I Can Name That Tune in 2 Notes

| August 27, 2011 | 3 Comments More

I don’t know if any of you ever watched an old TV show called “Name That Tune,” but it was a show in which people bid to see how few notes they could identify a song in. If someone could name a song with only 3 notes that was pretty good. But 2 notes? That would be an audacious claim. If a person on “Name That Tune” ever bid as low as 2 notes, you could be sure that the other contestant would call their bluff and say: “Name that tune.”

Likewise, I’m making a somewhat audacious claim: “I can neatly categorize an entire, complex, nuanced religious identity in 2 just words.” Here’s where you call my bluff and say to me: “Neatly categorize an entire, complex, nuanced religious identity in just 2 words!”

Here goes: I believe that a good, working definition for Anglicanism is “Reformed Catholicism.”

Just 2 words. Yes, 2 words aren’t really enough to define and explain any religious tradition, and yet there’s a great power in the definition of Anglicanism as “Reformed Catholicism.” In fact, I’m basing my whole blog on that definition. As I continue blogging, I will unpack this definition of Anglicanism as Reformed Catholicism.

Over the course of my blogging I also want to explain not only what Anglicanism is but also to offer a justification for why I or anyone would care to be an Anglican. In the current religious economy, most of us have a lot of choices about which church to be a member of. Hopefully, each of you has chosen your church carefully, and you think it’s a better in some ways church than all of the other churches you aren’t a member of. If not, wouldn’t you be going to one of those other churches?

So why be an Anglican? That’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for the last 23 years, and I’m still learning!

So welcome to Reformed Catholicism, my new blog.

I’m Fr. Charles Erlandson, a priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), currently serving as the assistant rector at Good Shepherd REC in Tyler, TX. I also teach at Good Shepherd School, as well as at Cranmer Theological House, an REC seminary. I’ve been an Anglican since 1988, and I wrote my Ph.D. thesis (Lancaster University in England) on the identity of Anglicanism. I’m also slowly working on a book about Anglicanism as Reformed Catholicism and why it just might be for you.

Along the way as I blog I’ll explore in detail the nature of Anglican identity and eventually consider culture and Christianity from an Anglican perspective on a large number of issues. I hope to interact with as many of you as possible and look forward to us learning together! From time to time I’ll be adding some blogs on Anglican figures, architecture, literature, etc. My goal is to post once or twice a week and encourage discussion as we go.

Next time: “Anglicanism is Reformed Catholicism.”


CC Image courtesy of Librarian by Catholic Westminster on Flickr.jpg



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  1. Lee Poteet says:

    I may have work for you in Tyler. But first, why the Reformed Episcopal Church which, while it has moved back to something resembling classical prayer book Anglicanism with lightening speed since the St. Louis Congress, was still highly suspect in my youth. To be blunt, we called it “The Deformed Episcopal Church” for violations which now seem to have completely – or almost completely vanished.

    But since then the Episcopal Church and much of establishment Anglicanism has gone “Deformed” with a vengeance. The result is that it is extremely difficult to find anyplace or anyone who understands what the classical prayer books in their totality or the Elizabethan Settlement intended.

    • Charles says:

      Hi, Lee.

      Yes, the REC has moved away from what it had become for decades, and now we are the standard bearers for classical Anglicanism. It’s a much healthier and vital identity for us.

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