Friday, January 27, 2012

The British Are Coming - Archbishop of Canterbury Versus Episcopal Church Imperialism and Exceptionalism

Hmm why is this not getting covered more. No matter what you think of the argument this language is rather explosive.

In Anglican News we have this thing called the Anglican Covenant which is an attempt to impose some slight order on the Communion as to theology and practice. Which sort of makes sense because being in Communion means at least shared beliefs about the very basics I would think.

In other words some Anglican parts of the Communions think before an essential doctrine is changed everyone in the Communion should sign on. The Archbishop of Canterbury likes that idea the United States Episcopal Church ( which is why this got started) hates it.

Well a Canon Librarian at Norwich Cathedral by the name of Stephen Doll's paper has produced "Anglican Covenant - Bishop's Council" which was circulated to all bishops in the Church of England.

It's motivation is to encourage support for the Anglican Covenant and appears to have the Archbishop of Canterbury's approval . I repeat even on this side of the pond it's very much assumed the Archbishop of Canterbury approved this paper to go forward .

It contains some wording that must drive the more progressive liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church USA up the wall. After some interesting history of deletions in the first Prayer book of the Episcopal Church USA he lets it fly:

...My fear is that we no longer care enough about unity to hold on to it. Unity is
not an idea that means much in the context of American religious life.
Americans are
strongly imbued with a sense of their own ‘exceptionalism’, and this is (if possible)
even more true of their religious than of their political and social life.5
The particular
extreme reformed Protestantism that arrived with the early settlers has formed the
theological habits of the continent, with a conviction that in the new world the
original humanity, before-the-fall humanity could be recovered. ...

....The American religious experience is like no other, and even if American
Anglicans have historically identified themselves as standing apart from evangelical
Protestantism, as being a cut above socially and intellectually, their actual experience
is nevertheless deeply imbued with these same primordialist assumptions. From the
beginning of the Republic, American Anglicans assumed their church was ‘purer’
than the Mother Church of England because they had disposed of state establishment.
America is a self-referring cultural power; it does not occur to most Americans to
consult others, politically or spiritually, to arrive at an understanding of truth and

....I don’t think it takes much knowledge or experience of the Episcopal Church
to see the power that this ‘American Religion’ has over its life. If ‘personal
experience’ has absolute authority, if finding the ‘real me’ is the central quest of
human existence, then the individual
requires complete freedom of choice
unconstrained by any authority outside the self. A church inculturated in such a
setting will affirm the individual quest in all its forms. Inclusion becomes a
fundamental value for the church, the unconditional affirmation of all personal
experience of whatever race, creed, gender, or sexuality
. The purpose of the church is
to validate those who have found their true identity and have thus found God. This
would seem to be the thinking behind a recent orthodoxy of the Episcopal Church, the
welcoming of all of whatever faith or none to communion. This seems to me a much
more serious issue than the current disagreements over sexuality. By obviating the
need for baptism, it leaves no space for the atoning power of Christ’s death and
resurrection, repentance, faith or holiness of life

...The attitude of the Episcopal Church is very firmly, ‘No one can tell us what to do.’....

...It is utter nonsense, I would argue, to equate the current American experience with that of African and Asian post-colonial societies. And yet if we take the statement at face-value, it must express how these
Episcopalians feel about their situation.
These rich and powerful Americans, the most
privileged people on earth, identify their own experience of being oppressed and
persecuted for their advocacy of gay rights with, for example, the experience of black
South Africans under apartheid

And then the bomb

...American church is not prepared to accept further consultation or dialogue over this issue nor to wait for the rest of the church to catch up with its own understanding of the place of same-sex relationships
in the life of the church. Whatever is acceptable and right in a particular American
cultural context must be universally applicable to every other culture and context.
There is more than an element of cultural imperialism in these American attitudes.
Ironically, they resonate strongly with the gung-ho combination of domestic
isolationism and foreign interventionism of American political life which so many
American liberals deplore, and yet they don’t seem to be able to see the parallels here

Well Well Well.

As to be expected some folks did not like that. See this response here at Anti-Americanism and the Anglican Covenant.

In response to that a former Episcopalian went into quite a lengthy frisking of the response to the response that is a must read at PROMISED LAND.

I might add there is some truth to this sadly in the American Catholic Church. Who cares what the rest of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox world thinks WE American Catholics want this so do it damn it. The sin of schism is just so overblown you know.

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