It is the frustrating condition of the wider Episcopal discourse which induces the founding of this publication. There is polemical energy to be found in many of the current venues, but unfortunately it is often diffused into assorted commitments, ambivalently maintained. We are indifferent to whatever stakes might be won in the contest over declension narratives and the race to validity. Between the reactionary introspection and the chronic solipsism of the mainline, we desire a self-consciously Anglican cultural criticism. This is in no way an endorsement of “third way” political strategies, which will always tend toward the right. Indeed the refusal to stake out positions and defend them necessarily veils support for the parties already running things. Being unwilling to struggle does not cure “division” and “polarization” -- it manifests what side you are already on. To quote the great Herbert McCabe:
The class struggle is not something we are in a position to refrain from. It is just there; we are either on one side or the other. What looks like neutrality is simply a collusion with the class in power.
Because of its pastoral and ascetical character, the Anglican tradition has been at its best when it has conducted theology for the situation in which it finds itself. It takes responsibility for the world it addresses, and so accordingly unites theory and praxis, cultural and political critique, within its theological discourse. Significantly, it has resisted the compartmentalization of social life into separate spheres, each with their own sui generis discourse.
We are particularly inspired by the Anglican pastoral and socialist traditions, as well as digitized copies of Slant from the 1960s. While recognizing the former's limitations, we believe they can be inhabited and enlarged. Too often they are either confined to brief mentions in historical survey books or merely referenced as contributing to some imagined profile of Anglican identity. This is reflective of an antiquarian posture that these figures of our past would never have assumed themselves. At their best they united intense social critique with an unflinching affirmation of the religion of the Incarnation. A life of poetry, song, and Prayer Book spirituality. We hope to encourage people to deepen their familiarity with neglected historical Anglican sources in order to take up the project to which they committed themselves and had no intention of exhausting: to find resources for socialist political action and parish ministry alike.
During the 2018 General Convention a group of reasonably like-minded Episcopalians suddenly discovered each other and subsequently coalesced on Twitter. Within a year this mostly ad hoc collective was participating in wide-ranging, rapid-fire discourse of uncommon energy, wit, and charity. However, the inherent limitations of the form that discussion takes on Twitter revealed themselves soon enough, and we the editors desired a more expansive venue for the development of this discourse. We were once active in the theology blog scene at its height in the mid to late 2000s and remember the challenge and passion of those exchanges. With that in the back of our minds, we conceived of a quarterly that would enable us to extend the punchy irreverence we enjoy on Twitter, deepening the dialogue and broadening the audience.