22 September 2006


I have a class on the EC/Anglican Communion, which provoked some reflection on the controversies currently ripping our branch of the Church at the seams.

I've seen a lot that angers me in the arguments of both sides of this whole debate. There are occasional mentions of the size of the Episcopal Church relative to Church in Nigeria (hint: we're smaller), as if moral authority gained validity from how many people you could claim. Likewise, there are those who would suggest that the relative wealth (and corresponding generosity) of the American church somehow gives 'us' a claim on wisdom, or at the least some sort of impunity from questioning. Both of these approaches are absolutely demeaning.

Then we have the assertions that the other side is just blinded by something (usually stupidity or naivete versus the gullible, who are too easily swayed by cultural contexts and modern mores). This is plain offensive, and it suggests a basic lack of respect and appreciation for the other person/people.

I hate this whole mess. There is no solution, there can be no solution; not when neither side can recognize that the other is seeking to act according to the movement of the Spirit, to the will of God. This is the kind of impasse that can only be solved with love, tolerance, respect, and an understanding of the other. It needs mediation, a conversation that is honest and willing to listen. We're not going to get a mediation; instead, we'll have a two-tier communion, which (I predict) will be ineffective and which will translate the problems that exist now into a formal structure, where they will deepen over time. This measure will only serve to exascerbate the problems of dialogue that have gotten us to this point, rather than addressing them directly.

++Rowan, bless his heart, is trying desparately to hold the two shifting tectonic plates of the AC together. It seems to me that these two plates are always going to be in conflict, in tension with one another, but that tension is exactly what makes us Anglican. My hope is that there will be some way of holding the tension without fixing it into a concrete structure. That will only allow us to ignore one another while nominally remaining in some semblance of a relationship. It will not be a communion by any stretch of the imagination.

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.