Francis Bacon, Charles Babbage, George Washington, John Locke, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, C.S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, George H. W. Bush, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Boyle, Edward Jenner, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), John Wesley, George Whitfield, and William Butler Yeats. Do you recognize these names? These individuals famous for contributions to science, literature, leadership and spirituality, together with a host of others, including a total of 11 or 12 US Presidents, 31 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 37 elected members of the first US congress, numerous governors, senators, representatives, scientists, musicians, artists and actors have this in common: they were Anglican Christians. Now granted, they were not all necessarily “good” Anglicans, any more than former president Bill Clinton would be considered a "good" Southern Baptist. My point is simply that these contributors to history, science and culture, most of whom, you will learn about at some point, were Anglican Christians.
Christians of all stripes, enjoy reading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, singing hymns written by John and Charles Wesley, and believe and defend the Faith of George Washington. Students of literature read and study the poetry of Tennyson, Yeats, and T.S. Eliot. Scientists utilize theories of Robert Boyle, the “father” of modern chemistry, or Lord Kelvin's studies in thermodynamics. (The list could go on) So, why don't we not know about their Faith?
Modern culture has sought to divorce a persons religion from his or her practical life. It is one of the great fallacies of this age that suggests that a persons faith, or lack thereof, does not effect their lives in every respect. Most people do not know that these historic figures were Anglicans because they were never taught. They were never taught because the children of modernity no longer understand connection between faith and life. Religion is a considered personal matter of little consequence. Yet it is ones faith that shapes a persons world view. A person's worldview is the matrix through which they understand and interact with the world around them. What you really believe is always reflected in how you live your life, the choices you make and the actions you take.
Regardless of your opinion of the Christian faith, history proclaims with a loud voice, the positive contributions that Christian faith has made, from hospitals to universities. Likewise, Anglican spirituality formed the context out of which each of these men and women lived, worked and made such valuable contributions to society and culture. The Anglican tradition forms in us a world view that embraces the Kingdom of God, without abandoning this present world to the powers of the darkness. It inspires us with divine optimism regarding the salvation our fellow human beings. The people of this world, the lost souls in your neighborhood and mine, are worth dying for. God take's no pleasure in the death of the wicked but wants all to come to repentance. The gifts and talents He has given to each of us, are to be used for His honor and glory, not only in eternity, but in this present dark world. The person apprehended by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, becomes a light shining in a dark place. Even a solitary candle in a dark room, makes a tremendous difference.
I want to encourage you to visit an Anglican church. Experience for yourself the faith that is part of your American heritage, the faith that has born witness to the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for 1800 years. What you believe really does make a difference.