Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Last Temptation of Canterbury

I was thinking about alot recently. I was thinking about my future. I have planned for the last year to be in the ministry. However as anyone who pays attention to my blog has noticed I came to the conclusion that I believed Apostolic Succession to be essential and that I no longer accepted Sola Fide, or Sola Scriptura. Thus I decided that I would join the Roman Catholic Church. No other denominations have really tempted me since my decision, I seem fairly hopeful in my soon to be new faith. I theologically have changed alot and I'm sure I will become more Catholic but at the same time right now I am probably about a High Anglican with Roman Justification and Authority views, with a small but growing reverance for St. Mary.

However the fact that I desire to have a family and don't feel strongly called to the specifically Catholic priesthood means that I can have no future in ministry. I have found that however there still exists one temptation left to me. Anglicanism. I've written so much on Anglicanism on the blog that I don't feel like repeating all of it, but today I was reading Rowan Williams again - the Archbishop of Canterbury and thought about how awesome he is. He is very much an Anglo-Catholic, and basically everything he says I agree with. He seems to be a very intelligent Christian, and the Anglican model of Scripture, Tradition, and Logic is very appealing to me. I love the versatility of the church even if it includes heretical positions (like the whole Gay issue).
It is hard to stick to your convictions when your dream is to be a minister. So today my temptation among others was to go Anglican. My parents said that if I went to any non-Catholic school they would pay for it. That's tempting again. I was just thinking, wow I could move to South Carolina near Hannah and go to an Episcopalian school and study theology. I know lots of the psycho priests and bishops the Anglicans have in their church and am sure I could become an Anglican/Episcopalian Priest and still profess Catholicism mostly and stay gainfully employed and married as well.

However in my heart I know I'd always have problems. I don't think I could be in communion with Actively Homosexual Ministers of Christ - though this has only happened once it seems an inevitability. I don't know if I could work with 'brothers' who do not believe in the divinity of Christ, or the physical resurrection, or the virgin birth.

I knew that (at least today and for the last month) Roman Catholicism is the most defensible position for me, it makes the most sense and if I left it, I would leave the certain authority in the historic faith. If I was an Anglican I couldn't tell someone they were 'wrong' to not believe in the virgin birth. That's also why Dr. Rowan Williams is so tempting (in an entirely non-sexual way) because he believes the orthodox and historic Christian faith. He opposes heretical positions, but he is incredibly loving towards people of other faiths.

The problem again being that the English Government chooses the Archbishop of Canterbury. Caesar in essence is wed to the church. The Roman Pontiff's election (though corrupted throughout history) is organized by the college of cardinals, bishops the succesors of the apostles.
I'm 99% sure I'm still becoming a Roman Catholic as I've received so much grief, pain, and rejection already for it, and the fact that I believe it makes me think I'll become Catholic. However even if/when I do, I will always respect Dr. Rowan Williams and other Anglicans like C.S. Lewis. Williams has a way to answer these questions with such grace and truth it reminds me of what Jesus would be like in a Q & A session. He is one of my spiritual fathers, no matter what church I join.

All this to say that I am immensely tempted with tons of complications on all sides. Hmm maybe I could become a Catholic, and then go to an Episcopal seminary and then figure something out after that. I dunno. I guess prayer is all that will help. In the end I have to be intellectually honest and can't make decisions about my deepest beliefs based on money making etc. But I guess it is a factor.

hmm. at least this is my days greatest problem. I could be starving in some poor country somewhere in the southern hemisphere.

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