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I’m a Baptist.
That’s not always an easy descriptor to assign to myself because I am…you might say…”high church.”
What does high church mean to me?
1. High church is an adjective that, to me, helps differentiate my preference and personal theology of worship from “low church.”2. Neither high church nor low church are preferable to God or general polity of denominations or congregations. One is not better than the other. 3. To consider one’s self high church does not automatically mean one is Catholic or Episcopal (or Anglican) or Lutheran. To consider one’s self low church does not automatically mean that one is B/baptist, Quaker, Pentecostal, Holiness or Primitive Methodist. 4. High church and low church are descriptors about worship preferences. 5. The distinction between high church and low church transcends a church’s carpet color and includes views on sacraments, liturgy, the lectionary and theology (and anthropology).
So, in this chain of thought, I’m a high church Baptist and there’s nothing contradictory there (at least that’s what I tell myself).
What does it mean to be a high church Baptist?
1. I consider the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper and the Word (Scriptures) to be the two fundamental aspects of worship. Worship, as Robert Webber points out in Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative
, tells God’s story (it’s not something we do, but something in which we participate). I wish we participated in the Eucharist more often in Baptist worship services. Much more.
There you go. That’s my (always developing and always unfinished) conception of what it means to be high church and a Baptist.
Here’s a post that sums up things nicely in general (less specific and subjective) terms.
I’m sure I’ll post more on this as I reflect on these ideas over the coming months.