I’m a fairly Progressive and Ecumenical Christian, however, I like the label “Anglo-Catholidoxpalian,” which is a term I coined that seeks to express my ecumenical and inclusive ecclesiology and faith. I share this term and description of where I’m at religiously because I grew up what I call Baptocostal, attended a private school that was part of the Restoration Movement (Church of Christ/Christian Church), trained as a preacher at Johnson University (Restoration Movement), was Anglo-Orthodox Episcopalian, and then Eastern Orthodox for a few years. Being “Anglo-Catholidoxpalian,” allows me to take in so much from a plethora of sources within the greater Christian Tradition and Church Universal. I affirm the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds with my whole heart.
The term is all encompassing for my love of Orthodox theology (albeit not its ecclesiology), my high church liturgical leanings, Episcopal view of leadership, and appreciation of Anabaptist ethics. However, I’m also highly appreciative of many other aspects of several Christian Traditions and have no issues, per se, with inner-faith and inner-denominational dialogue and work. I certainly can pray and worship with many Christians.
I’m currently attending Hopwood Christian Church (however, I’m not a member nor will I become a member), which is a Christian Church congregation. They have an ecumenical, liturgical service called Adoration that’s a mix of many Christian beliefs and practices from many rich Traditions. However, I consider myself a vagabond in the Hallway of Christianity, per C.S. Lewis, and don’t consider myself part of the Restoration Movement Tradition.
I often get asked why I left the Orthodox Church after so zealously becoming Orthodox several years ago. Since this is about my faith and spirituality, the following are about my departure from the Orthodox Church:
- Shame and My Spirituality
- Lying Aside My Umbrella of Shame
- ByzantinExit: My Non-Shame Related Reasons for Withdrawing from the Eastern Orthodox Church
This post I want to share as a further glimpse into where I’m at with my faith and those who differ from it:
TO conclude, this Thomas Merton quote, and those that follow, sums up my ecclesiology and approach towards Christian Traditions and Faith Traditions:
If I can unite in myself the thought and the devotion of Eastern and Western Christendom, the Greek and the Latin Fathers, the Russians with the Spanish mystics, I can prepare in myself the reunion of divided Christians. From that secret and unspoken unity in myself can eventually come a visible and manifest unity of all Christians. If we want to bring together what is divided, we cannot do so by imposing the one division upon the other or absorbing one division into the other … We must contain all divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in Christ.”
The Christian does not need a statement of belief beyond the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. In my experience affirming anything beyond these ancient texts and their emphasis on the story of the triune God made flesh in Jesus and in the church, leads to an overemphasis on secondary matters, even to the making of idols.” -Fr. Kenneth Tanner
We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It’s difficult and stubborn. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know, a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt, in a never-ending conversation with it, and sometimes in conscious defiance of it.” -Leslie Hazleton
Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.” – Rumi, Sufi poet
The world today is fast becoming one. Humanity is one, God is one, and mankind are all part of one human family. All religions are connected, and they all lead to faith in the one God. No matter what name we give him he is but one God.” -Naeem Abdullah, “Islam: A Favor to Humanity”
The tendency to equate faith with doctrine, and then argue terminology and concepts, distracts us from what faith is actually about. Faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have–it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our own deepest experiences.” -Share Salzberg, “Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience”