08 Mar 2017

Fit for a Cassock

Today we’ll see if I measure up, Or maybe it’s more fitting to say I’ll be fitted, But I have a feeling it’ll feel like fig leaves covering up the things that ought to be laid on the altar and burned instead of covered in black lamb’s wool. There’s nobody more fitting to do the fitting for a new skin than the one who made my first birthday suit, and was part of the pattern

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Mar 2017

The Danger of Christian Primitivism

While writing my previous article that praised the virtues of Christian primitivism and its capacity to spark church renewal, it occurred to me that it would be appropriate to address the inherent dangers of Christian primitivism.  Simply put, Christian primitivism is an ideological viewpoint that attempts to restore Christianity to the original structures and practices of the New Testament Church because it is believed that the Church has strayed from its own foundation over the

Jarrett Dickey 8
03 Mar 2017

The Problem With J. I. Packer’s Opposition To Iconography

In Knowing God, J. I. Packer delivers a harsh criticism of the use of icons in worship. While Packer does not specifically target icons, he follows theologian Charles Hodge in denouncing any use of images in worship as idolatrous. Packer’s position is inspired by his reading of the second commandment: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters

Jacob Quick 6
20 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Primitivism

This article is the fourth article in a series on house church. You can find the first article about my journey to house church here. The other articles in the series are about the communal nature of house church and the liturgy of house church. Throughout the history of the Christian church, believers have often found themselves drawn back to the New Testament Church as depicted in the book of Acts and the epistles. The

Jarrett Dickey 7
17 Feb 2017

The Telltale Heart

Do You Listen to Your Heart or Does it Listen to You? In our increasingly self-centered, self-satisfying culture we are propagandized by Hollywood happy endings and pop songs to listen to our hearts. When considering a new or an old relationship we are told to listen to our heart. When faced with personal loss we are expected to move on from it. The Roxette duo sings, “Listen to your heart / when he’s calling for

1
16 Feb 2017

Round Table: The Purpose of the Local Church

Living in a post-Christian culture appears to be taking its toll on the local church. We no longer reside in small towns where people work together through the week and walk to church together on Sundays. We get in our separate cars from our separate neighbourhoods and homes, convene for an hour or two, and go home. Does this hour of the week change who we are? Does it connect us with the body of Christ?

Various 15
06 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Work of the People

This article is the third article in a series on house church.  You can find the first article about my journey to house church here, and the second article about the communal nature of house church here. Recently I was talking with a younger Christian friend about the cyclical nature of worship styles and preferences. Based on anecdotal evidence and personal intuition, I suggested that college-aged persons may be more and more drawn toward traditional expressions

Jarrett Dickey 2
13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

Wesley Walker 0
07 Nov 2016

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 1

There is a mood and practice of forced buoyancy in American evangelical churches. In near Orwellian fashion, this frenzied gaiety tries to sanitize the church of any perceived negativity, sorrow, or grief. I have been in church services where the worship leader mounts the stage, “kicking off” the service with, “How’s everybody feeling this morning?” (implying the expectation of a positive reaction), followed by, “Oh, you can do better than that!” when the enthusiasm of

Timon Cline 4
28 Jun 2016

The Crisis in the Architecture of the Modern Megachurch and How to Fix It

Cookie-cutter houses and generic shopping centers are peppered across the fantastically unremarkable and uniform American suburbia. An appreciation of truly beautiful architecture has been jettisoned for the functionality demanded by a consumeristic culture. Alain de Botton, in his book The Architecture of Happiness, explains that “Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through the materials of the same tendencies to not understand

Wesley Walker 1
13 Jun 2016

Modern Liturgical Denial and UnBiblical Anthropology

I have been reading a lot about St. Benedict these days.  I’ve been curious about him for a while now, but I am now finding the need to immerse myself in his ways and his teachings.  For one, my family and I are coming into the Anglican fold and, in the process of seeking ordination, I am going to begin studying this fall at Nashotah House Seminary.  One of the incentives for reading St. Benedict

TJ Humphrey 3
27 May 2016

The Shadow of the Sacred

The Shadow of the Sacred I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to tour Israel and visit a number of historical and sacred sites. And as I fully anticipated from the beginning, the trip’s most memorable moments by far were found within the city of Jerusalem. Seated at the intersection of three different faith traditions—Jewish, Christian, and Islamic—the city has been contested for centuries, and currently exists in an uneasy “status quo” arrangement predicated on mutual

John Ehrett 1
13 May 2016

A Place to Call Home

The cold sidewalk barely gives way before the resounding thud of polished black shoes that plough a course through yet another mile of city streets where they have no place to rest. Overhead the blue skies melt into dark grey clouds and little splashes of colour where the sunset has begun to announce its arrival. Closer by, the crusty brown arms of sleeping trees wave cheerlessly over the empty sidewalk where they have learned to

Charles Heyworth 3
03 Feb 2016

On the Boringness of Church Services

Perhaps the greatest excuse given for a Christian’s lack of regular Church attendance and involvement, which I have often heard as an aversion to the liturgical richness of the Orthodox Church, is the repetitive and abysmally boring nature of the services. Why is it that liturgy and repeated traditions are such a difficult obstacle for so many, especially in the modernized West? Why are we made to feel restless and obligated to attend, rather than

Joseph Green 3
29 Jan 2016

Rise Up, O Church

A challenge to churches to rise up to their calling Often a friend of mine tells the story about when his wife became a Christian, “She started reading the Bible in Genesis and began to get bogged down. I told her to skip all that and start with Matthew.” Sometimes I wonder if his wife ever got horribly confused to begin reading the story three-quarters of the way through. It would be like reading The

4
16 Oct 2015

The Humble Church

Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all

Charles Heyworth 0
29 Sep 2015

The Gift of Ceremony

The way a congregation worships is very important. It is part of their identity and serves as a public demonstration of their beliefs. The use of liturgical rites and ceremonies is one of the means by which a church makes a confession of faith, both to their members and the greater public, and it makes sense that differences in practice can fuel dissent and controversy. However, even while these rites and ceremonies set congregations apart

Nicholai Stuckwisch 0
16 Sep 2015

Is It Unethical To Construct Outrageously Elaborate Places of Worship?

The cover image for this article is from my recent pilgrimage to the cathedral-infested country of Poland, where I attended an Orthodox young adult conference, and it depicts the largest Orthodox church in the country of Poland; complete with a bell tower that could possibly compete with the Washington Monument.  I of course exaggerate, but it was a difficult process for me to come to terms with the lavish and ornate presence of the ancient

Joseph Green 1
10 Aug 2015

Call It What You Will

Though many would argue that the “worship wars” of the 1990s are over, I have found that the church persists in its usage of some linguistic weaponry from that era. In past decades, conversations about worship have polarized worshippers into opposing camps: especially “traditional” vs. “contemporary.” These terms are based primarily on expressive style in worship, largely related to music. I want to suggest that we abandon the use of these words altogether, as they

Guest Author 6
05 Aug 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture – Part 2: Common Criticism of Formal Worship

In the first part of this study an investigation was made into the evidence available on what the earliest Christian worship communities were like, as opposed to a common misconception in many Western congregations that it was extemporaneous and non-liturgical; and all degraded into nominal rigidness and hierarchical corruption after the legalization of the faith under Constantine.  Having addressed this presupposition, attention will now be given to the purpose and meaning behind a seemingly antiquated

Joseph Green 2