Readers of this and many blogs in Anglican blog land are likely to get a rather odds and ends approach to really large and important issues. Particularly here at PRELUDIUM it's hard to delve deeply into anything, there being too many things do keep track of and follow. So every once and a while it seems useful to step back and report on things found in rooting around for Anglican stuff to chew on, things which turn out to be a full meal, and often tasty at that.
Simon Mein over at SimonSurmises has produced a revamp of a three part paper titled, "The status of homosexual persons - Some Theological Perspectives". The original of these papers were offered as part of a Diocesan Clergy education process ten years ago. They stand the test of time well. He posted these in three parts, so the reader has to go back to the first section and move forward. As an aid here are the links to read them in proper sequence:
A. Religion and Theology
B. Can Doctrine Change and Develop?
C. Bible, Doctrine and Practice in the Anglican Tradition.
Giving you the punch line does not in any way tell you the full plot, but it gives a tasty sense of the possibilities of making theological hard work also a pleasurable task. Here is what Simon says,
"What has been said in this paper, shows, I think, that teaching about the faith and teaching about the practice of Christians who embrace that faith can change, and clearly have changed in the last two millennia. It also suggests that when change happens it often begins at the local level and may be almost imperceptible to the participants. To show that teaching about faith and practice can change is not necessarily to say that, in any given instance they it ought to. Yet, we must read the signs and we must take account of new knowledge. It is not enough to retreat to a fortress, hurling biblical quotations as though they settled the issue, and allowing tradition to become a bastion for bias."
Remembering that the issues swamping the Anglican Communion are much broader than the "presenting problem," and consist in rather large doses of theological confusion and good old power plays in the fields of Anglican land, Simon's essays are a fine reminder that using the grey cells can be beneficial all around.
Adrian Worsfold, the speaking Pluralist, is fast becoming a blogger to be reckoned with and I hope a good friend. He wrote a piece for Episcopal Cafe / Daily Episcopalian, the blog of major note these days in the US. Anglican Balkanization is much shorter that Canon Mein's essay, but it is dense and tightly written and very important. Read it!
And last but not least, Jim Naughton, keeper of the keys at the Episcopal Cafe wrote an article for the Guardian that has made the rounds. The essay is, "The Archbishop's hands are tied, not ours." If you haven't read it, its a keeper. If nothing else Jim reminds us that the Archbishop of Canterbury has a job and he defines and is defined by it. We too have our work cut out for us, and the ABC doesn't define our work, nor is our work defined by us alone. We are to do what we must do. The essay is a wonderful example of a hard working actual journalist at work in Anglican Land.
There it is... exam on Friday.