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.