Tuesday, 27 March 2007

American bishops: presiding bishop interviewed

Episcopal News Service has a 15 minute video interview with the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Go here to watch it.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 8:47am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

I feel very heartened and encouraged by the interview with the PB. She exudes a quiet confidence.

The key phrase I take with me : these differences fade in sigficance before the needs of the world.
(Her closing words, as I remember them now).

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 10:06am BST

Great stuff - this lady will lead the new, independent global TEC

Liberals - pls join her

So pleased we are getting clear answers from TEC so the ABC knows what he is dealing with and can stop wasting time trying to hold together very different beliefs which in the end cannot be reconciled without people pretending to be united.....we have wasted enough years sweeping dirt under the carpet and this dishonesty has done nobody any favours.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 12:41pm BST

The word gracious was used to say, with understatement, hear this very clearly.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 2:35pm BST

"sweeping dirt under the carpet with dishonesty" NP

Dirt? Would you be refering to your LGBT sister and brother Christians/Anglicans and Muslims/other worldwide?

Quite a lot of "dirt" for you to sweep under your cheap flimsy carpet that was so carefully handwoven with loathing, fear and hate!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 3:08pm BST

NP-
Dose your bitterness and snide nastyness know no end?

Posted by: JOhn Robison on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 3:10pm BST

relax, chaps, I did not refer to people...

dirt = teaching and practice against scripture, reason and tradition (yes, reason too!) - not accepted teaching but not challenged either;

dirt = "don't ask, don't tell" policies i.e. no integrity required in leaders;

these are not good things.....are they??

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 4:09pm BST

Expect that many conservatives posting on all the usual blogs will find ways to make fun of the PB, both how she looks, and what she says, in this video. In response to NP, all I can manage at the moment is to remind us all that TEC is simply leaving its doors open and its lights on while it keeps on keeping on in the face of calls from extremely conservative entities, leaders, and people to suddenly betray its own best conscience, big tent version.

I might also remind myself that even if the split much desired by conservatives (and some others, too) takes place - the resulting global village will continue to bring us all across one another's paths as often or more often than before. There is no escaping learning to live in peace and a modicum of good will with people who believe very differently from yourself, let alone the deluded conservative yearning for a world and a church free of Out/Partnered/Parenting queer folks.

Families who have kicked their gay or lesbian children to the streets have in fact not at all cut them off. Their ghostly and continuing presence hangs over every family gathering with their mandated absence speaking volumes over however many years it takes.

If you think I am being overly dramatic or rhetorical, just talk frankly with any real life family that has followed this path. In sad and quiet moments, people will tell you how much they miss the sons and daughters they have cut off. If TEC is defined separate, it will not be the only province that separates. Surely Canada and parts of CoE are in some ways inevitably next, along with many others provinces that simply will be unable to bring themselves to this new, narrow, and strictly ungenerous new Anglicanism. A new Anglicanism that is not yet, in fact, achieved.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 4:19pm BST

I still don't get *it* when KJS suggests we "move on" from OUR differences and only focus on other *mission* work while ignoring un-holy political *items* such as the pending anti-human rights legislation in Akinolan Nigeria...speaking of demoralization and preventable death!

Quite possibly, KJS and the ABC are viewing and stewing about one of the most IMPORTANT Christian movements in our lifetime and OUR Church HISTORY...the OPEN/HONEST welcoming, loving, and embracing of ALL of OUR fellow LGBT human beings/family members at ALL LEVELS of Churchlife at the BODY OF CHRIST is about facing TRUTH in a emotionally and spiritually healthier God given reality!

Growing beyond bigotry, persecution, discrimination, ignorance, fear and the generating of hate-crimes against LGBT people by spewing selective scripture or superstitously driving puritan preaching/thinking/believing by religious extremists IS a very important mission! Including fellow Christians *is* a HUGE step toward the enhanced quality of our religious life for ALL of mankind at EVERY LEVEL of SOCIETY everywhere...Individual lives lived with more integrity, healthy family relationships and growth beyond the pridefilled "sin" of excluding/outcasting others is a big part of the "mission" at The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion...no small thing! A wonder of the world is taking place before our eyes...loving oneanother is commanded and we are starting to *do* as demanded of us by God...we won't better connect with God by pretending we are different than we are and occupying ourselves with other "help" projects while glossing over the reality of the current hate (self or not) SINS within OUR Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 5:30pm BST

Well said drdanfee - But let's also keep the analogy on the affect on our lives. There are many here who have seen the path of shunning worked out in our own families and the families of our friends. It is thus heartbreaking to watch as a portion of our church seeks to reinforce that path. Cutting off the parent from the child is tragic for the parent as well the child. Life is so short. There is only a little time that we can be together with our families in the first place, God willing. Then to watch parents at the end of their lives openly regret what at the time seemed so important... more important than love. But wasn't. And now time has run out. What comfort will the "orthodox" offer then?

Posted by: C.B. on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 5:56pm BST

NP, who is next to be hounded out of your brave new and pure church? Cohabiting couples, perhaps? Including all those who support them in their love? Thank God for TEC and all those others who stand up for true Christian values.

The calm, patient dignity of KJS was most encouraging, and I like how she describes the whole atmosphere of the HoB meeting.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 6:07pm BST

NP - of course you are right that the don't ask don't tell strategy of the last 70 years (?) is riddled with a hypocrisy that is now coming home to roost and haunt everybody.
However, where you are wrong, in this increasingly open world, is in your reading of the bible and people's experience. In this new context of transparency you are the very people to whom we must take the argument about the right and wrong way to treat/welcome lbgt people vigorously. And I have every confidence that the negativity you passionately represent will be defeated in God's good time.

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 6:13pm BST

Yes C. B. the sundering of the family beyond recognition is surely appalling, so sad; but so was/is Jesus' death which we remember in this church life season. Easter is waiting, for all of us. God has the final say aobut all of us, no matter whom we have mistakenly decided to cast out, into whatever outer darkness we have decided to define and cherish for them.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 3:20am BST

Neil says "And I have every confidence that the negativity you passionately represent will be defeated in God's good time."

Remember, my position is His stated position.
So, you think He is going to contradict himself in order to agree with you?

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 8:25am BST

NP there's been a misunderstanding. You aren't God --- you only think you are....
Phew -- close shave for the rest of us I reckon ! ...

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 10:06am BST

NP
As Athos reminded us so kindly this week, you can use the bible to prove anything you want.

And wasn't it fascinating to see during the slavery debate how able conservatives suddenly were to interpret the bible and to recognise that our way of understanding it changes over time.

To think that anyone is in posession of God's absolute final truth is either wilfull arrogance or utter blindness.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 11:17am BST

No, Erika - this is where TEC is going wrong - you cannot interpret it to mean whatever you want - it has an intended meaning.....JC, Paul and all the apostles were not postmodern, "anything goes as long as your are nice" people if we look at what they said and did!

So, the weak arguments about slavery etc carry no weight - so what if some twisted the word to justify doing what they wanted to do as slaveowners? That was their sin. This sin does not discredit the word but those who perverted it for their own ends.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 12:30pm BST

NP "Remember, my position is His stated position."

Good grief, what a bunch of sanctimonious foppish nonesense. You really believe that YOUR understanding of scripture is THE way, and ONLY way. Between the "changeling" liberals that have trashed anything dear and extreme fundamentalist people like you that have these cookbook remedies that have gotten the church to where she is today.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 12:38pm BST

NP,
It's not that the slave owners twisted the word to do what they wanted, but that the church supported them, basing their support on supposed biblical evidence.

Doesn't it strike you that in the slavery debate the whole church initially, later the conservatives only used the bible to support their stance? Regardless of the fact that we wouldn't do that any longer, to the extent that you even think my argument is weak?

If I were a betting girl I'd bet that you would have been on the conservative side then too.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 1:26pm BST

Erica. When Athos so rightly described the Word of God as "a plastic nose that can be twisted either one way or the other", you may be pretty-well certain that his personal approach to Biblical interpretation was not what he had in mind.

Regarding NP's statement that "the weak arguments about slavery etc carry no weight" [why won't bloggers punctuate?], I refer you to the March 10th T.A. posting "Williams and Malango meet Kunonga", where he and I exchanged thoughts on this one:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002283.html

The slavery argument is NOT a weak one (my 7:45 p.m. March 14th posting clearly states my position and I will not rehash it) nor is it so easily shrugged aside as dietary proscriptions or strictures against mixed-media fabrics, as NP well knew when he made his final, evasive response to my pushing him on the question of the Bible's sanctioning slavery "yes, Lev is inspired and is to be read in the context of the whole bible".

Biblical sanction of slavery is so important because it is a hook from which those who condemn "revisionist" reading of traditional teaching on homosexuality cannot twist free. Either they dismiss or evade what Leviticus and Paul say on on slavery - thereby exposing themselves as closet Cafeteria Christians - or they admit that slavery has divine sanction.

Good luck with NP.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 2:28pm BST

Choirboy - do you think that the writers of the OT and NT meant passages to have various meanings at various times? Do you tihnk (seriously) they had no intended meaning for readers?


Hi Erika
No I would not have been on the slaveowners' side- I would probably have been a slave, actually

I do not disagree that the official line of a church can be wrong and corrupt. I think the Zim church is wrong not to throw out the man in Harare. I think TEC is wrong on VGR. Churches and bishops can certainly be completely wrong and can twist scripture to suit themselves - it has happened all through history but they have always been guilty of misusing scripture to excuse sin.

Wilberforce was a conservative, you know.....his antipathy to slavery had strong biblical foundations.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 2:50pm BST

NP
Sorry to hear that you would have been a slave - but I suppose you would have been following scriptures and served your masters with respect and fear and with sincerety of heart.... serving wholeheartedly (Eph 6:5-6).

And although you now tell me that slavery was a sin, you would have "served them even better because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them." (Tim 6:1-2).

This is not the church occasionally getting it wrong, this is what happens when you follow scripture unthinkingly.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 6:43pm BST

NP: I think that the many writers of scripture certainly had a set meaning when they wrote it. It altogether another thing that we understand what they meant through the numerous translations and years between us and them.

But I'm sure your Greek and Hebrew are better than mine.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 7:45pm BST

I'm amazed at the weak showing by the liberals here.

The only argument seems to be the conversatives in the past used Scripture to defend slavery. Ergo current conservatives are doing the same thing wrt sexual sin (since all conservatives are the same...) Therefore, liberals' view must be correct.

Anyone want to prosper a test for whiches? That would be about as sound as this argument.

As for can we know Truth - didn't someone say we're no longer servants but friends because we know what's going on and friends get clued in?

NP - thanks for invoking Wilberforce. The man was not only conservative but evangelical.

Posted by: Chris on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 8:20pm BST

"conversatives"? "whiches"?

Posted by: lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 11:04pm BST

lapinbizarre - sorry, I'm a child of the spell-check age. Still, fairly embarrassing.

Any comment on the substance of the post?

Posted by: Chris on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 12:05am BST

Oh gee Chris, Erika and I are just having fun letting the "conversatives" dig a bigger hole for themselves to bury themselves in. All in good fun, at least for some of us.

And Evensong was lovely tonight. T. Tertus Noble in b minor.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 2:02am BST

Please dear Chris, you cannot adequately summarize the entire body of alternative hermeneutical work on all the non-conservative readings of all the scriptures that could possibly be involved, in a single blog post on TA. If you really want the range of serious answers to your question, don't look to a post here, but engage in serious study of critical scholarship and hermeneutics. The incredible range of interesting and viable frames and lenses through which to productively read and understand scripture is so very, very large. No single scholar encompasses all of hermeneutics, and the implication that any view could is so simplistic as to be laughing out loud misleading.

If you wish a proof text, try this one for starters: Jesus tells us in the NT: I have many things to say to you that you cannot bear now ... and ... I have sheep which are not of this fold ... and ... you will do greater things than I when the Holy Spirit is come upon you ... and ... the Sabbath is made to nourish humanity, not humanity made to obey Sabbath strictures.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 4:58am BST

Erika - what happens when people and churches which reject scripture "unthinkingly" or which pick and choose what they want to accept?

(actually, the evangelical position has a lot of scholarship behind it - and has never been convincingly demolished by any liberal scholar - not even Dr Rowan Williams)


So - you would have told slaves to ignore what the Bible teaches them is a godly way to live in that situation?

(remember, it teaches that behaviour to slaves for a purpose - do you know what purpose is?)

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 7:37am BST

Chris
Comment on the substance of the post:

The point is that throughout this debate the conservatives have told us we haven't got a leg to stand on, because however nice sounding our arguments are, they clearly go against scripture and therefore have to be discounted.

The slavery issue is a perfect example to show the conservatives that even they have once overturned a literalist reading of scripture.

If we can get this core point straight - that it is possible to come to different understandings of the meaning of scripture over time - then we migh actually have the basis for a proper conversation about all other liberal issues too.

That's not to say that we expect conservatives to agree with all our other issues, but it would be nice if we could at least get to the stage of having a proper exploration together rather than being hammered down with biblical clobber passages.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 8:07am BST

NP,
You assume that liberals are "ditching scripture unthinkingly". That is laughable and I point you to drdanfee's post just above my last one.

What would I have said to the slaves? At the time - probably nothing. I expect I would have been caught up in the culture of my time just as all the other Christians.

Looked at it from where we stand now, I would want them to be free because it is clear that the writers of scripture were caught up in their culture and could not see that the immensity of Christ's message applied to slaves too and that they therefore had to be set free and seen as true brothers and sisters.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 8:45am BST

Again, Erika - you do not seem to know what the bible actually says on slavery - it does not say it is good to own slaves - it says things which were revolutionary 2000 yrs ago eg "there is no slave nor free" and see how Paul pleaded for Onesimus. There was no justification for the slave trade from scriptures - that is why the evangelical Wilberforce and others fought it.


No, I don't think "liberals" ditch scripture "unthinkingly" - some "liberals" seem very keen on scripture when they want to talk about poverty or against capitalism. However, when it comes to things they want to condone which scripture says God condemns, they have to think about how to avoid the clear meaning of Spirit-inspired scripture - they convince very few, even in the west, but they do think about how to wriggle out of very clear teaching from OT ot NT.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 2:10pm BST

Chris. Sorry I was crabby yesterday - I was on a bit of a "grammar police" tear. Biblical hardliners - not you - who won't even bother to capitalize "Bible", irritate after a while.

Many years ago it was hammered into me that there is strong correlation between the ability to express ones-self clearly on the page, and the ability to think clearly. What is certain is that the more care you take to express your opinion clearly, the more easily the reader will understand precisely what your intend to say.

Erika's reply to your "substance" question pretty well covers my own reaction. It's not that conservatives used scripture to defend slavery, but rather that scripture flat-out (see the Leviticus quote below) approves slavery. Conservatives tend to write this approval out of the record because the concept of slavery is now, in both secular and religious terms, utterly unacceptable. On the other hand, on the subject of gayness they can ignore David and Jonathan and continue - just - to man the barricades.

NP - it is true that the bible [sic] does not say that it is "good to own slaves". What is does say - Leviticus 25:44-46; New King James version - is: "And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property. And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves."

Which is not exactly, as I interpret it, saying that slavery is "bad".

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 3:56pm BST

NP suggested that "the evangelical position has a lot of scholarship behind it "

I'm uncomfortable with blanket statements like this and wonder whether it is affirming evangelical scholars or evangelical scholarship.

To be an evangelical scholar is to have certain religious beliefs which inform one's scholarship, but which one is prepared to expose to the full investigation of the wider academic comunity. It is 'an honourable estate'. Names from the past include Guthrie and FF Bruce.

'Evangelical scholarship' is an oxymoron in my book, for it implies the production of scholarly material for a ghetto and the editing of scholarship to affirm and underwrite an a priori conclusion. RK Harrison is a good blast from the past on that one, and such pseudo-scholarship is responsible for that abomination known as the NIV, where language is strained and special pleading invoked to keep ConsEvs happy and smiling in their beds.

No scholar in the first sense will ever make an impression on evangelical scholarship, because as soon as an argument falls outside evangelical nostrums it must be resisted at all costs.

(There is a third category, personified by people like Kitching, who specialise in reputable Bible-related disciplines (Egyptology in his case) and attend academic conferences on the Bible) but whose views undergo a metamorphosis once they get on to Biblical ground.)

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 9:33pm BST

Lapinbizarre said:
"Many years ago it was hammered into me that there is strong correlation between the ability to express ones-self clearly on the page, and the ability to think clearly. What is certain is that the more care you take to express your opinion clearly, the more easily the reader will understand precisely what your intend to say. "

Completely agree and wish more people taught and understood this concept – especially here in the US. As a professional I take great care in what and how I communicate in written media. Occasionally, in less formal settings such as this, I'll let down my guard.

On the slavery issue: there are parts of the Levitical law that do not condone an action and therefore make them "clean," but rather regulate a sin that people will commit any way. Divorce is one such area. When I read the longer passage from Leviticus 25, it would appear that slavery is a similar case since there are limits on owning Israelites as slaves.

This destroys the pro-slavery case of conservatives of a by-gone era. But to map that position of 18th and 19th C conservatives to current positions of modern conservatives doesn’t seem to make sense.

Posted by: Chris on Friday, 30 March 2007 at 12:39am BST

Chris. Last post from me on this one. Israelites might only be held in what a later age termed "indentured servitude". This condition was not permanent, and the family and children of the individual were not necessarily or normally similarly enslaved. Non-Israelites, by contrast, were subject to "hereditary" slavery. Your slaves, their children and their descendants were the property of you, your children and of succeeding ages of your descendants. Occasionally, on less staid blogs than "Thinking Anglicans", you will see the quotation "your male and female slaves whom you may have from the nations that are around you" followed by the question "Why can't I own a Canadian?"

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 30 March 2007 at 1:09am BST
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