Archive for the ‘Anglican Communion’ Category

Perhaps you read my first three posts and and you thought to yourself “This sounds very different from how my rector described Anglicanism to me!”  “I thought we were a big tent?”  “What about the via media?”  You may even have had a t-shirt that encouraged people to join The Episcopal Church because “no matter what you believe, there’s someone else in The Episcopal Church who believes it too!”  You may feel this way especially if you entered Anglicanism in North America. I would wager that many Episcopal or Anglican confirmation classes would define Anglicanism as a sort of compromise position. In the 1840’s, this compromise position was termed the ‘via media,’ the middle way. More recently, this compromise position has been termed “Three Streams Anglicanism.”  This is the idea that in Anglicanism the three streams of catholic identity, evangelical truth, and charismatic experience come together. Those who identify Anglicanism in either of these ways would have a hard time with the sort of picture I’m painting here of different camps that have vastly different theological foundations. For them, Anglicanism doesn’t devolve into silly arguments over churchmanship or theology. We are a big tent! There is room for all here! (more…)

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High Church Anglicanism

“Are you high and hazy or low and lazy?”  “They are low church, so they have, like, guitars and a praise band.” “I’m pretty high church. I love all the smells and bells.”  “I like the low church stuff, cause I’m just more of a casual person.”  “I’m glad we’re going back to a more Anglican way of doing things here and emphasizing traditional worship more.”  High Church and Low Church. This distinction is one that Anglicans will be all too familiar with. Unfortunately, the history behind this distinction has largely been lost so that today when people talk about “High Church” and “Low Church” they do so referring mainly to taste. The problem with this trend is that it ignores the significant theological differences that underpin High Churchmenship, Reformation Anglicanism, and Anglican Evangelicalism.

Today we consider the “High Church” movement. English seperatists (those who wanted the Church to be disestablished from the government in England) originally gave this name to those who advocated strongly for an Established Church of England, but more and more it came to be identified with those who would have been known as ‘Conservatives’ during the English Reformation because of their desire to hold on to more of the traditional elements of the churches teaching and practice. High Church Anglicans are sometimes identified historically with Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud. This movement dominated the Church of England from the reign of Charles I until the Glorious Revolution. (more…)

Not surprisingly, homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children. Homes modeling vibrant faith do. So these young adults are leaving something they never had a good grasp of in the first place. This is not a crisis of faith, per se, but of parenting

Read the rest here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/mobile/article/tgc/who-is-really-leaving-the-faith-and-why

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

1 Peter 2:9

“So, what are we now?”  I have been asked this question countless times in 2013.  Of course, by now, though I’m not quite sure how to answer it, I at least know what the question means.  It means, “Are we Episcopal?  Are we Anglican?  If so, what kind of Anglican are we?”  What lies behind that question, however, is more varied.

For some, it is simple curiosity.  They love being a part of Trinity, and the broader association of our church is less important to them.  For others, it comes out of a place of grief.  Our entire spiritual and religious life has been formed in The Episcopal Church.  We feel a bit like people without a country.  For still others, we are finding it hard to invite people when we don’t know who we are.  As varied as these concerns are, they stem from the same root.  Identity.

I think few of us really give the issue of our identity its due attention.  Who we think we are sets the course for our lives.  When people never get a secure sense of who they are, they can spend their lives in an aimless kind of wandering, never really knowing where they fit in.

Our identity begins forming early in life, and continues to do so based on who we are, what we do, where we live, what we like, etc.  I have a cousin who years ago dropped out of college despite the fact that he had walked onto the football field and was making decent grades.  When another family member asked him why he said, “You and me, we’re just not the kind of people who go to college.”  Despite having the ability and talent to succeed in college, his identity was wrong.  That’s why that question “So, what are we now?” is so important to answer well.

In his epistle to the churches, the apostle Peter addresses the identity of the church.  He tells them, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [Christ’s] own possession.”  Who are we?  Peter says we are a chosen, royal, and holy possession of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He says we are a race of people formed into a nation of priests who live in the service of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Who are we?  We are Christ’s.  We are His treasured possession.  We are honored dignitaries in His service.  Before we are Smiths, or Jacksons, or Petersons, or Americans, or black, or white, we are Christ’s.

Having our identity in Christ makes all the difference.  When we understand that we are Christ’s, then we understand that we are not our own.  We were purchased at a heavy cost.  We are not a people who stand on our own merits, but we are a redeemed people.  We are not failures, rejects, or victims, but beloved adopted children, “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”(Romans 8:17)  We are not individuals, but we belong to the body of faithful people throughout the ages, those who have lived by faith, not by sight.  We have a family joined together not with blood of genetic heritage, but by the shed blood of Christ.

Because this issue of our identity is so important, I’ve invited our Bishop to address just that at a luncheon forum following our 11 o’clock service.  Bishop Mark Lawrence will be addressing the question “Who are we?”  in a presentation followed by a brief time of Q&A.  But remember, no matter who we are, no matter what we call ourselves, no matter who we are related to, our identity is first and last in the Lord Jesus Christ.

George Herbert

Posted: February 27, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Anglican Communion, Christianity

from the Desiring God blog:

The Anglican Church designates February 27 as the Feast Day in commemoration of the pastor and poet George Herbert. So I am glad to wave again my little flag of love for Herbert’s poetry.

For depth of biblical insight, penetration of the human psyche, candor with his own wrestling soul, plundering of human language, surprising turns of phrase, technically unique versification, and musical much-making of the gospel, his poetry is unsurpassed.

  • For the most thorough and helpful (and expensive) critical edition, see Helen Wilcox, The English Poems of George Herbert (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • Jim Scott Orrick gives us one poem a week with his helpful comments in A Year with George Herbert (Wipf & Stock, 2011).
  • The Complete Poems and the short book he wrote on the Country Parson are in the Penguin Classics Edition, George Herbert: The Complete Poems(Penguin Book, 1991).
  • And all his English poems are available free online.

Be encouraged today by Herbert that there is an Elixir — the devotion to do all for the glory of God — that turns all to gold, even the simplest daily task.

Elixir

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into action;
But still to make Thee prepossest,
And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glass, On it may stay his eye,
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav’n espy.

All may of Thee partake;
Nothing can be so mean
Which with this tincture (for Thy sake)
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th’ action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.


Watch or listen to John Piper’s biographical message on George Herbert.

Not (primarily)about sex

Posted: January 26, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Anglican Communion

By now you’ve heard that the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has left the national body called The Episcopal Church. And you may know that the national Episcopal Church is claiming all the property of all the churches in the Diocese of South Carolina, which has indeed left that national body. But you may not know why. The Episcopal Church wants you to believe that it’s all about sex – or, rather, that it’s all about the supposed closed-mindedness of traditional former Episcopalians here in South Carolina, which prevents us from understanding the needs of homosexual people. The truth is that this conflict has to do with two very different understandings about the Holy Bible. This difference in understanding leads us to two very different perceptions about human beings and the world in which we live.

Helpful article read it all

Ht:t19

Steve Jones has written this article for the Sun News.  I am grateful to him for allowing Trinity’s voice to be heard in part and to clear up some misconceptions that had been spreading in the last few weeks.  Overall, he has tried to listen to both sides of the story.

That being said, there are a few points I would like to address concerning this article.  First, there were a few inaccuracies.  The report that 300-400 members were not at the annual parish meeting where the vote was made is simply false.  There were somewhere near 150 members present out of a little less than 350 members.  Notice was sent out to each member via first class mail as well as multiple email reminders, announcements at services, and at least 5 public meetings beforehand where the annual parish meeting was announced as well.  Unfortunately, this level of attendance is fairly typical for this sort of meeting.  The idea that the rest of the church wasn’t there through some sort of malfeasance is simply false, and I would suspect the vast majority of those who disagreed with the vote would agree with that.  

Furthermore, there was no rigging of the vote.  Robert’s Rules of Order were followed diligently during the meeting with ample time for discussion from anyone who wished to speak up.  A motion could have come from the floor to table the discussion, which would have stopped the vote from happening.  No one chose to do so.  Furthermore, the idea that scores of vestry candidates were waiting to be nominated, but that they were restricted from doing so is almost comically inaccurate.  Just like every year I’ve been at Trinity, we had to scour the earth to find people willing to serve on vestry.  In fact, some of those nominated declined to serve.  I’m grateful that we were able to find a group of people who were not only willing, but excited to serve.  In my time as a priest, I have sat through several controversial votes both on the parish and diocesan level.  Every time, there are some people on the minority side who feel cheated and so they cry ‘foul’ regardless of whether any misdeeds were done.  I feel confident that the silent majority at Trinity feel the same way.

Also, while I am grateful to Mr Jones for giving Trinity a voice, I have to say that the article seemed a bit unbalanced.  It seemed as if only those who were left behind at St Stephen’s and only those who left Trinity were affected by this.  I have spoken to some of those who left St Stephen’s, and while they aren’t making any accusations against my former colleague Wilmot, they are hurt by his decision not to stand up to The Episcopal Church.  Wilmot is grieving because he’s lost people to whom he’s been a priest, but they are grieving because they feel like they’ve lost their priest.  I might add, that Trinity is feeling grief over the loss of those who have departed here.  It is not entirely fair to say that only those who are remaining loyal to TEC are grieving and feel hurt.  

Finally, I have to add that the description of the church in The Sun News is not one I recognize when I look at Trinity.  Trinity continues to be a place where the Gospel is working to change people’s lives.  It continues to be a community of love and care.  And it continues to be a community seeking to welcome people from all walks of life to taste and see the goodness of the one who loved them and gave Himself for them.  It is my sincere hope that we won’t lose sight of this in the midst of the cloud that seems to be hovering over us right now.