the methods and means of procrastination

the words are smarter than you are.
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I am currently on a campaign to renew our membership in the great communion with God and all his flunkies. (read: Find a church) This is actually much harder than it seems since we are still working on it a year and a half later. Our problems range from our tendency to be discerning (read:picky) , to taking covenant seriously enough not to just go hang out with any joe smoe with a bible. (read:elitest)

The reality of it is we are rolling the dice often on Sunday's. I realised today, as I sat in on a barebones rite II service, how elitest the episcopal service/message must sound to anyone who is not episcopal. After spending many a Sunday at an evangelical free/congregation of community/presby/penticostal service being told I'm accepted and one of many; today's episcopal service was more like a quick run down on how the episcopal congregation (read:lay-priests) can help their congregations, (read: friends, family and those around them). Like it was a tips and tricks session, or seminar. The language is empowering. [note: There was nothing wrong with this service. It was a standard prep and delivery that I've seen many times over. ]

But this time I realized there's some subtle drift in message between an evangical experience to an epsicopal experience that goes something like:

EFree/Community: "I'm human, your human, God loves us all, no really don't get up"
Episcopal: "you are a holy preisthood that should get up off its ass and minister to your flock. See you next week for our secret hand shake meeting."

Not that you see the episcopal congregation actually DO anything after getting that message. But if you look at the actual service in the BCP and how priests are now trained these days at seminary to deliever their homilies and procide over a service, you get a very different feel. And I can see where if you are feeling like crap, you might easily edit that mentally to mean: "Oh, they don't mean me. I'm a helpless, powerless, individual. I have no rock solid ethics, let alone a ministry. I'm going to listen to the pretty songs." It also explains why the priest's character can be completely severed from his or her duties at the altar, with no one the wiser. The words are smarter than you are, in a sense. The service could be done by a monkey. It is fail-safe.

I can't speak for the eFree group. Maybe they are opposite - the episcopal service is empowering, where as the EFree experience is empowering, I don't know.

So the episcopal service is great because it expects great things from its congregants. The service sets itself up for failure for the exact same reason. It is an example of how only through God's presense could the ideal projected by the language of the service be brought into congruence with the reality of people celebrating it.

This is why I like Rite I better. At least it acknowledges our faults as well as our ideals.

[note: On a side note, I adore this resource because they have targets set up for each page, which any episcopalian will tell you, is the only way to get around a service. I had page 355 etched in my brain for most of my growing up.

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