19 November 2009

truer words about evangelism were never spoken...

When I was Minister to Youth at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Lafayette, Louisiana, Bishop Robert Hargrove, at his annual visitation, was speaking to us about evangelism. "The Bible tells us that we are to be fishers of men. In the Episcopal Church, we think evangelism means hanging a sign out front that says, 'Fish Wanted.'"

c.s. lewis on devotional books and doctrinal books

"For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand."

From his Introduction to On the Incarnation

09 November 2009

vatican releases "anglicanorum coetibus"

A few weeks ago, the news came out that Pope Benedict XVI would be releasing an "Apostolic Constitution" (the highest level of declaration from the Holy Father) concerning the acceptance of Anglican bodies into full communion with Rome. The actual document is now available at the Vatican website.

Read the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus here.

As Bishop Iker stated last weekend at Diocesan Convention, we Anglicans who are truly concerned with the unity of Christ's Church must seek reconciliation with both Rome and the Orthodox tradition. From the bishop's speech:

'[I]f we are to work and pray for the unity of Christ’s Church throughout the world, it must involve all three bodies – Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholics. These are the three great churches of the catholic tradition, East and West, who though divided for centuries, have maintained the historic faith and order of the Church as expressed in the Holy Scriptures, the apostolic succession of ordained ministry, the sacraments and the creeds. When the New Testament speaks of the need for unity and truth among believers, it is for all members of the Body of Christ. When Jesus prays for the unity of his disciples, it is “that they all may be one.”'

04 November 2009

the unchurched prefer cathedrals to modern buildings

"People who don’t go to church may be turned off by a recent trend toward more utilitarian church buildings. By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over any other option, unchurched Americans prefer churches that look more like a medieval cathedral than what most think of as a more contemporary church building."

This is from a study by Lifeway, the Christian Education folks for the Southern Baptist Convention. My favorite part of the article is a quote from church planting expert Ed Stetzer: "Quite honestly, this research surprised us. We expected they’d choose the more contemporary options, but they were clearly more drawn to the aesthetics of the Gothic building than the run-of-the-mill, modern church building."

I hope and pray that the modern church building craze will fade away. Many with far more aesthetic sense than I have noted that the more modern a building's architecture, the more quickly it become out-of-date. Classical architecture for churches is always timely, and I believe does a better job of pointing us to God rather than drawing attention to itself (as the trendy always does). It is indeed telling that the unchurched, yearning for God, or at least for something bigger than themselves, find more fulfillment in spires than in the latest architectural fashions.

Read the whole article here.

Thanks to my friend Andy Stoddard (twitter @atstod) for pointing me to this study