‘If It’s Not Pleasant, It Doesn’t Exist’ By Lay Anglicana
My grandmother never actually said this to me. But it was the leitmotiv of her life, thanks to which she lived to be 99 years old. I know half a dozen other nonagenarians, and they all have this in common: they do not dwell on the global economic downturn, global warming, or why that Mrs Jones down the road is such a bitch has a less than sunny disposition. They pour themselves another gin, play another rubber of bridge or go for a walk. They live without passion of any sort (well, they are in their nineties) but this includes love and hate. They are not passionately for or passionately against anything. They do not discuss politics, religion or sex, or indeed any other topic about which anyone might feel strongly. They do not show feelings in public (the mantra of this class is ‘No PDA’ – no Public Display of Affection). To do so would be bad form. They do not weep in public, or ever evince any pain or self-pity. They offer no sympathy (beyond the most formal expression), and they shudder at the thought of sympathy being shown to them. By definition, they are not needy.
Of course, by the time my grandmother and her kind are in their nineties, they probably are needy, if only physically. For them this is the hardest part of old age, that they have to accept help from others and allow chinks to appear in their armour.
I sometimes think my kind of Anglican is like this. I have just learned that I am technically a liberal Anglo-Catholic – I have always thought of myself as plain old CofE but now see that there are many strands of worshippers who all self-identify as Church of England but whose worshipping style – and beliefs- are very different. Yesterday I attended (and will post about separately) a communion service led by a Charismatic Evangelical. My knee-jerk reaction was to wince at the emotional incontinence, but a part of me – normally severely repressed- also responded.
I think I could happily make the transition to The Episcopal Church (TEC) and feel at home. I was brought up to think that good manners are all-important, and TEC is above all the home of good manners: ‘After you’; ‘No, after you’. ‘No cake until you have had the bread and butter’. And so on.
But word reaches me that these good manners may stand in the way of common sense at the TEC General Convention to be held from July 5-12 in Indianapolis: agreeing with me that the current ‘sorry state of things entire’ of the Anglican Covenant is such that it definitely counts as unpleasant, and being unwilling to intrude on private grief, some say it might be best not to discuss it all, and simply sweep it under the carpet.
Siren voices! Please, fellow Anglicans, do not listen to them! We have managed in the Church of England, diocesan synod by painful diocesan synod, to reject it. But the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion regards this as merely a little local difficulty. Is he burying his head in the sand like the man in the YouTube video which illustrates this post? That is a matter of opinion.
But my fellow members of the Church of England and I are looking for a lead on this from The Episcopal Church. Please do not let us down!¨ HERE (emphasis added)
· Thanks to Lay Anglicana, sidebar
· Thanks to Laura Sykes · No Anglican Covenant Coalition
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