Wednesday 16 September 2009

A Bit More Sociology

See my response to Frank M. Turner's piece on Anglicanism as an Imaginary Community. It is at the Daily Episcopalian at Episcopal Café.

The question Benedict Anderson, who produced the idea of an Imaginary Community, wanted to answer was what was the continued basis of loyalty to the Nation State, seen within Marxist Sociology as a transient bourgeois institution. Fascism and racism were simply answers that were not good enough, nor did he settle on ethnicity. Rather a community is imagined of insiders, limited and sovereign, for which all else falls outside and for which governance is for within. The institutions of governance can even overcome ethnicity should they be strong enough and command loyalty.

If you apply such to Anglicanism then it follows that it is limited, sovereign and should grow institutions of governance. Now this is the project that is happening now, with the ecumenical exception that the result can be presented to the Roman Catholic Church for identity as a worldwide Church.

The issue then is whether there is any looser and lesser Imagined Community available, and there is a sense in which the Anglican Communion has always been this and little else. Now the reality is the Archbishop of Canterbury's project, and the way to counter this strong Imagined Community is to drop the Covenant and be ecumenical more towards Old Catholicism, Lutheranism and those Churches once uncontained with origins inside historical Anglicanism.

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