Deborah Orr at the Guardian goes on to make a number of other interesting points, some of which do not lead to any dubious conclusions. But, she also issues a number of dubious conclusions that are not accompanied by any interesting point.

Interesting point:

#4 – In our secular and atheistic age, there are a lot of people around to whom all of this Anglican-crisis stuff looks quaint.

“Quaint” is far too kind a word here. Ludicrous, ridiculous, pathetic, nonsensical, wicked – might all be better adjectives to describe the opinion many people hold of “all of this Anglican-crisis stuff.” We have made ourselves laughable in the eyes of the world by tearing ourselves apart over issues that are frequently viewed as trivial and irrelevant particularly when measured against the horror of a worldwide refugee crisis, malnutrition, and the destruction of God’s beautiful creation.

Interesting point:

#5 – western Anglicans don’t want to look forensically at why religion isn’t working any more.

By “forensically” I assume Orr means seriously and in depth.

In the past half-century we Anglicans have indeed been entirely disinclined to take a hard honest look at how marginalized Christianity as a whole and Anglicanism in particular has become in the western world. We are seldom taken seriously. We have lost touch with the central reason for our existence. We live in the illusion that people are interested in our opinions and are just waiting for us to share our words of wisdom on the affairs of the world.

No one is listening and no one cares what we Anglicans have to say. If there is a crisis facing the Anglican church it is a crisis of purpose. We no longer know why we exist. We need to return to the basics of what it means to be an instrument for opening hearts and minds to the presence and action of God in the world through Christ.

Dubious conclusion:

#4 – The trouble, of course, is that once you’ve won the liberal argument and everyone has agreed that people should be allowed to be who they are as long as they aren’t hurting others, then God is neither here nor there, let alone everywhere. And that’s the basic problem the Anglican communion faces.

This comes like a bit of a bolt out of the blue. I am not sure how Orr gets from any of her interesting points to this whopper of a dubious conclusion.

The conclusion that “God is neither here nor there, let alone everywhere” is only true, if it is true. And Orr has done nothing to demonstrate that God “is neither here nor there, let alone everywhere.”She simply assumes that all people who are clever like her, will agree with the obvious assertion of God’s absence.

If in fact, as faith maintains, it is actually true that God is in fact here, there and everywhere, then the basic problem of the Anglican communion is figuring out what it means to embody this Presence in our lives and our communities. This is certainly a serious challenge that we have not always met with great success. But the aim of embodying in this material realm the transcendent qualities of mystery, light and beauty we see in Jesus is a noble undertaking that should not be dismissed lightly with a sophisticated sneer even from “one of Britain’s leading social and political commentators.”

Dubious conclusion:

#5 – If Lambeth Palace ever works out how to unite its worldwide communion in liberal harmony, then there will be no more need for God, or politics. Because God isn’t love. God is politics and God always has been. And heaven, I rather suspect, is a place where politics never happens.

It may be that I am not clever enough to grasp Orr’s reasoning here. But  her logic at this point escapes me. How “harmony” can banish the need for God, or politics for that matter, is beyond my grasp.

Human beings have always responded to the stirring of mystery and beauty in their lives with an affirmation of Transcendence. Many people who may be even as clever as Ms. Orr find that they are hardwired to respond to the immensity of human suffering and the beauty of God’s creation with surrender to a power that is beyond our will to manipulate or control.

I wonder how Orr knows that “God isn’t love.” Does she assume all thoughtful people will simply take her at her authoritative word here? Am I supposed to knuckle under with gratitude and laud her superior intelligence as she has finally pulled back the veil and revealed to me the true nature of God who is nothing more in her theology than “politics.”

Ms. Orr seems to inhabit a somewhat truncated universe.

The worldwide Anglican communion exists to embody the possibility that there may be more to life than the politics of division and separation. The church bears testimony to the conviction that there is indeed a force and power of love that can enable human beings to live together in harmony even while acknowledging our differences. The task is not easy, but the goal is noble and worthwhile.

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