Monday, January 25, 2010

The G.S.E... redux

We were sitting in church Sunday-a-week-ago, listening to the sermon. For the second week in a row, the philosopher leaned over and said, "He's talking about the "U" in TULIP." (Now, for those of you who are suddenly worried, no hard drugs or alcohol was involved!) He was talking about the "shorthand" for five-points Calvinism... T.U.L.I.P. Which, if I recall correctly, stands for:

Total depravity
Unconditional election
Limited atonement
Irresistible grace
Perseverance of the saints

Now I don't know if I mentioned it in one of my other Great Sociological Experiment posts, but we are not Five Point Calvinists. And up until recently, the philosopher has remained (mostly) silent during the sermons at the PCA church we've been attending. Sure, there have been the occasional wince and frown, but generally he hasn't been too cranky.

So why the change in the professorial demeanor? The church has a new pastor, and if I'm not imagining things, he's a bit... errr.... more stridently Calvinist. And the philosopher also doesn't agree with our lessons on Romans in Sunday School. Thus he's getting very little out of our Sunday visitations these days. And because I'm fretting about how uncomfortable he looks, I'm not getting much either. A friend laughed and told me we were like the couple in the O'Henry story, The Gift of the Magi. He wants us to go to a big local church so I can make friends, and I want us to go to an Anglican church, even if it's small and an hour away, to preserve his sanity! (We are, if you haven't picked up on it, Anglicans, after all!)

This past Sunday, though, we did head off to a small Anglican church about an hour south of us. (What letter am I on? Church F?) There were about 20 folks there on a stormy morning. They meet in a small historic chapel, and have a wonderful guitarist and a LEM with a fabulous voice. And we got to have communion. ::sigh:: It's been three months since we partook in an Anglican communion (longer than that if you go for a 1928 BCP communion). I so missed saying the Prayer of Humble Access!

So, to all of my far-away friends, please continue to keep us in your prayers. We're still so unsettled, and with possible out-of-state jobs in the offing it's hard to find that internal peace. For now, my Bible verse will remain Isaiah 42:16... "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.."

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