The Episcopal Café asked folks recently to answer the question—how do Episcopalians understand their Identity as Episcopalians?
So here’s my response: #MyEpiscopalIdentity
First and foremost, to be an Episcopalian is to be a Christian, and so my Episcopal Identity is about believing in Jesus the Christ:
that God decided to become human to live through the struggle and mess of this life, and ultimately redeem it. I believe that God loved us so much, with such a ridiculous and catastrophic love, that God actually became one of us in order to live, die, and then conquer death itself–just to love us better. I believe that God chooses to take what’s dead and make it new again, and that we have the beautiful opportunity to work alongside God in this.
My faith as an Episcopalian is how I choose to respond to that love. Why have I chosen to live out this belief in this way, rather than any other church?
Well… Continue reading My Episcopal Identity
In my last post, I got on a soap box about the “dying” church. I firmly believe that the church is not dying, passively, but rather failing–actively, to meet a very spiritually hungry people.
Categorically obsessed with how our establishment is “dying”, we’ve missed the point: our job is to encounter God and God’s work, not preserve our own idea of what church ought to be.
And, God’s work is the work of resurrection: the work of bringing all people into new, more whole, better life through unending and unfathomable love.
Continue reading The church is not dying, part deux: Stories of Resurrection
I work in the church, and I am quite devoted to that line of work. And over the past month or so, people of my ilk have been obsessively reacting to this Pew survey that seems to unilaterally say that the Mainline church is dying. [Mainline Protestant churches and Catholics declined 3.4% and 3.1% in just 6 years. This guy goes ahead and says that the Mainline Protestants are “hemorrhaging.”]
So, please be fore-warned: I am about to be opinionated. And my opinion is not warranted by research or numbers, but rather “just” extensive exposure and dedication to The Church, which is in one moment beautiful and miraculous and at another moment maddening, obnoxious, and hurtful. Continue reading The church is not dying. It’s failing. There’s a difference.
Last week, I posted a version of an article that I wrote for the Hamline Church newsletter in December. The topic was being a Godbearer in Advent, on pausing to make room to be an incarnation of God in our daily lives. This idea is inspired by The Godbearing Life, by youth ministry extraordinaire Kenda Creasy Dean.
Now, though, as I think more about it, and as we approach the third week of Advent, there’s more to be said.
Being a Godbearer is making space for God to enter into the world through us. Now more so than ever, I think, with the rage and outcry over the grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, we are called to make space for a new thing to happen in us.
Continue reading Making space for something Else
Because I work with young people, I have the privilege of never taking anything for granted—even church. I work with people at that stage of life when they are just figuring out who they are and who they want to become, and nothing is sacrosanct when you’re trying to figure out the world.
A lot of people bemoan the fact that kids drop out of church when they reach teenage-hood. Well, to be honest, we can’t ask them to stay if we don’t have any reasons for it–nothing is a given when you’re 15. If you’re going to do something, you need to know why.
Continue reading Wait–why bother to go to church? Reflections for Advent
Three years ago, or almost three years ago, on September 17th, 2011, I packed up everything I owned into the back of a borrowed minivan and moved to Chicago. I moved into an international student dormitory, a place where I met a huge number of amazing young people who were doing amazing things.
Now, about exactly three years later, I’m planning to pack up everything I own in (and on top of) my own Toyota Matrix to return back to the Twin Cities. I have a job, you see, and it’s very exciting! More news on that once I actually start–this is a Goodbye Chicago letter. Continue reading A Goodbye to Chicago
I like Staunton, VA. It’s got that old world charm, like I said before. It’s sort of like being in a period piece, except no one is wearing crappy costumes or pretending they don’t know what a cell phone is. The architecture and organization of the town is old style, but the people aren’t. They’re hospitable and kind and they have more activities going on there than I can figure out. Continue reading Two Weeks of Travel: Part III, Staunton and Road Trip!