Via media

That picture, below, looks really foreign to Protestant evangelical eyes, I know.

I thought I’d explain something that I’ve grown to take for granted but my readers might not know.  The reason it looks so Catholic is that Anglicans perceive their place in the spectrum of Christian traditions as middle ground between Catholic and Protestant. For short, they call this position the “via media” or middle way.  So that accounts for the exotic get-up of the bishop with his flame-shaped hat and all.  (In fact, it accounts for there being a bishop at all.)

Getting back to the hat, I know now that it is flame-shaped because I overheard him explain that to the 4 year old girl who was going to be baptised that morning as we all waited in the corridor for the service to begin.  The bishop squatted down to the eye level of the kids and took off his hat, showed it around, set it on the little girl’s head for a moment (which she loved), remarked, “doesn’t its shape remind you a little of the flame on a candle?”  and then recounted the story in the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit of God appeared as fire over peoples’ heads and explained that the shape of the hat was supposed to remind people of the Holy Spirit.

You all knew that, right?  I didn’t.


About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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3 Responses to Via media

  1. Indie says:

    I didn’t know that. A while back when our bishop came he showed my daughter the cross around his neck and explained something about it, but now I’ve forgotten what he said.

  2. Kristin says:

    I have never heard that before either. Although, when our bishop was here (as in, staying over at our house) he showed our kids how well his hat folded flat. They thought that was terribly exciting.

  3. Leah says:

    I had no idea. There are so many things that I am completely ignorant of in the non-protestant traditions.

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