Saturday, 9 September 2006

Saturday opinions

Simon Barrow has written a detailed analysis of the recent Rowan Williams Dutch interview: Why Rowan Williams helps stem the drift to idiocracy.

Geoffrey Rowell reports on what he found in Nicaragua this summer: Searching for the Garden of Eden in a remote corner of Nicaragua.

There’s been a lot of criticism of the decision of the Washington Cathedral to host a talk by Mohammed Khatami the former president of Iran. What he actually said can be read here. Almost as interesting is the involvement of President Bush in granting his visa. The cathedral’s reasons for doing this are explained here. Bishop Chane’s concluding remarks are here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 7:42pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Simon Barrow's article is excellent. My only word of caution is that expressing fears about how power politics could be being played is not the same as saying that people are playing power politics. For example, commenting that a Lambeth conference that does not invite a significant element of the church will then make resolutions that are skewed without their input. If that conference was then touted to have come up with a generally universal agreement over what it is meant by Anglicanism, that definition has already been refined prior to the meeting by the exclusion of alternative perspectives. That would be sophistry and tactics similar to the stacking of the European parliament that Ekkelesia itself reported a few months ago.

Do we act as watchment before Lambeth Conference and give warning of the risks of exclusion in terms of credibility and genuine dialogue? I say yes, and refer to Ezekiel 3:17-22 & 33:1-8, Isaiah 21:11-12, Job: 27:13-23, Hosea 9:7-8, John 10

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 10:14pm BST

To a certain extent, I agree with what Simon Barrow says. Archbishop Williams is correct about the inadequacy of "inclusion," as it is so often used, and about the power of transformation in the Church. However, I still can't but feel a certain amount of betrayal from him. The reason is that those same words he used about being welcomed and finding change have so often been used as code words to attack gay and lesbian people in the church. Used in those ways, they mean essentially this: "At best we see you as sick individuals who need God's healing of this illness called homosexuality. God wants you to be good little heterosexuals." I'm willing to give the Archbishop the benefit of the doubt and say that he did NOT mean it in that way, but that still leaves him looking so out of touch that was able to fall into that kind of trap. A lot of us, though, especially after the whole thing with Jeffrey John and everything since then, aren't quite so generous. No matter how he meant it, to see those words coming from someone once seen as an friend hurt just as much the cold steel of a knife between the shoulder blades.

Posted by: Kevin Montgomery on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 12:38am BST

The Barrow piece is very fine -- not sure that his interpretation is accurate, but he certainly makes a plausible case.

And I especially liked the comments on the blog linked by "Bishop Chane's concluding remarks are here" -- the commenter taking Bishop Chane to task for not inviting Archbishop Akinola to speak in the diocese only to be told that the archbishop actually had spoken in the diocese in 2004 & that the diocesan had urged everyone to attend. The Conservative mindset projects its understanding onto others & can't really seem to accept the fact that Liberals honestly believe in the free exchange of ideas.

The foundation of the United States & The Episcopal Church are, for better of for worse, both very much rooted in the presuppositions of John Locke & the "Whig view of history."

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 1:31am BST

I agree with Cheryl this is a first class piece of work from Simon Barrow.
My only contention with the Dutch interview was Rowan’s claim that his views in “The Body’s Grace” had not garnered much support – when it is clear that since its publication there has been a sea change in the way we think about sexuality issues and that he was in the vanguard of that change.
My concern remains that despite all Rowan’s best efforts to reframe this war into an intelligent debate “events on the ground” will cut him off. There are many vested interests that would like to see this happen.
No matter how hard Blessed Tom of Durham and American “Windsor Compliant” bishops want to spin the Windsor Report – remember paragraph 146 – this is not a closed matter, there is no definitive view, this is not a matter of “Divine Law” – the debate goes on!
I can live with that.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 9:36am BST

"No matter how hard Blessed Tom of Durham and American “Windsor Compliant” bishops want to spin the Windsor Report – remember paragraph 146 – this is not a closed matter, there is no definitive view, this is not a matter of “Divine Law” – the debate goes on! I can live with that."

Well said, Martin Reynolds.

Sadly, reasserters are so fixated on 'law', the Bible being a 'law book' to them, that they interpret everything to be 'divine law', even the Windsor Report. As in Judaism, "the debate goes on." When Jacob's name was changed to Israel, didn't the patriarch during the night 'wrestle' with the Angel of the Lord and, walk away from the wrestling match 'limping'? For me that has always been the story of how the community of faith struggles with the word of the Lord in its efforts at discerning the will of God. " The debate goes on."

Posted by: John Henry on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 8:08pm BST

John Henry's posting about Jacob wrestling with angel reminded me of the Jewish concept of tzaddik, and that there are times where God will allow souls to act as advocates for humanity or certain sections of humanity - Moses was a towering figure in this regard.

I was pondering this morning whether Jesus intended half of the human population to be theological slaves in perpetuity, and whether he really intended to overlook 2-5% (depending on who is writing) of the population?

I console myself that at least if anyone were to use my works against me, they certainly will not be able to say that I overlooked the eunuchs or justified slavery of half of humanity. Further, I would rather be known as modelling the Daughter of Zion at her compassionate and inclusive best; rather than lamenting for being disciplined for justifying violence and consorting with those prepared to sacrifice or neglect others.

In that sense, I would rather be divorced than seen to condone negligence

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 10:08pm BST
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