The Anglican Communion is in crisis. This crisis itself is part of the unfolding crisis for Christianity in the 20th and 21st centuries as the full weight of modernity crushes the churches of the West, if not of the East also. What will emerge from the pressure? Something or nothing? In respect of the Communion, will the Global South Encounter 4 in Singapore this week give the Communion a steer as to where the emergent Anglican future is heading?
I am going to take a break from blogging for a few days, but looking forward to having something to say after the Global South Encounter is completed at the end of this week.
Meantime some things of interest to read include:
(A) Walter Russell Mead on where mainline churches in the USA have gone wrong, mutatis mutandis, here in NZ also, I suggest:
"Why is churchgoing so important to you that you will not only go there no matter what — but that you will do everything in your power to encourage your friends and neighbors to join you? Why is church the daily bread you must have, not a lovely garnish on an already full plate?
A sustainable religion must have answers to these questions. Otherwise it will slowly fade away.
The mainline churches don’t have to give the same answers to these questions that Billy Sunday gave. But they must answer them; at the moment, too often, they don’t even try. I do not say that it’s a simple thing to answer these questions under contemporary conditions — but I do say that the failure to keep this in focus as the most essential thing that a church must do is a key to the spiritual weakness and, therefore, the broader crisis of the mainline church." (Whole essay here).
In my new role I am visiting different churches each Sunday for a season. One thing which has struck me with fresh force is the importance today of preaching a compelling message. What is the compelling message of Christianity in the amazing world of well fed, well housed, well empowered - generally speaking - Western society? I hasten to add that I have heard some compelling sermons! But this essay by Mead is, I think, critical reading for a church seeking to emerge from under the crushing weight of modernity.
(B) Quite different tack, but Andrew Goddard is engaged in e-publishing a serious, detailed history of Integrity, the key forum/lobby for change on homosexuality in TEC.
(C) Fulcrum (that well known open [label - people prefer not to use labels] organisation in England) has published a paper by Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, on Doctrine and the Bible.
(D) A salutary riposte from Benjamin Guyer on the self-destructive tendency in Anglicanism to play out our criticisms in public media such as the internet. He is talking about bishops so I must be exempt :)
(E) But, perhaps this week, more importantly, it is possible to keep in touch with Global South Encounter as it unfolds in Singapore, mercifully free of the ash cloud over Europe! The official Global South site is here. I have also found this useful round up of Global South resources. It is possible that this GS Singapore site will carry actual news releases if and when made.
Cheers. Blogging break begins ...