Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth: a third English perspective

This time from the Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham.

Read Bishop Michael’s account of the Lambeth Conference.

Earlier entries in this series:

Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford.
Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester.

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Merseymike
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Merseymike

For me, the issue came down to whether what I regard as an institutionally homophobic position was acceptable in an organisational and/or ideology to which I was affiliated. Whether the sort of compromise mentioned is one which can be accepted or lived with.

I made my choice, and that was to leave the Church.

Commentator
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Commentator

Yet another bishop in need of the Naughton anti-virus! Dr Williams seems to be ‘infecting’ so many bishops with his ‘Archbishop-of-Canterbury-itis’ rather that his ‘intelligent-theological-itis’ that there will be not a single voice left to speak for gay partnered people in the listening process, so it will not matter that there isn’t anybody ‘listening’ on the conservative (I refuse to call it ‘traditional’) side. And so the ‘moratorium’ will mean that most of our generation’s gay partnered people will have died of old age before there is any allowance made for the fact of their vocation to the episcopate. And… Read more »

Robert McCloskey
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Robert McCloskey

As an American priest I was licensed to assist in the Diocese of Gloucester for nearly 20 years during holiday and retirement seasons in our home there. This service terminated coincidentally with the arrival of Bishop Michael, the arrival of the incumbent of the parish which I served, and the eventual sale of our UK home. I mention all of this to say that I find Bishop Michael’s views of the Lambeth Conference very one-sided. As a staff officer for Lambeth ’98 I now realize that the final days of Lambeth ’08 were similar to ’98 – an ABC who… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I get the sense that the American Church will make a sacrificial offering, and maybe the Canadians should too, not for a moratorium regarding gay people, but a voluntary removal from activity regarding the Communion, even if it keeps watch at the same time. I would go further, and invite relationships from those Anglican Churches that would be in sympathy, but keep all of them loose. As they come to decisions to bless gay people and ordain openly practising gay people in intended long term relationships, then they would also feel the need to leave the Anglican Communion. Up to… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

The reality is that they will be outside the Church altogether. How many openly gay young people are part of the church now?

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“How many openly gay young people are part of the church now?”

How many openly straight ones are?

John
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John

Robert McCloskey,

Of course, you are right about things within the C of E (as also about the scape-goating). But that seems to me reason for guarded optimism – whatever they say in public, many, perhaps most, bishops will make their own private accommodations with reality within their own dioceses.

JCF
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JCF

“It is hard for some of the liberal Americans and Canadians, who will find particularly the second moratorium very difficult to explain.”

Not really so difficult, Bishop Michael, as such bishops know “the second moratorium” (on ss blessings or MARRIAGE!) is, in their dioceses, D.O.A.

“For an English bishop, returning home is not very difficult. There is not too much explaining to do.”

Is this true? Are CofE lay/clergy really THAT ruled over? Very sad, if true.

Lord have mercy!

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Who are the real exclusivists? Interesting that here, after +++Willaims and others call for patience and seek to make space for people, we get the response that “unless it goes my way I will take my marbles and leave.” They label evangelicals as exclusivists but who are the real exclusivists (even more exclusivist just about different things!)? Of course the mantra is “inclusivism” under the umbrella of pluralism, it works as long as those those who are not Liberal pluralists acquiesce. They are absolutist, they are adament about this, there is no clear abiding revelation from God. The church becomes… Read more »

Kahualoha
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Kahualoha

I think the situation Fr. McCloskey describes during his tenure in the Diocese of Gloucester and Lambeth pretty well describes the “Old Episcopal Church” in the United States – an unofficial establishment church that existed in our minds around 1850 to 1950. It still exists in some places but not many. The 1979 BCP was its official death knell. It was like a stale old marriage that to preserve appearances and meet establishment approval didn’t allow much to happen of any importance. Honest discussion died (if it ever started) and was replaced by a wink-wink nudge-nudge veneer of hypocricy. It… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

What are you talking about, Ben? The problem lies with those who demand things as risible as the content of your last post – you have this naive view about ‘truth’ – as if anyone could possibly ‘know’ it for sure. You can’t. So, those who claim you can do so are always going th be dissaatisfied. AS I have said many times before – conservative and liberal religion is simply different. And I don’t believe conservative religion should be compromised with – it needs to be challenged and shown up for what it is. If you are suggesting that… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Ben W:

Here’s the essential difference–the “inclusivists” (or “pluralists,” if you insist) say to the “traditionalists”: Believe and act upon your belief, but do not expect or force ME to limit myself to YOUR beliefs.

The traditionalists say to the inclusivists: If you are not willing to limit yourself to OUR beliefs then you cannot be a part of our church and, indeed, we don’t think you really believe anything at all.

garth
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garth

If a moratorium is indeed needed, what about one on the ordination to the episcopate of all partnered persons? That is certainly the position of most of the church catholic. If “communion” at all costs is such a lofty goal, why limit ourselves to the Anglican world? As for “the enhanced authority of Archbishop Rowan”, if it is a pope the Bishop of Gloucester wants, why not just submit to Benedict and be done with it. Now, there’s someone with real authority and the guards and structure to enforce it. Some of us who have been faithful servants of this… Read more »

Robert McCloskey
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Robert McCloskey

Thank you John and Kahu for your responses to my comments. John, it seems to me that continued closeted arrangements by ‘sympathetic’ C of E bishops offers little dignity and much oppression to LGBT clergy and laity alike. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not a respectable option. Fortunately the UK military realized this long before the USA. I genuinely grieve for my LGBT friends who have to live under such oppression and discrimination. Kahu, I think you are right on the money about TEC’s history, and as a liturgical scholar I am certain that you particularly have in mind the… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Well the global communion is strongly encouraged to gear up for moratoria, so that backing off can be spin doctored as a step forward. The same queer folks who were not allowed to speak up for themselves, generally, or as Anglican believers, are still not allowed/invited to speak. If queer folks had been invited, the similarities of following and witness might have been oddly striking. We no doubt would have heard of how the LGBTQ communities passed through the harrowing decades of the HIV-AIDS epidemic, particularly in USA, Canada, Europe-Scandinavia, Australia, and perhaps New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland. As with African… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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In is continuing defence of the (non agreed) Academic traditions from Alexandria and Aachen/Fulda, Ben W wrote: “… who are the real exclusivists (even more exclusivist just about different things!)?” Here we go again. I just read on the American HOB/D list someone claiming the English synod’s vote on Lady Bishops was a “scorched earth policy” because it was a majority one (My way or the highway, was also mentioned). It was claimed they needed more time to think! Here Ben goes on with the idea that “libruls” should be “inclusivist” “under the umbrella of pluralism”, but are “absolutist”. But… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“They are absolutist, they are adament about this, there is no clear abiding revelation from God” What!?!?!?! Just because people don’t believe the Bible is to be read as literally true doesn’t mean that they don’t believe it to be a clear abiding revelation from God. This actually gets to the core of this: conservatives/traditionalists/whatever you want to label those who have this attitude, Ben, have a need for concrete authority. “Liberals” for want of a better term, find this concrete authority destructive to their spirituality, inconsistent with their experience of God, and incongruent with the Tradition we have received.… Read more »

Christopher
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Christopher

Ford, Amen! This has become the fundamental problem, that Scripture is THE Word of God rather than pointing us to THE Word of God when proclaimed. Our understanding “contains all things necessary to salvation” is meant to maintain that tension. Not all things in scripture are necessary to salvation, though all things may instruct us in the light of God’s self-communication in Jesus Christ. It is ironic that Luther–the Evangelical par excellence, maintained that Jesus Christ is the hermeneutic, and yet, many who would claim his insight as heirs have swallowed sola scriptura without the limits Luther placed on such… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

God bless you Robert McClosky “English denial and cover-up will be exposed.” Amen and praise be to God. Finally, we get the proof that denial and cover-up have been exposed at the highest level. No wonder all the complaints (including my own) disappeared into bureaucratical red tape. Isaiah 47:3 “Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.” Ezekiel 16:36-39 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you poured out your wealth and exposed your nakedness in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and… Read more »

Bob in SW PA
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Bob in SW PA

Maybe this is why I quit giving to the church/TEC. I have this funny suspicion that TEC will wind up paying most of the bill for Lambeth. I’m tired of my money being used to support an agenda which I’m opposed to, full inclusion of all people regardless of sexual orientation, color, sex etc….

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat, You present the conservative view as: “If you are not willing to limit yourself to OUR beliefs then you cannot be a part of our church …” For generations they have operated with a whole range of differences. On the good faith that they had a place to speak and belong in the communion, that historic lines of Christian doctrine and moral teaching would be upheld in the AC. So people have stayed (even when there were deniers of Christian faith like J S Spong around because they knew this did not represent Anglican teaching and they could basically… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, You say about pluralists that just because the Bible is not to be read as “literally true doesn’t mean that they don’t believe it to be a clear abiding revelation from God.” Try to read some of the pluralists. Many, when you get right down to it, will say it is really the expression of human experience (not in any definite sense the word of God – they get very good at using pious language when it suits). They are not called revisionists for nothing! This is not simply by evangelicals but by their own acknowledgement when they are… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Spong, Spong, Spong…

Cornered?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Ben, Ben, Ben! Yes, Scripture is formational in our faith as Christians. However, until the Word became flesh, we have not met God fully – in Christ. The Word had to become flesh And live amongst us, before we could experience what it meant for God to fully identify with our common human condition. (Unless you eat my flesh…etc) In the Eucharist, wherein Christ promised that he would be with us personally; at the Offertory of bread and wine, when the water is mixed with the wine, I am emboldened to say – in accord with catholic Christians the world… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Ben:

The difference, again, as I see it, is that the traditionalists are saying to the inclusivists, “We cannot abide you…either you change your position or we go.” The inclusivists are not forcing anyone to do anything–the choice to leave is entirely on the other side.

Can you not see how unChristian this is? Christ profoundly disagreed with the Pharisees and Sadducees–yet he worshipped in the temple and synagogue with them, broke bread with them, shared conversation with them.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat,

Are you prepared to face the real issue? Are there any lines or boundaries for you? One reason some are up in arm sabout +++ Williams is that he think there are and that we can think and discern them. As I said? “That at some point there is a line or boundary might still be apparent to some here if I asked, who is ready simply to include the book of Mormon at the eucharist or the person who practises polygamy but wants just to be accepted?”

Ben W

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ron Smith,

Again, what about the real issue? This is just peddeling around it.

What you say about Christ and the eucharist, with some context and nuance, I affirm with you. Actually, more deeply, I think he is to be received in whole, his teaching in word and deed and the gift of himself.

Ben W

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ben: Yes, there are lines and boundaries, but they tend to have to do with things like theft and murder and false witness…you know, the things God specifically told us we shouldn’t do in no uncertain terms. They do not extend to people in committed relationships with others who happen to be of the same sex. I think the difference between you and I is that I prefer to read the ambiguous parts of scripture in a way that opens the Kingdom to as many people as possible…you apparently prefer reading them to open it to only those who completely… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

>>>Are there any lines or boundaries for you?

Personally, I draw the line at Graham Kendrick.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I simply seek to take the Bible seriously, in its own intended terms”

Since when does a book have intentions?

You anthropomorphize, Ben, en route to *idolatry*: hardly “in accord with historic Christian tradition”.

Lord have mercy!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Ben, there’s not, much point in us continuing this. We both identify an “other” that we can fear. You have a particular set of beliefs that I use to put you into my “other” set,and you do the same. You ask what are we going to do if someone wants to read the Book of Mormon at Mass. I ask what are we going to do when we are forbidden to call it Mass? What are we going to do when we are forbidden to wear vestments, or to believe in baptismal regeneration, or the Real Presence, or to practice… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

JCF,

More and more clear on this list, assumption blinds people, you know next to nothing about my attitude to scripture but you make great leaps of assumption!

In as much as documents have purposeful authors they can be said to be marked by intention. The works of Shakespeare are intentional as plays (you can use them as doorstops but that is to miss utterly their purpose and intention!!). Scripture not only involves authorship it also involved a purposeful process of canonization within the early church. So marked deeply by intention from beginning to end.

Ben W

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Scripture not only involves authorship it also involved a purposeful process of canonization within the early church. So marked deeply by intention from beginning to end.”

But whose intention? The Spirit’s–who inspired it? The multiple authors’? Did the author of the first creation account in Genesis have the same intention as the author of the second account? The even more multiple translators’?

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat, So you do recognize some boundaries. You see in what “God specifically told us we shouldn’t do in no uncertain terms.” Do you limit that to the Ten Commandments? If so why? The commandment on immorality already includes reference to a range of things, certainly in Old and NT there is reference to homosexuality in clear terms. And what about Jesus’ teaching related to marriage defined in the relation of male and female? Or Paul in Romans 1:24-27 or 1 Cor6:9,10? Are they not “specific” enough? You are nicley filling out the point I made above on the actions… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ben W, I am even more interested to know your take on what you misleadinly call “… a purposeful process of canonization within the early church…” It was the fights between Calvinism and Trident which “canonized”. Mid 16th century. The different “canonical” Bibles came out of that, not through “… a purposeful process of canonization within the early church…” The different Bibles compass different Books, and exclude or ignore others (think “Apocrypha”), they also stress differently, even when they have the same books. It is mid 16th century. Contemporary American “Integrism” comes from Arianism, a small Calvinist sect (1610) which… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ben W, The view of the Early church, of the First Millennium, was that every scripture could contain “logoi spermatikoi”, seeds of truth; that is witness to Christ. Any scripture, including heathen ones. The First Millennium was not antagonistic as late modernism is, but had a harmonic vision: any scripture or world view could – and did – witness to Christ. Unlike in our Times, there was NO THING to be feared. But Hellenist Philosophy wasn’t regarded as Christianity. That only came around 1100 with Anselmo of Aosta (later ABC), who claimed that Philosophy w a s Christian! The chuch… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ben: What commandment on “immorality”? The only one of the ten commandments that touches on sexual things at all is “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. Are you expanding the plain meaning of that to include all “immoral” activity? And the other passages that–to you–clearly proscribe homosexual activity are not so clear to me. That is why I said, in my original post, “in no uncertain terms”. Can’t get more definitive than “thou shalt not…” can we? The OT prohibitions are largely part of the Hebrew cultural law that we no longer bind ourselves by. Why do you insist that we… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

Ben, Jesus clearly taught that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery, but that has not prevented even the most fearsomely “orthodox” among us from warmly embracing serial polygamy.

In fact, ironically enough, the most anti-gay among the so-called “orthodox” tend to be the most pro-adultery. Why do you suppose that might be?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Pat wrote: “What commandment on “immorality”? The only one of the ten commandments that touches on sexual things at all is “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. Are you expanding the plain meaning of that to include all “immoral” activity?” Sorry, but Ou moixeúeis! does not mean “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, it means Don’t be disloyal (to your House)! The word has nothing to do with “sex” or sexual morality, but everything with the House (think Count Almaviva, the disloyal Husbander, who does nothing to promote the fortunes of his House, but only thinks of his little pleasures). Talking of… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

It is the 10th Commandment epithumía, which “touches” on things “adulterous” (though not “sexual” desire, but m a t e r i a l for the relations and dowry of neighbour’s wife’s), but only the Roman Catechism seems to remember that these days…