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halfway house

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Among my early-morning half-dreams, I was finally awakened by two voices apparently crying out:




-- simultaneously.

This wakened me, and I stood up and peered dimly around the apartment, asking if anything was going on. No, just my hed...

But it seems to me that it's a reflection of my internalized turmoil about the Church/churches. This simultaneous confirmation and denial is practically the whole life of Anglicanism right now.

And, God help me, I'm stuck in the middle with you, little so-called via media. For many of us Lutherans (for that's what I am, if you prick me, do I not bleed solas, and so on?), Anglicanism is a kind of way station, a halfway house for us. What's the line, something about the boy 'who cannot stay and will not go'? That's me. Historic Lutheranism, or at least the Lutheranism which was presented to me as a young theologian, is dead or exiled beyond hope of assembly in our day. Anglicanism is, when still shouting out, I DO, something like a home for what we sometimes called 'the evangelical catholic'.

So we cannot stay, but it's not mere straining at gnats when we say we cannot go, to the East for example. I choke when I try to think about calling Ss. Constantine and Helena "Equal To the Apostles". And while the theory of a merely chatty and honorable relationship to the Theotokos is quite fine, the repetitions are close to too much, and the legends over the top, ascribing to saints what belongs to Providence or alone to the Almighty. While the Reformation was certainly imperfect, I hate to think that it was all in vain. The poisoned precedents of old, and the disintegration of much of the Lutheran witness, have perhaps ruined beyond hope the prospect of union in a thoroughly 'evangelical catholic' way.

So here we stand amongst the ultimate example of the wheat and the tares: Anglicanism. (The present contretemps concerning boys-kissing-boys is just a gaudy sideshow, of course. Many years ago, one Episcopal churchman wrote a little book asserting that there were 'two religions, one church' in American Episcopalianism, and I think he's been quite proven correct in the intervening decades. The irony of modern Episcopalianism is of course that the terms of the internal arguments have wrecked the field of play; despite the Episcopal Church being the best-positioned part of the Church to have a serious discussion and reevaluation of the sexual ethics of the Church in its biblical and theological ramifications, hardly anything of the sort has occurred. Instead, this second religion has advocated changes on grounds hardly theological at all, and nonsense has followed ever since.

So if any of you wonder 'y Guru kant go 2 cherch' sometimes, it's likely related to the grinding gears of cognitive dissonance in my head. I cannot stay and will not go.

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