Street Anglicans – The Main Thing
What is the main thing of Anglican Evangelical Christianity? In my previous post, I observed a North American cultural phenomenon – most people do not recognize the word “Anglican.”
That was confirmed again today.
That Awkward Moment
Once a month, my usual practice is to get a haircut at one of the local hair cutteries. Because of my own mild personal vanity, I try to find a barber (or stylist) who has some experience. When I find a good one, I generally stick with them.
Much to my dismay, however, my barber quit and went to another place outside of my radius of willingness to drive. Back to square one.
So I braved the chair with yet another new person. Predictably, out of good American etiquette the inevitable question was asked. “So what do you do for a living.”
My response: “I’m an Anglican minister.”
Then follows the “awkward moment.” I like to wait 30 to 60 seconds to see what happens next. I have learned that what immediately follows will generally guide the conversation one way or the other. Generally, bafflement followed by a follow up question usually follows.
Man on the Street
This interpersonal phenomenon reminds of me comedy sketches frequently featured by late night talk shows – “man on the street interviews.” Here’s the premise. An interviewer will ask a random person on a street a general question “that they should know the answer too.” For example, “who is running for President of the United States in 2016?” You can already figure out the punchline. They always find that one person.
The responses sometimes are hysterical. One YouTube video features a man being questioned as to whether or not he thought Richard Nixon had a shot at running for the 2016 presidential bid. His response, “Yeah I think he has a slight chance.” Really? Obviously the person did not know who Richard Nixon was or who was running for president in 2016.
Similar problems arise when I rattle off the name of our tribe, Anglican. The person may be polite but probably doesn’t have a clue what an Anglican actually is.
This is the every day world in which I live.
The Main Thing
The online rhetoric following the Primatial gathering reminds me of a point made by leadership guru Steven Covey. He said, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” When we lose site of what is important, what is within our realm of influence and our immediate context, we can easily lose focus.
While Primatial meetings do have an effect, they are secondary effects. Primary effects are those matters essential to everyday life. While the efforts of the primates were necessary, we have already seen that it will not fundamentally change local parish life. At least not in the foreseeable future.
Here is my concern for this writing. True life changing internal transformation of the heart and soul of individuals is still the best source of restoration for any church. Why? Internal transformation of the heart is the work of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. When a parish continues to preach repentance from sin and transformation in Christ, the church can not help but grow.
I heard Mike Breen say it best, “If you make disciples, you always get the church.” Perhaps what may surprise you is how our Anglican heritage reflects this same idea.
“The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men [and women], in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same “(Articles of Religion, 19).
Disciple making requires preaching and teaching the pure “Word of God.” When we continue to introduce people to Jesus Christ and his word, the church follows. The counter is also true. When the Word of God is no longer preached, the church eventually disappears and replaced by some “other” institution. Fundamentally then, the main thing is to keep sharing the love of the Father, his forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus, and the transformed life available through the Spirit.