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Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Episcopalians of Note

In this post-Gene Robinson era, it has not been so easy to find much good within Anglicanism/Episcopalianism. In the past two days, however, I have found two excellent authors who reminded me of the excellence in that tradition.

The first is Canon Bernard Iddings Bell, author of Crowd Culture, written in 1952. This book offers a truly prophetic vision of all that was, and still is, wrong in American culture. Bell takes both school and church to task for what is essentially a failed democracy. He also offers a solution, which is not that different from the "modern monastic movement" proposed by Morris Berman in his Twilight of American Culture.

The second and more contemporary is R.R. Reno, whose recent article "Fighting the Noonday Devil" from FIRST THINGS August/September 2003 explores the great danger of acedia, spiritual sloth, in its many hidden forms.

These two Episcopalians (it might be better to call them Anglo-Catholics) are of C.S. Lewis-like stature and remind me of all the good in their tradition. Although I never was an Anglican (they never required me to officially join), I spent six years worshipping at Anglican churches. Anglicanism served as a literal via media for me from Lutheranism to Catholicism. As a Missouri Synod Lutheran, I grew up steeped in a liturgy whose importance I did not realize until I worshipped in various Protestant demoninations. Living overseas and not being able to find a truly liturgical Protestant church, I found myself worshipping in Anglican churches. From the Anglican Communion, I learned the Doctrine of the Apostolic Succession, the Athanasian Creed, and the Vincentian Canon, all of which helped to me eventually cross the Tiber.

My reading of Bell and Reno comes at the time when the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury are meeting in Rome (see Pope, Anglican Archbishop Discuss Rift ). Recent developments in the Anglican Communion have made that rift deeper and wider, but their is always hope.