03 November 2010

On The Feast of Richard Hooker

It is 3rd November. This is the feast of Richard Hooker whose systematic theological work underlies the entire thought process of the Anglican Community. Hooker provided the critical foundation for all of us who claim the "Anglican" or "Episcopal" heritage.

On this day we need to think a little about what Hooker and our other forbearers created. The Anglican community is a collection of churches that share a heritage of common prayer, Eucharistic theology, ministry and reverence for the life and saving incarnational ministry of Jesus. Within the rather loose boundaries that are set out in one of the foundational documents, "The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral" we are incredibly diverse.

Diversity means that your view or mine may not be what is preached either in the parish, or larger church where you pray. I for instance am what is called an, "affirming catholic." My parish is not. The views I hold on many things are not necessarily shared by all. I am completely OK with that because these are the people with whom I share my life, my prayers and my sense of ministry especially in our work to help the diocese of Renk Sudan. (I live near Chicago.)

Some Anglicans have always been unhappy about that sort of diversity. They want a church that has rules so that we all believe and pray in exactly the same way. And they are determined to have it. The issues about which they talk are seldom the issues that actually move them. Let's be honest most people do not care about the arcana of theology. You probably don't. So anti-diversity folks look for what they call, "presenting issues." That is something you might care about they can lay at the door of diversity.

The anti-diversity side has a solution -- legalism. Legalism says that all thought has to pass the test of the authorities. It requires a set of laws. Thus the covenant. It is a bad idea because it marks the death of thinking and creativity.

A few days ago, some of us, bloggers and active participants in the conversations around the Anglican world came together electronically. We agreed that the so-called "Anglican Covenant" is a very bad idea albeit we did not (and still do not) always agree on why it is a bad idea. We also agreed that many Anglicans around the world do not understand why it is a bad idea or even what the covenant draft says. In a very few days we have created a new web site, and a new campaign group.

We are conservatives and liberals, evangelicals and Anglo-catholics, laity. deacons, priests and bishops. Our effort is designed to inform all of us including the decision makers of our reasons for opposing the adoption of this covenant draft and provide a resource center, a group of speakers and we hope a certain amount of energy to those who agree with our view. In addition however, we are always Anglicans. So we are interested in having a conversation with those who reach other conclusions. If you think the covenant idea is wonderful, feel free to tell me so and dispute my conclusion!

The new web site is at: NACC Please go there consider becoming a supporter (free!) read some of the resources and become an active participant in the pivotal discussion.


FWIW

jimB

3 comments:

CHRISTAL said...

HI DAD: I HAVE JUST SIGNED UP AND THINK ITS A MUCH NEEDED ORGANIZATION. I WONDER IF PEOPLE WANT TO BE TOLD WHAT TO BELIEVE, SOMETIMES, BECAUSE IT GIVES THEM COMFORT, VERSUS DEALING WITH THE REALITY OF HAVING THEIR BELIEFS CHALLENGED.

Anonymous said...

You're "diverse"? Really? Last time I checked you were over 95% White middle/upper middle class.
If that's "diverse", cream cheese is colorful and tangy.

Jim said...

Anonymous,

The Anglican communion is majority African these days. That has been true for decades.

If you look at just TEC, remember we are international. Hatian, Puerto Rican and other off shore diocese add rich mosaic to a community in the US which may be majority white but certainly not by your "95%."

But beyond that, your comment betrays a certain amount of racial focus. Put me next to former bishop Iker in a room (probably we both need to be disarmed) and you have diversity on many fronts. Yes we are both white males, but that proves very little.

FWIW
jimB

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