Saturday, 14 February 2009

Introductory post

The Collect of the Day from today's Morning Prayer (Common Worship) runs thus:

Lord of all,
who gave to your servants Cyril and Methodius
the gift of tongues to proclaim the gospel to the Slavs:
make your whole Church one as you are one
that all Christians may honour one another,
and east and west acknowledge
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

and you, the God and Father of all;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Emphasis mine. Would that the various Primates might take this to heart.

Perhaps the start of the General Synod wasn't an ideal time to start reading various Christian blogs, many of them Anglican. I have to start somewhere, though. And the calls to unity and compassion that I've seen in the online community make a wonderful counterbalance to what I might think if I relied on more traditional media reports.

A bit about me, and this blog, and what it's for:

I'm a Canadian, living in London for some years now. I was raised in a Christian (United Church of Canada) household, left Christianity for doctrinal reasons, seriously considered Judaism but realised I had some of the same objections. I have a strong belief in God and feel drawn to corporate worship and structured private prayer, but have difficulty finding communities where I can find a sense of fellowship without tripping over intellectual problems.

I was baptized and confirmed, but I do not currently consider myself Christian. I have major intellectual objections to the Trinity and the Incarnation. Nevertheless, in recent months I've felt drawn toward Christianity. My ideas for further spiritual study tend strongly toward Christianity, and toward taking the bits of it that I do understand or relate to on some level and expanding or augmenting them. Finding common ground and adding to it, basically.

I attend Christian services when I can (and more Christian services than any other sort), but I will not receive the Eucharist or say the Apostles' Creed at this point in my journey: it would feel dishonest.

My private prayer is more regular. At the moment I pray Morning Prayer (Common Worship) every morning. I sing the Psalms and sometimes the various canticles (more on this in a later post) and read everything else in an undertone. I skip over bits I really can't believe; I figure if God is merciful, where I am is okay, and if God is not merciful I'm screwed anyway.

I'm quite in agreement with what Jesus said regarding the Summary of the Law. I'd like to work that into my structured daily prayer, more, but I'm not sure where it fits.

My unstructured prayer varies more, from lengthy diatribes to the very simple internal "Help!" or "Thanks!" in response to a challenge or a gift.

One of the things I've noticed is that when I sing liturgical material rather than just saying it, something changes internally. I'm able to sing about the Trinity and believe it, in some sense; a said doxology bothers me but a sung one is actually a comfort. I've even sung settings of the Nicene Creed and been able to believe them while I'm singing... the belief disappears, or becomes somehow less accessible, when I stop. I don't know how this works, but I want to explore it more: where in the continuum of speech to chant to song does this change? Do I experience it only with Christian texts, or do other traditions also have material with this ability to get past the logical radar as soon as I start singing? What about material that I find actively repulsive rather than just incomprehensible? Will singing enable me to relate to it in a different context? I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I think singing is always going to be an important part of my spiritual life, so it seemed sensible to involve it in the blog name.

That's enough for now, I think.


MadPriest said...

You have faith. It is that thing inside of you that keeps you on your journey. You cannot put it into words and this good. If you did you would probably destroy it. Everything else, creeds, doctrine, dogma are just words and words are tools. Feel free to recite any of the words of the liturgy as they don't exist for themselves they are there to bring you into contact with the faith inside of you. If chanting a mantra does the same for you then go for it. They're only words, they are a tool.

And do take communion. We take communion to remember Christ. The Christ inside of us. The Christ of today. Communion is not about history, it is not about words.

Believing the words as you speak them is just fine. Don't demand more from yourself. To be honest, the amount of god-bothering you seem to do you are obviously spending more time believing than most of us manage.

And you are not alone. The only difference between you and most thoughtful Christians is that you are worrying about what it all means and they have given up worrying about such incidentals.

Jim said...

Welcome to the world of blogs!

Anonymous said...

MadPriest gave us all the order to come over here, and we are all robots, controlled by the Mad One!

A "Welcome Woof" and gratuitous tail wag to you from the first canine bishop in the Episcopal Church!


Jay Simser said...

Welcome to the wonderful (and often weird) world of blogging. I shall follow your journey with interest. Just relax and follow your inner Christ (God) and he/she will lead you to the mountain top.

KJ said...

I'm here at the direction of the Mad One, and glad I stopped by! Welcome to the blogosphere!

I'm a refugee from Evangelical Land, and have been in Episcopal circles for nearly 4 years now. Of the many things that drew me in was, at least in the parish in which I find myself, the understanding that wherever one is on their faith journy is where they are supposed to be. Very, very simple, and much peace.

MadPriest said...

I notice you have Wounded Bird on your blogroll. Be very wary of this woman. She's into voodoo and beats up on unassuming priests. I suspect demon possession.

Anonymous said...

MP, You suspect demon possession? Surely we have more than enough evidence by now! She also kicks dogs, I understand.

Lois Keen said...

Oh no, we've already turned your comments into a facsimile of the Mad One's blog! You're doomed to near-instant world famousness.

But really, you're exactly right. God is fine with you where you are. Let it work on you, this faith thing, like a fine wine rolled around the tongue. Enjoy.

renzmqt said...

Welcome, lots of good stuff on these blogs. I think you'll find that it helps.

Clyde said...

Welcome to the real world. Or is it real?

Paul said...

Welcome to blogland. You will find wonderful (and odd) companions for the spiritual journey.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Welcome to the world of the mad and half-mad, Song. We're all wounded and limping along, but we manage to work in a laugh or two from time to time.

Kenny said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere! I also do EVERYTHING that MadPriest commands. We are all secretly controlled by the Mad One from Geordieland!

PseudoPiskie said...

I understand the reluctance to say the creeds. Been there, done that and finally realized God doesn't care whether we believe the creeds literally or really what we believe at all. It is about how we treat others.

Don't let the behavior of some of us toward others of us rub off on you. I don't think we - the OCICBW clan - are odd at all. The rest of the world is a little peculiar however. Welcome to our blog world.

the cajun said...

What Mad Priest wrote to you is his true identity. Still, there is that, well, Mad side of him.
Consider yourself surrounded by a mighty cloud of souls like your own.

Song in my Heart said...

Many thanks to all of you for such a warm welcome!

Anonymous said...

The Mad One said to stop by and say hi. Welcome aboard!

Erp said...

Some of use just wander along as atheists. Admittedly I'll sing the hymns (after all one of my distant cousins, an agnostic, arranged a fair number of them) but won't recite most of the prayers.

Have you tried the British Unitarians?

Two Auntees said...

Welcome to blog land. I, too, struggle with some of the same things you speak of in religion.

Bruce Canon Itchy said...

Obedient to our beloved Mad One, I have come to say welcome, hello, good luck, best wishes, and all good things!

Reverend Tom said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere! I am here, like all the other mindless automatons, by command of the MadPriest. Appropriating St.Bonaventure: may you enjoy your Journey Into God!'s the only show in town for all of us.

Diane said...

welcome! I love your blog title, and your first post is thought-provoking!

DanG said...

Like the others I'm here at Mad Priest's suggestion. His blog and all the others are a buffet, take what you like and leave what you don't like. Your faith is the same, and your idea about the Great Commandment is right on. Welcome to the world of blogs..

Sara said...

Welcome, I, too, came at the order of the Mad Priest! You articulate some of the same things I've gone through and continue to struggle with. I look forward to your future posts. Don't let this bunch scare you, they're harmless.

+Clumber- I am not a robot! In my house, I'm the Alpha.

Erika Baker said...

What a wonderful first post, I shall come back!
I Love the way you describe your faith, it chimes a lot with mine. Words just don't get anywhere near the core of what it is about.

Doorman-Priest said...

Welcome to the cyber world. Do drop by and say hello as I will here.

Pat Klemme said...

Welcome Heart Song! True MadPriest sent me, but I came willingly. I look forward to seeing your posts.

Grace said...

Hi, Song,

Welcome from me, too!!!! Look forward to reading your posts.