A few days ago I was browsing around at the Anglimergent site and came to realize that I didn’t have a profile there. This was a surprise to me as I thought I had signed up so I went ahead and created one. One of the questions they ask you is “What Do You Want Anglimergent To Be?” Now we could nitpick and point out that the more important question is, “What does God want Anglimergent to be (provided that God has an opinion on the matter)?;” but that’s not where I want to go, not least since the original question doesn’t preclude the second. This is what I put:
“I’d really love to see Anglimergent resist the anti-institutionalism of many other emerging groups and be a renewal movement for TEC as a denomination. We need priests who can do more for rural and struggling parishes than simply let them die easily. And so we should resist the easy temptation to “attract” only like-minded young adults.”
In a way, as I reflected on my answer, I want Anglimergent simply to be the Church, or, if you’d like, to continue to become the Church – more humbly, to be a part of the Church as it becomes what God calls it to become. I want it desperately to avoid the agist naval-gazing ethos I often perceive in the “Emerging Church” (understood broadly).
I think I was prepared for this question in part because of some nose poking I was doing electronically around the Episcopal parishes in Minnesota. I’ll have more to say about this snooping soon but for the purposes of this post I was noticing that there are Episcopal parishes in places as remote as International Falls, Warroad and Hallock. This set me to wondering…how old are the priests there? What do those parishes look like demographically? Who do I know my age who feels called to the priesthood and who would be willing to serve in some small obscure parish in the middle of nowhere?
It was with this in mind that I came to the Anglimergent site and I realized, yeah, if we deep down want to see Anglimergent be a group of 25-35 yr old mostly white (cheers Karen Ward!) folk who are really into craft beers, indie rock and Anglican plainchant -that is, a church of the like minded, of the market – then it’s a group I’d feel quite at home in, but it’s not a group that has a heart turned toward a catholic church composed of young and old, black and white, etc… But if we were to want it to be a group of energetic Episcopalians who are dedicated to parish renewal, to ever making the tradition strange and new and to following calls to places where we’re needed, being missional in a full sense – then that’s a group I can really get behind and be willing to put energy into. I hasten to add that looks around discussion pages on the site are encouraging!