I have become dismayed at the rhetoric being thrown around politically these days. I am apparently not the only one, judging from Michael Gerson's editorial in the Washington Post. He coins the phrase, "the Ugly Party", describing its rhetoric as "shar[ing] some common themes: urging the death or sexual humiliation of opponents or comparing a political enemy to vermin or diseases. It is not merely an adolescent form of political discourse; it encourages a certain political philosophy -- a belief that rivals are somehow less than human, which undermines the idea of equality and the possibility of common purposes." I personally think he is being way too kind to adolescents who are well past their "grow up by" date, and he shies away from the rampant stupidity and blockheaded certainty which are part and parcel of the ugliness. Nonetheless e has it pegged, and it's obvious that nothing good is going to come of this.
And nothing good is going to come of its analogue in the church. Bryan Owen comments on the Church of the Ugly Party-- that is, an awful lot of our church, or at least an awful lot of our church commentators. I can understand some of the anger expressed over at StandFirm, considering the course of the Kennedys' departure. After that it goes downhill rapidly, with over-the-top and unwarrantedly bitter remarks tossed off about every move from the liberal establishment. And as Owen observes, the other side is not really any better-- indeed, I would say that, as they are consistently winning, they really have little ground for the anger that spews from their pens. Yet you can read the comments in the "Thinking Anglicans" blog (a title which holds a slim lead over "Anglican Mainstream" in the contest for greatest hubris), and see if you aren't struck by the nastiness and dismissiveness therein (see, for example, this snarky article from Episcopal Cafe).
Meanwhile, I see that Fr. Jones of St. Peter's London Docks is discontinuing his blog. The reason, of course, is that he does not wish to make a spectacle out of his now untenable situation. I shall miss him; his Catholicism is not my Anglican "eth", but his dedication and faith are obvious, and he after all has something to lose: not just his parish, but even (so I am told) his pension if he leaves.I am told that his sort are a tiny minority, which I suspect is not so true in England as (after thirty years) it is in the USA.
I will reserve my views on the future for another post. Suffice it to say that I find it increasingly difficult to live with the nastiness that has come pervade my church.