Through the good offices of Mark Harris, I’ve been made aware of, and been struggling with the paternalistic condescension of Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan's latest. Canon Barnett-Cowan is Director of Unity Faith and Order- a title, which itself should indicate just what deep trouble the Communion is in at present.
No, I’m not going to comment on respond on Canon Barnett-Cowan’s latest , better and more erudite minds than mine having been calling it out for what it is.
Thankfully, Canon Susan Russel once again brought us healthy alternatives to the likes of Canon Barnett-Cowan’s take on Anglican reality: a document which I would suggest should be an essential element in any Anglican sanity survival kit in these disheartening times.
And then, thankfully, there’s blessed Tobias Haller’s succinct take on what I just recently referred to as ‘this latest bit of dangerous Anglican foolishness from the Anglican patriarchy.
‘Let me put it simply: We can’t even agree on what the Covenant means; so why should we imagine the Covenant will help us come to agreement on anything else?’
Anyone else notice a pattern developing here- once again- still, it is the voices of inclusion- many of them members of our incredible LGBT tribe of faith- who are the only ones witnessing and responding to the Church the Holy Spirit keeps calling us to be- the other side of patriarchy.
Fortunately, the above quote about ‘dangerous Anglican foolishness’ was not the only conversation I’ve had in the last 24 hours. Yesterday also brought an extended telephone conversation with V.S., another alienated Anglican who I am working with to build an exploratory/transformative model for her department.
‘When are they going to realize canon law, and all their patriarchal pronouncements are not articles of faith’ V.S. asked with real frustration and some pain in response to Canon Barnett-Cowan’s latest. ‘Do they have even the slightest idea of the great violence they are inflicting on the Body of Christ in the name of the patriarchal status-quo as they continue to make our dear Church more and more irrelevant to an ever-increasing number of people?’
Waking very early this morning, to the news of the passing of a cherished brother’s father-in-law, I’ve sat with all of the above in the hopeful rawness the ‘official Church’ so often leaves us in these days. Thankfully there was also the Daily Office with its blessed, deep resonances:
John 4:23; as uncomfortable as I am personally with the implied duality of ‘true worshipers’- us/ them; there is clarion-clear reminder of what the true business of the body of Christ is about- ‘spirit and truth’.
My heart soared gratefully with the reminder of the great psalm 100 as to how the Church we are called to be, is to behave:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
Yes, there’s also a rather apt description of the’ latest dangerous Anglican foolishness’ in Psalm 102
For my days drift away like smoke, *
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
change the pronoun, and it too readily brings to mind the whiff of Canon Barnett-Cowan’s latest comes to mind.
But then, most thankfully this-
‘The cross --the knowledge of good and evil is of us. Not of God’penned by margaret this morning- (margaret of the lower case ‘m’) who couldn’t be a more cherished and beloved a sister if she were flesh and blood. ‘The cross --the knowledge of good and evil is of us. Not of God-’ makes one really think; but that’s our Margaret- one of the most awesome priests I know of.
And Psalm 102 notwithstanding, I’m wrapping myself in the proven promise of Psalm 100 this morning: ‘For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his faithfulness endures from age to age.’ It bears repeating, and it’s what makes being Anglican bearable this right now.