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If you meet George Herbert on the road, kill him: Radically Re-Thinking Priestly Ministry

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Priestly ministry in the Church of England needs a radical rethink... George Herbert died in 1633. His legacy continues. His poems are read and sung, and his parish ministry remains the model for the Church of England's understanding of how and where and why its priests should minister. But there is a problem. The memory of Herbert celebrated by the Church is an inaccurate Priestly ministry in the Church of England needs a radical rethink... George Herbert died in 1633. His legacy continues. His poems are read and sung, and his parish ministry remains the model for the Church of England's understanding of how and where and why its priests should minister. But there is a problem. The memory of Herbert celebrated by the Church is an inaccurate one, and, in its inaccuracy, is unfair on Herbert himself and his successors in the ordained ministry. This is a book of the long view. It sets out to assess realistically the context of Herbert's life and to explore the difficulties of parish life today. By examining the status and role of parish clergy since Herbert's time and today, it draws on the work of historians, social anthropologists, psychologists and theologians, and presents their ideas in a readable and passionate style. It argues that the future strength of parochial ministry will be found in a recovery of historic, renewed understandings of priestly ministry, and concludes by outlining more sustainable patterns of practice for the future. In a climate of uncertainty for the future of the church, it will be an encouragement for priest and people, and welcomed by both.


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Priestly ministry in the Church of England needs a radical rethink... George Herbert died in 1633. His legacy continues. His poems are read and sung, and his parish ministry remains the model for the Church of England's understanding of how and where and why its priests should minister. But there is a problem. The memory of Herbert celebrated by the Church is an inaccurate Priestly ministry in the Church of England needs a radical rethink... George Herbert died in 1633. His legacy continues. His poems are read and sung, and his parish ministry remains the model for the Church of England's understanding of how and where and why its priests should minister. But there is a problem. The memory of Herbert celebrated by the Church is an inaccurate one, and, in its inaccuracy, is unfair on Herbert himself and his successors in the ordained ministry. This is a book of the long view. It sets out to assess realistically the context of Herbert's life and to explore the difficulties of parish life today. By examining the status and role of parish clergy since Herbert's time and today, it draws on the work of historians, social anthropologists, psychologists and theologians, and presents their ideas in a readable and passionate style. It argues that the future strength of parochial ministry will be found in a recovery of historic, renewed understandings of priestly ministry, and concludes by outlining more sustainable patterns of practice for the future. In a climate of uncertainty for the future of the church, it will be an encouragement for priest and people, and welcomed by both.

30 review for If you meet George Herbert on the road, kill him: Radically Re-Thinking Priestly Ministry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rona

    Really useful to re read this excellent book on the realities of parish ministry today. I will take away the excellent practical suggestions about how to get back on track when things go so wrong - as they inevitably do in this impossible job. I love my job as a Rector, but sometimes things overwhelm and take over. Lewis-Anthony has given me a framework for my role and life which will keep me on track for another few years I hope!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alistair P D

    Justin Lewis-Anthony has written an excellent, intelligent, thoughtful meditation on the "problemataa" (my neologism) of contemporary Church of England clergy. Despite the provocative title Lewis-Anthony writes with compassion and the understanding of an experienced practitioner. Equally, the focus extends beyond the clergy of England: a similar situation holds true in Australia (where I exercise my priesthood), not least, arguably, because of the Australian church's English heritage, however muc Justin Lewis-Anthony has written an excellent, intelligent, thoughtful meditation on the "problemataa" (my neologism) of contemporary Church of England clergy. Despite the provocative title Lewis-Anthony writes with compassion and the understanding of an experienced practitioner. Equally, the focus extends beyond the clergy of England: a similar situation holds true in Australia (where I exercise my priesthood), not least, arguably, because of the Australian church's English heritage, however much it is trying to establish an authoritative identity of its own. Lewis-Anthony's thesis is the English church has laboured under a misdirected and false reliance on the mythois of parish ministry that owes its genesis to an ahistorical and idealised view of the kind of rural ministry George Herbert practised - for less than three years! Herbert's world no longer exists. It hasn't for well over a century - probably longer. Yet the model of parish ministry and the expectations and assumptions of parish folk remain largely unmoved. Lewis-Anthony offers sound critique and parallels it with intelligent proposals for finding solutions to the problems he outlines, making this book excellent reading not only for clergy and their families, but also for parishioners perplexed by their incumbent's inability to emulate Superman or out-Jesus Jesus. Read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I've a strong suspicion that this is actually written for the clergy not laity - however, having been churchwarden for 10 years this made a lot of sense; even if the middle was rather hard going, with the exception of an interesting chapter on D Bonhoeffer. The conclusions made a lot of sense & could be applied to anyone dealing with a busy job, not just clergy dealing with conflicting demands of parish life. For the very busy clergyman there is a Rule of Life based on the Four Pillars of the Dom I've a strong suspicion that this is actually written for the clergy not laity - however, having been churchwarden for 10 years this made a lot of sense; even if the middle was rather hard going, with the exception of an interesting chapter on D Bonhoeffer. The conclusions made a lot of sense & could be applied to anyone dealing with a busy job, not just clergy dealing with conflicting demands of parish life. For the very busy clergyman there is a Rule of Life based on the Four Pillars of the Dominican Constitution, in a handy 3 page appendix. And - I am seriously considering giving my copy to our incumbent!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    The best book I've ever read about priestly ministry. This book speaks to the complexities of parish ministry in a way that few manage. It is coming from a Church of England context, so some of the titles are a bit different but that's not very difficult to manage. The best book I've ever read about priestly ministry. This book speaks to the complexities of parish ministry in a way that few manage. It is coming from a Church of England context, so some of the titles are a bit different but that's not very difficult to manage.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin Fox

    Requires more than one read, but a useful method for escaping the "traditional" model of ministry which has not worked for decades Requires more than one read, but a useful method for escaping the "traditional" model of ministry which has not worked for decades

  6. 4 out of 5

    Derek

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alastair

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Newton

  9. 4 out of 5

    J marcos Ravelo

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heath

  11. 4 out of 5

    William Daniel

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Klinefelter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gwilym Stone

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave Mowers

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Keydel

  16. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Philippa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joel Watson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peter Carey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Cheeseman

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate Ekrem

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick Watson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andii

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Engle

  25. 4 out of 5

    C. Doyle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Revd Jarel

  27. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  29. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alastair Mccollum

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