Why I Am An Anglican

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Why I Am An Anglican

For the majority of my life I have intentionally stayed at arm’s length and even cringed at the thought of affiliating myself with a religious denomination. Most of this stems from the nature of ministry I have served in and around during my years of travels and staffing. Maybe it’s been the artist in me saying, “Don’t label me. I mean, I’m just following Jesus.” Or maybe (probably) most of the affiliated religious streams have been known more for what they stand against instead of what they stand for.

Over the past fifteen years there has been more and more gravity compelling me toward ancient practices rooted in the rich history of Early Church. From the over exposure to the attraction model of church I eventually became fatigued with re-inventing the wheel week after week and expecting magical results from a production / presentation. A couple of my close friends have been forthcoming enough to ask if any of my jadedness or cynicism has played into my frustration of the evangelical mega-church model. That may be true but I have realized something very significant in the process – there is a difference between running away from something and being compelled toward something.

With a membership estimated at around 80 million members the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Anglican Church has and always will have it’s tensions in many varieties, but that will be found in any human endeavor. For my family and I, we have had a sense of coming home with Anglicanism.

We have had many friends who supported us and many even curious at what is happening these days. Sacramental hunger lies within most of us, though it may reveal itself to us in different ways. We are wired to be experiential. In liturgical spaces, everything becomes meaningful and symbolic. In the offering up of the bread and wine, we see the offering up of the wheat and grain and fruits of the earth, and God gives them back in a sanctified form. Though it may seem to "work" for some, many of us are thirsty for meaning that goes deeper than the brand with a 30 minute concert and a 45 minute motivational speech.

If any of you have ever been with us for a LuminousProject gathering, you know that it is liturgical in some nature. We tend to lean into our ache for sacramentality. Each year, there have been some liturgical conversations and practices, especially with Holy Eucharist. LuminousProject has seemed to serve as an on-ramp for those curious about liturgical worship and formation. Many artists and pragmatists tend to resonate with these practices due to the meaningful history, anchoring, and lack of personality-centricness. No, it’s not without fault and issues because there is human involvement.

As I continue to have conversations with some of my evangelical friends, the questions continue to come. There are a few misconceptions out there. The beautiful thing is, there are many on the path towards a more rooted, anchored, and rich tradition with liturgical and ancient forms. The liturgy is centering, robust, and moving and contrary to popular belief, it is passionate, beautiful, meaningful, and vibrant. The music tends to be diverse, poetic, and spirited.

Obviously, Anglicanism and it’s practices may not be for everyone. Those of us who serve and follow Jesus are of the Kingdom work. It takes all of us. There is much to be done and many ways to do it. I will continue to lead worship and speak in many evangelical churches. We need more bridge building opportunities and less divisive fragmenting within The Church. May we not continue to fear (or judge) what we don’t understand.

I am humbled and excited about this new season in the life of the Jarnagins. Over the past couple of years I was ordained a Deacon and then a Priest in the Anglican Communion. Along with a wonderful small group of friends and numerous supporters, we planted Luminous Parish! We have been meeting weekly since mid February. We are grateful for the meaningful work and excited about expanding our root system over the coming years. 

 

A few points of interest:

  1. This decision is really more personal than it is public (yes, it’s ironic that I’m doing a post about it).
  2. It is deepening everything that I have done in my church and musical past.
  3. Though much of religion can be stifling, my hope for the Church has never been brighter. I believe that much of the Anglican practice is what will help bring balance and further movement to the Church as a whole.

 

If you are curious, there are a few books that would further feed your curiosity. Thomas McKenzie’s book The Anglican Way is one of the most recent. It is a great starting point. You could also check out Beyond Smells and BellsThe Accidental Anglican, and  Evangelicals On The Canterbury Trail... or just join us one Sunday at Luminous Parish.

 

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Advent - Silence

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Advent - Silence

Then hear now the silence

He comes in the silence

in silence he enters

the womb of the bearer

in silence he goes to

the realm of the shadows

redeeming and shriving

in silence he moves from

the grave cloths, the dark tomb

in silence he rises

ascends to the glory

leaving his promise

leaving his comfort

leaving his silence

So come now, Lord Jesus

Come in your silence

breaking our noising

laughter of panic

breaking this earth’s time

breaking us breaking us

quickly Lord Jesus

make no long tarrying

When will you come

and how will you come

and will we be ready

for silence

your silence

-Madeleine L’Engle “Ready for Silence”

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Shaming

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Shaming

Shame [sheym] noun

  1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
  2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
  3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.

When used as a verb, it may say more about the person using it than it does about the victim. Make no mistake, in some situations we can be the victim and the aggressor.

Think about the moments that you have been subjected to shame. Someone in a classroom projecting it upon you perhaps. A “friend” using it to gain some delusional ground on you. Yourself… heaping an invisible dose of it around your neck; allowing it to effect every situation, decision, and relationship in our path. Anyone in any circle will eventually find that shame has no staying power. It may do damage, but eventually it will be revealed for what it is.

Church, shame is a cheap substitute for conviction.

Shame has no place in our faith, relationships, or work. Friends, shame is an insecure method of connection that will never end in true community. Co-workers, there’s just no place for it in the office; It’s simply not endearing, and we can smell it's toxins.

NO one can be shamed into believing. There is no belief there, just emptiness and frustration. Ben Franklin once said “whatever is begun in anger ends in shame”. If this is true, this is very telling of anyone using shame as one of their tactics or techniques.

It attempts to steal hope and life from us. It should have no place and we should walk out of the room when and if we feel it’s presence. It is poison.

Richard Rohr says the Church became so preoccupied with the fly in the ointment, the flaw in the beauty that we forgot and even missed out on any original blessing. We saw Jesus primarily as a problem-solver rather than as a revealer of the very heart and image of God (Colossians 1:15f). We must now rebuild on a foundation of goodness, and not on a foundation of original curse (or sin). We dug a pit so deep that most people and most theologies could not get back out of it. You must begin with yes. We cannot begin with no, or it is not a beginning at all.

May we spread hope, not venom. May we bring peace, not hurt and chaos.

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Hope

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Hope

We all need hope. Sometimes we forget about it until we realize our need of it. At times, the word itself seems empty and unattainable. Hope is mentioned anytime anyone aspires to encourage, rally, or inspire the masses. It resonates in our minds, hearts, and souls. It resonates because we are all in need of hope. Hope for a better, brighter tomorrow. Churchill said, “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

Hope teaches. Hope is active. Hope doesn’t sleep. Hope stands up. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -MLK Jr. Have hope. Hold it close. Never let go of it. Most of all, give it. Prayer has historically been a source of hope for humanity. The connection with human health and prayer has been studied for decades. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind/ body medicine discovered what he calls "the relaxation response," which occurs during periods of prayer and meditation. His studies have found that the body's metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and breathing becomes more calm.

This state is correlated with slower brain waves, and feelings of control, tranquil alertness and peace of mind. This is significant because Benson estimates that over half of all doctor visits in the U.S. today are prompted by illnesses, like depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and migraine headaches, that are caused at least in part by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.

In Scripture we glean wisdom and insight not to be missed. There is much to learn from the margins; those parts of the stories that aren’t the main storyline. In most of the early text of Scripture where prayer is mentioned, you will find prayer and meditation. If we are more actively grasping for the words to voice our prayers instead of meditating on a Passage or verse while being still and silent, we are missing the full meaning and purpose of prayer. Hope rings out in the stillness of prayer and meditation.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

-Saint Francis of Assisi

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