The Death of the Episcopal Church is Near

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by bwallac2335, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. Traveler

    Traveler Member

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    People want their religion to say what it means and to mean what it says, but I'm not sure about wanting it to be extreme. It depends on what we mean by extreme.

    For me, one of the most attractive qualities about Anglicanism is its stated embrace of reason. My experience so far has been that reason here means individual engagement. The Anglican Church seems to understand and value that we live in a world of diverse personalities and perspectives, and that individual discernment is natural. That point of view requires moderation at the pastoral level.
     
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  2. strelitziaflower

    strelitziaflower Member

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    Religion is interpersonal. It's not for individuals.

    I am trying to talk about religion to my younger sibling.

    Marriage is NOT for everyone, so I am married to Jesus.

    "Total abstinence is better than perfect moderation" St Augustine.
     
  3. Traveler

    Traveler Member

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    Religion is concerned with the interpersonal, but it should also acknowledge that individuals are receiving that religion and applying it according to their individual understanding.

    As you say, marriage isn't for everyone. People who are comported to more prescribed religions would be alarmed by that statement and would want to know exactly what you mean. They'd tell you about the family being the earthly manifestation of God's relationship with humanity, and they'd want to interrogate your choice to be single to be certain it's for a valid vocation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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  4. strelitziaflower

    strelitziaflower Member

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    Yes, I know God is not gentle
    When we are lost for words in prayer
    the Spirit sends up our sighs to God

    I struggle so deeply with arrogance
    It's not easy, it's not nice, it's not kind

    What I want to tell people on this forum is:

    <<DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR FAITH, YOUR CHURCH, OR YOUR FAMILY!>> (written in poetic, not hatred tone).
     
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  5. Traveler

    Traveler Member

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    Are you saying that disagreeing with some of the Roman Catholic Church's teachings equals arrogance?
     
  6. strelitziaflower

    strelitziaflower Member

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    What I meant to say was that on a church forum I think being overly polite might do not harm.

    People don't like goading or teasing.

    Many times I have had telephonic counselling and sometimes it is just necessary to have someone intelligent to talk to.

    So, these discussions are good as an emergency measure in extraordinary circumstances, but not for everyday idle talk which should be avoided.

    God bless everyone on this forum.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    May the Lord alleviate your loneliness.

    Religion is interpersonal, and that includes interacting with the Person of the Holy Spirit. Any time we need to talk to someone with intelligence, He is there. We don't hear His quiet 'voice' very often, though, because He doesn't engage in idle talk; He only says something when it's worthwhile and helpful.

    Our faith should be interpersonal, but never impersonal, right? :)

    Peace.
     
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  8. ScatterTheAshes

    ScatterTheAshes New Member Anglican

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    I will say from my perspective as a young but life-long attendant of the Anglican Church of Canada (TEC's sister), I've always heard bleak things about the Anglican Church in this country. Data about how the Church is dying, it's just old people now, etc. The boomer generation, silent generation, and generation X were all more religious than Generation Z are, but eventually, all of those generations will pass from the Earth. While the data has always been grim, there are a couple of things I find comforting.

    The first is that the number of actual true-believing Anglicans in this country has always been massively over-inflated. To quote C.S. Lewis' essay "The Decline of Religion": "The ‘decline of religion’ so often lamented (or welcomed) is held to be shown by empty chapels. Now it is quite true that chapels which were full in 1900 are empty in 1946. But this change was not gradual. It occurred at the precise moment when chapel ceased to be compulsory… The withdrawal of compulsion did not create a new religious situation, but only revealed the situation which had long existed. And this is typical of the ‘decline in religion’ all over England. [...] One way of putting the truth would be that the religion which has declined was not Christianity. It was a vague Theism with a strong and virile ethical code, which, far from standing over against the ‘World’, was absorbed into the whole fabric of English institutions…
    The decline of ‘religion’, thus understood, seems to me in some ways a blessing."
    Because English Christianity in Ontario and much of the rest of English Canada was enforced from the top down and to reject it was to shun oneself from participation in civic life, a large part of the population merely participated because it was mandatory to do so with little genuine attachment to Christ or Christianity. Removing this pressure has simply allowed the reduction of the Anglican population to those of us who are actually Anglican. If this theory is correct, at some point the Anglican Church's population in Canada will eventually plateau, albeit at a much lower proportion than it once claimed to be.

    The second thing is that I am a committed Anglican. I am a graduate student at a Canadian university, and there is a thriving community of young Anglicans on campus who attend church regularly. As long as I'm alive, and as long as many of my friends and colleagues remain alive, the Anglican Church of Canada is not going anywhere. If I can help it, my children will be Anglican as will their children.

    We should thank God for even the small number of faithful living today. Even though Anglicanism is contracting, it is not going extinct.
     
  9. Schofield

    Schofield New Member

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    ScatterTheAshes, I'm one of the perfidious non-Christians who still unaccountably haunt the services and naves of Anglican churches. Who's more dangerous, the unbelieving pew-sitters who're there for comfy traditions, or the true-believing historical-critical liberals hell-bent on making the Church a socially-accountable marxist institution for the sake of "that good man" Jesus?

    Your Lewis quote sheds light on my own reasons for no longer believing in Christianity, while maintaining my religion in the Church of England. It's precisely this feigned "social faith" that allows the C. of E. (among others) to be an institution before a church in the Biblical sense. I'm impressed you've kept your faith whole & unfeigned despite this near-universal hypocrisy. It was partly the realisation of what you've said that years ago led me to reject Christianity as a sincere belief. Amusing how the famed swift-spread religion of early days shows itself naked, fragile, and cold in the light of losing its government patronage.

    As someone who equally disagrees with Low, Broad, and High churchmanship because of my faithlessness, I consider my role in parish life simply devil's advocate, trickster, or pot-stirrer. It gratifies me to see the piety fall away and the excuses come up: "But we must decide on XYZ in the next parish council! My family's been worshiping here since 1827!" Seniority, snobbishness, and justification of social faith comes out so easily, stiff and stern as gospel truth.

    Don't take this as a jest or an attack. I find the sincere pomposity of 'believers' most amusing, not only in Anglicanism but across the major magisterial denominations. The really dangerous people are the Orthodox peasant who frets over the liturgical tomb on Holy Saturday, saying "there'll be a bad harvest if Jesus doesn't rise this year", or the vitriolic evangelical who actually insists the Church practice Christianity.

    The parish church is there to always be there: the church of England, not the Church of England. It does best when it advocates (Betjeman-style) for its buildings, distributes tea & cucumber sandwiches after service, stays out of politics except to defend the BCP, and lets people get on with their hypocrisy. Enthusiasm spells the end of every great cathedral and episcopal palace. The ruin of civilisation. House churches.
     
  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    as the only viable option for a good-thinking Christian, and the fullest expression of Christianity it can hardly be possible for God to let us go extinct, which explains why we are the third largest in the world

    I applaud you for your loyalty, and just remember that there are faithful options in Canada, growing and expanding as we speak, which could use your strong back and youthful shoulders in order to maintain witness to Jesus Christ to the people of Canada


    Yikes
     
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Schofield, you rightly observe that all people who attend church are flawed human beings. Some, perhaps many, are hypocritical without realizing. And you rightly observe that churches are flawed, since they have flawed humans in charge of them.

    However, from those facts, does it follow that Jesus is flawed or inconsequential? Or that faith in Him must be flawed?

    If I may ask, what exactly do you (personally) make of Jesus?
     
  12. Schofield

    Schofield New Member

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    You say more than you know.

    The flawed nature of Man makes unfeigned Christianity impossible, since its foundation as a politico-religious fact under Constantine has made it a faith of associations and remembrances, not just an abstract verity that can be assented to or not. There can be no separating the Roman Urge from Christianity. The Orthodox (Greek & Russian especially), the Papists (obviously), and many Protestants feel compelled to look back on Christian Rome as the great pattern of their desired world. Everyone harks back to the Fathers and the Councils, antiquarian-like. Nobody can take their faith seriously as a unified fact, separate from this history. The Erastianism of 1,500 years of blasphemy laws and militaristic Christendom are a tribute to the impossibility of Gospel Christianity; either it loses State patronage and reverts to the original death-cult of cripples, outcasts, and busybody rich women that it started as, or it remains a merely cultural institution of nostalgia and grandeur, unrelated to the actual teachings of Jesus (thank goodness).

    Faith in Jesus is faith in one of many Jesuses, for there are as many Christianities as there are Christians, especially these days. Who am I to say which I can even believe in? Everyone is equally compelled and compelling in their Bugbear-Jesus.

    After spending many of the last 13 years wrangling with him and those who claim him, academically or rhetorically, my current belief is that the singular person never existed, or that he is an amalgam of apocalyptic preachers & magicians from the 1st century. If he did exist, he was an inconsequential Jew from a culture very foreign to that of our (Anglo) ancestors, who died among many thousands of other Jews on a cross for some offense or other. As to what I make of the man, teacher, spirit, God, angel, etc., that is the Jesus of the Gospels & Epistles? Well, he was what they needed him to be.
     
  13. Matthew J Taylor

    Matthew J Taylor Member

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    I'm more than happy to serve in the original death-cult of cripples, outcasts and busybody rich people if it means that the Gospel will be preached.
     
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  14. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Busybodies aside, sounds like a church with great company.

    Oh dear.

    I can't really comprehend your logic, or understand what possesses you to keep attending Church when some weeks I, invigorated by faith, struggle to find the energy to get out of bed early on a Sunday with beliefs like this. Perhaps there's something greater driving you to participate in an exercise you appear to believe is for the most part fraudulent? Something to think on...
     
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  15. Schofield

    Schofield New Member

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    And which Gospel is that? Methodist or Anglican? Calvinist or Arminian? Socinian or Trinitarian? Arian or Nicene?
     
  16. Schofield

    Schofield New Member

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    It's more mundane than your Brideshead Revisited "twitch upon the thread" theory. The BCP is the treasure of England, like experiencing the age of Shakespeare and Gloriana each Sunday. One doesn't have to believe in order to enjoy the spectacle and sing the hymns. If it helps, I make no dissimulation towards anybody. Everyone knows I'm hostile to Christianity there. The friendly cardigan-knitting ladies are always nice to me regardless.
     
  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Are you similarly stuck with other things in life? How do you know the world is real? Does life have purpose and why live if it doesn't? How can you trust your senses if even a fork put in the water bends? Does free will exist, and does it make any sense to live or punish people if it doesn't?

    The world is filled with hard choices. Don't pretend that Christianity is somehow a hard case here. In fact it's far easier to resolve your questions, than to resolve some of mine listed here.
     
  18. Schofield

    Schofield New Member

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    I don't need (or claim) to know the truth any of those things you listed. Unlike the faithful (and the tiresome philosopher), I don't pretend to need answers to questions that don't matter. Whether the world is real, life has meaning, the senses are informative, choice is neurons or spirit, etc., is useless pondering. Your philosophy of optics or willpower won't change daily realities. Nobody needs a reason to be getting on with their breakfast. Life is practice.

    Even if these queries did matter, we can't know the answers, but Christians insist they know the key to the doors of life, when they clearly don't. 40,000+ denominations, endless schisms, religious wars, etc., speak to this. My contention isn't that Christianity is untrue, I hope you'll have noticed, but that it's impossible to know whether it is. Same with free will and all that. I'm fine with this, but Christians aren't and it leads to all sorts of silliness.
     
  19. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    This is a strangely confident assertion to a statement that is fundamentally untrue. I could probably count the number of Christians I have met that would assert they know with certainty that their beliefs are 100% true on my hand. That's the whole trial of faith. If we could be certain then it wouldn't be so difficult.
     
  20. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    If free will doesn't exist, why do you even bother telling me this, or anything at all? Why have any conversations at all if it is with automatons? Do you enjoy talking with chatbots on company websites also?


    But we can. I can talk to you about the classical realism and the objectivity of the world, the reliability of the senses, the teleology of biological life and especially human life, of natural law, and of reliability of free will. All these hard questions have already been answered by philosophy. I didn't raise them to up the ante on your nihilism, but rather to show that even those hard questions have been answered. Christianity is not one of those hard questions like the objectivity of sense perception. One has to work pretty hard, and be a purposefully malicious atheist like Christopher Hitchens to willfully avoid all the evidence and reasons in favor of it.