Thursday, June 26, 2008


Lately, I've spent a fair bit of time talking to journalists, including one from the international edition of Newsweek yesterday, about the latest fissures in Anglicanism and the GAFCON conference. Even though I'm a member of the Church of England (St Stephen's in Exeter is a very special place), once worked as an education/training adviser for a major diocese, and have just edited a book on 'Anglican wars' and beyond, I do find all this stuff, like Jane Stranz, a little tedious -- and, as Steve Fouche says, painful. The "will they, won't they split" stuff has been around for ages. The capacity of Anglicanism to produce formulae to keep people who don't talk or share communion arguing about each others' status is very deep indeed. What it all amounts to, one seriously wonders.

The really fascinating question is why a relatively small religious group, in global terms, can get everybody (well, a lot of people who should know better) so worked up, and what that truly signifies. The end of a certain kind of era, I think. About which, more in a while. Suffice it to say, though, that while Fear or Freedom? is aimed partly at the Lambeth Conference and what's going on within the Anglican world, it has a much broader and longer concern with Christianity and its provenance in a changing international order. For those who do want to follow what's happening on Planet Anglicana, however, I thoroughly recommend Thinking Anglicans (they do as it says on the can) and Episcopal Cafe (who curate a range of resources of really worthwhile scope and depth). Now, I'm off for a refreshing cuppa. It's far too early for a gin. [Image (c) R. Wilson and courtesy Episcopal cafe]


ElFouch said...

This current battle within Anglicanism hurts my head and my heart - how does a church get so hung up on internal politics? At the local level, this has almost nothing to do with what we ordinary Christians get up to day-to-day, and it seems we have a leadership so out of touch with real life that it defies belief.

Look forward to reading your book on the matter at some point Simon.

Simon Barrow said...

I agree, Steve. It is very painful - and tedious - and does nothing to commend the Gospel in the world.