Sunday, July 22, 2007

Summary of Anglicanism

Thanks to friends in the blogosphere, I came across a wonderful summary of Anglicanism and its nuanced understanding of the basics of Christian faith and practice. It's written by Christopher at "Betwixt and Between."

Here are a few teasers:

I’ve come to think of Anglican Christianity as a form of basic Christianity; a thinking person’s basic Christianity that isn’t hostile to intellectual pursuit (which in the tendency of anti-intellectualism of the U.S. makes us a minority), nor scornful of the average every person’s walk of Sunday-in and Sunday-out, nor hostile to the mystically blessed, nor dismissive of other Christian bodies. At least, this is at our best.

Ours has always been a tradition held in tensions. We’re a tradition that both rejected and maintained authority at the same time, so at heart, there is a real tension that cannot deny we made a break with our Patriarch (as the Orthodox would see it) and at the same time maintained while reforming the episcopate. We have always had reformers, many of whom faced difficulties in their own time and rest on our calendar today: Thomas Cranmer, William Laud, John and Charles Wesley... But our sacramental regularity held within the prayerbook’s theological formation keeps us from going off the rocker as a whole.

At our best, the layman or laywoman is not a lesser Christian in our tradition, but lives out his or her faith within the context of the world and everyday life, and this is seen as necessary and informative of the task of the Church overall, indeed, the Church is incomplete without the lay vocation and the input of the laity.

... we neither dismiss the latest trends in scholarship nor enshrine them. We recognize that all Scripture is beneficial for teaching and at the same time recognize that Scripture is rich and layered in meanings--but always within the centering of Christ, the Word to Whom Writ points and in Whom Writ participates. Our Anglican approach to Scripture is intellectual, meditative, communal. Lectio! And therefore, living.

Rules are not meant to destroy but draw bounds beyond which lead to unhealth or I might say contravene sufficiency. Our flexibility has generally been a strength. I would like to keep it that way. This means that I neither advocate the abandonment of rules altogether, nor a hardnosed enforcement of rules that might kill the spirit and leave no room for the flesh. Sufficiency is the first watchword.

Please do read it all.

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