"All who believed were together and had all things in common" (Acts 2: 44)
"God is love, and those who live in love live God, and God lives in them" (1 John 4:16)
Togetherness and love are what the Church of God has in common with every normal family in all their shades. The Church family has Christ as its head, we have our Mother in the perfectly sublime Mary, and we are children, together, of the same Heavenly Father.
The problem is that Christians in many circles have given up being together. They have stopped negotiating their differences, listening, talking, or even trying to understand. The enemy, in the minds of many Christians is not without, it is within. In so many ways, grace has become so thin that where someone is different or hold a different view, that they are considered opponents.
The Church of England is still reeling from the wanderings of some Anglo-Catholics, who have taken entire parish communities with them, leaving behind some of the most appalling messes. Far better to conveniently overlook the whole transubstantiation thing because it is but a trifling next to the weightier issue of grubby women. People speak of integrity - I just see people refusing to play by rules that they don't subscribe to, and taking the ball with them in many cases.
Now we have the crew at the other end of the ecclesial spectrum. Not only have they found a friendly archbishop (the nearest was in Kenya, apparently), but they have presumed to call themselves 'Anglican Mission in England' [AMiE]. Forgive me, but how dare they? Their intention is, by all accounts, to teach the rest of us flawed CofE types what we should be doing. This is, of course, wrapped around the whole 'women thing' is another family member to go it alone. Mine, too, is an Anglican Mission in England - and like FinF, have taken a statement that applies to all Christians and made it their own in the context of their choosing (and not mine).
I am peeved by all of this. I am saddened that we have got to a stage, in a multi-communicative age, when communication is all but gone. This feels exactly how it would if one of my children, whom I lovingly raise and feed, love and nurture - came up to me and told me that because we are having salad for tea that they are going to find another Dad (but won't be moving out, because it is their room, and would I mind still paying for the heat and light). In a normal domestic family, this would be regarded as appalling behaviour, a grotesque dis-respect.
So why is it appropriate behaviour in a church setting?
If it is, then I ought to let you all know that I have an emotional and theological issue with the music of Patrick Appleford. I am going to find me an archbishop (Archbishop Frosty Inuit, he'll do), and give myself a cracking good name: Society To Undermine Patrick's Irritating Dirges (or alternatively the Association for the Restoration of Sung Expressions of Spirituality) - an organisation that will presume to tell the rest of you lot what to do and how you should jolly well do it. Sorted.
I don't really have an issue with Patrick Appleford's music, not completely.