Anglicans: Sydney Style

Finally got around to watching the Compass episode on Anglicans: Sydney Style. Very familiar territory for me, given I grew up in Northmead and converted to Christianity through St Paul’s Anglican in Castle Hill, just a few suburbs away. But for those of you who live elsewhere, I think you’ll find this an interesting window into the Sydney evangelical scene.

One of the things I’ve always found notable, which is illustrated quite explicitly here in this video, is the inverse relationship between inner conservativism and outer conservatism in Sydney Anglicanism. That is, the more flexible the style, the more inflexible the theology and the more flexible the theology, the more inflexible the style. I’ve often used the example of endoskeletons (hard bones, squishy outside, as with fish) and exoskeletons (hard shell, squishy inside, as with crabs) and to describe it.

As for me, well, given my Anabaptist leanings I was never particularly comfortable in either Anglican stream, amongst the Calvinists or the Liberals, so I defected to the Baptists. I guess that makes me a postAnglican.

4 thoughts on “Anglicans: Sydney Style

  1. fernando says:

    To what extent do you see that inverse relationship in other denominations. I felt it to some extent with Baptists as well, especially when mixing more with Baptists from other cities in Australia and then even more so when I moved to the UK.
    The more open the theology, the more rigid and even sacramental the style. The more relaxed the style, the more rigid and even ruthless the theology.

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  2. Matt Stone says:

    Well, Hillsong is fairly relaxed in style, the Unitarian Universalists are not, so there is certainly some evidence that the phenomenon extends well beyond the Anglicans, but it’s amongst the Anglicans I’ve observed it most starkly.
    What I think it comes down to is this: traditions need something to pass on if they’re to remain as “traditions”.
    In my experience, theological liberals who don’t hold to ritual conservatism eventually end up in do-it-yourself New Age territory, having nothing permanent to pass on. So the only sort of liberalism that has any staying power tends to be the more ritualistic sort.

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  3. Matt Stone says:

    Both, hence the internal disagreements. But under Jensen the theologically conservative / ritually liberal types are clearly in acendancy over the ritually conservative / theologically liberal types.

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