To the extent that anyone takes the fights in Anglicanism seriously, they are a terrible witness against the possibility that there is any good news to be found in this part of Christendom. Stephen Bates, who covered the religious beat for the Guardian for seven years, got to see the machinations of Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, the whole swath of Christians and for that matter other religious organizations. He finally said "Covering religion for this newspaper left me disillusioned – but not quite an atheist."
Stephen is a skilled writer and from what little I know of him personally a fine person. The work over he got from listening and seeing Christians go at each other, defend outrageous behavior and generally run amok, let him away rather than toward the faith.
Read his witness HERE.
My question: If this stuff we do turned him off the faith, what is it doing to the many many people who wonder if we have any of the love for one another that Christians claim to have, or if we have nothing left but rancor, jealousy, and ill humors. Why would anyone want to come to our house if there was not love, but fear and anger present?
Stephen Bates is Roman Catholic and he has hard words for his own church. But being in England and what with the CofE being established and all, he had some remarkable words to say about The Church of England and Anglicans. Among other things he said,
"What rankled most was the hypocrisy, the fact that the Bible's scattered and random words on homosexuality were uncontestable for all time and yet, somehow, divorce – which Jesus himself appears from the Gospels to have condemned – was somehow only a minor and changeable transgression. The fact that some of the evangelicals, such as Andrew Carey, journalist son of the former archbishop of Canterbury and one of the loudest and most sanctimonious cheerleaders against gay people holding positions in the church, is himself divorced and remarried (by his father) just added to my distaste."
Stephen slices and dices, and finally steps back. I am saddened that this has happened. More, I think it a telling statement about the toxic message that emanates from ecclesial doings.