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This page last updated 4 July 2016
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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.

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Letters from the week of 27 June — 3 July 2016

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters express 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.

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Being Our Siblings Keepers

Britain’s vote to extricate itself from the European Union points to a much larger global issue. In a Century where one hoped that humanity would finally be coming together focusing on our common needs and abilities, tribalism and the strengthening of walls of division is what we are getting. Whether it is The Middle East, The Russian Federation, The United States or even Provincial relationships within Canada, the approach is, "What’s in it for me?" Representatives of many of the major world religions seemed fixated on sameness rather than inclusion and love.

The biblical tale of Cain and Abel is about two archetypal brothers, representing differing approaches to life and worship, who struggled against one another ending in Abel’s murder. The proverbial question asked in this Genesis tale is, "Am I my brother’s keeper?"

Christ’s example in the Gospel stories is of a divine incarnate being acting as his brother and sister’s keeper. Those beyond the walls and borders of law and geographical divide were invited into the kingdom as children of the Creator God. In spite of fierce opposition to his actions – Jesus drew a wide circle of inclusion.

His inclusiveness was costly – eventually demanding his life – yet he would not be dissuaded from the course of his ministry because of the overwhelming love of God which influenced all that he did.

It is easy to see world events as us and them. What the Gospel calls us to do is see it as us and us. We are the stranger at the gate, we are the idealist raising a fist, and we are the hungry, the displaced, and the disillusioned and yes the exclusion-ists. The writer of the letter to the Ephesian Church penned these words; "…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. "It is Cain against Abel, brother against brother, believer against believer, struggling with the resolve to be brother and sisters keeper.

Differences between us can be obstacles or opportunities. The choice is ours.

The Rev Donald Shields
Grace Church, Markham
Markham, Ontario, Canada
dshields@msh.on.ca
27 June 2016

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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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