The Low Res CDSP Branch of the Jesus Movement

The past two weeks have been two of the hardest, yet most wonderful weeks of my life. I have formed deep friendships. I have studied hard and prayed hard, all as I get messages from friends at home struggling with their lives and as our nation struggles with its morality.

My schedule for most days has been Morning Prayer at 7:30, Hebrew Class from 8 until 11:30. Midday Eucharist, lunch, Foundations for Ministry Class from 2 until 5:45, Evening Prayer, and then time for dinner, fellowship and studies. It has been challenging. It has been exhausting. It has been a great time of growth.

Over the next month, I have various assignments to complete. More importantly, I need to process all that I have received.

An underlying theme we talked a lot about was that of Anglican Identity. I was received in the Episcopal Church over forty years ago and mostly identify as an Episcopalian. More importantly, I identify as a Christian, or to use Presiding Bishop Curry’s phrase, a member of the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement.

At the same time, I have issues with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. I love the idea of taking ancient practices, contextualizing them, and bringing them into the current vernacular. It feels like the Church of England did a good job of this in the 1500s and then spread that contextualized Christianity through colonialization. It feels like the Episcopal Church did a good job of contextualizing what it received from the Church of England as it established its identity after the revolutionary war.

It also feels like this ongoing contextualization got stuck somewhere along the way and the Episcopal Church is struggling to contextualize our faith and spirituality in a secular consumerist twenty first century. Is there hope for the Episcopal Church? At times, I have my doubts. One of my classmates spoke of someone who quipped that they felt like they had ceased being fishers of people and had instead become a keeper or the aquarium.

These past two weeks have met my doubts with hope. The online and low residency programs at Church Divinity School of the Pacific give me great hope for future of the church. I was surrounded by people of deep faith trying to find ways of sharing our faith in our current cultural context. I was surrounded by people whose faith appeared to be rooted in deeply living out the baptismal commitment to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being”.

I have seen God’s love shine through my classmates and I was surrounded by people trying to grow deeper into their baptismal commitments as they continue their work in their daily lives. That is the struggle for all of us right now. I see great promise for the Episcopal Church in the lives of my classmates.

For me right now my work is to process the experiences of the past two weeks. It is to grow more deeply into an identity based on being a member of the CDSP Low Residency branch of the Jesus Movement.

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