Saturday, 26 July 2008

News from the Big Blue Tent (10)

Thanks to those who are adding comments to this blog. I’ve taken a decision that my time is best spent writing the daily instalment than making individual responses, but do rest assured that you are all part of what I am carrying with me into the various sessions here.

Last night and today we’ve looked at environmental issues. The figures for how much the carbon dioxide level has gone up in recent years were, alongside plenty of other statistics, both frightening and compelling. And, given that Anglicans don’t subscribe to the “let’s use the world up so that Jesus will come back soon” heresy, we need to effect the moral leadership that is our only option for a problem market capitalism is singularly unfitted to deal with unaided. I spoke with a bishop from the Pacific region who has already seen five islands disappear under the water in recent years; one from Tanzania told us that the snows are melting from the summit of Kilimanjaro; a colleague from Zambia spoke of how the rainy season which should last from October to late April is now down to December-March. What bishops do in their bedrooms gets put into perspective when we recognise that those bedrooms may be uninhabitable or under water within a generation.

The conference process goes on and there were some deeply moving moments in my Bible Study Group this morning. The group of 15 or so listeners (one from each indaba) has now been chosen. These bishops will produce the draft documents that will eventually be processed by the conference into something that Rowan told us after Evensong today should not be a record of what was said but provide clear and prophetic direction to the communion. I don’t as yet have a full list but I do know two good friends; Michael Perham of Gloucester and Bill Godfrey of Peru are on it. These are people in whom I have confidence.

After lunch we had the Lambeth 08 photo. For forty minutes the staff painstakingly arranged all 670 or so of us in tiers whilst we sweated in the afternoon heat, close proximity and convocation dress, and regressed to schoolboy/girl status. At the point when the whole thing seemed to have completely bogged down we burst into a spontaneous rendition of Amazing Grace (a full four verses) which defused the situation.

The programme has been quiet since then; Evening Prayer was led by TEC. There were plenty of people there (except for a number of English bishops who have shot off home for a 24 hour break) and it was one further nail in the coffin of the rumour that significant numbers of TEC bishops are deficient in Christology (or other areas of doctrine). Tonight there are a handful of fringe events but I’ve bought a can of decent beer and am watching a favourite old film (Pleasantville) on my laptop. Tomorrow I’m skipping both the options of the cathedral and civic reception or a parish visit and will take a train to a decent beach where I can enjoy a long walk and a good novel.

Highlight of the day: the amazingly proficient choir of TEC bishops and spouses who helped lead Evening Prayer.

Lowlight of the day: discovering that the train I need tomorrow goes from the further away station.

Posted by David Walker on Saturday, 26 July 2008 at 9:24pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Big Blue Tent | Lambeth Conference 2008
Comments

"What bishops do in their bedrooms gets put into perspective when we recognise that those bedrooms may be uninhabitable or under water within a generation."

Precisely.

Personally, I am inspired by the God who is capable of loving both a gay man or lesbian as well as a healthy heterosexual male. My trust is with the God who would help humanity confront its philosophical and theological advocates whose paradigms have lead to waves of civil war, desecration, deceit and violence. A God who is eternal and undaunted by the sciences and arts, a God who opens new avenues to take humanity into new futures. A God who wants humanity and takes responsibility for all this planet's occupants, both seen or unseen, human or beast, Christian or secular...

That's a God that's worth bragging about.

Certainly not some pompous idol who only cares whether or not they are being flattered and who thinks justice is only for the "elite" flattering male priesthood.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 26 July 2008 at 10:28pm BST

"...it was one further nail in the coffin of the rumour that significant numbers of TEC bishops are deficient in Christology (or other areas of doctrine)."

Indeed! I am glad someone noticed.

"Tonight there are a handful of fringe events but I’ve bought a can of decent beer and am watching a favourite old film (Pleasantville) on my laptop. Tomorrow I’m skipping both the options of the cathedral and civic reception or a parish visit and will take a train to a decent beach where I can enjoy a long walk and a good novel."

Good for him! Sounds like a good day of rest.

(Decent beer = Guinness)

Posted by: Rev. Kurt Huber on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 1:10am BST

Good on you, Bishop David! Let's hope you will have recovered enough stamina to stand with those bishops who will resist the attempt, on Monday, to enshrine a compliance code preventing TEC and the Canadian Church from pursuing what they perceive to be the work of the Gospel in their own home territories.

It would be a great pity if those myopic bishops -most of them absent from Lambeth - who want to split the Anglican Church on the grounds of their opposition to gays and women - are encouraged to continue in their intransigence against the traditioonal Anglican Way - Unity in diversity.
Good Pope John XXIII must be turning in his grave.
Is there an element of power-broking in the G.S. that should be resisted?

Whatever happens over this new attempt to enforce a new covenantal relationship - when most of the dissenting bishops are not even at the party - there should be a new determination to actually listen to the advocates of tolerance towards gays and women in the ministry of our Church. If gays are perceived by the Colony of the Righteous as the modern-day lepers in society, what would Jesus attitude be towards them - ethnic cleansing?

I think that, whatever the outcome of these discussions, the re-asserters have already set their true-South compass - against Compass Rose.
So why not let them navigate their own canoe?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 8:03am BST

Wonderful lighthearted (but with lightly veiled deep spiritualness) comments on the goings on at Lambethfest!

Thank you for your kind comments about the Evening Prayer service conduct by the very present bishops of TEC.

I hope you discovered a can of Hampshire Special Bitter. It can be purchased at that further away train station of Waterloo. And it can enlighten you to know in Lambeth's back yard is Clapham Junction, were you can go anywhere in the south and west.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 12:28pm BST

Enjoying the blog, but was just wondering, Bishop David, if you giving both the Cathedral and parish visit a miss does that mean you will not be making your communion today?

Posted by: Ian on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 3:45pm BST

I should like to offer a word of caution for a too easy and casual acceptance of alcohol (especially in convenient cans) in Christian circles ?

I realize that what I am saying is not kool, but it is a necesary caution.

Have you noticed what is happening in UK vis a vis alcohol use, and its wide ranging effects on people, young and old, and on many servies including the NHS?

Posted by: Treebeard on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 6:27pm BST

Should've taken the bus.

Posted by: Joseph Mathews on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 6:58pm BST

choirboyfromhell: The conference and David are in Canterbury, not Lambeth. Canterbury has two railway stations (West and East). Canterbury East is the one further from the University campus, which suggests that David planned to set off towards Dover.

Joseph: Assuming that David is going to Dover the only bus service that I can find runs every two hours on a Sunday, and the last one back from Dover leaves at 4.30 pm. The trains are every hour and run all day and evening, so he's much better off going by train.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 8:56pm BST

... or the wagon

Posted by: Treebeard on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 9:55pm BST

Thanks David, should've been aware of that. Gods of LB&SC and L&SW please forgive.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 10:06pm BST

That should be 'Gods of LC&D and SE Rys'. Never could figure out the massive mess of the Southern Region.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 10:18pm BST

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Bishop Walker, but I am afraid that once mainstream Episcopalians are hounded out of the Communion, you will not find the so-called "orthodox remnant" in the U.S. very helpful on the issue of global warming.

Most, you see, consider it a liberal conspiracy to destroy capitalism, ensure the triumph of the ChiComs, and replace Christianity with some sort of earth worship.

Come to think of it, they are not going to be very helpful on peace issues, either, since most think that the Iraq War has been such a great success that we need to expand it to the rest of the Middle East.

Third world debt relief? Cheap AIDS drugs for Africa? Well, those things would interfere with the workings of the free market. Communism, in other words. Can't have that.

And let's not even get started on the Millennium Development Goals. People who care about the MDGs think that the church is just a social service organization and need to go off and join the Unitarians. Besides, the U.N. is just a bunch of commies anyway.

If you think I'm getting carried away here, spend some time reading the "orthodox" forums, like Virtue, T19, and Stand Firm, and you will find that their members tend to be *very* hard right politically as well as religiously.

Just imagine what it will be like to work and worship in a communion controlled by a coalition of angry American reactionaries and African fundamentalists.

Not a pretty picture, is it?

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 28 July 2008 at 1:19am BST

Dare I say? It has been whispered; that some of the Global South Bishops were not at Lambeth because they could not have been seen by their heads of gevernment to be marching with former colonial bishops for the MDG cause. This might mean that they would actually be expected to do something about it in their own back-yards.

God help them if they cut themselves off from Western aid sources by quitting the Communion.
However, there are probably still a few very wealthy US Conservative 'Good Ol' Boys' to lend a hand. After all, that's what funded GAFCON.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 28 July 2008 at 12:02pm BST

JPM,
An excellent note to Bishop Walker! The same message needs to be communicated to Bishop Wright, who still doesn't seem to "get" that the Episcopalians who most firmly agree with his opposition to the Invasion of Iraq are the same ones he wants to see excluded and marginalized for their inclusive views on GLBT Christians and their theological liberalism, while the "conservatives" are generally firm supporters of the Bushite New World Order, and will hardly continue to respond well to an English bishop who appears to have made anti-Americanism a key element of his theology.

Posted by: WilliamK on Monday, 28 July 2008 at 7:32pm BST

Thanks, WilliamK.

It boggles the mind how few outside the U.S. understand that by smacking around TEC, they are most assuredly *not* sticking it to George W. Bush--they are, instead, crawling into bed with him.

Posted by: JPM on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 at 11:20pm BST
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