Mockingbird has this neat story about musician Gregg Allman’s search for God. What struck me, aside from the epiphany part, was this:
At one point I was going to convert to Catholicism, but they had so many rules. I have to say that the Catholic Church is very much about who has the nicest suit, the valet parking–too much about the money. I don’t think you have to dress up or show God a bunch of gold for him to forgive you your sins, love you, and guide you. Then I went to an Episcopal church in Daytona, and it just felt right. The Episcopal Church isn’t about gimme, gimme, gimme. The Episcopalians are like enlightened Catholics. They have the faith, but they’re a little more open-minded.
So look, if he found some kind of spiritual peace at an Episcopal church, God bless. But I do wonder what Catholic church he wandered into. Not that I have a dog in this fight. And I’ve known some Catholic parishes — in Manhattan and even in London — where you’d think every Sunday was the wedding of Count Romeo to Lady Juliet. But I’ve also been in Catholic churches where it may as well have been the parish of Our Lady of the Alien Homeless. It’s sorta funny that an Episcopalian church is seen as the “everyman’s” church. If ever there was a status-conscious denomination, good gravy. Once upon a time, the church use to rent pews to families, and the more you gave, the closer you were allowed to be to the action (and the farther from hoi polloi).
It may be that the average American Episc church today can’t afford to alienate a withering membership, and dress-down Sundays are one way to do it. But they’re not about the gimme gimme gimme? Ask those congregations who decided worshiping the Grand High Exalted Mystic Vague wasn’t quite what they signed up for and chose to break with the mother ship.
As for being open minded, sure, if we define “open” the way a house is “open” after someone has just burgled it.
But I digress. Good for Gregg Allman.*
* I can hear the dissenters now: “Did he really repent? Did he really trust Christ, and Christ alone, for his salvation? Does he grasp the distinction between Christ’s passive and active righteousness, the depths of human depravity, the monergistic—” Oh shut up, just shut up.
And apropos of nothing, Arrested Development is officially filming again — ten episodes for streaming on Netflix. Anyone out there a fan? Took a while to grow on me, but Jason Bateman is the key to the thing’s success, playing straight to everyone else. If he, too, were a wackjob, the concept would implode.