Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Love/Hate thing.

"When one prays: Be glorified among all nations as thou art glorified among us, and Let your prophets be proved true, what else is one asking than Hallowed be thy name?

When the psalmist says: Bring us back, O God of hosts, let your face shine on us and we shall be saved what else is he saying than Thy kingdom come?

When he says: Direct my steps according to your word, so that iniquity has no dominion over me what else is he saying than Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?

When the book of Proverbs it is said: give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of food what else is this than Give us this day our daily bread?

When the psalmist says Lord, remember David and how he served you or O Lord, if I have done this, if there is iniquity in my hands, if I have rewarded with evil those that did evil to me what else is this than Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?

When he says: Deliver me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from those that rise up against me what else is this than Deliver us from evil?

And if you go over all the words of holy prayers, I think you will find nothing which cannot be comprised and summed up in the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. So when we pray we are free to use different words to any extent, but we must ask the same things: in this we have no choice."

St Augustine of Hippo wrote these words and I find them (as I do with the best of Augustine's writing) moving and powerful. Although I hate bits of Augustine, I also love other bits deeply.

That sense of "I love you and I hate you" marks my feelings about many aspects of Church life. I love the diversity and freedom of the Anglicanism I adopted aged 16. And it frustrates and annoys me. I love the sense of tradition and rich theology and spirituality of the RC Church (heck, I pinched that passage from today's Office of Readings) and it's superb pronouncements on social justice. And I hate many of its attitudes towards women and LGBT people. Possibly that sense of loving and loathing in the same heartbeat is in my mind just now as I ruminate on what the Pope has said to Traditionalist Anglicans with his idea of a Personal Prelature. 10 years ago I'd have been ecstatic and thinking of using it myself. I love the idea of taking the best of Anglicanism (Liturgy, devotional writings, Evensong) and combining it with the Universality of the Roman Church. But I hate the thought that friends of deep faith and integrity will use it and be part of another Church. One which I cannot join in all conscience because I would have to crucify my very self to do it.

Mixed feelings and thoughts seem to be my lot just now. How very tiresome.


  1. I hear you, frdougal. There was much the same feeling in Tallahassee when St. John's split, and and the "blue meanies" took our prayer book, but refused to acknowledge those prayers are meant for ALL people.