I constantly go back to the old comment made by Henry II when he was most annoyed with Thomas a Becket. “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest.” I think that’s how the average Episcopalina is starting to feel about Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury.
Let’s be honest here – or at least I will. I still don’t understand what is going on, other than the more conservative congregations and diocese here in the US have been spurred into action to separate with the ECUSA due, primarily, to the homosexual agenda. I’ve been writing about the split for some time, and can only come up with two problems: Rowan Williams and Peter Ankinola.
The original Pink Flamingo archives for the topic are located here. A housekeeping note: I’m transferring some of the more important files over to the new blog as I write this post. Just click the “Christian” category and go to “Peter Akinola”
Today George Archibald has an interesting commentary on a recent homily given about Advent, Christmas, and the whole Anglican mess. If you’ve followed Archibald’s blog, he’s been keeping one of the most fascinating logs of the whole mud wrestling tag-team match between the Anglicans and the Episcopalians.
Frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of it. I like Archibald’s column today because he touches on the only way any of the world’s problems are going to be solved.
“…Father Frank courageously called the bishop of Reading’s notice about Christmas cards “dull … boring … utterly feeble … feckless … asinine … grumpy.”
I believe that says it very well.
Father Frank further tore apart the direction of the Anglican Church in England –- and by rote the Episcopal Church USA –- as follows:
“Expecting meaningful leadership from [Church of England] bishops is like trusting Gordon Brown to fix the current economic and financial crisis. I mean, the PM is the man largely responsible for the mess we are in. Did he not run the British economy for ten years? It would be like appointing a burglar chief of police.
“Similarly, Anglican panjandrums must take responsibility for the spiritual waste they have helped to create in this country. Many people in the audience spoke as if Jesus Christ meant to them as little as Zarathustra or Bodhidharma. And yet you have a national church, ‘by law established,’ whose supreme governor and ‘defender of the faith’ is the monarch, with 26 bishops or ‘lords spiritual’ sitting by right in the House of Lords.
“There are thousands of parishes and vicars up and down the country. Nonetheless ignorance about the faith –- the ancestral religion of the English people –- is frightening. No one knows what Christianity teaches, because churchmen no longer have the courage to tell.
“How can you blame someone for going astray, when he has never been told about the straight and narrow?
“I recall what a Muslim friend, a city gent, told me: ‘My colleagues seem to know of only one way of enjoying themselves,’ and he listed some disagreeable things. ‘When I asked them why they did that’, he added, ‘I realised no one had ever told them of an alternative, better way of being.’
“Precisely. The church should have, loud and clear. Tragically, she has not. Hence, her bosses stand condemned in the Lord’s eyes.
“Third, the priest reminded the viewers what Christmas means: God with us, Christ with us. That calls for celebration, if anything does. Joy and merry-making are part of the holy season, along with some austerity in Advent. December 25th was chosen of old as the birthday of Jesus to overcome certain crass pagan festivals, like the Roman saturnalia.
“The Puritans forbade the observance of Christmas, partly out of a long-faced religiosity but also because they held that for a true believer every day should be a holy day.
“Still, if any feast calls for rejoicing, Christmas is one.
“A rejoicing, mind, in thanksgiving for the Holy Babe of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace, the Saviour of the World. Yep, Thanksgiving lies at the heart of it all.
“Once in the Underground, a man was lugging a huge case up the stairs. He had great difficulty and struggled much with that. The friend I was with, a robust young man, stepped in and, straining himself, helped the man to lift up the burden all the way up the stairs. Once at the top, the man turned his back on my friend and walked away without saying a single word of thanks.
“My poor friend said nothing, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth. It was ugly. What manner of boor would not have the grace of saying ‘thanks’ to one who helped?
“Well, it is the same with God. Human beings should at the very least say ‘thank you’ to God. So the Church should teach and preach not to make people miserable by abstinence — the credit crunch will see to that –- but to lead people to put that crucial thanksgiving back into Christmas — a thanksgiving that, by the way, is also what ‘Eucharist,’ Holy Communion, means, something Christ himself enjoined his followers to do ‘in memory of me.’
“Fourth, all right, the C-of-E bosses may be stupid and faithless but it is not all their fault. Maybe not all Professor Dawkins’ doing either, but it is down to secularism, the way we live now, I suppose.
“If only we could go back to the catacombs. When the church was persecuted, it flourished. The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the victories to come. But of course ‘the world’ today is too astute to engage in direct persecution. Instead, Christ is ignored. His name is hardly ever mentioned in public life. The media only do so with a sneer.
“Young people are corrupted, while God is imprisoned in our grey, joyless little conventicles, called churches. (Sorry, here I go again, having a go at the church. Can’t help it.)
“Bob Dylan –- do you remember his ‘born again’ phase? He then produced a stirring song called ‘Saved.’ It led some hippies to check out the parish church. When they came out they said they could not understand ‘what Bob Dylan sees in it.’ Quite.
“Fifth, forgive my vanity but it ended a bit inconsequentially, in a big applause. The presenter asked about the scarf I was wearing. ‘It is Palestinian,’ I answered. ‘I wear it in solidarity with them. Because Palestine deserves justice.’ So many in the audience cheered. That was good and it pleased me. I felt the paradox, though.
“The Baby Jesus for me has dual nationality. He is a Jew but also a Palestinian. Huh! A good omen, I think, because if anyone can solve the Israel/Palestine conundrum, He can.”…”
It’s too bad we all can’t just start acting like Christians and practice what Christ taught.