Encountering the Mystery of Anglicanism

By

A Bright Morning

I grew up the son of a Southern Baptist pastor. My entire young life was spent in church. I would go with my dad to youth group from an early age. On the weekends, when I was old enough, I’d do church projects and even learned to drive an excavator! Every November, I’d tag along to Tijuana, Mexico, where we’d do a weekend mission trip to share the good news about Jesus. In many ways, my upbringing was a sign of God’s grace over my life, and my journey toward the Anglican tradition began with this initial love of God and his Church. 

By the time I graduated high school, I knew the Lord was stirring in me a desire to be a pastor. I just had no idea what was in store for me. So, I went to a small private Christian university where I studied theology. I became obsessed with learning all I could and took classes on biblical interpretation, Old Testament, New Testament, Greek, preaching, and many others. 

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Professors instilled in me a love of the Bible. I began to read it with a new set of glasses. I have come to realize that my desire for study was not for an increase of faith, however. Instead, it was geared towards pride. I approached my studies as if God could be controlled by what I knew of him. Each book I read became a card in a house of cards that I built. And when the house was completed, I placed my god inside. He was made in my image.

A Dark Night

During my junior year, I experienced a deep depression brought on by questions of Scripture and Christianity that were unanswerable. In my desire for certainty in faith, I ran into a crossroads where my finitude intersected with doubt. Specifically, I had questions about how a good God could allow so much suffering in the world. I became disoriented in my hope for certainty, and it led to hopelessness and depression. My house of cards began to wobble until it eventually came crashing down.  

In my heart, I longed to believe in God but struggled to make sense of what I couldn’t understand. Within a semester, I went from a devout Christian to a borderline agnostic. Some days, I believed; others, I disbelieved. I found myself in an endless tug-of-war between Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov. One day, I was the protest atheist; the next, I was the devout Christian. 

My depression and doubt lasted the better part of two years. During this time, I continued studying, hoping that more knowledge would shake me out of my unbelief. I kept attending a church near the university, hoping a song would elevate my emotions toward love and faith in God. Yet even with these desires, I started to despise Sunday mornings. Being around so many believers who weren’t questioning what was in my heart was painful. Sometimes, I would just stand there with my hands in my pockets, hoping nobody noticed that I couldn’t bring myself to sing. 

A Valley of Dry Bones

It was about this time that one of my best friends, Luke, took to Anglicanism. We would have conversations about what he was experiencing in the church and what Anglicanism had to offer, but at the time, I thought of it as a silly ritual. Eventually, Luke was set to be Confirmed. An essential piece at this point is that we were both attending an evangelical, private Christian university. Most of our friends thought of Anglicanism as borderline Roman Catholic. Luke, in their minds, was converting away from Christianity. To support Luke and his newfound weird faith, I went to his Confirmation service. 

As the bishop led the worship service, I sat in the church, confronted by the liturgy. I fumbled my way through the service, confused by the robes, incense, bells, and all the sitting and standing. I often compare this moment to Ezekiel 37, in which God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy over the valley of dry bones. The bones started to rattle until they came together: sinew over sinew, flesh over flesh, and then the Ruach, the breath of God, was breathed into the freshly formed bodies in the valley. 

My bones were rattling inside of me. The Lord was doing something. After the Prayer of Consecration, the bishop invited us to receive the Eucharist. The invitation was simple: if I was baptized, I could receive. I walked forward to receive it with trembling hands. I received the bread and heard the words, “The body of Christ, the bread of heaven.” I then shuffled over to the wine and heard the words, “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” I looked into that chalice with new eyes. My soul confessed the words of Saint Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” My faith and love of Christ were restored in that moment. 

At the Intersection of Faith & Doubt

Surprisingly, it wasn’t my ability to know God that restored my faith. It wasn’t that I found a new argument to dispel unbelief. I didn’t find a spiritual light switch to drive out the darkness. Instead, I found mystery. 

The word sacrament, in Greek, literally means mystery. On that day, I discovered a place where faith and doubt intersect. And it’s at this crossroads that we encounter the Lord through the mysterious sacrament of his body and blood. 

Years of reflecting on this moment have led me to where I am today. I figured that if the Lord came to meet me in an Anglican Church, then that’s where he wants me to worship him. But specifically, if he is going to meet me at the altar, then that’s where he wants me, as well. That day, I began a journey—not only towards Anglicanism but also towards the priesthood. 

I thank God for the mystery found in our Christian faith. In Anglicanism, mystery is not only accepted but is celebrated (pun not intended). I have spent much of my adult life enjoying and emphasizing the importance of mystery as we learn to follow the Lord. I pray that others come to taste and see that the Lord is good alongside me in my ministry.


Photo by Imágenes de Oiasson, courtesy of Canva.

Author

Kyle Logan

Fr. Kyle Logan is the vicar of Resurrection Anglican, a church plant in Bend, Oregon. Most of his days are spent with his wife chasing their two-year-old son, obsessing over food and drink, or enjoying God’s good creation.

View more from Kyle Logan

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