Ok–one more quick thought. It’s about mission. One of the key problems that people aren’t owning up to–or, at least, aren’t owning up to well–is the problem that we are not working in anything even vaguely approaching a homogenous mission field. Precisely the thing that some people want and need to hear and to bring them to the Gospel is what will drive someone else away. The unchurched and dechurched people with whom I interact on a daily basis are–let’s face it–disgusted with the notion of instutionalized prejudice. And that’s how most of them see certain Christian attitudes towards women and gay and lesbian people. There are others with whom I interact far less often who are–let’s face it–disgusted with the notion that God approves things like women priests or gay and lesbian couples receiving the Eucharist together.
In a sense the Global South has it easier–their cultures *seem* (to an outsider in any case) to be more homogenous than the Western context. Thus, they know what to say when in order for the Gosple to be heard.
We’re in a much different place. I’d love for the Church to move ahead in mission–but it’s a pushme-pullyou kind of thing, isn’t it?
[And I know some reading this may be thinking–no, it’s not about “casting the message” a certain way, it’s just about bold proclamation and let the chips fall where they may! But let me tell as a teacher of rhetoric and preaching–it doesn’t work that way… Even simply picking up the Bible and reading aloud as an act of proclamation contains a host of rhetocial and theological decisions.]
Who knows–maybe a divided Anglican witness may be able to spread the gospel more effectively than a unified one…though I’d hate to see it come to that.