So now that I’ve come out…

as an Episcopalian, that is…I feel like my reader might be going WHA???  Which would have been my reaction a couple years ago.

Formerly I discounted the Episcopal Church as a Christian church because they had long gone in for such a subjective approach to Christianity that it had lost all objective meaning (and not without evidence, such as the priest who declared herself a Muslim and expected to remain a priest.)

Ironically, in the evangelical world there’s an attractive emphasis on steady, objective meanings, but a funny thing happens in worship and spiritual practice —  a lot of the heavy lifting shifts to the subjective.

“I feel the spirit is really moving here today.”
“I sense God is telling me to…”
“I sense that we’re under spiritual attack.”

That’s very subjective.

What I’ve found so ironic about worship in the Episcopal church is how un-subjective it is.  Everything in the worship service is structured and employed to be declarative of central truths and doctrines of Christianity.   Bible readings, creeds, prayer, music, art, corporate and individual liturgical actions, architecture, symbolism — these do the heavy lifting to outline the basics of Christian faith.   Regardless of how you “feel” or what you “sense” on any particular morning, you take your place within that outline.   Your part is to come in and kneel down and receive.  This I can do.  This I love to do.

I haven’t blogged a lot about my “journey” in this direction but if you’re curious–and I know some of my old friends who find my blog might be–I do have a couple other posts related to this:

Those Episcopalians…Our Episcopalians?

Open the Treasury

So How’s the New Church Going

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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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15 Responses to So now that I’ve come out…

  1. Indie says:

    Another Episcopal thing that I like is the discernment process. In the conservative church background that I came from if you felt called by God to be a minister then you just did it (if you were a man). In the Episcopal Church its not as if there is no “I feel…” Certainly God speaks to us through many things, including our feelings. But it is more often expected, especially if you feel a call to the priesthood, for example, that you test those feelings with others. Do they feel that God is calling you? This obviously isn’t fool proof, but if you gather a group of Christians to help you discern you are more likely to hear whether your feelings are just your feelings or whether they find their origin in God’s calling.

    • katiekind says:

      Indie, that’s a good point. and thank you for mentioning that some Episcopalians may have spiritual experiences of the “feeling” or “I sense God leading” variety. I have my guard up a bit in that area, but no doubt you’re right.

      I think (to be fair) in evangelicalism for big issues — like becoming a missionary — there might be a discernment process but in many cases it’s just bad manners to question whether the person really heard from God.

  2. justin patton says:

    An “evangelical” friend and I agreed that we’d feel a lot better about things if our church simply said, “we’re doing this because we want to.” Too often, God’s supernatural revelation is invoked to support things that are well and good (but lacking in scriptural support for the specifics). It feels like intellectual suicide to smile, nod and pretend to believe God has decreed something extra-biblical (not contrary to scripture, just beyond it) just for our little church. I guess I’d call it an overemphasis on special revelation when I personally am thirsting for the common graces.

    • katiekind says:

      Justin, yes, that’s in the same vein, I’d say. I have a hard time taking that kind of claim seriously when it could equally well be offered or implemented as a reasonable plan. (Unlike Gabriel to Mary.) And I agree, too, that if you don’t accept the claim at face value, it can create a troubling experience. I miss many things about my former church and especially the people, but I’m really glad to be away from dilemmas like that.

  3. sethile says:

    “What has been refreshing to me–and what I’ve found so ironic–about worshiping in the Episcopal church is how un-subjective it is. ”

    Me too! The service is very solid, God focused, and full of the Gospel. The liturgy helps me to focus my thoughts and prayers on God, even when I arrive harried and distracted. I think the liturgy also helps clergy to stay focused on God and essential doctrine.

    This has been the best way I’ve found to put aside the cares of the World for an hour and be together in God’s presence with His people–ready to be filled again with Grace and hope.

  4. Brian says:

    Almost thou persuadest me…. :)

  5. katiekind says:

    Haha! I honestly don’t mean to persuade anyone!
    Hope things are going ok with you guys.

  6. molleth says:

    I am laughing at this post, because I *never* thought I would be attending an Episcopalian service…ever…OH MY GOSH, I would never even have imagined this…and yet here we are…the kids and I driving to the little Episcopalian church every Sunday…and it’s not like it’s perfect or anything…but it feels like home. :)

  7. katiekind says:

    I think that’s lovely.

  8. TG says:

    Yes, when we “came out” as Presbyterians. . . it was a shocker to many. Took awhile for family to accept it, though as time went on we discovered that there is quite a Presbyterian tradition going back over the generations. And that was just a reminder to me of God’s covenant faithfulness.

    We visited the local Episcopal church when we moved back to the States. I really wanted it to work for us, as it is within walking distance and other things. . . but it wasn’t a good fit. . . and I’m thankful that the Lord has brought us to a good church home, where we belong, solidly presby. *grin*

  9. katiekind says:

    Having heard your pastor preach, all I can say is Amen. I didn’t realize it would have been a surprise for your family.

    There is a big Presbyterian tradition in my family too, oddly enough, on both sides. My mother has played piano and organ every Sunday for her local Presby church for 35 or 40 years. And Scott’s grandparents on both his mother and father’s sides were active in their Presby churches, a tradition that trickled down to some degree.

    And the local Presbyterian church was our church out in California after becoming Christians.

    I well remember also it was the church I chose to attend when I was overwhelmed by the needs of my first two young children and just wanted to go sit in a place with stained glass windows and organ music for an hour. I thought the Presby church was a “safe” choice because they surely were too enlightened to believe any of that stuff. Was I in for a surprise!

  10. Shanna says:

    Lutheran here…thank you for your words….they mean more to me than you will ever know…..soothing for one in a spiritual low & being reminded of why I love the Lutheran church as well…even though I feel distant from it all right now…still healing…thank you.

  11. katiekind says:

    ((((hug)))) I hope the next year will be a year of continued healing, Shanna.

  12. 4tanners says:

    K,
    I didn’t know you guys weren’t @ CCC anymore. It appears that you guys are still close though, so that’s pretty awesome. Andrea and I have the fondest memories of CCC; Community Worship on Sun Mornings, the good sense of humor shared, the freedom in Christ (no rules that aren’t in the Bible), and especially our cell group.

    What is going on w/ Daniel now days? I saw a pic of him on your FB and he’s like 700′ tall! HOLY COW! Still not as tall as Scott, but whoa!

    take care!
    chris & Andrea

  13. katiekind says:

    Yes, we’re just worshiping in another room in a big House. I update CCC’s website which still features your lovely wife; Jim drops by with the sermon on disc every week so I can put it on the web.

    Dan’s 18, a senior at MHS, and looking forward to baseball season. And to putting high school behind him. :-) The minute he heard about “senioritis” he developed a bad case of it! :-D

    We loved worshiping with you, too. I know you’re in the palm of His hand wherever you are, though. You and Andrea are very special. Kiss the kiddos for me!

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