Christians are strange but Anglicans are in a class of their own. I like this story of the Revd. David Hart, who has converted to Hinduism yet has had his CofE 'permission to officiate' renewed by the bishop of Ely for another three years.
The cleric, the Revd David Hart, aged 52, now lives in India, where he carries out Hindu priestly duties in the temple in his village of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Mr Hart, who has taken the Hindu name Ananda, blesses the daily congregation of about 60 with fire that has previously been offered to Nagar, the snake god. The ritual, he said, was normally performed only by Hindu priests.
Mr Hart is also the international secretary of the World Congress of Faiths (..)
The diocese says it didn't know about
Mr Hart's Ananda's conversion. But Ananda doesn't see any conflict between the two priesthoods.
Mr Hart admitted on Tuesday that he had not told the Bishop of his conversion, but said that he would be “amazed” if his Hinduism “was treated with any suspicion by episcopal authority. "I have neither explicitly nor implicitly renounced my Christian faith or priesthood.” His renewal of permission to officiate had been “sponsored” by the Rural Dean of Colombo in Sri Lanka, he said.
He said on Monday that he felt he could still celebrate as an Anglican priest when he visited England, although he would continue to visit a Hindu temple. “My philosophical position is that all religions are cultural constructs. I am acting out God’s story in local terms.”
(I thought this story was funny. More seriously, though, yesterday and earlier today I was writing about another Anglican cleric interested in interfaith dialogue, Templar Knight Canon Chev. Andrew White, C.V., the so-called Anglican vicar of Baghdad, who helped free the two Fox News employees who were kidnapped in Gaza. However, somehow I (or maybe God or Satan) managed to lose or delete what I'd written. White's a fascinating man, so I expect to return to him shortly.)