aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

A (spiritual) home of my own

So, if I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Evangelical, what am I? My preferred designation is "orthodox." I make a point of actually believing and teaching all the stuff that we stood up and promised to when we were ordained.

Being merely "orthodox" means that I can be at home w/many different kinds of Xtns, including those whose styles are very different from my own. It also gives me a means of critiquing those w/styles and backgrounds similar to my own: Just because I find the spiritual ambience of some churches appealing doesn't mean I find the doctrine satisfying.

But as for a subculture of my own -- a place FOR ME to belong -- well, I guess you could best describe me as a 10th/11th Century Anglo-Saxon priest born slightly out of my due time. And this is not just because traditional Methodist liturgy is descended from the Sarum Mass out of Thomas Cranmer and John Wesley -- though it is. I believe that the Church (esp. the Church in England) of a thousand years ago was living through one of its finest moments. It was theologically orthodox, culturally adaptable, evangelistically effective, well-governed, and in communion with everyone from Ireland to Alexandria.

A thousand years ago (AD 1005):
There was no schism between East and West;
The Pope was a unifying leader, not a divisive one;
The things that offend Protestants had mostly not started (or at least were not mandated by Rome) -- things like transubstantiation, celibacy of clergy, all the later Marian doctrines (Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart, Assumption), indulgences, additional sacraments, Papal Infallibility, the Inquisition;
In addition, the English Church of that day was leading the way in foreign missions, the translation of the Scriptures into the native language, and expanding the network of parishes.

Were I to lead my UM congregation in a celebration of the Sarum Mass (in English) and preach one of Aelfric's homilies, virtually the only thing they might raise an eyebrow at would be the frequent mention of the Virgin Mary -- and even then, there probably would be nothing said about her that an informed Protestant would find a deal-breaker, theologically.

It's a shame that that religious subculture's been gone for a thousand years (since the Great Schism of 1054) -- but at least I know where I belong.
Tags: church, personal

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