As I noted earlier, I'm hoping the site will return to normal, in both my own postings as well as the layout of the site. Lots of religious news is occuring as both the presidential election nears as well as the up and coming Lambeth Report which will lay out the options for the future of the Anglican Communion.
The Australian Anglican's recent gathering "affirmed its fierce opposition to liberal elements" in the church. Gay unions were ruled out. The ban on gay and lesbian clergy was reaffirmed. And the gathering also supported the efforts of Australian government to ban same sex unions, thus supporting discrimination within the public arena.
What was telling was the comments by one bishop who said" We don't hold this position as a matter of mere tradition but as the scriptures dictate". This distinction is only tenable within a particular fundamentalist view of religious authority. And yet using the dreaded F word to describe their views will illicit tremendous protest. But what other word describes the way scripture is being used in this instance?
Why won't the Anglican communion hold together? Because the right cannot tolerate the existence of religious liberals in the church. The goal is not to find some framework where a diverse group of folks can live together. It's rather the elimination of those "elements" which the right labels as anti-Christian. Some comments by the Archbishop of Nigeria concerning the Episcopal Church point to the right's line of reasoning and subsequent actions.
Akinola is urging conservative congregations who wish to leave the Episcopal Church to participate in a church framework that he would lead. He charges "The Episcopal Church has created a new religion...It doesn't take the Gospel seriously. We are not in communion with the Episcopal Church now." He also talks down the possibility of holding the communion together arguing that it is likely "beyond repair". As he claims that the Episcopal Church "has intentionally and deliberately given up the faith.”
This is the central dynamic that I suspect gets lost on many liberals. It's because we're apt to see the other side as wrong in terms of some of their beliefs and practices. But disagreements are common in the church, always have been, and they can be worked out. But the right on the other hand, see liberals not just as wrong but rather they tend to see us as the enemy, as stridently anti-Christian, as ones who have "given up the faith".
So while liberals are busy trying to figure out how the church can be held together, the right has been working overtime to figure how they can kick the liberals out of the church all together. Two different aims going on, and given the numbers my hunch is the right is going to be able to pull off their goals. I know I'm dealing in generalities but I don't think my assessment is too far off.