Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 32,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo
Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

Some months ago a friend was preparing for dire surgery, and he wanted to interview candidate surgeons to get a sense of who they were and whether he would feel safe being cut open by them. He had already been assigned a surgeon, but had mentioned to friends that 'when your general surgeon offers to "say a prayer for you", I think it's time to find a new surgeon.' He was indeed looking for a new surgeon. A day or two later, he mentioned that he had been very suspicious when we first met because he wasn't sure he could trust anyone who would admit to being religious.

Yet that surgical patient is one of the most Christ-like people we know. His behaviour, morality, interpersonal relationships, and treatment of others fall squarely into the 'what would Jesus do?' realm. In addition to all that, he's blindingly intelligent and skilled at his job. We've watched him forgive others' trespasses regardless of whether that trespasser might return the favour, but we cannot imagine him ever reciting the Lord's Prayer, even under extreme coercion. His faith in atheism is strong.*

We aren't at all mystified by the seeming dichotomy between the beliefs and behaviour of our friend the surgical patient. He probably conflates religion with the church, and is entirely justified in looking at 'the church' and being appalled. Many historical figures have been credited with the quip that 'the problem with religion is the church'; we will probably never know where that phrase originated but you needn't be a hardened cynic to understand its truth. The issue of why churches have or need structure is a topic for another day.

In terms of organizational structure, churches are not nearly as different from secular businesses as we might like them to be. The Wall Street Journal some years ago published an essay entitled 'Organized Religion’s "Management Problem"', which notes that being the CEO of a church and the CEO of a corporation has fewer differences than you might think.

In recent weeks, numerous Anglican leaders around the world have been in the news because of something that they did, or said, or something that they are. It is fascinating to compare the different styles and personae. Various Primates of African provinces have announced a boycott of this week's Anglican Consultative Council meeting because they are unhappy that their demands of excluding other archbishops have not been obeyed. The Primate of the US Episcopal Church has issued a press release announcing and explaining a disciplinary action he has taken against some senior staff members. The Primate of the Church of England, Justin Welby, has responded openly and graciously to the recent jaw-dropping revelation that his biological father is not the man who raised him. And his mother, to whom this also came as a complete surprise, has issued an extraordinarily gracious apology and explanation. You can find links to all of this news in our News Centre this week. We especially like the observation in an editorial in the UK's Daily Telegraph that 'this story is better than a thousand sermons'.

We think it would be delightful if Archbishop Welby and our friend the surgical patient could meet. We think they would have a great deal in common.

Apropos of church organizations not always being Christ-like, we'd like to mention that a few months ago we published, without fanfare, a new AO essay by Judy Winegar Goans about the fundamentally organizational problem of handling conflicts in church. It seems relevant to our topic today, so we commend it to your attention.

See you next week.

Our Signatures

All of us at Anglicans Online

10 April 2016

*We suspect he would be offended to learn that we had called him Christ-like, so please don't let him know.

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2015 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to