- “Believe it or Not: Meet the reluctant face of Kensington’s radical Christian movement.” Article in City Paper, Philadelphia’s alt-weekly newspaper, about The Simple Way community.
- The Velvet Revolution – Atlantic profile of Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury (the more-or-less head of the Episcopal/Anglican communion of churches), mainly dealing with how he’s navigating the gay rights debates facing the church. It’s long, but worthwhile. Quote:
The Anglican Communion is a dramatic testing ground, because it—alone among the churches—has sought to have it both ways: at once affirming traditional Christian notions of marriage and family, love and fidelity, and adapting them to the experiences of gay believers.
It is not a church, strictly speaking, but an aggregation of 44 national or regional churches claiming 80 million believers in all. In theory, its leaders have dealt with conflict by trying to follow the via media, the middle way between extremes. In practice, this means that extremes coexist, jostling each other. Sunday service can feature brilliantined choirboys, or an organist, or dancing women in kente cloth. C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot were Anglicans; so are George and Barbara Bush. The Episcopal Church has a woman, Katharine Jefferts Schori, as its presiding bishop, while the Church of England has no women bishops at all. If this church cannot find a way forward on homosexuality, then none can—and the clash between gays and Christians over marriage and the like may go on for much of the millennium.
All of this puts Williams in an impossible position. Like the pope, he is at the top of an organization with all the treasures and furniture of empire. But his actual power is closer to that of the Dalai Lama: the “soft power” of example and persuasion. And just as the Dalai Lama’s commitment to dialogue with China strikes some people as accommodation, so Williams’s willingness to let gay-friendly leaders and anti-gay ones each occupy space in the church can seem indecisive, even bumbling. But it is grounded in the conviction that the true Christian, rather than rushing to judgment, is willing to wait, confident, as Williams has put it, that it is “through the events of conflict and rupture, through the crisis of acceptable religious meanings,” that the way forward is found.