Sunday, February 26, 2006

Geography and the Downfall of the Anglican Church

In a time long ago; the Anglican Communion was strong and proud. It traveled the seas and followed English settlers to new lands across the world. It spoke out against slavery at a time when the Catholic Church remained silent, it forced the British government in India to ban widow burnings because it knew all life was sacred, and its missionaries worked all across the world spreading Christianity and preached equality to the powerless.

Time has been a cruel mistress to the Anglican Church as geography has divided the Church into various moral camps. The public issue dividing the church is homosexualism but the underlying reason is a question of bedrock beliefs and faith versus social issues. This war has turned the church from strong and proud to just proud.

How bad is the situation? The Anglican Communion is in such bad shape that the best words to describe the situation are "Civil War." The Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh has setup his own Anglican church network which bypasses the leadership of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) with approval of the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams. Anglican Bishops from the third-world have recently visited the United States and encouraged secession from the ECUSA. Last year at a meeting of the Anglican Church 14 out of the 35 attending Primates refused to take Holy Communion because "their provinces' decisions to partially or completely break communion with the US and Canadian churches."

The Civil War reached a boiling point when the Episcopal Church national convention appointed homosexual Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. Robinson was married with children but left for his family for a male lover. Critics said this would be no different then leaving a family then having repeated sex out of marriage but this claim was ignored. Conservative Episcopalians claimed Robinson was appointed merely because he was homosexual.

A deeper issue of beliefs is also a cause for concern. Rowan Williams himself is a member of a quasi-pagan Druid group. This seems to be a running problem for the Anglican Church. Meanwhile in San Franciscan Anglicans can pray to Saint Malcolm X and others. Finally, the Anglican Church seems busy commending the United States for keeping terrorists locked-up and removing mass murders from power.

The base problem with the Anglican Church is geography. In the first-world (United Kingdom, United States, and Canada) the church is known for being white, blue bloods that are too high and mighty to be active with middle and lower class citizens. Church attendance is down to the point in Britain more people go to Friday prayers (Muslims) than hear the Book of Prayer on Sunday. Compliancy has become the nature of the Church. Blue Bloods are so full of pride that they do not believe in seeking salvation because they “know” they will be saved. This has caused the church to become more involved with social issues rather than faith. The church readily supports abortion, homosexualism over punishing extra-marital affairs and boycotting Israel but is fearful to make decisions dealing with saving souls/universe/cosmos. It is so bad former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said he was ashamed to be an Anglican.

Some will claim nationalist pride combined with King's lust doomed the Anglican Church from the start. Others will say the Newman's conversion Roman Catholicism was the death blow. However, I believe with the Anglican Church would have been less Anglo-centric it would have flourished in the first world. In places like Nigeria and Singapore, where membership is not Anglo, the church is prospering. Periodically on the news one will hear about African missionaries traveling to Britain to convert Englishmen to the Anglican Church. However; these are mere drops in the bucket compared to the sea of blue blood.


Category: Religious Geography

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hmmm ... Is that what you think. How desperately interesting.