Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Are they really 'Anglicans'?

The State Newspaper today has an article on yesterday and today's Arch-Episcopal visit to Columbia by the Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda. The Anglican Primate is in town visiting the Anglican Church of the Apostles, which is a member of the Anglican Mission to America. The AMIA is a subordinated psuedo diocese connected to the Primature of the Afro-Anglicans and their Province. In this way Kolini is a sort of Episcope Vagans incurring on the legitimate territories of Bishop Dorsey and newly consecrated Bishop Lawrence.

I don't consider myself an expert on all things Anglican, but I am a curious observer considering Anglicanism (historically) is a close child to my own Rite, and considering my old denomination is an offshoot of Anglicanism. What I do find interesting is that Anglicanism unlike Catholicism is very heterogeneous. Last fall Dr. Phillip Jenkins spoke at USC on Islam and Europe and coined a phrase that sums up a part of what I mean by heterogeneous when it comes to the Anglican Communion. 'High and crazy and Low and lazy.' He meant specifically in terms of liturgical forms - the High and crazy meaning services akin to the traditional Roman Mass with a bit of pomp and circumstance, and low and lazy being akin to a cross between Post Vatican II Koom-bay-yah Catholic Masses and a Southern Baptist or Non-Denominational Evangelical Service. What's interesting is of course that in Britain, according to Dr. Jenkins - the High and Crazies were losing out to the Low and Lazies in majority of active worshippers many of whom are being led by immigrants from regions such as those belonging to ArchBshp Kolini.

But what does the emergence of Low and Lazy have to do with the Anglican tradition and what we learn from the State Article about the Arch-Episcopal visit to South Carolina. Well for one it leads me to ask the question - is a theological shift taking place the Archbishops of Canterbury and Rwanda are not aware of along with the liturgical shift?

After examining the website for the Church of the Apostles here in Columbia, I notice that the newest Priest had his theological formation take place at a Columbia International University which was once Columbia Bible College and is an evangelical institute currently affiliated with the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America) and not officially with any Anglican institution.

From the EFCA website: "That water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation."

That would seem to contradict Articles XXVII of the Anglican Articles of Religion on the necessity of Baptism within the Salvific process.

But is the liturgical shift that has happened related to the theological shift? It would appear the answer in this instance is yes for the 'low and lazies' as you see the altar's being stripped so do you see the theology being thinned - but at the same time the same thing is happening with the 'high and crazies' but from a different approach. The altar isn't being stripped so much as being added too and the theology isn't so much being thinned out like wheat from the shaft as much watered down, as it gets lost in the mirkiness of innovation.

Unfortunately these aren't simply two overarching classifications some low and lazies are "lefties" and some High and Crazies are "righties." The ironic reality (inclusive of all on the 'right' and the 'left') is that both sides look at the other one as heretic when it is obvious that both sides are out of control in their reductions, additions, and accusations.

I'm inclined to believe that the Anglican Communion is teetering on a precipice and without brave and bold leadership (soon) - which one is wanton to find in the current Archbishop of Canterbury despite the initial promise placed in his election - it will fall asunder quicker than you can say prodisestablishmentarianism - which after recent comments by the ABC deserves its own blog posting.

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St. Izzy said...

Just one thing. Be careful about assuming that a priest/minister subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the school from which they graduated.

Mattheus Mei said...

That's a very true statement. But at the same time, one must believe that a person wouldn't choose an institution to learn from unless one at least agreed with the doctrine espoused if not necessarily subscribing to it. I think this particular associate pastor if not subscribing to the doctrine agrees with it and possibly appreciate the liturgical forms (broad sense) that grow out of that doctrine if one can glean as much information from the churches website about particulars of the active ministries

St. Izzy said...

1) I've known quite a few people who chose places for their religious degrees despite not entirely agreeing with the doctrines of those places. It probably doesn't happen as much at CIU / CBC as it does at Duke Divinity, but it does happen.

2) I've known even more people (myself included) who have chosen a school BECAUSE of it's doctrinal stance and then subsequently (and sometimes while at the school) come to believe differently from that doctrinal stance.

Before hypothesizing a trend based on limited data, be sure that you actually DO have the data.

The people I knew at the Rawandan Anglican church up in the Triangle had come together from (mainly) more liberal Episcopal churches and some Presbyterian churches. They came together mainly over social issues, doctrines, and concerns. They are active in social gospel / Catholic Worker / sheep-v-goats issues. They universally believe that homosexual acts and that those living in open sin ought not to be ordained. It's more this mix of social liberalism and theological conservatism that has attracted them.

I have bearded none of them on their view of the sacraments. But I may next time I talk with any of them.