Anglicans Online asks whether the Communion is becoming like Facebook or another social networking site with people adding and deleting each other at will. The essay encourages ideas for how our relationships can be strengthened and deepened across time and space.
The more we considered it, the more we began to see that Anglicans may be in danger of regarding relationships of ecclesial communion with the same degree of seriousness as Facebook users treat adding and deleting 'friends' or creating, joining and leaving special interest groups online. The primary point of intersection is in the non-reciprocity of the relationships of Facebook friendship and Anglican communion. One can, apparently, be in communion with a central figure in Anglicanism, yet not with other people, dioceses and provinces in communion with that bishop's province and diocese..
Christian communion is historically reciprocal, deliberate, public, duty-creating, love-impelling, and church-strengthening. As the ground of Christian life it is not something we choose, but something we are given: given from God the Father through God the Son, enlivened by and filled with God the Holy Spirit. It is a profound, ideally eternal relation with people we may never meet or befriend on this side of the veil. It is a far cry from the point-and-click ecclesiastical relationships we watch unfold week by week in Anglicanism. Anything less than reciprocal, public, sacramental, Christ-grounded, God-given communion is less than what it ought to be, and less than the people of God need to really serve and know the one 'unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid'.
Do what you can this year to keep our Anglican Communion from becoming a Facebook communion, and to enliven your friendships with handshakes, telephone calls, letters, shared meals, good walks and good deeds
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Mark Harris counters at his blog Preludium that perhaps a commonwealth in cyberspace has advantages for relationships and the inclusion of all Anglicans not just those with money to travel for face to face meetups.
More from Jason Wells at [lab]oratory