Wither the Anglican Communion?

Wither the Anglican Communion?


I thought it worth drawing your attention to these helpful comments by the Bishop of Gloucester?

I think there are some things here we need to explore sensitively together. In doing so I want to acknowledge the honesty and courage of my friend, James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, who has publicly told his own story of moving his position on the issue of homosexuality over recent years and urged the Church not to allow this issue to divide us in a way that breaks communion. And I also need to acknowledge that I have long been in a different place and so have not had to travel as difficult a path as he has to be in the place where I now am. My own understanding has long been that the Church of England’s current stance is not tenable long term, but that, while we engage, struggle, with these issues, it must be task of the bishop to uphold our agreed policy, with all its weaknesses, and to try to hold the Church together while we tackle the things that divide us. I don’t believe I can move away from that position, though I need to share with you some of my discomfort.

It is difficult to know where to begin, but I think the best place is with the categorising of first and second order issues. I am quite clear that the issues on which the creeds make a firm statement – God as trinity, the divinity of Christ, the death and the resurrection of the Lord, the role of the Spirit and more – are first order issues on which there can be no change in what the Church teaches. They are fundamental to the Christian faith. I am equally clear that there are second order issues, which are important, and where interpretation of the tradition needs to be careful and prayerful, but where nevertheless individual churches and provinces need to be free to define doctrine in the way that seems to them to be in accordance with the mind of Christ.

Can we live together with difference and disagreement? What model of coalotion might the Church be for the world?


One thought on “Wither the Anglican Communion?

  1. Recently a word jumped out at me. Later I remembered this entry, on this blog. So I thought I would inquire into the word, ‘Tolerance’.

    Dictionary.com says :
    A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc, differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. The power of enduring or resisting the action of a drug, poison.

    My home dictionary says:
    Open mindedness, forbearance, ability of a substance or structure, to endure heat, stress etc without damage.

    So, is ‘Tolerance’, it’s True nature and our relationship with ‘what is’ genuine, and worthy of further inquiry? What ‘image’ and all that goes with it, does the word invoke in each of us? Does ‘Tolerance’ have an entirely different quality, than ‘tolerate’? Is it possible to see beyond ‘the word’ and the accompanying ‘image’? Are there hidden depths behind the word and if so, why can’t we see clearly? Is it possible to inquire free of opinion, preference, illusion and self righteousness? Can ‘Tolerance’ encourage (to have courage) right relationship? The whole world is relationship. Can we unfold its True Action? If we just ‘act’, according to the word, do we become act-ors with empty, utterly worthless, self righteous platitudes?

    We have to be constantly diligent, alert and take great care. The persuit of ‘spritual success’ (arriving later), will have the same atrocities baked into the cake, that we are looking to finish.

    Can we, put our hearts in the right place? I ask, instead of thinking about planning for success (arriving later), would ‘Tolerance’ shine light on ‘a good place to start’?

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