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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Why I am Still an Anglican

Rather a good piece in the Sunday Telegraph by Quentin Letts:

It is time someone published a collection of essays entitled Why I Am Still an Anglican, because it is time we realised how lucky we are in our official Church. It is time our vicars were thanked for their good works, their stoicism and their general lack of hysterics. It is time we stopped assailing the Church of England and, as they say at Glastonbury, bigged it up.

I go along every week primarily because I love singing hymns. There's little to beat a good blast of Praise My Soul or the Cathedral Psalter setting of the Te Deum before lunch. I suppose I also go because I love the Book of Common Prayer, which the churches in our part of Herefordshire still use, and because I want Cranmer's cadences to drip into my children's minds. This is partly a cultural thing, partly aesthetic. Religion is there, too, in the background, but I would not dare claim to understand or believe fully in every part of the liturgy.
sunday telegraph
He goes on to describe, in rather different terms, my own sense of why I find religious enthuiasts difficult:
Critics often accuse the Church, particularly the Archbishop of Canterbury, of failing to show moral leadership. They say that today's Anglican clergy are weak. Archbishop Rowan is mocked not only for his beard but also for failing to froth like some fundamentalist mullah.

I prefer it this way. Maybe this is a very English and Protestant thing, but I want my relationship with God, if it exists, to be a private thing. I don't so much want to be told what to believe as to be shown how. Rowan Williams seems rather gently brilliant at that.
It is not a very popular position with the fundamentalists of all creeds making the running; but the idea of religion as a cultural yet private matter seems right to me and right to the Church I am a presently absent member of.