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Barbarians at the gate, a Primer

March 26, 2008

The “Barbarians at the gate” series concerns the ways in which the powers-that-be – frequently interlopers but often well-meaning, nincompoop Episcopalians – are ruining the Protestant Episcopal Church, one guitar pick at a time.

Chiefly, there are two categories into which grievance falls:

I: Worship
II: Everything else.

Worship must be understood as the core business of the Church. This is what we do, and it is the only thing that we do distinctively. No one else does it. The Church exists to teach and celebrate Christ’s life, passion, death, and resurrection. We are here to tell the story, and worship is our primary exposition of this mission.

Everything else is an exercise in social anthropology. In this category, we focus our attention upon the life of the Church as a social organization, whose rules, power structures, and internal quarrels are much like those of any group of humans.

This series concerns Episcopal identity: its composition and distinguishing features, how it is being damaged on the parish level, and how it can best be preserved and promoted. We argue that Episcopalianism has much going for it and much to offer this country, and we try to plot a course through our current morass. Hopefully, our letters will stir commentary similar to what words Shakespeare gave to Lady MacBeth, but with less disastrous results than she experienced.

Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.
(I.v.56)

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