Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Reinventing Anglicanism: A Vision of Confidence, Community, and Engagement in Anglican Christianity

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Reinventing Anglicanism: A Vision of Confidence, Community, and Engagement in Anglican Christianity

Article excerpt

Reinventing Anglicanism: A Vision of Confidence, Community, and Engagement in Anglican Christianity. By Bruce Kaye. Adelaide, South Australia: Openbook Publishers, 2003; New York: Church Publishing, 2004. viii + 279 pp. AUS$44.95 / US$25.00 (paper).

"Anglicanism," in the sense in which Bruce Kaye is keen to reinvent it, consists not so much in a teaching or a set of theological ideas as in a sociopolitical movement which has the form and direction it has because it conceives itself in a certain way. It is constituted by its self-meaning, and that meaning needs to be rethought. The point is not to start all over, but to evaluate what Anglicanism has been, winnowing wheat from chaff, so as to promote some of its constituent meanings and set others aside. Kaye s assay is carried out using an eclectic array of geisteswissenschaftlich categories borrowed from sociology, management studies, political science, systems theory, and the like. The result is an important, sometimes brilliant, often exasperating book that deserves a longer review than this one is allowed to be. Kaye has a high regard for "lateral" thinking, and certainly his own logic is anything but linear. The argument is a cumulative spiral, though it gains in richness at the cost of gaps, abrupt transitions, and repetitions. It would be a good idea to read the last chapter, then the introduction.

As is consistent with his methodological stance, Kaye does not try to deal throughout with Anglicanism on the whole or in the abstract. He concentrates on one local context, his own, which is the Anglican Church of Australia. The problem he sets out to address might be posed thus: How is it possible, in the sort of society that Australia now is, to be authentically Christian in the Anglican mode, without being English? Or, more exactly, how is this possible without the trammels of colonial imperialism and hierarchical authoritarianism that Kaye finds built into the "Tudor monuments" of the English Reformation (the Prayer Book, the Ordinal, the Articles) and consequently into the constitution and the ethos of the Australian church? …

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