Who is the Charismanglican?
My name is Joey Aszterbaum. I live in a small intentional community in Hemet, California with my wife Jolynne, our four kids, some friends and relatives. I love books, movies, music, theology and philosophy.
I used to make my living as a rock musician in the band skypark, and more recently as a mortgage loan consultant. Now I’m an associate photographer for my wife’s wedding photography business, Jolynne Photography.
In the late nineties I began a 7-year deconstruction of the Christian faith. Although I had been a believer for most of my life, now everything was up for grabs…the Bible, Christ’s divinity, truth itself.
I felt that this deconstruction, though painful and a bit frightening, was a good thing. Six or seven years into it, however, I began to wonder what would be left at the end. Or if there would ever be an end.
I had become really good at deconstruction, but I had a longing to actually ‘construct’ something. I knew what I didn’t believe, but I didn’t know what I actually believed.
When I shared my anxiety with a good friend of mine, he casually quoted Ecclesisastes: “There’s a time to tear down, and a time to build.”
It was a relief somehow. “Oh…okay. It’s still just time to tear down. A time to build will come.”
One of the more dramatic effects of this period in my life was that I was excommunicated from the church of my youth, an independent, ‘non-denominational’ evangelical church. Not only had my paradigm let me down…now I was actually being abandoned by my spiritual family.
I can think of no better word than ‘grace’ to describe how I avoided total cynicism regarding the church. Instrumental in that grace were these five authors: Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, John Howard Yoder, William Cavanaugh, and Stanley Hauerwas.
After about a year of being ‘ecclesially homeless’, my family somehow fell into the liturgical tradition. We are a part of St. Alban’s, a small Episcopal church in Yucaipa, California.
After studying post-liberalism and the early church, I have come to see non-violent, self-giving, enemy-love at the heart of the gospel. I call myself a Christian anarcho-pacifist as my way of teasing out the implications of this discovery.
A useful (though inadequate) summary of all this:
I escaped from fundamentalism into liberalism.
I was rescued from liberalism by radical orthodoxy.
The gospel doesn’t make sense without non-violence.
Q: So, why do you call yourself the Charismanglican?
A: Because it’s easier to say than “Pentecosticopalian”.