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I’m Sure She Didn’t Mean to…

but the Anchoress has posted a quotation from G. K. Chesterton that pretty much explains why I’m still a Baptist, despite my affection for the Eucharist, liturgical worship, and the life and thought of the early church mothers and fathers. Just replace “nation” with “church”:

“It is a good sign in a nation when things are done badly. It shows that all the people are doing them. And it is bad sign in a nation when such things are done very well, for it shows that only a few experts and eccentrics are doing them, and that the nation is merely looking on.”
—G.K. Chesterton; “Patriotism and Sport,” All Things Considered

Comments? Confessions?


  1. The Anchoress says:

    Funnily enough, though, if I do as you suggest, I get an image of a church I am entirely unfamiliar with. My church could not exist without all the laity working within it, and I am not sure what more participation we can have by all at the Mass, where we all join in prayer, kneel, stand, sing praise and commune with the Lord.

    Does it offend you that only priests are serving the mass? Well, only one person can ever lead anything – whether it’s a sermon or a song.

    Are you upset that women cannot be priests? That might or might be an issue for some (it isn’t for me…the priesthood is not about power, it’s about service and women have huge opportunity to serve throughout the church – they always have, since the earliest times) but I wonder if it – being a human issue – is enough to keep one away from the Eucharist, if one truly believes it is what it is?

    If you knew Jesus was on the corner, would you say you could not go run to meet him because he hadn’t any women among the 12?

    Best to you! 🙂 A


  2. D. P. says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Anchoress. I’m well aware that there are healthy, vital churches of all denominations who got that way because of the laypeople who do most of the work. Please don’t take my comment as any sort of slight against Roman Catholicism but rather as an admission that my tradition has warts! God is working on me to accept my church family as it is, not as I would like it to be, because I’m sure that as soon as I left in favor of some other community, I would notice the warts they have, too.

    We Baptists got our warts for exactly the reason Chesterton notes: we try to get everybody involved in the process‚Äîeven when it might make more sense to let the trained professionals do it. We don’t trust “experts.” Heck, we’re not even too sure about the Baptist church down the road! And we definitely vote on everything. This makes for some bewildering diversity and not a few cranks, but it’s who we are.

    Blessings! 🙂


  3. The Anchoress says:

    Thanks for clarifying! I really wasn’t sure where you were coming from! 🙂



  4. Mike says:

    Hey, Darrell, it’s not like we don’t have warts and cranks for you here. Just read the history of the papacy in the third century. It hasn’t changed much since then, in any sense whatsoever.


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