Leroy Huizenga at First Things exploring the 'conservative churches grow' thesis. This follows on from the Rachel Held Evans-Rod Dreher exchange, in which Dreher notes that "that liberal churches are not benefiting from the culture shift". Huizenga notes, however, that 'liberal' and 'conservative' have a range of meanings apart from the totemic culture war issues:
Churches conservative in doctrine are often liberal in liturgy while churches liberal in doctrine are often conservative in liturgy.
The longer term consequences of 'conservative doctrine-liberal liturgy' are hinted at by Huizenga in his discussion of the growing proportion of "nones" - spiritual but religious:
To hold on to those tempted to become Gnostic “nones,” we must attend not only to doctrine but to liturgy, so that our faith becomes neither an acrid intellectual system nor an empty form but rather an all-encompassing culture embracing the whole person, body, mind, soul, and spirit, in a community of love.
Contemporary Anglicanism, of course, has a particular and obvious temptation to conform to the 'liberal doctrine-conservative liturgy' paradigm - but there is also a growing constituency in the Communion which embodies the 'conservative doctrine-liberal liturgy' ethos (think Sydney, think elements of Fresh Expressions). But Huizenga's point suggests that it those ecclesial communities which possess the 'deep church' characteristics of counter-cultural doctrine and liturgy which have the greatest potential for forming disciples and impacting the culture. If there is a distinctive role for catholic Anglicans within contemporary Anglicanism, is it perhaps to create local ecclesial communities embodying deep church?
Note: catholicity and covenant will be taking a break over the next few days.