Two Cents on a “Controversial” Homily

It’s weird to use the word “controversy” for a 13-minute homily at a nominally-religious famous person’s wedding. But last week, that’s exactly what happened in a certain niche of evangelical social media.

The subject was Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Here’s a video of his homily. My pastor, Ken Robertson, had a good summary of the controversy on his Facebook page:

Archbishop Curry’s sermon (and the response to it) proves two things, I think:

  1. People are still captivated by passionate proclamation. Preaching is NOT an outdated, less-than form of communicating the gospel: it lies right at the center of God’s work of making all things right. Always has, always will.
  2. People heard very different things in this sermon: everything from “the heart of the gospel” to a “false gospel” (both phrases from my timeline). It almost reminds me of Yanni vs. Laurel!

I think that was spot on. Especially for we Anglicans in the ACNA, our opinion of the homily has as much to say about our own backgrounds as the homily itself.

Continue reading “Two Cents on a “Controversial” Homily”

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”

Enter the Hero Missionary

I was seventeen, sitting in my high school’s weekly chapel, and picturing my future self. I called him Missionary Matt, and he was super cool:

I’m in a thatched-hut village in the Congo. I kneel beside a war orphan, checking his ears for infection and telling jokes to lighten his mood. The sun beats through the ferns, bronzing my arms and beading sweat on my skin-tight v-neck. Finishing the treatment, I stand up and pat the boy on the head. He scampers off to his family, prattling about this amazing American stranger. I stride toward the Chief to discuss the well I’m building for the village. But then my Bantu friend, Shaka, bursts through the underbrush with wild eyes. Western poachers have entered the jungle, he cries, and they’re after the gorillas! Nodding, I grab my machete and bullwhip from the jeep, readjust my cowboy hat, and barrel into the heart of darkness. Continue reading “Enter the Hero Missionary”