Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thomas, where are you when we need you?

This blog places Thomas Cranmer in the pantheon of the greats of post apostolic Christianity. It would like to place Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks there to, but there are one or two difficulties to overcome! There is another Cranmer, a sort of reincarnation, who offers witty and erudite contributions to the discourse of political religion and religious politics. His bon mots are accessible from the bloglist to the side of here.

In a recent post he offers this view of the fate of the Communion:

"It may be concluded that efforts to hold the Anglican Communion together are simply going to protract the division, keeping the debate at the forefront of people’s minds, deflecting the church from it primary mission - the proclamation of the gospel. It may be time to acknowledge that one harmonious body may not be possible among dissimilar parts of the world, where different attitudes and traditions prevail. Ultimately, the discussion ceases to be about homosexuality, but about control and authority; power and politics. The homosexual debate has simply become the means by which that battle is being fought, with its absolute demand of ‘Which side are you on?’. While for many, this permits of only two answers, the Archbishop of Canterbury, seeking a via media, asserts that ‘it is really a matter of having a language in which to disagree rather than speaking two incompatible or incomprehensible exclusive tongues’. But his search for ‘reconciled diversity’ is, for many, an unscriptural if not an unattainable objective.

Let the Anglican Communion divide, by all means; it is a relic of Empire. But the Church of England, as the genius Hooker designed, shall hold itself together through this 'tension', just as it has done since its foundation."

My frustration is this: if the Church of England can hold together, why cannot the Communion? (What I do not mean by this question is something which can be answered 'the C of E is by law established, the Communion is not'. What I mean is that if one diversified, even divided part of the whole can find a way to hold together, through commonality going beyond 'the law', why cannot the whole do likewise?).

We could do with the genius of the original Thomas Cranmer, much as we appreciate the insight of his reincarnation. In many respects Rowan Williams has that genius. But, boy, he has some critics. Hard to work that genius when no one pays him respect.

1 comment:

Archbishop Cranmer said...

Fear not.

His Grace is with you.