Fervent Moderation

From an ENS update on Madeleine Albright’s speech to the Consortium of Endowed Parishes yesterday in New York.

She also agreed with a questioner who asked her if “fervent moderation” ought to be the religious person’s stance in the world. People of faith cannot base their belief on what they don’t like in someone else, she said, lest “your pride in yourself curdles into hate of someone else.”

I like this comment about “fervent moderation.”
There has been a lot of talk around the seminary over the past few months of how the reactionaries have usurped the terms “Evangelical” and “Anglo-Catholic” within Anglicanism (and really they are striving to usurp the very term “Anglicanism” to mean only their very narrow and fundamentalist definition of what makes one an Anglican Christian). Each of these Anglican pietistic and theological traditions are rich and deep, but they are being distorted. People are now afraid to use the terms for fear of being labeled an angry, bitter reactionary.
We have talked about how we can refuse to give over these terms to the reactionaries, but what are we to do? We are to walk in “fervent moderation.” We are to be evangelists for the long and storied traditions within Anglicanism, and refuse to relinquish “Anglican” to reactionaries who are acting in a manner that is very unAnglican.
We will refuse to relinquish the term “Christian” to groups of politicized Religious Right extremists. This group of people shout very loudly and bully people into doing what they want, all the while defaming the cause of Christ by placing in the minds of the general populace the idea that Christianity is truly a bizarre mixture of radical rightist politics, extreme patriotism/nationalism, and very uncharitable and unChrist-like attitudes and behavior.
So, a “fervent moderate” is what I shall be. The Via Media of Anglicanism, where people of all different pietistic and theological stripes can remain together under Scripture, the Creeds, the first four Ecumenical Councils, and the Historic Episcopate is being challenged and perverted. I came into Anglicanism because of this long tradition. I do not want to see it now die away. How do I fight for the Via Media without becoming like those I oppose?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.