The Curmudgeon


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Though He Reduce My Congregation By Several Million Africans, Yet Will I Trust In Him

Advent - or the pre-Christmas sales, as it is known to devotees of Britain's unofficial national religion - is a season of anticipation and hope; a time to await the coming of the Messiah and his stocking-fillers in patience and humility; a time, perhaps, to reflect on past sins and hope to do better in future, in sure and certain and unselfish hope of resurrection beyond this life and a blissful eternity in the Bosom of the Sky-Daddy - unless, of course, one happens to be a Christian. Yes, it's true - with politicians in Bali agreeing to do nothing about saving God's good earth, with war and religious terrorism erupting all over the globe, with little British lambs in their millions straying from the creed, the Archbishop of Canterbury has taken another non-stance on the question of gay bishops. It appears that "not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship" and that "a great deal of the language that is around in the communion at present seems to presuppose that any change from our current deadlock is impossible, that division is unavoidable and that such division represents so radical a difference in fundamental faith that no recognition and future co-operation can be imagined." The Archbishop, who no doubt can claim to speak authentically for the identity he shares with a few other people as a global fellowship, cannot accept these assumptions, and does not believe that, "as Christians we should see them as beyond challenge". Meek acceptance of the Lord's evident wish to see the Church in deadlock, coupled with a steadfast refusal to compromise on matters of faith, are not beyond challenge for Christians of the Archbishop's calibre; no wonder New Labour found the cut of his jib not altogether uncongenial. The Archbishop's proposed solutions to the Church's difficulties are similarly calculated to gladden Blairite hearts: "professionally facilitated conversations" and "setting up a group of primates to produce proposals to put to next year's Lambeth conference". Focus groups and working parties - what could be more conducive to a fuller appreciation of I Corinthians 6 ix and the rest?


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