Why Millennials Long for Liturgy | The American Conservative

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/2b8ae-img_0531.jpg?w=1021&h=681
From the New Liturgical Movement website.

Is the High Church the Christianity of the future?

Source: Why Millennials Long for Liturgy | The American Conservative

America’s youth are leaving churches in droves. One in four young adults choose “unaffiliated” when asked about their religion, according to a 2012 Public Religion Research Institute poll, and 55 percent of those unaffiliated youth once had a religious identification when they were younger. Yet amidst this exodus, some church leaders have identified another movement as cause for hope: rather than abandoning Christianity, some young people are joining more traditional, liturgical denominations—notably the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox branches of the faith. This trend is deeper than denominational waffling: it’s a search for meaning that goes to the heart of our postmodern age.

What this essay calls “the High Church” – churches, particularly those mentioned in the excerpt above, whose theology and the worship that expresses it are sacramental, liturgical, and steeped in tradition – are drawing more and more attention from a younger generation: which (if I may be so bold) sees through the often rather superficial, “feel-good,” “happy-clappy” style of worship that is known (perhaps with some irony, now) as “contemporary.”

Rather than seeking to “marry the spirit of the age” (which as Dean Inge warned, decades ago, would lead churches to become widowers), “High” churches immerse themselves in the timeless tradition of the Church Catholic, the Great Tradition of Christianity, focusing more on reverence than on “relevance.”

This does not mean that present-day considerations are irrelevant to such churches, of course; rather, it’s a matter of priorities: “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you,” as our Lord counseled (Matthew 6:33).

And this is finding resonance with many young people, who see from experience the failures and limitations of the secular, therapeutic model that has been largely dominant in mainstream churches since the late 1960s, 70s, and beyond (which is why calling this “contemporary” is more than a bit ironic). As the name of a Facebook group (founded and largely populated by millennials) of which I am a member puts, “Yes, young people do like traditional liturgy!”

From the linked article:

“If you ask me why kids are going high church, I’d say it’s because the single greatest threat to our generation and to young people nowadays is the deprivation of meaning in our lives,” Cone says. “In the liturgical space, everything becomes meaningful. In the offering up of the bread and wine, we see the offering up of the wheat and grain and fruits of the earth, and God gives them back in a sanctified form. … We’re so thirsty for meaning that goes deeper, that can speak to our entire lives, hearts, and wallets, that we’re really thirsty to be attached to the earth and to each other and to God. The liturgy is a historical way in which that happens.”

The millennial generation is seeking a holistic, honest, yet mysterious truth that their current churches cannot provide. Where they search will have large implications for the future of Christianity. Protestant churches that want to preserve their youth membership may have to develop a greater openness toward the treasures of the past. One thing seems certain: this “sacramental yearning” will not go away.

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Happy Easter! A holy and blessed Feast of the Resurrection to all my Christian readers!

Easter – Empty Tomb

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”

Luke 24:5b, Matthew 28:6

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast. Not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. – 1 Cor. v. 7.

Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more : death hath no more dominion over him.For in  that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin: but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Rom. vi. 9.

Christ is risen from the dead : and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For  since by man came death : by man came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die: even so in Christ shall all be made alive. – 1 Cor. xv. 20.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

CHURCH AND YOUTH: THE SHOCK OF THE OLD | Latest News – The Prayer Book Society

https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/39217.jpg?w=700

I have discovered that, alongside the depth that sustains my own prayer life, there is a remarkable breadth represented in the Prayer Book which, as a new generation tries to move beyond the toxic labels of the past, could provide a focal point for theological unity once more.

Source: CHURCH AND YOUTH: THE SHOCK OF THE OLD | Latest News – The Prayer Book Society

“I would, with tongue only slightly in cheek, suggest that liturgies such as Old Rite mass or Prayer Book evensong are truly inclusive, in that they are places where the churched, unchurched, and dechurched sit and allow the experience to wash over them. If even Richard Dawkins—a man who, I will admit, probably spends more time thinking about God than I do—can express affection for evensong, then I would suggest that there is an evangelistic potential in quiet dignity that we are not taking as seriously as we should. There is no introducing yourself to your neighbour, no enthusiastic hand-wringing at the Peace, no Blind Date-style “What’s your name, and where do you come from?” during the notices. There is simply the experience of being in the presence of holiness.

“For a generation for whom the majority of socialising no longer occurs face to face, and for whom encounters with anxiety are common, while ones with rooted community are not, this breathing space is invaluable. It allows a gentle introduction in terms of what is required socially, without compromising the authenticity of what is required intellectually; neither overly polarising nor overly patronising. It is a space that leaves room to contemplate mystery.”

Pure gold.

Read, mark learn, and inwardly digest.


Personal Note: I resonate strongly with this, because of my own personal history when it comes to the faith: I myself was brought (back) into it through The Book of Common Prayer. I came to the Anglican tradition in my mid-twenties. I had not grown up unchurched; far from it. Continue reading “CHURCH AND YOUTH: THE SHOCK OF THE OLD | Latest News – The Prayer Book Society”

Men Without Conviction, Churches Without People | George Weigel | First Things

https://d2ipgh48lxx565.cloudfront.net/uploads/article_5a7a50e65befd.jpg?Expires=1520574144&Signature=gQKuuu6oMS5fde28IxsnZ8OyJMprSjALwxtjYlvHWsQX5vP6AngucE-J0I9szUrEceNOxcXner1So-4oMeLAan3c3ktyivLFyoUOr~bodnMFZTlCzKyYcyeMDvex4JF1wRKQikda3lElDk-62g9k0cF1sOeVt5W1W~ZJ-P5XsftkBm-F0Y4~PI2RFQkVZxuXbcfuW04GHB2Dun8Tt4GhsiHCUoQTQSjqmcLK02J1yl6uWCo8qdx8FkiE6bKhryX1dbiLxWMSPyPztPrlwGuD2RXlLwtXXpSbCjuxyyAOYbU6Fhgk~xHMMvjDIHW05L44DYmhFnB8VeASVtOCJunyNg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIN7SVXNLPAOVDKZQ

Source: Men Without Conviction, Churches Without People | George Weigel | First Things

“Christianity is dying in western Europe. There are many reasons for that, including the complicity of many churchmen in the ideological awfulness that turned mid-twentieth-century Europe into a slaughterhouse. But the gospel has power, and those who believe that, and preach it in the conviction that it can transform and ennoble lives, can still get a hearing. Indeed, as post-modernity decomposes into ever more bizarre forms of irrationality, the cleansing, liberating truth of the gospel and the vision of life well lived found in the Beatitudes ought to be a compelling offer. “

Young people are returning to traditional faith practices

A young woman prays during the opening Mass for World Youth Day at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland.

[Emma] White is part of a growing number of young people in the Church who are embracing traditional practices. Despite the popular idea that young people have no attention span, there seems to be a deep desire to encounter God in tradition and silence. More millennials are returning to older prayers and devotions.

Source: Young people are returning to traditional faith practices

As in a number of previous instances, this is from a Roman Catholic perspective – there is not (yet) nearly enough writing on these sorts of matters from within the classical Anglican tradition – but the thoughts translate easily to an Anglican context. Simply replace “Latin Mass” with “classical Prayer Book liturgy,” and (with a few minor differences, of language and ritual) most of it applies directly. Particularly interesting in this one: the author is a 20-year-old college student. As the name of a Facebook group I belong to puts it, “Actually, young people do like traditional liturgy!” Many do, anyway, and the number seems to be growing.

Evangelical Anglicans warn they might walk away if CofE departs from ‘apostolic truth’ | Christian News on Christian Today

Canterbury Cathedral

“Our desire is for the Church’s teaching and practice to offer a vision of human flourishing which is faithful to Scripture.”

Source: Evangelical Anglicans warn they might walk away if CofE departs from ‘apostolic truth’ | Christian News on Christian Today

“In a document entitled Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life released to its supporters and organisational representatives, CEEC says: ‘As we face many changes in British society and forceful challenges within the Church of England on matters of human sexuality and marriage, we believe it is important not simply to focus on these contentious areas of disagreement but to set them within a wider and deeper theological vision.

“‘Our desire is for the Church’s teaching and practice to offer a vision of human flourishing which is faithful to Scripture.’

“While the document does not explicitly mention homosexuality or same-sex marriage, its context is the continuing turmoil in the CofE about how far it should go in accommodating changing social mores. The ongoing controversy has effectively already split the Anglican Communion and the CofE’s unity is under pressure.

“The document stresses the ‘gift of singleness’ and the House of Bishops’ affirmation that sexual relations are ‘properly conducted only within heterosexual marriage’.

“This teaching is not an ‘optional extra’ or ‘adiaphora’ but is ‘apostolic and essential to the gospel’s transforming purpose’, it says.”

The determination by many or most “mainstream” Christian churches in America – and indeed, the West – to be “open” and “welcoming” to persons who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and (increasingly) transgender, often with a few more categories added on, as well as an overall weakening of traditional sexual mores, seems grounded for the most part (a few hardcore Leftists aside) in compassion, the desire not to exclude anyone from communion with Christ, or the benefits of full inclusion in the Christian faith.

“Radical love,” even “Christ-like love,” seems to be the catch-phrase. And this is admirable – to a point. There are a couple of things that are missed in this, however. Continue reading “Evangelical Anglicans warn they might walk away if CofE departs from ‘apostolic truth’ | Christian News on Christian Today”

The Feast of The Presentation – also called Candlemas | The Uprising – Ancient:Modern:Anglican Church

Candlemas - Purification - Presentation

The Feast of The Presentation – also called Candlemas

From an excellent Anglican blog found on Facebook, called “The Uprising – Ancient:Modern:Anglican Church”:

There is one more sacred day that should not be lost in the avalanche of “winter holidays.” February 2 – the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – is a time when we celebrate the blessing of the candles for the year – Candlemas – and the Presentation of the Lord in the temple.

After celebrating the Nativity of our Lord, with its splendor in both the Church and the popular culture, it would be easy for one’s mind to drift and overlook the significance of the fortieth day after the Lord’s birth. But we should look beyond our hustling to banish the decorations to the attic, the obsession over the days remaining in this strenuous winter, and endless chatter about Super Bowl Sunday. Because the events set in motion with the Annunciation and Nativity continue with the significant presentation of our Lord in the Temple.

Joseph and Mary’s presentation of the baby was no pro forma event. The words of the prophet Malachi are fulfilled in the poor parents presenting their firstborn son along with their humble sacrifice of two turtledoves. (“Now I am sending my messenger— he will prepare the way before me; And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; The messenger of the covenant whom you desire—see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1) The mother of God – the Theotokos, in no need of ritual purification – and her husband did not set themselves above the Law.

In their conformation to the Law is God’s entrance into his Temple. Simeon and Anna, pious and elderly, having spent their lives in prayer and waiting in the Temple for the Messiah, have their “moment.” There is the glorious Nunc Dimittis of Simeon. Is not the conformation of the Law and the Prophets also fulfilled when the Lord enters the temple of our hearts?

With Candlemas we celebrate the coming of the Light of the World. But a shadow also passes; a shadow foretelling the suffering that will precede the victory of the Light over darkness. Simeon not only proclaimed that he had seen his salvation, but also told the Mother of our Lord that her share would include a sorrow pierced heart. In Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II wrote that Mary heard in Simeon’s words something akin to a second Annunciation,

“for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in the misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful.”

In like fashion, do we not also share in the sorrowful sufferings of the Holy Mother as we too live our lives in obedience to Christ?