Some of you have seen what has been posted at Anglicans All - an online forum with an NZ feel for debating a variety of Anglican issues. There have been a few feisty posts (not from me!) and until now I haven't said anything. However, this was posted this morning (it is moving on from Rowan William's Easter sermon):
An extract of the post:
"In recent years, a number of Christian writers, inspired by French critic and philosopher René Girard, have stressed with new urgency how the Bible shows the way in which groups and societies work out their fears and frustrations by finding scapegoats."
"Because we compete for the same goods and comforts, we need to sustain our competition with our rivals and maintain distance from them. But to stop this getting completely out of hand, we unite with our rivals to identify the cause of the scarcity that makes us compete against each other, with some outside presence we can all agree to hate."
Of course, Rowan was speaking here of material goods for which we compete against one another; but it could equally be applied to those spiritual goods (acceptance, forgiveness) which we are withholding from other members of the Church (and others outside of the Church), because of our paranoia about personal holiness, which we perceive as entirely lacking in people of another theological perspective.
Is this not a lesson to all of us - of the need to step back a little before proclaiming our own righteousness in belief and action, being all too ready to separate ourselves from the Common Table at the Eucharist, and issuing anathemas to the groups whose beliefs we are disposed to discredit?
It will be interesting to see how, for instance, protestant Archbishop Jensen of the Sydney Archdiocese, whose expressed desire is to legitimise the ministry of lay-presidency at the Eucharist, is able to find theological convergence with, say, the anglo-catholics of the Global South who will be gathering with him at the GAFCON conference.
Is their joint hatred of homosexuals and women in the ministry going to be enough to create a new provincial ministry in the Anglican Church?
I don't know whether it was the particular crispness of the morning, or the extra strong coffee, or what, but I couldn't help it. Here's my response (not that it's particularly biting by any means).
I’ve been following the discussion on Anglicans All for some time now, and, until this point, have read from a distance. I realise that in your last post you are referring to a specific situation and are seeking to foster debate on the archbishop’s sermon. Good on you. The topic can be debated. However, I do find it somewhat difficult (and, may I say, somewhat inconsistent) to hear you speak of Jensen’s ‘hatred of homosexuals and women in the ministry’ only 53 words after you’ve said: “Is this not a lesson to all of us - of the need to step back a little before proclaiming our own righteousness in belief and action […], and issuing anathemas to the groups whose beliefs we are disposed to discredit?” Maybe my difficulty comes from the fact that maybe “all of us” doesn’t mean all of us, and “hatred” doesn’t actually mean hatred. I confess that it is getting so hard now-a-days to know what words actually mean.
Why don't you have a wander over to Anglicans All - I don't think you need to register to read the posts. And any suggestions you have for other response will be gladly received (by email or comment here).