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Hallo again to all.

As the US Episcopal church prepares for its every-three-years General Convention, the level of anger and bitterness in the air is like nothing we've seen in the 25 years that we've been paying attention to church politics.

As we look at all the arguments, we sigh at the need of any of the combatants to employ 'strategy', 'tactics', or 'action plans' in what all claim is a process that should be guided by the Holy Spirit. The urge to win seems to dominate, rather than the urge to listen. We suppose that is human nature, though.

If you are entirely sure you are right about the current debate and that your side should win, please stop reading now: this letter is not for you. If you don't know what the big debate is about, please review our News Centre and News Archives.

At the first Council of NiceaeaOtherwise, we recommend that you read what we've listed below. We understand that the devil can cite church history for his own purpose; our purpose is to convince you that church governance has, since its very beginnings, been contentious.

But life has changed. Besides faster and more ubiquitous communication, we are less educated and less committed now. In the time of these councils and canons and meetings, more or less the only people in the world who had access to these documents were the people who attended the councils, and it may have taken months of travel for some of the participants. The internet gives millions of people the ability to read and understand original material, but does not easily give us the discipline to sit down and read it, nor the ability to discuss it with others. Most of the decisionmakers in today's worldwide church seem to us to be less immersed in the church than were the so-called 'holy fathers' of the early church.

If you're certain that you're right, then you can read these documents to find the parts that agree with your thinking, and feel vindicated. If you're not certain that you're right, or that anybody is entirely right, then you can read these documents to add them to the mix of what you know and what you are thinking about.

See you next week.

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

Last updated: 27 July 2003
URL: http://anglicansonline.org

Special thanks to our friend MaryO'Shaughnessy for reminding us of what's in the old canons.



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