Thursday, September 24, 2009


By The Rev. Jim Wilson

I attended a wonderful meeting in Fresno on July 31. It preceded the special convention of a day later; the sole purpose of the meeting was to seek vision for the new thing that God is doing in the Diocese of San Joaquin. The principal criterion for framing new vision seemed to be that we understand ourselves to be recovering identity rather than defending tradition. We have been expelled from Jerusalem – in the sense of Acts 8 and the persecution of the infant Church – and we are journeying to Antioch and the world beyond, but with our DNA both resurgent and intact.

What does it mean to be recovering identity rather than defending tradition? G. K. Chesterton once said that tradition is the living faith of the dead, while traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition, as one of the three legs of Hookers’ three legged stool, is a central component of our identity in Christ. But it does not need to be defended; when we focus our efforts on defending tradition we soon descend into idolatry of some aspect of the tradition. We devolve it into traditionalism. Recovering identity, on the other hand, is a feature of the ongoing process of asking the Lord to bring us into the fullness of our personality in Him – our authentic Anglican personality.

The city of Glasgow, Scotland, has a motto inscribed all over the region it crowns. That motto is, “May Glasgow be blessed.” But a look at the history of Glasgow reveals the whole motto is, “May Glasgow be blessed by the preaching of God’s Word and the praising of God’s Name.” The whole motto is both more explicit and more expansive. My own Scottish Highland clan – the Grahams – has a motto as well; it is everywhere inscribed on our heraldry and on our web site. “Nes oublier” is French for “Never forget.” It implies that we never forget a kindness or a cut – and there is some truth to that as Grahams have marched the halls of history. But the full motto is, “Never forget the clan ideals of courage, chivalry, and Christian service.” Again, the whole is at once more explicit and of much greater depth. A principle function of seeking new and prophetic vision for the Diocese of San Joaquin must be to recover the fullness of our denominational roots – the roots we see expressed in our spiritual fathers and mothers from saints like Patrick, Columba, and Bishop Jackson Kemper to Perpetua of Rome and Margaret of Scotland. What identity emerges from these personalities?

I can tell you this: the Body of Christ is in the greatest season of all time for walking out a Gospel of power and not of mere words (1 Cor. 4:20) and for drawing the prodigals home (Matt. 28:16-20). This season is best summarized in the words of Luke 1:17, in which the faithful are exhorted to walk in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and so prepare a people for righteousness. To do this we must be dedicated not to doing the Anglican thing better than the Episcopals do it, but to a radical re-discovery of what it means to be an Anglican Christian. The meeting on July 31 – as frustrating as it was to some who want to just “get on with it,” was an important step down that road to recovery. I can’t wait for the next step to begin.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


September 25th and 26th with Fr Jim Wilson at St. James' Cathedral, Fresno, CA

Friday 7:00-9:00PM

Saturday 9:00AM-5:00PM

The Body of Christ is in an amazing season today. There have been more miracles -- and more decisions for Jesus -- in the past half century than in the rest of history combined. Yet God has spoken that we now enter a season of even more dramatic expressions of His loving presence in our midst. But God's Word proclaims that this Holy Spirit activity has a very specific purpose -- to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and thus prepare a people for righteousness. Praying Home the Prodigals is an event in which we learn how to engage our children, our neighbors, and our friends, of all ages and cultures, as ambassadors of that reconciliation for which Christ died, rose, and for which He promises to return. That engagement will feature signs and wonders, but their purpose is at all times to gain our attention for His great compassion; His overwhelming zeal to bring us into His abundant life and leave no one behind.

Jim Wilson is the author of "Living As Ambassadors of Relationships" and "The Holy Spirit and the End Times: A Season of Unusual Miracles", both published by Destiny Image. He is a popular radio and television talk show host, and the president of Pray-North-State, an interdenominational ministry of cooperation, encouragement.

This event is offered without charge but please RSVP with the Cathedral office: (559) 222-3721.