OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
I very much enjoyed reading your reply. I believe you are a latent orthodox. Taking into account the reverence with which you read Scripture, it's only a matter of time before you are a dyed in the wool orthodox Trinitarian. If given enough time, you might even become a creed confessing Anglican who baptises his yet to be born infants of his yet to happen marriage. I pray that God blesses you in these things as He has me. I was once young, single and a Christian. You are right, it's not easy. I empathize with your fears of embarking on the journey with a spouse with little more than faith in God, a good wife, a sound education and a good head on your shoulders. My wife of thirty years and I have raised five children fairly succesfully and started out feeling just as you do now. I would say to you there is less to fear than you are imagining and all of the struggle is worth the rewards.
Now that I have a better understanding of your positions let me restate briefly my position.
Obviously, you and I disagree on much though we both reverence Scripture though neither of us worship it as an idol. I believe that you castigate Christians different from yourself for confessing and defending beliefs they hold with the same passion and obstinancy with which your views are expressed. Your first post made mention of the need to love our spiritual brothers and I was expressing that the love you advocated seemed a little lacking in the blanket accusations of fundamentalists, the orthodox and trinitarians.
Though I am not sure these are exactly the groups you are arguing against, let me create three types for you to consider.
I believe there are a lot of ignorant (in some instances possibly stupid) people claiming to be biblical fundamentalists who will sell you a pile of horse manure in the name of God. Their theology is for the most part fairly recent (within 200 years or so) and much of it is misguided, individualistic and self-centered. I greatly disapprove of them. I only disagree with you on some points you made. They will give you abortion clinic bombings, biblical justifications for racism, snake handling and will disrupt military funerals with no respect or compassion for the grieving family. I have never (nor have any of the folks who are part of our community) bombed an abortion clinic though I am vehemently opposed to abortion, I am not a racist though I was born, raised and live in the United States' Deep South, I have handled snakes only when necessary when they had gotten into my boat while fishing and I have two sons who served as infantry in the US Marines. The people I am speaking about are dangerous, crazy and stuck on stupid. This first group of "fundamentalists" are people on which you and I can agree, I think.
A second group is less easy to deal with. They hold a line of biblical literalism and will not be moved. Though I have no sympathy with the first group, I do with the second because like you and I they revere Scripture and I believe are interested in truth and pleasing God. Ignore some of their more extreme positions, focus on common ground and you will find many, if not most of these people to be salt of the earth, bible believing, walking the walk Christians. What about these people? Is there any room at your table for them?
I will use my church as an example of a third type which is orthodox and trinitarian. We believe the Scriptures contain all that is necessary for us to grasp God and His relationship to humanity and humanity's relationship to God. As commanded by our Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, we baptise infants and adults into the Church which is the body of Christ here on earth. We remember and celebrate Jesus' passion, death, resurrection and ascension in the sacrement of communion. We worship using an ancient order and express our shared beliefs as expressed in the creeds and we sing psalms and hymns in praise and honor of our Lord. All of which we believe we are doing in obedience to God's will as expressed in the Scriptures. If you polled our members (which include two MDs, two architects, a retired NASA type and a goodly number of academic doctors) you would find low church types, high church types, charismatic types, biblical literalists, several old line calvinists and a Roman Catholic who keeps coming back for more. Other than giving God the credit it's a little hard to pin down exactly what holds us together as a faith community. I believe our use of the Book of Common Prayer to order our liturgy, worship and devotions, adherence to the Scriptures as final authority on matters of doctrine and faith, our common, regular confessions of the creeds and our somewhat high view of the Church explains our community, our fraternity and our agape.
You would no doubt be surprised to find out our Thursday night bible study used Ecclesiastes as a lens through which we viewed recent movies which wrestled with the eternal questions. We watched Magnolia, Run, Lola, Run, Crimes and Misdemeanors and About Schmidt. We all have diverse musical tastes. My friend, our choir-master, pursued music at college in the States and post graduate study at Oxford in the UK. He prefers St. Matthew's Passion to my Mozart's Requiem. I don't dare tell him I have Dropkick Murphys yoked in uneasy fellowship with Dean Martin on my IPod and that I am looking forward this Friday taking off work and driving to New Orleans to realize a dream come true and hear the Belfast Cowboy perform live.
We are an assorted, odd lot, not easily catagorized, but we agree among our selves that we are orthodox, which, your objections notwithstanding, is to say trinitarian. I blush to share that, as a community, we engage in charitable giving and charitable works which our faith calls for us to do. Individuals and families give time and money over and beyond these corporate efforts. I am not boasting about us. I want you to get a feel for the kind of people you are labeling and making accusations against. We may not be as bad as you think.
I will grant you that we are pretty much-church, church, church-every Sunday morning corporate worship, be there or be square! Maybe it's more like a pit stop in the Daytona 500 where all the cars come in at the same time than a spiritual body shop. Possibly if you met us and visited on a Sunday morning you might find you like where you find yourself, the people you are with and the glorious worship of our great God and Savior.
PS I like Wikipedia.