Sunday, November 28, 2004

Baby, It's Cold Outside... 

...I really can't stay! Errr...well...anyway...moving on. I've returned to Chicago and the song speaks the truth. The snow we got has all been dissolved by the rain we had yesterday morning, so I did not get to see any of it. No loss though, as I'm sure it will be pounding down on us soon enough. The flight was delayed leaving Fort Myers for 2 hours yesterday because of delays on the ground in Chicago - typical. That left me with not much to do other than the few books I brought with me. So, I read a bit in each, cycling through them when I got bored with the last. On the trip home I read about half of Jeff Lee's Opening the Prayer Book and it is very good; a must read for any Episcopalian. I've really become quite interested recently in liturgy and the history of liturgical change. Jeff's book covers that ground fairly modestly but it is enough to whet my appetite. I also read about a quarter of N.T. Wright's small book (really more of a glorified pamphlet) entitled For All the Saints?: Remembering the Christian Departed. It is short, as I mention, but it is dense, if well written, reading. It challenges contemporary conceptions of afterlife and highlights the fact that the majority of current beliefs are unsupported by scripture. So, when I grew tired of that, and really churchy non-fiction all together, I drew out The Stand and finished it up. A 1200 page book by Stephen King is like reading a 400 page novel by anyone else; it takes about the same amount of time. I enjoyed the book this time around too, though slightly less than the last time I read it. It didn't strike me as being as tightly woven as it could have been, and damn well should have been for a 1200 pager, and many of the characters seemed flat. Still though, it was a fun read and an engaging story. Now, in the fiction department, I am on to Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Seville Communion. It is a mystery/thriller novel that features the church and sometimes I can be a sap for those kinds of stories if they're well written, Dan Brown notwithstanding. 12 pages into it, it seems ok so far.

I write all this having just returned from worship at St. Luke's in Evanston, which wasn't nearly as exciting as I had anticipated. The vestiges of high churchmanship are present, but they don't seem to have the spirit of it. The music was dull but the sermon was good (preached by former Seabury Dean, Jim Lemler), and the liturgy was fairly run of the mill. They boasted a sung service at 10am, but it was actually said, bringing further disappointment to this high church seeking visitor. I want to learn high churchmanship because I find it fascinating and an engaging way to worship, but I don't really know how to go about doing it. I grew up in a church that is more high than low, but still not totally high. Despite that, I found myself thinking this morning, "We're more high church in spirit at St. Hilary's than they are in practice at St. Luke's." All that aside, it was still a positive worship experience.



Talk with Fr. Jeff Reich, or even David Hedges. I'm sure they can point you in the right direction for high church stuff. You might even get a good lead for a primo field ed spot next year.

By Blogger Reverend Ref +, at 7:13 PM  

I'm right with you on the high-church liturgy, Ryan - I think it's fascinating, and although there may have been some merit at first to the movement away from "religion" towards a more casual, contemporary Christianity, the more I look at churches today the less I like the casual "come-as-you-are-even-if-that's-cutoff-jean-shorts-and-an-Eminem-t-shirt" attitude. You've heard me say this before regarding Latin and the Catholic Mass - that there's something to be said for elevating yourself to the level of the service and not bringing the service down to your level - and I find the high church services I've been privileged to attend, both in Chicago and, well, just in Chicago, to be interesting and all the more spiritual. There's just something neat about looking around a very ornate church and looking at a very decorated service and constantly asking "Why is that there? What does that carving symbolize?" Religion for the thinking man.

ZAX out,

By Blogger BrotherBeal, at 7:21 PM  

If you find a good place for that kind of learning, please let me know! I grew up fairly low church, but find that's not really where my own piety leads me - except that that's all I know.

By Blogger Beth, at 10:04 PM  

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