Episcopalian Priest Gives up Christianity for Lent (What Will Those Wacky Episcopalians Think of Next?)
You probably thought Saint Louis was just another boring quasi-Southern/Midwestern city, boring and predictable. And you would be wrong! We are cool. We are hip. We are cutting edge, baby. And to prove it we even have our own local Episcopalian priest who is giving up Christianity for Lent! How awesome is that? Here’s the story, and here’s a snippet:
The Rev. Steve Lawler should have just given up chocolate or television for Lent. Instead, Lawler, of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson, decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for 40 days to gain a deeper understanding of the faith. On Friday, he faced being defrocked if he continued in those endeavors. “He can’t be both a Christian and a Muslim,” said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church.” Lawler, a part-time rector at the church, didn’t foresee such problems when he came up with the idea. He merely wanted to learn more about Islam, he said, especially in light of the ongoing congressional hearings on the radicalization of the faith On Wednesday, the first day of Lent, he began performing salah five times a day, by facing east, toward Mecca, and praying to Allah. He also started studying the Quran and following Islamic dietary restrictions by abstaining from alcohol, pork and fish. During Holy Week, he planned to fast from dawn to sunset as Muslims do during Ramadan. But in Smith’s eyes, the exercise amounts to “playing” at someone else’s religion and could be viewed as disrespectful.