Mark Bowers: Why Anglicanism?

Well, between Erik Twist's "Why Catholic?" series and my blogging on Evangelii Nuntiandi, and my defense of icons against a (sorta) fellow Anglican, you all must be wondering, "Now is Abu Daoud really Anglican?" The answer is yes, my friends. Yes, I am. Not always happy about it, but like any big family we have our share of problems and (I think) we're trying to figure out how to deal with them. (In sha'allah we will cut off the fruitless branches soon and cast them into the fire where they will be totally consumed, God be praised.)

So, I was encouraged to read Mark Bowers' short tale of how he ended up in Anglicanism, and he has given me permission to share it with you all. For the sake of context you should know he is answering the question, "How do we get more young adults into our Anglican churches?"

This is a good topic, but as good topic usually go, one with no easy answer. I was personally raised in what I consider to be an extreme fundamentalist home of the Baptist persuasion. I was so entrenched within this stuff that after high school I spent four years in a fundamentalist Bible College. Those four years finally managed to turn me off to that brand of Christianity, and being jaded and weary, I naturally went in for the non-denominational, coffee-shop-esque, rock-n-rollish, seeker-sensitive type of thing. After five years of that, I then began considering leaving the faith altogether. It seemed as if within Christianity there were only two options: prideful narrow-mindedness or cheap gimmicks. Neither of which seemed an attribute that Jesus could possibly have wanted his church to be known by.

Anyhow, after a year of trying in vain to flee from faith, I discovered at the age of 28 the Episcopal Church. I became hopeful once more and invigorated about my faith. And what drew me here? Books. For all of the problems that the Anglican Communion is facing at the moment, they still have within their ranks some of the most brilliant writer's within Christianity. NT Wright and Rowan Williams in particular presented to me the gospel in a light that was more hopeful, thorough, honest and challenging than anything I had before imagined. It was within the balance between tradition and rationality that is so characteristic of the Anglican faith that I finally found rest.

I too think many of the current trends lack reverence and depth and in many ways have very little in common with traditional Christianity whatsoever, but at the same time I don't want to go around pointing fingers (although that is really hard for me sometimes being that I am an ex-fundamentalist). I'm also a little wary of strategizing to bring a certain demographic back to a particular denomination. I would be just as happy if 20-somethings would get involved in a faithful Methodist Church as I would an Anglican. But I do think the Anglican Church has a lot to offer my generation that many of the current Dr. Phil/rock-n-roll churches do not. Things such as tradition, history, beauty, art, honesty, humility, social concern, open-mindedness and intellectual stimulation. The average X-er and Y is concerned about at least some of these things, and if they are actually going to church and it happens to be one of the aforementioned Oprah churches, they are probably unaware that the church speaks to these issues at all. And if unlike me, they are not lucky enough to stumble across some good authors, they may end up leaving the faith altogether. I guess my advice for drawing 20-somethings back to Anglicanism or just faithful Christianity in general would be to go be-friend some. Friends and friendly authors are about the only people who have ever influenced me. Finger pointers never have and never will.


Here is his blog: MarkABowers

Comments

Anonymous said…
"Now is Abu Daoud really Anglican?" The answer is yes, my friends. Yes, I am.

Oh say it isn't so Abu. Say it isn't so.

:_(

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