Thinking Anglicans

Time magazine interviews Rowan Williams

Amended Saturday

Time magazine has the Archbishop of Canterbury on the front cover of the European and African editions:

In an exclusive interview with TIME, his last before a three-month leave, the Archbishop Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, describes the Anglican Communion as “very fragile” — and explains how he hopes to reconcile its bitter factions.

The feature article, written by David Van Biema and Catherine Mayer is headlined Saving Grace.

An edited interview transcript is headed Keeping the Faith but there is also a podcast mp3 file (9 Mb) under the title Anglicanism in Crisis which contains much more material than the transcript.

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ettu
Guest
ettu

Has the “communion” been elevated to such a position that it has become the new “golden calf”? Have we become idolators and bowed down to a new Baal? Shall the new “god of communion” delude and devour us or should we smash it so we can focus on other priorities?

Fr Joe O'Leary
Guest

This interview clarifies that RW has not “recanted” the liberal views he put forward away back. “It’s impossible to get from Scripture anything straightforwardly positive about same-sex relationships.” Teaching 1 Samuel, I notice that my students find something very positive in the David and Jonathan story (definitely a story of same-sex love). What Scripture is negative toward is same-sex sexual acts. Of course there is Paul’s account of same-sex desire as divinely inflicted punishment for idolatry, but that surely can be handled in the same way as the very firm assertion in the epistle to Titus that “all Cretans are… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I wonder whether Dr Rowan by “anything positive” doesn’t mean “a positive statement”, that is whether the Bible actually addresses the issue at hand.

And I think it is rather on the safe side to say it doesn’t.

Pluralist
Guest

What is wrong with this is saying about corporate change comes first, first and foremost being a bishop (which he was before when he had the other view expressed). No, first and foremost we are people, who have pains and suffer, and it might well be that first we produce the example in human terms and then work out a corporate position, that there are individuals and their expressed experiences and that these become the corporate view. He, Rowan Williams, is also an indvidual, with views and beliefs and anxieties. A Church ought to be different from corporate land or… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

RW: ” …my worry about his election was that the Episcopal Church hadn’t made a general principled decision about the blessing of same-sex unions or the ordination of people in public same-sex partnerships. I would think it better had the church actually taken a view on that before moving to the individual case” What difference would that have made? Those who fabricated the whole “tearing the fabric of the Communion” fantasy would still be at daggars drawn. RW: “As it is, someone living in a relationship not theologically officially approved by the church is elected to a bishop — I… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

I find this statement from the transcript quite interesting: “I’m now in a position where I’m bound to say the teaching of the Church is this, the consensus is this.” I wonder where he sees the necessity. Despite the reporters’ odd phrase of “useful authoritarianism,” they’re correct that the Communion has to this point always resisted that. He is in a position where he is bound to tell the truth – and, aren’t we all? The more accurate statement would be, “The Commuinion has no official teaching, nor any mechanism to promulgate such, on this topic; the majority opinion among… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“So this makes it right to discriminate against gays, does it?”
No, but it means that if we are to call ourselves Christians, then we have to consider whether our right to, as I said on another thread, “claim the blessing” supercedes the right of some Egyptian or Nigerian Christian to life itself. At the very least, it demands an explanation of why we think our rights are so much more important.

The choirmaster
Guest
The choirmaster

The banquet is ready, but are the Anglican invitees? We must go out into the fields and hedgerows and invite the poor, the sinners etc The expansive nature of the founder seems missing somehow. It must not be a club but a table made ready for anyone to dine at the banquet. It is so unfortunate that communion, a sharing experience is so divisive. I wonder if the religious, the tax gatherers, the unclean and the prostites gathered at Jesus’ table had such worries. Essentially, the structure needs to change (!) as the world has done and Anglicanism go forwards… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

RW: ” …my worry about his election was that the Episcopal Church hadn’t made a general principled decision about the blessing of same-sex unions or the ordination of people in public same-sex partnerships. I would think it better had the church actually taken a view on that before moving to the individual case” Life would be so much smoother if everything happened in an orderly way. Many white religious leaders told MLK that the time wasn’t ripe for the Birmingham bus boycott … Thomas a Becket should have been a deacon then a priest then a bishop for a dozen… Read more »

rick allen
Guest
rick allen

“The more accurate statement would be, “The Commuinion has no official teaching, nor any mechanism to promulgate such, on this topic.””

That, I think, is accurate, but it also keys up the instability of the situation. As new theological questions come up, as they undoubtedly will when the current controversies are history, the important question seems to be whether the Communion will be able to address and resolve them, rather than splitting over them. The notion of “ecumenical councils” seems beyond the pale. Presumably the much-mooted covenant may fill the need.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“we have to consider whether our right to, as I said on another thread, “claim the blessing” supercedes the right of some Egyptian or Nigerian Christian to life itself.” Come now, Ford. Those who COMMIT VIOLENCE are responsible for that violence—not “Adam&Steve” claiming the blessing half a world away. This is not to say that TEC can’t do more about, for example, “Egyptian or Nigerian Christian(s)”. But doing so *at the sole expense* of their LGBT members strikes me as not only profoundly *unChristian*, but distinctly *ineffective* at making a difference in the actual lives of those Egyptian or Nigerian… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“grography” oops! But wouldn’t that be an interesting sub-branch of geography? Mapping pubs and distilleries? Perhaps a hobby for retired ABCs? Geography would be the study I commend to the boundary-boppers, specifically, the boundaries of provinces and dioceses …

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, “No, but it means that if we are to call ourselves Christians, then we have to consider whether our right to, as I said on another thread, “claim the blessing” supercedes the right of some Egyptian or Nigerian Christian to life itself” I’ve just read through a number of threads again, and what stands out for me is Greg’s heartache about the way the church treats him, the encouragement others have given him, and his resolve to “be still and know that I am God”. Trying to fight the injustice that causes this kind of hurt is not the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, the other reason why it’s right to fight for full inclusion (which I do believe is a God given grace, otherwise I wouldn’t dare fight for it), is because I love my faith, I love my church, and I am deeply troubled by the large number of people who leave it because they see it as increasingly intolerant and “un-Christian”. My own friends and family understand why I live with a woman, they don’t understand why I want to cling on to my faith. I want them and all the other many many who have left to know that… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

As an ex public servant, I empathise with Rowan’s comment “I’m now in a position where I’m bound to say the teaching of the Church is this, the consensus is this. We have not changed our minds corporately. It’s not for me to exploit my position to push a change.” As an ex public servant, I can also say that there were times that I was hated by particular managers. After my last manager was recruited into my office, one manager came to her to explain why I should be removed from the organisation. She was quite taken aback and… Read more »

*Christopher
Guest

What about these situations, common I might add in many places in the world. It’s not quite so either/or in which right to life is nearly denied at all for gay persons elsewhere in the world.

http://revkirkley.blogspot.com/2007/05/making-connections.html

http://gayuganda.blogspot.com/

I do also think that we need to address why Christianity should follow the worst forms of Islamic fundamentalism and meet it match for match.

And Fr. Marshall I posted on exactly that today. Indeed, what’s emerging is a Roman form with a Genevan content.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

I learned a long time ago that being “understanding” instead of “standing” strongly for my MORAL beliefs was not being a loving Christian, nor being democratic/tolerant, nor being a especially good listener/friend, nor being a innocent victim of “outcomes” that became out-of-control…I was merely being a very sick/selfish, slothful and feckless codependent who allowed *others* to take full control of dicy situations and therefore I could avoid being RESPONSIBLE for any unpleasantness and THEY could be blamed and it WOULDN’T BE ME if *things* didn’t work out in the end! Archbishop Rowan, you’ve gone way beyond being a “good listener”…you’re… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl “As a clarification, I do not think we should be arguing for equality. Males have penises, and women have wombs. Male to female bonding can reasonably lead to conception. Male to male or female to female bonding can not. That is a biological fact.” It is also completely irrelevant. Men and women have different body bits, that does not mean I expect them to be treated differently in any area of life. Heterosexual couples have body bits that don’t work as they might, so we have IVF, adoption, fostering and childless couples. Gay couples have body bits that don’t… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl,
We would also talk about which areas of life gay people are not to be treated equally.

Why should the fact that a couple cannot have children mean that they cannot be readers, priests or bishops? Does childlessness mean that their brains are wired in such a way that they cannot understand or preach the Gospel of Christ?

If there is no male or female in Christ, then surely, neither is there straight or gay.
In all our differences in all manner of aspects in life, we are still equal.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl,
We would also talk about which areas of life gay people are not to be treated equally.

Why should the fact that a couple cannot have children mean that they cannot be readers, priests or bishops? Does childlessness mean that their brains are wired in such a way that they cannot understand or preach the Gospel of Christ?

If there is no male or female in Christ, then surely, neither is there straight or gay.
In all our differences in all manner of aspects in life, we are still equal.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Erika May God bless your passion to protect those who were made outcaste (note past tense in sentence). I want all humanity able to live with dignity and respect. I want people who are able to raise children safely to be able to raise children and those who are not save near children not able to abuse them. (As a survivor of incest abuse before I was even out of diapers by my “father” I desire that no child be abused). I do not desire to be a male. I do not desire that males become female. I do not… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

I must confess a certain sympathy for ++Williams’ predicament, especially since there are so many out to bully and intimidate him. He is facing the prospect of Anglicanism coming unglued and turning into something unrecognizable under his watch. He must straddle a line between aroused African colonial resentments and an equally intense inflamed American nationalism in response. He must walk between the competing claims of historically oppressed peoples (claims that really should not be competing). He must also mediate between visions of Christian vocation that have become mutually exclusive; the Church as immutable repository of absolute timeless truth vs. The… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Many ordinary Anglicans outside TEC find its polity difficult to understand. Before 2003 I was mostly ignorant of their internal life nd the deep divisions this polity allowed (even nurtured). The way this multi-Province and trans-national branch of the Anglican Communion has developed over the past few centuries was itself a surprise. From its complex foundation, through the continental expansion of the United States to its growth in the 19th century during times of bitter “catholic” and “evangelical” rivalries, to the way this Province formulated its federal governance were (and in part still remain) a mystery! Coming from a close-knit… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

(Cont) In this entire furore my greatest admiration has always been reserved for Bishop Michael Ingham. Assailed by constant demands from his Diocesan Synod to allow same-sex blessings this kind and learned man at first demurred. Realising that this was not going to go away and that it was a genuine concern of his local church, this little diocese with small resources, consulted widely in Canada and then sent a team half way round the world to consult with the ACC and to lay out their stall. The Welsh representatives at the ACC still speak with deep respect about this… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl,
yes to all that. But “equal” does not mean “the same”, and that, according to the bible (recorded by men, and not according to science), man was born first,does not mean he has any more importance.

My children were born one after the other, they are not the same as each other, but in my eyes they are absolutely equal, and both have equal rights and responsibilities in my family.

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

Perhaps the thng to keep in mind about the Episcopal Church is that it is just as broad and internally conflicted as the country it was founded in. And it was always so.

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

” …my worry about his election was that the Episcopal Church hadn’t made a general principled decision…..I would think it better had the church actually taken a view on that before moving to the individual case” I agree. A church, like a person should know whether something is right or wrong before doing it. Unfortunately it is also true as some have mentioned that the church already gave silent acceptance by letting it slide in other clergies lifestyles. That was an error I think. At first I thought the differences weren’t significant, or at least could be overlooked. It sounds… Read more »

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Chris H expressed incredulity that someone might pay “lip service to the liturgy or a Creed even if you don’t believe it literally?” I’m not being supercilious, but ‘literally’? What does that mean in relation to the 325/381 Greek philosophical construct we call ‘the Nicene Creed’? Even the noddy lines like ‘He ascended into heaven’ could cause fun, and that’s before I ask what literal belief in the homoousios might look like. I seem to remember that one of the things which fuelled the creed-making industry was that previous creeds always revealed themselves capable of being taken on all sorts… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

“Paying lip service to the liturgy or a Creed even if you don’t believe it literally? Seems Anglicans/Episcopalians don’t have to believe Christ is the only way to heaven, or in his divinity,or literal virgin birth, or literal resurrection. Needing salvation from sin isn’t a required belief. You can believe other religions(Hinduism, Paganism, Islam–I’d love to know what Muslims think of that) and still be a priest in the church.” So, did someone finally invent that “window into men’s souls” and take out a patent on it? I missed the news that day. I haven’t the foggiest idea what ANYONE… Read more »

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

I mentioned the Creed because someone on this site, in another thread I believe, mentioned there was no need for a Covenant because there was already a creed. What of the other questions?

Does being inclusive mean No boundaries?
What makes a person a Christian or Anglican? Since Schori says Christianity is “a way”, why be Christian at all?
And if one has Pagan-Anglicans, Hindu-Anglican, Muslim-Anglicans–can there be “community” when no one knows what “Anglican” beliefs are?
Or is Anglicanism the “smells and bells” and priests can say whatever they like. Couldn’t a covenant help some of the confusion?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Chris H., “Seems Anglicans/Episcopalians don’t have to believe…” Really? Your first point usually means, “if you ain’t a Christian, you’re going to Hell.” And getting into Heaven when you die, is that what Redemption is all about? Eternal life is an expression of the fact that Christ gives us the victory over everything, including death. Our status as redeemed children of God doesn’t somehow begin at death, it’s here, now. We are still awaiting our final perfection, but to suggest that we have to wait till we die to experience the joy of redemption is decidedly odd, ISTM. The rest… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Erika I think we agree yet this discourse might help in the broader debate. One concern in demanding absolute equality is it becoming absurd e,g if we demand that homosexual couples are given absolutely equivalent rights to heterosexual couples, we would then argue that all children must be adopted (since homosexuals can not conceive with each other, at least not yet :-0). Then there is the argument about suitable parentage. There are those who argue that homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt because they fear for the children’s wellbeing. When examined the debate comes down to whether the children… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

It’s getting interesting, isn’t it. I read this book, The Inclusive God, closely, and other than the crassness of the approach, there is a fundamental problem. There is the inclusiveness of Jesus within the Jewish setting, and there is no substantial doubt about that. Then the problem immediately to any inclusive scheme is the birth and development of the Church, including within the Scriptures. They contain exclusivist statements. In one sense Rowan Williams’ own Catholicism, his statements on real presence, and that he can “do no other” except unity (as stated to General Synod) does have a consistent logic to… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist says “It does not matter to me that Episcopal priest Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding is also a Muslim, or that Rev. David Hart is also a Hindu. “

Well, fine – for a pluralist…..but it might matter to someone who says things like “Nobody comes to the Father but by me” and his Father who has a record of being somewhat exclusive in his relationship with his people as even Solomon found out to his cost

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Nobody comes to the Father but by me”

Just curious,NP, what does this mean? I know what I would answer to that, and I believe it, BTW, I just wonder if maybe you’re answer compared with mine might be enlightening.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

That should, of course, read “your”. This fan of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is mortified!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

The Father,

Who came to Abraham before there were Jews, to Jews before there was Jesus. Who Jesus acknowledged sent him and authorised him to act and to whom Jesus accorded all honor.

That Father can introduce himself to whoever he wants, whenever he wants, on whatever continent or planet that he wants.

Jesus isn’t stupid enough to fight God or deny God the right to offer dispensation, it would void the precepts that gave him authority.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Ford, Your posting about Eats, Shoots and Leaves has been high point in a very sad day (my dog had very bad seizures and was put down today). Before that happened, I found myself chuckling over your imagery. It reminded me of the divine presence in early Judaic history. Our Lord, we’re going to war, so here are the sacrifices. The Divine Presence comes and partakes of the sacrifices, the Presence then Shoots off (directly or indirectly) and after the battle is over Leaves. So the Wombat joke has become a joke within a joke. Something I am sure that… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Well, Ford, I think the Lord means what he says….one reason many religious people did not like him was that he made such exclusive claims about himself, as you know

Pluralist
Guest

Well three times in Shakespeares and Rayment-Pickard’s book (2006) The Inclusive God this text is referred to, the argument made that it is what Jesus Christ stands for, his open table and arms wide friendship, that is the meaning of that text. My own view is that the text should be taken as a whole, and is a construction of the early Church. Certainly Christ made no “recorded” speeches against other organised faiths, and indeed is hardly a concern of an early movement expecting the immanent end. I rather warm to the view that Jesus was first and foremost a… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – if you write out all the teachings of JC, you will see that he is not the man you have created….but then you will claim they are made up anyway so there is no point, do not waste your time