Friday, March 24, 2006

The Internet and Anglicans

Two days ago, I mentioned Matt Kennedy’s contention that the internet is proving itself a positive tool for Anglicans. I agree, with minor caveats.

The net certainly has shed more light on Anglican doings. Without it, keeping up with Anglicanism would be a much slower and more laborious task beyond the time, energy, and abilities of many lay people. I suspect, for example, -Bennison could have done his little raids on orthodox parishes with few outside the parishes knowing. I suspect it would have taken about as long to expose the Panel of Reference as a fraud as it takes for it to actually do any real work.

More Anglicans are more informed about doings in the Anglican Communion than ten years ago, thanks to the internet. And, frankly, it’s much harder for clergy to keep laity uninformed.

Now, of course, the net also sheds more heat on matters. One need only read posts and comments on the more popular Anglican blogs to see that. And that can be a bad thing. In seeking to speak the truth in love, it’s too easy to forget the love bit. (And I certainly include myself in that.) But then some matters merit a bit of righteous heat.

As Kennedy points out, the internet helps orthodox Anglicans to be more connected and less isolated. I know as a continuing Anglican in a small denomination (REC) in the only continuing Anglican parish in town I definitely appreciate that.

But the net has been a good thing for me in an even more personal way.

Without the internet, it’s doubtful whether I’d be Anglican today.

Five years ago, Anglicanism wasn’t on my radar screen. Heck, if memory serves me right, I couldn’t tell you what an Anglican was! (And, yes, I’m still working on that question.) Then I began frequenting the Ship of Fools. And I noticed that many or most of its denizens were Anglican.

Matters get worse. I came to frequent this board at the Ship, a notorious haunt of pedantic Anglo-Catholics. And I discovered a world that cared about the traditions and details of worship to the point of obsession. And that world looked, for lack of a better word, fun to this Bible Churcher who was growing weary of overamplified “Praise and Worship.”

Then came the controversy over Gene Robinson, which I mostly heard of through the net. Since I knew people at Christ Church Plano and wanted to visit there sometime, I decided to show my solidarity with the orthodox in ECUSA by going ahead and visiting around the time of his consecration. And I immediately loved the way they worshipped and soon found their services helped me to really worship.

And you know the rest of the story. The Anglican Conspiracy got me. I even found my parish through the internet first.

The irony of all this is that the Ship of Fools is a decidedly liberal place. And you all know where Robinson’s consecration is on the theology spectrum. Yet God used them and the net to nudge me into orthodox Anglicanism.

No comments: