Responding to a reader’s question

Responding to this post, a reader asked:

Thank you for your continuing work on the theological map for Anglican renewal. I was wondering what you think about the Eastern fathers as possible sources for Anglican renewal as well (this seems implied by the mention of Desert Monasticism). I guess I’m wondering if catholic in this scheme might include Eastern and Western Catholicism…

Part of my response:

This whole matter requires a bit of delicacy, because what I’m about to say could be misinterpreted. First and foremost, anyone can read anyone they want. But secondly, your question gets at the question about what Anglicanism is. Some say Anglicanism is a bastard child of the 16th century; others more charitably see it as a denomination; others see it as a matter of polity. But I follow Thornton and understand Anglicanism to be a school of Catholic spirituality. There are many such schools, each with their particular theological tradition and pastoral gifts. But a school is a “school”. We have a curriculum, we have a culture, we have (one might say) a “dialect”. All schools have a curriculum, have a culture, have a dialect….

At my parish, we constantly explore the question, “how do we articulate and communicate authentic Anglicanism to others?” The idea being that by doing so, we can help to enact a Catholic renewal within Anglicanism.

Yet that question answers itself if you explore its presuppositions. “How to communicate?” presupposes Anglicanism can be spoken. That Anglicanism can be spoken presupposes that Anglicanism has a theological conversation. That Anglicanism has a conversation presupposed that it possesses an articulated theology or theological tradition.

Or simply: if we can talk about Anglicanism, we must have a theological identity. So, what is our theological identity?

But this is just a portion of my response. To read more, head to the discussion at our Facebook page, and feel free to participate.