(Church Times) Philip Welsh reviews ‘The Joy of Being Anglican’ edited by Caroline Hodgson and Heather Smith

The Joy of Being Anglican does not aim at being a systematic, searching, or critical examination of Anglicanism, but, rather, at celebrating what a variety of Anglicans love about the Church they belong to. That said, issues do get raised. Ruth Gledhill writes warmly of the “understated, modest, anonymous way” in which churches get on with doing good, but offsets this against “the hurt felt by many LGTB people, who are also part of the Church family”. Trevor Dennis vividly evokes the joy to be had from scripture — “Really? For an Anglican? Are you quite sure?” — but admits that “sometimes, let’s face it, the Bible is very wrong,” and accuses preachers of evasiveness in confronting difficult passages.

Rachel Mann has a penetrating chapter on the Anglican tradition of poetry, admitting that to some extent it has been tied in with authority and privilege. And, in a volume that generally has little to say about Anglican theological thinking, she does affirm that “To be Anglican is to be free of the need for doctrinaire safety or dogmatism,” and offers W. H. Auden and R. S. Thomas as examples. Casual references to “Hegelian rigour” and “dialectical encounter” seem to have slipped through the publisher’s declared policy of using “simple, everyday language”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Books, Theology