Liberal Christian Ponders Stuff

I haven’t been to church in weeks. Months. This is unusual, because I like going to church, singing, seeing people.

My reasons are very trivial: I am responsible for the church website and it needs to be updated, but to do that I need to sit at my desk rather than recline on the couch or in bed. And I don’t want to dig into my photos, revamp stuff, and create a tutorial for how to update the church website for interested persons who don’t know anything about WordPress. At least, not right now. And I don’t want to be pounced on for not updating the website.

I barely know anything about WordPress, because it’s updated and changed a lot over the years, but lately I’ve been changing things around here, as practice for the changes I need to do over —–> there at the church site. We’re only talking about a few hours’ work, but I just… can’t make myself.

I’m feeling conflicted about the responsibility, and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I need to do just to get ready to revamp things. So instead of working on the church blog on my desktop, I’m dipping a toe in the waters by blogging about things in my particular flavor of mainstream liberal Christianity, the Episcopal Church.

Yes, I’m one of those psalm-singing, Anglican chant-intoning, choral Eucharist types. As a liberal church, we’re barely recognized as Christian by some strains of evangelical Christianity (or we’re seen as a diabolical corruption, but hey, we welcome everybody, so there).

Before diving in I was listening to a podcast on Stitcher (which, annnoyingly, does not provide embed codes).

The first segment really goes into depth on a lot of things, but even if you’re not interested in religion or going to church, you may be interested to know that a specific kind of evangelicals would love to take political power, and think Trump is their nearly-unwitting entree into making America over into their vision of a nation literally under God (meaning, some form of theocracy).

The first segment is about why they embrace Trump as the anointed of God. Unfortunately for them Trump is pretty clueless about religion, because it isn’t about him. Listen here: Stitcher Podcast: With Friends Like These hosted by Anamarie Cox “One God, Under Trump:

After that, the first link is the story of a historic Episcopal congregation with a branding problem: back in the early 1800’s it was called Grace Church, which happens to conform to the “naming convention” of Episcopal churches; they are named after a theological concept, or a saint, or a “feast day.” Episcopal Churches aren’t typically named for people, or places, or everyday concepts.

This particular church’s branding problem is that it’s called Robert E. Lee Memorial Church, because it’s the church where the Southern leader worshipped, confessed himself a sinner, and is buried. Now, it’s a problem for the parishioners in much the same way townspeople have a problem with a Confederate statue – is it merely historic, or does it send a message that people of color had better not cross the threshold? They’re struggling with it, and it’s likely to split the community. The local bishop doesn’t see the problem: just go back to the old name, Grace. Which would imply healing, and forgiveness – but he’s not really local and doesn’t understand the subtleties.

Virginia congregation deeply divided over church’s name honoring Robert E. Lee: [Episcopal News Service] Was Robert E. Lee an American hero or a traitorous defender of slavery? The Confederate general has been called both in the ongoing debate over whether statues, monuments and plaques in his honor should be remain on display in public places, from parks to churches. – by David Paulsen – Tags: episcopal – EDN: Virginia congregation deeply divided over church’s name

The next one is positive – instead of “why I don’t go to church?” It’s “why I go to church.” My reasons for not going will soon be outweighed by the impending start of choir season; I’ll have to update the site, make a start on the tutorial, and show up at choir practice this week. Or next week. 😉 Aside from the music, I like being part of a community. Believing is tempered by reason – science has a place in my faith. The miracles don’t matter as much as the material: be kind, be compassionate, be hopeful.

Reasons to go to church: Marilyn McEntyre writes about why she goes to church: There are lots of stories of why people don’t go to church but she offers some reasons to take another look. Excerpts A healthy church will give you access to a treasury of words and music. – by Ann Fontaine – Tags: episcopal – https://www.episcopalcafe.com/reasons-to-go-to-church/>Episcopal Cafe: Reasons To Go To Church

This last one is interesting to me because I’ve attended a small Episcopal parish (more than one) that’s struggled to do the work with just a few people. Not as few as this one, but something amazing happened to them when they opened their doors to refugees. It’s the tale of what happens AFTER a split – based on the time period, it was probably over the ordination of a gay bishop and the acknowledgment that a LOT of the clergy in the church were (and are) gay. It’s that welcoming thing again. This little church found a way to welcome that completely changed them (which was hard and painful) but transformative in a good way.

‘All Saints’ movie details how refugees saved struggling Episcopal church: [Episcopal News Service] After a split over theology in the 1990s, there were only 12 members of the congregation left at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, a suburb south of Nashville. The church couldn’t pay its mortgage. By 2007, the church was in danger of closing. – by Amy Sowder – Tags: episcopal – All Saints movie: how refugees saved struggling Episcopal church

That’s it –

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