Thinking Anglicans

after General Convention…

Updated Sunday morning

Some media reports:

Associated Press Episcopalians: Bishops can bless same-sex unions

Reuters Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions

Los Angeles Times Episcopal leaders affirm new policy on same-sex blessings

New York Times Pared-Down Episcopal Church Is Looking to Grow Through ‘Inclusivity’

Some comment:

Guardian Jim Naughton Face to faith

And some heavyweight analysis:

Wall Street Journal Philip Jenkins Their Separate Ways

And some simple explanation:

Changing Attitude Caro Hall Is this the Schism (finally)?

…The Presiding Bishop has stated in a letter to Rowan Williams and the other Primates ‘This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025. Some within our Church may understand Resolution D025 to give Standing Committees (made up of elected clergy and laity) and Bishops with jurisdiction more latitude in consenting to Episcopal elections. Others, in light of Resolution B033, will not.’

So once again this resolution ‘holds the tension’ and provides a big tent within which people of many different theological stripes can come together. It’s classical Anglicanism – both/and not either/or and that drives some people crazy!

The Presiding Bishop describes D025 as descriptive not prescriptive and that’s probably what she’ll say about C056 as well which allows bishops to make a ‘generous pastoral response’ to those in same-gender relationships. It also calls for collecting and developing theological and liturgical materials for blessing same-gender relationships. It does not go as far as developing a rite for public blessings.

Just like D025 the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. How bishops interpret this will depend on their local circumstances. America is a big country and things vary a lot from place to place so local discernment makes a lot of sense…

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MrsBarlow
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MrsBarlow

Oh Jim Naughton you are brilliant. The piece in the Guardian sums up so much I have been thinking this week, not least that there were 15 – fifteen! – Primates let alone other wonderful people from the wider communion like Jenny Te Paa at the General Convention. When was the last time 15 Primates turned up to the Church of England General Synod? The next Australian General Synod, set for Melbourne in 2010, will be lucky to have one Primate there, let alone 15. This ability to foster face-to-face relationships, and real interchange based on trust and committed conversation,… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Philip Jenkins in the WSJ: ” It remains to be seen whether the Anglican Church in North America can appeal to mainstream Episcopalians who are uncomfortable with its strongly evangelical-charismatic flavor.” This is a point commenters don’t often make and it’s an important one. A lot of us who are Episcopalian are just not going to want to join a PowerPoint church with “blended music” but little of the Prayer Book, led by authoritarian clergy who conduct miracle healing services, speak in tongues, and practice an intrusive, micromanaging pastoral style. The pastor who thumps the Bible and shouts that “every… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Well, I’m not English but I haven’t seen anything of that, while visiting Charlotte, rather it tends towards the Catholic, but not Roman.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

re #2 Whilst the sound of ‘prayer warriors’ has me shuddering, I find the implication that creationists don’t have brains somewhat patronising and am frankly amazed that you pour scorn on the reality of demonic possesion. Have you never read the Gospels or the book of Acts? Have you never used that ‘brain’ you like to excercise to ask why Jesus spoke more of hell than heaven and performed more exorcisms than almost any other form of healing within his earthly ministry… …sheesh (at the risk of being inflammatory) it really does seem to me that many liberals have left… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Blessings and thanks to JNaughton and others, who help forge a thinking path through all the spin doctoring that has once again revved up, following the two GC resolutions. I was just starting to think that a sort of common thread flowed beneath both new resolutions – the thread of recognizing, creating, reaffirming a rather traditionalistic Anglican leeway – applicable to both discerning deacons/priests/bishops, as to discerning prayers/blessings for committed same sex couples who might be civilly married in some states. A leeway of multiple levels, believers in good discernment together, not a leeway of jurisprudence and police and punishment.… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Fantastic news. Isaiah 56:3 “And let not any eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.”” Charlotte, there are those kinds of Christians overseas. It’s really amusing when they show such gifts as it is seen as jesus’ blessings, but when they manifest in those who don’t agree with them the same gifts are seen as from “the evil one”. Such ignored that God shows no partiality (Malachi 2:9) and recognises righteousness where it can be found. Matthew 25:41 “‘Depart from me… For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me… Read more »

john
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john

Charlotte, I’m C of E. ‘Evangelicals’ cover a pretty wide range (from much more ‘liberal’ than Tom Wright to biblical fundamentalists). There are Charismatics and ‘managerial’, bullying churches (mostly fringe or ex-Anglican). Generally speaking, ‘Evangelicans’ (of some stripe) claim to be the only ones growing, and, certainly, there are some big successes. ‘Liberal’ churches are not very ‘liberal’ (though they provide a safe space for those individuals who are); there are plenty of ‘mainstream’ Anglicans; there are also ‘Anglo-Catholics’, some anti-WO and very pro-Rome, some ‘liberal’. Difficult to generalise, I think. But there’s little reason to fear a take-over by… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Don’t worry Charlotte, the C of E is not like this and never shall be. The Anglo-Saxon spirit is too down to earth for this ! And even in the Celtic countries and communities of the UK the dreamy mystical vein gets channeled (pardon expression) differently from the kind of passe old fashion practices that give you some concern. British religion by and large just isn’t this exciting –thank goodness ! ‘So how are things overseas? I keep hearing that the Church of England is dominated by Evangelicals and Charismatics, too, but I don’t have much direct experience to go… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

Ed, You’ve been reading too much of Jack Spong. Most “liberals” in the church have plenty of room for mystery and the supernatural. For one, we don’t think that God’s revelation ceased about 1800 years ago when the canon of Scripture was closed, but that the Spirit continues to be active in the world and continues to reveal God and God’s will. One of the subtexts of the debate over Kevin Thew Forrester’s election in Northern Michigan concerned the possibility of spiritual encounters in new and different ways. D025 comes right out and states that we don’t know how or… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“I find the implication that creationists don’t have brains somewhat patronising”

Creationists are, at best, about one iota at most brighter than Flat Earthers.

There is nothing to respect about their willed ignorance.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The 39 articles affirm that churches can err..so how do you know this is not an error?

As for quotes from Isaiah, what of the statment by that prophet under the inspiration of God….
Wo to those who call evil good….

RosemaryHannah
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RosemaryHannah

The Celtic Fringe, up here is Scotland anyhow, is very liberal and reasonably mystical, I think. More so both than the C of E …. we hope.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“The 39 articles affirm that churches can err..so how do you know this is not an error?” We don’t–but neither do you…nor anyone else…know for sure that it is. Each of us…singly and collectively…answers God’s call in our own way, interprets the Spirit’s words to us in our own way. Yes, sometimes our answers and interpretations will be wrong…but that is, to me, the point of “big-tent” Anglicanism. Only by agreeing that all of us hear the Spirit’s voice and respond to it in faith and love can we let the Spirit act in this world–eventually the Spirit’s true direction… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“The 39 articles affirm that churches can err..so how do you know this is not an error?” We don’t–but neither do you…nor anyone else…know for sure that it is. Each of us…singly and collectively…answers God’s call in our own way, interprets the Spirit’s words to us in our own way. Yes, sometimes our answers and interpretations will be wrong…but that is, to me, the point of “big-tent” Anglicanism. Only by agreeing that all of us hear the Spirit’s voice and respond to it in faith and love can we let the Spirit act in this world–eventually the Spirit’s true direction… Read more »

ettu
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ettu

“I find the implication that creationists don’t have brains somewhat patronising” Personally, I lament the lack of scientific literacy in the “educated” world. It is intellectually sloppy to willfully disregard the wonderful revelations we have been given regarding the elements of creation. Mysticism should not be used as an excuse to explain away either a lack of education or, alternatively, a willing blindness to our present state of knowledge – they are different beasts. I say this with a heavy heart and not from any desire to disrespect others. Nevertheless, so far, every creationist I know speaks from a position… Read more »

ettu
Guest
ettu

As an addendum to my previous post, I feel that “creationists”, unfortunately, have no concept of the mischief that they do in making their brand of religion a laughingstock to much of the world – and this is a real impediment to many in their search for God.

counterlight
Guest

“Creationists are, at best, about one iota at most brighter than Flat Earthers.” In my opinion, the Flat Earthers are the only true Creationists. If you truly believe that God wrote every word of Scripture, and that it is as inerrant as Muslims believe the Quran to be, then the only model of the cosmos completely consistent with the text of the creation accounts in Genesis is a flat earth. Otherwise, lines like the “dome of the sky” and “opening the windows of the heavens” to let it rain don’t make much sense. “I find the implication that creationists don’t… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Dear Ed, I think those of us who are catholic anglicans believe wholeheartedly in grace but see it primarily MEDIATED through the God-given regular means of grace,within an understanding of the Church as Christ’s Body, instrumental in mediating God’s salvation to his people ( see the ARCIC document Salvation in the Church )We also see ecclesiology in the order Christ-Church-Individual rather than Christ-individual apprehension of justification by faith-looking around for a church essentially conceived as a fellowship of the justified…which owes more to the evangelicalism stemming from the evangelicalism of revivalism rather than the dlassical Reformers.A lot of this also… Read more »

Sam
Guest
Sam

Robert Ian Williams

‘The 39 articles affirm that churches can err..so how do you know this is not an error?

As for quotes from Isaiah, what of the statment by that prophet under the inspiration of God….
Wo to those who call evil good….’

Okay, are you calling the resolutions that have been passed an ‘error’, or ‘evil’? There is a significant difference between the two.

Also, the Isaiah quote you refer to could just as well have been used to respond to coverage of the defeat of the resolutions, had that happened.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Well as a Roman Catholic I believe that my Church in its official pronouncements on faith and morals can never err and that the pope confirms the brethren. Homosexual practice is described by the Catholic Church in the official Universal Catechism as acts of grave depravity. In the Catechism of Christian Doctrine published by CTS and approved by the present English and Welsh bishops it is described as one of the four sins that cries for vengeance from Heaven. Pretty strong stuff. However the Church also tells us that there should be no unjust discrimination against persons who carry this… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Well, we already know that the RC church is institutionally homophobic, Robert, which is why I reject its beliefs. However, that is no reason for any other church or any other organisation, for that matter, to follow the same path. I would also never accept the views (personal opinions ) of any individual or organisation as ‘truth’, as I prefer to use my brain, and because the present Pope is not an individual worthy of respect in my view.

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

So, RIW, you’re saying that you accept as inerrant the declaration that a loving, committed same-sex relationship is a “grave depravity” and “cries for vengeance from Heaven”? That’s some Church you’ve got there! … and some “God”. You’re welcome to them. Thanks for reminding me why I’m happy I’m not a Roman Catholic. I just don’t have the Orwellian gift for accepting every piece of officially promulgated ecclessiastical nonsense as infallible…. like this precious tidbit: “It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics,… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“The 39 articles affirm that churches can err..so how do you know this is not an error?”

Because Churches aren’t God?

Look, Robert, both the Church of Rome and the Churches of the Anglican Communion are susceptible to error. The difference is that my Church is honest about it.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Tell me- how ARE you different to the politicians working for world peace in the United Nations offices?”

Tell me, Ed T, who’s “pouring scorn” here?

I think there are PLENTY of non-Christian “politicians working for world peace in the United Nations offices” who will be admitted to Heaven BEFORE Christians (so-called) of EITHER the 39 Articles *or* Daily Mass/Nightly Rosary varieties. Sheesh!

As for “supernatural”: I don’t pretend to *understand* God-in-Christ . . . I just EAT him! ;-D

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

RIW, 2357 extends rather weak arguments against homosexuality: “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.” Why must these old tiresome arguments be trotted out? There is “homosexuality” in other species, marital relations after menopause aren’t forbidden, and straight folks like me can write pages of arguments against “sexual complementarity.” Actually, the justifications provided in 2357 work well as an argument against celibacy (It’s kind of funny, I have a copy of the current RC catechism in my library, but… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

A comment on RIW’s comment on the infallibility of the RC church: not long ago a cardinal in Rome made this statement about +Gene Robinson to an Anglican priest (not me, to be sure, but to a male priest). The problem isn’t that his partner is a man, a priest, a bishop, even a cardinal can have a woman or a man, that doesn’t matter (boys will be boys?) but they must be discreet. Luckily the comment wasn’t made to me or I would have replied, Oh yes, what we call hypocrisy in my church.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Lets be frank about this. Catholic seminaries in this country are full of closet gays, and from an insider contact I have, they are certainly not celibate.

Everyone knows this to be so, and Hypocrisy is certainly the H-word which should be causing concern

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Well as a Roman Catholic I believe that my Church in its official pronouncements on faith and morals can never err and that the pope confirms the brethren.” Really, RIW? Then why did the Pope have to, within recent years, renounce the 500-year-old excommunication of Galileo? If the church’s official pronouncements on faith (and its statements and actions on Galileo were just that) are never wrong, what was there for the Pope to renounce? Similarly, why did Vatican II make such a point about changing RC attitudes toward our Jewish brethren, especially as expressed in such things as the Good… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Well as a Roman Catholic I believe that my Church in its official pronouncements on faith and morals can never err and that the pope confirms the brethren.” Really, RIW? Then why did the Pope have to, within recent years, renounce the 500-year-old excommunication of Galileo? If the church’s official pronouncements on faith (and its statements and actions on Galileo were just that) are never wrong, what was there for the Pope to renounce? Similarly, why did Vatican II make such a point about changing RC attitudes toward our Jewish brethren, especially as expressed in such things as the Good… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Sara McVane is on the side of the angels here. Though none of us has any way of telling how typical such an attitude is. What we do know is that it is not Christian: Jesus in Mk 4 spoke of ‘secret’ things being shouted from the rooftops (point being the Jonah-like foolishness of thinking anything can possibly be secret from God in the first place. Jonah sets off for Tarsheesh rather than Nineveh: ‘Single to Tarsheesh, please.’ ‘Where’s that?’ ‘God knows! – or, rather, I hope He doesn’t.’).

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“However the Church also tells us that there should be no unjust discrimination against persons who carry this cross and endeavour to conform their lives to the Chastity.” You know, coming from a Roman, and a convert at that, this is just a bit much. Given everything that we now know the Church has been party to in North America in this century alone, can you give one reason why Rome, of all the bishops on Earth, has any right, much less the moral authority, to make such a statement? Honestly, Rome has a lot more atoning to do yet… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

Perry Butler’s comment is like water in a desert. Why have we allowed so many extremists to get away with thinking that they are the real catholic voice of the Church of England?

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Building on what Toby Forward said — are Archbishop Fisher’s books available on Project Canterbury or other Web sources?

Is there anyone who wants to produce a study guide or adult education course that uses his books (and others)?

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Dear folks , I am relating the official Catholic position. Of course there is hypocrisy..there is in every religion ( apparently homosexual practice is widespread amongst the Taliban) …but the difference is if the Cardinal exists in Sara’s story… he knows that he will be kicked out if he pronounces it in public. Furthermore doesn’t it show that the Church is protected by the holy Spirit… as if the membership is so bad, why hasn’t the doctrine been changed to put it in line? As for Galileo that is an objection often trotted out and you should go to Catholic… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Pat O’Neil.. we still believe that the Gospel is necessary for the Jews as it is for the Gentiles. Its a question of nuance…but the doctrine is the same…as was revealed in the revised prayer for the Jews in the Tridentine Rite.

We don’t tell Protestants , your church is false, but we say the same thing in more nuanced terms..following St Paul, ” we become a Greek to the Greeks and to a Jew, a Jew.”

rick allen
Guest

“Then why did the Pope have to, within recent years, renounce the 500-year-old excommunication of Galileo?”

Minor point, I suppose, but of course Galileo was never excommunicated.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

RIW:

want to give a real citation for that? I go to “catholicanswers.com” and search on Galileo and it only gives me commercial sites for things like Galileo telescopes.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

RIW:

want to give a real citation for that? I go to “catholicanswers.com” and search on Galileo and it only gives me commercial sites for things like Galileo telescopes.

BillyD
Guest

“Furthermore doesn’t it show that the Church is protected by the holy Spirit… as if the membership is so bad, why hasn’t the doctrine been changed to put it in line?”

Well, not unless Islam (not to mention all sorts of other religions not given to change) is also protected by the Holy Spirit.

BillyD
Guest

“We don’t tell Protestants , your church is false, but we say the same thing in more nuanced terms…”

Perhaps you are not being as nuanced as you think, sometimes. It very often seems as if you go out of your way to emphasize the fact that you believe Anglicanism is false.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Anti-Catholics often assert that Gallieo’s conviction and later rehabilitation somehow disproves the doctrine of papal infallibility, but this is not the case, for the pope never tried to make an infallible ruling concerning Galileo’s views. The Church has never claimed ordinary tribunals, such as the one that judged Galileo, to be infallible. Church tribunals have disciplinary and juridical authority only; neither they nor their decisions are infallible. No ecumenical council met concerning Galileo, and the pope was not at the center of the discussions, which were handled by the Holy Office. When the Holy Office finished its work, Urban VIII… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

RIW So are you saying the papal view on homosexuality is an infallible ruling? I had a chuckle the other day when I read that the Pope now says that babies who die without having been baptised no longer reside in limbo for eternity, but that they will go to heaven where they are perfectly happy, albeit removed from God. So if everything your church proclaims is true at all times, then babies who died before the current pope changed the doctrines are in limbo, whereas from now on all unbaptised babies will go to heaven. Or isn’t it rather… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘As more recent science has shown, both Galileo and his opponents were partly right and partly wrong. Galileo was right in asserting the mobility of the earth and wrong in asserting the immobility of the sun. His opponents were right in asserting the mobility of the sun and wrong in asserting the immobility of the earth.’

A minor detail — Galileo did not imprison, threaten and bully those with whom he disagreed. He wrote , discussed and published.

The RC denomination has yet to learn this lesson.

(In common with other denomiantions).

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘Dear Ed, I think those of us who are catholic anglicans believe wholeheartedly in grace but see it primarily MEDIATED through the God-given regular means of grace,within an understanding of the Church as Christ’s Body, instrumental in mediating God’s salvation to his people…’ Many of us find much more grace mediated in pubs, discos, concerts, markets, parks and encounters with friends, neighbours or strangers, than in the goings on in church premises and rituals. Hope often do they / we come away from a special service or an ordinary one, or a funeral very disappointed or even disillusioned ? (There… Read more »

john
Guest
john

‘Too often basic kindness, and common humanity is lacking …’

Absolutely right, though not so much of (many of) our churches as of many of our leaders. Don’t start me on Tom Wright but he so lacks compassion. On the other hand, I continue to believe that Sentamu and Williams do have it.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Had the Catholic Church rushed to endorse Galileo’s views—and there were many in the Church who were quite favorable to them—the Church would have embraced what modern science has disproved.”

Rather, it would have shown that it was open to revising second- and third-order beliefs in the light of scientific exploration and discovery…allowing it to shift again when Galilean and Copernican cosmology were nuanced and replaced by newer observations.

Sort of like what it ought to be doing now regarding the science of human sexuality.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Had the Catholic Church rushed to endorse Galileo’s views—and there were many in the Church who were quite favorable to them—the Church would have embraced what modern science has disproved.”

Rather, it would have shown that it was open to revising second- and third-order beliefs in the light of scientific exploration and discovery…allowing it to shift again when Galilean and Copernican cosmology were nuanced and replaced by newer observations.

Sort of like what it ought to be doing now regarding the science of human sexuality.

BillyD
Guest

“Many of us find much more grace mediated in pubs, discos, concerts, markets, parks and encounters with friends, neighbours or strangers, than in the goings on in church premises and rituals.”

“Dear mother, dear mother, the church is cold,
But the ale-house is healthy and pleasant and warm…”

counterlight
Guest

I notice in the discussions of Galileo that no one mentions that he was threatened with torture (shown the rack with the clear threat that it would be used), and that the evidence used to convict him was fraudulent ( a forged letter from Cardinal Bellarmine that was signed by neither the writer nor the recipient). The trial avoided matters of substance and concentrated on legal minutiae. Was Galileo specifically prohibited by hierarchical order from advocating and publishing certain views, and did he disobey that order? Galileo insisted that he never received any such specific order, and had a signed… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Dear folks , I am relating the official Catholic position.” And you, and Rome, are perfectly free to continue doing that. I’m merely pointing out that it is a blatant display of hypocrisy, it angers quite a number of people, who then denounce Rome as essentially unchanged WRT to this hypocrisy and, despite the window dressing of Vatican II, and who scorn her as a result. If you don’t care that people think that way, or that Rome is thus a laughing stock in wide swaths of society, with the resultant loss of credibility for the Church, and ultimately the… Read more »