As I typed that title, I realized that there is probably already a book with that title, or a title very similar. Or maybe an Idiot's Guide to the Anglican Communion. For anyone not familiar with the "Idiot's Guide to--" and the "for Dummies" series of books, they both capitalize on the peoples' desire for an unintimidating introduction to a topic they admittedly know *nothing* about. If you pick up a book with a title like that, you can trust that you will be introduced to the topic, whatever it is, without any assumption on the writer's part that you know *anything* about the subject at hand.
Anglicanism’s founding event was a sixteenth-century political fix, engineered by Elizabeth I as a means of avoiding the Reformation-era wars tearing at Europe. Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, for reasons of dynastic and connubial ambition, had broken with the Medici Pope Clement VII and declared himself the “Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England.” Elizabeth’s half sister and predecessor, Bloody Mary, imposed a Roman Catholic restoration upon the kingdom, in the process dispatching some three hundred Protestants to the stake. When Elizabeth ascended to the throne as a Protestant, the realm faced a third religious about-face in a dozen years, and the prospect of civil war was real. Elizabeth’s elegant solution allowed her subjects to believe whatever they wished but insisted upon a uniform worship service.Later in the article, there is a line that sums up Elizabeth's notion as "Believe what you want, just use this book."
That is probably a bit of an oversimplification, but not as much of one as that bumper sticker I've seen that reads "God said it, I believe it, that settles it!" And, of course, when people say "God said it", they are talking about what they've read in a book that's undergone more revisions and translations than the Book of Common Prayer.
Once I started learning more about the Episcopal Church, the phrase "3-legged stool" would come up from time to time, referring to scripture, tradition, and reason.
Click here to read the rest.
I have only covered a few basics about the Anglican Communion, but I feel they are helpful things to know about when reading about the Archbishop of Canterbury's "reflections" about a plan that would make some of us "second class" members of the Communion.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:04 PM