For those wanting to get up to speed on the Anglican crack-up...
February 6, 2007 11:19 PM
...Ruth Gledhill's Times of London interview with N.T. Wright is a very good place to start. N.T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham, and one of the leading figures in the Church of England. If his perspective is to be believed, the liberals who have taken over the Episcopal Church in the United States are on very, very thin ice. Ms. Gledhill writes of Bishop Wright:
He quoted Romans 11:11-26, about the pruning of the olive tree, and John 15: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." Dr Wright continued: "I rather hope that anything that needs pruning will not be lost, but grafted back on sooner or later." It is significant I think that he does not think TEC will be cut away, merely pruned back a bit. He said: "There are some people in The Episcopal Church who dig themselves very firmly in and talk about rights and justice in the gay lobby. I do not see any way they can be reconciled with those in the Windsor position firmly committed to the truth by which Anglicanism lives today...."
He ends by quoting the last paragraph of Windsor. "If we finally discover we cannot walk together, we may have to learn to walk part. None of us wants that."
He's right, none of us does. Outside my front door in Kew is a cherry tree, budding unseasonally in the January sunshine. Soon it will need pruning. I cannot bear to do it, and will ask a gardener to do it for me while I hide inside. But it will have to be done, if it is to flower as beautifully again next year. I guess, from what Tom Wright is saying, that Rowan Williams will be taking a pretty fine set of shears with him to Tanzania next week, newly sharpened, nice and polished. I wonder who, or what, the shears will be, and who will be the gardener he gets to wield them. And whether either, or both, will be of this world, or the next.
For more specifics, I strongly recommend reading the whole thing. Though I largely agree with Bishop Wright, and the Times of London, I don't share their reluctance to get out the pruning shears. The Episcopal Church is in serious need of pruning, if it is to grow again. Hopefully the shears will be wielded by someone who is very, very wise.
It is something to contemplate. Or, simply enjoy this: a fantastic photo of Durham Cathedral in winter.