Hallo again to all.
As we've mentioned from time to time, we at Anglicans Online are quite convinced that improved global communication is the root cause of most of the internecine warfare in the Anglican Communion. How can you be outraged at what other Anglicans believe if you don't even know what they believe? Ignorance was bliss.
But now we have eleventeen different high-tech means of learning far too much about the lives, beliefs, and behaviours of people far away who are very different from us but who call themselves Anglicans. Regardless of who 'us' is and regardless of who 'they' are, they are usually quite unlike us.
We could bemoan and wail about this globalisation all we want, but it's not going to go away. We note with a smile that the pop musician Prince, who evidently felt threatened by the same improved global communication, defended himself by declaring that 'The internet's completely over', going the way of the dodo bird.†
It would at first consideration seem that a proper churchly response to forces threatening the church would be to rail against them in the pulpit. While historically popular, we don't see that railing from the pulpit to a congregation that doesn't already concur has been an effective technique since literacy became widespread. Chiding someone for 'preaching to the choir' is a widely-understood idiom that is used almost everywhere except among those near preachers and choirs. We've overheard many people being told that they were preaching to the choir, and not a one of them was a preacher. Railing from the pulpit reaches all the wrong people.
We think, after proper consideration, that the right response to the threat of globalisation created by universal global communication is to become part of it. Let us explain how you can do that.
Currently when a parish is in need of new clergy, a bureaucratic process is begun that reminds us of Claude Rains' famous line in Casablanca as Captain Renault: 'Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.' There is a standard place in which clergy looking for work register their qualifications, and in which parishes looking for clergy search for candidates. Some provinces or dioceses require ideological purity of their clergy, occasionally to the extent of requiring that they be graduates of a captive theological college. Others are less fussy, but end up considering the usual suspects not out of dogma but out of inertia. Our favourite printed church newspaper, the Church Times, has in its latest issue four pages of adverts for church positions, primarily priests, with an occasional bishop or dean or administrator. We note only two adverts that are from outside the Church Times' homeland (the UK), one from Montreal and one from Kuwait. Most of the adverts don't even name a country, because everyone assumes that the country will be the Church Times' country. Perhaps a parish in Sussex or Essex considers 'global reach' to be hiring a priest from Northex. Oh, wait, there's no such place. Best not go looking there; stay close to the familiar: try Middlesex.
If you want to be more global, and we think you should want to, you ought to advertise in Anglicans Online's Vacancy Centre. It's free. It has many thousands of readers from all over the world. And it has helped many parishes find what they didn't know they were looking for.†† During the eight years that our Vacancy Centre has existed, it has helped hundreds of parishes and the occasional diocese fill vacancies, often with a surprise candidate from outside the pool of usual suspects. While the usual suspects and their friends may be outraged at hiring from outside, we wonder if consanguination in Anglican hiring might have the same disastrous effect that it did on the House of Habsburg.
At this moment our Vacancies Centre is empty. No adverts. We don't think that this has ever happened before. We haven't publicized it in half a decade, and we suspect that the pool of AO readers is very different from the pool of clergy searchers. We think you should all go tell your people who are searching for clergy that they should, in addition to whatever paid advertisements they might be running in worthy publications or worthy local databases, reach for the sky by advertising in the Anglicans Online Vacancy Centre. You have nothing to lose but your Habsburg jaw. We hope that whomever you hire into your vacant position is as different from you as you can tolerate, but not more so.
See you next week.
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