Thursday, 9 July 2009

Archbishop visits General Convention

Updated Saturday

The Archbishop of Canterbury is at Anaheim, California, where the American General Convention is being held.

Reports of his visit, from ENS:

Global economics a ‘crisis of truthfulness,’ Archbishop of Canterbury tells convention

Describing the global economic downturn as a “crisis of truthfulness,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams addressed more than 2,000 people attending a July 8 forum in Anaheim, California, as part of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention.

During the last six to nine months, Williams said, “we have suddenly discovered we have been lying to ourselves. For the last decade or more there has been a steady erosion of trust in our financial life. Our word has not been our bond. We have learned to tolerate high levels of evasion and anti-relational practices.

“We have lied to ourselves about the possibility of profit without risk,” Williams told those gathered at the forum, titled Christian Faithfulness in the Global Economic Crisis.

“We have lied to ourselves consistently about the possibility of limitless material growth in a limited world. We have denied precisely that ubuntu that this convention seeks to venerate and reinforce,” Williams added, referring to the convention theme that emphasizes the interconnectedness of people in community…

Archbishop hears from cross section of Episcopal Church

…In addition to observing the work of the House of Bishops, Williams met with members of the convention’s official youth presence, the House of Deputies president’s council of advice and a small group of lesbian and gay deputies. He also met with provisional and assisting bishops in the four dioceses that are reorganizing after the majority of their members and leadership left the church…

And from Episcopal Café

Anderson and advisors meet with Archbishop Williams

…Anderson said she and her council expressed to Williams their concern that communications and requests to the Episcopal Church are typically addressed only to the Church’s House of Bishops, which does not have authority, on its own, to respond to them.

“We are a church of more than one order of voices,” Anderson said to several reporters after the meeting.

Sally Johnson, Anderson’s chancellor and a deputy from the Diocese of Minnesota, said that the group told Williams it hoped that requests to the Episcopal Church be addressed to the Episcopal Church, rather than to the House of Bishops. “Allow The Episcopal Church to decide for it who decides,” she said.

“No one can respond and bind the Episcopal Church except the General Convention,” Johnson added. “These may seem like fine distinctions to other people, but to us they are foundational…“

The archbishop also attended the opening service where the Presiding Bishop preached.

Dave Walker explains how to follow General Convention on the internet.

Update
The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s meditation at the eucharist is available here.

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Santa Ana preschoolers

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Comments

I hope that, in meeting with the young people of TEC, Williams discovers what most of us already know: To the arising generation, the future of this or any church, the issue of a person's sexuality simply isn't an issue at all.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 9 July 2009 at 11:21am BST

There does seem to be a lack of cultural sensitivity when it comes to how others address TEC in official matters.
Indeed the House of Bishops is not as powerful - not as able to bind and unbind - as in other geograpic regions.
Would it be considered acceptable for TEC to judge other Provinces solely by TEC standards? I think not. Therefore why must non TEC Bishops et alii insist on not recognizing the limitations of the House of Bishops?
Is there not a double standard of political correctness here?
Do non-TEC Bishops (at least some of them) require a class in sensitivity and cross-cultural training?

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 9 July 2009 at 12:00pm BST

I repeat my comments from the Cafe:

Thinking of Bp Stephen Sykes thoughtful, historical insights into Anglican polity, governance, ecclesiology, and theology, this statement stuns:

Williams told the group that Episcopalians had to be aware that in some parts of the Communion, “bishops only want to hear from other bishops,” Johnson said.

Since the time of Sovereign in Parliament, laypersons have always had an active role in the governance, polity, and theology of the CofE, and do so as well in many Churches of this Communion in a number of forms, many of which have a conciliar shape in some fashion. I think our ecclesial deficit lies perhaps at least partially not where Archbishop Williams thinks it might, but in an "Anglican" deficit wherein some of our bishops worldwide think ourselves modeled on Rome, forget that this is not the case. Laity are a part of our governance, thinking, and life. That we have bishops and an active lay order is part of what makes us distinctly "Anglican."

Not long ago we were accused of moving too fast, now we're accused of moving too slow. One cannot have their cake and eat it too. It kind of looks like those who accuse others of reading the Bible selectively and then go on to themselves do the same thing but claim that they read the Bible literally.

Posted by: Christopher on Thursday, 9 July 2009 at 1:10pm BST

Bishop Gene Robinson has started blogging again at his site Canterbury Tales from the Fringe:

http://www.canterburytalesfromthefringe.blogspot.com

He had an interesting comment that no one seems to have noticed so far:

"We also had a disturbing private (no one in the gallery) conversation in the House of Bishops that led me to feel discouraged about what lies ahead. That conversation is private, so I can't detail it, but there seems to be a kind of belligerent attitude toward the House of Deputies by some of our bishops. Their vision of the episcopate is way too "high and mighty" for my taste, or my theology, and I am not happy about it. The last thing we bishops need is a larger measure of arrogance. Didn't Jesus save his most serious criticism for the religious powers-that-be of his day who lorded their power and position over others?"

Posted by: Dennis on Thursday, 9 July 2009 at 3:12pm BST

"Williams told the group that Episcopalians had to be aware that in some parts of the Communion, “bishops only want to hear from other bishops,” Johnson said."

Well that explains a lot, doesn't it? I say, too bad for them.

And I agree with Bonnie Anderson - the ABC has had quite a few years to learn about how TEC operates through General Convention. It is inexcusable and rude not to respect and understand our polity. Is it arrogance or ignorance? Or both? Go home, Fuzzyface, and MYOB.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 9 July 2009 at 3:14pm BST

'Go home, Fuzzyface, and MYOB.'

I understand the Archbishop is here at GC because he was invited to come.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Friday, 10 July 2009 at 2:37am BST

"I understand the Archbishop is here at GC because he was invited to come."

Yes.

And since he seems still to think the HOB is the only game in town, he's not learned much, has he? I'm glad he met with youth, with glbt people, with Bonnie Anderson et alia. I hope he has learned from these encounters, but it doesn't much look like it.

I don't have a lot of respect for someone whose first hard decision resulted in betraying his friend. I don't have a lot of respect for someone who treats ex-bishop Dunkin' as if he were worth respect. I don't have a lot of time for someone who holds a Eucharist for gay clergy but does it in secret - or tries to. So he might as well go home and leave us to do justice.


Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 10 July 2009 at 12:54pm BST

Pat O'Neill, I think you make an error. I am a young person and opposed to the whole liberal agenda. (I am 18). I worship in a Church where we draw a large number of young people, who come for both the orthodox theology and the superb music. In my conversations with other young people, they are not only, the first to point out the traditional teaching of the Church but they are the best at defending it. Never assume that because we are young, we are liberal.
On another issue for the wider church; the move to drive out liberalism in the RC Church is being driven on the ground by young catholics and young catholic priests, who again, are always very keen to defend the teaching of the church.

Posted by: Mark Wharton on Friday, 10 July 2009 at 8:53pm BST

Mark:

I direct your attention to the following links:

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/2009/05/05/cnn-poll-most-americans-oppose-gay-marriage-but-those-under-35-back-it.html

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/04/gay-marriage-by-numbers.html

Assuming that TEC is a fair microcosm of US society...and I see no reason to assume otherwise...then our younger generation is definitely more amenable to gay rights than their parents and grandparents.

That is definitely the case in my own, very middle class, very middle of the road, suburban parish.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 10 July 2009 at 9:36pm BST

"Pat O'Neill, I think you make an error. I am a young person and opposed to the whole liberal agenda. (I am 18). I worship in a Church where we draw a large number of young people, who come for both the orthodox theology and the superb music. In my conversations with other young people, they are not only, the first to point out the traditional teaching of the Church but they are the best at defending it. Never assume that because we are young, we are liberal.
On another issue for the wider church; the move to drive out liberalism in the RC Church is being driven on the ground by young catholics and young catholic priests, who again, are always very keen to defend the teaching of the church."

Scary. Sounds like Iran thirty-five years ago.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 10 July 2009 at 9:40pm BST

"opposed to the whole liberal agenda."

Which would be what?

"the orthodox theology"

Careful how you use that word. It might not mean what you have been led to believe it means. You sound an awful lot like me when I was 18. Sorry to be all "benevolent elder" about this, but I fell out with the Anglican Church of Canada, the issue was OOW, and it seemed very much like the Church didn't "get it", and was making the decision to ordain women based on some sort of modern "rights based" agenda. So I went nowhere for 18 years. Then, in my late 30s I realized I needed God more than He needed me, and I went back to a Church that was, as far as I can see, just as much "not getting it" as it ever was. But that doesn't seem to matter so much any more, now that there are shades of grey in the world. There are no shades of grey when you are 18, but trust me, it will get all muddled up as you get more life experience. I don't want to sound condescending, I certainly remember the passion of being 18 and concerned about how the Church is NOT doing what I KNOW, by gee, to be right. But you might want to read about the Orthodox Church to find out what "orthodox" really means, what it means to have an "orthodox mindset", and how what is preached by the GAFCON types is not orthodox at all, despite what they say. If your bishop signed the Jerusalem Declaration, he is not "orthodox" by definition, because, apart from expressing some very unChristian attitudes, it is theologically NOT an orthodox document.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 11 July 2009 at 5:27pm BST

You're of course welcome to your opinions and faith perspective, Mark W...

...but for your age cohort, you are *tiny minority*.

Nothing wrong with that: we LGBT people have ALWAYS had to adjust to being a tiny minority! ;-)

You never know when God may say something you haven't heard before, Mark: keep listening! (And, with God's help, I will too---God bless!)

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 11 July 2009 at 7:25pm BST

Pat O'Neill makes a clear mistake. The stated views of any group of people are irrelevant. All that is relevant is their reasons for coming to those views, their ability to articulate such reasons and to demonstrate that they can think for themselves while doing so.

Because it is axiomatic that any group of people will go along to a greater than average extent with the prevailing orthodoxy of their own culture/subculture. No thinking person could possibly dismiss the question of how that orthodoxy arises in the first place. If the media has a certain degree or proportion of influence, then that degree or proportion will be reflected in the number of people who start coming round to the sort of views espoused by media-types, who are a very particular and unrepresentative group of people with disproportionate influence - and not the most educated or purely motivated group at that, given their concern with sales figures, image, spin, perception, sensation, this-worldly matters etc.. What is said about media-types applies also to celebrities, politicians and so on.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 13 July 2009 at 12:40pm BST

"All that is relevant is their reasons for coming to those views"

"No thinking person could possibly dismiss the question of how that orthodoxy arises in the first place."

"the media"

Can we take it from this that your idea is that all the modern acceptance of gay people is a social trend, driven by the media? "Liberals"? Other groups? Whom? Some sort of political correctness run amok? I admit, that certainly is the idea I've gotten over the past several years corresponding with you. And also that the "truth" about homosexuality is being suppressed by some very powerful people in the scientific community, who have a hidden agenda and are distorting the truth and silencing those who disagree. As a change from my past vehement confrontations of you, I am not accusing you of these things, but asking if I am right in my assumptions and asking that you clarify where I am wrong. Can you leave open the possibility that TEC is actually discerning the will of God for them? I confess to not being entirely convinced of that either, but I am open to the possibility. If you do not admit that possibility, why not?

In summary:
1. Is it your belief that modern liberalism WRT homosexuality is a politically correct agenda that has been propagated by the media and people are just following it without much thought?
2. Do you contend that the current scientific attitude towards homosexuality is a product of the same kind of political correctness, and the truth is being suppressed, whether actively or by a process of crowd mentality?
3. Do you believe it to be possible that TEC is actually discerning the will of God, and if not, why not?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 8:46pm BST

I think many people tend to conform to their own culture, and peer pressure / desire for acceptance seem to be very powerful forces.

It is, for example, unthinkable (but why?) to many Americans that their constitution or declaration of independence might be wrong in any respect.

It is also unthinkable to some that the Christian ethic is not the same thing as the modern American ethic (involving liberation, personal expression and fulfilment) with which they are familiar. Of course, there are plenty of differences between them, just as it is equally absurd to imagine that God is an Englishman. But cultural Christians who are hazy about the details of Christian belief and history are liable to overlook this.

I certainly do believe (and presumably most people would agree, otherwise advertising would be a waste of time instead of a multi-billion dollar business) that the proportion of people believing anything at all will rise if that belief is pushed by the media in general or a majority of them. But in the real world, advertising *is* a massive and lucrative business, because exposure on the airwaves has a massive effect. And likewise political parties invest a lot in spin and image, because they know that people are if anything more affected by perception (stoked by the media) than by truth (which is more painstakingly attained: most people don't have the time). Surely you cannot deny that advertisers and politicians act thus. Why do you think they do so?

Does this not prove the power of the media to make people believe things, quite apart from the 'marginal' consideration of whether those things are in fact actually true?

Supposing that something had happened like an anti-AIDS against which homosexuals were massively disproportionally immune, or the discovery of a gay gene or something. That would count as a valid reason for a change of attitude in some degree. No such reason has emerged, whereas AIDS has.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 at 3:46pm BST

Christopher, this is more or less an answer to my first question. You might be surprised to find that I agree with all but the last paragraph. I sometimes humourously refer to the advertising industry as the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

But you have not answered my other two questions, and your last paragraph raises this:

Do you believe that AIDS is evidence of the, for want of a better word, "wrongness" of homosexuality?

I would find that hard to maintain, given that incidence is higher in other groups, like heterosexual Africans, for instance. If you answer "yes" to this one, I would be interested in how you see a disease that is spread by certain acts could be an indictment of an entire group, many of whom do not perform these acts, while not equally an indictment of other groups who have higher incidence of the disease. It's just that this suggests you think AIDS is mainly a gay disease and that's a dangerous attitude for anyone to have. It is an attitude that has been pretty harsh on sub-Saharan Africa, for starters. It is also causing some pretty alarming things among Western teens.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 at 8:14pm BST
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