Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Review of The Anglican Way

This review of the Anglican Way comes from Chris Lee on

This book is incredibly good. I'm normally the world's slowest reader but I burnt through this in... *checks Goodreads*... sixteen days. Thomas McKenzie writes in an incredibly clear and readable manner. And for me, a newcomer to Anglicanism, the content was just so insightful and interesting.

My favorite part of the book was the first section, in which McKenzie explains Anglicanism as encompassing many different facets of Christianity—all godly and good but limited when held in isolation—using the image of a compass rose. These facets are: catholic and evangelical, charismatic and orthodox, contemplative and activist, and conservative and liberal. I'd honestly normally expect such a framework to be an oversimplification based on buzzwords, but in this case each facet is actually a discrete property emphasized in some churches and not others. McKenzie gives great anecdotal examples of each and makes a strong argument for the "Anglican way" of holding all of these values in right tension.

But this part of the book, Anglicanism aside, also just gives any reader a really useful framework for thinking about the Christian Church and realizing that it's broader than any individual one of these facets. I think this framework is incredibly useful for any Christian, not just those specifically interested in Anglicanism.

The rest of the book goes into the specifics of Anglicanism: its history, its worship practice, and various practical matters like advice on finding a church. People explaining Christian tradition can sometimes come across as a bit obnoxious with assumptions of knowledge and verbiage. McKenzie definitively does not. He explains concepts like priests and sacraments in a way that's accessible to those from other Christian backgrounds. He explains the *reasons* for these things, which is what so many of us are seeking to understand. He explains all of this within a framework that of these good things can be distorted and taken to an extreme that loses the heart. He gives historical background when it's useful and personal anecdotes where they fit. It's all just very informative, and it doesn't take long to read at all.

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