FROM THE EDITOR
11 Reasons Why I love the Episcopal Church
(by Ben Irwin)
6. The way you can simply be, if that’s all you can do.
You feel it sometimes when you visit a new church. The hungry looks, sizing you up as another potential cog in the church wheel. The pressure to join this program, sign up for that group, volunteer at this event… all before anyone’s even learned your name.
I’ve been part of two Episcopal churches now, and neither one has been like that. They’ve given me space to just be. They’ve let me move at my own pace. To quote Jonathan Martin again, they’ve been places where “I can love and be loved as a human being, without my gifts or my life being commodified in any way.” Or as Lindsey Harts put it, “It’s the only place I’ve ever stepped foot into that didn’t seem to expect something of you.”
It’s not that the Episcopal Church won’t invite you to become more deeply connected. They will. But they seem to get that each person is different—and, more importantly, that people are not commodities.
(That said, if you hang around long enough, watch out. They might ask you to join the vestry when you least expect it.)
7. The way their worship can be deeply moving without resorting to emotional manipulation.
When a church tells me how I should feel (“Clap if you’re excited about Jesus!”), it smacks of inauthenticity. Sometimes I don’t feel like clapping. Sometimes I need to worship in the midst of my brokenness and confusion—not in spite of it and certainly not in denial of it.
In contrast to the standard worship formula of so many churches, “the liturgy does not try to coerce everyone into the same emotional experience,” as Jonathan Martin writes, “but in its corporate unity strangely creates space for us all to have a very personal experience of God.”
Sometimes when you stop trying to manufacture a particular emotion, you stumble into something even more profound and beautiful than you could have imagined.
See you in church.