Wednesday, 24 June 2009

ACNA update

Updated Thursday evening

There have been many reports from the meeting being held in Bedford, Texas.

Official reports can be found at http://acnaassembly.org.

Some media reports:

USA Today U.S. Anglican Church launches, will ban female, gay bishops.

Religious Intelligence George Conger New US Province is formed.

Living Church OCA To End Relations with TEC, Forge Ties to ACNA and OCA Synod ‘Enthusiastic’ About Dialogue with ACNA.

Also there is ACNA Adds Five Bishops. But also at Religion News Service there is Running the number on ACNA:

But what about those 100,000 members that ACNA claims? Shortly after it launched last February, the group actually lowered that number to 81,311 people in the pews every Sunday. In June, ACNA lowered that number again to 69,197.

For some context, the Episcopal diocese with the largest average Sunday attendance in 2007 was Virginia, with 25,300.

It’s not unusual for membership numbers to be much higher than average Sunday attendance. But that usually happens in large, longstanding churches, like the Episcopal Church, which may have people on the membership rolls who stopped attending church long ago, or who are Easter-Christmas attenders only. One would assume that in a new church committed to orthodoxy, the gap between average Sunday attendance and membership would be quite a bit smaller.

Speaking of leavers, this site reported (emphasis added):

Rumors abound that Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Leo Iker’s long term goal is to take his diocese to Rome. Not true. Numerous sources have told VOL that he is deeply committed to the new North American Anglican Province and he will work with his fellow bishops over the thorny issue of women’s ordination.

A number of his Ft. Worth priests were recently seen at the Anglican Use conference in Houston. He has told them that if they want to go to Rome, they can do so, but they can’t take their property with them.

Thursday evening update

Colin Coward has helpfully summarised the support for ACNA that can be found in England, see Why are Church of England bishops betraying the Communion?

…On behalf of the Church of England Evangelical Council, Bishop Wallace Benn of Lewes and Archdeacon Michael Lawson sent greetings and expressed delight to be in full communion with the dissident Province. On behalf of Anglican Mainstream Canon Chris Sugden (who is present at the meeting) and Philip Giddings sent very warm greetings, rejoicing at this very significant stage of development and expressing their fellowship and communion in the Lord with the dissident body. Philip Giddings is Vice Chair (House of Laity) of the General Synod of the Church of England.

A report posted by Anglican Mainstream says that Archbishop Bob Duncan informed the assembly on Tuesday that greetings had been received from the Bishops of Rochester , Winchester, Chester and Chichester. The Bishop of Rochester is speaking at a meeting on Sunday 5th July in support of the launch of FoCA.

The bishops of Lewes, Rochester, Winchester, Chester and Chichester and the Lay Chair of General Synod are all supporting a dissident, ultra-conservative, reactionary movement which aims to destroy and replace the Anglican Communion as at present constituted.

The plan doesn’t end with replacing Provinces in North America. The FoCA launch on the 6th July is the first step in a movement to replace the four UK Anglican Provinces. The only names missing from this list of usual suspects are the bishops of Blackburn and Exeter who signed a letter of support for Bishop Bob Duncan last year…

TA Note: The Bishop of Rochester has formally resigned his see effective from 1 September 2009 although he has already ceased public engagements in the diocese.

There is a long article by Ann Rodgers profiling the new Archbishop of ACNA and the history behind ACNA in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headlined Bishop Robert Duncan is trading sacred places.

It includes this quote from one of the Episcopal Church’s most respected retired clergy, a former President of the House of Deputies of General Convention:

But a retired Pittsburgh cathedral dean said Bishop Duncan followed his own agenda. “The only program he has kept to totally for the past 11 years has been developing this parallel universe and his position in it,” said the Rev. George Werner.

An earlier NPR report Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church included this quote from Susan Russell:

“It would be as if Sarah Palin were to take a small, but vocal, percentage of very conservative Republicans and decide that they were going to create a parallel United States without having the White House at the center,” Russell says.

and this from George Pitcher:

George Pitcher, an Anglican priest at St. Bride’s Anglican Church in London and religion editor at the Daily Telegraph, agrees. He says the communion welcomes conservative views.

But, he says, “when they want to say this is the one true way, and we want to impose it on all Anglicans, then it’s at that stage that the broadly tolerant Anglican Communion says, ‘Well that’s not the way we do things.’ ”

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Comments

"A number of his Ft. Worth priests were recently seen at the Anglican Use conference in Houston. He (Iker) has told them that if they want to go to Rome, they can do so, but they can’t take their property with them."

Doesn't Mr. Iker realize that when he abandoned TEC and was deposed/laicized, he is no longer in a legal position to make any decisions about the disposition of TEC church buildings? This is no longer "their property."

Posted by: Марко Фризия (Mark Friesland) on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 3:18am BST

ACNA would quickly get rid of a bishop who was exposed as a secret gay..yet they allow their constitution to be flouted by "affrming the 39 articles in their grammatical and literal sense" and at the same time ignoring them.

As for the Orthodox Churh in America..how can they affirm a body that ordains women priests?

What a monster Sydney has created.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 6:15am BST

Can someone explain to me just what the deal is with these people on the ordination of women? Women priests okay, but bishops not? Women priests not okay at all? Or is it simply not a 'deal breaker' issue in what is such a small movement. Are women bishops the 'deal breaking equivalents' of openly gay male bishops? This seems to be the implicit belief of a number of Church of England bishops who ordain women priests but are opposing women in the episcopate in Synod.

Posted by: Grumpy High Church Woman on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 11:49am BST

"Can someone explain to me just what the deal is with these people on the ordination of women?"

Let's see who has their sarcasm metre on this morning. The two great threats to the Church and society in general are, in order of importance:

1)Uppity fags
2)distantly second, uppity women.

Well, there's a third one: everyone who isn't conservative, but that list still needs to be itemized and prioritized.

It is vastly more important to deal with the uppity fags first. They are, after all, a threat to marriage, a threat to children, most likely not really human, and in all liklelihood not made by God. They have not only chosen to disobey God, they flaunt that disobedience in His face. Their perfidy and rebelliousness against God is shown by the fact that the majority of them could change back to normal if they wanted to, but they would prefer to wallow in their sick behaviour, thumbing their noses at God and all that is holy and decent in Western society, thereby bringing us to the brink of destruction. They they stubbornly refuse to accept the threats, condemnations, lies, and slander that are the essential elements of evangelism. So, build a wall around them first. Then there'll be time to deal with the women. In the meantime, there are sufficient ordained women who are equally in fear and hatred of fags and dykes, and not smart enough to see that once the queers are dealt with, they are next. There is also the fact that for some reason these same "ACNAettes" are unable to perceive the hypocrisy of claiming that Scriptural reinterpretation in light of modern science and ideas about equality is not only possible but necessary when it comes to making sure THEY can demand THEIR rights, but absolutely verboten when it comes to considering the way the Church has treated homosexuals for centuries. These latter two facts mean that these women support ACNA. When the long knives come out for them, they'll go elsewhere. I would really like for one of those women to explain to me how their behaviour is NOT the most blatant piece of hypocrisy to come out of the Church in a very long time.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 1:07pm BST

For goodness sake, Grumpy High Church Woman, it isn't that difficult to understand. In some parts of the Anglican Communion the equivalent offence to 'driving while black' is 'ordained while having a vagina'. Equally terrible crimes.

Posted by: toby forward on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 1:12pm BST

So, OCA has "ended its ecumenical relations with The Episcopal Church”? Oh, boo hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo.

Posted by: Kurt on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 1:34pm BST

"Duncan says the church may continue to ordain women as deacons and priests. But pushing forward to name them as bishops, he says, is seen by the rest of the Anglican Communion as "a sad and arrogant American approach.""

In otherwords, do the work, but you can't be promoted. Barefoot and pregnant.

So would somebody tell me why Duncan still wears a collar? How can he still be a cleric, let alone going to crown himself an "archbishop"?

Old, rigid, out-of touch and faith based on rage. That's sad and arrogant for you.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 1:37pm BST

As to the difference between women priests and women bishops - anyone meeting me can know that I'm a woman priest and can decide not to receive communion or participate with me as a priest. But, how can one meeting a male priest know if he was ordained by a woman bishop and therefore to be considered invalid?
I suspect there is particular fear about hospital chaplains, dicesan camp staffs, and others whose credentials cannot be checked.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by: Columba Gilliss on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 2:18pm BST

On the OCA thing...although it appears that Metropolitan Jonah is giving his weight and the weight of his church to bolster the ACNA, actually, it may be the other way around. From its name, some may think it is the voice of orthodoxy in the U.S. It isn't. Orthodoxy developed here in a different fashion. This is not the Greek church, and, if memory serves, it is Russian in origen which, owing to 1914, developed independent churches. This branch is small, has been through tumultuous financial scandals with its most recent metropolitans, as late as a year ago, and is seeking to establish its own "credibility" This action on its part, by its very new Metropolitan, Jonah, elected partly because of the financial scandals, and an X-Episcoplalian, although Jonah may well-believe, support etc., is a media plus for this relatively tiny denomination trying to resestablish itself. It implies that its approval is worth something. But a "testimonial" is only as effective as the person or group offering the testimony. If I were looking to market my church, I would seek all the "testimony" I could get. Duncan was not able to get Canterbury, or the ACC. He was unable to get the primates, other than those engaged in the border crossing. Although a man named Runyan spoke at the convention implying something about the ELCA and the mainline, he doesn't seem to have even the Missouri Synod Lutherans. Given that the OCA is the best he can do, he has "showcased" this organization's "approval" . By so doing, both churches look like they are something more than they are. Duncan is very politically savy. For example, athough he was very careful in his interview last week with BBC radio to not put words in ++Rowan Williams' mouth, he noted in the interview that ++Rowan "encouraged" him to apply to the Communion. He knew the word would be picked up and used by the US blogophere to imply some sort of affirmation by Canterbury of his actions, when of course, +Cantuar was simply saying: "Apply to the Communion through the ACC, like everbody else." ACNA needs to appear to be more than what it, in fact is. Showcasing the OCA support is not a whole lot different. After all few will look at what +Rowan actually said, and few will actually look and see what the OCA actually is. Duncan is counting on that.

Posted by: EmilyH on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 2:49pm BST

Can someone explain to me just what the deal is with these people on the ordination of women?¨ GHCW

Archbishopelect Bob Duncan proclaimed ordaining women was a ¨individual local option¨ amongst the many, yet few, ACNA group of regional participants. Duncan has personally opted to ordain women in Pittsburgh for many years...no doubt a tad confusing/jolting for the American Orthodox Patriarch, David Schofield and Jack Leo Iker when ¨snapping out of it¨ momentarily from their ¨orthodox¨ all-male clergy pretend nap...just prior to sinking back into selective Scriptural denial.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 3:39pm BST

Robert, I understand from comments over at SF that Metropolitan Jonah outlined a several plank platform that the ACNA needs to implement if they ever hope for any progress in relations, and WO was definitely on the list.

I think that His Beatitude is using the ACNA issue in his own struggle with "Old World" EO powers, particularly the Ecumenical Patriarch. The OCA is by no means universally accepted for what it claims to be - THE valid expression of Orthodoxy in the US. He's trying to show himself as a power broker on the American religious scene.

Posted by: BillyD on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 5:43pm BST

Oh, and of course Metropolitan Jonah is a former Episcopalian who converted to Orthodoxy, so he probably feels as if he has a dog in this metaphorical fight.

Posted by: BillyD on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 5:48pm BST

"Metropolitan Jonah outlined a several plank platform that the ACNA needs to implement if they ever hope for any progress in relations"

He needn't have bothered, the Orthodox position on this has been clear for eons. For the Orthodox, sharing in the Sacraments is a statement of sharing in doctrine. Doctrinal unity comes first. So, ACNA is going to have to show that it really is Orthodox. They will find that there is more to that than hating liberals. For one thing, these people have proven themselves unable to "affirm" three of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. That might seem like an arcane thing to us, the difference between Monophysite and Monothelite, but it is a burning question for the Orthodox. If ANCA hopes for closer relations with OCA, or any Real Orthodox body, they are going to have to repudiate the Jerusalem Declaration and sign on to all seven Councils. No doubt they'll have no problem with that, minor little details like Christology aren't really all that important to them in comparison to their "Great Matter", social conservativism. Personally, I'd love for them to join the Orthodox. They need a bit of that kind of discipline. They'll soon find how wrong they are in their definition of "orthodoxy". And how will the Evos in their midst deal with things like icons and invocation of the Saints? I doubt they'll be all that comfortable with the position given to the Virgin either.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 7:58pm BST

Leonard
I do not have a problem with WO, but you have to be kidding about why it's considered a problem, only a small percentage of christian churches practice it. The largest and oldest christian churches have their arguments against it. It was unheard of until the 70's

Posted by: Edward craig on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 8:00pm BST

Leonard, your point is a pretty good one, in my opinion. Many here are, apparently, too young to remember when women preachers (except for a tent revivalist like Aimee Semple McPherson) were unheard of. Not even banned, because no one had ever considered such a thing, so why ban it?

And the thought of gay preachers and gay marriage was utterly bizarre. Homosexuality was sinful, like any other sexual perversion.

Now, on this site at least, everyone has "done a 180," and anyone who holds to any of the pre-1970s ideas is viewed as "supporting a dissident, ultra-conservative, reactionary movement which aims to destroy and replace the Anglican Communion as at present constituted." Such people are living "in fear and hatred of fags and dykes, and not smart enough to see that once the queers are dealt with, they are next."

It seems that if you can't do a 180 fast enough in this church, you belong with TEAPOTs, the dregs of (semi-) humanity.

This doesn't look to me like love in Christ, really. Since I'm a woman, I'm fine with WO. I'm a little shaky on gay people's marriages being blessed by the church, and gay people being ordained, though. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I see it as a really questionable slippery slope. So I guess this board is no place for me, though I will hang around a bit for any feedback -- that's only fair.

Nonetheless, my main point remains: How long do we get between "We fervently support A and reject B" and the occasion on which we have to say "We fervently support B and reject A?" Doesn't it sound a little 1984-ish: "We have always been at war with Oceana?"

I don't think we have to despise the breakaways; why not just say we think they're wrong but God bless 'em.

Posted by: Heather Angus on Thursday, 25 June 2009 at 11:02pm BST

I don't think we have to despise the breakaways; why not just say we think they're wrong but God bless 'em.¨ Heather A

It´s not about who gets to wear to candlehat or a popularity gig.

God bless ém...I´m so happy they are gone...there is so much work to do to clean up the mess they have left, to clear up the patrimony and property issues, to help restore emotional stability for those who have been spiritually and physically abused and to reassure EVERYONE that they are welcome at TEC and at ALL levels of Church life.

In Uganda, there is a terrible ¨witch hunt¨ going on...it´s taking place against LGBT Anglicans/others at all levels of society...this campaign is specifically directed against ¨evil imported Gays¨ as +Orombi believes, proclaims and preaches...unfortunately, crimes of hate are being initiated against everyday Christians by everyday Anglicans and some of their Bishops, LGBT innocents are having their pictures printed in newspapers like a most wanted list...some of bishops export their ministry of fear and hate, it matters, it´s slothful to look away and pretend nothing is going on...the Archbishop Akinola/Nigeria and his HOB´s have endorsed a anti-human rights law that prohibits LGBT Anglicans/others, our families and friends from gathering in public...they labeled it a anti-LGBT marriage law.

You bet I´m glad the messengers of ignorance and hate have taken a hike...there is far more to this tragedy than who or when Duncan and his pals ordain women.

God bless em and keep them away from people like me...they are irresponsible and dangerous...ask around.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 3:53am BST

Heather Angus: So much to answer.

1. The changes aren't that radical. there have been previous times in church history when women were leaders and gays and lesbians weren't vilified.

2. The slippery slope thing is insulting. This is my life and my relationship. To be honest I don't care how comfortable you are or aren't. I just hope that when your straight friends talk about getting a divorce, or exchange vows that leave out a woman's submission to her husband, that you are sure to tell them that they are on a slippery slope to polygamy and pedophilia and bestiality. No, you don't tell them that? Interesting.

3. I'm glad that you are ok with WO since you are a woman. It is too bad that being straight you can't see a little further application of things. But OK. Try stepping into our shoes. Please try that. Imagine yourself not as a straight woman but as a gay man who leads a normal life, whose family and friends and workplace are accepting and tolerant, but whose church isn't. Try to imagine and see things from a different viewpoint.

4. The truth doesn't do a 180. Slavery wasn't ever ok, even when everyone including the authors of the New Testament and the Hebrew scriptures were fine with it. The Jim Crow laws in the deep south were wrong, even when the vast majority supported them. Women being considered a minor before the law under the control of a husband was always wrong even though it was how things were done for centuries. Justice is justice, even when generations of people are blind to its application.

5. Finally, we (gays and lesbians) have always been around. There have always been a lot of us in every age and family who didn't have an 'other-sex' attraction. But for centuries people suffered in pain, committed suicide, or were tortured or killed. Those who want to stay in the past have a very unjust past that they are tied to.

And they are tied to a very short and edited sense of history. You mention the novel 1984. That is a good one to point out here. Because, really, nothing is as much of an historical whitewash, akin to something generated from Winston's desk at the Ministry of Truth, as the "traditional" notion of marriage. It was never universal, isn't that old, and is itself a creation of social and cultural forces. Defending it at the exclusion of the lives and dreams of others is defending an exclusionary lie. Which was always wrong. And will always be wrong.

Posted by: Dennis on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 3:56am BST

one more thought on how "modern" or new these changes really are. This is a link to a brief article on the medieval French tradition of Affrèrement. Two individuals of the same gender recognized by the community in living together 'one bread, one wine, one purse.'

Six hundred years ago.

http://www.scientificblogging.com/news/homosexual_civil_unions_an_old_tradition

Posted by: Dennis on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 4:15am BST

Heather: it's true that we've "done a 180" since 1970. But then, certainly if you had lived in Britain in 1970, you would find that we've all (pretty much) "done a 180" over issues of women in the workplace being equally recompensed; divorced people not being regarded as beyond the social pale; likewise those with children born out of wedlock, or "living in sin"; and, most significantly, the racism which was ingrained in society at that time is no longer acceptable. Compared to all that, what we're talking about now is very minor...

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 8:33am BST

Heather, the reason those of us who support the marriage of gay Christians and their equality in the church do so because such relationships are demonstrably a force for the good of the people involved. Not just that they make them happy, though that is important, but that they make them grow in kindliness, in love, in the way that relationships between a man and a woman do.

The opposite is true of, for instance, bestiality or paedophilia.

So there is no danger of a slippery slope - it is just an instance of the Holy Spirit speaking to the church.

Posted by: RosemaryHannah on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 11:15am BST

That's a very good post, Rosemary, hear, hear!

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 4:51pm BST

Thank you Dennis for that challenging and moving message here. And for the url in the backup post.

It is another case of 'Only Connect' I guess.


Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 5:11pm BST

Hmmm.

An Orthodox body not recognized by Constantinople has recognized an Anglican body not recognized by Canterbury, and both are recognized by Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist.

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 8:35pm BST

"An Orthodox body not recognized by Constantinople..."

Hhmmm. Constantinople recognizes the OCA as an Orthodox group; it just doesn't recognize their claim to be the Sole Legitimate US Orthodox Church.

Posted by: BillyD on Friday, 26 June 2009 at 11:16pm BST

"An Orthodox body not recognized by Constantinople has recognized an Anglican body not recognized by Canterbury, and both are
recognized by Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist."

In the words of an old Spike Jones [I think] song, "And I'm my own Grandpaw!"

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 12:39am BST

Hi Fr Mark-
If it is really the case that 180 degree turns are so easily achieved then what price nuance or integrity. there are several things wrong with your position:
(1) 180 degree turn implies *complete* acceptance of A being replaced by *complete* rejection of A and acceptance of B. That is some about turn, to put it mildly. Aren't intelligent people supposed to be more nuanced than that? Isn't it only the tabloid mentality that focuses on people's 'conclusions' rather than their arguments? That is where the 1984 'always at war with Oceania' cap fits.
(2) This phenomenon of 180 degree turns could be alternatively explained quite simply by the notion that there are many people sociologically who cannot bear to be in a minority / uncool / 'so last week' (delete as appropriate). This would mean it was not a matter of conviction at all, only of tribalism.
(3) This can easily be tested by getting people to say which, and how many, peer-group-unpopular views they hold. My guess is that a sizeable minority of people is so desperate from peer-group approval that they will suppress any contrary views for the sake of retaining it. FInd someone who has a mix of popular and unpopular views and you are more likely to have an honest individual there.
(4) The fallacy that one's own limited culture at one's own limited time in history is bound to be more educated and correct than any other - that doesn't even need refuting, since it is obviously wrong. And yet there are people who live by this principle. CS Lewis called it chronological snobbery. Chesterton called the idea that belief X could rightly be believed formerly but not now as crazy as saying X could be believed on Mondays but not Tuesdays.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 1:43pm BST

The OCA has not recognised ACNA ...a bishop of their denomination just attended the founding ceremony.

ACNA Holy Orders ( male and female), confirmations and their rendition of the Eucharist are regarded as invalid by OCA.

Furthermore OCA is recognised and is in communion with Constantinople.
OCA recognises the primacy of honour of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

A Roman Catholic bishop was at the opening ceremony, but the Holy See does not recognise ACNA either. ACNA is yet another ecclesial community ( Vatican euphemistic speak for sect)coming out of the Reformation tradition, albeit indirectly.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 2:30pm BST

The OCA has not recognised ACNA ...a bishop of their denomination just attended the founding ceremony.
ACNA Holy Orders ( male and female), confirmations and their rendition of the Eucharist are regarded as invalid by OCA.
Furthermore OCA is recognised and is in communion with Constantinople.
OCA recognises the primacy of honour of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

ISn't Christianity wonderful ? ! :---

A Roman Catholic bishop was at the opening ceremony, but the Holy See does not recognise ACNA either. ACNA is yet another ecclesial community ( Vatican euphemistic speak for sect)coming out of the Reformation tradition, albeit indirectly.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 2:30pm BST

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Saturday, 27 June 2009 at 9:33pm BST

"I'm a little shaky on gay people's marriages being blessed by the church....So I guess this board is no place for me"

Well, I'm a gay man, like you not at all sure about gay marriage, or the ordination of non-celebate homosexuals, and while I am OK with WO, I sympathize quite a bit with those who oppose it, and have little time for the arguments levelled against them, which, to my mind, haven't improved much in quality since the 70s. Yet I have been posting here for three years, and have never felt pushed out. In fact, others might feel I have pushed THEM out. So I don't see what your problem is.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 2:10pm BST

"180 degree turn implies *complete* acceptance of A being replaced by *complete* rejection of A and acceptance of B. That is some about turn, to put it mildly."

Yet, at the Reformation, there were 180 degree turns on the nature of the Eucharist, the nature of redemption, the nature of the Communion of Saints, the nature of membership in the Church, the nature of authority in the Church, indeed, so many 180 degree turns, and in a relatively short time, that people must have been perpetually spiritually dizzy, so to speak. The Reformation was a radical redefinition of Christianity, far more radical than what is happening now, though it did vary in scope across Europe. Still, it was often a complete restating of what Christianity was. You yourself practice a form of Christianity that never existed prior to that time, and would not exist now if it weren't for these numerous 180 degree turns.

"who cannot bear to be in a minority / uncool"

Or those who never get over their adolescent rebelliousness and are never able to acknowledge authority. Indeed, placing one'sself in the position of interpreter of a book that one also claims is the only source of Divine Law, which must be followed on pain of eternal damnation would seem to be a pretty clear expression of that "you're not the Boss of me" attitude.

"My guess is that a sizeable minority of people is so desperate from peer-group approval that they will suppress any contrary views for the sake of retaining it."

An abundantly evident practice among those who are desperate for the peer group approval of the Poor Persecuted Remnant that is valiantly standing for the Gospel against the assaults of the Evil Hell Bound Liberals. It is also evidently abundant in most of YOUR arguments.

"The fallacy that one's own limited culture at one's own limited time in history is bound to be more educated and correct than any other - that doesn't even need refuting, since it is obviously wrong."

I so rarely agree with you that I feel obliged to note when it occurs. I agree with the above.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 2:25pm BST

Constantinople does not recognize OCA's claim to be an autocephalous church.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 3:35pm BST

If you had actually attended the ACNA conference last week you would not have heard one word of rancor or anger or hostility towards TEC. what we did hear was a message of "get your house in order and carry out the great commission" something that TEC has totally forgotten in it's rush to be culturally acceptable and cool. As a lifelong Episcopalian I have worshipped with and been ministered to by many, including gays and lesbians. The focus of their ministry was not their sexuality, however, but the powerful love of Jesus Christ and his Redeeming nature for us all. It is about time we all got back to that - or as Abp. Duncan said, being about the "main thing." If those in TEC want to whimper and wail and point fingers at those who have left their doors to find another way, that is their sorry business. I watched my church be highjacked by a social agenda, and want no more of it. We are all sinners in need of redemption and the world needs the glorious message of the resurrection now more than ever. Susan Russell and Leonardo need to get out from their computer screens and get back to the hurting world which needs them and the message of redemption for us all. So do I, for that matter. God bless us all every one

Posted by: mhmac13 on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 4:53pm BST

"get your house in order and carry out the great commission" something that TEC has totally forgotten in it's rush to be culturally acceptable and cool."

"I watched my church be highjacked by a social agenda, and want no more of it."

You don't see how the above statements reveal hostility and rancour? Those seeking the inclusion of gays and lesbians ARE seeking to carry out the Great Commission, it is false to accuse them of seeking to be culturally acceptable and cool. While I am a bit underwhelmed with claims by us Western gays that we are persecuted just as much as gay people in, say, Nigeria, we are still not equal citizens, still suffer discrimination, still suffer slander and lies, the latter often times coming from conservative Christians. ACNA and the various other manifestations of conservativism in the Anglican Church have been very guilty of this in the past few years, have never spoken against the hatefilled statements of the Primate of Nigeria, for instance, thereby giving the impression that you think he is doing the right thing. Jailing us and those who are supportive of us for 5 years is consistent with the Gospel? ACNA has never spoken out against the even worse treatment of gay people in places like Sudan, or Iran, to name but two. Do you really believe that ignoring their plight is consistent with the Gospel? Conservative bishops have claimed that we choose our sexuality and could change if we wanted to, even supporting "ex-gay" ministries that have caused so much pain as to drive some to suicide. Is that consistent with the Gospel?

Many of us would say that the Gospel message IS a social agenda. If you were more exposed to liberals than you are, you might see that they are NOT seekers after the world's approval at all. I am not a big supporter of gay marriage, despite being gay myself. I have waffled on this issue. But Jesus said you shall know the true prophets by the fruits they bear, and I frankly cannot see much of the fruit of the Gospel in the outward behaviour of ACNA and the rest. I'm sure many are people of great faith, but their behaviour doesn't reveal much of the Gospel to me, or to most others I know.

Posted by: Ford ELms on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 7:40pm BST

"Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help defray the costs of travel and three reporters I will be taking with me to GC2009. There is travel, hotel, meals and much more that must be paid for." - David Virtue, Virtue on line

Found this on the V.o L. site today. Obviously, this ace reporter (ex Baptist, who says he represents the 'Voice of Orthodox Anglicanism')
is warning his readers that he will need them to finance his journalistic voyeurism - not only to travel to the opening conference of FOCA in the U.K., but also to the upcoming TEC General Convention in the USA.

Virtue's vitriolic reports on the Anglican Communion generally, and TEC and the A.C. of C. in particular, should warn all Anglicans of his hatred for traditional Anglicanism - despite his claim to represent 'Orthodox Anglicans' around the world. His extravagant claims for the GAFCON and ACNA sodalities - that they represent 80% of world-wide Anglican opinion - should be taken with a pinch of salt. What he really means is that the despotic leadership of 80% of Anglicans (mostly based in continental Africa and Asia) is forcing a culture of fundamentalist Christianity upon its largely theologically uninformed constituency. This is becoming a problem for those of us who are still intent on facing up to justice issues in the Church and the world - as mainline Anglicans.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 8:46pm BST

Ford: the statement "get your house in order" was meant for those attending ACNA, not those who chose to be somewhere else. I accept that there are genuine differences in how you and I might see things, and you are correct when you say
"by their fruits ye shall know them." Unfortunately in my corner of the world, the TEC stalwarts have lied, used personal attacks and vitriolic behavior to "make their case." If I had any questions about where my sentiments might lie, they were quickly answered by the behavior of those who claim to be "inclusive." I have also heard more racist statements from these supposed Christians than I have heard since I was a girl. I continue to have many good friends who have chosen to remain in TEC, some of them will be friends for a lifetime, but we base our friendship on the Love or the Lord and each other. I wish you the same.

Posted by: mhmac13 on Monday, 29 June 2009 at 11:35pm BST

"Unfortunately in my corner of the world, the TEC stalwarts have lied, used personal attacks and vitriolic behavior to "make their case." "

Right back at ya! Can you show me one liberal equivalent of David Virtue? Of +Akinola? Of +Orombi? You'll probably point to Spong, and I don't blame you, I probably agree with you on him. I find I can't read his work without having a Word file open on my computer in which I can angrily write down my objections to the things he says. But he hardly has the profile of any of the people I mentioned, and certainly doesn't have the power and influence they do. Can you point out one Anglican cleric who claims the Church in Nigeria is Satanic, or who claims that conservatives are not made by God, or accuses them of faithlessly selling out to the status quo, or are a "cancer on the Body of Christ", or ought to be jailed? I agree that liberal ignoring of the suffering of Christians in some parts of the world is appalling. I have been loudly shouted down when I have suggested that TEC's actions can be used as justification for violence in some parts of the world, and if we are to take actions that could bring down violence on people's heads, we should be prepared to go where they are and stand in defense of them. But I have also had no less a person than Bp. Popoola tell me that, were I to go to Nigeria to do this admittedly idealistic act of support of my fellow Christians, he would support my being jailed because I am gay! Not only that, but he subsequently denied saying it, even when the printed words were revealed to him! How many liberals are guilty of that kind of thing to conservatives? How does that kind of behaviour reveal any understanding of the Gospel? In all honesty, how can you trust people such as this to accurately guide you in your attempt to follow Christ? I know you can level the same accusation at liberals, and I share that feeling. I do not identify as liberal, and have some big issues with their ideas, many of them similar to the ideas of conservatives, at least the ones I've spoken to here. That's why I don't get my spiritual guidance from people like Spong and Tom Harper. But how many liberals have actually called for violence against conservatives?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 at 3:03pm BST

Ford: You have traveled in some more vaunted circles than I have, and my experiences are much more on an up close and personal basis. I have grown up listening to people spout nonsense from time to time, and sometimes just turn a deaf ear to all the noise. The violence that I have seen and observed was perpetrated on a directed and personal level and very intense. If you didnt agree with a particular direction or philosophy you are automatically the enemy, and all holds are barred in the attempt to destroy. Evil directed at you is something you know when you feel it. I think from what you have described you understand that. There are folks I have read on the Internet who are every bit as vicious as those you named, I dont want to get into a "your side is meaner than mine" tit for tat. I have no idea who Bp. Poopola is, so I cant comment on that except to say I am sorry you had such a painful encounter. Much of what has been done on either side in this ecclesiastical warfare can hardly be described as gospel based. Violence comes in many forms, legal intimidation being one of those forms. Since when has the church I have loved all my life turned to courts rather than even an attempt at reconciliation. All that being said, I grieve for what has been lost, maybe it was an illusion, but I really believed in a church where all could be worshippers in love- even if we didnt always agree on specific issues. Somewhere that has gotten lost. I can find fault on both sides. What would really be great, however, is if we could sit down together with a toddy, have a roaring argument over who was right and who was wrong, and be valued friends when it was over. (but I grew up in a noisy vocal family where the eternal argument between two of my father's brothers was who was greater, Jesus or Aristotle- so what do I know!)I was pleased to experience no rancor or anger at ACNA- the thrust was to move ahead, and be who Christ has commanded us to be. If I had heard any gay-bashing I would have turned around and walked out. ACNA will be no more perfect than any other human institution. It is where God has placed me for the moment, where I hope to pray and grow and spread the word. That's all. I wish you peace in your journey wherever it leads you.

Posted by: mhmac13 on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 2:20am BST

Hi Ford-
I can't think of even one evangelical friend who is so much as aware I even comment on here. So much for wanting peer group approval.
The things you call 180 degree turns rarely were. There can be two different theories on something but those theories are often opposite in just one respect (e.g. Pope has/has not absolute authority).

It is clear that great chunks of the Bible as of any other book are clear enough not to need much 'interpretation'. Whether they are correct or not is another matter - but writers often write as clearly as they are able, to aid understanding. The idea that absolutely everything is opaque and in need of interpretation is way, way off the mark.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 2 July 2009 at 1:23pm BST

"So much for wanting peer group approval."

And you practice your faith in a vacuum, do you? You never express these same ideas to your co-religionists, never have the feeling of validation that comes from their nodded heads and expressions of agreement?

"The things you call 180 degree turns rarely were."

The Eucharist is a mystical celebration in which created things become the Body and Blood of Christ vs the elements of the Holy Communion serve only as spurs to pious memory.

In baptism, we are reborn into the Kingdom,are regenerate vs in baptism, the believer merely professes his faith

Authority lies with the ecclesia vs authoirty lies in the Bible alone (well, OK, the position opposed was 'authority lies in the Pope', but for the most part the rejection of the latter meant rejection of the autyority of the ecclesia as well).

The saints, by virtue of Christ's victory over death, can hear us and intercede on our behalf vs the saints are dead and can;'t hear us and asking for their intercession is tantamount to sacrilege.

religious imagery serves as a focus for faithful prayer, and is an expression of our understanding of redemption vs veneration of images is idolatry.

I could go on. All seem pretty much 180s to me.

"The idea that absolutely everything is opaque and in need of interpretation is way, way off the mark."

Not so sure about this one. First of all, I never said that. Second, the Fathers certainly saw Scripture as having many levels of meaning. Third, what parts are so clear as to need no interpretation at all? Not Genesis or Exodus. Not the histories. The poetic writings would seem to need it as a matter of course. The Gospels certainly need interpretation, as do the Epistles. And Revelation is an incredibly arcane document. So, while I accept that there may be some parts of Scripture that can be taken at face value, I can't name them, and it doesn't seem that the Fathers thought so either.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 6 July 2009 at 8:20pm BST

The point about the Fathers (from memory, such as Origen, Lactantius and Augustine in particular - but I may be wrong) was that they believed that scripture could be looked at from [at least] four different angles/dimensions (not necessarily 'levels') - but that applies to any literature whatsoever. One can analyse any writing for its literal meaning, its sociological import, its biographical import, its allegorical potential, and so on. This is a quite separate point that has no relevance whatever to the issue of how clear the literal meaning is or isn't.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 2:27pm BST
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