• Why I’ve Gone Mainline (for now): An Introduction

    February 4, 2015

    Church_of_the_Holy_Trinity_Philadelphia_red_doorAfter more than two decades in the Evangelical Protestant tradition, I recently made a switch and have been visiting Mainline churches, particularly Episcopal and Methodist congregations. At first, I’m not sure I was even aware of why I felt the need for change. Now, I think it had much to do with wanting to address concerns that had been building in me for years over how the Evangelical world worships: the style, the structure, the whole thought process behind the weekly gathering. While I may have had some misgivings over certain beliefs of evangelicals, my real problem was with what happened when we all got together on a Sunday and “did church.”

    Fair warning: This may be a phase. I may end up right back where I started, at a non-denominational Evangelical church, after I’ve taken a breather, so to speak. There is much I still like and respect about that world, particularly its more progressive churches. And that reminds me, I didn’t go Mainline because Evangelicalism was too conservative. There certainly are many conservative–even fundamentalist–evangelicals, but there are many, many moderate and liberal folks there as well. When I speak of Evangelical versus Mainline, I’m more speaking of worship styles and structures, though certainly what one believes about God, the Bible, the big-C Church, and the world affects how those styles and structures form in the first place.

    Also worth noting: This is not a blanket criticism of Evangelicalism (like I said, I still like much about it), and it’s almost certainly not a fully-balanced comparison. Right now, my mind is reacting to the discomfort I feel in the Evangelical worship setting, which probably blinds me to the shortcomings of the Mainline worship setting. So be it. As I said, maybe I’ll end up right back where I started after a time of toe dipping in the Mainline pool. We all need vacations.

    In the next few posts, I’ll describe how the Mainline worship experience has assuaged some of the uneasiness I had been feeling in church, and if you’re as boring as I am, you might even find those musings interesting.

    Posted in: General, Mainline Musings

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