Primates of the Anglican Communion are meeting this week in Canterbury, England at Archbishop Welby’s invite to the first time since the 2011 Dublin meetings to discuss the growing schisms within the Communion. At stake, some would say, is the very existence of the Communion itself.
I was raised in the mire of hyper-calvinism (not exactly a bastion of magnanimity). We were taught that anything other than our particular brand of confessional, cessationist, calvinistic theology was grossly unbiblical at best and downright heretical and satanic at worst. We were never the kindest of folk. To us, recalitrance was faithfulness and unity that is forged in the fires of diversity was considered indubitably idiotic. I’ve had enough bigotry and vilification shoved down my throat and up my ass to last a thousand lifetimes. Lord knows I’ve excreted my fair share of it.
Folks who have not been raised and immersed in such a dogmatic fundamentalism cannot understand just how thoroughly and extensively your faith can be burned to cinders in such an environment. You are presented with ultimate things. Truth is capitalized and any deviation from it is the worst kind of squalid deviance. Then those ultimate things fuck you. You wallow in the melting pieces of your soul and you feel as the earth must feel under the weight of nuclear armageddon. You have nothing left to believe in and no where to turn to.
It is therefore no surprise to me that so many children of the Church end up leaving it. Why would you stay involved in the face of such legalistic rage? Why subject your ashen corpse to further defilement?
It IS a surprise to me that I have not left the Faith. Why do I stay? I often ask myself this. Perhaps it is that although I hate much of what the church teaches about sin and depravity, at least it has an answer for why humanity is so often so fucked up. Perhaps it is that I find Jesus to be so compelling. Perhaps that although the church often behaves so differently, at least its Savior taught us to love the little ones of the world.
I ultimately might never know. I DO know that if what I was raised with is Christianity, then I am not and do not want to be a Christian. But I will not leave the Faith, so I must find another expression of it.
For us, that is Anglicanism. That’s why, contrary to everything we were taught growing up, we are having our children baptised into an Anglican church later this week. And that’s why I find the whole situation with the Anglican Communion to be so perplexing and unfortunate. She fiddles while Rome burns.
Meanwhile, life marches on and most of humanity (and dare I say, the church’s laity) doesn’t give much of a flying fuck about the squabbles of the institutional church. It’s like a bad joke. Too bad the Church doesn’t seem to realize that the joke’s on her.