Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Yeah, so I was a little upset in the post below. To sum up for non-Anglicans: if we wanted to be in your church, we'd already be there. We appreciate your sympathy, but very few of those who'll be leaving the Episcopal Church intend to quit Anglicanism. I've been reading several new Anglican-run blogs lately, and may be adding some of them to the Land o' Links before too long. We'll see.
It occurs to me that one of the things that most upsets me about this whole situation (heresy and heterodoxy, in case you'd forgotten) is that the traditionalists (conservatives, Evangelicals, and some Anglo-Catholics) will be the ones walking out on ECUSA even as ECUSA walks out on the Anglican Communion. What this means is that the confessing church within ECUSA will lose our lovely churches and cathedrals, and to me that's the part of all this that really stings. I realized a long time ago that not everyone who called themself a Christian actually knew or believed anything about Christ. I'm okay with being in a small denomination that's often the butt of jokes (I wish the jokes were more friendly and less bitter, of course). I don't mind that my Protestant friends insist that I'm a Catholic and my Catholic friends insist that I'm a Protestant while I insist that I'm neither. I've come to terms with the fact that Episcopalians have pretty bad hymns and can't sing them well anyway. It's all pretty much okay. What's beginning to horrify me is the loss of our church buildings. Any Protestants reading this will have to forgive me, but your churches are drab and dull. I don't like them at all. The art and architecture within a church glorify God, and to do without those is, to me, a great tragedy. While I have many doctrinal differences with Catholics and Orthodox, their churches tend to be lovely, and I sometimes visit Catholic churches simply because I know they'll be gorgeous inside. While many Anglicans enjoy modern styles of worship, we still expect to see an altar and a priest wearing the proper robe and stole. Furthermore, we tend to like the idea of simply kneeling down with the Book of Common Prayer in a deserted but beautiful side chapel every so often to commune with God and reflect on His glory. Nature's nice, but seeing beauty made by God working through human hands is something Protestants all too often fail to appreciate. It especially surprises me given that they venerate the Bible as God speaking through man, but seem to reject any other instance of this save miracles and gifts of the Spirit. We faithful Anglicans are probably going to lose all of that and at least briefly end up borrowing other churches for a bit for our worship or using new buildings.
Don't get me wrong; there are times when we rely too much on the gifts of God and not enough on God himself (I think this also applies heavily to Catholics and Orthodox), and losing those will be a good lesson to us. Perhaps ECUSA will try and avoid legal battles and allow departing parishes to keep their property, or it can be bought back in short order. I'd rather worship in a bathroom with a sincere congregation than in Canterbury Cathedral with fakers (my prayer group did meet in a bathroom once, incidentally). Still, it hurts, and I hope we can at least retain some of our cathedrals and parish churches.