Monday, June 23, 2008

Smug

I must confess a slight smugness this evening. Let me ask forgiveness in advance - I'm not totally sure my position really helps anyone.

My position is this: having been involved in various Anglican churches in the evangelical end of the spectrum, I have experienced quite a few types of church and types of Anglican. I have believed for a long time that the church is destined for division (and then further subdivision) and that this is not necessarily a bad thing. We have very little in common it seems to me, and some of us have more in common with groups outside of the church than with those inside, which seems to me to be rather ridiculous.

I find problems with all the subgroups I am aware of:

Evangelicals are too abrasive.

Charismatics are on a different planet

Middle of the Road Anglicans are just dull (and neither hot nor cold about anything beyond the church fete).

I don't know much about High Church Anglicans but have no inclination to find out anything more about them.

I have problems with the church structures, church governance, church expectations, church choirs, the priesthood, 'worship leaders' of all kinds, parading, stained glass windows, high altars, buildings, flower rotas, biblical illiteracy, over-intellectualisation (and its converse, the prevention of 'thinking' at all costs), clothing, service times, dullness, groovy-ness, Christmas, the church calendar, and a load of other things I can't so easily trot off the top of my head. In short, about the only reason I attend an Anglican church is that I have a certain affinity to written liturgy (which wears off quite regularly) and generally have some connection with the middle-class professors, company directors and teachers we meet there.

Also I've been elsewhere, and whilst other churches cannot boast such a variety of things to really hate, they are still hugely irritating. I'm not convinced any of us are really very close to the Way of Christ we claim to profess, and on the whole churches are part of the problem not the solution.

Back to smugness. I confess it makes me smile to observe the hypocrisy. I think Archbishop Akinola and his friends claiming to be more biblicalthan his opponents is hilarious. Without even starting on the issue of homosexuality: a man with a religious title, wearing silly hats, religious clothing, attending a conference in a religious spot with other pointed-hat-wearing-religious leaders claims to have be more in tune with Jesus the carpenters' son than another bunch of pointed-hat-wearing-religious-leaders elsewhere. Give me a break.

And for those on the Charismatic wing of the Anglican church to make out they are part of some great move of the Spirit and/or revival when they're actually hypnotised by a pumped-up liar/cheat/psychopath (I can't decide which) is hilarious.

Can I logically disown all of them? By distancing myself from one group, am I not automatically putting myself into another.

Or take the homosexuality debate: I don't think homosexuals should be ordained.

For the simple reason that I don't believe anyone should be ordained. I don't believe in the priesthood.

OK, for the record, I will record my position: morally, I hold conservative sexual ethics. I think sexual intimacy is for one partner of the other gender. Other forms of sexual contact are destructive, and therefore in my opinion are sinful. I'm sorry if that offends you, but that is my morality and I'm sticking with it at the moment.

However, I would support Gay Marriage (or whatever participants wanted to call it). I can see that society is made up of people who want to do all kinds of things that I find offensive, and two people choosing to formalise their loving relationship seems to me to be a Good Thing for society. In the same way, I might not like the lifestyle or precepts of Hinduism (random example), but I think that society should recognise a Hindu marriage where participants have chosen that relationship freely. Of course, there are problems with taking this position further (for example, what happens if someone wants to marry a bunch of people), but I don't see that we are talking about the complicated ethics regarding these other relationships when talking about two people of the same gender entering a voluntary committed relationship. There is is ample evidence that bigamous relationship are abusive, coercive and/or destructive for society over and beyond monogamous homosexual relationships (for which I am not aware of any evidence of wider destructive influence on society).

I don't particularly want to see those relationships formalised in a church of which I am a member, but I do not have any right to veto what other people do in other churches or religious buildings. I'm not totally convinced of the value of weddings anyway.

So there it is. Plenty of things for anyone to aim attacks at me.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Karin said...

Maybe it was Akinola I heard on the radio, or perhaps it was one of his friends, but whoever it was, what they said struck me as rather ironic.

Church is nominally the place where followers of Jesus meet, so by going to church there is a chance of meeting another follower of Jesus, and I have met a few there over the years, which is what keeps me going to church, but I have my own struggles with it. It is certainly not perfect.

I think a split that makes it clear that I do not espouse Akinola's ideas of what it means to be a Christian, a Very Good Thing.

I wonder why you think sexual contact between two people of the opposite sex who love each other might be destructive, but I don't find your views offensive.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Father David Heron said...

Let's face it.
You are NOT an Anglican.
Full stop

3:06 PM  

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