Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Recent Unpleasantness

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Recent Unpleasantness

Article excerpt

The Recent Unpleasantness. By Harold T. Lewis. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2015, Pp. 119. $16.00, paper).

History, it is said, is written by the winners. Sometimes it may be more accurate, however, to say that history is written by the survivors. Such is certainly the case in Harold T. Lewis' book, The Recent Unpleasantness. As a concept, the phrase "Think globally, act locally" has been around for one hundred years now, whether applied to urban planning, or environmental issues, or education, or business, or law. To "Think globally, act locally" is to understand the wider systemic implications of an action, while at the same time to engage that reality within a very specific context. In this text, Lewis explores the unique challenges facing the Anglican Communion (and within that global context, the Episcopal Church more specifically), while viewing it all through the lens of his experience as the rector of Calvary Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Those interested in Episcopal history, as well as those who attend to the unique situation facing the Anglican Communion today, will find Lewis' book both informative and enlightening.

The presenting issue for the challenge at hand was the 2003 ordination of V. Gene Robinson as the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. Robinson was the first openly gay person ordained to the episcopacy in the Episcopal Church (and in the wider Anglican Communion), and that action set off a series of domino-like repercussions which reverberated across the globe. In reality, however, Robinson's ordination was only the catalyst which brought to the surface much deeper issues which were confronting the Anglican Communion. That more foundational ecclesial question was what it meant to be a member of the Episcopal Church within that wider community of the Anglican Communion. And the more foundational human question revolved around the exercise of power and authority. The experience of Calvary Church serves as a case study for how that confrontation manifested itself in very local and personal terms. …

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