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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thoughts on Tanzania

Since every other Anglican blog has naturally been holding forth for the past few weeks about the Primates' meeting in Tanzania, and since I'm trying to get back into blogging, here are my thoughts:

I am encouraged by the fact that the Anglican Communion appears to be holding together and that it is moving toward some kind of structure of authority and accountability. But I can't get away from the question raised by liberals on the one hand and Catholics on the other: on what basis does the Anglican Communion claim authority to decide controversial questions? We aren't the Church Universal. We are an incidental outgrowth of the British Empire. Not that God couldn't use the British Empire to form His Church (one could, after all, describe Catholicism--that is, historic Christianity excluding the Nestorians and Monophysites--as an outgrowth of the Roman Empire). But we don't claim to be the Church.

So while it's good that we're struggling toward being Church, soberly we know that we are at best one fragment of the Church. In other words, I can't really take much comfort from the victory of "my" side--if we are really winning--not only because I have become increasingly sensitive to the pain that such a victory would bring to the "losers," but also because the controversy itself awakens the basic ecclesiological doubts that gnaw at me as an Anglican.

And, of course, it's quite possible that the communique won't mean much anyway.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lenten message from G. K. Chesterton

The two great parties in human affairs are only the party which sees life black against white, and the party which sees it white against black, the party which macerates and blackens itself with sacrifice because the background is full of the blaze of an universal mercy, and the party which crowns itself with flowers and lights itself with bridal torches because it stands against a black curtain of incalculable night. The revellers are old, and the monks are young. It was the monks who were the spendthrifts of happiness, and we who are its misers.

On Tuesday I was old--I ate pancakes and sausage.

For the past four days I have been learning slowly, painfully, haltingly to be young.
Every morning of Lent, if we are willing to receive the grace offered us, the winged messengers of repentance come to us from the fiery mountains of the sun and place in our mouths the fruit that takes away a little of our age. And when we have become as young as the child born yesterday, we will be ready for the dance of Easter.