Quo Vadis..., Conservative Episcopalians?

 

The "Anglican Network" ???????? is a consortium of conservative Episcopal dioceses which are forming a "realignment" of the Episcopal Church, responding to the take-over by revisionist (read secular/pagan) forces within the Episcopal Church (ECUSA, and in many other of the Western branches of the Anglican Communion).   The Network is forming a shadow Episcopal Church, which will, almost for sure, separate from the present Episcopal Church at some point, hopefully with the support of both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the majority of other Anglican Primates (heads of other branches of the Anglican Communion) -- and thus becoming the legitimate Anglican presence in the United States. 

I attended a clergy-and-families conference held at Sandy Cove, near North East, Maryland, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, August 16-19, 2004, which was meant for spiritual renewal, relaxation, mutual fellowship, and an update of where the Network is in it progress toward establishing itself as an Anglican identity distinct from the Episcopal Church.  The following are my thoughts and questions on where the Network is going. 

The accomplishments and strategy of the Network leadership with respect to their becoming a viable alternative to ECUSA were impressive.  It seems to me that we are pretty much on target (if a decade or two behind schedule), and that the chances are good for at least a strong relationship with the third world Primates who are overwhelmingly orthodox Christians, and who strongly and unabashedly reject the paganization promoted by current Episcopal leadership.  It remains to be seen whether the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC), Rowan Williams, will line up with genuinely orthodox Anglicans around the world.  It may be that he will become, as many are predicting, irrelevant to worldwide Anglicanism, which is strong, healthy, and growing.  If the ABC supports orthodoxy along with the majority of Primates, there will be a clear signal that the Network (which was inspired partly by the ABC) is indeed the legitimate Anglican presence in the US, and that the old ECUSA is no longer so recognized.   

That, in turn, may signal to American courts that, in the struggles of orthodox parishes to separate from paganized dioceses, that they can legitimately keep their property.  That all remains to be seen.   But it does appear to me that the Network leadership is doing the right thing. 

On the other hand, there are issues which conservative Episcopal leadership, almost across the board, and for as long as "revisionism" has been taking place (since at least the 1930's), have refused to face.  

Much of the problem can be summed up in the phrase, "pathological politeness".   Anglicans (and, to be fair, almost all Christians) need to take a lesson from atheist, Ayn Rand, who said: Clarity always favors truth, and unclarity always favors falsehood.   The astonishing and pathetic incapacity of Anglican leadership to be clear and precise in their language as they discuss the issues before us has been the major reason for the sad condition of Western Anglicanism.  We are incapable of saying out loud (as, for example, on the floor of the House of Bishops) that what we politely call "revisionism" is in fact an attempt to secularize and paganize the Church.  Episcopal bishops and other leadership seem incapable of drawing any clear line between Christendom and the territory of the enemy. 

 

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