THINKING ANGLICANS

Monday in London

Two daily newspapers have published articles criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In The Times Tim Hames wrote Beware the folly of clever men in power.

And in the Guardian Michael Hampson wrote The American way puts the Church of England to shame.

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Merseymike
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Merseymike

Michael Hampson’s article is a breath of fresh air – at last, someone telling it like it is.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Thanks for these links Simon. They were both clever and to the point. I’ve been pondering how this debate would be held with God. “Dear God, please reward us for repressing homosexuals and punishing any that would provide them hospitality. We fought hard against this impure sin, and made damn sure that women had no control over their own wombs (naughty Eve, they all should be punished).” I wonder how God would respond. Perhaps He would ask the first person without sin to cast the first stone. Perhaps He would suggest we check out the glass panels in our own… Read more »

Tim
Guest

That _Times_ article looks rubbish to me. +Williams is not on record as rating a “shoot first, ask questions later” “policy” over doing proper prior investigation, nor does he demand more power for himself and/or his minions. However, the Guardian article does meet with some approval, here: I was wondering about use of the adjective “homophobic” in describing a lot of these Africans, and I have not forgotten that some resolutions linked from here have cut both ways: it’s one thing to affirm ties with the rest of the anglican communion by issuing a sort of apology and that B033… Read more »

Jason Green
Guest

Just listened to this excellent radio discussion of General Convention on the BBC Sunday Sequence programme from yesterday (click on the url I’ve given). Interviews with Stephen Bates, Susan Russell, David Virtue, Andrew Carey, etc. The programme blog describes it: You’ll hear Susan Russell, the president of of the pro-gay campaign group Integrity, describe the Convention’s final resolution as ‘spineless’; the conservative internet columnist David Virtue explains why he thinks ‘the game is now over’; journalist and commentator Andrew Carey, though he won’t be drawn on what his father, Dr George Carey, is thinking at the moment, tells us he’s… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Yes,it is a good discussion.

I think the African attitude is actually ‘homophobic’ in its earlier meaning – just listen to akinola talk about gay people – there’s a real visceral loathing and disgust there which has nothing at all to do with theology!

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Hampson’s article is seriously confused, and wallowing yet again in the culture of victimhood. It contributes nothing to the analysis of last week’s GC. His obituary for the Church of England is somewhat premature. The Guardian would do better to ask some of the contributors here for their take on the General Convention.

Likewise Hames falls into the journalistic trap of demanding simplistic answers to complex questions which he does not quite comprehend. Again there are people better qualified to comment than Hames, who should stick to reporting on the foibles of politicians.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

It is all well and good to engage conversation across our many differences. I often dream of that and advocate for that. But such conversation presumes that we can establish together in common value and civilian commitment, a neutral, listening, accurate, empathic institutional network of spaces where, first off, all of us who may speak in this conversation are actually welcome. Globally. The difficult bind is that increasingly the new conservative believers say that the doctrinal / witness precondition of their entering such a neutral listening space is that it first be tilted in favor of their own sacred conformed… Read more »

ruidh
Guest

I think the press is overlooking the tripartite nature of this conflict. The BBC invited extremeists from both ends and managed to get no one to represent the broad middle of the Chruch. The liberal end is unhappy with the result of GC becuase their principles felt compromised. The traditionalist end is unhappy because, in their view, TEC failed to mimic the words of the Windsor Report. The middle wants TEC to enagage Windsor honestly. The middle wants unity over the purity demanded by either extreme. Where are the moderate voices who laud TEC for expressing a desire to remain… Read more »

Austin
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Austin

I think it’s more or less true to say that the “middle” in ECUSA is shrinking and directionless “(partly as a function of being in the middle of a whirlpool). It, essentially, has nothing to sell except to urge staying on the boat, while the other parties try to grab the rudder. I’m sure most US churchgoers are in the middle, though I’m not sure that’s a good thing. What I’ve seen is a kind of myopic conservatism (small “c”) that clings to place, building, and habit and ignores theology and ecclesiology. Such people have no interest in what they… Read more »

Tim
Guest

`drdanfree’ writes sensible stuff, including: “One seems callous to keep inviting people to the Lord’s table when they keep replying that your – [potential adjectives] – existence will soil or contaminate them. Alas. Lord have mercy.” Yes, that’s pretty much putting the finger on what I’ve been thinking as well. I get the impression that the barrier to being described as a “liberal” is low. There’s a great quote in Adrian Plass’s second “Sacred Diary”, a fairly prolonged monologue saying that there’s nothing wrong with treading the narrowest path yourself whilst holding arms open wide to drag others along. I… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

ruidh: TEC has no easy out on this one, at least not at the top levels. It had more than ample time to work out language, circulate it, and try to come up with something that would be acceptable by a majority of the bishops of the church. It then could have worked at explaining this language and promoting it so that it could pass through the House of Deputies. Instead it did nothing. The consequence was chaos and a last minute bit of ghastly tripe bulled and bullied through by the PB and the PB elect that pleased no… Read more »

Anglicanus
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Anglicanus

I confess to being delighted to see Mr Hampson’s article in the Guardian. His clarity about the whole situation is a dramatic contribution to the debate. Sadly, His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury will not pay any attention. He has decided long ago to play the role of Pope Pius. He says to others that they must pay the price of his principles. For there to be an Anglican Communion at all in the future he must do nothing whilst men and women are abused by their co-religionists. He presents this as a virtuous position, which only a man of… Read more »

Susan
Guest
Susan

Where do I go for more information about relations between American and Africans inclined to “walk apart”? Conjecture: While American conservatives may be united with many Africans and Asians on issues of women and homosexuality, I fear that they will be in for a rude shock when it comes to actually apportioning power in a new “communion.” You see schism-inclined conservatives make up at most 20 percent of ECUSA. However much they long for the cut-and-dried certainty of authoritarianism, American conservatives are used to doing things American style. When (if?) the ACN split from ECUSA to join the Global South,… Read more »

thomas bushnell, bsg
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why no comment boxes for the thinking anglicans entry titled “yet more comment on General Convention”?

AlaninLondon
Guest
AlaninLondon

Don’t forget your church history. Pius IX was elected as Pope with a reputation for liberal ideas. He ended up issuing his ‘Syllabus of Errors’ which condemned those who argued that “…the Roman Pontiff can and ought to reconcile and ajust himself with progress, liberalism and modern civilisation.” The same Pope presided over the First Vatican Council which proclaimed Papal Infallibility as a doctrine of the church. Who knows where the liberal Rowan Williams will end up? I make the point, that undergirding the issues of controversy at the moment on women priests and bishops, and the question of homosexuality,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I don’t agree with the Times article being rubbish. In fact it rather nicely repeated my sentitments, which is where I will see one thing from ABC which indicates an openness to genuine communication and yet on the same day find another which states he is meeting privately with US conservatives and others, so that the contents of his thoughts and positions are not subject to scrutiny or comment by others (presumably liberal elements of the church). I think the Times article rather effectively brought home the “Yes Minister” double speak which could be interpreted as either tolerance or disciplining,… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

A question, rather than a comment: When Hampson talks about sanctions against homosexual godparents to what does he refer? He writes “with sanctions imposed against everyone from homosexual clergy to homosexual godparents,”
Dave

Edward
Guest
Edward

If people can’t understand what Rowan Williams says then that is their problem and they shouldn’t be criticising him or attempting to engage with the theological points he is raising. It was perfectly obvious what he was saying in that article.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Drdanfee, that was a delightful posting. It reminds me of a core theme I am finding in Noam Chomsky’s latest book “Failed States”. The theme being that it is not whether force is being used, or covert destabilisation, or pre-emptive strikes, or economic sanctions. The issue is that someone is having the temerity to do to the US what they have been doing to others for decades (see also Michael Moore’s “Bowling For Colombine”). The issue for the conservatives is not their tactics or confidence in advocating their interpretation of the scripture. Their issue is that others have dared to… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Comments box missing was a glitch, now fixed, sorry.

thomas bushnell, bsg
Guest

just as it is not appropriate to blame ++Frank for everything the episcopal church does, it is not appropriate to blame +++Rowan for the church of england’s moral cowardice. it is time to blame the general synod for permitting the bigots to run the show for so long. the general synod could, if it wishes, say that issues in human sexuality no longer has any binding force; could declare “local option” in the matter of gay ordination just as the rest of the industrialied anglican countries have it, and so forth. it is the entire church of england which is… Read more »

New Here
Guest
New Here

Susan raises an excellent point. I suspect that few of those outside the U.S. are aware of how closely the controversy in TEC is tied to secular politics. It’s really a part of the much larger kulturkampf that the Right has been fighting since Reagan came into power. With very few exceptions, the “reasserters” in TEC are political reactionaries. While they might have a lot in common with the Africans where sexuality and gender are concerned, they will quickly find that the Africans are much more progressive on economic matters, such as low-cost AIDS drugs and debt relief, which their… Read more »

faithwatch
Guest
faithwatch

Steven, What do you mean TEC did nothing? A tremendous amount of effort and energy went into a reply to the Windsor Report. A special committee made up of conservatives and liberals worked very hard on crafting resolutions to offer the GC. Here is the Report of the Special Committee of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, “One Baptism, One Hope in God’s Call.” http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/SCECACReport.pdf The 11th hour panic that ended with the passage of B033 was the result of strong arm tactics by the House of Bishops, particularly our Presiding Bishop Griswald, and also our new Presiding Bishop… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

I admire R Williams’ attempt to defend tradition and secure church unity. That he is attacked from both sides is a point in his favor. I heard that he has asked Akinola to apologize for his antigay activities — is this true? The latter is very homophobic, but his Catholic counterpart, the Cardinal of Lagos is worse: “All these stories are geared towards destroying the marriage institution. It’s very strange, indeed very absurd. How could a man and a man or woman and woman be in a sexual relationship? It’s crazy. This is a curse. All they (gays and lesbians)… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

I doubt if R Williams has a completely worked out theology of same-sex relations; he is not a moral theologian as such; he said that the Anglican teaching on the issue is the same as that of Rome! I found the Guardian article sufficiently troubling (despite its victim posture) to comment as follows in their combox: “It seems that Archbishop Williams is more deeply traditionalist than was realized, and feels he should resist an increasingly powerful pro-gay lobby that he associates with ecclesial unruliness, permissive morals and modernist theology. [At least he can empathise with that view.] He is also… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Can we eliminate homosexuality? Would eliminating homosexuality solve the problems of sin in this world? By the homophobics own words, they acknowledge that the problem of homosexuality has been documented in the bible for 1000s of years. Would eliminating every Jew from the planet remove sin? Did Hitler fail because he did not succeed in the final extermination of the Jews and the snuffing of the Torah? Would stopping every abortion remove sin? Would removing contraception improve morality? Would removal of all other religions resolve world conflict? Would having only one form of absolutely correct and pure Christian faith eliminate… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Thomas Bushnell needs to understand that General Synod has been denied over a number of years the opportunity to approve or disapprove Issues in Human Sexuality, which is presented as a policy document by the House of Bishops. If there were to be an open debate, and if the House of Bishops were to permit voting on resolutions, the present General Synod would take a strongly conservative position, as it did with the Higton debate in 1987. But the business of General Synod is carefully controlled by the Church House machine, and the elected members of Synod in the House… Read more »

Rev Terry
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Rev Terry

My comment on Tim Hames’ article:

Intelligence has hardly been a problem in the history of mankind. It is pride and the absence of a fear of God.

++Rowan has a humility, spirituality and love for and fear of God that many will do well to emulate even if bits of his theology (discussed in his years as a theologian) is unacceptable to some.

I see nothing in ++Rowans that deserves any association with this article.

Colin Coward
Guest

Mike Hampson undermines his argument by what must be deliberate misrepresentation of the facts in his desire to launch a full-frontal attack on Rowan Williams. The entire Anglican communion has NOT risen up against the American Church. If Rowan has risen up against TEC (and I’m not sure this is an accurate statement) the Churches of Canada, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil., South Africa and England (in any official pronouncement) most definitely have not. The Church of England’s exemption from human rights law was NOT carefully negotiated by Lambeth Palace, if I am correct, but by the officials… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The Times raises the question: Should we put intellectuals in power? The answer is, I suggest: (1) The main criterion for ensuring a successful (or, rather, good) church appointment is to appoint a person of holiness. (2) If they are also an intellectual so much the better. The danger of appointing someone who is not intellectual is that they will not understand the issues, and may end up contradicting themselves. (3) The article seems to have been asking What sort of person is it *pragmatic* to appoint? That is not relevant. It is not always *pragmatic* to appoint someone of… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I must agree with Austin on the finer points of the “democratic” process within the ECUSA. And perhaps this GC had it’s “Epiphany Moment” (to use a terribly trendy phrase, sorry but it fit) this last round down in Columbus. B033 is at it’s worse it was compromise; a (once) wonderful hallmark of American politics. At it’s best it is a signal to keep in dialogue with the rest of the world, another (at one time) merit of American diplomacy. Austin’s letter strikes a nerve. As a tenor soloist of a RSCM choir in a very prestigious church in nearby… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Faithwatch:

I think you make my point for me on both counts. As to the tactics employed by the PB and the PB to be, you agree. As to the things you have to say about the “efforts” taken to respond to WR pre-convention, you merely show them to be what they are–completely ineffectual and pointless. The fact remains, nothing worthwhile (i.e., of any real consequence in terms of actions taken at GC) was done before GC. And the final bit of balderdash issued pleases no one.

Steven

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Could anyone ever be as naive and trusting as Colin Coward.

Face it Colin. Your approach hasn’t worked. Bring on the split!

RMF
Guest
RMF

If the Church of England using “its own methods” which it lauds as being of God cannot arrive at the same protections for real people that other bodies arrive at without making claim to the same fount of goodness than certainly the Church of England is messed up. Speaking charitably of course.

LurenceRoberts
Guest
LurenceRoberts

Thanks for this’choirboifromhell’. Another perspective, and thoughtful and compassionate.
You know whereof you speak, and that is the thing.
I defo need this corrective voice, as I can go over into blame and blaming. You are generous.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Colin Coward, thank you for your posting. All you say is accurate. The debate will not be advanced by personal attacks on Dr Williams but by reasoned argument, which has been sadly lacking in a number of commentators recently who have set about condemning him.

Fr Brian
Guest
Fr Brian

I think the major problem with the liberal wing of the church is that it has confused liberalism with passiveness in some quaters. But I believe the whole thing lies in the history of the Church Of England in that it is always trying to square a circle. I.E reconcile Protestantism with catholicism. That said one wonders why writers such as Don Cupitt and Mr Hampson don’t join the Unitarian church. The Unitarian church combines tradition with liberalism and in all but name is very simialar to liberal Anglicanism. The reason people don’t join Unitarianism is I believe down to… Read more »