Archive for the ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ Tag

Happy to Be an Episcopalian   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have belonged to three denominations and chosen one.  When my parents were Southern Baptists, so was I.  Likewise, in 1980, when my father left the ordained ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention for that of The United Methodist Church, I became a United Methodist at the age of seven years.  Thus, in June 1980, our family moved from Newington, Georgia, where he had been pastor of North Newington Baptist Church, and settled in the parsonage in Vidette, Georgia.  He served as the minister of the Vidette, Friendship, and Greens Cut congregations in Burke County.  In the ensuing years, I took the grand tour of rural southern Georgia.  My initial spiritual formation occurred within the context of rural Southern United Methodism, a different creature from United Methodism as it exists in much of the rest of the United States and the world.

Yet I have always had an inner Catholic.  The sacraments, central to my faith, were too infrequent in those rural United Methodist churches.  My attraction to the Deuterocanon (what many call the Apocrypha) asserted itself, also.  Furthermore, my interest in history, and therefore, in ecclesiastical history, made me an outlier in the congregations my father served.  Church history, as it existed in those places, started with Jesus, ran consistently through the Apostles, jumped to the Crusades, jumped again to Martin Luther, ran forward, and really started sprinting with John and Charles Wesley.  That version of church history left many gaps.

In the autumn of 1991, I started my studies at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Georgia.  I started attending services at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, on the Sunday after All Saints’ Day.  On December 22, 1991, Bishop Harry Woolston Shipps confirmed me.  I remained in the Diocese of Georgia through 2005, belonging to the following congregations:

  1. Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, Georgia (1993-1996),
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas Episcopal Church, Baxley, Georgia (1996-1998),
  3. Christ Episcopal Church, Cordele, Georgia (1998-2001),
  4. Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesboro, Georgia (2001-2003), and
  5. Christ Episcopal Church, Dublin, Georgia (2003-2005).

I have worshiped as a member of St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, in the Diocese of Atlanta, since August 2005.

I have enjoyed the liberty of being a layman and the pleasure of belong to congregations that respect scholarship and encourage the asking of questions.  My father, as a pastor, censored himself; he made honest theological statements at home he dared not utter from a pulpit.  I did not feel free to ask certain questions in those churches.  In Episcopal churches, however, I have asked questions freely and heard priests utter statements (not all of whom I agreed with) that would have gotten my father into great trouble.  The threshold for offending people was low in his case; my father once offended people by supporting the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday.  That position contributed to us moving.  On another occasion, he upset a parishioner by preaching that Jesus had a sense of humor.  He had allegedly insulted her Jesus.  The District Superintendent did not take the complaint seriously, fortunately.

Many of my statements on my weblogs, such as this one, would have cooked my goose in those churches.

So be it.  I refuse to back down from my Catholic tendencies and my acceptance of Single Predestination.  I refuse to back down from my support of civil rights (and not just based on skin color), of Biblical scholarship, and science.

I am where I belong–in The Episcopal Church.  Thanks be to God!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Reflections During an Interlude in the Renovation of A Great Cloud of Witnesses: An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days   Leave a comment

january

Above:  January, by Leandro Bassano

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The first phase of the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days has ended; I have completed the first twelfth of the process here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  The number of posts at this weblog has hovered around 1500, give or take a few posts, as I have added, deleted, and replaced some posts and revised others.

Thinking about saints and contemplating sainthood are rewarding spiritual practices.  They are foreign to the spiritual traditions of my childhood; the Southern Baptist Convention and The United Methodist Church do not encourage keeping a calendar of saints.  Nevertheless, observing an official calendar of saints (in The Episcopal Church) and creating my own such calendar has come naturally to me.  I, as a historian, emphasize the great men and women of the past.  Also, my inclination is toward the Roman Catholic end of the spectrum in certain ways.

Nevertheless, as helpful as Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox calendars of saints have proven to be and continue to help me with my own project, I have chosen not to restrict myself to their selections of saints and their assigned feast days.  This tendency has proven to be a manifestation of the Protestant side of my spirituality.

Rome has spoken,

many Roman Catholics say, meaning it as a statement of finality and authority.  At least half the time I think,

So what?

I learn and import much from Holy Mother Church, but I also walk my own path much of the time.  After all, Rome took more than 300 years to rescind the pronouncement that Galileo Galilei was a heretic for stating the scientific fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun.  The Church also canonized Robert Bellarmine, Galileo’s inquisitor who chose ignorance of good science in lieu of tradition and bad theology, as well as condoning to burning heretics at the stake.  (The Ecumenical Calendar does not include St. Robert Bellarmine.)

As I contemplate saints with feast days in January (at least on my Ecumenical Calendar), I understand them to be quite an assortment of people.  Sts. Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, for example, held one opinion regarding the nature of knowledge and certainty; Lesslie Newbigin argued for a different position.  Some saints were ascetics, but others lived comfortably.  Some were spouses and parents; others chose never to marry.  Some were traditionalists, but others were pioneers.  I would have liked to have known some saints, but I would not have enjoyed the company of certain others, such as St. Jerome.  Some of these saints would have accused me of heresy, but others would have agreed with me, at least partially, or disagreed with me respectfully.  So be it.

I anticipate the next phase (February) of the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 25, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HILEY BATHHURST, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF PETRUS NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN EDUCATOR AND COMPOSER; AND GEORG NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Francis Harold Rowley (February 15)   Leave a comment

Horses

Above:  Horses

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FRANCIS HAROLD ROWLEY (JULY 15, 1854-FEBRUARY 14, 1952)

Northern Baptist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer

The Reverend Francis Harold Rowley entered the world at Hilton, New York, in 1854.  He graduated from Rochester University (1875) and Theological Seminary (1878) then became a minister in the American Baptist Missionary Union.  (Aside:  The ABMU renamed itself the Northern Baptist Convention in 1907.  The NBC became the American Baptist Convention in 1950.  And the ABC became the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. in 1972.   The “Northern”/American Baptists have long been more progressive on average than their Southern Baptist counterparts.  An old joke oversimplifies the distinction:  A Northern Baptist says that there isn’t a Hell, but a Southern Baptist says, “The Hell there isn’t.”)  Rowley served churches at the following places:

  • Titusville, Pennsylvania (1879-1884);
  • North Adams, Massachusetts (1884-1892);
  • Oak Park, Illinois (1892-1896);
  • Fall River, Massachusetts (1896-1900); and
  • Boston, Massachusetts (1900-1910).

Rowley retired from parish ministry and First Baptist Church, Boston, in 1910, and devoted the rest of his life to philanthropic work.  He served as President (1910-1945) then Chairman of the Board (1945-1952) of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  He also wrote The Humane Ideal and The Horses of Homer.  And Rowley worked on children’s health care.  I have concluded that the link between good health care for children and the prevention of cruelty to animals is the relative vulnerability and powerlessness of both populations.  So Rowley’s compassion reached out to both of them, as it should have done.

I am familiar with one aspect of Rowley’s legacy, a hymn, “I Will Tell the Wondrous Story.”  Any hymn, if set to a bad tune and/or sung badly, can prove irritating to one with good taste.  (I have good taste.)  Unfortunately for me, I grew up in rural congregations where bad singing was rife.  People sang hymns too quickly and with bad diction and nasal vowels.  It was a joyful noise, with the accent on “noise.”  But YouTube searches today have revealed more than one setting of the hymn.  Some of the arrangements even sound joyful and not noisy.  The words, however, are a separate matter from the music.  Rowley composed the text in 1886, while pastor of First Baptist Church, North Adams, Massachusetts.

1.  I will sing the wondrous story

Of the Christ who died for me,

How he left His home in glory

For the cross of Calvary.

Refrain:

Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story

Of the Christ who died for me,

Sing it with the saints in glory,

Gathered by the crystal sea.

2.  I was lost, but Jesus found me,

Found the sheep that went astray,

Threw his loving arms around me,

Drew me back into His way.

Refrain

3.  I was bruised, but Jesus healed me;

Faint was I from many a fall;

Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,

But He freed me from them all.

Refrain

4.  Days of darkness still come o’er me,

Sorrow’s paths I often tread,

But the Saviour still is with me;

By His hand I’m safely led.

Refrain

There is another part of the Rowley legacy.  The School of Humanities at Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., bears his name.  That is appropriate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM PROXMIRE, UNITED STATES SENATOR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Revised on December 2, 2016

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++