Sunday, February 10, 2008

February 10, 2008

Some of you may have seen that there has been a big furor in England this week over the Archbishop of Canterbury allegedly arguing that some aspects of sharia law should be entertained as being part of the law of England. This has led Lambeth Palace to issue a statement about ‘what the Archbishop actually said’ . It seems to me another instance of the Archbishop being so nuanced that he was opening himself to misunderstanding. I’m not sure that I have got it yet, but he seems to be making some parallel between canon law and sharia law in some limited way, having a recognized place in English society. He seems to be properly concerned with how a real place is made for a Muslim minority in a pluralistic society, and doing it apart from and in the face of a rather ugly xenophobic strain in the ‘English psyche’. Of the many articles I’ve read trying to get a handle on this, the most helpful came from Ekklesia. It was posted this morning and can be found here. The Archbishop is raising all kinds of issues that go very clearly to some of the reading that our vestry was doing last year in what it means to be the church in a postmodern world and an increasingly post-Christian environment.

Our friend Giles Fraser has written some good stuff this week, an article on progressive Christianity in America for The Guardian newspaper and a really clear piece for the Church Times making clear that the withholding of an invitation to the Lambeth Conference to the Bishop of New Hampshire is morally bankrupt. (Read it here), a position with which I wholeheartedly agree.

1 comment:

Zachary said...

Unfortunately our brothers and sisters in Christ seem to struggle with Article 20 urging Anglicans to apply a canonical approach to reading Scripture: “that is, one in which its various parts are understood in the light of the whole, such that Scripture is read coherently,” (Anglican Theological Review, Richard Treloar). The intolerance toward homosexuals can be parsed out of the cultural climate a couple thousand years ago, but this does not fit into the ethos of God’s message revealed in Christ. Rev’d Treloar suggests an approach to “reading (with Scripture) against Scripture,”(ATR*, Winter 2008). Essentially he is suggesting that Anglicans must continue to read in a bold fashion where Scripture, Tradition, and Reason constitute our measure of validity, (ATR*). In other words, not every ethical norm is to be directly applied to our modern culture. However, as we continue to witness to God’s love revealed in Christ we understand that Scripture serves as the foundation of bringing us into relationship with God. As the relationship is fostered through a Christ-witnessing/seeking community, we stand on firm ground to discern the relevance of ethical norms. For instance, is Jesus’ radical love, calling all unto him, more essential to his ministry; or is claiming homosexuals to be sinners and not welcome to share in the Anglican Communion seem more appropriate to his message? I think Scripture, Tradition, and Reason can decipher.
Zachary R. Thompson

*ATR refers to The Anglican Theological Review. Specifically to Richard Treloar’s article “Come Out and Stay Out! Hermeneutics, Homosexuality, and Schism in Anglicanism,” in Volume 90 Number 1 pp. 47-63.