"Send out Your light and Your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling." Psalm 43:3

Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Introduction and Invitation

Happy are the people whose strength is in you!
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.
Psalm 84:4

In the name of Christ, welcome, and peace. This blog is intended to be an experiment in spiritual discernment. I don't believe the world needs or wants another blog about "adventures in Anglicanism"; there are plenty of those already, and many of them do a much better job of reflecting over Anglican life and spirituality than I could hope to offer. I've no doubt I will do a fair bit of ruminating here and maybe even some pretentious preaching on occasion, but such is not my primary object. I intend to be inquiring at least as much as I am affirming, and in this spirit I hope that I may find some direction and light from fellow pilgrims (the older and wiser the better, I should think).

First, some information about myself. I was baptized and raised in the Episcopal Church. My family's faith has never been a 'Sundays only' affair. I was blessed to grow up in a loving and devoted Christian home. Though I have always been an Episcopalian, I have experienced a fairly broad spectrum of Christian tradition. My parents are primarily evangelical in their faith, and most of my friends and extended family attend other churches. My beautiful wife and I were married in the church of my boyhood. Though prior to our relationship she had almost no experience of liturgical traditions, she has since come to find herself happily at home in the Episcopal Church. Currently, I am a high school teacher in a moderately small town in Kansas. My wife and I are fairly busy these days as we raise three small children. I thank God that I may count myself so very blessed. Life is good. However, over the period of about the last year and a half, I have felt myself called to serious contemplation of how God would have me live in service to Him. I really do not see myself teaching high school kids for forty years. When I consider what it is that I can see myself doing, I often find myself in the service of the church. What this would look like I don't yet know, though I find it most natural to envision myself as called to the vocation of a parish priest; that is, after all, the context in which I have most frequently and meaningfully witnessed ordained ministry. And there is much in that vocation, on the surface, that appeals to me (I think I'm starting to gain a greater appreciation for the incredible responsibilities that lie under the surface, as well). In any event, this is clearly only the start of a journey, and I know I have much to learn, regardless of where God leads me.

This journey has led me already into considerable reflection and study. Much has been of a personal nature: What do I want to do with my life? Do I really want to become a priest? Am I fit for such a high calling? What would such a vocation entail for my family and our future? What, in fact, do I believe? Such a question as that last one has been, thus far, one of primary focus for me. And it has led me into many more questions, ultimately not personal, but universal, both general and specific. Who is God? What is the church? What of the church's claims about God and human existence? What does it mean to live a life of faithfulness to God? And on and on. 

All of which brings me here. I feel, at this point in time, that what I very much need is some guidance. I hope to find some light as I muse over these and other questions in subsequent posts, and I sincerely hope that some fellow pilgrims may feel called to occasionally help me along the way. In addition, I crave (and yes, need) Christian community, community that strengthens my soul and sharpens my intellect, community that calls me ever onward in my pilgrimage to realize the coming of God's Kingdom, community that calls me ever back to the foundation laid by apostles on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ, community that cares deeply about things that matter in the midst of a society entertaining and distracting itself to death. Frankly, I think an electronic medium such as this is a poor substitute for true living in community. Nevertheless, I pray that God will use this blog to provide guidance for a pilgrim, and maybe even some worthwhile sustenance for others in fellowship along the way. All to His glory. 

Whatever may lie ahead, and whatever doubts I may harbor, I find great comfort in my firm conviction that God, in His perfection, will at last set all things right. In such knowledge, what cause have I to ever be without hope? I close now (after much too lengthy a post; I hope this is not setting a precedent), with one of my favorite lines from Dante:
"O Sun, that healest all distempered vision,
Thou dost content me so, when thou resolvest,
That doubting pleases me no less than knowing!"
                               The Divine Comedy, Canto XI of Inferno

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