Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Liturgical Spirituality: Anglican Reflections on the Church's Prayer

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Liturgical Spirituality: Anglican Reflections on the Church's Prayer

Article excerpt

Liturgical Spirituality: Anglican Reflections on the Church's Prayer. Edited by Stephen Bums. (New York: Seabury Books, 2013, Pp ix-xv, 221. $28.00.)

The premise of this book is intriguing. Gather together Anglicans from across the globe to discuss various aspects of liturgical spirituality from their particular point of view. Provide a resource to the Anglican Communion that more fully helps us understand and explore the deep diversity and the commonality of our worship practices and how those practices shape the spirituality of communities. Unfortunately this book does not seem to deliver what it promises. The most glaring limitation of the book is that there is not a single voice of a non-Westem Anglican. Instead the book seems to center around a particular form of spirituality growing out of the Church of England with occasional contributions from the American colonies. Also disconcerting is a confusing movement between potential audiences. At times the articles seem to be written for spiritual novices. In other articles there seems to be an insider vocabulary used, with an assumption of a much higher level of academic and experiential knowledge of Anglican prayer practice. The big print suggests an easy to read book for a popular audience, and sometimes, at its best, the book delivers this.

The book begins by addressing four "moods of prayer": thanksgiving, praise, confession, and intercession. Was lamentation intentionally left out? With language that is often non-inclusive, pessimistic about the nature of humanity, and chock-full of religious speak, we are invited to revisit a largely Calvinistic spirituality. In a superb essay regarding intercession, John Pritchard challenges intercessors with these words, "The agenda we present to God can be very limited. A visitor to church might wonder what narrow world we Christians inhabit" (57). Much the same might be said about this volume as a whole.

There are within the work some bright lights deserving of attention. …

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