If it ain’t broke……

Here’s some food for thought from Dale Brown:

I preached today on the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. It was very different than previous years, but as I read several other homilies from Church Fathers to Anglican Divines on this lectionary selection I could not help but think of what the Catholic Anglican Theologian H.P. Liddon said in the late 1800’s:

“This is, perhaps, what we think. But these old Liturgical arrangements were originally made by people who knew very well what they were about; they have been continued to our day, because they have been found, by the experience of some thirteen or fourteen centuries, to have a deep lesson for the human soul. They are not often interfered with now without loss. It may be questioned whether we are the men to improve upon the works of the great masters of the Christian life; nor do we make the attempt, even on a small scale, in our new lectionaries and revised Prayer-books, without bungling into crude mistakes, which another age will criticize sharply and justly, in the light of an older and deeper mastery of spiritual things.”

New Beginnings….again

I sit here looking forward to my third Sunday of worshiping at St Andrews Anglican parish (Reformed Episcopal Church) after my return to my hometown to begin a new job. I have spent the past year on the “backside of the desert” struggling with spiritual, financial and health issues as I worked part time in the coastal area of North Carolina. I experienced different worship styles and traditions as I visited a variety of churches during this year of self-imposed exile.

Upon arrival in late 2013 I believed I would immediately connect with the local Anglican (Anglican Province in America) parish and I would live happily ever after…but wait…reality is not so neatly packaged. Due to personal, family, and logistical reasons, I, instead began investigating churches closer to home…including Baptist, Reformed, non-denominational, and, yes, the Roman Catholic church. For better or worse I also began to listen to the local Catholic radio station. A lot of the teaching was orthodox. A lot of it, I believe, was not. Nevertheless I was intrigued and visited Catholic masses several times at two local parishes. In the end, however, I could not bring myself to “cross the Tiber”. The one thing I do regret during my year of investigation was my failure to attend a service at the area Orthodox (Orthodox Church in America) parish. I am still not 100% convinced that the Orthodox is not the one true Church. There is no local incarnation of Eastern Orthodoxy in any form in my current locale and I believe the local Anglican church is the Christian tradition that is most similar.

Most of my church “investigations” during the past year were solo missions due to my wife’s poor health. However, we did attend, and almost joined a non-denominational church 11 miles from home. What sparked my interest on one early visit to this church was the use of a written prayer taken from the Book of Common Prayer. After three months, however, I perceived this church was trying to be everything to everybody, by mixing contemporary music with traditional hymns and taking a little from this tradition and a little from that tradition, with a prime example being the aforementioned use of an excerpt from the BCP.

One of the sad and disturbing aspects of some of the churches I visited (including, alas, the Anglican church) was their lack of follow up. Even when given the opportunity to communicate interest in the church as a potential home (which I did), I never received an email, phone call or personal visit from most.

For now, let me just say I am happy and blessed to have returned to the Anglican parish where I was confirmed in 2012. We may be very small but the doctrine is orthodox, the worship is reverential, and the fellowship is sweet.

It’s All About Me: How a distortion of “sola scriptura” turned American evangelicals into junkies of the self

This is one of the main reasons I am an Anglican.

the gospel side

Snark MeterHIGH.001

(Apostolic Authority for Newbies, Episode One)

Have you noticed the creeping narcissism in the evangelical church?[1]

Perhaps you have noticed it in the architecture as churches have been remade into the image of the places the world gathers: Foyers into coffeehouses, sanctuaries into concert halls, altars into comedy club stages. Candles and incense replaced with light shows and fog machines borrowed from the nightclub scene.

images-1 …and that actually is a nightclub.

Perhaps you have noticed it in the songs we sing. The self-referential lyrics (count how often “me” and “I” appear)…the way the act of our worshipping becomes the subject rather than God…how few of our songs are about the nature and glory of God.)

Perhaps you have noticed it in the felt-needs orientation of our preaching  – With topics chosen by focus group and slickly marketed: “Come for our series, ‘Awesome Christian Sex!’” Or the way the preaching of the word of God has been reduced to a mere…

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