, a knight returns from the Crusades to find Sweden ravaged by the plague. To defer his own demise, he challenges Death to a chess match. He spends his respite attempting to shore up his faith, worn down by a decade of crusading, but he and his cynical squire also right a few wrongs along the way to their final meeting with Death. In the meantime, an actor who has spiritual visions sees Death playing chess with the knight and flees with his wife and child in an effort to avoid sharing the knight's inevitable fate. In the second film, Wild Strawberries, an old doctor drives to Lund to receive an honorary degree. His daughter-in-law and a trio of hitchhikers tag along. Through a series of encounters, dreams, and memories, he re-evaluates his life, and at the end takes a few small steps towards redemption, pulling his family along with him. It's like A Christmas Carol without the Dickensian melodrama.
Both Bergman films were included in this list of 100 spiritually significant films. They ranked 12th and 32nd, respectively, with a later Bergman work, Winter Light, placing 14th.
In making my weekly SiteMeter check, I found that someone had been referred here from a blog I was not familiar with, NeoChalcedonian: Investigations in Ecclesiastical History, so I looked into it. The first post states the purpose of the blog – to explore the roots of the division between the Eastern and Western churches. The pattern appears to be that he posts one or two topics per month, leaving plenty of time to discuss each subject. I already posted my first response on a thread entitled, "Original Sin As Inherited Guilt?", which explores East-West differences on the understanding of original sin.
While I'm on that subject . . . I just finished reading "Christianity East and West: Some Philosophical Differences," by David Bradshaw, author of Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom. He describes and differentiates the ways that man comes to know God in the philosophies of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Greek Fathers, particularly St. Maximus the Confessor. Whereas both Western approaches equate God's essence with his energies, the Eastern approach differentiates sharply between them, concluding that, while we cannot know the divine essence, we must strive to participate in the divine energies. (While looking for the link to the article, I came across this post on Orrologion with links to six of Bradshaw's articles.)
This past week saw new developments in the Anglican civil war. The Primate of Kenya announced that he will consecrate Canon Bill Atwood, General Secretary of the Ekklesia Society, as a suffragan bishop to oversee American congregations of the Anglican Church of Kenya. So yet another foreign primate – reportedly with the backing of still other primates – will join the scavengers tearing the flesh from the body of the Episcopal Church before it is even dead. Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church's Executive Council met to engage in self-serving, dishonest posturing that will do nothing either to fend off the scavengers or to prolong its own life. I'm glad my contributions will not be going to fund the litigation that is on the horizon.
This article from Crisis magazine looks at the Pastoral Provision and the Anglican Use, the twin programs in the Roman Catholic Church to facilitate the conversion of Anglo-Catholic priests and their congregations. Meanwhile, William Tighe writes that Pope Benedict has already decided to expand the Anglican Use, but has not yet promulgated the decision. Even the Catholics are looking to become scavengers, but maybe they will at least wait until the victim is dead before they join the feeding frenzy.
Finally, Orthodox blogger Papa Herman drew some interesting responses with this post about dreadlocks, Rastafari, Haile Selassie, Bob Marley, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.