She uses a review of John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge's book, "God is Back" as a basis for a wider reflection on what it means to be Anglican, the problems of establishment, the possibilities of building on the re-emergence of interest in God, God talk, and such. It's a good read. So read it.
Two tidbits particularly struck me:
"The Church of England is a living example of culture wars and the difficulty of being within the Anglican Communion. I remember going to Nigeria and seeing some Anglicans there. They are a very, very different variety of Anglican to what you get here. There is a challenge there to do with the breadth of the communion.The Episcopal Church in the US, meanwhile, was an example of what the Church of England could become. 'But there are also all these people who have defected to the African churches.' The last three decades had seen mass defections to more conservative or 'harder' forms of Christianity, he said. On the other hand, he did not see in the US as much of the social gospel as practised in the UK, particularly in London's east end."
She ends her essay with this, "The interest in God and all His works at the moment is huge. It is a tragedy that the Church of England and Anglican Communion are not better 'positioned' to take advantage of it. Maybe it is time to call in the economists." I'm not sure it is economists who will do the positioning best, but for sure it is time to get serious about positioning the Gospel, assuming that the Gospel is bang-on central to the getting some clarity on God.
That last remark, concerning positioning is an appropriate segue into a quote from Bishop Frank Weston, Bishop of Zanzabar way back when this was a colonial episcopate. (Thanks to E. Perren Hayes for the heads-up). He spoke to the Catholic Congress in 1923, where the righteous were gathered, and had this to say,
"But I say to you, and I say it with all the earnestness that I have, that if you are prepared to fight for the right of adoring Jesus in His Blessed Sacrament, then, when you come out from before your tabernacles, you must walk with Christ, mystically present in you, through the streets of this country, and find the same Christ in the peoples of your cities and villages. You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the tabernacle if you do not pity Jesus in the slum.... It is folly, it is madness, to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the sacrament and Jesus on the throne of glory, when you are sweating Him in the bodies and souls of His children.... You have your Mass, you have your altars, you have begun to use your tabernacles. Now go out into the highways and hedges, and look for Jesus in the ragged and naked, in the oppressed and the sweated, in those who have lost hope, and in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus in them; and when you have found him, gird yourself with His towel of fellowship and wash His feet in the person of His brethren."
Hoooweeee... talk about knocking one out of the park! The Anglican Communion, the CofE, and TEC and all the churches in the communion have rich mission histories and can hold their own with any band of the righteous. The best answer to those who are disinclined to stay with the Anglican Churches of the West is to go about and " Look for Jesus in them; and when you have found him, gird yourself with His towel of fellowship and wash His feet in the person of His brethren."