It’s that time of year: Time to figure out what on earth to do this year with the kiddos to educate them and bring a swift end to their barbaric and ignorant ways.
E, all this year, has been in a wonderful and nice Baptist school in a small class with an excellent teacher (you like all my superlatives? Too tired to leave them out). But, well, it’s a super long bus ride for her every day. And she’s gaining that assured Baptist feel to her. In other words, she’s getting all the great Baptist theology with none of the sensibility. And yesterday she came home over tired and weepy from missing us (and, to be frank, she’s anxious about us loosing the house and the church. Being an obsessive little creature, even though we don’t really talk about it and its not playing a role in our daily lives, she’s chewing on this possibility like a dog with a bone).
Meanwhile, for A, we’ve been considering a very wonderful Catholic school with a lovely preschool teacher and a nice bright room and lots of structure. There he would get none of the theology we like and all of the sensibility.
So we’re applying everywhere and praying hard and doing every kind of research. And I’ve been thinking quietly to myself about Why I’m Anglican, that small sub-slice of Christianity.
Because truly and honestly, I couldn’t possibly be Catholic, or Baptist. For all the beauty of the Catholic Church and all the things it Does Right, I think it is fundamentally and inescapably wrong on the Matter of Salvation and the Work of Jesus. The cry of the Reformation is in my bones. On the other hand, the bare plain assured approach to the Word and “Sacraments” (the approach being that there are none) in the Baptist Church leaves me hallow and hungry.
In boarding school, rotten rebel that I was, I refused to carry my Bible to church, even though it was required, and instead carried my prayer book (which looked sort of like a Bible, though suspect) and read the 39 articles during the sermon. And when I had to write, in Bible Class, an essay on what comprises a church, I was seriously marked down for naming my church after a saint, instead of after the Bible or First Street, or whatever. Meanwhile my mom and dad would visit every few months and fuel the fire of my small hostility, bolstering my resolve in Being Anglican against all odds. It was the sweetest and most satisfying rebellion I could have undertaken.
But then I came back to America and discovered a church hollowed out and empty. All kinds of sensibility, love for the hymns, all the identity of being “Anglican”, but there was nothing no substance, no theology, no Bible, no belief.
So I have found myself, without meaning to, in opposition to various Institutions—my boarding school, the Episcopal Church—ok so only two. But I am now, more than ever, in deep opposition to the idea of my children not knowing Jesus. And I don’t want to send them to any place that will make it difficult for them to know God, a place that will put up stumbling blocks to their salvation. So I’m circling back to the idea of keeping them home and teaching them Latin.
But for today we continue to watch and pray and rejoice with those who are rejoicing.