Why Two Blogs?
The Curmudgeon and
A Reformed Reformed Episcopalian
|A Reformed |
I have recently created a new Blog titled A Reformed Reformed Episcopalian. But first a word about the older Blog The Curmudgeon. I chose that name for the Blog, partly in jest - poking fun at myself - and partly telling some of the truth about the perspective of the Blog. But I have found, as often happens with humor, that a few took me seriously as though I meant to say that I, to quote one definition, am “an ill-tempered (and frequently old) person full of stubborn ideas and opinions.” Well, I'm old for sure. I will soon reach threescore and ten. I can be ill-tempered, though I do not think I should be nor do I want to be. I am stubborn, but I hope not so rigid that I am not willing to listen to the ideas and opinions of others or incapable of appreciating nuance and distinguishing black, white, and gray.
Perhaps I can answer the question of what I mean by quoting a few lines from my original Blog The Christian Curmudgeon where I explained what I meant by "curmudgeon."
The curmudgeon partakes of the spirit of Linus Van Pelt: “I love mankind – it’s people I can’t stand.”... The curmudgeon is often disappointed with people, not least himself. He understands well why the Bible tells us not to trust in man...
The curmudgeon also partakes of the spirit of Network’s Howard Beale who persuaded viewers all over the United States to open their windows and shout “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” ... He agrees with ... (Christian philosopher) Cornelius Plantinga...that things as they are “not the way it’s supposed to be.”
He has low expectations, at least in the short run...the world is so messed up that nothing short of the personal coming of Jesus Christ in glory with power, to defeat the powers of darkness, to fix the broken world, and to set his people free from sin and death can put things right.
In the end of curmudgeon is something of an idealist, even romantic...but he is too realistic (and, I think, too Biblical in outlook) to be a utopian so long as this present age continues. In that sense, he longs for the final in-breaking of the kingdom of God...I hope that helps. If not, I'm sorry.
But, why two different Blogs? I noted that I had used Just a Curmudgeon Blog to comment on matters from of the American Presbyterian-Reformed (P-R) worlds and on matters of the Anglican-Episcopalian (A-E) world. It seemed to me that some might find that confusing. Some of my P-R friends experienced consternation when I wrote things that reflect my distinctive views and practices as an A-E - such as (though this is a very broad statement) clerical dress, the church year, liturgy. On the other hand some of my A-E friends wondered, if I were really an Anglican or Episcopalian (take your pick) if I followed and commented on the P-R world. In fact, my doing so might be proof that I am really "a Presbyterian with a Prayer Book."
So, if I am really an A-E, why do I follow the P-R world? Two reasons: (1) I get paid to do it. I have a one hour a day job in which I collect materials from that world for an e-zine. Now on, as they say, a fixed income, I need the money! (2) It interests me. But why does it interest me and why do I sometimes comment? Let me explain it in this way: I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, but I live in Mississippi and consider myself a Mississippian. I am and expect to die a Mississippian, but I have never lost interest in my hometown. I visit from time to time, follow the local news, and have opinions about local issues. I have even left comments on the electronic version of The Pensacola News Journal.
I am an A-E, expect to die an A-E, and to be buried according to A-E rites. But I was born and raised a Presbyterian, ordained a Presbyterian minister, and served for 41 years. Moreover, I believe in Protestant catholicity. So, why should I lack an interest in the P-R world?
But what of a Blog on the A-E world and of the title A Reformed Reformed Episcopalian? The reason for a different Blog is that I want to look at and comment on matters of the A-E world without confusion with matters of the P-R world. I want to comment as an Anglican (the word in America is used to distinguish various stripes of conservative Episcopalians who are not, even if they once were, members of The Episcopal Church, and to tie most of them to worldwide Anglicanism by means of their connection with the Global South. (Of course, while their orders are recognized by the Global South, they are not recognized by TEC.) So, inasmuch as I am a theological conservative and my denomination is a jurisdiction within the Anglican Church in North America, I am an Anglican.
But my denomination is the Reformed Episcopal Church. The church in America, whose mother is British Anglicanism, calls itself Episcopal. It would not have been acceptable after the Revolution for a church in America to be The Church of England in America. Since my church's mother is TEC, it has always called itself the Reformed Episcopal Church.
To ask if one can be a Reformed Episcopalian who is Reformed in that sense, while it may be disputed by some, is to ask a ridiculous question. Could Cranmer be in the Reformed Episcopal Church? May the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion be held by ministers in the Reformed Episcopal Church? May the 1662 Prayer Book (the first service of Holy Communion in the Prayer Book of the Reformed Episcopal Church) be said by a minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church? I will explore these questions further in future posts. I will ask what authentic Anglicanism is, what the Anglican way is, what the via media means.
For now it is enough to say that I am a low church, Reformed, Reformed Episcopalian, a Cramnerian, an Articles and Prayer book man. I am not a not a Puritan or a proponent of the "regulative principle." I am not a Presbyterian, and, heaven forbid, certainly not a Baptist, with or without a Prayer Book. But I am not an Anglo-catholic or one who believes that authentic Anglicanism is the Church of England after its liberation from the Pope and before its Reformation. I do not believe the Tractarians won the battle - historically, Biblically, doctrinally, or liturgically. I honor and follow our English reformers and martyrs. I believe in what the Articles and Homilies teach about such things as election, justification, faith, and the presence of Christ in Communion. When I say Morning or Evening Prayer or Holy Communion, I do so strictly according to the Prayer Book. In light of these statements I ask, "If a Reformed minister cannot be in the mainstream of the Reformed Episcopal Church, then who authentically can?" I don't believe Reformed Reformed Episcopalians should quit the field. We have as much right to be on it as anyone else.
It is not my purpose with this Blog to be contentious but to be charitable and collegial as I explore questions. Yes, sometimes I will contend for what seems to me to be plain historical and doctrinal truth regarding the Anglican-Episcopal tradition.