Tag Archives: Trinity Church

I’m in the newspaper today; here’s a subtle clarification

I’ve known Steve Jones for years, and I admire him. He’s a top-notch reporter.

When he was interviewing me with two other members of Church of the Messiah for today’s article in The Sun News (my former employer), I think either I didn’t make my point clearly enough or maybe a subtle distinction was lost in the shuffle.

Jones reports:

Messiah church member Colin Burch chose to stay with the traditional church while his wife and three daughters continue to worship at Trinity Church.

The bishop of The Episcopal Church in S.C. conducted the service where one of his daughters joined the traditional church.

He said his children see the situation much like they might a divorce.

“They just don’t know which (parent) to go with,” he said.

The divorce analogy, which originated with my wife Kristi, was intended to describe Kristi and my three daughters — they see the split between Bishop Mark Lawrence’s diocese and The Episcopal Church USA like a divorce, and they aren’t sure which “parent” to go with.

My wife and my daughters, in varying combinations, join me at Church of the Messiah from time to time.

As far as my family is concerned, I listen to Kristi and I listen to my daughters, especially my 14 year old, and even as dense as men can be, I’m fairly certain we [my wife and daughters] all share certain values. I can certainly claim Kristi, the 14-year-old, and I have rich conversations about many things related to church, Bible, tradition, and theology.

Now, if I can just get the 14-year-old to teach me Latin. She’s way ahead of me.

Furthermore, more than a year ago now, the 14-year-old opted to be confirmed by the Episcopal Church USA bishop while continuing in a Bishop Lawrence parish.

Of course, I continue to love and admire many members of Trinity Church.

Update, 4:10 p.m.: On my Facebook page, I referred to a tradition started by my great-grandparents. As an exhibit of that heritage, please see “An Important Church in My Family,” which includes a few photos from All Saints Episcopal Church in Oakley, Maryland.

Update, 8:50 p.m., Dec. 8: My distinguished friend (though not distinguished because of our friendship) Charlie Jordan alerted me that RealClearReligion.org, in its list of today’s articles, included a link to Steve Jones’s article in The Sun News.

Update, 7:55 p.m., Dec. 12: I added a bracketed phrase to clarify “we” in the paragraph beginning, “As far as my family is concerned…”

Good challenges for Trinity Church West Campus

The families-with-children of Carolina Forest are a likely demographic unit for Trinity Church‘s West Campus.

Often times, when young couples have children, they start to think about formative influences in their childhoods. Having kids causes a re-evaluation of that long-dusty church membership.

So inevitably, some of those Carolina Forest families will fit the following description from Stefan Ulstein’s introduction to his book Growing Up Fundamentalist: Journeys in Legalism and Grace. While Ulstein uses the term “boomers,” referring to the baby boomer generation, I think most of what follows is still applicable today — at least to those who once went to church and now wrestle with whether to return.

“The nagging problem that so many ex-fundamentalists face is that they cannot escape the legacy of their upbringing. They long for the sense of belonging brought about by the Christian fellowship and bonding that they experienced as children. They miss the warm assurances of a world with clearly defined right and wrong. They want it for their children. But they do not want the guilt, shame and self-righteous arrogance that came along with it. They do not want to set themselves against their children and society by taking an intractable stand on every issue only to discover later that they were wrong. Unlike their elders, who grew up with a sense of knowable truth, the boomers wrestle with multiple ambiguities. Their worldview stresses pragmatic solutions and emotional well-being. They eschew battles over dogma and doctrine and long for a community of believers who can be identified by their love for one another.”

In light of all that, it seems to me the good challenges for Trinity Church West Campus involve:

-Using fresh images and terms to describe Christ’s mercy and grace

-Building a genuine, healthy community

Other thoughts?