believing and belonging

The folks over at Episcopal Café had an item called “Do you have to believe to belong?” last month. The article didn’t actually go in the direction I had expected, but it did set me thinking.

elizabeth_iFor me there’s a lot of church doctrine in which I don’t believe. Take, for example, the bulk of the Nicene creed, which we say every Sunday. Fortunately, I am part of the tradition of the Episcopal Church where doctrine is not crucial.

That tradition goes back, of course, to Queen Elizabeth I, who, while she had no reservations about telling people how to worship, was not interested in what people believed. Tradition holds that she said:

I would not open windows into men’s souls.

(I quoted the statement as it has been preserved. There was, of course, no concept of gender-inclusive language in her time.)

It is a practice that most of the Anglican Communion has continued to honor. That’s nice, because I love being able to receive Communion without feeling that I need to subscribe to a particular doctrine.

Yet another reason I love being an Episcopalian.

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