THINKING ANGLICANS

Rowan Williams interview

Rowan Williams gave an interview to the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad.
Here is the English translation which is titled The Church is not inclusive.

There is also a news article ‘Church is split by gay movement’s impatience’.

The Telegraph has a short news item by Jonathan Petre headlined Archbishop fears gay divide.

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Cheryl Clough
Guest

I was confused by Rowan’s comment of not wanting to discuss the divinity of Christ. I don’t know what that comment meant? At one level, I would have thought that the divinity of Christ was at the core of what it was to be a Christian. To accept that God poured part of His conciousness into a human vessel as part of God’s grand reconciliation plan to aid humanity to come back into a proper relationship with God. A unilateral intervention on God’s behalf, with no requirement or obligation from humanity, and simply sweeter fruits for those who believe and… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest

I’m not sure how well translated the piece is, but Williams doesn’t appear to have understood that unity and integrity are two entirely different things, You cannot have both because there IS no unity, and to enforce it would mean compromising people’s integrity.

His real agenda is saving his face, he doesn’t want to go down in history as the AofC under who the Anglican Communion split.

I just wish people were less naive and could see through this essentially incompetent, vascillating, spineless, weak and indecisive man.

Rae Fletcher
Guest
Rae Fletcher

I am both perplexed and disturbed by +Rowan’s apparent view that ECUSA and others are “rushing”. It was over 30 years ago that promises were made to enter into the discussion on issues of sexuality. Ten years ago promises were made to listen and study at Lambeth. Nothing happened. The issue never came to the table. Now ECUSA and the ACC (Canada) have placed the issues on the table (yes in a very dramatic way). The discussion should take place at Lambeth 2008. It was only a couple of years to wait for that discussion, but waiting has not been… Read more »

Tim
Guest

There was a (repeat of a) good interview last night, with Melvyn Bragg. I only saw ~3 mins of it, but enough to catch Rowan Williams explaining his role in leading the church, trying to hold things together, trying to hold things together, and *maybe* some folks decide they can’t stick together, but until then, trying to hold things together. Exactly what I hoped he’d say. It’s therefore unsurprising that I don’t entirely approve of this Dutch paper’s phrase “He is unlikely to have expected to preside over a split in the Church”. It’s not that he’s presiding over a… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Why does the ABC cast blame in only one direction? Is this good leadership?” I see heaps and heaps of blame being put on TEC and Canada and damn few mentions of border-jumping bishops, consecrations of missionary bishops, etc. I see all of the divisivness blamed on TEC and Canada, and none being blamed on the AAC, the Network, AMiA, IRD et alia, whose plans and machinations have been well known for several years via the famous strategy memo. Now the ABC is calling for a meeting of a few bishops only to discuss matters – with a very unrepresentative… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

++Rowan Cantuar is reported to have said during the interview: “Their ideal is the inclusive church. ,,I don’t believe inclusion is a value in itself”, says the Archbishop. ,,Welcome is. We welcome people into the Church, we say: ‘You can come in, and that decision will change you.’ We don’t say: ‘Come in and we ask no questions.’ I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions. The boundaries are determined by what it means to be loyal to Jesus Christ.” Is he saying that gays/lesbians are to be converted to the heterosexual lifestyle? Definitely, he distances himself… Read more »

John-Julian, OJN
Guest
John-Julian, OJN

One remembers John 18:14: “Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.” Better to have the gays and lesbians suffer than for the Anglican Communion to come apart. Better to hurt the individual than to threaten the institution. And I am reminded again that even the Archbishop of Canterbury simply does not comprehend the polity of the Episcopal Church. Who made the decision to consecrate Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire? (1) All the Episcopalians in New Hampshire whose elected representatives in Convention named a committee… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“I just wish people were less naive and could see through this essentially incompetent, vascillating, spineless, weak and indecisive man.”— Merseymike

AMEN!

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Has anyone noticed the headline under the “Telegraph” article, that says something like “Gay Cleric Secretly Marries Partner”? Dean Jeffrey John and his life partner have registered their partnership in a registry office. So I person I have so admired, Rowan Williams, is willing to throw my oldest brother under the bus, in the name of unity, because my brother is neither called to be affectioned to women, nor is he called to celibacy, and by a stroke of cosmic irony and humor, on the same day Dean John and his partner have “regularized” their long term relationship. Ya gotta… Read more »

David Bewley
Guest
David Bewley

As Jonathan Petre pointed out in his Telegraph article, the Nederlands Dagblad is an *evangelical* Dutch newspaper. Why are they posting their articles in English on their website – and how does their evangelical bias affect what they are reporting?

David Bewley

John D
Guest
John D

These latest reactionary comments from ++Rowan should be the last straw for any Episcopalian fool enough to think the man really gives a damn about our church. He’s listened to that notable sycophant +Wimberly and notorious schismatic +Duncan long enough that he, apparently, believes the big lie that the Network(or whatever else they are calling themselves this week) is “a rather larger group than some have presented.” Since the puerile archbisop only communicates directly with others in purple, I’d love for ++Griswold to send a clear message: integrity trumps unity, and, if necessary, TEC will provide “clarity”. We won’t just… Read more »

Tim
Guest

Merseymike, I’m not sure I agree with you on this. You seem to seek to see ++Williams as an “enforcer” which certainly would have its problems: so-called “unity”-by-imposition would indeed be intolerable. But I think this is *WHY* he’s not done so, but is rather hoping for some means either to let people sort it out themselves (fat chance!), or to persuade people, or even to suggest a possible course of action (“two-tier” covenant thing which also has a mixed reception) and hope to draw (not drag) folks into it. It’s a shame that this is seen as vacillating, etc,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

John Thank you about raising the concerns of “for the sake of the family”. Having been raised in an abusive house, where one literally had to tolerate being violated so that one’s mother and/or sister were not murdered (a threat often used); I simply have no tolerance that being part of a family means surrendering your rights to decent treatment. The only people who use such tactics are either stupid, ignorant and blind (forgive them Lord, they know not what they do), or machevellian sociopaths. Further, the issue is about defining what God would consider to be suitable treatment for… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Lois I loved your posting (snuck up on me I’m afraid). I found myself contemplating the idea of having a Jewish friend to talk scripture with. That led me to contemplating how in recent times, certain subjects have become indefinable or not up for discussion. Rowan in this interview is saying that the divinity of Christ is not up for discussion. A few weeks ago we watched in this forum that the liberals presuppositions about God were up for discussion (which I gave four of my own), but then the other side’s God was beyond knowing. In change/psychology circles this… Read more »

Keith Kimber
Guest

I was bemused and saddened to read this interview, from a Dutch journal, as it finally tells me what Rowan preached about on his Sunday morning visit to a chapel in Central Cardiff 200 yards around the block from St Teilo’s Parish Church where I was at worship. We learned of his neighbourly visit only a day before from a thumbnail paragraph in the local paper. Neither the Church in Wales nor Rowan’s PR team had sufficient interest to let Anglican locals know of this visit, so we couldn’t even attempt to wave a flag on the street, let alone… Read more »

New Here
Guest
New Here

Did anyone ever see the film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Somewhere, probably in Bob Duncan’s barn, there is a pod that looks just like Rowan Williams.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I am afraid these comments make it quite clear the ABC is far more clueless than maybe some of us had hoped. That still doesn’t mean God can’t do miracles with him, it just means what it means. The idea the the queer or liberal bum’s rush is on, conforming to some sort of nefarious gay/liberal/secularist agenda is tabloid headline theology at best. Everybody already knows that something else must be going on for a keen mind such as Rowan’s to be repeating this sensationalized headline pablum. I am beginning to think that Rowan suffers from what a lot of… Read more »

Alison
Guest
Alison

It seems ++ABC has been drinking the right wing Kool-Aid. (Remember Jonestown??)

For years I kept waiting for the denouement of the drama, in which he would finally reveal the evil that lurked in the hearts of hate-filled schismatics and love them back into decency and communion.

Guess I was wrong.

Martin
Guest
Martin

Cheryl. My understanding of this comment isn’t that RW was saying he’ll never discuss the divinity of Christ with anyone. Rather he was saying that he would have difficulty regarding it as a topic for negotiation between Christians. Example. Imagine someone at a local Democratic party meeting saying “I think we should be supporting the Republicans – the’re the party with the right policies.” I think it would be reasonable to say: “There’s a place for arguing about that. But this isn’t that place”. Keith. Perhaps he wanted to preach to a small congregation, and get away on this occasion… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Rowan Williams certainly has made a journey since moving to Canterbury. But it is not quite the journey some might imagine. True, he arrived as a bishop in Monmouth with a manifesto that included the acceptance of lesbian and gay people. True, he was happy to ordain gay clerics while a bishop and then Primate of Wales. True, he believed the Church of England had adopted a policy with scant regard for its lesbian and gay members and little real theological debate. But key to his thinking was always this: “But as the New Testament makes plain, to go at… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Martin Thank you for your comment, I think your posting is one possible tangent. But there is another tangent which concerns me. Namely that some Anglicans (e.g. Sydney leadership) believe that Jesus is God in God’s entirety. Full stop. It seems a trivial point, except that for some misogynistic elements as Jesus is male, so therefore God is male (sorry about the “typos” in the Old Testament). Therefore anything that implies God might have feminine traits (or that the Holy Spirit could go either way) is an anathema. From personal experience, I have observed that the minute an area becomes… Read more »

ordinand
Guest
ordinand

One thing seems to be more and more clear for a “new” Anglicanism, and that is that liberal, revisionist inventors (like the main body of TEC etc) will not be in communion with Canterbury.

AlaninLondon
Guest
AlaninLondon

Theologically, +RW’s welcome/included divide is very concerning. The centrality of the eucharist in the life of a Christian and the Church goes beyond mere ‘welcome’. At its heart is inclusion – inclusion in Christ, and the knitting together of the church as the body of Christ. We are included in Christ not from our merits (how ‘good’ we are) but by his grace alone. The implication of +RW’s words seem to be, ‘Yes you are welcome to be in our midst if you are gay or lesbian, but no you are not included, you cannot be in Christ. The Church… Read more »

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

“…to go at the pace of the slowest…” Spare me. Did you know that New Zealand gave women the right to vote 27 years before the U.S.A.? Australia 18 years before? The Russian Federation 2 years before? If we were to go at the pace of the slowest, women in the U.S.A. would still not have the vote, much less be presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. Women in the Episcopal Church didn’t have the vote on the national church level, as deputies to General Convention, until 1970. Can you believe it? I can hardly believe it myself. Women’s ordination… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

I’m saddened by this interview. That said, I’m not convinced that this is about reconsideration of his earlier views about sexuality, as much as it is brinksmanship. He does not want to be the person who is held responsible for the fracturing of the Communion. As long as he continues to call for folks to keep talking, he is, first, consistent with the actual Windsor process as laid out in the Report (and this process seeking “the highest level of communion possible,” rather than some limitation that the Episcopal Church might or might not live up to, was the focus… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Absolutely, Lois. The fact is that there can be no universally agreed position on this matter because there is no universal agreement. And I would suggest that there may never be.

Williams’ vision of the Church may have made sense in a largely homogenous world but in today’s climate, it is simply not practical or sensible.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Thanks LK for your witness. There is nothing to do in hard times but keep on keeping on. I think Rowan’s point about slowing down for the slowest has simply been trumped by religious right campaign strategy; and the curious thing is, Rowan will not let himself see so far that he has been trumped. Slowing down would indeed have made great sense IF – if a worldwide serious listening process had been going on since first it was mentioned and recommended by Lambeth. If listening was effectively happening across the hot button divides – catholic, evangelical, liberal (or pick… Read more »

ChrisM
Guest
ChrisM

John D – I wonder ‘whose’ church it is that you believe Rowan Willians does not give a damn about? This interview has certainly drawn a lot of ire, but as ABC I hope that he is always doing the best he can for ‘our’ church, which, on my understanding, includes both me, an Irish Anglican and you (a US Episcopalian?) who (probably) don’t see eye to eye on this particular ‘issue’. I hope that your eagerness to see TEC walk apart does not mean that you don’t give a damn about our church. Another thing which bothers me is… Read more »

peter w
Guest
peter w

The most striking thing about the discussion so far on this piece seems to me its intemperate tone. You might not like what Rowan is saying – but how on earth are comments like ‘remember Jonestown’ going to help, how are they even a reasonable reaction? The fact that comments like these go largely – not entirely – unchallenged suggests the risk that TA might become the home of a mindset not entirely unlike of the people most contributors disagree with most. That is to say, that we know the truth, and those who disagree with us are cowardly at… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

I agree with Peter’s comments. Such demonization of opponents is dangerous and counterproductive. I would like to ask, though, do those who have been posting here have the willingness to listen to a message calling for repentance from the other side? Inclusiveness is not unbridled, you know. Jesus said to the adulteress, “Go and sin no more.”

Neil
Guest
Neil

the problem dear Ren though is that homosexuality is in no way comparable to adultery! Our staright/gay human nature is clearly a wonderful gift from God to be hallowed and directed aright, and the ‘sin’ is in refusing to have the humility to receive and celebrate that gift. Of course, we ALL know countless hetero and homo sexual situations where the Christian virtues are forgotten in the pursuit of sinful lusts etc. but that is not under debate (I think and hope?). Rowan needs bravery to see that the locus of the true sin is in in perpetuating an anti-gay… Read more »

Tom R
Guest
Tom R

I find myself agreeing here with both ++RW’s critics and sympathizers. In this interview, as in many post-Windsor comments, ++RW talks about the nature of the Church. I think that he hopes that in reflecting on the character of our life together in the Body of Christ there will emerge common ground for people opposed on presenting issues, common ground that will help us to discern how we can live together with these disagreements. For even if we walk apart, a shared history and shared separation still bind us together. The question facing us is how we will live together.… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

If accurately translated, this seems to be yet more blather that deliberately twists the meaning of “inclusive.” NO ONE argues that “inclusivity” means “including, uncritically, sin”. But it is just PLAIN DISHONEST, to *refuse to acknowledge the lack of agreement* as to what constitutes “sin.” Take soldiers. Take bankers. Would I like to see these categories of persons told “We welcome you . . . but we refuse to include your sins of (respectively) bearing arms, or loaning money at interest”? Yes—ideally (i.e., in accord w/ the Gospel), I would. …but I also acknowledge, that just because it’s clear to… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Peter W’s comment about intemperate tone is fairly noted. I do agree with drdanfee’s comment that the listening process was never engaged by certain parties, who had no intention of ever listening lest they be corrupted into tolerance of gays. As Lois pointed out, this has been developing for over 30 years. This altercation would have happened if the ordinations had happened ten years ago or were to happen ten years in the future. The issue is not to do with the duration of the listening process. This is a qualitative issue, not a quantitative issue. As to the comments… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

“Yet, LGBTs (in partnered relationships) are not to be included, while “actively practicing” soldiers and bankers ARE???” wrote JC Fisher. Sadly, the Christian right call that the ‘shellfish argument’. They won’t even engage in any debate about charging interest (having bought into Jean Calvin’s distinction between usury and a reasonably low interest rate) and about Christians serving in the military, especially in the U.S. military under a ‘happy warrior president’ who appeals to his evangelical base, while engaging in a global pre-emptive war against ‘Islamic fascists’. After all, GWB wants the entire Middle East to enjoy the blessings of Western… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Like Alan and others I am very uncomfortable with the welcome-v-inclusive argument Rowan makes. In my family we welcome lots of guests, but like fish they seem to go off a little after three days. However we are planning to grow our family next year with another two children, like our present brood they will have moderate to severe learning difficulties and some degree of physical challenge. We will find their full inclusion into our family a struggle, we will all have to change to accommodate them, and there will not be a time when we will say they have… Read more »

dmitri
Guest
dmitri

Yet, LGBTs (in partnered relationships) are not to be included, while “actively practicing” soldiers and bankers ARE??? The reasserters have decided that usury, war,grinding the poor into the dust, divorce, abortion,prayerbook revision, women’s ordination etc (at least for now) are all adiaphora and we can go on together while disagreeing about them but they have elevated the condemnation of gay sex to a first principle so that even though we say the same creeds, pray the same prayers, read the same Gospel and try our best to live by it, our acceptance of gay people makes us heretics in their… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I like what Marshall Scott has to say, particularly his view on this being brinkmanship. If the denouement is as close as we are being led to believe, now would be perfect timing for this interview.
We shall see.

Mark McCall
Guest
Mark McCall

Here and elsewhere I have seen Archbishop Williams’ answers referred to as an “English translation.” Does he speak Dutch? I had assumed that the answers in English were his and that they were translated into Dutch for the Dutch version of the newspaper. Perhaps those of you are English (or Welsh!) and know the Archbishop’s style better than I do can tell at a glance whether this is a translation.

I would be delighted if Martin Reynolds would elaborate a bit on his most recent comment. It sounds very interesting, but I don’t grasp its full import.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Mark, I elaborated a little too much and fell foul of the 400 word rule!
But just to answer your first question, Mae’r Parchedicaf Ddr Rowan Williams, Archesgob Caergaint was speaking the language of our nations oppressors.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Martin Your parable about bringing new children into a family, and how the family is changed as a result of accommodating their needs is excellent. Many a broken marriage exists nowadays as the men have abdicated their husbandly responsibilities and then rejected their overwhelmed wives for not being perfect and suffering postnatal depression. Like gays, women are being called to be perfect, and if we do not repent (one of their sexuality and the other of their exhaustion) then we deserve to be kicked out of the house. Like the church, there is many a marriage that is kept in… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

To be honest, whether we accept gays and lesbians for who they are is different from what they do in bed.
I honestly don’t know if anyone here is aware of the distinction.
The fact is, however, a growing number of people are starting to think that the sexual revolution has caused problems only a swing back to the tradititonal conception of sex and marriage can resolve. And one must accept that this has been the way people have been faithfully living the Gospel for centuries.
It is only us moderns who are interpreting that situation differently–oppression, exclusion, etc.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I suspect Ren, that those who were burnt on the bonfires set by those who “have been faithfully living the Gospel for centuries” might have interpreted the situation differently.
Their voices may have been silenced but you may still get a speck of their ash in your eye.

Neil
Guest
Neil

If you are correct Ren, then surely the first targets for conversion ought really to be those in the majority who are generally not victims of fear bigotry/hate crimes? Reverse the sexual revolution by starting with single parents, most of the western world under 30 who are not married yet still sexually active, then maybe focus on divorced people…and then perhaps turn conversion efforts on LGBTQ folk? Of course holy marriage is the ideal for those called to it.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Ren, “The fact is, however, a growing number of people are starting to think that the sexual revolution has caused problems only a swing back to the tradititonal conception of sex and marriage can resolve.” Well, the sexual revolution has made people more open about what turns their cranks, but if you think there was some chaste time when the only sexual activity was by married people, and it was all monogamous, you are mistaken. Chaucer’s depictions of medieval life certainly suggest that chastity and marital fidelity were, shall we say, loosely respected. The Victorians didn’t talk about it, but… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

The AIDS pandemic has also opened the Pandora’s box on human sexuality. It leaves a loud and clear audit trail of sexual activity and its consequences. It is no surprise that AIDS outbreaks tend to follow dislocated males seeking sexual release (males in cities whilst wives keep the farms going, international troops calling into sea ports for rest and RECREATION). Then we see AIDS get into the sexual workers, then we see AIDS get into the men in the cities, then we see AIDS return to the farms and their families. Of course, those with money are likely to have… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

Ford: Yes, there has been a greater deal of openness about sex and sexuality, and yes, I agree that we cannot go back to some mythical monogamy, but nevertheless, the ideal of faithful, committed relationships is there, and people are increasingly drawn to living that ideal and making it the norm. The fact is, it may be easier these days to do that–considering that it is being purified of its hypocrisies. Martin: You are right on that point. Recently, a writer in a leading newspaper here in the Philippines wrote a homophobic diatribe. Before, he would have been let off.… Read more »

Anglicanus
Guest
Anglicanus

I have waited quietly in the wings whilst this discussion has gone on. It is now days since there has been a posting. So perhaps people have moved on and I’m wasting my time. – But still I want to express my sorrow at Dr Williams’ inability to see that he does have a role to play in this matter, which isn’t curtailed by his Office. He is called of God to his Office precisely because of his personal opinions. Did his predecessor, George Carey, think that his evangelical agenda had to be put on hold? No. Did he think… Read more »

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

What are the chances of Dr. Williams ever reading Anglicanus’ post of today, 28 August, and responding to it? Anglicanus’ statement is much more reasonable and useful, as is Marshall Scott’s post of 22 August above on the same subject, than my anxiety-ridden first of two postings on 22 August. I’d really like to hear what Dr. Williams has to say about all his gifts having been part of his calling to the position of ABC, including his pre-ABC points of view and the learning and study and struggle with scripture that went into them. In fact, I find I… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Marc (at last!) I believe that September will see developments that will formalise the fracture in the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was taking advice from four Primates appointed by the Primates Group on how to respond to decisions of GC2006, he would then report to the next Primates meeting. 1. However Akinola unilaterally decided the actions of General Convention were not adequate and ordained Minns as a bishop to serve his mission in America, contravening the Windsor Report. This provocative action bypasses the agreed will of the Primates; it is direct attack on the authority of… Read more »