To save readers the trouble of reading each comment, we reprint them here, not so much in the order they were received as in the order that they amuse us.
1. On our header:Oh, dear. You don't know? Then we shouldn't have said anything. Pretend you never heard that.
2. On our sidebar: "Why not just call yourself a lutheran pastor and skip the Piepkornian/pseudo-catholic crap?" And, in the same vein,
Affectation? Qui, nous? For pity's sake, friend, we've spent five years writing a blog in the first person plural. Of course we're affected.
Self-mockery aside, though, Nixon is absolutely right. Terms like "Evangelical Catholic" are confusing, and muddy the semiotic water. We never describe ourselves that way in person, by the way, because it sounds so freaking stupid. Seriously. Its place on the sidebar is part of the gag, and little more.
The problem is that, to us on the other side of the proverbial Tiber, the Pope is the Antichrist in Prada. Or, if not that, at least the leader of a branch of Christianity which was strangely distorted by the developments of the 11th and 12th centuries, and further distorted by the councils of Trent and the Vatican. Or, at the very least, one kind of Catholic among many others. So for us to call him or the movement he leads "Catholic" full stop is a betrayal of our deepest theological convictions.
We don't doubt the orthodoxy of the Orthodoxy churches, at least as broadly defined. Still, when speaking of them, we do think it wise to make clear which church one is discussing. So just as "Catholic" is properly qualified by Evangelical, Anglican or Roman, we think that "Orthodox" is likewise by Greek, Romanian or American Russo-Carpathian.
And if you think our anxieties are showing here, well, watch us try to sing.
3. On the dismal state of American education: "So I'm guessing you went to private schools/suburban schools like most of the Protestant Mainline?" Now, them's fightin' words. We are the proud product of publick edjicashun in a rural high school. (How rural, you ask? You could cross the street to go fishing. Or hunting, for that matter.) However, our college years were spent eating lotuses at one of those snotty Eastern private colleges where the prep-school kids mocked our scholarship-boy cheap haircut. That's probably why we can spell (except, obviously, for "Bhutan").
As for the rest of the Protestant Mainline, we think they went to SUNY Albany.
4. On the dismal state of Mainline Protestantism, apparently inspired by the suggestion that as the middle class shrinks, many people are losing their aspiration to middle-class behavior:
Seriously, that's where we see our church: in Africa, where Christianity -- like Islam -- is making enormous gains. (Paging Philip Jenkins!) There are more Lutherans in Eritrea than in Denmark, more Anglicans in Uganda than in England, and in both cases we expect that the Africans are far more devout in worship. A few years ago, the (Roman) Catholic church in Ireland ran out of priests, and began to import them from Nigeria.
But that doesn't mean that we should just give up the ship here in Anglo-Euro-Americaville. If nothing else, somebody needs to be here to turn out the lights. Or to leave them on, so that we can offer the developing churches some of what we have that is worth having -- access to our colleges and seminaries, for example.
And while we don't doubt your statistics, we do need to point out that in our current parish, Father Anonymous is almost always the oldest person in the room on Sunday. And he's a GenXer, or nearly so.
5. Omnium gatherum: Nixon doesn't like state churches. Neither do we, which is why we don't serve one. He (or she? How can one know?) wonders why our list of favorite kings didn't include the King of Sweden, who after al disestablished the CofS. There are two answers, one rooted deep in our ancestral Finnish nationalism, the other in the king's recently-revealed affection for orgies and sailor hats. Mostly the sailor hats. He may be the best king since Arthur, and a Lutheran to boot, but we had to draw the line somewhere.