Friday, June 3, 2011

Welcome to the Refugee Camp: Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church (Dec 2009)

With all of the media attention on Rome's recent gesture toward disenfranchised Anglo-Catholic Anglicans we're reminded of our own needs to find places of authenticity in our religious expression. This is what’s driven most Episcopalians out of the tradition in which they were reared and down the Canterbury Trail.

Yes, we’re a church of refugees.

70% of us were raised in another church (or no church at all).

Apparently we’re not very good at raising Episcopalians. But somehow, some way, we must have some sort of skill at attracting them. Call it another one of God’s little jokes; the church that couldn’t be less known for its evangelism is obviously doing something right.

OK, it’s the Holy Spirit who’s doing something right. It’s the same Spirit that gave us the gift of the via media, or the middle road, and the handful of Anglicanism’s other defining features. God’s blessed little bridge between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism has brought multitudes of us to deeper understandings of who Jesus is and what He is up to in our lives. We have learned about life and about God in ways, and in communities, that we could never have learned otherwise. This is where we have been picked up and loved, nurtured and strengthened to go out into the world to do the work we’ve been called to do.

Bickering over church polity has been with Christianity since the start and shows no sign of lessening. It has orphaned a good number of us. It has made too many refugees. So thank the Lord for refugee camps, unlikely places to find sacred community, but God’s way of reminding us that we are never forgotten and always loved beyond our wildest dreams.

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