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Catholic and Protestant Reformation

Anglicans today celebrate the strongly Roman Catholic Teresa of Avila who died this day in 1582; and tomorrow, Anglicans commemorate The English Reformers and Martyrs with the burning at the stake, on that day in 1555 under Roman Catholic Queen Mary, of Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, and Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester.

Anglicanism is a hybrid church, a platypus church (a duck’s bill and webbed feet, a beaver’s tail, and otter body and fur; a mammal that lays eggs. In the 18th Century, European scientists thought it was a hoax. How can this exist? How can the Anglican hybrid church exist?!) Anglicanism is protestant software running on catholic hardware.

But, in our polarised, fragmented world, where social media algorithms mean that you see more and more of what reinforces your perspective, where we all end up in our own echo-chamber, where social media is organised to engender and reinforce division – in such a world, maybe the Anglican hybrid church, the platypus church can be a sacrament, a sign and a cause, of unity in the world – unity without necessarily uniformity. Inclusiveness. And-ness, rather than either-or.

Anglicanism is via-media not as “half-way-between”, but as both-and. Anglicanism is Stages 5 and 6 of James Fowler’s Stages of Faith. Scripture AND Tradition AND Reason. Inclusivity is not some trendy add-on for Anglicans; inclusivity goes to the heart of Anglican DNA.

I love Robin Williams’ top 10 reasons for being Anglican/Episcopalian:

10. No snake-handling.

9. You can believe in dinosaurs.

8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.

7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.

6. Pew aerobics.

5. Church year is color-coded.

4. Free wine on Sunday.

3. All of the pageantry – none of the guilt.

2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.

1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Anglican/Episcopalian who agrees with you.

And all this to include each and every one of us because God regards each one as precious. As Jesus says in the reading read today by Roman Catholics and Anglicans:

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:6-7

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