Sunday, March 21, 2004

St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Riverside California

Beautiful Church, Nice people, Bad Sermons...real bad. Better sermons and I'd have a church to go to.

The Network of Anglican Communion Diocese and Parishes

If there's hope for Anglicanism in America this is where it will come from.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Western Orthodoxy

If you've come to appreciate the liturgical tradition of the west as it is expressed in the Roman Mass and the BCP, but you can't deal with the strange theology present in these denominations. Worshiping at a western rite eastern orthodox church maybe an option you'd want to consider. This website has all the links you'll need to do some research.

Monday, February 16, 2004

I went to an orthodox church Sunday. Here is my brief reflection.

It was a beautiful service all the smells and bells were fully engaged. The choir sung the divine liturgy, the priests chanted beautifully. There was a great procession of what I took to be the priests and deacons holding the Eucharist. The last part of the sermon that I heard wasn't bad. It was a kind of turn or burn message. A message you might hear in an evangelical church, albeit it was presented with more priestly solemnity and cadence. This service almost made you feel like you were transported back in time to a different age, say the 4th century.

So what's my problem why don't I want to be orthodox yet? Well a couple of things cause me to balk. First of all, what makes me suspect is the fact that their service does seem to transport one back in time. Now, I am no fan of the new and now is cool theology of evangelicalism, but I am also suspect of those movements that attempt to reinstantiate the church of one specific age. The Baptist attempt to do this when they seek to be the "new testament" church and it seems to me that the orthodox converts do this when they attempt to be the "fourth century" church.

Both attempts at reinstating the church seem to be breed a type of exclusivism as well. The Baptists tend to think that they are the only Christian tradition that gets it right, and by "right" here I mean all the way right, and the Orthodox seem to think they do as well. Now admittedly the Orthodox to my mind have a more viable claim here. But the problem is is that the claim is made at all.

I think another symptom of this claim of getting it right is that these traditions tend to not only make claims regarding the church but the culture of the time they are seeking to reinstantiate. So that one not only needs to buy into the theology of the 4th century but also those pieces of liturgical life that seem bound in the culture of the 4th century. For Baptists these things work out a bit differently, what tends to happen is that they take much of American culture, the bible belt variety, and make that culture some how normative for the church.

One can contrast these two movements with what has happened over the centuries in the Roman Catholic Church. For better or for worse, I think it's better, RCs have been able reinstantiate a Catholic vision of the church into many different cultures, while not losing what it means to be Catholic. That is, their is an extreme diversity of cultures in the RC church that have all been brought in, most of the time consciously, by Catholic missionaries. And theses diverse people and cultures all still recognize themselves as Roman Catholic. Its quite amazing if you think about it.

To a lesser extent it seems like the Anglicans have been able to accomplish something like this, but that is all being tested as we speak.

So I guess these are my provisional thoughts about Orthodoxy. However, even with these suspicions laid out if tomorrow I had to choose between the Christianity that floats around America these days and St. Andrew's Orthodox Church, I'd probably be worshiping with the Orthodox next Sunday.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

emerging ecclesiology | reflections on the emerging church

I wanted to talk a bit about this website and the idea of the "emerging" church in general. I have many sympathies with those who identify with this movement (this site gives you all of the relevant books that describe it). I think this is because I am trying to do some emerging of my own.

I also sense that this younger crowd, like myself, is open to a wider vision of what it means to be the church. And this specifically means that they are more open to traditions of what is called the "Ancient" church--some have called us young-fogies. Ancient is in scare quotes for a reason. The so called "ancient" traditions of the church are sometimes hard to distinguish and nail down, but generally speaking I would consider "ancient" to include a vision of the church that is centered in the language of worship usually referred to as liturgy--with all the implicit theological richness that accompanies it.

So one element that seems to be emerging, or re-emerging, is the roots of christian worship. But I guess these emerging christians also want to include some of the contemporary world. So they encourage us to see beyond all the paradigms of the church now extant and to envision a new church that is able to bring together in a new and faithful way the wealth of christianity into a relevant post-modern context.

This all seems hopeful, but to be honest it also seems a bit romantic. And one must ask: Why does the church need to continually reinvent itself when the spirit of the time morphs into its various passing forms? One thing that all emergers are concerned about is how the church both--liberal and conservative--has basically bought into modernism. But as the new generation of emergers begin to shape and form the church, they should ask if aligning with post-modernism is the answer. Will the new emerger's a generation from now need to undo/reinvent the church in its post-modern form.

I hope that whatever emerges from this movement is not another incarnation of the church that must be made over again 50 yrs from now. I guess we'll need to wait and see. But as far things go for me I'd rather be on their emerging raft than the sinking ship of what usually counts as "worship" in the church these days.

emerging ecclesiology | reflections on the emerging church

The Dr. Robert Crouse Writings Page

A site with good links to articles on the BCP by Dr. Robert Crouse a respected patristic theologian.

Saturday, January 31, 2004


This is an interesting development. For those of us who have grown some what attached to the Book of Common Prayer, but are also a bit dismayed by the recent events happening in the Anglican Communion there may be hope. Their are many theological hurdles to cross as one considers being a Roman Catholic but now at least one can continue worshiping in the common prayer tradition.

The Pope recently approved an Anglican use liturgy called The Book of Divine Worship. This website talks a bit about this.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The American Anglican Council | L.A.

If your interested in the future of Anglicanism in So Cal. here is a meeting to be at.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Anglican Communion Institute--What are we to do: The Humiliation of Anglicanism--Radner

A good article on the response churches have had to significant challenges. His discussion of exceptionalism at the end of the essay is especially illuminating.

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