Anglicans Online banner
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 200 000 readers More than 10 000 links Updated every Sunday

New This Week
Everything new is here.

News
News Centre
News archive
News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Basics
Start here
Anglicans believe . . .
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Letters
Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources
Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Africa
Australia
Canada
England
Europe
Ireland
Japan
New Zealand
Scotland
USA
Wales
World

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
Staff
Awards and publicity
Beginnings, AO today
Sponsors
About our logo

 Support AO
 Visit our shop
: new items!
 Make a donation
 Thanks to our friends

Our search engine

 

Hallo again to all.

In past weeks the news in the Anglican world has been dominated by arguments about sexuality. It's been such a fierce debate that it has brought almost all other Anglican news to a halt.

We wrote last week about governance structures and said we plan to compile an online guide to the governance of the provinces of the Anglican Communion. We were thinking in terms of official governance: canon law, synods, conventions, standing committees, and the like. After watching a month of Anglican leaders acting more like mafiosi than monastics, we wonder if we should also record the unofficial and agenda-driven forces that are used to manipulate our church. Watching a group of bishops turn into a pack of jackals is humiliating regardless of the worthiness of their cause.

As much as we don't want to say it, we think that part of the problem is online communication. It is too easy, too impersonal, and much better at carrying messages of hate than of love. Tonight we got several dozen copies of an email spam advertising 'The Episcopal Shield', and what struck us the most about it, beyond its strident adrenaline-soaked language and war-hero rhetoric, is that it is utterly anonymous. The spam that announced it was anonymous; the website is anonymous; all of the 'contact us' information is anonymous; the Internet paperwork is anonymous.*

Surely you've received some spam, perhaps offering to enlarge body parts, refinance a mortgage, move money out of Nigeria, buy drugs without a prescription, or sell you titillating photographs. Beyond the obvious wish that you not get so much spam, you've probably thought 'Why do they bother? Who would ever respond to one of these?' Not a bad question.

It's been our experience that online argument does not change anyone's mind. If anything, it causes people to entrench their positions, by de-emphasising the humanity of the participants. Here at Anglicans Online, we tell you our names, put our pictures on the web site, and try every week to personalise what we say. Even with that, we doubt we've ever changed anyone's mind with what we've written. (We do trust we've made you think!)

All we'd like is for you to remember that our church is not doctrine, but people. We are the body of Christ, all of us. Our synods, conventions, and packs of attack dogs must struggle to have anything to do with Christ.

See you next week. (And look: we signed our real names.)

Brian Reidís signature
Cynthia McFarland
cmcf@anglicansonline.org
Brian Reid
reid@anglicansonline.org

Last updated: 6 July 2003
URL: http://anglicansonline.org


*We've figured out who is doing it; he lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.



This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact editor@anglicansonline.org about information on this page. ©2003 Society of Archbishop Justus