Important Cafe Piece

I have a new piece up today at the Episcopal Café. It’s a response to Jim’s challenge that we start confronting the problems facing the Episcopal Church head on. In this piece, I focused on what I see as not negotiable. Clearly, the thing that I identify—the prayer-book—will be no surprise to regular readers.

The reason that I call this “important” is because I’ve done a couple of things here that I think are significant.

First, I’ve presented in a nutshell what I understand to be the animating spirituality behind the prayer-book system. This isn’t something that we talk about much. In most presentations that I’ve heard where clergy present the prayer-book to their congregations (when such a thing is even done), this is the biggest piece left absent.

Second, I’ve tried to be systemic and show how our Anglican spirituality ties to our liturgical practice and how that, in turn, identifies directions that we should head in. Now—if our chief goal is  revitalizing the Episcopal Church as a local political action committee, then my suggestions will be quite unhelpful. If we’re interested in revitalizing it as a prayer-book people, then these thoughts may be of more use. As other people write responses or posts of their own, this is the kind of thinking I hope we will see. Not just narrow suggestions on how to tweak organization or structure, but attention to the whole system going back to our first principles and an interest in how attention to these principles will help us develop a leaner but fitter body.

‘Cause, folks, “leaner” is coming whether we want it or not; our decision is whether we want it to be “fitter” and what that looks like.

13 Replies to “Important Cafe Piece”

  1. I’ve already amen-ed you over at the Cafe. But thanks for this and for the force with which you write it. Voices like yours will keep our beloved Church from sliding into nothingness.

  2. That’s the best piece you’ve written so far, I think – and you’ve written some really good ones! I echo Red State Mystic in offering thanks for a strong, passionate article….

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    bls,
    Yes, I think this is one of my best pieces and, if the comments are any indication, is touching a thought more widely-held in the church than often believed.

    Ann,
    I appreciate your comment!

  4. I can’t help wondering if Mr Magda has read the ’79 BCP. His arguments (the usual tropes about patriarchal, overly transcendent language) are the same ones that *proponents* of the new books typically use against their predecessors (indeed, I at first wondered whether JM was Canadian and/or using “the” Prayer Book in the proprietary sense with the 1962 cutoff championed by the relevant societies). Together with permitted local deviations, not to mention authorized Lutheran resources, the scope for inclusive language is vast. If places like Redeemer Morristown or All Saints Pasadena are really too “old fashioned” or old-boys’-clubbish for Josh, he really might be more comfortable in a congregational or Unitarian tradition with no semblance of common prayer (though even then he might have to avoid King’s Chapel!) But more basically (and as the moderator of the Facebook group of the same name!) I’d be remiss not to challenge his thesis at the root and point out that “Actually, young people do like traditional liturgy!” (not, as I say, that the BCP isn’t quite capable of accommodating some decidedly – and often wonderfully – un-traditional expression as well).

  5. Really, really appreciated your article (as well as the conversation and other threads it is inspiring,) and articles you’ve written before and glad to have found your blog!

  6. I have already replied at Episcopal Cafe as well, but I just wanted to tell you what a really tremendous article it was. I have been a long time user of the breviary, but you are really coming into your stride with this article. Keep it up!

  7. You might want to look up a book sadly out of print for a number of years: The Prayer Book Pattern, by Carolyn Adams (a solitary of the church of Wales). It’s mostly about 1662 but has relevance for today.

  8. Magda seems to forget that the most patriarchal phrase in the world is “I know what’s best for you.”

    Those interested in my probably too long-minded comments may read them here.

Comments are closed.