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Hallo again to all.

Three news reports about matters Anglican have circulated in the last week or so. The Church of England has finally agreed to permit women bishops. The US court system is continuing to adjudicate the feud between the two factions that both claim to be the Diocese of South Carolina. And ISIS soldiers are well on their way to eradicating not just Anglicanism but Christianity in Mesopotamia, by killing Christians (most of whom are Anglicans) who refuse to convert to Islam.

Reading about the depredations of ISIS on some Internet-connected device, indoors in a place that is safe and that has reliable water, electricity, and sanitation, it all seems a bit surreal, very hard to internalize. There have been so many motion pictures made recently that depict focused violence like what those who follow world news have come to expect from ISIS. But those motion pictures are a fantasy. In the cocoon of the movies, it is Godzilla or interstellar alien mutants or insane magical warlords who are perpetrating the make-believe violence. At the cinema we watch world landmarks be destroyed and people killed by lizards or dark creatures or invisible wraiths. Then we go home to a non-destroyed world with no masses of dead people, lock the doors to our dwelling-place, and sleep.

The anti-Christian violence and destruction wreaked by ISIS is entirely real. Its victims are still dead in the morning. The homes and churches and monuments and memorials that they destroy are still destroyed in the morning. It is real violence, real oppression, real danger. But so many of us are so inured to abstract violence or even real violence in faraway places that it is really difficult for those of us who do not live in Mesopotamia to comprehend and internalize what is really happening there.

Unable to internalize or comprehend the big, world-changing events happening in places we have never seen and probably never will, unable to absorb the news reports as something real happening to real people, real Anglicans, we seem to turn our backs and return to our petty bickering. So we fuss about whether women ought to be bishops or whether group A or group B should run a diocese. It's probably better that instead of shooting uppity women or kidnapping schoolgirls or launching missiles at churches we merely argue about them in court. We have occasionally wondered what our world would be like if the English disputes over women bishops or the South Carolina disputes over diocesan legitimacy involved fanatics with military weapons, as is often the case in the Middle East. No one has launched rocket-propelled grenades into the offices of either claimant to the name 'Diocese of South Carolina'. No one has burned down or blown up any churches attended by parties to the dispute. No one has abducted or assaulted or assassinated any of the women in England who might threaten the world by becoming bishops.

By the time the first woman bishop is appointed in England and the last editorials screaming that women cannot be bishops have faded, there will probably be no Anglicans left in Syria or Iraq. They won't need to have our Western sorts of disputes because they will all be dead or gone. We aren't sure what the global Anglican community can do to resist or mitigate the horror of ISIS and sharia, but we remain unconvinced that the boundary between killing women because they want to learn how to read and disdaining women because they want to be bishops is a big boundary.

See you next week, in a safe and comfortable place.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

27 July 2014



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