A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


So Rowan Williams has decided to not attend a gathering of US and Canadian bishops next month because of the "present situation". I wonder what possibilities actually exist for dialogue over the future of the communion, when Williams believes he cannot in any way be associated with the two churches. Is the future of the church now wholly in the hands of the anglican right?

I raised the question of the future of liberals in the church because it seems that our participation too often elicits enmity among conservatives and headaches for church heirarchies. Folks on the theological edges usually find themselves losing out in this clash, whether it's the US and Canadian churches or whether it's the numbers of gay and lesbian clergy and congregations who have been censured or more by denominational bodies.

Not every individual has been affected by these clashes, but it's not hard to find stories of those who have in the mainline. My former academic advisor and religious mentor, a few years ago, felt compelled to relinquish his credentials as an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA because of it's policies against gay and lesbian clergy.

Yes you can of course find progressive outposts within the denominations. I usually end up participating in them. But it doesn't mean one can be immune from the politics of the greater church. Mt.Auburn, a presbyterian congregation in Ohio, found this out when they were punished by their presbytery over actions related to their open stance towards gays and lesbians.

It seems odd to be wondering about one's place in the Christian church, given my own academic passion for forms of american protestant thought, but I'm not sure that the sort of ideas and work that theologians in the first half of the last century were working on could find reception in today's church, especially since we're still having a sexuality debate that seems largely unaffected by modernity.

4 Comments:

At 12:50 PM , Blogger Alan said...

There comes a point when progressives (and progressive congregations) need to stop seeking permission and just BE the Church. Yes, we'll occasionally get in trouble for it (as Mt. Auburn has, and as my current congregation has as well.) But in the end, other than locking us out, there's not much they can do. And though the conservatives might like that idea very much, the giant, silent middle doesn't have the stomach for it.

 
At 7:59 PM , Blogger gratefulbear said...

This is very disappointing. How does the archbishop propose to resolve the "situation" when he won't even sit down and dialogue? This reminds me of the Anglican report last year about the "crisis" caused by Bishop Robinson's ordination: Robinson offered to sit down with the commission to talk with them about their concerns, but they chose to reject his offer.

 
At 6:22 PM , Blogger Jake said...

Keep in mind that before becoming ABC, Rowan ordained openly gay candidates. He's caught between a rock and a hard place. It appears he will do anything in the name of unity, yet knows full well that when the the ultra-conservatives of Africa and the southern cone are done with North America, they will begin their attack on him.

As someone said over a year ago, "Let them choke on their own venom; we have better things to do."

 
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