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This page last updated 12 February 2005
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.

We edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to English orthography. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

If you'd like to respond to a letter whose author does not list an email, you can send your response to Anglicans Online and we'll forward it to the writer.

Letters from 30 January to 6 February 2005

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the letter writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Trinitarian road map, pointing in the right direction

Thanks again for a wonderfully cheering and useful site.

This is a time of conflict between some Christians and Muslims and there are many Muslims in Sydney. It might in fact be a good time to look more carefully at the doctrine of the Trinity and not to take it for granted. Archbishop Williams gave a typically profound and very, very important address on this subject, I think, not long ago in Cairo. Hans Kung goes further, and in his great but so far rather neglected work, Christianity, suggests it is time that in some respects we sought to go back behind the patristic paradigm to find a faith more firmly grounded on as much as we know of the historic Jesus. In that way we might draw closer to our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters.

Not all Christians and, may I say, not all Anglicans really accept in any strong sense the 4th-century patristic doctrine of the Trinity, if indeed they understand it. We no longer think in Greek philosophical terms and some would no longer see in St John's Gospel (on which the later dogmas are largely based) the actual words of the Jesus who was and is himself most truly God's word to us. To use a phrase of Archbishop Jensen, perhaps it is time to become more "Bible based".

In the meantime, I myself am very happily both a old style broad-church Episcopalian priest, but also a long-time member of the (strongly Christian) independent unitarian (originally Episcopalian) congregation of King's Chapel, Boston. Its revised Book of Common Prayer preserves the beauty of traditional Anglican worship, while the Ten Commandments, Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer and Cross in its sanctuary symbolise the faith and commitment of its people.

John Bunyan
31 January 2005

Minding the mundane

By this time next week, we may be in a different place from today and last week. I have been thinking about how we can't be feasting all the time -- otherwise we will suffer from physical -- and spiritual indigestion. We maintain better health and enjoy a better quality of life when we are sustained by ordinary food -- and then we can enjoy the occasional feast. After Lent and Holy Week is the Feast of the Resurrection, and the season after Pentecost and Advent lead us to the Feast of the Nativity or Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our contemporary, contiguous, incessant life, full of stimulations of all sorts, we tend to reject the banal and inconsequential. Attention-getting, profound, and exciting pages on Anglicans Online may seem to be preferred over the trivial and ordinary, but the mundane and pedestrian are a necessary part of living.

The best kind of exercise for most of us is going for a walk. It activates our hearts and clarifies our minds. Also we can meditate, contemplate and commune with Our God of Creation as we breathe the air we share.

The Reverend Timothy Makoto Nakayama
St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle
Seattle, Washington, USA
31 January 2005

'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism'

I am fifty-eight, and after having been a member of the Roman Catholic church all of my life, I chose two years ago to join the Episcopal Church, and was received into it by Bishop Walker of Long Island last September. I did not leave Rome because of any particular person or thing, but did so only after having read and studied about the Anglican church's historical and contemporary teachings.

Needless to say, my timing is perhaps less than exquisite in light of the furor going on in the US and worldwide church, most often associated with the Robinson matter. I wish that he did not carry what I see as an untimely agenda into the parishes all over this country. It has hurt so many people so deeply. I am very confused, and one day feel one way and then change the next. All I can do is pray for the church, and I do in my daily office.

I write to thank you for your current and previous first-page essays. They were magnificent, and captured the essence of the Anglicanism that so attracted and attracts me. They call to mind the common worship of the Church as being the visible unifying factor. I believe Queen Elizabeth I said that she did not care what people in their deepest hearts thought, just so long as all worshipped as one. That's, of course, not crass conformity nor resignation, but rather, with fear and trembling, working out our salvation. Isaiah's words that God's ways are not our ways and God's thoughts are not our thoughts, keep me steady on. We pray together, as a body, to God, for each other and for ourselves. Sometimes, in the winter of my moods, amid the blizzard of "blogs", I can forget the important things.

Sorry for being wordy, but thank you for your beautiful words that again summoned the reasons why I am blessed to be a part of this Anglican communion.

John Corrigan
Church of the Redeemer, Mattituck
Long Island, New York, USA
1 February 2005

Holy conversations round the Communion?

In the past centuries we have survived many controversies. The discovery that the earth is not flat is one of them. Evolutionary theory is another. We survived even though the Bible envisions a flat world, with the earth at the center of it -- and all created in six days! We survived, and mostly prospered, simply because we have been able to adjust to new concepts and new ideas. And to reinterpret the Gospel in light of things new.

Right now the topic is sexual orientation. Just like earlier developments, there's new information on this topic, too. And we are supposed to be talking about it, in holy conversations, thoughout the Communion. It is long past time for us to take that task seriously.

Only when we are willing to confront our fears and talk constructively with our fellow Christians who happen to be gay, will we be able move past this controversy. Let us remain divided no longer, but engage each other in seeking the greater good and the larger truth in this and all things.

Lawrence L. Graham
All Saints'
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
4 February 2005

This may be a good question, but we confess we've not asked it

Many have asked over the years why Africa doesn't add more value to its coffee, fruit, and hardwoods before they are exported? In recent weeks, the answer has become clear: because Europe imposes swingeing import taxes on processed vegetable material that make adding value at source hardly worthwhile. The colonial concept -- that blacks are field slaves who it is dangerous to educate -- bubbles below the surface in Strasbourg and Brussels. Might attacking this injustice be something for Anglicans to focus on for the next two decades, and hence forget Windsor?

Mike Jackson
St Lukes, Slyne-with-Hest
3 February 2005

Could you do my homework for me?

HellO. My name is Tiffany Cross. My theology class is exploring different denominations of Christianity. We were each assigned a different denomination and I, as you can probably guess, was assigned the Episcopal/Anglican Church. Our class is trying to better understand the teachings and beliefs of your church and I was really hoping that you would answer some questions for me. If you could answer the following questions for me I would appreciate it greatly and hopefully I will be able to visit your church.

  1. If you could, would you briefly explain your church's understanding of Jesus Christ (or Jesus and Christ).
  2. What is your understanding or belief regarding the Trinity?
  3. If you would, explain with two examples how your faith differ from Roman Catholicism?

Tiffany Cross
Chicago, Illinois, USA
3 February 2005

Ed: Would you like this double-spaced in a plain paper email? Seriously, we'd start by reading What Anglicans Believe, where you'll find quotable answers in the US Catechism. Our understanding of the Trinity is cloudy, but our belief is strong. The Romans have a pope; we don't -- read this essay for more details.

Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are in our archives.


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