Saturday, February 2, 2008

How Do We Begin?

This blog will consist of the ravings of a prayer book Anglican who believes that that the prayer book was made to be obeyed and that those who attempt to twist Anglicanism into something other than a strict (or fairly strict) use of the classical prayer books just might be happier as something other than Anglican. I, for one, would be much happier if they would identify themselves as something other than Anglican.

First, I don't believe that an Anglican as a Biblical Christian has a choice in being either high church or low church. To do so is to identify yourself with a party and St Paul was fairly clear that parties were forbidden in the Church. You signed on and that means that you intended to obey the rules and not make them up for yourself. After all, you don't play football (European or American) according to the rules of baseball or crikket. And if you don't know the rules, you take the time to learn them before you begin playing.

I also believe in "wearing the uniform." When you put on the clerical habit, you wear that appropriate to who you actually are. If you are an Anglican, you don't wear a soutane; you wear the classical double breasted Anglican cassock along with the other gear that instantly identifies you as who you are. After all, we all get our first and most important opinion from our visual images, from what we see as do others. Consequently we should want to tell the truth about ourselves in the way in which we present ourselves to the world. This, again, was the point of the Ornaments Rubric included in every English prayer book from Elizabeth I. If you want to appear to the world to be either a Presbyterian or a Roman Catholic, maybe you should really join the appropriate Church. (Why is it that Anglican priests and bishops so rarely want to appear as if they were Eastern Orthodox or Armenian clerics? Is it something about the beards?)

Actually, given the terrible state of 'official' or 'establishment' Anglicanism, I am terribly surprised than anyone wants to be Anglican at all. You would think that between Rowan Williams and Katherine Jefferts Shori there would be no sane person in the entire world willing to be identified as "one of them." But then neither of the two nor many of their followers have touched a real prayer book in years, maybe decades. They use very funny books instead which will only too shortly have in them even stranger rites for the blessing of things and persons which Holy Scripture quite rightly condemns. Why at this stage of things they even bother trying to pass themselves off as Christians I can't quite understand. It makes it really difficult for the folk whose good manners make it inappropriate to titter in their faces - or openly do so behind their backs.

But those of us who value and continue to use the classical prayer books do so because they bring us spiritual stability and a sense of history and continuity in a world where those very things seem to be rapidly disappearing. After all, in a world where the Roman Church, the curia and the pope can't quite decide how they are supposed to be worshipping, switching rapidly between Latin and the local language, there have to be a few of us in the Western world, especially in the English speaking world with a taste for old things, old services and the old religion. In my case, for good or for ill, I happen to be one of them.


An Anglican Cleric said...

All very true.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I'm Orthodox now, but had TEC held to the true Book of Common Prayer, retaining the importance of humility, repentance, confession, Matins as preparation for Communion, I would still be Anglican.

I fear that The Anglican Way is lost. Then I hear that there is an influx of converts from evangelical churches to Anglicanism in places such as Wheaton College. I'm not sure if I should be encouraged by that or not. Evangelicals seem to have so much baggage.

Canon Tallis said...

So they do, Alice. The idea of obedience is one they seem not to understand and especially to a fixed liturgy. Yet I remain with Mr Keble and as long qs I can celebrate each Sunday classical prayer book Anglicanism will remain alive in my parish

Alice C. Linsley said...

I thank God for your resolve and pray that HE will sustain you. The Anglican Way is unique and rich. True Anglican worship, preaching and teaching are becoming rare, and true-hearted Anglicans will find your parish!

Canon Tallis said...

That, Alice, is the hope of all of us, but the time in which we live is very close to that which England and the Church experienced just before the Civil War. London for all practical purposes had already fallen to the Roundheads while the true Anglicans headed for the country and such small parishes as Bermerton and Little Gidding. We would be such as those.

Alice C. Linsley said...

You can't go wrong if you follow the path of Little Gidding! God honored them with perpetual remembrance, when very few parishes of that period are remembered for anything.