For Anglicans in Search of Their Heritage

I strongly suggest reading Brandon Letourneau’s essay, Principles and Distinctives of Anglican Ceremonial, published by The North American Anglican.

Some nuggets:

So then, the first principle of Anglican Ritual is the conviction that all public worship, as an administration of the Church’s teaching authority, ought to convey biblical truth. This is precisely why aping other traditions, who do not share this conviction, results disastrously. If ceremonial communicates an underlying principle, then shouldn’t it be assumed that ceremonials not our own are communicating a different and at worst a damaging principle? The fact that a good many American priests have never read our formularies is evidence of this intellectual usurpation. And yet, there is perhaps nothing more “Anglican” in the American Church than the emulation of other jurisdictions.

Here’s another point where I had to resist the urge to grab a highlighter and go to work on my computer monitor, but instead I have bolded my personal emphasis:

This brings me to a second point of Anglican ceremonial, and it’s quite maddening that this point must be made at all, and yet here I am: Anglicanism is not Roman Catholicism, or Eastern Orthodoxy, or American Revivalism. Anglicanism is Anglicanism. Not only are we not these others, but these others have failed us. Bl. Percy Dearmer puts it best:

This Church was, in fact, in a mess. She had tried so many ways of escape! She had tried Geneva; she had tried Rome; she had essayed a mixture of the two in varying proportions, which was called Moderate; she had tried laissez faire, by which each man did what he found easy and thought nice; she had even tried (heroic and marvellous as it may seem) to establish a Cathedral type of Service in every village church. The one thing that she had never tried to do was to carry out her own laws, and to apply her own principles. (Loyalty to the Prayer Book)

I could go on and on about how inconsistent Anglican worship has become due to the ignorance or obstinacy of some (most?) clerics. But I will leave this for the reader to discover. One need only place himself within three Anglican parishes to experience three different liturgies and a thousand conflicting doctrines. This is all to say that our apparel matters. Our actions and words matter. There is no part of the liturgy that is flippant or irrelevant, and very few that one party or another hasn’t given a martyr or two for. This is because Anglican worship is permeated with a sense of its audience. It is for someone, or someones, and we care a great deal about its presentation.

I would hope every ACNA postulant and current clergy read, mark, and inwardly digest.

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My Last Reflection Before Leaving Law for the Ministry

The following was my last contribution to The Jere Beasley Report, the long-time publication of my former law firm that I was honored and truly blessed to call my home for nearly a decade.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to submit my favorite Bible verse in the regular section of The Report. It can be accessed on page 33 of the online edition.

My favorite verse since I was a teenager are the following words of Christ that have pierced my soul since I first read them: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). These words of Christ have forever been seared in my mind as a reminder that life is not about money, power, or self-gain, but is about losing ourselves to His will. Namely, this is serving our neighbors by showing our love through acts of service, which demonstrate the faith we have in trusting—truly trusting—that our Creator has redeemed us to serve others.

Many have asked why I am going into the ministry. It is not because formal ministry is “more holy” but due to a call placed on my heart. It was an irresistible call and one I was not looking for but no matter who we are, or where we are, we are called to serve others as we are and in our careers. It is our vocation to be fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, employees, and ultimately Christbearers to all we encounter. I urge the reader to understand that it is not a higher calling to go into the ministry as we are all minsters in our own locations to each and every one we encounter each and every day. Look around you. The people you work with, befriend, and love are those whom you minister to and to whom minister to you. They bear the image of God and as C.S. Lewis so eloquently put:

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

-C . S . Lewis “The Weight of Glory”

Treasure those immortal souls who are around you and protect your own soul by selflessly serving them. Serve others by relinquishing the burdens of this world and casting your trust on the One who created the world, Jesus the Christ. God bless you all in your own ministries wherever you are.