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The Anglican Way: A Guidebook

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The Anglican Way is a guidebook for anyone interested in following Jesus as an Anglican Christian. Written for both the newcomer and the person who wants to go deeper, this book answers hundreds of questions about history, theology, worship, and more. Learn about this ancient but fast-growing branch of the Body of Christ. Let this guide help you as you walk the Anglican Way.

Praise for The Anglican Way

“The Anglican Way is an immensely helpful introduction to Anglicanism. By contrasting the seeming polarities, Thomas McKenzie helps readers to understand the richness — and the seeming contradictions — of this extraordinary Way of being a Christian. The writing is practical and accessible and the fruit of significant pastoral engagement.”

- The Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America

“At a time when a great many people are discovering the Anglican way of Christian discipleship, there is a tremendous need for resources that lay out what this involves. Thomas McKenzie offers just that in this excellent introduction. He supplies us with a clear overview that provides the newcomer to Anglicanism and the experienced practitioner with numerous valuable insights. I am therefore delighted to commend The Anglican Way warmly.”

- The Very Reverend Dr. Justyn Terry, Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry

“The Anglican way of worshipping God and following Jesus is beautiful and effective. But some guidance is needed along the first steps on that way. In The Anglican Way, Thomas McKenzie is an reliable and relatable guide. I commend The Anglican Way to all those who are exploring an Anglican Church.”

- The Right Reverend Todd Hunter, Bishop of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others

239 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Thomas McKenzie

14 books14 followers
Thomas McKenzie lives in Nashville with his amazing wife and two terrific daughters. He was born and raised near Amarillo, Texas. His Bachelor's degree is from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Master's Degree in Divinity is from Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.

Thomas is a priest of the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. He's the founding pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, Tennessee. He's an oblate of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 86 reviews
Profile Image for Emily.
69 reviews12 followers
June 8, 2018
For years I have yearned for the reverence and the liturgy missing from most Protestant churches. Living in an area heavily populated by Southern Baptists, learning how to incorporate this into one’s worship of God is hard to do. This book has solved that problem to some degree. While “a guidebook,” as it’s labeled, certainly cannot replace a community of believers that worship in the same way, it has served to alter how I look at my relationship with God and my treatment of that relationship.
Thomas McKenzie lays out the history, beliefs, and traditions of the Anglican Church in a clear and concise manner. Writing in an easy to understand fashion, he doesn’t talk down to newcomers. He explains the liturgical calendar, the Eucharist, prayer, and hospitality (among other things) in such a way as to show them possible for even one home to live it out.
McKenzie’s explanations cleared up a lot of misconceptions and left me with more questions and topics to research. “The Anglican Way” also gave great insight to the writings of a favorite artist/thinker, Andrew Peterson. If his music has shown God, it would make sense that his priest would have a similar way of reflecting that grace.
Even if I weren’t interested in changing my pattern of worship or incorporating historical traditions, “The Anglican Way” reminded me of unshakable truths. And sometimes we just need that reminder.
“Our sins are numerous. But the grace we’ve received is total.”

I might start rereading tomorrow.
Profile Image for Sarah Cook.
7 reviews
March 24, 2022
This book was written like a conversation—the most approachable book about theology or anything related to spirituality that I have ever read. The trade off with approachability is that some might find fault with his explanations being over-simplified. But he acknowledges this frequently and often points the reader to resources for topics where the appetite is whetted but not satisfied. It is exactly what it is intended to be; an introduction to Anglicanism.

The first few chapters on the Anglican Rose were helpful as a stand-alone resource. I had never heard of this before, and it was a helpful tool to broaden my categories for how to summarize the different types of Christian influences in my life. I grew up mainly hearing churches being assessed on the ‘Liberal to Conservative’ scale, but had not considered the other axises like ‘Orthodox to Evangelical’ or ‘Charismatic to Contemplative’.

I found McKenzie’s explanation of what it means to be a priest to be especially insightful. I’ll have to chew on that for a while, but if that’s a true representation of what Anglicans believe, that feels much more digestible than the way I grew up thinking about priests.

I found McKenzie to be informative, helpful, kind, and generous. I still have some questions or reservations about Anglicanism as a denomination, but I feel I have a much better understanding of what my questions and reservations are, thanks to this book.

Above all else, I appreciate how McKenzie’s desire for unity in the Church shines through. He is uncompromising on his beliefs—even calling out other denominations by name—while remaining steadfast in his claim that the Anglican Way is not THE way to practice Christianity, but A way. I hope to be more like him. Even if you are not investigating Anglicanism, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand their faith.
Profile Image for Jeremiah Lorrig.
286 reviews33 followers
January 18, 2020
This book is helpful for those who have a more Evangelical prospective and want a short book to summarize some of the history, context, theology, and practices of modern (conservative) Anglicans.

The author is no where near unbiased, but he doesn’t let his bias’ push him into unfair characterizations of others. He also over simplifies a lot of complex things, but, like I said, this is a summary, not an authoritative tome.

To my Evangelical friends, you might find this an accessible peak into my Anglican world. 😊
Profile Image for Jeremy Gardiner.
Author 1 book19 followers
April 8, 2020
This book is a fantastic introduction to Anglicanism by an Anglican Church in North America pastor.
It was written for the interested layman who knows little of what Anglicanism is all about. I think the audience is geared more towards people from other theological traditions (Baptist, Pentecostal, etc.) but it is written simply enough to be helpful for a new Christian as well.

In part 1 he uses the imagery of the Compass Rose (the flag of the Anglican Communion) to highlight the theological spectrum within Christianity. He uses the opposing points on the compass to represent opposing views such as evangelical vs. catholic, imminent vs. transcendent, individualistic vs. communal, grace vs. works, conservative vs. liberal. He explains these well showing how certain denominations tend to emphasize one more than the other. His point is that if you're attracted to the center you probably fit really well in Anglicanism as it is not a religion of extremes but is a Via Media (meaning "middle way").

The second part explains the prayers, the church calendar, as well as private routines within the Anglican home. The church calendar is likely the most unfamiliar for evangelicals in non-liturgical churches (I know it was for me). I really appreciated how he highlighted that we all mark our lives by time. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, we have work routines and schedules. Anglicanism recognizes the importance of marking time and follows the ancient Christian calendar. I remember reading how Scot McKnight became an Anglican because of the church calendar and that never really made sense to me. I'm a theology guy so I couldn't imagine a calendar being a draw, but now I can appreciate that reason more.

The third part is all about the Anglican parish where he overviews the sacraments with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist (Lord's Supper). Like Lutheranism, Anglicans believe in the real presence of Christ in communion. However, they do not believe there it is a re-sacricing of Christ like in Catholicism. The Eucharist is just as important as the sermon in Anglicanism whereas in the Baptist tradition I came out of, the sermon was the focal point. Anglicanism is full of symbolism and the first few times I went to an Anglican service it was jarring. I found I didn't appreciate a lot of the elements because I didn't understand the meaning behind it. Through this book, I learned what most of the symbols mean and I can really appreciate the intentionality behind it. The Lord loves symbols and uses them throughout Scripture, so it makes sense that we too should be intentional about symbolism since we know it obviously is beneficial to God's people. In this section, he also talks about how the church is organized and explains the different offices (Bishop, Priest, Deacon) that there are and what each does. The end is what he calls the "Help Desk" which is essentially appendixes. There is a timeline of the Anglican church, a large glossary of terms, the Anglican catechism, as well as overviews of women in the clergy and explanations of the difference between Anglican and Episcopal (it's just a name difference for the American church).

This was my first intro to Anglican book so I don't have anything to compare it to. However, I loved it and would easily recommend it to anyone interested in what Anglicanism is all about.
Profile Image for Courtney Covert.
67 reviews13 followers
April 27, 2022
I picked this up after reading so many of my friends’ beautiful tributes to Father McKenzie after his death last year, and now that I’ve read the book I’m sad that I never had the chance to know him. This book isn’t anything revolutionary, just a simple guide to tradition and liturgy, but it’s earnest and gentle much like Father McKenzie was said to be himself. A refreshing picture of the Church
Profile Image for Teri Hannan.
74 reviews
November 13, 2018
I enjoyed this book. I have listened to the author on Church of the Redeemer Nashville’s podcast and enjoyed his sermons. Until reading this book I had very little understanding of the Anglican Church and I now understand that I held many misperceptions. It was easy to read and I learned a great deal.
Profile Image for Emily Walker.
31 reviews14 followers
July 7, 2021
The best resource I’ve found for understanding Anglican tradition when words like “liturgy” and “diocese” are new for you. The perfect balance of deep yet accessible!
Profile Image for Chris Lee.
13 reviews3 followers
December 17, 2014
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.
Profile Image for K.J. Ramsey.
Author 3 books628 followers
July 12, 2020
This book is incredibly easy to read, kind, and helpful. As someone who has been, you might say, on the Canterbury trail for many years without belonging to an Anglican Church until this last year, I found that McKenzie’s description of the compass rose well articulated the generous meeting place of the paradoxes central to following Christ that I’ve long been seeking.

I wish this book more robustly interrogated the Anglican Church’s complicity in colonialism and racism. I felt like the version of history I was being handed was a bit too rose-tinted, focusing on particularly positive Anglicans like William Wilberforce instead of more fully and honestly accounting for the role power and privilege have played in the expansion of the church often at the expense of many.

This is a gentle introduction that encourages as much as it informs. I’m grateful it exists.
Profile Image for Matthew.
2 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2016
Interesting overall but concerning regarding author bias

An interesting book as someone that has come to the Anglican church in the last couple of years. I would like to be able to recommend this book.
However, in certain areas it does not describe the Anglican church I know. For example, in reference to Bishop Gene Robinson. This isn't surprising considering the author is part of the Anglican Church of North America (which is not a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion). What I find odd is that he makes it clear his views on Bishop Gene and The Episcopal Church but remains impartial on other issues such as women clergy.
56 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2022
“Love is the most easily dismissed of God’s commandments and characteristics. Christians sometimes seem to say, “Of course we should love people, we all know that. So now let’s get on with what we really want to do—fight about theology!” But love is the central Christian ethic, it’s the heartbeat of the church. It’s central to us because it’s essential to God. “God is love,” says the Bible (1 John 4:8, NIV). At the core of the Trinity is a love relationship between three Persons. God cannot be separated from love. Love is his nature. Unless the church is actively living out the reality of love, there is little reason to debate theology. And unless the church has a healthy theology we won’t recognize true love when we see it.”

The Anglican Way provides a map, not just for those exploring Anglicanism, and not just for those exploring Christianity as a whole, but for ordinary Christians who are looking for a framework for finding a healthy church. The book is information dense, and practically helpful, but it's not dry. At times it's actually entertaining. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Joel Sam.
65 reviews4 followers
April 5, 2022
This is a great (and concise) summary of the Anglican vision! I appreciate McKenzie's eight-fold compass analogy for the Anglican Way — this diagram eloquently summarizes the balanced approach that Anglicans take.

The section about other denominations was surprising, because McKenzie endorses the more conservative/evangelical sides of each Mainline denomination, even though the majority of the book is spent demonstrating how the Anglican Way is a moderate approach.
Profile Image for Anna Morris.
33 reviews
February 11, 2021
Clear and succinct description of the Anglican faith. Highly recommend for anyone exploring the Anglican tradition or currently engaged and wanting to learn more about our theology.
Profile Image for Kristi.
290 reviews32 followers
October 10, 2015
I would probably really be giving this book 4.5 stars, but I'll round up. I rank it highly because it really impacted me. The book first tackled what is meant by the "Way" of Anglicanism and then dives into Anglican distinctives and philosophy. He uses a compass rose image to show how Anglicans are found on a spectrum of beliefs, but all can be characterized as evangelical, catholic, orthodox, charismatic, activist, contemplative, conservative, and liberal. The tension or seeming contradiction in these terms is what make up the opposing poles on the compass. Yet the author explains how these varied labels can be held at the same time to define Anglicans.

The next section of the book explains how to follow the Anglican Way at home and in your personal life, and then discusses the various elements of the Anglican church and their sacraments. Lastly, the book ends with a few "hot button topics" and includes references like a timeline of the church history and a glossary to understand terms.

There are certainly some topics I wish had been explored or explained in greater detail -- some of the history, origins and use of the Book of Common Prayer, etc. But as a guidebook to Anglican beliefs, this was a great primer that left me wanting to read a little more, which actually is a great feeling! This book also took me by surprise: while simple and fast to read, it evoked a lot of deeper thinking. I also found myself resonating with it more than I expected. Even some of the more difficult or controversial points that have caused the Anglican tradition to suffer splintering the author handled with equanimity and grace, while still urging those that have left the Way to return to Biblical Christianity. In the end, this book points the reader to Christ and that is the crux of it all.
Profile Image for Daniel.
16 reviews4 followers
October 26, 2020
This is problematic and hopefully not a representation of the majority of Anglican churches in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). That said, there were some positives, and I would like to highlight those first.

The sections on church calendar were great. The most encouraging part of the book was Part II - Walking the Anglican Way. This is a section they highlights, how those who are looking for a Christian heritage and tradition can find a theologically robust expression and share it with their Catholic brethren. There is much here, that even if you were not Anglican or Catholic, you could adopt. For example, who doesn’t want 12 days of Christmas! I think this book does a great job of explaining the value of tradition and why it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel.

The author accurately captures Christian cultures within the different denominations. However, there are several points that stick out as problematic. But there are still problems, several problems in fact.

1. Starting with Love; this sounds like a good theology, but Love is not defined the same by everyone. This is affirmed by McKenzie in the early parts in the book and later where he discusses the ordination of a gay bishop as the “straw breaking the camels back.” This clearly shows that the way to love individuals in the Episcopal Church, versus the ACNA Church, differs due to their theological positions and the reason for the split. This is one of the authors main points of the book, and is odd that he would blatantly contradict himself. This is the same line of argument that many mainstream evangelical churches are taking and it’s troublesome to see a priest take the same approach here in a tradition with a rich history of taking stands for their theology.

2. Equivocation on the Anglican Way. The author regularly attempts to cover for heresy by his episcopal counterparts by merely stating that heresy in the Episcopalian Church is simply “not following the Anglican Way”. This is not the case; these churches explicitly reject the teachings of Christ and the creeds; creeds that McKenzie states are required in order to be recognized as “Christian”. This equivocation is not merely the result of two denominations having different “preferences” of theological expression, they are substantially different theologies and should not be muddled by ambiguous language in order to preserve a pseudo-unity. At one point McKenzie states that he has “lied to keep the peace”. He states this WITHOUT acknowledgement that it’s wrong, especially for a priest! One cannot help but wonder, with all the ambiguity, is he being deceptive here to make Anglicanism more appealing to those on the outside?

3. Relativism: the book has, as one person in our catechism class said, “a relativistic flavor throughout”. This is accurate. There are big differences in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and McKenzie does not seem overly concerned with ensuring that you know the difference, but rather presents a live-your-truth kind of message. The only difference is, instead of your truth being universally relative, he thinks you should live your relativistic Christian faith however you see fit; this also seems to contradict the whole purpose of the ACNA. Which was founded in response to episcopal churches living their flavor of Christianity. At one point, it even appears that McKenzie is ok with participating in a Catholic Mass without having been confirmed, something we discovered is a deceptive action and disrespectful of the denomination of Catholics.

4. Finally, lack of consistency. During the ecclesiology section, the discussion is around Bishops and charismatic experience. McKenzie discusses the role of Charismatic experiences of his own and how God had changed his views on his belief about God and femininity. However, he gives no discussion on the obvious question that comes from the description of Bishops and their authority over priests with charismatic expressions; mainly, to ensure that priests aren’t out of line theologically. So what happens when a Bishop informs a priest that the theology he has adopted due to a charismatic experience is invalid? McKenzie doesn’t tell us. This is problematic and feels like a half truth. Come join the Anglican Way, and you get liturgy and charismatic theology without any smack down from a Cessationist. This seems misleading again, and clarifying the disciplinary authority on bad charismatic experiences, of which we all know occur, would be helpful for those to have a clear view of what Anglog-Charismata is under authority of Bishops.

Granted the Anglican tradition is huge and very diverse. However the author should be clear that those who deny the faith, creeds, the resurrection of Christ, etc. are not “outside the Anglican way” they are not Christians. If there is a revision, there should be a new part added that discusses the differences between the Anglican Way, the non-Anglican way but still Christian, and those who claim Christianity but are not. Pretending like we are on the same page does not help the church flourish; it makes the church a relic that is unclear and incapable of accomplishing its goal of discipleship and sacramental worship. I hope McKenzie recognizes that clarity of thought is the first rule of a book, and that someone of his caliber is either intentionally making his words ambiguous defeats the purpose of the book. Some have responded to my criticisms saying the subject is difficult, implying that grace for the task and his attempt to tackle are admirable, maybe; or the other way to look at it is that he was not ready to take on the task and has failed to accomplish clearly articulating what it means to be Christian at the expense of presenting the Anglican Church as more tolerant than it actually is (just read the Jerusalem Declaration). If a revised copy ever appears, I will look forward to reading it.
Profile Image for Melissa Travis.
71 reviews16 followers
January 10, 2016
This is a wonderfully accessible yet detailed guide to the Anglican Church. McKenzie does an excellent job of helping the reader to understand the theological richness and holistic Christian spirituality that the Anglican way offers. I appreciated his very ecumenical attitude. The timelines and reference sections were helpful bonuses. Highly recommended!!
Profile Image for Anna Norvele.
73 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2021
This... might be the way?
Did not appreciate the homophobia. When author was not shitting on Gene Robinson and Episcopalians, he managed to say some useful stuff though. On my way to find some Anglican books that are not written by this guy.
Profile Image for Greg.
40 reviews
May 31, 2014
My review at Anglicanpastor.com:

The Anglican Way by Thomas McKenzie is an overview of Anglican spirituality, worship, devotion, theology, and practice. Fr Thomas is the first pastor of Church of the Redeemer, Nashville.

In the name of full disclosure, Thomas writes with me at AnglicanPastor.com, and is a friend. He asked me to read the original manuscript version, and we had several conversations about this project as it was in progress. So this will be a friendly review, but I’ve left nothing out that I think about the book, and all that I express is true to my perspective on the book. He hasn’t paid me anything for this review, but he did try to bribe me with a signed original vinyl 1547 edition of Thomas Cranmer’s Greatest Hits. I turned him down because I already had the 8-track tape.

The Anglican Way is well titled. This book is about a way. It invites people to an experiential journey with the Anglicans. It is also truly a “guidebook.” You can skip around in it like you would a Travel book. But its also easy to read through cover to cover. It will work best for someone who is actually visiting or regularly attending an Anglican church, although others would profit as well. As a pastor, I think this is very important, because our faith is shared in community. Thomas avoids the temptation to turn Anglicanism into a subject to merely be dissected, instead choosing to be a guide along the way as someone is seeking to be formed as a Christian, and as an Anglican.

Its so very difficult to summarize Anglican experience. There are the various streams, parties, and perspectives–not to mention liturgical approaches. This book does it though. It is non-partisan, but still confident and clear. I think it would be useful to every “stream” as a basic introduction. The main reason it succeeds in this is that it spends more time on what we affirm, than on what we deny — and almost completely avoids our speculative theologies.

Fr Thomas starts with the Compass Rose as a memorable tool for holding together an understanding of how Anglicanism can be both diverse and yet centered at the same time. Working through the kinds of things that most evangelicals think are binary opposites (such as Catholic-Charismatic or Liberal-Conservative), he systematically shows how, within the central circle of the compass (Christ/Creeds), these things can not only hold together, but also temper and correct one another. He tells personal stories from pastoral ministry, an approach which I think is the best part of this book. This is flowing from his care for his people, and his desire to share the Anglican Way with them.

He then works though the devotional and worship life of the Anglican church, including the seasons and Sunday worship. This is followed by a succinct discussion of various contemporary issues, in which he shows his ability to say enough without saying too much. Most of these sections call for further study, but few of them miss any important points.

This book is also a great tool for Christian Formation and group study. With confirmation class, you could start at the beginning and work your way toward the Church Year. Ideally, you might time it so that class walks through Holy Week with the book. With a newcomer’s class, I would recommend starting with the Sunday worship section, then moving backwards to the Church Year, and then finally the Compass Rose. Newcomers and new Anglicans will naturally focus on what the first experience, which is usually the Sunday worship service.

I can also see using this book for retreats. The Compass Rose section could be used to help people think individually about their own gifts, perspectives, and experience. Then it would guide them in learning about the experiences of others. This would go a long way in helping Anglicans to appreciate our differences, even as we affirm our center on Christ and the creeds. I think this Compass Rose model would be useful to any Christian church as well (with the caveat later in this review in mind).

The sections on Sunday worship, the sacraments, and the church year are of most interest to me personally. These sections will guide people into a basic, mostly descriptive, understanding of these areas. Very few of us know how to explain worship and sacraments without unintentionally removing the sense of mystery, or accidentally becoming overly theoretical. Thomas shows his pastoral side here, but undergirding it is a broad knowledge of the tradition and of basic Christian sacramental theology. Many new Anglicans reading this will want to do further study, and some will feel that they’ve received enough explanation–but all will be inspired to actually receive the sacraments reverently as a mystery and to focus on God and his presence in worship.

Some readers will wonder why Thomas doesn’t spend a lot of time on inter-Anglican wars and controversies. He doesn’t have three chapters devoted to the Instruments of Communion or various views on women’s ordination (although they are discussed briefly). Instead, he chooses to focus on what’s really important: our faith in Christ, our worship of God, and our life together. Some will wish he had more material on these arguments, but I think he made the right choice. Its time for us to move forward, not as an opposition group, but as a Christian communion. Thomas doesn’t ignore the reality of a fractured Communion, but he doesn’t unnecessarily focus us on it.

What are my gripes?

First, Anglicanism is not “a protestant denomination” except as a comparative descriptor. Use a sharpie to cross out that phrase on the two pages where it exists. Then write in “a Christian communion” instead. But don’t burn the book over this. We’ll create an online petition to change it for the second edition.

Second, I have to admit that I want the Sunday worship service at the front. This is because experientially that is what visitors and newcomers interface with the most. I also think it might move us even more away from thinking of Anglicanism as a “thought system” and to more of a “worshipping community” if the worship sections were first. But as a guidebook type book, it would be easy to start there, and then move back and forth from there.

Third, the Compass Rose device is very helpful as a didactic tool. But we have to be careful not to think of the points as actual linear polarities. I would want to make sure that folks understood that it is a useful tool, but that there is also an overlapping circles aspect - with various overlapping permutations. Not to overcomplicate a metaphor, but the circle representing where a person or a church is on each line (rather than just the polarities created by imagining each line independently) would be helpful in making sure we aren’t thinking in too “binary” a way. This is not so much a criticism of the use of the compass rose, but a caution, to make sure folks don’t overly literalize it, and that they take it one step further and see all of the points of their experience as creating an overlapping circle with other Anglicans.

For many years people have asked for the “one book” that overviews Anglicanism. I’ve always ended up recommending three and a half books, with various chapters crossed off in each one, and a few charts and handouts, with copied chapters. Some books are irrelevant due to Anglican re-alignment. Others are trying to be vague about orthodox faith. Still others are too partisan, trying to recruit new Anglicans to one of the various parties, rather than simply overviewing our communion. Most are not devotional at all, and the few that are devotional tend to play down Anglican distinctives altogether. In other words, I haven’t been able to offer them a book.

But now I can hand them this book. It explains the Anglican Way. It is Christ-centered. It is devotional. It is basic, but covers all important areas. And its full of personal illustrations and stories, making it fun to read. Sure, some folks will want to follow up on this or that area. But after having read this book, they will indeed have a solid, basic overview of our tradition. So for my part, this is the book I plan to hand people or use in group settings as the “one” book.
Profile Image for Danielhaycox.
23 reviews
November 21, 2021
A simple and straightforward introduction to Anglican theology and practice.

As a member of Father McKenzie's parish, I was inspired to read this book after his sudden passing this year. Although I've been going to his Anglican church for three years now, I often was at a loss when someone would ask me about the specifics. Who were deacons and bishops? What's the difference, if any, between an Anglican and an Episcopalian? I felt like I owed it to him to really understand what it means to be an Anglican, and this book does just that.

Anglicanism is so broad, but McKenzie's description of how it sits between varying pairs of extremes was the best and most helpful part of the book. I read the whole book all the way through, but like the title suggests (and McKenzie suggests as well) the book is really best used as a reference to answer specific questions. However, a full read will definitely give you a good sense of what Anglicanism is. McKenzie's writing is casual, and he never over-burdens you with details. This would be an easy book to give to a friend, since it's very approachable and non-intimidating. On important matters he is firm, and on non-essentials he provides you with multiple perspectives and freedom.

This book is undeniably McKenzie-ian, and that's not a bad thing. I smiled to see when some of his more personal beliefs would begin show through (mainly in sections on politics, as he was never shy about what he believed.) But most notably, this book is Gospel-focused, like everything McKenzie did. I left this book not only more equipped to explain Anglicanism, but also the Gospel. That has actually proved more helpful, and McKenzie doesn't let his description of a denomination take precedent over a revelation of the Gospel. In this, McKenzie has done something really special, writing a book mainly about Christ, and secondarily how we can better know Him through the Anglican Way.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,541 reviews5 followers
February 4, 2019
Good overview of Anglicanism in theory and practice. The author is an American Anglican priest whose church is under the auspices of an African bishop since the schism in the Episcopal Church. A little bit of history, some focus on what makes Anglicanism unique, and a taste of their theology and beliefs. Not all that different from Catholicism, really, with the exception of the whole Pope and Magisterium piece. I walked away from this book knowing more than I did when I started reading it, so that's good.

Most of the Anglican church is in Africa, so I understand that those bishops have a lot more cache than do the American and European bishops whose diocese and regions are a fraction of the size, people-wise. Anglicanism is nearly dead in Europe, and the American branch--Episcopalians--are not far behind. The future of the Anglican Church lies in the southern hemisphere.

I have been thinking about the difference between liturgical churches vs. independent churches (or non-liturgical churches). It seems to me that, for the most part, liturgical churches--Catholics, Anglican, Lutheran, United Churches of Christ, Methodists--are dying while non-liturgical ones--Evangelical, Pentecostal, etc.--are thriving. Catholicism is growing in the global south, but withering away in the global west. I wonder why that is? Conservative Christianity is growing (at least in the global south) while liberal Christianity is drying up and blowing away.

I went to an evangelical church once. I found the service to be a bit goofy, but the sermon was excellent (I still remember it, years later). I listen occasionally to sermons from that church on my iPhone. They are Biblically literate, grounded in reality, and very, very compelling. 30-40 minutes long, too. For a Catholic who is used to hearing 10 minutes tops, this is pretty remarkable.
Profile Image for William.
73 reviews4 followers
February 24, 2020
A great introduction to how many within the ACNA view themselves. It is helpful for the uninitiated to understand some of the "spirit" within Anglican circles. However, I personally would not offer this book to explain how Anglicanism "ought" to be. It is descriptive of our current moment, but I do not think it is a good prescriptive book, and the impact of the formulations of Thomas Cranmer during the Edwardian years appears to be left out of the historic evaluation of Anglicanism. I think Anglicanism can do better than using the paradigm of the Compass Rose by Edward West as its most basic model for self-understanding. Good book for those who want to understand the melting pot of the ACNA.
Profile Image for Tyler Collins.
187 reviews17 followers
September 2, 2020
McKenzie gives an excellent introductory overview of Anglicanism in this book. It is the perfect read for any layperson without a theological background looking to understand who Anglicans are, what they believe, and how they worship.

While I would love to dive deeper into the theological and historical background than McKenzie does in "The Anglican Way," this book perfectly meets its target audience and speaks in a conversational and readable manner. It gave me a deeper appreciation for Anglicanism and a better vocabulary to articulate who Anglicans are and why they choose to be while giving an overview of some of the challenges that face Anglicanism today.

I listened to the audiobook version of this through Kindle.
2 reviews
July 28, 2021
The Truth About the Anglican Way

I will be marrying a Scottish man raised in the Anglican Way. I was raised Southern Baptist. I chose this book to obtain an overall understanding of the Anglican Way, specifically the Biblical teachings and values. I believe that a wife must allow her husband to be the spiritual leader of the family. Therefore, I was lead by the Holy Spirit to seek the truth about the Anglican belief. The author did an excellent job of providing facts, his opinions and cautions which I greatly appreciate and admire his integrity. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking the truth about the Gospel of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Profile Image for Summer Bohannon.
26 reviews
May 10, 2022
In high school I put this book on my "to read" list. As a person raised in a non-denominational context, it marked the origins of my fascination with Christian tradition and liturgy. After years of distant fascination, I was unexpectedly plunged into the Anglican tradition, and I found this book an invaluable aid for answering the questions that arose in my experience. McKenzie works systematically through key doctrinal points of the Anglican church, the various currents of thought within Anglicanism, and the distinctives of Anglican church practice. The way McKenzie explains the state of the Anglican church in the USA is also incredibly helpful for any American readers.
25 reviews2 followers
March 25, 2017
If you are interested in becoming Anglican, or simply want to understand the beliefs of Anglicans better (which is the 3rd largest Christian denominational affiliation in the world), this is a great go-to book! It's an excellent summary of the Anglican approach to the Christian faith. It's very readable and arranged by topic, which makes it an excellent resource. It even has a handy glossary of terms in the back.

One of the most helpful chapters for me was a description of a typical Anglican worship service with communion (or Eucharist). Having visited some Anglican churches, I wasn't sure what others were doing, why they were doing it, or what I should be doing. This book helped explain much.

Profile Image for Isaac Jones.
21 reviews
May 14, 2022
I don't really know much about Anglicanism but found this an interesting introduction. I appreciated McKenzie's desire to provide a broad introduction without making many personal applications or statements. Throughout the book there is presented a desire to be Evangelical and Reformed yet also distinctly Anglican and liturgical in worship as it forms all of life. I liked this perspective on how Anglican worship impacts all of our lives as Christians. There was lots to wrestle with in the book also, which I enjoyed, definitely not drawing many conclusions buit given much to think about.
Profile Image for Sara.
57 reviews
October 12, 2020
An ok overview of general Anglican practices. Very light on the history of the church (especially the churches role in colonialism). Very condemning of Episcopal Church and other liberal Anglican churches. It concentrates on American Anglican traditions.. I recommend if you live in any other part of the world, to contact your local Anglican parish or search the website dedicated to your country's Anglican tradition.
Profile Image for Russel.
34 reviews1 follower
May 22, 2022
I have really enjoyed reading this book. The writing is very approachable, almost like having a conversation. The book helped me understand better what the Anglican Way of worship is, and how a multitude of beliefs can coexist in a single church. Yes, it can get messy, and Father McKenzie does not sugarcoat that, but it can still be a beautiful mess. I appreciate that more now than I would have a few years ago.
Profile Image for Amanda (aebooksandwords).
65 reviews11 followers
June 15, 2022
This book has a wealth of resourceful information worth returning to again and again. It is a very helpful though simplistic book best suited to those who are new to the Anglican church (though if you were raised Catholic like myself, a good bit will be familiar—though different somewhat of course). I especially enjoyed how the author touched on different aspects of the Anglican community using the Compass Rose.
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