Many of us have considered swimming the Tiber, some have swum the Bosporus, some, including one of our founders here, have swum both, looking for an authentic presentation of our Faith. Tom Raabe at Real Clear Religion has some thoughts on another aquatic journey. He thinks, perhaps, some Evangelicals [and perhaps others] might want to consider swimming the Mississippi.
Reasons for their aquatic activities vary. Some like the art and architecture associated with the ancient faiths. Some like the ceremonial aspects–the liturgies, the veneration of icons, the Eucharist. Some like the history that oozes from Catholicism and Orthodoxy, a history that travels through great saints of yesteryear–through Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, and Gregory of Nazianzus–but goes largely forgotten in contemporary evangelicalism.
Church-switching among evangelicals has always been popular. It’s become even more so now that so much of the conservative Protestant world has fled so purposely from symbolic architecture and time-honored aesthetics, and has chosen to worship in big boxy rooms with giant worship screens, all-enveloping sound systems, and Chris Tomlin-wannabes singing from the stage. Catholicism and Orthodoxy certainly offer something different from what goes on in that environment.
But evangelicals interested in “swimming” to a different tradition should consider traversing a body of water much closer to home: the Mississippi River, on which is located St. Louis, Missouri, and the headquarters of the premier conservative Lutheran church body in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
He has a point, several in fact, one thing he says, and I want to emphasize is that when we do this we are not changing teams, at worst we are changing positions.
Go ahead and read his article linked above, in many ways, I think he’s got some very good reasoning on his side, especially as the world looks now.
In another although related matter, have you been listening to what Kanye West has been saying? What he is saying, and singing, I guess, not having heard his new album (or any others), sounds better than what many of our priests, pastors, bishops, archbishops, and sundry other Faith leaders are saying. Does he mean it, or is he trying to revive his career? Who knows, but we are the people who believe in redemption, so I think it incumbent to welcome him. One thing that struck Kylee Zempel at The Federalist, and it does me too, is that he is confessing, no he is proclaiming that Jesus is King, and we need to obey him.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that is one of the hardest things about Christianity. Obeying the Lord. If he actually lives that, or even tries, and so far he seems to be, that is a very long step to Salvation.
In Closed on Sunday (Too bad you British let your LGBTQWERTY folks run out the best American fast food and a Christian company) he sings:
Raise our sons, train them in the faith
Through temptations, make sure they’re wide awake
Follow Jesus, listen and obey
No more livin’ for the culture, we nobody’s slave
Stand up for my home
Even if I take this walk alone
I bow down to the King upon the throne
My life is His, I’m no longer my own.
How many of us manage to live that way? If he can, then God is indeed working in him. And so, while I doubt I become a fan of his, I certainly hope we can welcome him to our fellowship. We’re due some representation in cultural matters.
Praise God in all you do.