My Episcopal quandary

I find myself in the midst of a quandary.  I have, over the past several months, fallen in love with a church service.  Not a church, mind you, but the service.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, last December I started attending a local Episcopal church.  After being greatly disappointed with Lutheran (ELCA) services, I found the liturgy in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer to be quite good.

And, this church has awesome music, most of the time.  Besides traditional hymns, they will use current songs like “Shout to the Lord” or classics like “The Old Rugged Cross.” Even the sermons are good.  Being sacramentally-oriented anyway, I have become dependent upon the completeness of worship that the liturgy provides, especially celebrating the Lord’s Supper weekly.  During a fairly unsettled period in my life, church on Sunday morning is my one safe place, the eye in the middle of my often stormy life.

The problem is, the denomination has left the faith.  I can’t tell from a normal Sunday morning, but I know of the issues behind the scenes.

The LA Times reported today,

Leaders of the Episcopal Church, gathering in Anaheim for their first national convention in three years, reopened fractious debate this week over whether to authorize marriage rites for same-sex couples and to repeal a de facto ban on the consecration of gay bishops.

The issues have caused painful divisions in the 2.1-million-member denomination, which in recent years has seen dozens of parishes and four conservative dioceses, including one in Central California, break away. Last month, the dissidents formally launched a rival church.

Despite warnings about the consequences, liberal Episcopalians at the meeting are championing a flurry of resolutions to expand participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in church life, with votes expected in coming days. The conference, the church’s General Convention, runs through Friday.

This is actually nothing, compared to what is also going on.  The Anglican Church in North America, the newly-formed group referred to in the article, has published a booklet charging the Episcopal Church (TEC) with a number of heresies. While perhaps not specifically adopting heretical positions, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other prominent leaders have made numerous heretical statements denying that Christ is the only way to salvation, denying the resurrection, denying Christ’s deity, and so on.  One priest is openly Muslim, and anther is a known Buddhist (I think they dd draw the line at Satanism, however).

TEC appears committed to being “all churches to all people,” becoming a nearly-universalist organization.  Furthermore, TEC has taken to filing lawsuits against many churches who have made the decision to leave TEC over these issues.  What is ironic is that it is TEC that has departed from the larger Anglican Communion.

So, that’s my quandary.  Now, I don’t know for sure where this church would stand in relation to these issues. The Priest in Charge (the Rectorship is currently open) appears to be fairly level-headed. He is, at least, a C.S. Lewis fan.  However, I know that there are many in the church that are Marcus Borg fans (I think Marcus has some interesting things to say, but he questions the factual nature of much in the Bible).

I do plan on calling the Priest in Charge and making an appointment to address these concerns. However, a part of me just wants to enjoy the liturgy, and ignore the rest.  That could work, at least until TEC decides to change the liturgy.

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4 Responses to My Episcopal quandary

  1. me says:


    You might enjoy a book I just started reading (if you haven’t read it already): Three Views of Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism. Various theologians discuss three views: 1) Esatern Orthodoxy is compatible with Evangelicalism 2) they are not compatible and 3) maybe… The book includes 3 chapters by different Orthodox theologians, each taking a different position.

    So far (I’ve just finished Nassif’s 1st chapter), it’s pretty good.

  2. Darlene says:

    The problems of which you speak are why I didn’t become Lutheran. Increasingly I am being drawn to Eastern Orthodoxy. Seems the Protestant churches have schism as a trademark. In my heart, I have not been a Protestant for quite some time now. No matter what church I would attend, and let’s face it, there are many denominations, it would always be in the back of my mind, when will the split occur and over what?


  3. Fred says:

    There is something to be said for that old time religion.

  4. Steve Martin says:

    I know exactly how you feel.

    I’m in an ELCA church that does not go along with the current wave of ELCA liberalism that will include (soon) the blessing of openly gay clergy and same sex marriage.

    We still do Law/Gospel and have not thrown out or watered down the Law (we do not use the Law to make us better,oe better Christians – but instead use it to kill, to expose our sinfulness). The Bible is still God’s Word for us, and preaching Christ and administering His Sacraments is central for us. The ELCA has morphed into a ‘do-gooder’ organization and frankly Jesus Christ is an embarrassment to them.

    When my pastor leaves, I will more than likely leave myself.

    I wouldn’t have the first idea where to go.

    I am hoping that the new online seminary ‘The Institute of Lutheran Theology’ takes off and starts producing some new pastors that will keep Christ central.

    I hope your quandry will resolve itself in the way that works for you, Alden.

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