Awake My Soul: My First Year as an Episcopalian, Part 5 November 17, 2011Posted by Matt in Awake My Soul.
Tags: church of christ, dictionary, Episcopal Church, unfamiliar language
One of the most immediate obstacles to overcome in our new church home didn’t involve theology or philosophy or any of the other fences built between churches and religions around the world. It was something that often left us confounded, with heads cocked and quizzical faces, wondering what planet we may have been transported to. This source of confusion was not theological or philosophical, aesthetic or epistemic, it was an issue far more urgent and unsettling.
Soon we were being inundated with foreign terms. Absolution and acolytes, albs and antiphons, catechisms and collects. What’s the difference between a litany and a homily? A nave and a narthex? Episcopal is an adjective, Episcopalian is a noun and never the twain shall meet. It was as though we had just disembarked a plane in some faraway land where nobody spoke our language.
Fortunately, our priest and fellow parishioners were patient with us, as the ignorant newcomers and over the past year we’ve gradually absorbed the unfamiliar words and ideas, though we still sometimes find ourselves inadvertently calling the nave, “the auditorium.”
Today I like the peculiar words used. They are just one part of our identity, something that sets us (and other similar churches) apart from denominations like the one in which we were raised, the Church of Christ.
But I still keep my iPhone’s dictionary app close at hand.