7WD answers your 2009 questions

All of the following questions are actual Google queries that brought people to this blog in 2009. In case someone types them again, I thought I’d answer some of your questions, dear readers. These are some of the 2,790 unique Google queries of this year. I assure you I have not made up any of these questions, though I cannot say the same for some of my answers.

Can a person get saved in the episcopal church? Yes. That happens in the sacrament of baptism, though that’s questionable if it’s been heavily edited.

Do Anglo-Catholics have a valid eucharist? Wow! Better you than me asking that one! I assure you that Anglo-Catholic Eucharists are very likely to be valid. I can also assure you that even asking that question is probably going to get you a front yard full of angry thurifers. These people do NOT like to be questioned about their liturgical proclivities.

Do Episcopalians display US flag in sanctuary? Not if they have any respect either for the altar or for the US flag. It could be OK to display a flag in the nave, but the sanctuary is definitely out of bounds.

How do I know what God is saying? Ah, that’s a question for the ages. There are no easy answers. God is most likely NOT saying whatever people claim with 100% certainty.

How does a blessed red pen look like? You’ve stumped me. I’m thinking this is either a trick question or else the answer is “blessed objects usually look the same before and after they are blessed”.

How is Jesus amazing? All kinds of ways, but here’s a video of The Amazing Jesus to get you started.

How many people fit in National Cathedral? Depends. If you do it this way, quite a few. Otherwise I’d say it would be at least 100.

Is bowling with two hands bad? No! In fact, it could give you a competitive advantage over old-fashioned bowlers.

Is Facebook better than the church? Sadly, it is probably better than some churches at times. Still, it’s worth making the effort to find a good church. A good church, doing God’s mission, is waaaay better than Facebook. Look at it this way: if you go to a lousy church, you can always have fun telling all your Facebook friends about it later.

Is there a Lenten wreath? This question really annoys me. One time, I wrote a post mocking the very idea of a “Lent wreath”. Much to my dismay, variations on this question are one of the most popular Google searches for this site, which leads me to the disappointing conclusion that Lent wreaths are under consideration in some congregations. We should be clear. If both Lent and wreaths had been invented when Leviticus was written, these abominations would be condemned. If St. Peter had been holding one, Our Lord would have said, “Get thee behind me, Satan! And for the love of God, take that Lent wreath with you!” They hadn’t been invented during any of the ecumenical councils or when the 39 Articules were written, or they would be anathematized. No, these were invented sometime in the last few years by companies trying to make a few bucks. I like Lent. I like wreaths. But these two things should never mix.

(Deep, calming breath now — and I can go on to the next question.)

Remember Afghanistan? Not often enough. But we should.

Should churches cancel Communion due to swine flu? No, but there are precautions to take.

What are the days to go to church? On this blog, what are you expecting me to say? Seven days a week! But otherwise, we Episcopalians like to celebrate the Lord’s Day on Sunday. In fact, all of us (clergy and lay) are canonically required to attend church every Sunday and to engage in Godly conversation on the Lord’s Day to boot!

What are the real reasons we should go to church? The short answer: for our salvation. For some other answers, go read this post.

What days on a calendar are not actually days? OK, friend. I think you should have less of whatever you’ve been having.

What do carrots tell us about god? Not so much.

What does N. T. Wright think about openly gay bishops? I’m not sure, but I guess he prefers his gay bishops to be closeted in good Church of England tradition.

What God is saying for the month of October? Probably very much whatever God is saying in September or November. Well, in Episcopal churches, God might be urging you to fill out your pledge card. Generously.

What happened at the General Convention? That’s a good question. One person might say “a big truckload of nothing”. Another person might urge you to watch this excellent video by Jim DeLa.

What is gained by framing the health care debate as a moral issue? The only perspective that matters. In fact, every issue is a moral issue. To suggest otherwise is to flout our very humanity.

What is Low Sunday in the Anglican church? Those are words you won’t hear coming out of my lips. “Low Sunday” is a name sometimes applied the Sunday after Easter, when rectors and musicians like to hand things over to the second stringers because they’re tired. I have just the opposite view: this is the Sunday in the octave of Easter Day. At the church I serve, we pull out all the stops on this day, beginning our service with a solemn procession. The rector and the associate alternate preaching on this day. We have full music. To call it “Low Sunday” is to cave in to the idea that it’s OK to take a Sunday off. Bah.

What is the relationship between Scott Gunn and the Episcopal Church? I suppose it depends on who you ask. I’d generally say they are quite close, though they each have their issues with the other at times.

What’s wrong with Tom Wright? He’s a good guy, but he is indeed really wrong sometimes.

When after Christmas should wreaths be removed from doors? This one isn’t in the prayer book. At Christ Church, we remove our red bows on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. The wreaths themselves come down on the Feast of the Presentation, February 2.

Where did Barack Obama get his authority from? The American people, in their Constitution and by their vote. I’m not sure why this is even a question. By the way, you are probably one of those “English only” types. You should know that it’s bad form to end a question with a preposition.

Who is blogger Father “Christian Troll”? That’s a closely guarded secret. I wish I knew.

Why did Episcopalians adopt the Catholic Bible? At the time of the Reformations in Europe, there was generally one canon in scripture in use. We all used the same book, though some people had a few issues with the Apocrypha. Anglicans have always accepted the entire canon of scripture. In the sixteenth century, Rome didn’t have so much use for the Bible. So the question could also be asked, “When did Roman Catholics adopt the Catholic Bible?” In the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, I’d say.

Why doesn’t the Episcopal Church celebrate Christ the King Sunday? It’s not on our calendar, probably because in 1976 when our prayer book was finalized, that feast was still too fresh from having been created by the Pope in 1925 — and hence seemed to Romish. That said, we use the same lections, and many congregations (including the one I serve) use white vestments. So we celebrate it in every way but name only. I wrote about this.

Why is a lump of coal not a good Christmas gift? Seriously? Unless you use a coal furnace, what are you going to do with it? I’d much rather get a pig for Christmas.

Why is gun control a good thing? Because it saves lives? And because Americans aren’t smart enough to walk around with loaded weapons. Example one. Example two.

Why is it called the “blue book” Episcopal? One of my favorite questions! It’s because in the Episcopal Church we like insider terminology as much as possible. We’d rather say “rector” than “pastor” or “narthex” than “entrance”. So we call a book “blue” that is rarely blue. Why don’t we call it the “General Convention Reports” (or GCR for short)? We like to keep our church as clubby as possible, so we don’t call things by sensible names. That would make it easier for newcomers. This current system allows us to ensure that the average age (and insider-ness) in the House of Deputies is steadily increasing. To further this cause, I intend to begin to call our resolution report at Diocesan Convention “the salmon report” and our parish annual report “the mauve leaflet” even though we will emphatically NOT use these colors.

Why is it hard to write sermons? If it were easy, then there wouldn’t be jobs for people like me.

Why is plastic useful? So we can make action figures!

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2 Responses

  1. Bob Chapman says:

    Your comments about the Baptismal liturgy changes inserted by some have me asking questions about the concept of “discipline” in the Episcopal Church these days. It comes from the same root as “disciple,” after all.

    I can think of another example. Whilst God is quite capable, I’m sure, of handling what may or may not happen if the communion elements are given to a person not baptized. God is bigger than that (I hope).

    So, I’m not worried about what will happen at the End Times if such a person is communed.

    BUT, IT IS NOT UP TO ME OR ANYONE ELSE IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH TO DIRECTLY OFFER COMMUNION TO THE UNBAPTIZED. THAT IS NOT OUR DISCIPLINE.

    If someone is really that ready to receive and so wants to be a part of our fellowship who is unbaptized currently, there is a simple solution. Baptize the person. Now. It didn’t take that much time to baptize the Ethiopian Eunuch, did it?

    Back to your regular banter here on 7WD.

  2. What a great end to the old year. It reminds me that original sin is ever with us and because of that our work will never be completed. Oddly it gives me comfort because it means I can continue to work on myself and that is the greatest struggle in which one can engage. It also means when I get something right it is the greatest success one can accomplish. Funny how the world works; I wouldn’t have it any other way.