When I set up this blog in September 2006, I said I was focusing on two things – firstly the prophetic, but also Anglican affairs.
Well, 2008 comes round and the wars continue unabated, in fact now intensifying. This is an inevitable reality as the Anglican Communion comes unravelled. However, it is certainly an unedifying reality. I look at the constant to and fro of news, claim and counter-claim, bickering, statement and counter-statement, barbs and insults flung far and wide and I find it hard to avoid a feeling of despair.
I would wish that all fault could be found on one side only, and whilst I do believe the lions share can be found with the adherents and proponents of the New Thing, neither side comes out squeaky clean. If indeed there is just one side. More recently there has been a disturbing trend on our ‘side’ for those who differ in tactics regarding the response to the New Thing to spend more time attacking and blaming each other than finding ways to work (and pray!) together, even if that does involve different responses in practice.
I wish I could say it’s getting better. But it isn’t, and won’t – not for some time yet. It’s a little like watching a train-wreck in slow motion.
In the meantime, we have to find some way of living as Anglican Christians without becoming so embroiled in the political and ecclesiastical mess that we lose all sense of charity or perspective. You can see this happening on both sides, where one side’s leaders become demigods, and the other side’s leaders become devils. Of course, reality is much more complicated, but that is what polarised times do.
The question we may have to ask ourselves is this – once all this is over, and the dust settled, what, who and where do we want to be? Are we so defined by the struggle that our vision will not outlast it?
I’m not advocating sticking fingers in ears and loudly shouting “I can’t hear you”. There are decisions that have to be made, and like it or not we are going to have to engage the issues sooner or later. Even not making a decision is making a decision.
I have posted here from time to time on these Anglican Wars, but have really only scraped the edge of everything I could post. This is partly because I’m posting some of that on the Anglican Essentials blog, partly because I don’t want this place to become one round after another of train-wreck reporting.
There are other things going on beyond Anglican Wars (thank God!), and I find it hopeful and uplifting to post some of these. Occasionally, when I look up from my trench, I see the sky is still blue and God is still most certainly in charge. Nothing is happening without His say, and all is unfolding as He calls. The question is as much ‘Who do you want me to be at this time Lord?’ as ‘What do you want me to do at this time Lord?’. I think Lent and Beyond have it about right, with the call to pray, both for friends and enemies. It might take some effort, but it is a blessing for the soul – perhaps sometimes actually blessing oneself more than ones enemies. Like I’ve said before, unforgiveness binds the unforgiver to the unforgiven. It is hard in practice to avoid forgiving those for whom you are praying.
With that said, I hope in the next few days to post something on community, a vision that has been on our hearts a number of years now and that we are now attempting to put down on paper. I believe this is something that is going to become increasingly important in the days ahead.
“The question we may have to ask ourselves is this – once all this is over, and the dust settled, what, who and where do we want to be? Are we so defined by the struggle that our vision will not outlast it?”
Amen. Let’s not neglect praise and adoration in our prayers. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is at the right hand of God. He lives to make intercession for us. In him all things hold together, and he is the head of the church.
We need to focus on the greatness of Christ in all this, and be defined “by him and with him and in him.”
I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on community Peter, and whatever else the Lord is saying to you at this time! He is speaking if we will but slow down and listen to His still small voice.
Did you hear about our tornado? It touched down in several places very near us, and took off the roof of one of my coworkers. Quite the excitement for the folks here in little old Vancouver! 😉
And how about snow in Iraq? But only a hint of what’s to come, don’t you think?
Blessings to you always in Jesus love and grace,
Amen anglicanprayer,just as you say. Let us focus on Christ alone!
Hello Susan. Hopefully sometime early next week, though I might send it to you before. I didn’t hear about the Tornado – that must be pretty rare around your parts? Yes, snow in Baghdad, most unusual! The sense I have is that we are, individually and corporately coming to a point. I might say more later.
Peter – a book I found very helpful when dealing with the community of the Church is John Ortberg’s book “Everybody’s Normal Til You Get to Know them”. Talks about relationships in a church setting. You may find it helpful.
That sounds about right, heh. Thanks for the tip!
I can’t speak for any other parish, but the leaders in my parish are constantly reminding us that the struggle through the current unpleasantness isn’t an end in and of itself.
I have been involved in the Community of Hope’s Lay Chaplain program. Be sure to include pastoral care in your “something on community.”
Peter, yes, please send it on ahead! I would love to read it before hand. 🙂
You can see this happening on both sides, where one side’s leaders become demigods, and the other side’s leaders become devils. Actually you’re only half right here. Duncan, Akinola, Scofield, Iker, while great men of God, are not demigods. But Schori, Robinson, and all the rest most certainly are devils!