The Anglican Church of Canada has a master plan
This should be unobjectionable, until you look at just what sort of training clergy will be undergoing, and what tasks they will be enabled to do.
Ottawa Bishop John Chapman, who is leading the initiative, believes a savvier clergy would help bridge the church's current bitter divisions over issues such as gay priests.Those are serious problems, no doubt about it. How is education going to help? Let's start with a little obligatory spin:
"The genius of the Anglican Church has been its capacity to live in difference," Chapman said in an interviewYeah, yeah, "living in tension" and "middle way" and all that. In other words, when you look at the burned-out shambles that is the ACC today, don't let your lying eyes fool you; nothing has changed, we've always been this way, it's always worked for the last 400 years, so it will keep working because WE HAVEN'T CHANGED AT ALL, got it? Cranmer would feel right at home if he dropped in on the homosexual couple being "married" at the Church of the Blasted Fig Tree by the rainbow-vested lesbian "priest", and don't let any conservative troublemakers tell you otherwise. (They're all secretly gay, anyway.)
But first, a little journey into the past, to congratulate ourselves on how much better we are than earlier generations:
As much as the church is badly divided these days, at least people care, "and that's not what I remember as a child. I don't remember people working up that kind of energy about anything. It was still the club; it was the social life. You found yourself there every Sunday and you weren't even sure why some times.Yes, as Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye who travail and are heavy-laden, and I will give you an exciting, dynamic thrill ride into the fashionable and the up-to-date."
"I can't imagine my childhood church getting worked about human sexuality," said Chapman. "These are one of the most exciting times; there is a passion for faith."
And they didn't get worked up about human sexuality, for some reason! (Nice of him to limit the topic to human sexuality, but isn't that a bit narrow? Oh, well, give him another 10 years or so, and who knows what "exciting times" may bring.) Not like people today. Maybe there was a reason why they weren't worked up about it. I'd say it's the same reason Bishop Chapman isn't "worked up" about the possibility of having human feces for dinner tonight. Because he doesn't consider it within the bounds of sanity or decency. But that just goes to show that he's as narrow and unimaginative as those earlier Anglicans he's so proud to have left behind. If a determined group of coprophragiasts should start loudly demanding that their exotic gastronomic tastes be included during Communion, I think Bishop Chapman would be surprised to find how quickly he'd find himself getting "worked up".
But on to business. How is this turmoil to be eased through education? The answer is unsurprisingly sketchy:
But pastors need new skills in calming congregations at war over sexuality or steering communities through traumatic change like closing a church. "There is quite a variety of need ... that has exploded in last 25 years and we have not, in terms of a common standard ... kept pace with that."Ah, there we have it. The goal is to "calm" people who are upset - even though he's just finished boasting about how wonderfully exciting all this turmoil is. The clergy have to be taught how to administer the right doses of reassuring lies to keep people from bolting and taking their money with them. And, coincidentally, they also have to be trained as hospice workers for dying parishes. Once again, how to administer sedatives to people in pain so they won't lash out and do something regrettable. I wonder if this is being discussed up front with people entering the clergy: "Your duties will be to supervise the closing of dying parishes." Is that really how divinity students visualize themselves when they first think of going into orders? As bankruptcy managers and liquidators?
Most of Chapman's enthusiasm is for "diversity" training:
"The crux of the problem is to find ways of training people that are culturally appropriate.Naturally, there is the obligatory reference to "First Nations", as if the Anglican Church is outfitting missionaries for remote outposts where they can convert the natives. In fact, most native Indians are ALREADY Christians; they were converted generations ago, work which modern up-to-date Anglicans like Chapman are pretty much united in deploring and apologizing for. The "culturally appropriate" training is not going to consist of better Bible knowledge - it's more of a marketing tool as the Anglican Church gives up on the outside world and tries instead to merely hang on to their traditional constituency.
"How do we be faithful as Christians in the marketplace ... in the public forum, for example? And that would be different for someone in northern Ontario and someone in Toronto."