There was a tale of two cities on display in American Anglicanism this week. On one side were the heretics who reject the Scripture and tradition of the Anglican church and embrace just about anything that violates the moral law of God. They continue on their merry way, which is to oblivion, following in the footsteps of past greats like the Unitarians who are really packing them in these days after their own couple centuries of apostasy.
On the other side you have a motley group of Anglicans who are feebly headed in (perhaps) the right direction. The AMiA led the way many years ago and was condemned by many of those now on the bandwagon. There is room for hope in the Common Cause movement, but let’s be honest, there are massive problems with the ‘conservatives.’ They all deplore TEC, sure. But why is it that it took a gay bishop to set this crisis off? Where were all of these orthodox folks when gay priests were ordained for the past three decades? How about the serial divorce that ran rampant in ECUSA priests and bishops? Let’s see, how about the pen-ultimate innovation of ordaining women? That didn’t bother this bunch in the 70′s, 80′s or 90′s and apparently still doesn’t bother many of them now. Do they agree on worship? No. One would think that we could walk into any ‘Anglican’ church in the USA and find the same liturgy, but no, it is a cacophony of everyone doing what they please. Some use the 79 BCP, some the 1928, some the 1662, some use almost none of it. Some are reformed, some pray to saints, some use rosaries, some try to be community churches. It is a complete and total mess.
So will this new group reject women’s ordination? Not in the short term. Will they agree on a Reformed theology that rejects bowing to man-made objects and the like? No. Perhaps they will unite in one common liturgy? It doesn’t look like it. For now, they seem to be people who have responded to rot in the church after decades of ignoring it, and rightfully want some semblance of basic orthodoxy. Beyond that, it’s all fair game. Let me illustrate how bad it is by looking at the options here in my local area.
 The Church of the Messiah. Still in TEC. The rector is a good man who serves under the various shades of heretical Bishops in TEC, including a woman Archbishop, something unheard of until recently. Why doesn’t Messiah get out of TEC? Hard to say, though one suspects that it has to do with money, pensions, buildings and a congregation that does not know it’s Reformational heritage. Messiah includes Catholic practices like burning candles in front of pictures and the worship is sort of an appalling stew of left-over Maranatha worship from the 70′s, video clips (come on – are we really that dumb these days that we need inane video clips all the time?), a slim smattering of 79 BCP, and the prosperity gospel in the form of ‘if you tithe then God will bless you.’ In a nutshell, Messiah is probably typical of your ‘conservative’ TEC parish – theologically going nowhere and trying to be like the nondescript non-denominational church down the street, but with robes. The people are clueless about welcoming newcomers into their midst.
 St. Thomas in Orange, VA. A gorgeous, gorgeous building. A historic old parish. Rite I is celebrated, stained glass is everywhere. There are no African-Americans in sight. There is a renowned prep school in Orange and I believe that many of the faculty attend St. Thomas. There aren’t many signs of body life and the people aren’t welcoming. Would St. Thomas be comfortable losing the building and meeting in the gym down the street? Please. These folks have taken no steps to reject the heresy running rampant in the church and the current interim Vicar preached a sermon essentially chastising both sides and saying St. Thomas isn’t going anywhere. This church is more like a museum.
Next I turn to the two Anglo-Catholic parishes in the area, which probably total 40 people together on a Sunday. Why are there two in one town? Can there be any reason but enmity with each other? And why don’t Anglo-Catholics just Pope and get it over with? They are living an illusion and ignoring the 39 Articles which they like to denounce. They are:
 St. Luke’s. Part of the “Anglican Catholic Church.”
 St. Michael’s. Part of the Anglican Province of America. They meet in a bookstore after leaving the friendly confines of the Masonic lodge. A Mason in on the vestry. They have a cluster of couples over 60 and that’s it. They are Anglo-Catholic, and going nowhere at all. They have been around for about six months and if they are still around in six months I’ll be surprised.
 Holy Cross Anglican Church. Part of the massive ‘Anglican Church of Virginia’ (ahem). I don’t know much about this one other than that it is small and looks as irrelevant as the Anglican Church of Virginia, which it probably created. My guess is this bunch would never have anything to do with those newfangled charismatics. Can you say ‘schism?’ Sad, sad, sad.
 St. George’s Episcopal Church. TEC. “You are welcome at St. George’s regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation, or tradition” says their website. Need I say more?
 Celebration Church, CANA. Good people trying hard not to be Anglican. They were originally a TEC plant that spun their wheels for three years or so. Now they are a small bunch of people who have no identity. Are they Anglican? Are they a community church? Not sure. They don’t use any form of the BCP. Do they support women’s ordination or oppose it? CANA itself has an opaque statement on its’ website that affirms the status quo and mumbles. We attended Celebration for a few months and I couldn’t tell you what their position is. Because they have no discernible Anglican identity, they don’t appeal to Anglicans looking for a home or young people looking for liturgy. Because they have a tad of liturgy they are off-putting to Bookstore Christians who want rock n roll and stuff. Like I said, good people, but unless something changes radically they are in trouble and listing to port.
So there you have it, a local illustration of a larger point. Anglicanism is totally fractured. It means ordaining women to some, praying to saints to others, and TULIP to still others. It is a mess. So today’s Common Cause news doesn’t excite me too much. I believe in a wobbly way in the AMiA because of the parish I know and love in D.C., but unless serious change is performed soon and the troops start marching to the same drum, then all we have is a watered down version of what used to pass for Anglican.