Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anglicans Everywhere

My favorite lit blogger, Semicolon, is featuring Anglican books and writers and Anglican blogs, including mine!

She references current problems Anglicans and Episcopalians are having. (If you've always wondered what the difference is, I tried to explain it in the comment section here--another commenter gave some excellent historical background).

My attempt at a nutshell: The Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) has been getting more and more liberal; a crucial decision point occurred two years ago with the ordination of gay bishop. Many congregations left ECUSA, joining and forming other Anglican networks, some a part of the worldwide Anglican communion, some not. Many faithful bishops and congregations remained in ECUSA, though, still hoping.

A new crisis for them has just arisen with this year's General Convention in which a liberal woman bishop was elected presiding bishop. The convention also failed to affirm the resolutions of the Windsor Report (here is the comic book version), a declaration by the leaders of the worldwide Anglican communion calling for ECUSA to cease and desist with ordaining gay bishops and blessing same-sex marriages. ECUSA can't agree to do this, which may prompt the worldwide leaders to basically excommunicate ECUSA from the recognized Anglican communion. Everyone is currently holding their collective breath to see who the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to side with--quite the drama! He doesn't have the power of a pope, but historically he's been the pivot for who's in communion and who's not.

Mike at The Waffling Anglican has linked to a fascinating article on the current situation and the decline of liberalism; his excerpted version is here. An excerpt from his excerpt:

Embraced by the leadership of all the mainline Protestant denominations, as well as large segments of American Catholicism, liberal Christianity has been hailed by its boosters for 40 years as the future of the Christian church.

Instead, as all but a few die-hards now admit, all the mainline churches and movements within churches that have blurred doctrine and softened moral precepts are demographically declining and, in the case of the Episcopal Church, disintegrating.

It is not entirely coincidental that at about the same time … the Presbyterian Church USA, at its general assembly in Birmingham, Ala., was turning itself into the laughingstock of the blogosphere by tacitly approving alternative designations for the supposedly sexist Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Among the suggested names were "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer and Friend." Moved by the spirit of the Presbyterian revisionists, Beliefnet blogger Rod Dreher held a "Name That Trinity" contest. Entries included "Rock, Scissors and Paper" and "Larry, Curly and Moe."

[...]You want to have gay sex? Be a female bishop? Change God's name to Sophia? Go ahead. The just-elected Episcopal presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is a one-woman combination of all these things, having voted for Robinson, blessed same-sex couples in her Nevada diocese, prayed to a female Jesus at the Columbus convention and invited former Newark, N.J., bishop John Shelby Spong, famous for denying Christ's divinity, to address her priests.

[…] So this is the liberal Christianity that was supposed to be the Christianity of the future: disarray, schism, rapidly falling numbers of adherents, a collapse of Christology and national meetings that rival those of the Modern Language Assn. for their potential for cheap laughs. And they keep telling the Catholic Church that it had better get with the liberal program — ordain women, bless gay unions and so forth — or die. Sure.

Interesting statistics: There are approximately 76 million Anglicans in the world (that are "in communion"); only 2.5 million of them are in ECUSA. It is a rapidly growing denomination in the third world; Nigeria alone has 17.5 million Anglicans.

1 comment:

Eliza said...

Well, the Canadians are happily ordaning Gay ministers so it's not just an ECUSA thing.

I've been raised an Episcopalian and have drifted away from the church because of what I have viewed as an unwilingness to take a stance on important social issues. Now that the church has made a stance, as best as it can, I am coming home. I am now overjoyed to be part of a church that both teaches and pratices the love Jesus has called us to.