What do all these squabbles have to do with an individual’s sense of being guided by an intelligent and benign presence that supports and pervades all that is, a condition that I regard as faith rather than belief?
I second John Barker’s comment. The distinction between “faith” and “belief” is becoming plainer with each passing day. Old ecclesiastical structures based on ‘belief’ formulations are crumbling. We are, indeed, as Harvey Cox, distinguished Harvard religion scholar argues, entering a new “age of the spirit”. The centre of the Christian world has shifted away from Europe and North America, and new Christian paradigms are taking shape. The old order is passing and God is doing new things through those who confess faith in Jesus. As a Canadian Anglican deacon, I rejoice in a future that is unfolding – free from the farces of ecclesiastical wrangling, disputes and absurdities worthy of comment by Jonathan Swift, and far removed from ministry in the name of Jesus. I urge a serious reading of Harvey Cox’s “The Future of Faith” as well as the works of others like Diana Butler-Bass, Brian McLaren, Doug Paggit (among others) who are helping to birth an ’emergent’, ‘missional’ or ‘generative’ Christianity. Walter, your analysis of Anglicanism is a correct one,
People like Reverend Steve Bailey really do exist and they really do believe that ‘belief’ is finished (without seeing the irony, apparently).
The “new” “age of the spirit” he evokes is about as new as the Garden of Eden: there have been “new ages of the spirit” throughout the history of the Church – often producing crazies like Joachim of Fiore in the 12th century, or John of Leiden in the 16th century.
It’s the same old same old serpent’s promise: “you shall be like gods”. In that respect there is a spirit at work – but it aint the Holy One and it certainly aint new.
Take a look at Ronald Knox’s ‘Enthusiasm’ – it might just innoculate you against the turgid pseudo spiritualising of “emergent, missional generative Christianity.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Just my two bits.
The anti-doctrine crowd is merely the same bunch that thinks the Ten Commandments are actually “suggestions”. The destructive currents in the Anglican Church mirror the crumbling of the rule of law in Western society in favor of moral relativity; and the cultural pre-eminence of human “feelings” and myopic perspectives of “rights” over divine law and biblical doctrine.
However, the Anglican Church has bigger fish to fry, but doesn’t seem to realize it (or want to admit it.) Perhaps squabbling over the ordination of female bishops provides a more pleasant diversion than the contemplation of the rapid encroachment of Islam in Great Britain and elsewhere.
Rather than standing up for women’s rights, or gay rights or any other worldly rights, will they be willing to “stand up for Jesus” when the time comes?