Sunday, May 09, 2004

Are Anglicans pod people?

You all remember Invasion of the Body Snatchers? That twice-remade cult-classic and political parable of Cold War paranoia?

While the unsuspecting victim slept, his replicant double was forming beside him; and when the process was completed, the original dissolved into a puddle of sticky green goo. To all appearances, his alien doppelganger looked and sounded just like the real deal. He was the same on the outside, but oh-so different on the inside!

And sometimes I’m gripped by that suspicion when I contemplate your average Evangelical Anglican. Most of the time he seems like a normal, ordinary, standard-issue Christian. From time to time I’ve even been known to sit beside him, sing beside him, kneel beside him. We seem to share a common creed and communion.

When I look into his eyes and speak with him, his lips move in sync with his words, and he nods at all the right places. The verisimilitude is almost flawless.

But then, like that crooked little pinky which gave away the game in another SF classic (The Invaders), there comes a moment of truth when I suddenly wonder if, under the skin, the Evangelical Anglican doesn’t have very different internal anatomy, cloned from a sample of extraterrestrial DNA.

These intense and uncanny episodes of existential panic occur when I contemplate the way in which your average Evangelical Anglican deals with a Joseph Fletcher, Bishop Pike, Bishop Spong, Bishop John Robinson, or most recently, Bishop Gene Robinson.

The first telltale sign of a transmundane origin is the evidence of a group consciousness. Even though they’re disoriented by these situations, they seem incapable of exercising independent action. It’s as if, in yet another SF classic, they’re all wired into the Collective, and are unable to separate themselves without leave of the Borg Queen. Interestingly, this is a phenomenon they share in common with Roman Catholics—which is even more evidence of their consanguineous affinity.

But even for those few who do manage to detach themselves from the mainframe of the mother ship, my apprehension is further aroused by whom they mate with. A disaffected Anglican may become Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic, but never will he consider becoming a Baptist, Lutheran or Presbyterian. Apparently, a Protestant template is incompatible with his alien chromosomes. Interbreeding with a Baptist, Lutheran or Presbyterian is akin to doctrinal miscegenation, and runs the risk of contracting a theological strain of hemophilia or some such genetic defect. Cut him and he bleeds to death in pints of green stuff. He will receive a blood transfusion or organ transplant from a Roman Catholic or Orthodox donor, but the blood type of a traditional Protestant evidently contains certain trace contaminates fatal to his extra-solar immune system. An Evangelical Anglican is equal to any amount of heresy and almost any depth of immorality, but intimate contact with a "fundamentalist" will overload his antibodies.

And all this leads me to ask, Are Anglicans pod people?


  1. Hey. I know this is an old post, but I thought I would give my two cents. I am an Evangelical Anglican. We do not want to become any kind of low church Prot. becuase we see that we have more in common with the RCs and the EOs. We see ourselves as catholics in its original meaning. We have an unbroken line of bishops who, we believe, have carried the essence of the Christian faith down through the centuries. Also, we take Comunion very seriously, it is the center of our Christian experience, that is union with God, real. We believe that you must be a validly ordained priest to have a valid communion. The RCs and the EOs we believe have validly ordained clergy. We also on a more worldly side tend to be more contemplative about our faith, when it comes to worship styles any way. The guitars and the Rick Warrens really rub us the wrong way. But your comment on unity is right. We want unity with an institution that at least claims to have an unbroken chain of thoe anointed by Christ and His apostles to lead the His church. But, in the end, for thos etruely Christian Anglicans, it is about that all important relationship with Jesus Christ, not just in the contemporary pop-emotional style, but the ancient, thoughtul and we believe most authentic way. Thanks for reading. (Oh, I like your work on Holding, I like most of his stuff, but I am a closet Augustinian).

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