Praxis: What was different about Anglican piety and devotion before the late 20th Century?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by DadHocHypothesis, Jun 2, 2022.

  1. DadHocHypothesis

    DadHocHypothesis Member

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    I was reading a Reddit thread about Dungeons & Dragons the other day, and someone described the old rulebooks as "high-context documents:" documents that don't go into exhaustive detail on some things because they assume a certain shared experience or secondary knowledge.

    I smiled and nodded, saying to myself, "just like the Prayer Book." In the 80's, that group of nerds rolling dice in Mom's basement or at the lunch table would have probably been familiar with tabletop wargames, and applying principles from them: the books don't discuss laying out tokens or figurines to show where the bad guys are in a room, but they still did it, and new players learned from them to do the same. Likewise, the old-school BCP doesn't say when to sing hymns, what to do for the funeral of a non-believer, what to do at harvest time, or even that you can have a sermon after Morning Prayer, and yet, churches knew what to do about all those things. In either case, when reading the source material alone, without a connection to that living tradition, you're likely to form some false impressions about how things were actually done. Reading the 1977 or 1989 rulebooks today, you might get the impression that using maps, figurines, and plastic terrain was an innovation. Reading the 1662 or 1928 Prayer Books today, you might conclude that Anglican worship was very austere, rigid, and boring before books like 1979, the BAS, and CW were introduced. In both cases, you'd be wrong.

    The Parson's Handbook is a manifesto for enhancing the BCP liturgy along medieval English lines, and the Ritual Notes for doing the same along Tridentine lines. Books like A Prayer Book Manual and The Middle Way present traditional Prayer Book worship as it was actually conducted prior to the Parish Communion movement, Vatican II, and the Lima Liturgy--The Middle Way even before the Liturgical Movement!

    My question: is there the same thing for personal spirituality? Whether it's a guide from the Beforetime like Holy Living or the Devout Life, something from a Continuing group today, or even just memories and pontifications from one of you here, how was Anglican spirituality lived out under the traditional paradigm? What values, customs, or beliefs were commonplace then but one might overlook today?
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  2. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that I have any answers for you, but figured I should break the silence by saying I think it's a great question!
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  3. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    United Kingdom
    Church of England
    May be no one wants to admit being old enough to remember.:D

    I couldn't answer from first hand experience. I could say what my mother did but I don't think one example answers the question. It's not a question I've ever considered.