"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

25 June 2019

Stuff I love about Anglicanism

Okay, I admit it, I've been a bit put out with the Anglican Church of late.  Our current tenancy to seek after the new things (church plants, praise bands, godly but on trend spiritual practices) at the expense of the old and sacred (turn around churches, liturgy, and dare I say, tradition!) wears really thin really fast for me.  I came here for the old and sacred, the Church Fathers, the smells and bells, the Gospel in liturgical movement, the sometimes silly acts of deep piety.  Anything else makes me feel cheated.

So I didn't want to go to Provincial Assembly.  And really, I came home from Assembly annoyed with a lot of the claptrap I witnessed there.  But in the end, I did go, and the reason I went swallowed up my annoyance while I was there.

I went because a sister deacon, whom I'd never met face to face offered me a place to stay (no hotel and rental car budget), which made my surface objection (just getting back from Israel and therefore too much travel... more on Israel in another post) kind of silly. 

And I went because I was woefully lacking in the fellowship of my tribe.  Anglo-Catholics and deacons, these are my people.  How could I resist a few days in the company of my own kind? 

So I went.  I got hugged by bishops, had meals with old friends in other dioceses, wore my Ask Me About Nashotah House pin everywhere but to bed (and added a Trinity sticker and RES logo for good measure).  I kvetched with my people.  I laughed with them.  Schemed a little, too.   We talked deacons, the diaconate, liturgy, Jesus, and how Nashotah is (in my opinion) the ACNA's Iona, holding on to the sacred relics until the whole church realizes they need them.

In the end, I went, and realized why I stayed an Anglican.  We have a mission, albeit an uncomfortable one.

But it wasn't until I got home that I reflected enough to realize why I don't just *stay* an Anglican, but why I love being an Anglican.

I love being an Anglican because ARDF (Anglican Relief and Development Fund) seeks partnership, not paternalistic dominance over the ones they serve.  Bishops from all over the world came to our doorstep as brothers, in part because ARDF goes to their doorstep as servants.  I made friends with the Bishop of Matana Diocese, Burundi because ARDF was there being a friend first.   (And because we could speak French together!)

I love being an Anglican because other Anglicans I know are being intentional about healthy diversity in the Church (nod to the Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network) acknowledging that diversity, true diversity, involves all races and ethnicities.  Their table is pretty broad, and I'm honored by their narratives, ideas, hard work and vision.   Moreover, I trust them enough to be vulnerable before them, which as a white person is a very big deal.

I love being an Anglican because when I see a mission I am called, eager to support, I am doing so in lock-step with other Anglicans, many of whom I know.  I trust where my money is going when I donate to ARDF or the churches on the border ministering to immigrants and connected to the Anglican Immigrant Initiative. (Heck, I love that there is an Anglican Immigrant Initiative!)

I love that we work with our hands.  We don't expect the government to solve our problems.  We're not lobbyists.  We donate, motivate, roll up our sleeves and serve.  On the border, in the margins, abroad or next door.  And I love that our polity lets us welcome and serve all our brother and sister Christians regardless of their denominational labels.

Of course I love that Anglicans love Jesus.  That's not negotiable.  But the rest is what keeps me here, instead of some other Jesus-loving body.  So Anglicanism, you're stuck with me.  You're stuck with this gadfly for ontological thinking, fancy-schmancy liturgics, deep community... I was going to add biblical authority, but Anglcianism doesn't mind that much.  In short, you're stuck with this pre-enlightenment relic.  Its okay.  I think I'm stuck with you, too.