Over at the AMiA, err, make that, “the AM” there is a newish development. Rather than being a “jurisdiction” with ACNA, AMiA will now be a “ministry partner.” As I understand it, this is a move away from fuller union with ACNA and towards staying independent. The reasons for this move are not at all clear in the press release issued by AMiA. It is coated in bland obfuscations and loving declarations that would make Rowan Williams proud.
But here ‘s how I see it: the various Anglican bishops in America continue to be short-sighted and selfish. In this case in particular, it is Bishop Murphy. Looking around you could pin this same tag on Bishop Minns for CANA, and probably many others in their own little worlds. Why on earth they can’t simply close up shop and merge is beyond me. Think of the duplicate costs involved with staff, buildings and websites, to name just a few items. Think of the testimony to a watching world – even “conservative” Anglicans can’t create a catholic church within America, they have to stay divided, and over reasons that have NOTHING to do with theology. They all just have to maintain their own fiefdoms. I find it disgusting. If we are not careful, these divisions will harden and there will be no chance of real unity going forward.
I am also sick and tired of the AMiA’s plunge into pop evangelical faddishness. Take a look at this picture:
Does anything about this say “Anglican” to you? It might as well be a gathering of Calvary Chapel pastors in Costa Mesa – scratch that, they would all be wearing Hawaiian shirts. But you get the point. No collars, no stoles, just a bunch of guys who look just like the corporate world we live in. There is nothing sinful in this, but it illustrates the larger point. The AMiA winter conference doesn’t meet in a sacred place, it meets in some auditorium with pastel and purple backdrops. It uses the same soft-rock bland worship that you can find at a million other churches in the USA. Speakers don’t wear collars. Bishop Murphy gushes about stupid books from the corporate world that push some sort of trendy nonsense.
The message seems to be, “Anglicans are just like every other evangelicals except that we have a prayer book we may or may not use once in awhile.” If there is no difference, what is the point of being Anglican? Being culturally relevant is fine, blending in to the point of disappearing is another. Do I really want to see more middle aged men that act like CEOs? Young guys who are missional and hip and have the correct facial hair? I guess it wouldn’t bother me so much if there was a solid theological core to all of this, but there isn’t. It isn’t terribly 39 Articles-centric. It is a mish-mash. There are pockets of solidity, but will they become the norm, or are we looking at Baptists with a prayer book?