A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma
A bit of a condtradiction don't you think? As an Anglican I find myself most blessed when in a church that has strong doctrine, sound tradition and a liturgial worship style. However, there are no good Anglican churches nearby, so I fellowship with my family.
Why do I go to a church where I often feel uncomfortable? Because I believe that the Scriptural mandate to fellowship with believers carries no caveat "if you find it comfortable or like the people in your church." That's not to say that I dislike anyone in my church, but I have to admit, after tasting the joys of a traditional faith, there is much in the large-e Evangelical movement that rubs me the wrong way. Why do I attend? Because we're commanded to fellowship with the local body of believers: http://relevantmagazine.com/god_article.php?id=7301
Now, what is Anglican? Most people think it's just Catholic-Lite, "More Doctrine.... Less Guilt... More Doctrine... Less Guilt."
It's a Protestant (maybe even Reformed) doctrine with a liturgical worship style, a church tradition and hierarchy that avoids splitting over whether women wear pants or what color carpet to have, and uses real wine in Communion. Catholic but not so Mary.
Now often people think that a liturgical style is "vain repetition." Every church has a liturgy in some form, no matter how informal it is, whether they call it a mass, a liturgy or a bulletin.
Now Evangelicals or 'fundies' often say that the Anglican church is based on the traditions of man. Yes, there is a traditional element. To quote: "It is not necessary that the Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word."
In my opinion, I'd rather have church traditions that have stood the test of time, rather than modernist manufactured traditions such as those that dominate the fundamentalist American church. My priest wears vestments that show a respect for God. Your Baptist preacher wears a suit and tie no matter how hot it is in the summer, out of respect for God. My church has a tradition of holding communion at every worship service, yours does it once a quarter. My church asks people to kneel out of reverance during prayer. Your church only lets people kneel when they're facing such a serious personal crisis that they must come to the altar. Kneel in the pews at a Baptist church as I do and you get strange looks. Yes the Anglican church has its traditions. But what of the mainstream evangelical traditions? WWJD, revival meetings, the prayer of Jabez, Joshua Harris, and many more.
If you have questions, read the Catechism and Articles of Faith in the Book of Common Prayer. I doubt most Protestants will find much cause for concern.
Now, many people have heard little about the American Branch of the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church of the US (ECUSA), outside the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson (an open practicing homosexual), and the election of Katherine Jeffers-Schori as Episcopal Archbishop. This leads to many people thinking it's "the gay church." Yes, the Anglican Communion is in the midst of a crisis approaching schism over the issue, as the Archbishop of Canterbury put a moratorium on gay ordinations and marriages and the ECUSA broke it. Traditional-Episcopalians have been departing the ECUSA and seeking to align with the worldwide Anglican communion to preserve vital doctrine. However, the Anglican Communion is doing all it can to reconcile differences without compromising doctrine, and there is hope that this can succeed. The traditional minority in the US remain steadfastly committed to the doctrines of the faith regardless of the outcome, whether schism or healing and unity.
So I'm not Catholic, I'm not pro-gay-marriage (though I am pro-gay in the way that I am pro-all human being created in the image of God). I am a Mere Christian. I don't ask you to genuflect when you prayer, but don't burn me at the stake if I cross myself. Thanks.