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Author Topic: Why I Am Also An Episcopalian  (Read 3426 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: July 28, 2003, 09:36:13 AM »

I had put off posting this, I'm not entirely sure why, other than that I wanted to do the subject justice and that the prospect of doing so made me tired. But I suppose with August 2nd approaching I need to get to it.

I have always lived in Maryland, except if you want to count a few key years in boarding school in Delaware. My parents are a quite different story and come from utterly different backgrounds.

My mother's family is more briefly outlined. My mother is from Ohio, of a farming family, born at the beginning of the depression. I never met either of her parents; her mother died when I was still fairly young, and her father died when she was 9. This caused her family (except for one or two of the eldest) to be dispersed among various foster homes. My mother has never told me much of this, except that in many of these she was basically used as a house servant. Eventually she graduated from high school and made her way to New Mexico, where she met my father.

My father's family played a larger role in my life. His father's father was a mill supervisor in North Carolina, but after that the family went into a decline. My grandfather and one of his brothers never went to college, and years ago in my grandmother's house I found a bunch of books for a correspondence course in shop work and the like my grandfather had taken, I suppose when he realized he would have to have a real job. His brother Jack had become sort of a playboy and hob-nobbed with the likes of Wiley Post and Will Rogers (he had a piece of the Winnie Mae scavenged from one of its many crashes). The two of them eventually put together a little manufacturing company (specializing in ice crushers and vending machines) but it never really amounted to anything. His other brother Jim became an accountant and had a modest but comfortable and stable living.

My grandmother's family was very different. They were mill workers and humble people, though they came to disbelieve this. My grandmother had a certain spunk and by sheer force of will got herself off of the mill floor and into the company offices. I have to think that she married my grandfather as a way of continuing her social climb, not realizing at the time that the deal wasn't as good as she expected. Her sister Pearl apparently had the same idea, because she married my great-uncle Jack. When the money ran out this turned out to be a pretty raw deal. Uncle Jack was an alcoholic, and treated her badly, and they were reduced to living in a duplex next to the airport. (I knew none of this at the time, of course.) There was tremendous bad blood between my grandmother and Aunt Tishie, who married Uncle Jim. She wasn't a blood relative, and on top of this there was the incident of The Furniture.

My great-grandmother lived an exceedingly long time, and had nice things. When she died, Aunt Tishie, without bothering to consult with anyone else apparently, simply went and took the dining room furniture. My grandmother ended up with the really nice stuff (a really good Duncan Phyfe table for instance), but even when she was moved into a retirement home my grandmother was still going on about that furniture. In reality my grandparents were pretty well off. They had enough money left to drive all over the country in the late '40s, and most importantly, enough to send my father to college. Then came the inevitable stint in the army, which is how he ended up in New Mexico.

My father's family were Methodists, and at least my grandmother put on a certain show if it. I suppose my mother's family were too, but of course in the end it didn't matter that much.

I'll put the next part of this in a separate message......
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Keble
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2003, 01:37:32 PM »

I was born in 1960, and before my first birthday my parents moved out into the "suburbs". What this actually meant was that we were one of this first residents in the outer developments, surrounded by woods from abandoned farms and fields from those that were still working. Seeing the area these days it is hard to appreciate how isolated it was in those days. The stretch of US 29 that is presently being converted into a limited access highway was in those days a two lane road from Burtonsville past Columbia (a "new town" which did not exist at all until I was seven). The nearest store was in Scaggsville, a tiny crossroads which was essentially wiped out by road construction. There was another development attached to the town of Simpsonville, called Atholton, and that was where our church was.

Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church can still be seen on the right side of the road as you approach the south side of Columbia on US 29. What one sees now is an octagonal sanctuary with a tall spire offset from the center-- very '60s-- and a more ordinary hall/classroom building on its south end. When I was very young, the sanctuary hadn't been built yet, and the upper floor of the hall was used for services, while the lower floor had Sunday school rooms. Most everything was white or tan. If I remember correctly, the sanctuary building was put up while I was in elementary school. It had very dark wood furnishings, but again everything else was white. There were windows at the corners which produced prodigious glare but no real illumination; the real lighting was provided by a pattern of floodlights set in the ceiling.

Most of the membership were, like my father, engineers and such working at the local DoD labs and contractors which were springing up in the area (along with a few WW II era survivors). Their kids were among my classmates. A lot of them were from North Carolina; very, very few were natives of the area. They were all white, of course. They were mostly about the same age.

Church services were very typical generic mainline Protestant stuff: hymns, scripture reading, and a long sermon. The minister in those days was an unusual character; one thinks of Presbyterians as dour Scots, but what we had was an operatic Italian. His parents had not raised him in any particular church, and he chose to be Presbyterian. He was full of fire, fire but not brimstone.

In about sixth grade I remember him preaching a sermon on the passage in the Revelation about Laodiceans. By that point the congregation was the Laodiceans. I remember church at the time being deadening, and while our attendance remained regular, I hated to go. What little instruction I had came during communicant's class, in which we were taught a strict memorialist theory of the sacraments, though I remember memorizing the Apostle's Creed.

Elementary school was hell. I was dorky and too smart in an era that worshipped sports. Bullying was not stopped at all, and I was the target. I remember a day in fourth grade when my father came and got me, just to get me out of school for part of a day. Middle school was better; my parents sent me to a small secular private school, and the one bully didn't come back after sixth grade. Not that I didn't have a lot trouble, but it didn't compare to the trouble I had earlier. By this time my churchiness was completely drained off.

So my parents sent me to a church school for high school.
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Keble
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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2003, 03:05:09 PM »

The one thing we knew about high school was that I was not going to public school. We looked at a variety of schools, little of which I really paid attention to at the time. I knew I didn't want to go to Mercersburg or Gilman because classmates were going there, and I didn't want to go anywhere that I had a history. Hoosac (near Albany) appealed to my sense of the eccentric, but the miserable plane trip back stands as one of the worst trips anyone in the family has every been on, and in any case my father vetoed it (due to the heavy emphasis on theatricals-- Burgess Meredith was an alumnus).

I ended up going to St. Andrews School in Middletown, Delaware. Well, not in Middletown-- it's over a mile into town. But it was not too far away (about two hours by car) and it satisfied my negative criterion and my parent's positive ones.

Mnay of you have seen it, because that's where they filmed Dead Poet's Society. In most respects the film visually represents the school as it appeared when I attended, though they carefully left out the new gym and the mid-'60s science building. And every hill you see in the movie leads into the lake; once you get up to the level of the main school building, the land is flat from bay to bay, down to the ocean and up to the outskirts of Wilmingtion. It was started in the very late '20s by a scion of the duPont family, as an Episcopal boarding school for boys, intended particularly for his son. (Ironically, he never attended; his brother ended up being the school patron in my day.)

The spirit of the school was a totally different matter. SAS was a place of many eccentricities, and in my day it was in the midst of a transition that was not fully complete until some years after I graduated. But it was not the proper school that appeared in the movie; indeed, one of the reasons the movie could be done there was because the English teacher played by Robin Williams would have fit right into the rest of the faculty. In my day the school was partly coed and wracked with many of the troubles that afected schools in those days (for instance, we had a drug scandal the year I graduated and a drinking scandal the next year).

One of the crucial turning points in my life occurred in middle school. My mathematical gifts were obvious, and I was allowed to teach myself algebra in 7th grade. Therefore I arrived at SAS a year ahead of everyone else in math, and after a short kerfuffle I was placed in the top geometry class. This advancement continued; I was given a room with a 11th grader at the beginning of 10th grade, and (with the connivance of my father) after the first month of 11th grade I was promoted into the senior class. (My yearbook bears the only trace of this: I appear in the wrong class picture.) I found sports I could play and even got a varsity letter.

Chapel was taken seriously. Well, at least as seriously as high school kids can ever take it. But it was easy to take religion seriously, and we had serious sacred studies courses (I remember tackling the synoptic problem in 9th grade). One fifth of the school was in the choir, with a similar number as acolytes. I was exposed to reverent, thoughtful kids (and of course, plenty who were neither). The chapel itself was a muscular gothic construction, underground and dark, built at the very tail end of such construction in the early '50s. The music was the powerful stuff of Vaughan-Williams and his compatriots, earnest and unsentimental.

When I went home, things were largely reversed. My parents began to attend church fairly irregularly; I didn't care to go at all. I did spend some time with the church youth group but it was pretty juvenile, not to pull punches or anything. I was no substitute for what I was getting at school.

I remember clearly the day that I went to one of the chaplains in his apartment and told him that I no longer felt at home in my parents' church and wanted to become an Episcopalian. I mark that day as the beginning of my manhood. In fairly short order I was on my way to being confirmed.

My last few months at school were marked by much strangeness. I applied to two Ivies and was accepted at both, and also at Johns Hopkins. Had not finances intervened, I would have gone to MIT; but my parents had three more children to think about, and they burned almost all my college money to send me to boarding school. So I ended up going to the University of Maryland. In the meantime I had a senior year of many triumphs and some decided peculiarities.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2003, 07:39:22 AM by Keble » Logged
Keble
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2003, 11:27:52 AM »

My conversion to the Episcopal Church was not an intellectual act. It simply happened. I was placed in an environment that cared about faith-- in its way, of course. A boarding school is no monastery and a prep school is, by its nature, no seminary. Sin abounded, what with fornication and drugs and drinking and the typical malices of schoolboys and schoolgirls.

But what I came from was a place that, I think, typified mainline thought of the era into which I was born (and which the world was rapidly passing by). Religion was about faith and morals, but not about knowledge. And it was bare, like the walls and ceiling, and sentimental. Now I was thrust into an environment where religious learning was part of the curriculum, and where the chapel (which sat at the physical heart of the community) spoke in many symbols. My eduction into Anglicanism was not formally completed there, but I became rooted there.

I was confirmed in the winter of my senior year, but before that I had become a choir member and had made myself part of the church, as it were. And then, some weeks after I was confirmed, God touched me. It was the custom there for the organist to improvise during communion, so that as I sat in the choir I was left to my own prayers and meditations. And as I sat there, having partaken, in a instant I felt the presence of Jesus. "Felt" and "presence" are such pathetically inadequate words for what happened-- no words are adequate to describe was happened to me. It was an overpowering pouring of the Spirit, like a great cascade, and yet it was a moment out of time, without motion. It lasted maybe seconds, maybe a minute, but it sealed my faith forever.

I have never experienced the same thing again, though I have felt the Spirit in other ways through the years. So I graduated, and went to college. I lived on campus, a year younger than almost anyone and yet feeling terribly mature. I was ready to live in the dorms, but hardly anyone else was, and they were remarkably immature about it. And in those days the drinking age was 18, so they drank astoundingly. I suppose I missed a lot of it because msot weekends I went home. I selected a parish by calling up the Episcopal church in Laurel and finding out what times services were. They had a late service at 11:15, which suited a college student's hours. It was a curious group-- a lot of the old ladies wanted to sleep late too, it seemed. There was an Episcopal chaplaincy on campus but initially my involvement with it was minimal; the numbers were small and the service at St. Philip in Laurel was more to my taste.
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Keble
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2003, 08:16:34 AM »

A variety of things blessed me in college, some directly related to church and some not. Among the "nots" were that I fell in with the campus medievalists (heavily salted with Episcopalians), and I joined the University Chorale. The university had several singing groups at the time, including the Chorus (which was actually composed mostly of non-students and which was trotted out to sing the Big Works) and the Collegium (early music, almost all music majors, very small). The Chorale numbered about forty and was almost entirely undergraduates, some music majors and some not. I of course was a "not". We sang "pops" in the spring, and some secular classical stuff in the fall, but the rest of the year was a trip back and forth across the classical sacred repertoire, culminating in a performance (with the similar group from Columbia Union College) of the Durufle Requiem and a tour through Bavaria, Czechoslovakia, and Austria the following summer.

Meanwhile I was going to church (really!).  Most Sundays I went to St. Philips, which at the time had four great assets: a wonderful priest, a wonderful organist, a friendly and singing congregation, and an attractive, ancient stone church.  School made singing in the choir impossible, but (in my irregular college student way) I went and sang the hymns and partook of the Eucharist.  On some Sundays when I stayed on campus, I went to the chapel instead. The chapel at Maryland is one of the prominent buildings, and contains in fact three chapels. The main chapel is a big colonial Georgian hall and the Episcopalians never used it; it seated hundreds and the gathered Episcopalians never numbered more than twenty in my day.  On the back side was the West Chapel, a scrawny sort of thing which only had space for about forty. I loved the chaplain dearly, but Sunday services there meant some rather lame service music and the aesthetic was rather "Novus Ordo" as t were; for example, we would gather in a circle around the altar at the offertory.

More about all of this in the next installment....
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2003, 08:31:36 AM »

You caused me to think of the organist at St. John's Anglican church at Camden where I grew up in Australia. He was a very talented musician and St.John's had a huge pipe organ so they worked well together. The thing I remember most though was that as an intro to each of the hymns, he would play a short excerpt from some other classical piece by Bach or Beethoven etc. and then launch into the hymn proper. The thing was that the intros he played were often in a different time scale to the hymn, so the intro might be in 6/8 and the hymn in 4/4. It often threw the congregation as we would get ready to sing the hymn at the pace and timing of the intro, only to have the time scale change dramatically for the hymn Grin

He also became music teacher for a year at the school my dad was principal. In one year music went from a subject that few chose to one that everyone wanted to do.

John.
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Keble
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2003, 08:51:41 AM »

Marc Cheban, the choirmaster at SAS (it's amazing to think that he's nearly the senior master now) once told me that organists are generally either great sight-readers or great improvisers, but not both. He was definitely an improviser; he almost always made up the postlude on the spot, and while he didn't do any such lunatic thing as change the meter between the intro and the first verse, you never knew what was going to happen to the last verse. He told me that once, when he was waiting for one off the chaplains to finish something that took rather too long, he modulated and modulated until he found himself playing in C flat minor, which has more flats than there are notes of the staff. Trying to figure out how to get back to the original key was utterly hopless, so he simply picked his hands up off the keyboard and put them back down in the right place. Nancy Stavely, the organist at St. Philip's when I was there, is a great sight reader. She played some of the hardest stuff in the repertoire, and she read it all right off the music. I would turn pages for her on the postlude. She is the mildest person in the world away from the organ console, but she plays the organ like a consuming fire and would curse at every mistake she made.

All this time I had some vague knowledge of other denominations, but little actual exposure to them. I went to Catholic mass once in college on St. Andrews Day, but by a fluke the service ended up being very much NOT the usual N.O. sort of service. This was in the days before guitars took over everything. It was an off-hours service in the West Chapel, and the pathetic little Hammond organ they had failed.  So one of the assisting clergy simply started singing the hymn, and then we all joined in. Since it was Advent, one of the hymns was Veni Immanuel, and thus we were transported back 600 years in a minute.

By this time I was becoming truly and more fully instructed in Anglican ways. I came across Robert Farrar Capon, the Episcopal theologian, through his cookbooks-- quite by accident (or divine intervention). Libraries are never quite sure where to shelve The Supper of the Lamb because it is about 40% cookbook and 60% theology. I ran across it when someone left it sitting out in the public library.  I eventually found other books of his. His style is inimitable, and quite mad, an exceptionally and deeply Anglican madness. By this point the great upsweep in fundamentalism was out in the open, at UMCP in the form of Tom Short, a campus preacher who excited more turmoil on campus than any of the lame political protests ever did. I was never tempted. It was obviously unthoughtful and found spiritual depths in individuals in psite of themselves; there was no place in it for me. For a philosophy of religion course I spent part of a semester going to the Kingdom Hall. By this time I already knew the heresies of the JWs. The spiritual discords there were great; young men my own age were gentle in soul, while the elders were bitter. The music lived in a time warp of sentimentality. It ws only the young men who gave me any push there, because of their gentleness.

Catholicism did nothing for me, in spite of that one service, which I knew to be an anomaly. Serious Anglicanism took seriously the liturgical things that Catholicism did not (a situation that, if anything, has gotten worse); and the dogmatism made it impossible for me anyway. At the time the freedom of Anglicanism and the seriousness it directed at worship were my perfect home.

Orthodoxy I hardly knew at all. I of course had seen my share of National Geographics, and I had seen some small peek of it in Susanne and Robert Massey's Journey, the story of how they raised their hemophiliac son. (They, not incidentally, were Anglican.) My first Orthodox service, however, was in Vienna-- Austria, on that college chorale trip. It happened thusly: one of the fellows whom I hung out with on the trip was Russian Orthodox. We spent several days in Vienna, and during this time we went to the embassy district to the Russian church their for vespers. I followed none of it, of course, and it ran into matins. After the service, I was introduced to (I think) the bishop, who inquired of us. When he was told that I was Anglican, he smiled and said (in Russian of course) that the Anglican church was just down the street!. (It was-- we passed it on our way there.)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2003, 09:57:03 AM by Keble » Logged
Keble
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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2003, 03:58:42 PM »

Well, that was a lot of backstory......

The issue of being an Anglican didn't really arise for me until the mid-'80s. By this point Spong was coming to prominence, and I was in the process of changing parishes. Ironically it was an Orthodox priest and someone who is now Orthodox who were responsible for the latter.

I already knew I had problems with St. Philip's, problems which I could not articulate well then and still don't have a good handle on now. Someone else in the Canterbury group arranged for us to go up to St. Mark's Highland for one of their Lenten programs, to hear a Russian bishop (I think) speak. I was impressed by the bishop, but also impressed that the parish would have such a spiritual speaker in the first place. St. Philip's was "high and wide" and didn't concern itself with personal spirituality all that much (and when it did, they circled around Verna Dozier, who has never done much for me). It only took a few more visits to realize that I was supposed to be there instead of at St. Philip's. I stayed until Christmas to fulfill an obligation to sing a rather ambitious work, and then never went back (at least not on a Sunday).

St. Marks at the time was a tiny place, just a hundred years old and showing years of being a poor farm parish. The sacristy, for instance, didn't have running water in the winter. But Al Kimel was attracting people in droves, with his preaching and his very serious spirituality. At the same time, national church issues were starting to become more seriously disturbing. The continuing churches were starting to peel off in larger numbers, and while I accepted the consecration of Barbara Harris at the time, I began to have overall second thoughts.

Al Kimel and Gary Matthewes-Green were among a group of priests in the diocese who authored the Baltimore Declaration, a sort of confessional defense of traditional Orthodoxy. We sent a copy to every Episcopal cleric in the country and it basically vanished without a trace. This was pretty much the starting point of Gary's trip into Orthodoxy. Our parish was engaged in a running battle with the bishop (mild in comparison to what was to pass in the Diocese of Washington a few years later), so we were always visited on Low Sunday.

We were also being invaded by a Catholic aesthetic, through Cursillo. This program started in Spain in the Catholic church, and was supposed to teach a certain set of spiritual disciplines. By the time I got to it, it had evolved (in our diocese at least) into a sort of love feast whose basic purpose was still there, but I think was largely forgotten by most of its attendees. Instead, they brought back with them the (largely Catholic) guitar mass music and a belief that substituting this for the traditional music of the church was going to solve all our problems and bring about a great revival. This put the parish in a state of internal opposition that continues today.

Al Kimel was called to a parish in South Carolina (and has since moved to a parish in Johnstown). A few years before this, I was married-- at St. Philip's, because it was expected that our own parish church would be unavailable due to construction. (The expansion started somewhat later, as it happened.) After a year under an interim (the beloved but trying Art Lillicropp) we ended up with Barabara Seras, who as the name might suggest came from a Greek family.

But this is getting ahead of the game. I started singing with the Slavic Male Chorus of Washington, mostly because the music intrigued me and because I wanted a choral outlet other than a huge group like the Maryland Chorus. We sang both folksongs and the music of the liturgy. Children came, and church crises continued.
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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2003, 04:42:55 PM »

The continuing national church battles began to get to me. Ordination of women was not my issue, but the pattern from the first "irregular" ordinations in Philadelphia to the canonical changes to push the remaining holdouts into ordaining women was disturbing. (38 female priests stood up at general convention to oppose the latter change.) Homosexuality looked to be going down the same road. Then there was "inclusive language", which was often lame in reference to people but which gave me serious theological problems when applied to God.

At the same time, the alternatives didn't look good. There was no chance of a return to another mainline Protestant group, and the evangelicals and baptists, while I could respect them and even be advised by the spiritually, made liturgy impossible for me. The Catholics were equally hopeless; by that time I had sung at a bunch of Catholic weddings and could see that they had totally forgotten how to worship. And the dogma problems were as bad. To my eye they exemplified exactly what was wrong with trying to reject Anglican theological process, and the conclusions they were coming to (e.g., the Immaculate Conception) didn't fly. The various continuing churches struck me as failures from the start. They never brought along any bishops, and they had an excessive reverence for the 1928 book which led them to make reactionary statements about 1979 book-- a book which was pretty much the only Episcopal liturgy I knew.

By this time the Matthewes-Greens had gone over to Antioch and the parish of Holy Cross was being formed. For reasons of curiosity we went to some of their services before they got their buiding, and were there when the building was reconsecrated (I sang in the choir). My wife and I also had Gary over a few times to talk about theological matters.

But I think I really understood that I wasn't going to convert, at least not any time soon, when my wife and I went to the western rite mission that was meeting down in the Antiochian church on Bradley Blvd. The service was roughly familiar, though very odd wedged into a very atypical Orthodox building. The hymns were from the 1940 hymnal, which I knew intimately. But after vespers they went to the parish hall and the priest continued his instruction on how to think like an Antiochian. At that point I knew I couldn't hide in Orthodoxy from the problems of the Episcopal Church, as these people most certainly were doing and as the the continuing churches promised for their people.

I also started running into the converts-- Fr. John Morris for one. He nad I had a very public battle in the newsgroups that went on for months. I thought (and still think) that he placed himself in the position of essentially repudiating his former faith; and yet it was that faith which had driven him to Orthodoxy in the first place. There was a decided descrepancy between the cradle Orthodox who were my friends in the Slavic Chorus and the hardnosed converts I kept running into on the internet.

And that experience in the chapel continued to be a sticking point. It served as confirmation to my confirmation, as it were, for years, and in the end I found I could not set it aside. Nor could I rationalize it as some tried to have me do. Nor could I set aside the liturgy and hymnody I knew. Anglicanism suited me, and Orthodoxy, while it mighe serve as a beloved uncle, did not. And also, I came to understand that I had an obligation to my church. If I didn't stay and stand for what was true, who would? Eventually enough would leave and abandon the churhc to the radicals.

So I stand at the edge of Orthodoxy, looking in. Pray for me, but do not pray merely for my conversion.
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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2003, 05:42:17 PM »

Thanks, Keble, especially for having the guts to be so open about yourself and your faith.

I will pray for you, if you'll pray for me, too.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2003, 01:12:55 PM »

Keble,

Thanks for sharing your story.  I had no idea you were a friend of Fr. Gregory(Gary) Matthewes-Green.  I do have one comment that may be perceived as an attempt at conversion, but I do not mean it that way, at least consciously.  

In the few short months you have participated in the discussions at OC.net, I have grown to respect your opinion very much.  From my point of view, you give this site an excellent service by being a voice that keeps many of us Orthodox from enganging in trumphalism that can often occur on boards committed to a particular communion.  

As a steadfast Anglican who does not agree with many of the decisions of the ECUSA yet feels that Episcopalianism is home and to leave is a "baptist" solution, the thought occurs to me that perhaps being in this position stuck between an ailing Anglican communion and the (from what seems your p.o.v.) much respected but too-different-to-be-seriously-considered Orthodox church is one of the things that reinforces you in your current path.  There are those who take the path of suffering, and I am sure at times that you and your wife suffer at times for your stand as traditional moral Anglicans.  

I would imagine that you also receive a fair amount of joy and fulfillment from the Anglican communion as well, otherwise it would be difficult for me to understand why you remain.   I hope this does not come off as patronizing, as that truly is not my intention.  

One of the most powerful things about Christ to me is his attitude on talking with the people that come to him.  He sees past their rhetoric and asks "What do you want?"  

Perhaps you have your answer and that is why you are satisfied with the ECUSA.  Perhaps not.  At this point I am barging into your personal life and faith too much, and will  cease my offensive.  I hope you will forgive me for going beyound the boundries of polite conversation.  

I will pray for you and your family gladly.  You are already more Orthodox than many pseudointellectuals I know in your demeanor and charity toward others, so I feel that praying for your conversion is unneccesary, whether you enter into the communion of Orthodoxy as it is manifest today or not.
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Keble
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2003, 03:37:12 PM »

One thought I had Keble yesterday:

You have made some very intellectual approaches and arguments for why you can stay in the Anglican communion even with the recent goings on, how you have "already" excommunictated so-and-so, etc.  But might I suggest that while you are quite able to make the finer distinctions, it may be the case that someday one of your children will come and say, "you know, I don't see why xy or z is wrong when Bp so-and-so is doing xy and z."  Even if you try to explain, "well our family official refrains from communion with Bp so-and-so" it might be confusing or non-sensical in his or her world.

I would encourage you to keep thinking about moving on.

Well, what are you going to say when your 15 year old says "Bishop Bobski is always preaching about respecting other people, but he's a rude obnoxious jerk! What a hypocrite! This Christianity stuff is all hypocritical and I'm not going to have anything to do with it!" ?

At any rate, staying is easy. One just stays. It is all the intellection which has one saying "well, this act is too much, and that church doesn't have grace, and this practice is bad, and that word is heresy."

For those who didn't check, Seraphim Reeves's first mentions of ROAC were in August, and Joe's were in mid-October. YOu want me to bail out after two days?
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2003, 05:04:35 PM »

Keble,

I think your analogy is totally off base, my friend.  Look, there are rude bishops in every church, and even ruder laymen.  But there are no homosexual Orthodox bishops that were consecrated after leaving their lawful wife to live with another man, and Orthodox don't have ordained lady bishops either.

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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2003, 05:28:15 PM »

Well, if you think ECUSA's problems have only existed for only 2 days, then that certainly says something about how you view ECUSA.
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2003, 05:29:13 PM »

Keble<<Well, what are you going to say when your 15 year old says "Bishop Bobski is always preaching about respecting other people, but he's a rude obnoxious jerk! What a hypocrite! This Christianity stuff is all hypocritical and I'm not going to have anything to do with it!" ?>>

Adding to (and agreeing 100% with) what anastasios just replied to you, Keble, the 15-year-old could be the rude, obnoxious jerk and not Bishop "Bobski."  The kid could be saying this just to get your keble goat! Wink

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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2003, 06:05:48 PM »

Keble,

I have traveled many of the same roads spiritually that you have.  As a former Anglican I understand quite, all too well, your dilemma.  I of course could tell you how and why I have chosen as I have but that is not the point.  I still love Anglicanism; it has a special place in my heart.  Even though Orthodoxy is something I cannot deny I have never felt totally at home.  I stayed an Episcopalian for a long time because I did not want to abandon the communion to the “myths to live by” crowd.

My search has always been the desire to find the “Living God.”  By this I mean many people, in particular the “myths to live by” folks, seem to be busy creating God in their own image.  Instead, I’ve wanted to search out God not as I might want to find him but as I could best ascertain He is.  “Seek and ye shall find” seems to me to be as true for those who would create their own God.  That is, if someone seeks out a green and purple frog god that is exactly what he will find.  Don’t get me wrong, I in no way think that is what you are doing, to the contrary, you seem to want to serve God as he is.

My point in writing this poorly worded post is that so much of what you’ve said parallels my own experience.  I’ve often found myself precariously sitting on a fence.  Not because I was willing to compromise my beliefs, but to the contrary.

Just to take one issue that I avoid as much as possible, homosexuality.  I do believe in tolerance, but I hate to say that because most will automatically ascribe many things to me that are not true.  I believe in tolerance not acceptance.  I cannot deny that is a sin.  I also tolerate adultery, but I do think I should separate myself from it.  As I’ve said on another post I believe very, very strongly that we as Christians are called to love, but this love cannot be outside of the full teachings of the Apostles.  I tend to cringe to hear those that spit venom and hate based on the idea that “it’s a sin.” None the less, I also cringe to hear those who would deny that it’s a sin.  So, you see, I find myself often sitting on fences in other’s eyes but am forced to stay balanced not because I’m trying to set up some slippery slope or think that compromise is in order, to the contrary, I cannot and will not deny the full Deposit of the Faith, which means it is a sin, and I’m called to love.

Though what you’ve expressed is completely another subject, my point is sometimes one finds that he is on a fence, paradoxically, not because he vacillates but because he cannot be anywhere else.  Unfortunately this also means that neither side will accept you.
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2003, 07:15:52 PM »

Well, if you think ECUSA's problems have only existed for only 2 days, then that certainly says something about how you view ECUSA.


Who are you talking to?

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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2003, 10:04:46 AM »

Keble,

I think your analogy is totally off base, my friend.  Look, there are rude bishops in every church, and even ruder laymen.  But there are no homosexual Orthodox bishops that were consecrated after leaving their lawful wife to live with another man, and Orthodox don't have ordained lady bishops either.

It's not an analogy at all.

Today's Washington Post buried a story about the first actual steps toward a schism on page A13. Yesterday they had the first part of a long story about Rowan Williams on the front page, but it was below the fold and if you didn't understand how the Communion worked you had a lot of reading ahead of you.

New Hampshire is a ways from Maryland, and while it is likely that Robinson is likely to be coming to the National Cathedral, I don't have to be there to meet him, nor do I have to read the paper the day afterwards.

But if I go to church, I do have to meet the priest, at least insofar as he preaches and does the liturgy. And I meet the other people there, and (presumably) the bishop shows up at intervals and I get to see him in action. And their rudeness etc. have a direct impact on me. It's easy to condemn Gene Robinson away off in New Hampshire for a sin which I might not feel tempted to, and brush off the very present rudeness which is a much more significant stumbling block.

But I'm more concerned with the issue of intellection. I was called back to Jesus in the Episcopal Church, and as someone else said, all the problems of the present were certainly latent, if not revealed, 25 years ago. I do not think that it is merely a problem of the intellect that makes it diffficult for me to leave, and I do think that the arguments you are making are essentially intellectual. I am not convinced that one can deduce where grace is, and where it is not-- but it seems to me, Anastasios, that sometimes you slip and believe that you can. I am suspicious of the notion that bishops and councils can determine with finality the very many sorts of issues that, for instance, Trullo claims to provide answers for.

And I don't think that haste is so called for. Take this principle back to Constantinople, and it's easy enough to put yourself out of Christianity entirely. I have to allow the bishops to work this through.
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2003, 10:40:00 AM »

Keble

Is someone trying to convert you??  I thought this was not permitted here.  I agree there is no haste needed it's early days yet.  But it seems to me that if all the orthodox Anglicans leave the ECUSA it will be like raising the white flag.  I find that a great many people find a "mecca' if you will whether it's because of the supposedly pure doctrine or the great liturgy and run there leaving their home church.  Everybody gets into the "mecca" and a fortress mentality or a remanent mentality developes.  If we all fort ourselves up in a mecca who will there be left to fight the good fight.  You leave ECUSA, I leave RCC, someone else leaves OCA for ROAC who will there be left to fight for orthodoxy in ECUSA, RCC, OCA.  We need to take a stand and start the fight from where we happen to find ourselves.

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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2003, 02:09:36 PM »

CR,

What is not allowed is for Non-Orthodox to proselytize, because this is an Orthodox board.  Of course the Orthodox will try and convert Keble (and you), though.

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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2003, 02:16:13 PM »

Anastasios

Aaaaah!  I gotcha.  Well I don't know about Keble but I'll be a tough sell
CR Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2003, 02:24:43 PM »

CR,

Fair enough Smiley

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