A Few More Imagination Redeemed Reflections

In my last post, I shared some initial takeaways on this year’s Your Imagination Redeemed conference. For this post, I’ll share . . . MORE takeaways from the conference! Here they are:

4. Know Your Goal as an Artist

I was the moderator for a panel on the Christian music and the Christian radio industry. The panelists were musicians whose work doesn’t fit the Christian radio formula. But none of them seemed frustrated by that for one simple reason: their goals weren’t to be on Christian radio.

Instead, they focused on creating music that would actually have an effect on people. As one of the panelists (Hi, Teressa!) explained, she realized her goal at an Andrew Peterson concert. She realized how many of the folks in the audience were welling up at his songs. Her goal was to have a career like that–create music that connected to people on that deep level. Getting on the big radio stations was an afterthought.

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Not the Enemy

I meant to post this a couple days after the election, but a combination of work trips and Thanksgiving held me back. That’s probably a good thing. When your country just elected a reality star as president and you spend the next day staring out the window wondering if the whole world has gone insane, hot takes aren’t healthy. So instead, here’s my cold take…

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How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 4

In my last post, I rejected a perfectly fine church because it wasn’t perfect enough. In this post, I finally find a church that is utterly perfect. On paper. I also realize the endgame of my cynical perfectionism.

Googling

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles for law school, I googled “Anglican churches LA” on a Saturday night. I didn’t expect to find anything. Instead, I stumbled onto a link for something called St. John’s Anglican Church.1 Shrugging, I clicked on it. It was one of those “continuing Anglican” movements that broke from the Episcopal Church years earlier to maintain doctrinal purity.

I read their website with widening eyes. They checked every box on my dream list. Apostolic Succession: check. Commitment to sound doctrine: check. High Mass: check. They even had Orthodox icons along the side of their web pages.

After years of toil, I allowed myself to hope. Was my rejection of all other churches about to be rewarded? Continue reading “How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 4”

How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 3

In my last post, I discussed my four requirements for a perfect church. They were:

  • A feeling of antiquity
  • High church trappings
  • Minimal change or commitment from me
  • Perfect doctrinal blend of liberalism and conservatism

When I moved back to Colorado Springs, my quest was to find a church with all of these qualities. I figured that in a city with that many churches, one of them was bound to suit me in every way. For instance, maybe there was…

  • Some pastor with hip glasses and a neck tattoo who started a church in a renovated train station downtown. Amidst the Victorian spindles and chandeliers, our services would employ some ancient, underappreciated Rite you’ve probably never heard of–Celtic maybe. Afterwards we would all ride our bikes to the new coffee place to sip espresso and discuss the trendiest new social causes.

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How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 2

Last time, I described my love of the Anglo-Catholicism of St. Mary Magdalene’s Church in Oxford.1 But alas, my fairy tale love could never last.

The first reason is obvious enough. When the semester abroad ended, I had to go back to America. And there aren’t any thousand year old churches here.2

But the Mary Mag’s experience couldn’t last for a more fundamental reason. It was a rushing confluence of things–being in a new country, learning a new theological tradition, experiencing new ceremonies and sacraments, and meeting new and interesting people. And I was doing all of this with a group of evangelical classmates who were enamored by the same newness as me. Continue reading “How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 2”

How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 1

My family and I go to International Anglican Church1 in Colorado Springs. For those interested in such things, it’s part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). We think it’s a great church, and we’re happy and content.

But it took me a long time to get to “happy and content.” And I ignored a lot of perfectly fine churches along the way. Maybe you’ve been there too: so enamored with the thought of a “perfect church” that you refuse to see the good in other churches.

In this series, I’ll share the lessons from my too-long search for the perfect church, and how my cynicism kept me from being content. Continue reading “How to NOT Be a Cynic at Church: Part 1”

Why I Like My Grandma’s Church

As any cynic knows, the easiest targets are previous generations. It’s simple for millennials to be cynical toward people who are older than us:

  • They’ve already had a shot at running the world. That means all remaining problems must be the result of them screwing up.
  • They have different views of morality and propriety. This obviously means they’re prudish, bigoted, narrow-minded, and generally wicked.
  • They’re, well, old. So we can point to hilarious examples of why they’re silly–look at those old people with their sagging skin and high pants and McDonalds coffee! They can’t even use Facebook right!

When cynics look further into the past, things get even easier. We can make whatever sarcastic joke we want. It could be unfair, and even untrue (Victorians were afraid of sex! Puritans hated fun! The Middle Ages were full of ignorant superstition!). It still sticks.

Continue reading “Why I Like My Grandma’s Church”