May Rector’s Study


Have you ever heard of an expression Via Media? It means the “middle way” or the “way between extremes of either side.” Although it receives a bad name for sounding too loosey-goosey wishy-washy, Aristotle saw it differently in that the adequate expression of truth exists between the weaknesses of extreme positions – foolhardiness and cowardice. Richard Hooker, a father of Anglican Spirituality, made Via Media to be the core of Anglican spirituality between Catholicism and Puritanism during the time of Elizabethan settlement (The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Dictionary of the Church Via Media). The Episcopal Church is rooted in this spirituality. As we come from all walks of life, we try to exercise Via Media to respect the dignity of every human being – not to avoid conflicts but to discern the adequate expression of truth between the weaknesses of extreme positions. We cultivate a brave space with Via Media in our faith family, embracing diversity as God’s gift and recognizing it as a strength that enriches our unity through which we stand together.

When secular friends raise the issue of Christian bickering, I remind them that it’s unrealistic to expect roughly 2.4 billion Christians in the world to all think alike. We all try to follow Christ, but it is never one-size-fits-all.  However, I also understand their perception, as I used to see one’s strong religious opinions and disagreements similarly. Secular friends notice our assumption or the assertion of righteousness, not to mention critiquing different views as though we got it all together and better. While many friends hope to witness God’s love through us, unfortunately, they often experience our arrogance instead. They see us focus more on claiming our righteousness and validation than taking on the challenge of welcoming and affirming strangers. That said, Christians are not the only ones demonstrating such neediness. Whether religious or non-religious, hunger for validation and defense for righteousness is a much broader issue; as life taught me, separating myself from a religion did not make me any less judgmental. It’s something we can all work on together. 

Cultivating a brave space in a polarized age today calls for Via Media. By discerning the adequate expression of truth and seeking to identify something familiar in our lives, we can come together in a middle way, stand united, and be strong for each other rather than occupying our minds to satisfy our needs for validation. As for St. Paul’s family, aging is life’s common denominator beyond race, ethnicity, age, gender, economic background, politics, or faith; the intergenerational ministry focuses on it. Our new ministry direction looks at challenges surrounding different stages of aging, not just the older adults but their adult children and grandchildren. For Christ’s sake, we pray for one another, learn from each other, serve God’s people, and rejoice in the works of the Holy Spirit through all that we do. By doing these, we love God and the world as Jesus taught us. We are all on this faith journey together. We are never alone. 

Love in Christ, 

Fr. Andrew