30 October 2005

Reading Weak (sic)

As Reading Week draws to a close, I am tying up all the loose school ends before classes start tomorrow.

This morning I attended an Episcopal church in Berkeley that regularly uses the 1928 Prayer Book. Now, we revised in 1979, so the use of it is particularly stunning. Since my grandfather left after the revision and started his own church, I heard 1928 with some regularity until he died a few years ago.

But you gotta love some of that old stuff in there. I mean,

The Churching of Women?!?!?!?!: A Liturgy for the purification or "churching" of women after childbirth, together with the presentation in church of the child. The rite is based on scriptural sources, especially the ritual purification of Mary and Presentation of Christ in Luke 2:22-38. Following the title in the Sarum use, Cranmer called the 1549 rite "The Order of the Purification of Women." In 1552 and later it became "The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth," commonly called the "Churching of Women." The 1979 Prayer Book, avoiding any hint of ritual impurity, replaces the older rite with "A Thanksgiving for the Birth of Adoption of a Child." The rite is to take place within the Sunday liturgy, after the intercessions, soon after the birth or adoption. In this service, parents and other family members come to the Church with the newly born or adiopted child "to be welcomed by the congregation and to give thanks to Almighty God" (BCP 439).

Let me tell you; it don't sound so sweet when you read it from the '28 book.

What I'm reading: Evangelical Feminism by Pamela D.H. Cochran. It is really moving me forward in thinking about a possible thesis dealing with spiritual vs. structural authority within the Churches, and wanting to get the word out that evangelical communities have more variation in theology than most mainline Protestants acknowledge.


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