Another kick in the teeth from the Archbishop of Canterbury comes this week in his reflections on the US General Convention. It looks as if we are heading for a two-tier Anglicanism, with the anti-gay lot being able to have “representative functions”, and the inclusive lot being edged out of any decision-making processes.
Actually, we have been something like a two-tier Church for a while, but the nature of this division is different from the one Dr Williams describes. One tier is called the Church of England; the other is called Anglicanism. Ordinary people in the pews are members of the former; those with “representative functions” — bishops and the like — are often of the latter.
.....Mrs Jones, who has always worshipped at St Agatha’s, knows that there is a wider international side to the Church...but for her, church means St Agatha’s: Sunday eucharist, the choir, the people. Her views may be more conservative or more liberal than the person praying next to her, but that doesn’t matter much. ....
[T]he genius of the Church of England has been to allow different theological temperaments to worship alongside one other, united by common prayer and community spirit. This was how we recognised each other as members of the same Church. This was our particular charism, and we were widely valued for it.
In Anglicanism, however, the joys of common prayer and community spirit are replaced by ideology. This Anglican Church is a new invention, a global piece of post-colonial hubris, driven by those who feel that a Church that is genuinely Catholic must have outposts throughout the world.
Bishops get on planes and fly to other parts of the world to sit in committees with other bishops, hammering out policy — although no one in the secular world cares two hoots about what they decide. Over time, these meetings have created a new Church with a single-issue magisterium based on an unhealthy fascination with what gay people do in their bedrooms. This, apparently, is how we are to recognise each other as Anglicans.
That is not how Mrs Jones recognises members of her church. She says hello to them in the street. They sit near her in the pews. To replace all this by ideology is the single greatest mistake my Church has ever made.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Giles Fraser on the ABC and Anglicanism
From the Church Times. Replace "CofE" with "TEC" and the point is the same.