Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Must Read: "Jesus Was an Episcopalian (and you can be one too)"

The Diocese of Michigan's own Rev. Chris Yaw is the author of this engaging, informative and inspiring book on the Episcopal Church, and what it has to offer the 21st century world. Billed as "A Newcomer's Guide to the Episcopal Church," I believe it has much to offer even the most entrenched "cradle" Episcopalian. For one thing, it does not start our story with Henry VIII and his infamous divorce! It begins with a profound vision of how ordinary people are working to make this world more like God's Kingdom, and how our Episcopal ethos is uniquely suited to this kind of work.

Henry VIII does turn up ... more than 100 pages in, after discussion of the current state of religion in American, the value Episcopalians place on using your MIND, the gift of welcome, the celebration of the eucharist, living an ethical life, the Bible ... and wait! There he is ... King Henry VIII, in the chapter on Roots, which really is a quick breeze through Christian history, with the English Reformation as just a bend in that great stream.

This is a wonderful, bright, informative book (Bishop Tutu loved it, too!) that is a good reminder of who we are and Whose we are. It would make a great gift for that family member of yours who doesn't quite get it how you ended up in the "Episcopalian" church. (And thanks, Chris, for reminding us that Episcopalian is a noun, and Episcopal is an adjective!) Or for your co-worker who wonders what you are doing over at that church all week.

But I'll leave you with Chris's vision of how God sees Episcopalians:
--God sees us passionately devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
--God sees us willing to fight poverty, disease and injustice.
--God sees us as thinkers.
--God sees us as accepting and open-minded.
--God sees us as reconcilers and forgivers.
--God sees us forming faithful and inclusive communities.
--God sees us as upholders of valuable traditions.
--God sees us devoted to the Eucharist.
--God sees us offering helpful missionary opportunities.
--God sees that we have good news to share.

+ Kit

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