The first bishops etc from the C of E have been received into the Anglican Ordinariate. We are told that within a couple of weeks they will have been ordained priests. They and we can all sleep better for knowing their sacramental ministries can move from pretence to reality :) Perhaps this is a moment to consider those of us who are not following them. We could call ourselves members of the Anglican Ordinariness and ponder the virtue of being ordinary Anglicans. In the background to my reflection is taking up again Diarmaid McCulloch's History of Christianity as some holiday reading (and contributor to depression, Christianwise!!): what a hash Christians have often made of the fullness of life in Christ.
Three virtues I note are (1) Scripture at the centre of our lives, as measure of truth and treasury of the gospel (2) Christ unconstrained and unclouded as direct mediator of God's salvation (and therefore as guarantor of validity of sacramental ministry) and (3) continuity with the ancient church aligned with flexibility as church of present and future ages.
A vice? As simply as I can express it, the brilliant national Church of England has spawned a struggling international Anglican Communion, uncertain of how it should govern or manage itself in relation to the three virtues above. Somehow the 'catholic and reformed' character of the C of E, post 1559/1662, has translated poorly into a larger body.
Not long after finishing the above post, I came across Ephraim Radner's latest essay at ACI; a heartfelt cry of despair concerning the future of the Communion, unless God saves it. Including this:
"I have long since abandoned any expectation that writings like this would be heeded by those about whom they are written; that, in this case, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori would voluntarily stay away from the Primates Meeting; that other Primates would drop their boycotts and demonstrate ceaseless hope; that the Archbishop of Canterbury would speak clearly and forcefully to the actual obstacles before our Communion’s healing and would follow through with concrete means of removing them. I write instead for a few others, who simply wonder what it all adds up to – a warning and an encouragement. A warning: ultimately, through their actions or lack of them, our leaders have asked us all to rely on them or on ourselves, and not on God. That is the hopelessness they are engendering. But in the days to come – this year and the next and the next after — we cannot put our trust in “children of men”, the “princes” of our church. And encouragement: hope for our Communion, our churches, and our souls, lies with God."
To which we may observe that God has promised the Communion nothing, we may be left to wither on the vine!