Fr. Haller has an interesting post up where he looks at current Anglican issues in terms of realists and idealists. I agree with much that he writes, but I’m not sure I agree with this one… I think I can sense what he’s trying to set up, but it’s not quite there yet. One difficulty with the post is his initial rhetorical decision: to make the liberals the realists and the conservatives the idealists. In my experience, the liberals I know tend to be the idealists, then attempt to impose their ideals on those around them. I’m not saying conservatives don’t do this, I just think that both groups have both idealists and realists in them.
He presents a binary list of options. But, as I read through them, I found myself not only choosing freely from both, but just as frequently wishing for options not offered. Here are a few I offered in my comment–with a few new additions:
pedagogy: experiental (i.e., liturgical)
theological school: benedictine
the church: “you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it”
creation story: John 1
I keep hearing about this spectrum but in an important sense…I’m not on it!
I’ve said before, I’m a moderate by default because I don’t fall into the camps described. Furthermore, I don’t think either of two camps should be the goal. To me, Anglicanism is about a set of boundaries defined broadly by the literal sense of the historical creeds and defined more narrowly (but still fairly broadly) by the theology encoded in the prayer book. I don’t want either liberals or conservatives to shoehorn me into their dogmatic statements; I’d much rather they join me in worshiping in the beauty of holiness and in works of mercy.
In short, I’d really like the conversation to move beyond the binary. We need to be challenged by those on all sides. All those who confess Christ crucified have something to teach me about loving and serving him and my neighbor. I need to be challenged by the “liberals” and the “conservatives” and by all those who don’t fit into either of these for my own growth and correction(…let the righteous smite me in friendly rebuke…)–and I’ll return the favor too.