"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The State of the Church: From "The White Horse Inn"


Anonymous Ann McCarthy said...

Amen. The comments toward the end of this video hit the nail squarely on the head. Adults have to be in bible study and we cannot be serving up info-tainment to our children as part of their Sunday School or as part of our Sunday morning worship.
I think that most of what went really wrong in TEc started with the dumbing down of seminary education and the consequent failure to speak the truth and to guard and defend it in our own churches. You cannot guard, defend or pass down that which you don't know.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Two things were touched on that I feel very strongly about:

1. We are often so concerned with being "seeker-friendly" that we lose sight of ourselves. I certainly know of churches that could stand to embrace newcomers a bit more. But when you start changing what you would normally do to appeal to seekers, you end up being just the same as everyone else, and there's not a whole lot left to find. You can't try to lure people in with activities and peripheral topics and then expect people to care when you try to talk about Jesus. Also, we have to think more carefully about how we make decisions about things like incense. It's important to provide ways to accommodate those who truly can't deal with it, but is it really best to deprive everyone else of it? Or to not use wine because people might be alcoholics? Depending on your theology, it can be a valid choice, but I'm not sure we consider the overall loss to the worship experience as much as we ought to. Personally, I have found that it's how people behave on a personal level that makes me feel welcome or not welcome - not so much whether the programs are "relevant" or whether the worship freaks me out.

2. We segregate and coddle our youth way too much. Coming from multiple cultures, I suspect Americans see the teenage years as more of a crisis period than it necessarily needs to be. Why do we assume that it's important to have youth groups and campus ministries, and why are we so content to use these ministries as "safe places to hang out"? I've been through youth groups and campus ministries myself, and I have often found it a rather patronizing experience in that there was so much anxiety to be "relevant to teen life" and have fun and be cool. It was often a waste of time - If I want to hang out, I'm perfectly capable of arranging that. I'm not convinced that encouraging teens to focus so much on the idea of being teens is a good idea. It would probably be healthier for them to stay in closer contact with the rest of the church family - helping to mentor children, learning from the old, practicing being adults and being part of "adult" worship. Youth can feel the lack of challenge when we dumb it down for them. Parents are all too happy to treat the church as daycare, and kids end up with an entitled sense of the church as travel agency and provider of free pizza.

12:04 PM  

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