Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I still haven't found what I'm looking for

As an Anglo-Catholic with a strong desire for traditional liturgy and theology, living in one of the bluest of blue states at a time when traditionalists have almost entirely left ECUSA, it’s hard to find an appropriate Anglican parish of the sort that was quite common in the 1960s or 1970s.

It somewhat reminds me of a familiar (and moving) song by Christian singer Paul David Hewson:
I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for.
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for.
Although this song is oriented towards a seeker mentality, it does hint at a deeper spirtual longing faced by almost anyone at some point in their life.

Still, it’s not a song I would think to play on a Sunday morning in a church sanctuary. But then, I’m not a liturgical innovator commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury:
The ideas for alternative-style worship are part of an initiative launched by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to appeal to the younger generation.

They are set out in a new book compiled by the Church's Fresh Expressions programme, which aims to boost church attendance with more relevant and exciting services. However, traditionalists have criticised the unorthodox services as "pointless" and "shallow", and have warned that experimenting with Church tradition would do more harm than good.

Among the alternative services explored in the book, which is co-edited by the Rt Rev Steven Croft, the new Bishop of Sheffield, are so-called "U2charists", services in which the congregation receives communion but sings the songs of the Irish rock band U2 instead of traditional hymns.

The services, which include such songs as "Mysterious Ways", "One", and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", have been pioneered at St Swithin's church in Lincoln.
Thanks to the Telegraph to find a clergyman to provide an appropriate rebuttal:
However, the Rev David Houlding, prebendary at St Paul's Cathedral, bemoaned the Church's attempt to widen its appeal.

"All this is tosh. It's just a passing fad, irrelevant, shallow and pointless," he said.

"There's no depth to it and it's embarrassing because it'll make people think that we're eccentric and silly."
It sounds like the Diocese of London has a sound and wizened prebendary (senior canon), even if its famed Christopher Wren-designed cathedral has recently acquired a theologically loose canon.

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