Thursday, February 15, 2007

Living in three separate worlds :: First Things

Some extracts from an essay by Jordan Hylden:
Archbishop Williams, in a sermon last summer titled “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today,” noted that Anglicans have uneasily coexisted for generations as three distinct groups in one church: evangelicals, catholics, and liberals. Part of being an Anglican, he argued, is believing that all three groups have something to learn from one another. Most Christians would agree with his point. But the practical difficulty of it is that the three groups increasingly live in separate thought-worlds, each with its own distinct vocabularies and ideas about what it means to be a Christian.
Rather than preach the repentance of sin and forgiveness of Christ, the liberal church primarily exists to help create the “kingdom of God” by advocating for social justice, inclusion, and so on. In Schori’s new book, A Wing and a Prayer, it seems that she does, in fact, affirm doctrines like Christ’s divinity and resurrection. But for liberals such as Schori, such matters are relatively unimportant. For Schori, disagreement on such issues is possible, even desirable, within the Church. The only nonnegotiable doctrines have to do with the Church’s new central mission, defined as matters like gay rights and the UN Millennium Development goals.
Sentamu, a native Ugandan who has forcefully and winsomely stood for historic Anglican faith in his adopted England, is also a theological ally, and ought to be welcomed by evangelicals as such. One hopes that this will be realized sooner rather than later.
Details are currently a bit fuzzy on the remainder of the Global South primates’ requests, but reports are that they also want a new American province to be formed forthwith as an immediate replacement for the Episcopal Church. At present, it is unclear if this is meant literally. If so, and if Akinola brooks no dissent on this point or others, it may well result in full-blown global schism. Akinola has shown little patience for compromise in the past, and this may well be his final line in the sand, after which he and the Global South will depart permanently. But their proposal is, to put it mildly, dead on arrival. It would apparently require Episcopalian conservatives to, in effect, abandon the Episcopal Church by next week, bypassing established constitutional processes for creating a new Anglican province and preempting entirely next year’s pan-Anglican conference in London. For most American and English conservatives, most of whom want to work with rather than against the Archbishop of Canterbury, this will not wash.

Other reports seem to paint Akinola’s proposal in a different light, and hopefully they are correct.
At this critical moment in Anglican history, evangelicals and catholics have need of each other more than ever. Sadly, there is no guarantee they will embrace each other as brothers in Christ, or even that they will learn how to understand one another. After hundreds of years filled with faith and struggle, the beautiful dream of the Anglican Communion—which sought truly to live out the maxim “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity”—may turn out to be a dream that failed.
Read it all.

And it´s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It´s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it´s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It´s no sacrifice at all

Mutual misunderstanding
After the fact
Sensitivity builds a prison
In the final act

- Elton John

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