Fr. Joshua Whitfield: The Cruciform Community

Centrists / Religion

“Fr. Joshua Whitfield has given us an essay celebrating parochial fidelity as a sine qua non of ecclesial life.  Rather than giving you a reductive summary (as I have already done), I offer an excerpt:

This new rhythm of parochial life (of daily prayer and regular eucharistic celebration) is also the primary mode of catechesis, the socializing of the eucharistic gift. For instance, the Psalter, which is the beating heart of the office, is that which gradually molds the mind and the body not only in the virtues of Christ but in the emotions of Christ. Christ emerges as a mirror in our midst in daily prayer, one that reflects and changes those who see him. This is Christian discipleship and formation such that all are included across ideologies. Disarmed by the timing of praise and brought together before the very voice of Christ, the parish becomes not a fortress on the frontier of a humiliating ecclesial war; rather, it is rendered a church of Jesus Christ, of peace and waiting silent before God and each other.

Read it all here.

A bit further on in the essay you find this:

As Christ accepted powerlessness and renounced effectiveness in his faith in the true power of God, we who are in Christ must have the courage to do the same. We are not called strategically to save the church or the world. We are called to be the saved church in the world. We, the baptized, are not called to organize campaigns and strategic movements against each other. We are called to live peaceably in faith in God in community. This is what is frightening about the organizations, campaigns and movements erupting from the conflict within the Episcopal Church in the United States. We are in a mess, but if we lose sight of the meaning of the cross, and if we try and take our future into our own hands, we are not fighting righteously for God; rather, we actually doubt whether or not he is Lord. The cross is not a pious symbol. It is not a rally-point for some Milvian Bridge event. It is our testimony that Jesus Christ is Lord and that nothing can change that fact. The cross is the hard witness in our midst that God is victorious and has changed the world already. Our desire to change the world is only our lack of faith in what God has done in Christ. 

From here. (If you prefer, there is a pdf here.)”


The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Still to triumphalistic and focused on the community. And as such also Modern in that quick criticism of Modernity (and liberals) kind of way popular these days. It isn’t the community that saves in and of itself but the work of Christ present to us in the Word of God purely preached and the Sacraments rightly administered. Community of its own not judged by these as well as formed by these is deadly and has a tendency to be colonizing, something Anglicanism has failed to truly grapple with in its history beginning with the Welsh, Cornish, and Irish at the time of the Reformation.

  2. I guess I should clarify, those peoples, the Welsh being my background were forced to give up their worship language, etc. by the English. I feel the same way about our worship communities as a gay person. the community seems to have nothing against which it is judged and we go on ad nauseum in praise of it even when it treats others within itself as it would not wish to be treated. Then we get language of the Corss. I’ve noticed that Covenant folks tend to mask their own power and privilege in the community behind language of powerlessness of the Cross, as really not being about power or ideology at all, but those not on the inside of the discussion see things very differently, that simply talking about the powerlessness of the Cross does not cover up that many in this group by simple accident of birth are treated differently than others in the community and that excercise of powerlessness over sexual minority Christians in the community feels precisely like control and ego.

Comments are closed.