A member of my family applied for a job with Coca-Cola, back in the late 50s, when they were just starting to grow throughout New Zealand. As he sat waiting for his interview, a young employee offered him a nice cold glass of Coke.
“Uh, no thanks, I never touch the stuff” said my relative.
Did he get the job? No, of course not, because he didn’t enjoy the brand.
What’s this got to do with life as an Anglican? When I was ordained, I had to sign a declaration that I accepted the 39 articles and the constitution of the church and its rules and regulations, and the Creed.
Having been a member of the clergy for a few months now, I am discovering that some clergy, both in our diocese and others, are quite open about not subscribing to the official line. I have been troubled by this, wondering how loose the definitions need to be, especially as many of the formulations are ancient, and have been understood differently by modern theology. Where do we draw line in the sand? What are absolutely foundational beliefs, which make us “Brand Anglican”?
Maybe as part of a 500-year cycle of having a ‘rummage sale’ and rethinking how we do church, it’s time to look at the declarations and even the creeds – ‘the resurrection of the body’, as understood in the Apostles’ Creed, cannot surely be taken literally, for example.
Many things to think about – it’s an exciting time to be a Christian!