I share Dr Muriel Porter’s concern for the good health of the Anglican Church in Australia. I pray that we are and remain a fellowship of Christians able to attract Australians to the grace and truth which are found in Christ. I’m uncertain of the value of publicly baring the Anglican soul with quite Dr Porter’s fullness or frequency. Were one Anglican diocese to implode, or indeed our entire church, I doubt that too many Aussie barbecue’s would pause for reflection. Nevertheless, to the extent that Dr Porter’s regular ruminations afford us opportunity to examine ourselves and be accountable, she may serve us well.
Resisting polarising language would serve this end still better. For example, whilst reaffirming traditional Christian teaching regarding homosexual practice, the 1998 Lambeth Bishops’ resolution on Human Sexuality committed the church “to listen to the experience of homosexual persons”, affirming them as “loved by God” and “regardless of sexual orientation, … full members of the Body of Christ”. A vast distance from what Dr Porter would have hoped, certainly. But the resolution hardly bespeaks “a hardline stance against gay people”, as Dr Porter describes it. (The Age, 25/2)
Public expression of opinion? By all means. But caricature will serve none of us.