Anglicans & Tradition
Bad tradition is the dead faith of living men.
Good tradition is the living faith of dead men.
For 2000 years people have been living, reflecting, and walking out their Christian faith across the globe. Anglicans value that – we don’t throw it away just because it comes from a different century or culture. (In fact, we find this keeps us from being blinded by our own culture!) When it doesn’t go against Scripture, Anglicans are glad for the help from past brothers and sisters and the deep wisdom they have left us. After all, "Tradition is not the preservation of ashes but the preservation of fire.” (Gustav Mahler) So when we want to examine something, we don’t just look for a verse in the Bible. We also wonder “how did people in the 6th century interpret this? – is there something that they saw that I can’t see?” That’s called good tradition. It flows from that great cloud of witnesses who are cheering us on.
Anglicans & Liturgy
You’ll notice a few things about our church service: we follow a pattern of prayers and scripted words. This is called our ‘liturgy’ which literally means the work of the people. When we come to church, we believe we are privileged to be given something to do – not just sit there! We stand, we sit, we kneel, we offer our whole selves and our whole bodies to God. This is our ‘gospel aerobics’ and it doesn’t change much. Rest assured that no one is grading you on your participation. We are all students here – learning to live the liturgy takes a lifetime. At first, it might feel uncomfortable, like a new pair of shoes. C. S. Lewis says that good church services shouldn’t entertain us or change much – because then our focus becomes on the ‘change’ or on the novelty. Rather, a good church service, he says...
Anglicans & Communion
Anglicans take communion every week. Yes, you heard me: every week. This is because we are a church that was founded during the Reformation, when traditional church practices were getting a scrubbing and some were even kicked out. But not communion. The high point of an Anglican church service is communion, when all that we have just heard and done climaxes in Jesus nourishing us for the week ahead. And although this is a sacred moment, it is also a joyful one in which we are thankful that God cares not just for our minds, but our hearts and bodies. (Remember – when Jesus left earth, he didn’t leave us with a book to read but with a meal). While many people associate frequent communion with Catholic churches, it was actually the Reformers who insisted that it be celebrated weekly.
Anglicans & Church Calendar
For those of us who live by children’s academic calendar (or the football calendar), the “church calendar” seems strange. Why would we tell time differently? Is this in the Bible?
The Church Calendar beckons us to a new way of telling time that helps us live deeply into the Jesus story, year after year. It is not an “addition” to our salvation – it is walking out our salvation by participating in the events of Jesus’ life that now, mysteriously, are becoming part of our own.
The Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos ...
Anglicans & Infant Baptism
An Anglican’s response to the question about infant baptism is the following: why wouldn’t you baptize your children? Baptizing babies is not superstition (or a disregard for Scripture) – it is a sacred way to celebrate God’s grace and faithfulness to families that originated in the very first centuries of the church – and takes its cues from God set up his covenant with Israel even before that. What we find in both the Old and New Testament is this same movement of grace: God chooses us – God pursues us – God entices us with his kindness – and we get to respond. Some churches believe that only cognitively-able adults can respond, but Anglicans have long sided with the early church (and Jesus) that children are part of the covenant, in the covenant, and have a deep capacity for Jesus.
Anglicans & (other) Anglicans
We are part of a local network of churches in a grouping called a “diocese” – like a cohort of churches. This is because (in our humble opinions) no one should attend a church where the pastor doesn’t have accountability or support! A “diocese” means that our pastor can be shepherded by another pastor, whose main job is to look after the pastors. (This shepherd’s title is called a “bishop” – ours is Bishop Ken Ross at Rocky Mountain Diocese). Now all these wonderful shepherds themselves need a shepherd. (This shepherd is called the archbishop – ours is Archbishop Foley Beach in the Anglican Church in North America). We’ve met the bishops and archbishop and they are fine ordinary fellows, who don’t have big heads, and who make it their mission to lead by serving our pastors and churches. Oh yes, and we have hundreds of thousands of Anglican brothers and sisters around the world – America is small by comparison!