Sunday, September 27, 2009

Imagine there's no Communion, it's easy if you try ... no hell below us, above us only sky

We finally got around to reading The Imagined Community of the Anglican Communion over at The Other Cafe, thanks to Chip Webb, who couldn't believe the article didn't get more airplay. Perhaps it was because we all thought it was actually a brilliant parody on a slow news day. Oops.

But alas, it's serious, written by a serious historian in a serious library in a serious university in a serious state in the union. Or a serious state of something.

So get thee hence, but we suggest that you "right click" to open the article so that you may also click to play the kindly offering below to enforce the mood as one reads with great, well, seriousness, this quite serious article. No really.

In one fell swoop, whoooosh, the author reveals that the Lambeth Conference, the Primates, bishops, the Anglican Covenant, the Anglican Consultative Council, and yes, even the Archbishop of Canterbury (past and present) are all imagined. Only The Episcopal Church is real.

It's like the entire Anglican Communion has a serious case of Harvey.

Rowan Williams himself might possibly, yes may quite actually be - a myth. In fact, he might not even exist. If he does exist, then it's even worse for at any moment he's preparing to take up the mantle of the Ghosts of Canterburies Past and drop kick all the Methodists and what's left of John Henry Newman into oblivion. Yes, the author even quotes the Great Conservative Icon, shall we all bow, Edmund Burke in possibly one of the most outstanding examples of unconscious irony ever printed on a blog page. Here we find Burke, shall we all bow, himself being used to illustrate that at any moment, the Church of England is about to explode into purple gowned Nazis: “The pretexts are always found in some specious appearance of a real good.” That the author cannot see the log protruding out of his own eyeball (talk about calling the poor boiling kettle black) is really quite an astonishing thing to behold. And yes, dear friends, this guy is whittling away the hours in the Yale Library. Too bad the Scots took those early Episcopalians phone call and got us all signed up for the duration. We could have just imagined England was a dream.

Perhaps the Communion really is just a six foot rabbit after all.


Steve said...

Mary, perhaps your finest posting. The "Imagine" soundtrack, "Shall we all bow", I love it.

Unknown said...

One glowing comment on the website says it all. The essay is "most helpful." Whether it has any knowledge of history, ecclesiology, or any other pursuit of actual truth and factuality is irrelevant. The piece's "relevance" is found only in its ability to confuse the issues with pride, (imagined) class envy against the Evil Bishops, and, of course, the elevation of the Latest Notion above Scripture, Canons, or the common sense of the Church. If education has anything to do with pursuit of truth and integrity, the schools most seriously betrayed this poor man.

Anonymous said...

And it's all imaginary money that TEC sends to buy ... I mean support the AC apparatus.

Imagine that!


Daniel Weir said...

I find the reaction to Prof. Turner's essay intersting. While I find the essay helpful, especially in pointing out the "Bishop-heavy" nature of the Instruments and in tracing the history of persecution within the C of E, I find the concept of an imaginary community less helpful. While the Communion is, for most people, a community of which they have little or no experience, for many of us it is a community which we have experienced as we visited other Churches or welcomed visitors from other Churches. It is those relationships that matter and I remain unconvinced about the value of an Anglican Covenant in promoting and supporting relationships.

Unknown said...

Fr. Daniel, for the record, I do agree with you on both points. :-)