Emily Garcia: Finding love and redemption in the Anglican Church

After our dinner, I snuck away to grab a glass of water, and at the doorway to the pantry I ran into Steve. He was dressed formally, in black with a white collar, with clean rimless glasses and neatly cut hair. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I do remember my first impression was something like, “Oh gosh, not a priest! I’ve got enough guilt already!” He thanked me for my comments during the discussion and introduced himself as the Episcopal chaplain. At the time, my knowledge was such that this brought up in my mind a small note-card which read only, “1: The American version of the Anglican Church; 2: Like the Roman Catholics, but without the pope.” (These assumptions are actually in many ways correct: the Episcopal Church is the American “daughter” of the worldwide Anglican Communion, so anyone who is Episcopalian is also Anglican.)

Steve asked about my religious background; I told him that my family is evangelical, but that I hadn’t been going to church for a while ”” two years in fact, and not because I was uninterested, but because I didn’t find our evangelical services helpful or enjoyable. I would leave on Sunday mornings feeling conflicted, angry and guilty ”” feeling unworthy without knowing how to make things right.

Read it all.


Posted in Uncategorized

7 comments on “Emily Garcia: Finding love and redemption in the Anglican Church

  1. Charming Billy says:

    I have found in the Anglican Church a long sweep of tradition and a wide spectrum of beliefs and doctrines, all centered around a message of love and redemption. I have found an intellectual engagement with Scripture and theology that is balanced precariously but perpetually with a sincere spiritual yearning for holiness.

    Well if that’s her cup of tea, she can indeed find this sort of thing in Anglicanism. But can she really find it in TEC? If she’s as intellectually committed as this essay suggests, she’ll soon discover that the “grayness and uncertainty” of Anglicanism is sometimes nothing more than obscurantism masquerading as open-mindedness. Evangelicals have no monopoly on anti and pseudo-intellectualism. If evangelicals sometimes excuse their reluctance to submit their beliefs to reason by a questionable appeal to faithfulness, liberal Christians are just as likely to justify their faithlessness with a disingenuous plea of intellectual integrity.

    I’ve heard many former evangelical TEC converts tell similar stories about finding intellectual and spiritual liberation in Anglicanism. I don’t want to dispute them, but I don’t see how TEC differs from the other mainline denominations in this respect. They’re all more or less liberal in the sense that they allow questions and permit a variety of interpretative stances. If she wants a chuch that lets her exercise her mind as well as her faith in a traditional liturgical setting, she’d probably do just as well in ELCA.

    In any case, I’m glad she’s happy in TEC. She appears to have at least a modicum of esteem for St. Paul and can recite scripture from memory. I hope she knows that this will tag her as a conservative in some TEC circles!

  2. RoyIII says:

    That is a nice story.

  3. chips says:

    Interesting that the focus was on the Anglican and not Episcopalian Church – prior to the last few years I never really identified myself as Anglican.

  4. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Perhaps I overlooked it, but where -exactly- was Jesus in this story? What relationship did the author have with Jesus either before, during, or after her interaction with the Episcopal priest? And isn’t this rather a pietistic approach to what the Episcopal Church believes at best?

  5. rorymccorkle says:

    #4 dwstroudmd:
    ” can’t begin to explain the overwhelming and startling joy at encountering a God who did not look at me only to see where I had failed, but who accepted me and called me to higher places.”

    For all our disagreements about the current state of TEC, I find it horrific that you cannot acknowledge that some people find Christ in the Episcopal Church – as attested to in this article. An individual who felt lost and was, perhaps, in danger of leaving her faith, rediscovered Jesus. As a member of a church near Princeton and being familiar with Fr. Steve, I can affirm his testament to the gospel and the spirit here in the Diocese of New Jersey. God willing there were more priests like him!

  6. frrememberthat says:

    Despite the drone of the drumbeat of the postings on this website, there are oh so many solid clergy serving so many churches who are not caught in the polarity of the moment. O that you would look deeper and see the center of this church. (Hey, maybe we need a new “O antiphon.”) 😉

    Friends, look deeper. It’s time. The polarities are tiresome and destroy the mission of the church. Time to get back to the great commandment and the great commission.

  7. dwstroudmd+ says:

    rorymccorkle, I did say that perhaps I missed it, did I not? However, “a God who” is not spelled j-e-s-u-s, so perhaps I can be excused for not making the connection. You see, I find rather a lot of folks who use the term “God” do not intend a triune One with whom personal relationship is bought by Jesus of Nazareth and secured personally by the Holy Spirit. So when folk don’t acknowledge Jesus, I take ’em at their word. But God is not a word that I assume I understand in anyone else’s usage. It’s the result of ECUSA/TEC PB’s and Bishops and clergy who so distort the language to their ends, of course.

    IF I erred, you may gather why.

    And I didn’t say what you said I said, either. I said this story didn’t contain that reference to Jesus.