Letters from 1 to
7 June 2009
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Genius gone missing?
you again and as always for your extremely thought-provoking front-page
editorial. An Anglican perspective on these
things is always welcome and a delight. I confess to a certain number
of social class-born prejudices and your editorials always have
the effect of making me re-examine them.
I have many Oriental
Orthodox friends in India and they inquire diligently about just what
this Anglican Communion thing is all about. I think I may even have
had an small effect on Anglicans Online having removed the united churches
of South India, North India, Pakistan and Bangladesh out of its mildly
disparaging “united churches” section into its “full
communion” department when I reported that a Mayalali Oriental
Orthodox friend had inquired of CSI cousins as to just what they were: “Well,
we are Anglicans, and we regard the Archbishop of Canterbury as our
universal primate.” (It
became somewhat more urgent and perhaps droll when I was driving a Tamil
friend somewhere or other and absent-mindedly — and entirely facetiously — began
singing Psalm 122 under my breath to Anglican chant and he fairly shouted, “WHAT
IS THAT? THAT IS HOW WE SING THE PSALMS IN INDIA!”)
are occasional online overtures from friends and relatives of such Indian
friends and the most recent of them was from a Malayali fellow in Oman
who reported that he was a Pentecostal. Of Oriental Orthodox antecedents,
needless to say. I politely engaged with him, of course, but was, I
confess, urgently minded to get rid of him. (A Pentecostal – yuck!)
But then why, I wondered? We — my own family — are Scotch
Presbyterian and Scotch Catholic Canadians (and indeed we were Scotch-Gaelic
speakers till a generation ago) though we have found Anglicanism entirely
congenial, and secular WASP society even more so: my three children
are strictly speaking Australian Jews, but are acutely uncomfortable
among Australians and they are romantically involved with, respectively,
an English Anglican, a Salvadorean Catholic and a Canadian WASP. (Australia
doesn’t really assimilate foreigners, not even more-or-less
WASP Canadians, very readily.)
used to delight in coming to the Anglican cathedral in our metropole
to hear me play the organ there; it was a pretty classy style we affected,
but Sunday-by-Sunday would go to their extremely bland United Church
of Canada. But they were perhaps equally at home at midnight mass on
Christmas Eve in RC churches and a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ at
Pentecostal tent meetings in between times.
I wonder if we
haven’t somewhat abandoned that measure of cultural, if not ecclesiastical,
inclusivity that would have enabled us to connect successfully with
the likes of Archbishop Akinola and even Bishop Duncan. Canadian Anglican
prelates who have been friends of mine through the years report that
one way and another, between dealing with tony high-church urban parishes,
low-church Mattins-three-times-a-month suburban parishes and “there
is a fountain filled with blood” aboriginal parishes, they need
to be all things to all people. Well, that was the genius of Anglicanism
forever and ever amen, was it not?
Holy Trinity Church, Fortitude Valley (occasionally)
Brisbane, QLD, AUSTRALIA
1 June 2009i
The ghost in
liked the article on the Holy Ghost and the Pentecost. Of
course, nowadays it is fashionable to inject more passion — and
dare I use the word 'energy'?
— into worship services and the practice of religion, and this
rather leaves orthodox Anglicanism with its restrained mode of worship
looking somewhat primeval. But I always wonder: Is the Holy Ghost descending
upon one with tongues of flame and language an indispensable mark of
the TRUE true believer?
shorn myself of the weight of British sceptism, cynicism, and dislike
of overt emotionalism that I inherited with my Anglicanism, I still
find it difficult to believe that some intense experience of that sort
is a requirement for inclusion in the family of believers. But this,
of course, is just my opinion, written in the hard light of day sitting
in front of a bright computer screen.
Were I sitting
in a semi-darkened church with powerful soaring hymns resounding in
the background, would I feel the same way?
St. Andrew's Church, Aladinma, Owerri
4 June 2009
Thank you, we
someone not of our communion said of the Holy Roman Empire, the
United States of America are neither united, nor states, nor (viz.
cartographic history) American. Your last posting is spot on. Even
so, come, Lord Jesus. Justice is only good news to those who have
been wronged. And mercy is only good news to those who are willing
to acknowledge that they have wronged. I enthusiastically raise
my hand to Teacher on both counts!
Many thanks for
saying exactly what I needed to hear.
God bless you
folks; glad you're in the family,
(Historically, credally Christian ... otherwise a long story)
Tacoma, Washington, USA
5 June 2009
not quite sure what 'posting' the writer is referring to, but we're
glad he liked our effort. At least we think it's our effort.
A surprising number of people click links from Anglicans Online
to other sites and other news stories and assuming, charmingly and
naively, that they are 'ours'.
Time to stop snoozing
Your weekly letter
is the first thing I open each Monday. Indeed your site is my 'home'. This
week's letter resonates deeply. I was brought up 'High Church' at the Church
of the Advent in Boston [Massachusetts]. Its tone was quite staid. but since
we genuflected, signed the cross, and knelt many times during the service,
we knew we were awake. What I miss in the churches now is the signs
of awakeness and awareness that the Holy Spirit is among us.
A new Oxford
Movement seems to be needed. Are we awake?
St. Clare's Episcopal Church, Blairsville
Blairsville, Georgia, USA
5 June 2009
We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11
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