My name is Tom Harbold (formally The Rev. Mr. Thomas H. Harbold), and I am “The Anglophilic Anglican.” I am a native of the State of Maryland, in the United States of America. I am a deeply devoted and patriotic citizen of these United States, dedicated to and proud of the Constitutional, representative Republic which we were bequeathed by our Founders, and appreciative of its history and heritage.
But I have also long been a deeply appreciative observer of the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland), their history, culture, and prehistory/archaeology, and I also have a great admiration for the British Monarchy: both its current Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the institution itself. As my friend Ryan Hunter has phrased it, in his excellent essay “Why I am a Monarchist,”
“I believe, and thousands of years of history have shown, that a man or woman instructed from youth in the art of government, a person who is trained from childhood to see their rule as a sacred duty, a solemn service, and a public stewardship rather than an earned right, governs more benignly, sincerely, capably, and nobly than someone who has either taken power through brute force, violent revolution, or contested elections. Democratic elections are an extraordinary thing in that they propose that, upon being elected, a politician who has previously been partisan, divisive, and factious will somehow, almost magically, cease to be partisan, divisive, and factious upon taking office. I believe it is the very height of naivete to believe that a popularly elected, partisan politician can somehow serve as a supra-political, unifying figure.”
Since 1989, I have also found my spiritual home within the Anglican tradition – interpreted broadly – of the Christian faith. I am both a spiritual and theological Anglican, deeply valuing the fact that, in the words of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, the classical Anglican tradition
“has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.”
In addition, I value the classical Anglican tradition of theological discourse – often described as the “three-legged stool” of Scripture, Tradition (or Antiquity), and (sanctified) Reason. All are necessary to ensure orthodoxy; an unbalanced appeal to any tends to almost inevitably result in heresy, and frequently schism as well.
I am also a cultural and aesthetic Anglican, deeply valuing the nearly two thousand year old history, heritage, and traditions of the Ecclesia Anglicana (“English Church,” including within its own heritage the Celtic Christian tradition as well) which, considered thus broadly, is the spiritual heritage of at least two-thirds of my ancestry: English, Scots, and a touch of Irish, the remainder being mostly German with a splash of Swedish and French Hugenot.
I am deeply fond of the classical Anglican trait of doing “all things decently and in order,” of the euphonious language and solid doctrine of the classical Books of Common Prayer (1549 to 1662 in the UK, 1789 to 1928 in the US) – and of course, the Authorized, a.k.a. “King James,” Version of the Scriptures – and of the glorious English choral tradition which enriches Anglican worship.
I am blessed to have been received into a traditional “Continuing” Anglican jurisdiction – the United Episcopal Church of North America – as a Deacon, God willing on my way to the priesthood. Thus the title of this blog: The Anglophilic Anglican. For that is indeed what I am!
I hold a B.A. in medieval studies from then-Western Maryland College (now “McDaniel College”) a small, private, liberal-arts college recognized as one of the top forty American “Colleges that Change Lives,” and a Master of Theological Studies from the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University, a well-regarded “Southern Ivy” institution: then the second-ranked divinity school in the nation.
I also hold a certificate in park management with a concentration in environmental education. Love of history, and of Nature and the out-of-doors, have been the two consuming interests and passions of my life, and in fact my sense of vocation includes the desire to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which have been strained and, all too often, broken by our contemporary techno-industrial society.
At the same time, I also seek to do my bit to promote and restore respect, and even reverence, for “the Good, the True, and the Beautiful,” – the three transcendental values, according to the Western Classical tradition – in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three. To borrow a phrase or two from the owner / administrator of “Architectural Revival” on Facebook, I stand for Beauty, Tradition, Heritage, Order, and Craft, recognizing that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created.
My mental meaderings on this blog will undoubtedly also veer down a number of more-or-less related paths – albeit not always obviously so – from things having to do with the British Isles (present or past) and their peoples, and Europe more generally, to other areas of interest for me, including Nature and the outdoors (of course!), cooking and gardening, living history, and many more.
In particular, I have a strong interest – and some background – in traditional / sustainable agriculture, having spent five years working on an education farm using natural farming techniques (organic in practice, though not certified as such). I have also done costumed historic interpretation involving traditional farming and foodways. So food, farming, and nutrition will also be featured.
UPDATE (3/9/2017): I have heretofore been fairly intentional in trying to keep modern politics out of this blog, with only a few exceptions (Brexit being a major one, but that is very much in keeping with the “Anglophilic” aspect). I am beginning to question whether that position remains tenable.
We live in challenging times, politically, morally, economically, and socially, as well as philosophically and spiritually. At present, this blog is my only real “voice” in that discussion — leaving Facebook aside, which I do for a variety of reasons, including that it’s such a chaotic cacophony of voices that it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, and because posts thereon have such an extraordinarily short “shelf-life.”
Therefore, you may be seeing an increase in posts with political or meta-political themes here — coming, of course, from the same generally conservative, traditionalist, and pro-British (and more generally, pro-European) perspective this blog has always held. I hope you find them — and this blog as a whole — interesting and, perhaps, helpful, rather than otherwise. May God bless your own journey, wherever it may take you, and I welcome your prayers for this one of mine.
Disclaimer: While it should go without saying, I would like to make it clear that the opinions found herein are mine, and (unless expressly noted to the contrary) do not represent the opinions, perspectives, viewpoints, or policies of my employer(s), my ecclesiastical jurisdiction, or my institutions of higher learning. If you don’t like something you see here, don’t blame them – blame me!
Nota Bene: Finally, if you do like something you see here, and would like to support this ongoing project and its author, please consider making a donation through my Patreon account. I would be very grateful.