In the news, “The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has revealed the Sydney diocese will boycott this year’s worldwide gathering of Anglican bishops because of the church’s stance on homosexuality.” See the Sydney Morning Herald for the full article and the Australian Anglican Primate’s response. One step closer to schism?
4 thoughts on “Sydney Anglicans to Boycott Lambeth”
It depends on what you call schism and who by and when it happened?
Theres an interesting discussion going on at the Sydney Anglican forums at the moment on this very issue. One commenter made the point that outsiders see Sydney Angs as not going to the office party because a homosexual will be there.
This made some stop and think about how others perceive their actions.
The question to ask within cross cultural ministry is how to not throw the baby out with the bath water. Yet is the gathering of the Bishops a public matter or a private church matter? And is the public actually interested in hearing and learning about the internal politics of the ins and outs of why?
Possibly its a lot like early Christianity and their public perception as being incestuous cannibals, as they ate the body of Christ and called each other brother and sister. Also the early christians suffered from being labeled pagans and atheists because they would not partake in the state religion.
How does the church and individuals remain loyal to their belief system, and continue dialogging with those who differ from mainstream orthodoxy – in a way that both can recognize the seriousness of their individual belief system. Sometimes breaking away can be the best position to start really hearing each other.
I am inclined to see much of this hullabaloo as an unfortunate consequence of more hierarchical church structures.
Some years ago I transitioned from a Sydney Anglican church to a Sydney Baptist church, and I gotta tell you, even though the attitudes of Sydney Baptists are similar to Sydney Anglicans on this issue, even though the Sydney Baptists are equally unlikely to condone homosexual practice amongst leaders, they seem to have had this capacity to resolve it a whooooole lot quiter. No doubt their lower degrees of nominalism and fewer ties to the state have helped as well, but the decentralization of decision making has helped them to resolve this far more privately and amicably than the Anglican church.
And I think this is important to think about, for if your only knowledge of Christianity came from what you watched in the Sydney media you could be forgiven for concluding that Sydney Anglicans think sexuality is more important than spirituality. Now I know that isn’t true. As I said, I came from a Sydney Anglican church originally and have many Sydney Anglican friends who I know to be deeply spiritual. But I can’t help having concerns for how this public fight undermines the communication of the gospel in our city. To what extent is the cause of the gospel being perverted by this effort to preserve it? How might the ethical challenge be handled better? They are questions I ask my friends.
I am with you on this. Tough gig though, isn’t it?
Yes, its a tough bind indeed. Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the Anglican communion, or can this issue somehow be depolarized? I wonder. I don’t really know though.
What I think we need to explore however, is how changing church dynamics are exacerbating the issue. Just as the ancient split between Orthodox and Catholic Christians had as much to do with cultural distance as theological difference, so too the emerging prominance of Southern Christianity is a complicating factor here. So this isn’t just a question about sexuality, it is also a question about the shape of Anglicanism as it becomes increasingly post-Anglo-centric.