Fr. Tony Clavier: The Moderation of Anglicanism – amended

Centrists / Religion

Tony Clavier has posted his contribution to the discussion about “what it is that moderates believe.” Fr. Clavier has taken the thought in a wonderfully different direction by arguing that Anglicanism is of itself moderate. And that trying to see a moderate party within the spectrum of Anglican thought may be a dead-end.

He discusses the ways in which the life of the community, lived out over time receives ideas and either keeps them or rejects them or more typically modifies and moderates them into something appropriate for the body of the faithful in that place.

“A sort of rough and ready principle emerges. That which is received is that which builds up community life and in some form or another finds its compliment in the inherited memory of the community. That which has the potential to divide, to drive away, to obscure or eradicate memory is not received, or perhaps is amended in order that it may be assimilated into the symbiosis.

Thus in specific communities bound together by historic structures catholicity is practiced, not by the staging of rites and ceremonies to draw adherants to faction but rather to bind and guarantee the presence locally of the universal. Thus the Word is read and preached and taught not to attract people to evangelical religion, but rather to enable the work of the Gospel grounded in community. Again the caring, touching, practical reality of God’s love for all and particularly the poor and the marginalized is manifest locally not to attract people to liberalism” but as the manifestation of the kingdom which is and is to come located “now” in place and community.

If the middle way is between two or more alternatives it is only that by reflection. Anglican ethos suffers when it is described over against something or other, when it begins to change itself in order to avoid being tainted by or confused with some ‘alien’ culture. It may well be seen to be, for instance, different from ‘fundamentalism’ or Roman Catholicism, but it does not exist to be different from either. Inevitably in some cultures Anglicanism may stand out or even be influenced in a reactive way to what seems to be a pernicious cultural presence. Yet it does so at its own peril. Antagonism transforms antagonists into mirror images of each other. When Anglicanism identifies itself over and against something or other, it inevitably narrows its ambition and mission and assumes some of the arrogance or dogmatism of it assumed rival. There’s a warning to us today in all this.”

I’ve been looking forward to Fr. Clavier sharing his thoughts, and I’m not disappointed at all. This is, as with just about all of the bits posted so far, forcing me into a deeper place of thinking about what the catholic/centrist view means with respect to the larger community.

Get thee hither and read the rest here: Fr. Tony Clavier: The Moderation of Anglicanism

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. I need to catch up on all the contributions so far, but I just wrote a short piece of my own and thought I would let you know. I’m hardly the intellectual sort and this is entirely a lay perspective, but I hope it suffices to give another view of being in the middle:

  2. Thanks Annie! I liked what you wrote and have pointed to it from the front page. Thanks for be willing to share your thinking.

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