Thinking Anglicans

weekend roundup

Jane Shaw writes in the Guardian about why the bond of baptism means we have no need for a new ‘essential’ Anglican covenant, in Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Worshipping God through icons.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Ambition: the spiritual battle in the dark.

Harriet Baber writes in the Church Times that Most Episcopalians just don’t care.

Pat Ashworth writes in the Church Times about how Bishops wade in as Hurricane Katrina aid dries to a trickle.

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Ford ElmsCheryl Va. CloughPat O'NeillErika BakerChris Recent comment authors
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bls
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The fact that Harriet Baber, allegedly along with “most Episcopalians,” don’t care what happens to gay people is thought of as a plus, pretty much says it all. Apparently she’s not aware that 40+ states have forbidden gay civil unions or marriage. Somehow the fact that “most Americans think homosexuality should be accepted” doesn’t really make much difference to people’s lives in that case, does it? And, BTW, guess how that happened? Answer: “religious” activists on the warpath. In other countries, of course, it’s much worse; not about civil unions, but about staying alive. Again, the “religious” are mostly the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I like Harriet Baber she has a finger on a different pulse.

I believe she would make a great advisor to any Anglican Church on how NOT to introduce change.

But what struck me in this piece was – coming from someone who has demonstrated magnificent and loud angst over the last several years – her admission that “most Episcopalians have not noticed.”

Aji in NY
Guest
Aji in NY

Harriet Baber: “Whatever happens regarding the status of the Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion will have no impact on most Episcopalians, who have little interest in church affairs beyond their own parishes, and are not terribly concerned about the Church’s official views about sexuality or anything else.” Absolutely true! Most of us find the intense interest in sexualiry from the “orthodox” camp bemusing or, in more egregious instances, definitely off-putting. Since the Church’s official views on the matter make sense to us, we do not see a reason to be terribly concerned about them, except to applaud them. It… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Thank you to Jane Shaw for expanding on the Baptismal Covenant, it is beautiful imagery and inspiring. It is ambitious, something that Giles Fraser would like, and I appreciate his wisdom that success need not be measured by organisational position. I’ve just come in from a browse of other favourite websites, which includes the Catholic News Service. The Pope is advocating an articulation of the understanding of natural laws, the underpinning divine principles that enable souls of whatever background to cooperatively live with each other. The Pope comments that the underpinning natural laws are forgotten or discounted, then trouble follows… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Canon Shaw’s comments are welcome. Harriet Baber’s are, at once, correct and nonsense. Correct because it is true that most Episcopalians have no interest in church politics or theology beyond how it affects their own parishes. Nonsense because it is not liberals who have made this into an issue, but the conservatives, who seek to block the natural progression of a welcoming, inclusive church, because it has finally hit something that triggers their “ick” reaction. And, eventually, this WILL begin to affect every parish at the parish level…when they are asked to contribute additional funds to their diocese because the… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
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Viriato da Silva

“After all, it was not the Church of England which saw fit to consecrate bishops for the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States…it was the Church of Scotland, hence the cross of St. Andrew on our Episcopal shield.”

Minor correction: Not the (presbyterian and Calvinist) Church of Scotland (the established church in that land), but rather Scottish non-juring bishops, the precursors of what is today’s Scottish Episcopal Church. (The Church of Scotland continues as a presbyterian body, albeit not quite so Calvinist as centuries ago).

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

Helen Baber’s column was a paranoid screed and nothing more. I am very curious to know how these few “liberal clerics” managed to force the lay delegates of the Diocese of New Hampshire to support their agenda setting candidate. (Of course, the prospect that the lay delegates in New Hampshire might actually have thought that Gene would make a good bishop isn’t even a hypothetical possibility to the conspiracy theorists.) Really. Was there a grassy knoll involved? I’d like to know. But despite her paranoid delusions, she does manage to stumble on to one truth. The average Episcopalian is not… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Shaw’s interpretation of the baptismal covenant is puzzling. She mentions two essentials, but seems to ignore the first six questions in the presentation. In other words, hers is a humanistic narcisism that misses the point of Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection.

As seen above, we appear to accept the error of adoptionism if we try really hard to be “nice.”

acb
Guest

Baber is not in the least bit paranoid. She is one of the sanest philosophers I know. It’s perfectly possible to have enlightened social views and still be disgusted by nanny-ish rhetoric.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Sorry, Chris Could you clarify what the “error of adoptionism” means? I’ve not heard the term before and so don’t know how to construe your post. Thank you BLS for reminding us of what the reality is for GLBTs on the ground. I am so tired of hearing how GLBTs don’t care for their families e.g. not providing for them financially when they pass over, when in reality they are legally hamstrung and can’t do so even if they want to do so. Thanks Aji and others for the insight that it was the Scottish who first helped the US… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Cheryl, Adoptionism is basically rejecting Jesus as fully God and fully man and instead thinking he was just a man God chose – or adopted – and the Spirit fell on Him. It gets to first order creedal ideas and the church spent much of the first four centuries working out these ideas. I’m not sure what you mean when you say “Jesus was only a man who died a horrible painful death on a cross.” If “Jesus was only a man” that God adopted then the ramifications are enormous and I would argue Christianity doesn’t work. My apologies if… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Not the (Presbyterian and Calvinist) Church of Scotland (the established church in that land), but rather Scottish non-juring bishops, the precursors of what is today’s Scottish Episcopal Church. (The Church of Scotland continues as a Presbyterian body, albeit not quite so Calvinist as centuries ago).” It was the Synod of the Church of Scotland that was the Scottish Parliament up to the Union with England of 1707, and when Scotland got her own Parliament again a few years ago, it first met in the hall of the Synod of the Church of Scotland – it was the only room vast… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“It’s perfectly possible to have enlightened social views and still be disgusted by nanny-ish rhetoric. “

Surely you mean that “It’s perfectly possible” to combine the two?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

… or even to have obscure social views and nanny-ish rhetoric?

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Goran has suddenly become very trinitarian in his postings – Is this a Swedish thing?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Preachings go in 3s according to the early 19th century Pietist tradition here (rare nowadays).

1. For the unsaved in the pews due to societal pressure,

2. For the salvagable,

3. For the saved.

Took at least an hour ;=)

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Canon Shaw rightly notes that baptism is foundational to our identity as Christians. And being Christian is of course foundational to being Anglican. But if being Anglican is a particular way of being Christian, there is a need for further reflection. It is also worth observing that people on either side of our disagreements about homosexuality believe that these disagreements are about what it means to follow Christ. In other words, these are precisely disagreements about what baptism entails. After all, baptism covenants us to follow Christ. We need to address these disagreements Christianly and for this we do need… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Bravo to Dr. Baber for putting a fresh, frosty gloss over anything that could possibly matter to a committed queer couple – a couple possibly parenting? – somewhere in a local TEC parish or other. One supposes this parish is definitely nowhere near Dr. Baber’s fav parish, from the frosty tone of her remarks. A gospel of Episcopalian indifference. Cold. Clear. How odd that she is able to notice the raw data of the change – straight and gay people living ethically in new ways, even outside the closed and narrow limits of what is now being preached to us… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Thomas Renz,

While I agree the tone and civility of these discussions is very important, I’m not sure how we can agree on the nature of the adverb (Christianly) when the definitions of the noun (Christianity) are at such variance.

How can we claim unity in Christ when we there is no unity in Christology?

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

How can we claim unity in Christ when we there is no unity in Christology? Posted by: Chris on Sunday, 7 October 2007 at 9:46pm BST Christian is as Christian does, surely. If only Churches and their members could . would get on with implementing Matthew 25 and 1 Cor 13 to the best of their ability —it’d create a lot of unity of purpose. It’d take us all a ;ong way. Just imagine if the primates, bishops and ACI, T1;9, Vitueonline etc, etc put all the energy of anti-gay campaigning into reducing poverty or advocating on behald of Darfur… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Hi Chris I’m enjoying the discussion and the postings relating to Goran enable us to weave in the trinitarian imagery at the same time. I see God as consistenting of the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I see Jesus as both fully human and fully divine. I believe that Jesus fully died on the Cross and was resurrected by the Holy Spirit with the Father’s prior knowledge and consent. I do not think that Jesus resurrected himself, because that would refute that Jesus did actually die. Further, I think that Jesus’ crucifixion was successful, was premeditated,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“It is also worth observing that people on either side of our disagreements about homosexuality believe that these disagreements are about what it means to follow Christ. In other words, these are precisely disagreements about what baptism entails. After all, baptism covenants us to follow Christ.” Isn’t that part of the problem, that people on either side apparently believe that their view on homosexuality is (implied: the only) thing that determins whether we’re following Christ correctly or not? And the implication that there is one right way, so all the others who follow the other route are wrong and not… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

What’s interesting about a world I’ve spent about a fortnight looking at, and then before for a talk, is how those who join together apostolic order and deliberate liberal beliefs have, across the board, accepted social inclusivity including gay orientation. There is a lot of discussion here about far-out evangelical and other types who seek pointy hats – well there is the other end of the spectrum too.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/10/independent-catholics.html

NP
Guest
NP

Erika – yes, it is common-sense that both sides cannot be right….. and the longer that people like Rowan Williams try to keep contradictory views in one organisation, the longer we will all suffer (just like people trapped in abusive marriages)

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Erika, there are probably those who think this is about whether people are following Christ full stop. But I merely wanted to say that most think that this is about what is entailed in following Christ, without necessarily making blanket statements about whether so-and-so is following Christ. To illustrate the difference, there are those who do not respect gay people and yet would claim to be “doing their very best to follow Christ”. Not everyone would deny that such people are following Christ but many, hopefully most, would agree that their homophobia needs to be challenged. (Even they themselves may… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Hi Pluralist Thanks for the link. You’re right, there’s some really good stuff going on out there, and not just within the Anglican Communion. For example, I’ve been seeing a lot of rethinking about liberation theology in Catholic circles. There have also been some absolutely wonderful things happening internationally in the last few years. For examples, the Muslims getting more organised about the need for charity and compassion work post the 2004 SE-Asian tsunami. The the Jewish equivalent to the Red Cross or Red Cresent being accepted by the United Nations body as first aid body that meant to be… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thomas, The question is what we mean by “making space”. Living in a same gender relationship I have no problem kneeling next to our very conservative and homophobic Reader at the altar rail. During public debates I will openly challenge him, at prayer breakfast, we will pray together. I believe this costs him as much as it costs me. Of course, socially we would never meet. I suppose what I find most disheartening about the current dispute is not so much that both sides believe they are right (well, they would!), but that there are many who are convinced that… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Erika says “I suppose what I find most disheartening about the current dispute is that…. there are many who are convinced that ….. others are deliberate sinners wilfully ignoring Christ’s words.” Well, I see Lambeth 1.10 which is the standard of teaching on the presenting issue in most of the AC (whether you like it or not, it stands). Certain behaviour, the bishops of the AC told us in 98, is “incompatible with scripture” – right? Now, I see some (even some vicars) just ignore the scriptures and justify the said prohibited behaviour as if it were holy and good… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Erika – the situation you describe so well is one we have been living with for a good number of years, to a greater or lesser extent. I readily acknowledge that it has cost you more than me and I understand the frustration of being thought of as “wilfully ignoring Christ’s word.” And yet, it is one thing to disagree, even strongly, about what constitutes “greed” or “sex outside marriage” or whatever. It is another thing for one church to call to repentance from “greed” and “sex outside marriage” and another church to bless relationships or events which seem to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thomas, My problem with your line of argument is the same one I have with Ben’s posts somewhere else. It’s the automatic assumption that same gender love is of the same moral calibre as gaining wealth by sharp practice. There is no possible way by which anybody can support sharp practice and dishonesty. They always have negative impacts on those they are practiced against and are therefore intrinsically wrong. The same cannot be said for same gender love. It has to be measured by a different yardstick. You may not agree with my yardstick, but it should be possible to… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“I see Lambeth 1.10 which is the standard of teaching on the presenting issue in most of the AC…”

And, yet, the ABC and the JSC and others keep telling you that Lambeth resolutions have no magisterial value; they are not “teachings”…they are, rather, the “sense of the meeting”.

Why do you persist in insisting otherwise?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“I see Lambeth 1.10 which is the standard of teaching on the presenting issue in most of the AC…” And, yet, the ABC and the JSC and others keep telling you that Lambeth resolutions have no magisterial value; they are not “teachings”…they are, rather, the “sense of the meeting”. Why do you persist in insisting otherwise? Thomas: Here’s the flaw in your analogy between homosexuality and greed–Erika can’t help being homosexual…it is the way God made her. To ask her not to act upon the sexuality the Lord gave her is to suggest the Lord erred in creating Erika. OTOH,… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Erika, I have chosen sharp business practice and dishonesty by way of example precisely because we agree that it is sin. Grouping extra-marital sex with greed, paedophilia, cheating, promiscuity etc. need not be automatic but may reflect the thought-through conviction that all these are incompatible with Christian discipleship and thus call for repentance. I cannot see how your implicit differentiation between a list of agreed vices and another list of behaviour which some of us classify as sin, but others celebrate as a blessing, is workable. This is not to deny that it is possible, indeed necessary, to distinguish between… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pat,
I’m not sure that being born homosexual is in itself a sufficient argument to show that same gender love is not immoral. For once, it leaves bisexual people in the cold, who could then only act morally if they did not fall in love with a member of the same gender.

To me, it’s much more important to show that the reality of same gender relationships can embody everything required of a holy Christian marriage, and can therefore not be considered sinful.

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Pat – I do not believe that they way we are can simply be referred to as the way God created us. Much traditional Christian theology marks the disjunction with the term “original sin”. There have been a few TA comments over time which seem to be suggesting that the idea that some are born gay is a recent scientific discovery – it is not, new is the attempt to define this genetically.

(And, actually, I do suspect some people are born greedier than others.)

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thomas, by the very simple “By their fruits shall you tell them”, it is obvious to me that greed, paedophilia, cheating, promiscuity etc are automatically and always wrong because they always have a negative impact on others. By the same yardstick, same gender love is not always automatically wrong, you only need to look at the incredibly self-sacrificial life “our own” Martin Reynolds leads with his partner, and which they could quite possibly not lead without each other’s loving support (sorry, Martin, I only mention you because your story is known to everyone). To me your argument sounds like “it’s… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

There is a whole “sphere of influence” being ignored in this discussion. If a homosexual person chooses to enter into a monogamous relationship with another homosexual person, how many are affected? The two people and their witnesses. If they remain monogamous then it is only tight knit community that is affected. If a theologian supports just war or advocates repression of a certain group, how many are affected? In the case of GLBTs, at least 2% of the population, and if you bring in family friends and advocates who refuse to surrender them that ripples much further… It is like… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Erika – I shy away from defining wrongness as having a negative impact on others. While I believe that sin always has a negative impact, I do not think we can necessarily measure that impact, let alone tie specific harm to specific sins. And I deliberately speak of extra-marital sex rather than same gender love because there is nothing wrong with two people of the same gender/sex loving each other, and not only when they are mother and daughter or father and son either. I know hardly anything about you – and barely more about Martin Reynolds – but I… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Oops. I will now be heard as saying that guys are to blame for the failure of the listening process. I can only say that I don’t mean to apportion blame. I want to signal that the accusations and insinuations I read on TA do not make it easier to listen.

NP
Guest
NP

Pat – last time I am going to bother saying this to you as you clearly do not want to listen to the truth: – Lambeth 1.10 was never given as an option for those who agree with it; – there is no integrity in vicars just ignoring it; – TWR has reinforced Lambeth 1.10 as the teaching of the communion; – merely asserting that it is not law does not invalidate the scripture and rememember that it says certain behaviours are “incompatible with scripture”; – note, it stands…. and clever old, academic Rowan Williams has not dares to take… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Actually Erika is correct in the idea that sexual sins affect a smaller number of people – and that’s why it can be so dangerous. Jesus taught we commit adultery in our own hearts even if no physical action is taken (Matt 5:28). Paul tells how sexual sin is a sin committed against our own bodies (I Cor 6:18). If the consequences of a sin affect a limited number of people and the primary victim is ourself, then it can be easy to rationalize away the sin itself. One may even claim that this sexual sin has benefits and should… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thomas,

I’m finding it difficult to accept the charge that I’m sinfully having sex outside marriage, when the same people are campaigning against my being allowed to formalise my relationship.

I deliberately speak of same gender love, to stress that our relationships are about so much more than sex, something that frequently seems to get forgotten in the public debate.

But let me repay your compliment – if there were more like you on the conservative side willing to engage with us, the listening process would have been a lot easier.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thomas, leaving the same gender issue alone for a moment, I’m fascinated by your point that “that sin always has a negative impact, I do not think we can necessarily measure that impact, let alone tie specific harm to specific sins.” I agree that it is not always easy to measure the impact of sins, or a specific harm. But for the word “sin” to have any comprehensible meaning at all, it has to be possible to link the thought, word or deed to a negative consequence, for the victim as well as the perpetrator’s spiritual health. Can something, anything,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Chris “But no matter how much one tries to cover it up or delude themselves to what is actually going on, eventually, a family, church or even an entire nation is damaged by the fallout.” This is a clear statement of belief. I’d like you to substantiate that claim, please. I know that “commiting adultery in your own heart” can be devastating to your marriage if your passion is so intense that it takes your heart away from your partner, so Jesus’ words do make sense to me. But two people lovingly creating a stable family unit, with or without… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Erika, thank you for the recognition that I am willing to engage. People who believe that a civil partnership between people of the same sex cannot be equivalent to marriage (and therefore campaign against making it look as if it were) will necessarily consider sex among people committed to each other in a CP “extra-marital”. I appreciate your use of the term “same gender love” and would not want to discourage you from continuing to use it, as long as it is understood that many of those who call for repentance from extra-marital sex are not opposed to “same gender… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Erika, a lie can have “potentially extremely positive consequences” and maybe (probably) in some such circumstances the lie is not a sin. But traditionally sin is not simply defined as “what harms” but (also) as “what opposes the will of God”. There is of course as much disagreement about “what opposes the will of God” as there is about “what harms” – probably more so. But those who believe that God’s will is revealed in the Scriptures (I am not trying to exclude you) and furthermore believe that in the Scriptures we have an unambiguous declaration that God disapproves of… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Thomas, I’m more reserved here than I am IRL, but thanks. I would have to say that the “listening process” would have been more successful if those who are now so vehement in their “it’s a sin to be gay” statements had actually listened. They would know, for instance, what damage they do by preaching a generic message of “be celibate or God will roast you eternally” from the pulpit when one of the congregation is a closeted gay teenager who is living in constant fear of disownment, violence, and perhaps even murder. They would understand why, though they loudly… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Thomas wrote that sin includes “…what opposes the will of God…” So theologies of accusations, repression, censorshp are not sin? Being prepared to sacrifice your own or others children is not a sin? Refusing to love your neighbour or your enemy is not a sin? Refusing to not covet your neighbor’s spouse or belongings is not a sin? Harvesting to the edge of your fields so there is nothing left for the poor is not a sin? Placing unbearable burdens upon the elderly is not a sin? Showing partiality in the Law is not a sin? Refusing to offer an… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Cheryl – I am not sure I got that. Did you mean to accuse me of repression, censorship, being prepared to sacrifice my children, refusing to love neighbour or enemy, coveting my neighbour’s wife and possessions, and a host of other things? Or, worse, did you mean to say that I condone all these things?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Thomas ; its about the quality of relationship and the values of the relationship. Neither commitment nor faithfulness would be present if there were more than one other person involved.

I do think that the real divide, though, is between those who think the Bible is a human production of its time and level of knowledge, and those who think it is ‘God’s eternal word’ in full. I take the former view as do most other liberals.