To the point where I think it should replace “alcohol” as the most stereotypical shit Episcopalians like.
There’s a thousand conflicting theories: The music should be more contemporary; oh god please stop with the contemporary music; everybody should act more Catholic; the church should be welcoming to atheists; the church should make sure unbaptized atheists don’t get communion. No gay marriage! Talk about gay issues all the time! Maybe the church should completely change and turn priests into community organizers? Liturgical dance, anyone?
And I think I’m the target, if not the audience, for these manifestos, since I’m an college educated young person with a Protestant upbringing who joined the Episcopal church as an adult. But damn it, I just can never bring myself to care about any of these diatribes or feel like I can relate to them at all.
The only Episcopal church I’ve been to is the one I’m a member of, which is one of those 20% of mainline Protestant churches that have been growing, and the Idk what percent that have a lot of members under 30, and under 18 and where people tithe regularily, etc etc. All the things that are supposedly rare, and the goal of any list of things the church should be doing. And I don’t think they do anything ground-breakingly dramatic. No liturgical dance, thank god. Fully open communion and full acceptance of gay people. But we say the Nicene Creed every week, no one would ever think to preach that the Resurrection is just a metaphor and the youth group sexuality curriculum stresses abstinence until marriage.
So I got nothin’. I can’t really say yes or no to any given recommendation on any given newsletter or speech or blog post. I don’t know how. But I know that St. __’s has helped me understand the existence of sin and salvation and how they are connected; that tithing matters, that the Eucharist matters, that prayer and bible study matter. And I’m not sure any given strategy is better than any other as long as that emphasis is there.
But not liturgical dance. That’s terrible.
I was brought up in the Episcopal church (baptized in one, etc. though I did spend a lot of “formative childhood years” at my neighborhood Lutheran church, because it was closer to our house and a lot of the *very few* Christian kids at my school went there) and I can totally attest to the church’s tendencies to focus a loooot of wishy-washy energy on trying to attract new members. The congregation I’m part of now is very WASPy with some Southern “connections” (as in, a lot of the members are youngish parents who might have grown up and attended church in the south but married Midwestern WASPs and ended up here) and it’s constantly teetering between “how do we get hip young people!” and “we must collectively wear everything Lilly Pulitzer has ever designed to Easter to scare away undesireables” and those two attitudes don’t really work well together. So as a result the congregation kinda avoids debating anything altogether and drinks wine.
Luckily, we’ve also avoided the liturgical dance thing. Now I can’t remember where I was going with this.