For those just tuning in, the next couple weeks I am continuing to visit St Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Not because I think I’ve found a spiritual home, or because I have found Episcopal is my new brand of choice- nope. But because the church happens to be giving a very interesting series of talks on what Episcopalians believe (or are supposed to believe).
I am noticing that visitors in a new church can belong instantly if they 1) act like they know the pastor AND 2) act like they own the place. People are starting to assume I’ve been coming to church for a long while and they just didn’t notice me before, and I think it’s because I wander the church like it’s my church. And I do talk easily with anyone willing to talk to me including the priest. (I talk a lot btw.) It also makes it easier to ‘sneak in’ to churches where new members don’t get the mob welcome. You may attend for a long while before getting to know most of the other members. It’s something I used to notice a lot from Catholic churches as well. (Big surprise right?)
This past Sunday I heard a bit more about Catholic Queen Mary and her putting back of all the Catholic stuff. Then she died and the Catholic stuff went away AGAIN. Those people in England must have been SO confused. And Queen Elizabeth had a total mess to deal with politically and religious-wise. They were so tied together back in the day.
This project is bringing out so much unexpected stuff. The articles of religion this week went from 10-13. As it turns out, the 39 articles of religion are mostly about how Anglicans are like Catholics and how they are not like Catholics. And apparently about how I am like neither. Article XIII (13) is about how good works which are done outside of the knowledge of Christ are not pleasing to God and have the nature of sin. That’s right, the Anglican church says good works are really not good enough if you don’t believe in God and Jesus. It even calls them sinful. The “atheist down the street” we heard about who does good stuff still isn’t as good as the Christian with Jesus in his heart. And further, the Christian does not have to try to do good works because (from several articles before that one) if he has faith, good works naturally follow. This idea is nice in a fairytale kind of way, but I don’t think it can be right in the context of reality. At least not all the time. I am sure there are atheists who do more good works than I do. Just because I believe in someone does not mean I get a free pass to never push myself to do good works. And I doubt the good things done by an atheist count for less than the ones I do. A good thing is a good thing. So I’m calling bullstuff on article 13. Of course if the actual article was amended to the explanation I got regarding doing works to please yourself or gain respect as sinful, that’s another story. But it’s not. Well, maybe it should be.