Friday, 14 August 2009

The Great Emergence - and Anglican issues!

I have recently been reading Phyllis Tickle on the Great Emergence. Two things struck me. The first was that she says that about every 500 years there is a shift in Christianity, and that one of the first signs of this is a breakdown in authority. Just prior to the reformation there were 3 Popes, so from a situation where people knew who was in charge now there was a choice. What struck me forcibly was the analogy with the current times in Anglicanism, where cetainly among some there is a desire for a strong authority, when in fact Anglicanism could almost be defined as not having an authority.

The other strand that I noted was a restatement of the old believe- behave- belong or belong-behave-believe. What was added to this was an explanation of the accompanying approach to people who want to join. In the old style there were lots of rules, and if you kept the rules you could belong. In the new approach there is a centre towards which people are drawn - but to which they don't have to sign up before belonging.

This is not perhaps quite the problem in Anglicanism at present but I can see many similarities. If we take the battle over homosexuality in Anglicanism then it is largely between those who think it is wrong and those who think it is right. What doesn't get much publicity is the approach that says that it doesn't matter! To be fair, if you are going to have an authorised ministry then it does matter, but this might explain why, although there are many to whom this does matter, there are a large number of people to whom it doesn't matter at all. Of course in some sense the "it doesn't matter"s are by default on the side of change, as they cannot see what the problem is in the first place!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails