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Hallo again to all.

We are again thinking about church conflicts at every level, possibly because they are so common or possibly because they are so symbolic of the state of the whole Church. In the twenty-some years that Anglicans Online has been observing and writing about our Church, there has never not been significant conflict somewhere.

We have previously made the observation that conflict is part of human life, not at all limited to parishes or dioceses or any part of the church. The global conflicts visible at the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council do not appear to be fading, even though various attendees brought home differing reports of what happened and what it meant.* Beyond those reports, there are responses to the reports, responses to the responses, and a few angry outbursts from people (mostly archbishops) who are habitually angry. (But what's a conflict without anger?)

Probably as a result of these global conflicts, the official statement from the Anglican Communion Office about 'What is the Anglican Communion?' is frequently adjusted or rewritten. We suppose that if you can make frequent adjustments to the definition or meaning of some entity, you can parry attempts to damage or seize it.

A dear friend, now departed this earth, had on the wall behind her iMac a beautiful calligraphic sign saying 'Practice Resurrection'. That short sentence is the end of the poem 'Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front' by Wendell Berry, one of her favourite poems and one of ours. We'd appreciate it if you would stop right now and read that poem, so we don't have to quote from it. It's only 376 words.

Welcome back.

We were reminded of our friend's long-gone sign by encountering a reference to Berry's poem in the book 'Living the Resurrection: the Risen Christ in Everyday Life' by Eugene Peterson, which we sadly recommend you not read beyond the title page—you can deduce his worthwhile ideas by reflecting on the title, and spare yourself the time it would take to actually read the book. It is a worthwhile title, though. Not far from a being a slogan, but nevertheless a substantive slogan.

Conflicts in and among churches and church people have a secret means of resolution that secular conflicts don't really have: to practice resurrection. By noting the presence of the risen Christ in our lives together and apart. A conflict in which both sides feel driven to dominate or to win is unlikely to be resolved. Instead it might go the way of Shia/Sunni relations, which have endured many centuries without a resolution or even a hint of one.

As Anglicans and Christians, our secret technique is to follow Wendell Berry's advice and practice resurrection. This practice of resurrection is both metaphoric and real. If the warring Anglican primates can find it in themselves to stop trying to win and instead seek resurrection, we think that some manner of an Anglican communion remains possible. If the parish factions warring over the firing of a music director can find it in themselves to stop trying to win and instead seek resurrection, perhaps their parish, too, can be resurrected.

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

1 May 2016

*You can refresh your memory of the ACC meeting using last week's links in our News Centre.

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