Sunday, October 29, 2006

The "E" Word

"E"vangelical that is. I enjoyed Fr. Dunbar's sermon on the basis of Anglican Evangelism. The reactions to the Beaufort revival were similar to our response to "Faith Alive." As with any effort where changing one's spiritual place is the goal, there will be resistance as well as acceptance. We need to be open to the voice of change. We should not have it forced upon us. The true Evangelist speaks with the spirit of Truth and should not need to coerce or to dictate to us how to worship, pray, think, or behave. Today's anthem by Faber "There's a Wideness..." does what the Evangelist should do, giving us thought changing ideas but not demanding change.

"For the love of God is broader than the measures of our mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind. But we make that love too narrow by the limits of our own; and we magnify God's strictness with a zeal Love will not own.
There is grace enough for thousands of new worlds as great as this; there is room for fresh creations in that endless world of bliss. If our love were but more simple we would trust the living Word; and our lives would fill with gladness in the joy of Christ our Lord."

There is room enough for Evangelism too.


  1. TravellingMercies12:42 AM

    I too enjoyed Bobby Dunbar's sermon on Evangelicism, particularly the historical parts--I thought it wandered off a little at the end when there was no definition of what modern Evangelicism means to many many people. Frankly, to me it means the crookedness and hatred covered in a faux cloth of religion that we see coming from Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and the ugly excesses of the religious right. I have never experienced an evangelical who was interested in an exchange of opinions---or who frankly had more than a 6th grade education. There is, I'm sure a place in heaven for people who believe the world is flat, that God created the world in 7 24 hour days, and that any learning and science is a threat to religion---however there will not be a place in my house for them.

    Anne Lamott speaks of the current wave of evangelists who are eagerly anticipating the end of the world as "people who are spiritualizing their own hysteria." I think that's a wonderful comment.

    The best part of the service was the choir, which, as Pewster pointed out, sang the beautiful hymn "There is a wideness in God's mercy" about being called to but not bullied about different beliefs. Often music brings me closer to God than any part of the service and this, with all respect to Bobby was one of those times.

  2. If the proof is in the pudding (as Bobby says), the current wave of evangelicals seem to be making an uncongealed nutty soup rather than the firm foundation for future Christians created by earlier evangelicals. Let us pray that we might hear the Word through our own Church and its time tested methods.