My domesticated challenge and antithesis has kindly commented on a synodal address given by Bishop Paul C Hewett on 27th April 2018. On reading this address, I had a positive impression of it all, a frank awareness of our fragility and our ability to do something about it by breaking down the barriers towards full sacramental and even organic unity. Here is the article – “Continuers” Retrench, Maybe
We have a very honest notion of all this. In particular the role of the Holy Spirit to give substance to what we represent as sacramental communities and the fact that none of us can go it alone and expect to be able to bequeath something to our posterity as we face our own mortality. We Anglicans are often accused by RC “true church” apologists of being a bogus substitute of the “real thing” they claim alone to represent. John Bruce needs to come and spend time in France and see the “viability” of parishes in certain rural areas in this country. As things are at present, it is something like the latter part of the eighteenth century.
Bruce’s Schadenfreude is thinly disguised, and he relies on his “masculine Catholicism” he seems to be able to find in his part of the world. Perhaps his evaluation on the realism of our being able to negotiate with the PNCC and the NCC is not far from the mark. I would like to see things move ahead if they can. I promised my Bishop that I would help in any way possible, but the authority to act is vested in our Metropolitan Archbishop for these matters. We little priests and laity can only pray for this intention and not add to the obstacles. Alrerady, the G4 moved ahead last October, and this is a huge encouragement in place of the fragmentation and frittering away that have been inevitable over the last few decades.
In the end, we might indeed have to face our mortality, not only as human persons, but as something that represents a culture that can no longer live in a world of modernity and post-humanism. If we are Christians, we can accept our mortality in the hope of another and more beautiful world, where there are more important things than churches and ecclesiastical politics. If our Churches are called to die, so be it, and such a prospect is not going to force us into someone else’s “true church” that cares no more for us than does the modern world.
Before accepting this bleak prospect, we are not called to “convert” to the “totalitarian system” Bruce represents, but to do all we can to encourage the movement that has begun and shows every sign of continuing. We can pray, give theological and philosophical advice, find ever more profound meanings of the concept of the Church and the incarnate Mystery of Christ. It may not be “realistic”, but it is certainly an ideal. Perhaps the modern romantic movement I am working on will help to form a new cultural base and soil in which Christianity can grow and flourish.
I may be wrong, and have to come to terms with a bleak and dark material universe that offers no respite from our present nihilism. There was in the Book of Ezekiel a wonderful image of bare bones in the desert and God’s promise to breathe life into them. That is my hope and my faith.