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This page last updated 8 June 2009
Anglicans Online last updated 20 August 2000

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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 Canadian 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 1 to 7 June 2009

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the 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.

Genius gone missing?

Thank 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!”)

However. There 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.)

My Grandparents 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?

Mac Robb
Holy Trinity Church, Fortitude Valley (occasionally)
1 June 2009

The ghost in the machine

I 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?

Having painfully 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?

Obi Udeariry
St. Andrew's Church, Aladinma, Owerri
4 June 2009

Thank you, we think

As 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,

Jonathan Allen
(Historically, credally Christian ... otherwise a long story)
Tacoma, Washington, USA
5 June 2009

Ed: We're 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?

JC Eriksen
St. Clare's Episcopal Church, Blairsville
Blairsville, Georgia, USA
5 June 2009

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Earlier letters

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


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