Christopher Craig Brittain offers a wide-ranging examination of specific events within The Episcopal Church (TEC) by drawing upon an analysis of theological debates within the church, field interviews in church congregations, and sociological literature on church conflict. The discussion demonstrates that interpretations describing the situation in TEC as a Culture War between Liberals and Conservatives are deeply flawed. Moreover, the book shows that the splits that are occurring within the national church are not so much schisms in the technical sociological sense, but are more accurately described as a familial divorce, with all the ongoing messy entwinement that this term evokes.
The interpretation of the dispute offered by the book also counters prominent accounts offered by leaders within The Episcopal Church. The Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts-Schori, has portrayed some opponents of her theological positions and her approach to ethical issues as being 'fundamentalist', while other 'Progressives' liken their opponents to the Tea Party movement.
Christopher Craig Brittain is Senior Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen, UK. He is a theologian and ordained Anglican priest, a participant in the international Ecclesiology and Ethnography network of scholars, as well as the Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations network in the USA.
Acknowledgments Abbreviations and List of Congregations and Individuals INTRODUCTION: Beyond Church Decline & the `Culture Wars' CHAPTER ONE: A House Divided: The Episcopal Church in the USA CHAPTER TWO: Resident Aliens? Conservatives and Liberals in The Episcopal Church CHAPTER THREE: The Divorce of a Diocese: Choosing Sides & Getting Caught in theMiddle CHAPTER FOUR: A Tale of Four Congregations CHAPTER FIVE: Sue Thy Neighbour? CHAPTER SIX: Ready; Aim; Blog! Church Conflict and the New Media CHAPTER SEVEN: Church Conflict and Ecclesiology CHAPTER EIGHT: In Search of Christian Identity BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX