The Spine

The Literal Word Of The Anglican Church


The bataille sacré within the Anglican communion is bitter and
my guess one to the end. Anglican or Episcopal politics are just that:
their politics. That politics used to have great influence on American
society. After all, it was T.R. who said that "the Episcopal Church is the
Republican Party assembled for prayer." He knew and, in a deep symbolic
sense, he was right. The Episcopal Church is in decline, and I believe
that it is so because it really doesn't tend to the spiritual and
transcendent needs of believers. (Of course, there are some individual
ministers and churches that do.) But, in general, it is by now a political
church, and the shame of it is that this Christian communion expresses
itself politically in both England and the U.S. regularly and reflexively
against the Jewish state. Nothing else they do remotely affects
me. Christ Church on Garden Street, Cambridge occasionally has very nice
music to which I sometimes go and quietly listen. Otherwise, it is the
Massachusetts headquarters of the anti-Israel cabal in the diocese. I
judge them, and God will judge them, too.

On gender and sexual issues--including the consecration of women and, less
so, gays--the American church takes a relatively progressive position (but
only relatively), and I am for that (not for the "relatively.") But,
again, I don't deeply care about the internal doctrine and workings of the
church. (I suppose that Episcopalians are not grabbed either by the fact
that in some orthodox synagogues women sit in the balcony, in a few
synagogues with a curtain draped across the front of the balcony.)

But there are dissident priests who want none of the sexual leniency that
the American church has allowed. The haven taken by these American
Episcopal clergymen in the Anglican communion of Ghana, in particular, and
of Africa generally is psychologically and historically quite
significant. Here is what you might call a right-wing deviant strain in
the almost wholly white Anglo-American church seeking refuge and
affirmation from the black churches of post-colonial Africa. These white
priests cannot be called racists. You would have thought...

The white man governed Africa in the imperial genre. He converted Africans
to white dominated Christian denominations. In the northern hemisphere,
these churches have gone through dissent and heresy. The black churches
still believe in the word...literally.

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