Monday, April 29, 2013

A Thought to Ponder

I’m not your average pew sitter—which is what makes up the vast majority of those in congregations: people who have a few unfirm opinions, aren’t all that active, certainly aren’t pushing their beliefs one way or the other, and are fairly non-committal and passive.  Most people haven’t thought a whole lot about a lot of things, haven’t troubled to inform themselves, and don’t particularly care.

In short—the way “most human beings” are about most things. That’s not a “bad” thing either—it’s just the way human beings are.

Once, however, you’ve studied, experienced, thought, formed groups, and generally made some very firm decisions—and acted upon them consistently over the years and decades—you’re in a new and very different category—that of the activist.

Those people—and again, I include me in that group—are very very solidified in their beliefs.  Their lifestyles, values, actions, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, world views, are all aligned and in congruence.  They’re not “fly by night” and you’re not going to read them a verse in Scripture or quote something from Augustine that will make them slap their foreheads and say “goodness, I never thought of that!”  Further, since they don’t share the same most basic of definitions of key theological concepts, you’re not even actually “communicating” when you *do* share a verse in Scripture or a passage from Augustine.  We really are not even playing the same game, much less on the same playing field.

Once someone has reached that point about certain issues, and even more about fundamental and foundational world views, it will take far far far more than rhetoric to change one’s mind or heart.  It will take something akin to a large bundle of dynamite—in short, an “act of conversion.” 

Over the years I've frequently disagreed with Sarah Hey (for it is she), but her comment appended to a post orginally authored by her on Stand Firm does wonderfully illustrate the notion of liberal Protestantism's "different Gospel," which conservative Anglicans have been endeavoring to critique since the 1990s (if not before). My first thought, however, is whether the average pew-sitter in ACNA is any more of an activist than his or her counterpart in TEC, and if not, why not?       

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