Friday, September 7, 2012

Being part of a church but not wearing its badge

This letter was submitted to a monthly periodical Southern Cross, a publication of the Sydney Anglican Diocese. 

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed reading Paul Grimmond's feature article "Light in Darkness" SC September 2012, however, it depicted the worst of a cancer that needs to be excised from the Sydney Diocese.

"Mel" we are told "is a Sydney Anglican serving in an AIDS health ministry in central Africa". Note how Mel is foremost a "Sydney Anglican".  Note how Mel is still identified as a Sydney Anglican while worshipping on another continent.

I hope that Mel identifies herself foremost as a 'Christian'.  Mel may tell locally of how she is a 'Christian who was sent to serve from the Sydney Anglican Diocese'.

'Sydney Anglican' is an expression that has clearly had its day.  It is no substitute for "Christian".  Let's be very clear about that which we boast.

When you become a Christian you join a church that is greater than just what you see in your local parish or Diocese.  Why belittle by adopting a local title when a globally acknowledged one is more significant? A widowed pauper who marries a Prince, then finds the Prince crowned as King, does not deny herself the title of Queen.  Neither should anyone who is with Christ deny themselves the title of Christian. While Sydney and its Anglican church will pass away, Christ will never pass away.  Who then are the Sydney Anglicans to so prominently push their brand?  Why deny a missionary in Africa her royal title?

Of course there is irony in how I live in Sydney and attend an Anglican church.  I can be sheep-like in another way without adopting the “Sydney Anglican” tag.