Am I Still an Anglican? Honestly, I Don’t Know.
It was almost three years ago that I finished the Canterbury Trail. Since then I’ve openly and intentionally described myself as an Anglican Christian. Anglican has for me been an adjective rather than a noun. It’s been a description of what sort of Christian I’ve been, not a source of identity or loyalty. I’m a Christian, i.e. follower of Christ. That’s my noun. That’s my identity. That’s my loyalty. That’s the main dish while Anglicanism has merely been the condiment, if you will. This reflects my view that the tradition is at its very best when it’s minimally self-aware and serving as a bridge to help unite the fragmented Body of Christ.11.Three such examples of this are John Stott’s leadership with the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, J.I. Packer’s pioneering work with Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and N.T. Wright’s profound, charitable influence across the theological spectrum. The psychological and spiritual trauma of my ordination twice being halted at the last minute has seriously called that adjective into question, though.2 I’m not angry, bitter, or resentful. I just feel exhausted and terrified. One way or the other, I’m ready to move forward with my life.
2.I’d rather not discuss the reasons just now. Please know there have been no accusations of moral impediment or the like.By God’s grace most of the wounds were healed after the first cancellation this past summer. It was a long and painful process taking several months but I made it through. Unfortunately, those wounds were re-opened and deepened this winter. I’ve been dealing with some PTSD symptoms. The plain reality is that the Anglican Mission and Anglican Church in North America have together utterly depleted my patience, strength, and trust. With a few notable exceptions,33.They know who know who they are. Dear friends and mentors for whom I’m truly grateful. for more than two years I consistently felt betrayed, discourage, maligned, misled, neglected, threatened, and/or unwanted by Anglicans. I suppose it’s not unexpected, then, that I’m going through a profound existential crisis of faith–not in Christ or Christianity in general, but in the Anglican tradition specifically. I now feel compelled to rebuild from the ground up. It’s a matter of conscience.44.Those who know me well know that I rarely play that card. I don’t write that flippantly. While I’m more confident than ever that the Lord is calling me to ordained ministry, I need time and space to heal and get reoriented. I need to take a good, hard look at not only the Anglican Church but the entire Anglican tradition to ensure that a) I still principally align with it, b) God is still leading me in that direction, and c) it’s a good and safe long-term home for Sarah and I.55.If any of those things are askew, my time as an Anglican may well be near an end.
Honestly, I cannot imagine where else I’d fit. Yet I sense this rebuilding process is crucial to the health of my intellectual honesty, psychological state, spiritual outlook, and future ministry. So, with my bishop’s full knowledge and blessing,66.Bishop Clark Lowenfield, Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast. I’ve decided to indefinitely pause my ordination process to focus on my ministry with InterVarsity and wrestle through this stuff. My intention is to start with mere Christianity and rebuild from there.77.I offer no timetable. I could imagine it taking as short as a couple months or as long as a couple years. We shall see. I’m handing over the timing. Lord knows I’ve failed to do that in the past, and am committed to not keep making that same bonehead mistake. For those with inquisitive minds, this begs an important question: Am I still an Anglican Christian? Honestly, I can’t come right out and say, “I’m not Anglican anymore.” That would be just plain factually inaccurate. What I can say is that I’m no longer sure if I’m an Anglican Christian. I just don’t know. Time will tell, I guess. In closing, I covet your prayers in the days, weeks, months, and perhaps years ahead. Please pray that I and the Body of Christ around me will together be able to discern the Lord’s path forward, then I’ll have the faith and courage to walk it.