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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
Brian Reid

Last updated: 6 July 2003

*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 about information on this page. ©2003 Society of Archbishop Justus