Monday, 4 August 2008

A Church for the Churchless?

Discussion starter for 10 — an intriguing conversation recorded by Dan Porter walking his dog in the park with a Roman Catholic priest who suggested:
Something I hear a lot from young people today is that they hate organized religion.
I suggest that they might want to become Episcopalians


Erika Baker said...

Yepp, quite agree.
TEC is so deviously liberal and subversive that most of its priests don't wear clerical dress, don't use churches, don't use liturgy, don't celebrate the Eucharist, don't sing religious songs or hymns.

They don't believe in anything, ignore Scripture, make it up as they go along - perfect for today's society!

What an amazing outreach programme!
I might try to join them once they've border crossed into England!

Huw Richardson said...

We (on the inside) used to refer to Eastern Orthodoxy as the "Disorganised Religion" - at least in America. With Overlapping Jurisdictions, feuds over calendars and modernism, ethnic issues... Orthodoxy in America is rather like Anglicanism (and if you read behind +Kalistos' words you get the idea that it's much the same outside of America, too...)

That's why I came home to Anglicanism: less Messy.

Jim Strader said...

I will say as an Episcopal priest who has served for the last two years as as a college chaplain that The Episcopal Church does indeed offer young adults who are disillusioned with organized religion a space to know God and to grow in their faith. Many if not most such chaplaincies use the '79 Book of Common Prayer and other authorized liturgies as the basis for their worship and bible studies. We give seekers and "cradle Episcopalians" a deeper, more contemplative, and ambiguous but relational sense of community. Our outreach programs in our local community include supporting a school for economically disadvantaged children and The ONE Campaign.

I'd like to say we attract every student on campus. We don't. Our being there nonetheless offers a distinctive and invitational voice to Christianity for people from all walks of life. Our gospel message is neither condescending nor condemning. It is I hope one grounded in the compassionate and reconciliatory truths of Jesus' gospel calling us to welcome the outcasts, Love God, and avoid hypocrisy. For the record, I frequently wore my alb and stole as well as clericals.

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Erika., Huw, Jim, Many thanks. Please be assured my intentions were playful with a point rather than derogatory. In an age when institutions are under severe challenge the vitality of Anglican churches is often secured by thier non-institutional strengths. I was also influenced by wondering about the surprisingly close fit between Anglican style and praxis and some PoMo emergent thinking (like Brian MacLaren’s / Shane Claiborne's).

Jim Strader said...

Hi Alan+ - Hope that you've safely arrived in Chi-town and will enjoy your "Virgin gift" in the months to come.

There are some chaplaincies here that are exploring "Emergent" notions. I think there is more good soil for us to explore there. My conversations with Tony Jones lead me to believe that he sees it being next to impossible for mainline and emergent communities to build bridges between one another. Organized religion is too stuck in stuff like pension plans and pews. I think that college/university chaplaincies and programs such as Peregrini" offer some hope and space for the sorts of offerings you are talking about in your post. Blessings!

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Thanks, Jim. I managed to read "groundswell" from Forrester Research on the plane on the way over, and will keep an eye out for anything keying into emergence at WC. They probably are the ultimate Corporate Boomer Church, but have been part of some very inetresting people's journeys — Shane Claiborne for example.

The UK experience is that the pension plans etc are so set in medieval stone, and, more to the point, there is always a way of doing just about anything that can be quarried from the past 1,000 years somewhere, so the structures don't always impinge on people's awareness as obviously as one might expect — therefore there's room for all kinds of experimentation and fresh thinking, if people have the imagination to try. The run of the mill is the run of the mill, though, in every place.

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