Thinking Anglicans

Christmas-tide Opinion

Paul Handley, the editor of the Church Times, has a major article in the Comment is free section of The Guardian today.
The Anglican Communion will finally split in 2009 – This will be the year of unavoidable schism in the church.

Also in The Guardian are these two items by Andrew Brown.
The New Atheism, a definition and a quiz – What makes a New Atheist different from an old one? Here are the five doctrines which distinguish them.
So the pope is a Catholic – You may disagree with him. But – properly read – his views on homosexuality are not egregious bigotry.

Jane Williams in The Guardian
Acts of the Apostles, part 3: An ideal church? – Acts implies that the Holy Spirit’s work always leads to the formation of community.

Jonathan Romain in The Guardian
How to survive a sermon – Many of us will be listening to sermons this week. They can be tests of endurance, but they can sometimes be life-changing.

Roderick Strange writes in the Credo section of The Times Commitment and fidelity are demanding qualities – A time to remember and appreciate what our families give us.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about English kings and St John the Evangelist.


  • BillyD says:

    Re: Handley’s piece on the upcoming break-up of the Anglican Communion in 2009… Things might not be so bad, even if it happens. According to Russian professor Igor Panarin, whose theory is printed in the Wall Street Journal, the United States will be breaking up in 2010 (probably in June or early July). If that happens, maybe “Atlantic America,” which country will be made up mostly of the Eastern Seaboard, can keep PECUSA, “the Texas Republic” can take ACNA, and the California Republic can be as progressive as they want. Everybody will be happy, and all that has to happen is the demise of the US.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    ‘First.. a bit of theological background. Jesus made unity an intensely personal thing. St.John quotes him praying to God the Father that his disciples “may be one, even as we are one”. St.Paul took up the theme: “We, being many, are one body in Christ”. It is impossible to be a biblical Christian and not make unity a priority’. – Paul Handley, The Guardian –

    In his rambling assessment of the possibility of an outright state of schism in the Anglican Communion in 2009, perhaps the most pertinent statement made by Paul Handley is his quotation from Scripture – above. Like most good journalists, Handley wants us to see both sides of the equation – beginning with this testimony to the Dominical prayer for unity in the Church.

    On this basis, of course, the dissidents have already taken the ball into their own hands – by declaring their unwillingness to remain within the constitutional Anglican Churches as we know them. By requesting their own Province of the Anglican Communion, CANA et al have already declared their hand. so that, whatever happens now, they have withdrawn from the Anglican Fold.
    This can be called none other than a deliberate action to implement disunity in the Church – which according to Handley, is non-scriptural.

    Interestingly, Handley does mention why the dissidents are intent on the break, citing gay marriage, women’s liberation, abortion and other activities seemingly provoking the desire to separate out, but stops short of saying that these reasons are sufficient to cause the split.

    One wonders whether the accusation of ignoring the Dominical plea for unity will have any effect at all on the other factions in the Church who are threatening schism? e.g. the anti-women bishops lobby.

    Schism in 2009? I don’t think so! But if there is any drift, it will not be too different from earlier puritanical movements which flourished for a while, morphed into one another, and then faded.

  • toby forward says:

    Let’s not forget to ask whether the so-called Dominical plea for unity has anything to do with Jesus or is the product of the Johannine church. It has no resonances in the synoptic gospels.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    It is perfectly clear to me that ACNA and its fellow types have no interest in church unity…because they firmly believe that anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do isn’t really part of the church–which is why I agree with those who predict further schisms within the schismatics in short order.

    Their sole unifying belief is in the wrongness of homosexuality…and that will not be enough to hold them together when, for example, the time comes for joint services of those who are Anglo-Catholic and those who are firmly not.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “…Russian professor Igor Panarin…”

    Question: Why June or early July? I scanned the article but must have missed this.

    Comment: Ah! Political science from the land of Lysenko!

  • drdanfee says:

    ABs apologia for the pope’s natural law shipwrecks, on the stubborn daily life facts.

    Two daddies/two mommies are living out daily life ethical commitments of great ethical benefit to themselves, and to their friends and family, and to the plantary community at large.

    Error one, presuming damage instead of good in these pair bonds. Error two, keeping fuzzy about just exactly what sorts of gender and/or behavior dangers are involved – including those alleged to be threats to human nature and to the planet’s children? Error three, categorically glancing away from the immense amount of good parenting that real, live queer folks do these days – say, in USA.

    Sorting out these errors is tricky, not impossible.

    We will have to learn from scholarly gender studies, social science, and biology – not presume to dismiss them categorically as inferiors to, say, Aquinas. We will have to confront the problem of trying to use traditional assumptions about damage and danger and immorality to accurately weigh daily life which is, in fact, a variety of goods that queer folks regularly live out among us. And this, all over the planet despite often violent and terrible odds against such goods.

    Can we know the truth if we pre-commit to rotten apples beliefs every time we are faced with the daily life goods being lived out by queer folks?

    What about the considerable evidence about queer folks and daily life goods, published in social science and published in biology?

    We can hardly be surprised that the pope attacks scholarly gender studies of the social aspects of human nature, that Vatican spokesmen get huffy when we also hear how this attack on gender studies is an attack on real live individual queer citizens. Surely, all the pope really wanted was for us to regard him in glowing halo colors as he tries preached how right he was, compared to gender studies?

    Can believers really want some barely literate country woman at India’s Barefoot College to think she can learn new solar energy technologies, while she devolves into some NL cartoon traitor to motherhood and womanhood?

    Of course, the very moment some contrary social science or biological data arises, I predict that NL theorists will suddenly shift, saying: Is cannot determine ethical Oughts. Now suddenly scholarship and empirical data have no weighty bearing on natural law claims?

    See how this Vatican natural law game works?

  • BillyD says:

    Cynthia, I don’t know where Panarin gets his dates, but this is the paragraph where the exact date is given:

    “Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.”

    In typing this reply, I noticed for the first time that we’re due for a civil war come autumn. Better make a milk and bread run…

  • Andrew Brown says:

    for what it’s worth, when I first read that bit of the speech I thought it was an attack on transsexuals. Perhaps I am just deaf to the concerns of gay Christians, but I couldn’t see anything new at all in what he said about them. Doesn’t make him right, but that’s a quite separate question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *