Monday, 12 January 2009

Anglican angles on Obama's inauguration

Updated again Friday evening

First, there was the invitation to Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to give the formal invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration. There was a lot of negative reaction to this, but more recently Mr Warren added his own Anglican angle, as reported by Christianity Today in Displaced Anglicans Offered Refuge on Saddleback Campus.

Wednesday evening update That article was removed, as explained here. The original text can still be found here.

Second, there is the news report that the Rev. Sharon E. Watkins of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is to deliver the sermon at the national prayer service that is held the day after the inauguration. The Anglican angle is that this service is being held at the Washington National Cathedral.

Third, there is the announcement that Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson is to offer prayers at the Lincoln Memorial concert two days before the inauguration. See also the ENS report: New Hampshire bishop invited to offer prayers at inaugural kickoff event. And there are many links to other reports here.

British reporting of this: Guardian, Times, Telegraph.

Wednesday morning updates

Episcopal News Service has more on the Rick Warren story, at ‘Purpose-Driven’ pastor offers space to dissident Episcopalians.

And Max Blumenthal has written about Rick Warren’s Africa Problem.

National Public Radio has a 5 minute radio interview with Bishop Robinson at Robinson ‘Delighted’ To Be Part Of Inauguration.

Wednesday evening update

A fourth Anglican angle on the inauguration can be found in the Washington Post which reports that Historic Church Will Host President-Elect on Big Day. This refers to St John’s Church Lafayette Square.

Friday evening update
More Anglican angles on the Washington Cathedral service, which will involve both the Bishop of Washington and the Presiding Bishop.

Even more detail on all the participants in that service is provided by ENS here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 12 January 2009 at 9:26pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

I wonder how "Pastor Rick" would feel if the local Episcopal diocese started sticking its nose into his internal affairs?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 12 January 2009 at 10:15pm GMT

I'm sure Pastor Rick is just doing what he thinks the Lord has called him to even if it does fly in the face of the Gospel. Homophobia and the ignorance that accompanies it is just astounding.

Another Rick Warren

Posted by: Richard Warren on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 12:54am GMT

Inviting Gene Robinson is a reassuring bit of even-handedness, and a welcome tribute to a man of great courage and evangelical candor.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 1:57am GMT

Rick Warren´s got it, many active alcoholics have it, smart people try and avoid it, Christians find it dangerous and spiritually unhealthy...it´s name: selfwill run riot!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 3:51am GMT

Considering Sidney Blumenthal's article the other day on Rick Warrens goings on and associates in Uganda & c. (his so called AIDS work) probably that would be a good thing.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 4:55am GMT

Link: http://maxblumenthal.com/2009/01/rick-warrens-africa-problem

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 7:04am GMT

"We stand in solidarity with them, and with all orthodox, evangelical Anglicans. I offer the campus of Saddleback Church to any Anglican congregation who need a place to meet, or if you want to plant a new congregation in south Orange County." - Saddleback Campus invitation -

Soemone only today was asking me what the term 'Poison Chalice' meant. I guess this invitation to disssident TEC parishes could fill the bill.

I note that Pastor Rick is only interested in 'Evangelical parishes' accepting his invitation to share premises. That might not fit too well with the Anglo-Catholics among the dissidents. But who knows, this could be the beginning of a whole new denomination - with Pastor Rick in charge?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 7:49am GMT

An endorsement from Rick Warren? Gee, how much more proof do we need that the Right is wrong?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 12:21pm GMT

This isn't Pastor Rick's first partnership with the schismatics--he spoke at the 2005 Anglican Communion Network convention, was originally listed as a member of the Common Cause Partnership (until too many bloggers started asking how a Southern Baptist could also be an Anglican, at which point Saddleback suddenly disappeared from the roster), and wrote that embarrassingly sycophantic Akinola profile in Time.

Posted by: JPM on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 4:13pm GMT

"originally listed as a member of the Common Cause Partnership (until too many bloggers started asking how a Southern Baptist could also be an Anglican, at which point Saddleback suddenly disappeared from the roster)"

See, this is the kind of schemery that we should be publishing abroad. If more people could see the blatant dishonesty of things like the Common Cause, they wouldn't have the currency they do. I wonder how many people who basically side with the Conservatives/Common Cause/GAFCONites would drop it like a wet mitt if they were made aware how dishonest these self appointed "orthodox" actually are.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 4:40pm GMT

Wow thanks lots for the link to Max's blog. I commend his carefulness in supporting documentation, instead of just talking about the admittedly alarming features of Rick W's supposedly generous and high-minded AIDS work in Africa.

I am still left musing on how difficult it seems it is for followers of Jesus of Nazareth to engage with anything newly corrective and empirical, since Galileo et al. onwards. Somehow the early church could work through the gospel going to the Gentiles, and the whole raft of vexed hot buttons that went with that change - most alarmingly in Jewish Christian Jerusalem context - the de-emphasis on circumcision as the ritual sign of joining God's People, along with the keeping of the Mosaic Laws.

We paid a steep price for that inclusion, as we believers significantly lost most of our individual and communal feel for Jesus the Jewish rabbi or prophet. Nevertheless, we who cannot recall this scriptural past seem doomed to repeat it, like a banal loop of our own particular faith Groundhog Day. We seem doomed to four steps forward along with three steps backward, nearly every single time a Galileo analogue arises?

So sad to begin understanding how uninformed Warren's AIDS work in Africa really is, abetted by the likes of Ssempe and Orombi. Other factual note? Abstinence only conservative religious campaigns have not lessened the incidence of teen sex and teen pregnancy, where they have been able to dominate enough to shoulder aside family planning and contraceptive frameworks.

What is it about sex that gets rightwing believers up in such a mad-hog huff? Now every time Pastor RW's AIDS work comes up for discussion, we have a chance to mention some of the real facts on the ground in Africa/Uganda.

This is not a newer, kinder, more generous Southern Baptist Church, though Rick Warren wishes to put a mild face upon the dark sides of his AIDS work and his antigay negative beliefs plus his appalling policy tilts. This whole mess ain't ova by a loooonnng shot.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 9:03pm GMT

Bishop Gene Robinson's invitation to lead the Prayers at the Inaugural Concert is at least a sign of the Administration's willingness to accept the authenticity of Gene's position as a Bishop of the Church in TEC. For this we should at least be thankful! It demonstrates that the incoming President of the USA is aware of the situation vis-a-vis the position of the Church and it's acceptance of the LBGT Community.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 9:03pm GMT

Goran, Max Blumenthal. Not Sidney. Max is Sidney's son, though, so you have the bloodline right.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 12:06am GMT

"Bishop Gene Robinson's invitation to lead the Prayers at the Inaugural Concert is at least a sign of the Administration's willingness to accept the authenticity of Gene's position as a Bishop of the Church in TEC."

Excuse me, but who gives a damn about the Administration's opinion as to the authenticity of Bishop Robinson (are "progressives" on a first name with *everybody* they approve of? hmph!) or any other Bishop of the Episcopal Church? This is the United States we're talking about - the Administration doesn't get a say in the matter. (The Internal Revenue Service does, but that's beside the point).

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 1:48am GMT

Did the Bishop say this or is this satire? I do not trust the media.:

Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was horrified at how specifically and aggressively Christian they were.

I am very clear, he said, that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.

Posted by: Josh on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 5:30am GMT

Sorry about mixing them up!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 6:05am GMT

BillyD
"Excuse me, but who gives a damn about the Administration's opinion as to the authenticity of Bishop Robinson"

I would have thought in a country where the evangelical right has a lot of political power, this is an important political message.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 9:17am GMT

Josh:

And if he did say that, what's the issue? He'll be giving an invocation at an event sure to be attended by a wide variety of people of all religions (and possibly none at all). Why can't he call upon God without making references that are specifically Christian?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 11:30am GMT

"this will not be a Christian prayer"

Lord Jesus BLESS +Gene for saying that! :-D

[As both a Christian and a 12-Stepper myself, I sometimes wonder if an acceptance of "the **God-in-Christ** of our MANY understandings" might go some way towards PEACE in Anglican-Land. ;-/]

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 5:54pm GMT

"Rev. Runnion-Bareford wrote, "Your decision, to invite Bishop Gene Robinson to provide public leadership at the Sunday celebration of your inauguration is offensive and disappointing to many of us in Christian leadership who seek to be supportive of your presidency.

In contrast to your other choices for religious leadership during this historic occasion, Robinson is a schismatic figure who has intentionally caused deep hurt and division in the Christian church." - Virtue-on-line blog -

The above extract from the message sent to President-Elect by the leader of the so-called
'Mainline (Churches) Renewal' movement in the USA, posted by David Virtue, must surely be the most scurrilous attack on those Churches in that country whose theological stand of enlightenment on the issue of Women and gays in the Ministry of the Church is a beacon of hope for thousands of Christians around the world.

Naturally, 'Virtue on Line' (which by any standards ought, perhaps, to be called 'Vice on line' because of its derogatory statements about TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada) could be expected to feature such inflammatory invective, if only to show Mr.Virtue's continuing disrespect for the Church that has enabled his ministry for the past few years.

Having heard whispers that Mr.Virtue's origins lie in the Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand, I would like to dissociate myself from any sort of connection with him or his puritanical campaign on his web-site. There are very few New Zealanders who would want to be associated with his obvious dislike for women and gays in the ministry of the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 16 January 2009 at 12:16am GMT

"Excuse me, but who gives a damn about the Administration's opinion as to the authenticity of Bishop Robinson"

{clears throat, a little nervously}

Perhaps the occupant of Lambeth Palace?

I would argue (here's the "There, I said it" part) that the ABC's rudeness to +New Hampshire stems, in no small part---and purely politically---from the *blackness* of +Gene's detractors (i.e., the African Primates).

Now, here is the *most important black man on the planet* giving +Gene an endorsement.

No, from an Anglican standpoint, it shouldn't matter.

But to Rowan Cantuar, it might. (OCICBW)

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 16 January 2009 at 12:49am GMT

"I would argue (here's the "There, I said it" part) that the ABC's rudeness to +New Hampshire stems, in no small part---and purely politically---from the *blackness* of +Gene's detractors (i.e., the African Primates)."

I disagree. There have been some statements, like those made by Spong at Lambeth '98 that indicate this attitude is indeed held by some, but it always seemed to me to be fringe rather than central. I see racism, or perhaps anti-colonialism, in the actions of these African leaders. It's pretty obvious in their not too subtly stated contention that homosexuality is some Western vice, introduced to Africa more or less purposefully to keep Africans oppressed by the descendants of those who colonialized and enslaved their ancestors. It is also evident in their statements to the effect that aid from Western Churches is essentially an attempt to buy them off, if not bribe them outright to abandon the Gospel.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 16 January 2009 at 4:18pm GMT

I'm not sure you get my meaning, Ford.

I'm saying, that I think that Rowan Cantuar is (*perhaps*) denying his own well-thought out convictions (see re "The Body's Grace", and the old letter published last summer) because he *may feel intimidated* in challenging the (equally strong, for WHATEVER reason!) convictions of the African primates.

It's not about why the African primates feel the way they do, but only in Rowan's (*possible*!) post-colonial guilt in challenging it.

Anyway, so here's Barack Obama, a son of Africa: not only can he show +Gene Robinson simple courtesy (something the ABC failed at so spectacularly, w/ his Lambeth "arrest on sight" directive >:-( ), but can actually consider him a friend! A man to be RESPECTED, and included! (At something far more PUBLIC, than a simple Lambeth invite, "inside the Blue Tent")

Now, who's setting a better *moral* example? President-Elect Obama, or Rowan-(likely)-beholden-to-Akinola (etc)?

In what, to me, is the obvious answer to that question, I think Rowan might take notice. (But again I say, "OCICBW")

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 17 January 2009 at 7:34pm GMT

To put it more simply: if Lambeth were occurring on the Summer of 2009, rather than 2008, I think it quite possible that one more (indisputably-canonical) Anglican bishop might have been invited. ;-/

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 17 January 2009 at 7:36pm GMT

[Knowing probably no one will read this post---I hope there's another chance to post the following]

While Rowan Cantuar ordered +Gene Robinson be arrested on sight, Someone Else seems to enjoy having him around:

http://tiny.cc/WJRL7

(With +Gene and Someone Else, is Gene's daughter, Ella. Gene's partner Mark took the picture)

And especially for Baby Blue (Mary Ailes)!

http://tiny.cc/szUVN

(With +Gene, Mark and Ella, a Certain Irish Performer/Humanitarian that BabyBlue is fond of. Gene reports having a very friendly conversation about his Inaugural prayer, with the interested Performer/Humanitarian. See http://canterburytalesfromthefringe.blogspot.com/)

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 22 January 2009 at 10:03pm GMT

"To put it more simply: if Lambeth were occurring on the Summer of 2009, rather than 2008, I think it quite possible that one more (indisputably-canonical) Anglican bishop might have been invited. ;-/"

I would hope not! Whatever the rightness or wrongness of his position, it is highly inappropriate for any bishop in the Church to take his cues from any secular leader. We've had enough of that in the past 1700 years. It's what gotten us in the mess we're in.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 23 January 2009 at 1:52pm GMT

Ford
But the decision not to invite him to Lambeth was made on purely (secular) political grounds and had nothing to do with theology.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 January 2009 at 3:04pm GMT

"purely (secular) political grounds and had nothing to do with theology."

I think the GAFCON types are motivated far more by homophobia, anti-colonialist bigotry, and a fear of change that borders on paranoia than they are by concern for the Gospel. I think their actions and statements make that pretty clear. But their arguments against +Gene are theologically based, having to do with how we recognize sin, various understandings of Scriptural authority, and what we do about it, so their arguments, regardless of the motivation, are theological and need to be dealt with as such. +Rowan's decision not to invite +Gene, and +Gene's reaction to it, were, I think, a great opportunity for +Gene to behave according to the Gospel WRT those who oppose him, and he didn't disappoint, IMNSHO. But I don't agree that +Rowan's motives were entirely political. He is not there to push anyone's sensibilities on anyone else, but to moderate, to be a focus for discussion and unity if possible, and that requires compromise on both sides. As to who is doing the most compromising here, that's another issue, as is the issue of whether or not it is even Christian of us to balance off "our" compromises against "theirs". But it isn't really fair to say that the concerns of the conservatives, however misguided we think them to be, are unimportant or merely political in nature. They think the same of "us".

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 23 January 2009 at 5:45pm GMT
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