Sunday, June 29, 2008

What would a Postmodern Anglicanism look like?

In the wake of the recent statement from GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference), Canon Neal Mitchell writes that the statement reflects that many at GAFCON
..are responding in non-Modern ways, embracing certain aspects of Christendom in the Anglican Communion while dismissing other Christendom aspects of the Communion—which is a very Postmodern thing to do.
Canon Mitchell seems to rejoice in the Anglican Communion being set free from the hierarchical ecclesiology of a dead Christendom paradigm and seems also to advocate strongly that the prospect of overlapping jurisdictions formed by relationship rather than geography is not only inevitable, but a good thing.

At the same time, Bishop Pierre Whalon (Bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe) attempts in a recent essay to define exactly what Anglican ecclesiology is. After describing the difficulties of such a definition, Bishop Whalon proceeds to identify some features of Anglicanism that relate specifically to how we structure ourselves and what that has to say about how we view God and the Church. He also looks beyond Lambeth 2008 to see what will continue to be issues facing the Anglican Communion.

Where these two essays meet for me is the question: What should the Anglican Communion look like in a post-Christian age such that it is both faithful to our own traditions and yet responsive to the contemporary world? In other words, what does a Postmodern Anglican Communion look like?

I don't know, and I suspect few others do either. However, it will be quite interesting to find out. I'm wondering if there is any structure, agreement, or statement that can take us beyond the present conflict and help us to get on with mission and ministry while addressing some of the underlying tensions. We'll see...

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