For those who are wondering why I haven’t posted anything on Anglicanism recently, well there has been other more pressing matters (sorry, I know, shocking, but nonetheless true) 😉 . Also, there’s plenty of other Anglican news and analysis coverage elsewhere, and I haven’t really had too much to say in addition to them.
However, I thought it might be helpful to those who read this blog and are not Anglicans to try and explain what exactly the kerfuffle is all about. And I could think of no better way than to bring you the words of Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church (taken from here).
In the interview, Jefferts Schori also said she can “affirm” Jesus’ statement: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But she does so with caveats.
“I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way – that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding.”
Asked about the rest of Christ’s declaration: “No man cometh unto to the father but by me,” Jefferts Schori continued.
“Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people’s lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus,” she said.
Did you manage to get through all that without your brain exploding? I do hope so. Now you can observe a few minutes of feeling sorry for all of us poor Anglicans who are still into that old-time Christianity thing. You know, God, holiness, sin, redemption, sanctification, the cross etc etc. We are so last-century, y’know? 😉
Now, others have critiqued the above comments far better than I can. I’d just note that it’s not easy to tease an outright denial of “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” from what she says. Rather what we have is an expansion of meaning, a dilution and twisting of truth until the final article is nothing I can recognise. The statement in it’s ‘broad’ interpretation comes to mean anything you want it to mean, and thereby nothing.
So this is our fight in this little corner of the Christian world. The challenge for us is to not get sucked in so deep that you cannot see the wider picture. Getting sucked in too deep quite often results in the fight becoming about returning Anglicanism to its ‘golden age’, and I think God has better plans for us than merely that…..