Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism


2011 and suggestions for posts

This evening, I took a look at the front page of this blog. Noticing that my Christmas card was the last post, I realised I should get a post in for 2011. It has been difficult to get going again, on all fronts. There has been a lot I have meant to post on — the last big student march in December, the Anglican Covenant, scraps of politics and religion.

I realise that I am not a natural blogger, tending to roll out short essays rather than succinct blog posts. Perhaps some suggestions for short posts I might write given in the comments below might inspire me. So, consider this an open thread, all who pass by.

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The Anglican Communion as imagined community

Frank Turner, Professor of History at Yale, has a wonderfully insightful article on the Anglican Communion at Episcopal Café. His thesis is that a group of Anglicans, mainly bishops, have sought to shape the various independent Anglican provinces into a global ecclesiastical community over the past two decades.

Turner calls Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined communities into play here. The bare bones of Anderson’s theory is that a nation is a socially constructed community based on various presumptions of shared attributes: language, religion, skin colour, culture &c. The question it raises is why do I cheer on an athlete, whom I have never met and with whom I have little in common, at the Olympics just because her uniform says she is British? The question it raises is why it is considered a high ideal to die for ‘queen and country’.

Of course, social constructs are not unreal, but they are perceived realities: nationality is no absolute thing. It is fascinating seeing a ‘nation’ being built over the last score of years, but understanding the Anglican Communion as imagined community does much to help us understand the pressures it is under at this time.

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