Sunday, 19 July 2009

after GC: press releases

Several groups have issued press releases.

Chicago Consultation: Chicago Consultation Statement on the 76th General Convention

Integrity: Integrity USA Achieves Its Goals At General Convention 2009

Anglican Communion Institute: Committing to the Anglican Communion: Some Will, Others Won’t

Fulcrum: Fulcrum Response to TEC General Convention 2009 Resolution C056:
official promotion of a process to develop liturgies for the blessing of same-sex unions

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 7:15am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

"Anglican Communion Institute" or "Tokyo Rose Institute"?

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 10:38am BST

Observe the brazen manner in which Fulcrum chooses to rewrite history:

"As outlined above, the rest of the Communion has – in faithfulness to Christ’s call to seek reconciliation - walked patiently with our brothers and sisters in TEC for many years, constantly inviting them to turn around in freedom and relocate themselves within the story of God that we collectively tell as a Communion, a story in which mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ, synodality, and mutual interdependence play key roles. At every stage attempts have been made to interpret TEC responses to requests as generously as possible."

That is how Fulcrum understands the formation of ACNA!

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 2:42pm BST

I see that Fulcrum has had to shift the grounds of its latest argument for the expulsion of TEC from the Communion.

Bishop Wright's impulsive, hair-trigger reaction to D025 has embarrassed them pretty thoroughly. Their choice now is between calling the Presiding Bishop of TEC a liar, and admitting that D025 in fact changes nothing. The first option, while routine on the blogosphere, would go down badly if said by one Primate, or even would-be Primate, to another. So nothing more is being said about D025 as a pretext for schism.

So, reasons Fulcrum, let's try same-sex blessings; let's see if we can make that work.

What hasn't changed and doesn't change is that Fulcrum wants the North Americans out of the Communion. That is their original non-negotiable demand and they are sticking to it. Never mind why. Reasons can be manufactured as needed.

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 2:59pm BST

The Fulcrum quote Charlotte posted makes me wonder if they have chosen George Orwell as their patron saint. It certainly sounds like something straight from the Ministry of Truth.

Posted by: WilliamK on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 4:18pm BST

The Fulcrum piece is shoddy, take this paragraph for example:
"There will now be wider experimentation as part of an officially promoted process involving the House of Bishops which seeks to consider, collect and develop “liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships”. This process appears to be headed ultimately towards authorisation of a GC-approved rite. The final clause and the decision to remove any explicit right to conscientious objection also suggests that all dioceses will be expected to participate in this process."

This sort of careless analysis unhelpful guesswork and desire to pre-judge outcomes has a very "political" ring to it all. Hardly the thoughtful reflection we need at times like these.

But this poor material, and Blessed Tom's outburst in the Times, has become par for the course from the Fulcrum/ACI axis lately. There seems to be a total failure to see the bigger picture as they have become focused on chastising the Instruments for not listening to them so far particularly in not "disciplining" TEC.

It is an overt attack on Rowan Williams' policy and a desperate attempt to undermine his chosen path and pretend there is an alternative.

All the same time, Rowan rewards, promotes and encourages these vipers ...........

In such a paper as this where is the material on the growing accepting of same sex marriage in the US and the likelihood it will soon be widespread - where is the material on how diocese have responded to these important legal changes? Which diocese have approved of their clerics marrying same sex couples as the law changes? etc .....

Where are the reflections on the reactions to the CofE statement on the pastoral response to Civil partnerships that were so anathematised by the Global South etc etc....

Knee jerk stuff all of this - from - I am sorry to say - these Christian brothers. Truth and love are the constant victims.

(PS Not Radner, not Seitz ... the other one - his hatred of TEC is visceral! All very unhelpful in a Christian context)

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 5:16pm BST

"It certainly sounds like something straight from the Ministry of Truth."

LOL You sure you don't mean the Ministry of Magic of Cornelius Fudge perhaps?

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 7:48pm BST

The elephant in the nave in the current discussion is women bishops. The Bishop of Durham made a last-ditch attempt to delay discussion of the issue in York last year, describing Synod as a "blunt instrument". The same could be said of the General Convention votes - the price we pay for the democratic element in Anglican decision-making. This was why the mood in Anaheim (as no doubt in York) was described as 'sombre'.

The Windsor Report is a tired and dated document. In the five years since it was written, the UK has seen a dramatic change in legislation concerning gay people. The US, meanwhile, has had the election of Barack Obama and his endorsement of Gene Robinson which seems to have had a moderating effect on the Anglican debate. The concept that one's race, gender or sexual orientation need not be a bar to high office in Church or State is a potent one. Wright's argument that Robinson's election was typical of American unilateralism in the manner of Bush's invasion of Iraq no longer cuts the ice.

So what of the original proponents of the Covenant during the debate at York Synod two years ago? The Bishop of Chichester was chair of the debate and the Bishop of Durham was its most convincing(on the conservative side)supporter? Why is it that one attended FCA in Westminster recently while the other denounced the gathering? Hardly a united front on an issue they both agree on. A question of tactics?

No. The difficulty in attempting to banish TEC will be how it will be perceived. It will be seen, not just as an attempt to 'discipline' the church over its acceptance of the ministry and marriage of gays, but as a snub to the Presiding Bishop, to women bishops and the authority of women in the Church in general. This is why Wright's pre-emptive stream of consciousness displayed in his op-ed piece in the Times will need to be balanced by a response by ABC which is both nuanced and unambiguous. No mean feat.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 10:38pm BST

The grandly self-styled 'Anglican Communion Institute' does appear to be almost entirely a boys brigade, tho includes one lay woman (without a doctorate or in a university or theological college position - tho neither are many of the chaps, it would appear) and no women priests or bishops among its 'contributing theologians'. What is that about?

I suspect it reflects the 'optional extra', or or 'second order' as it is so paronizingly called, of women's ordination. In some ways I get that, i.e. it isn't up there with the Trinity or the Real Presence, but why isn't the ordination of gay people 'second order' then? But these are the odd set of attitudes which are characteristic of these odd sets of alliances.

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 12:30am BST

Most outsiders cannot begin to grasp the legalistic entanglements of the debate around Windsor et al. But two points strike me: (1) those who take their stand on legal niceties should be observers of the law themselves, and it seems that the "conservative" side in the debate is even less Windsor-compliant (if that is the expression) than the "liberals"; (2) in Christianity love trumps law, and the side which pays no attention to the human needs of the people affected by the law is the unchristian side.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 1:26am BST

The Fulcrum statement yet again is obsessed by religious bureaucracy.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/07/this-what-annoys-me.html

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 4:04am BST

As Dr Maltby says, these are a small band of brothers - somewhat discredited by false claims and unfortunate associations.

But Judith, it is these countercasters who have seen their election to important Communion Commissions and nominated to vacant sees.

They are prepared to set the debate by instant, if rather crappy, responses. They steal the agenda even though their assertions are often full of lies and bear false witness aainst their Christian sisters and brothers.

Miserably almost the entire British academic world, with the exception of their Fulcrum allies!, has made any impact whatsoever. it is so sad.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 10:05am BST

We do badly need a genuine Ministry of Truth, i.e. one that lives up to its name.

I don't know whether anyone has seen the spoof Piccadilly Line poster on the tube. Like some other spoofs (Frederick C. Clews's 'Postmodern Pooh'; Tina Fey's lampooning of Sarah Palin) it consists entirely or largely of genuine material: in this case, of proposed buildings or projects that never got off the ground. The Ministry of Truth has its place in this map, together with (from memory) a couple of other Ministries: Integrity etc.. Now, no-one could possibly deny in the wake of recent parliamentary goings-on that such things would be a breath of fresh air.

In my judgment a, or the, leading characteristic of truth (besides truthfulness) is maximal comprehensiveness: the characteristic that spawned the phrase 'the whole truth'. Related to this is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of different parties.

Surely this discussion -like many others on other blogs and sites - is not presently rising to that level or fulfilling that central criterion. Yet surely it *could* aim do so - which can only mean that it does not *want* to do so. And that is, undeniably, a type of dishonesty. So we *are* in need of Truth. Truth -admitting our own ideologies and partialities- *is* the answer.

In the real world there are not always simple baddies and goodies, and the sort of commenter one listens to is one who can see the strengths and weaknesses of different parties and does not always conclude on the same 'side' (not that there are always nearly as few as *two* 'sides' anyway - not that one would believe that from the present tribalism).

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 1:09pm BST

The maintaining of moratoria continues to be one-sided from Fulcrum, with no mention whatsoever of the consecration of extra-provincial 'sound' bishops.

Posted by: Mark B on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 2:04pm BST

And if I could add to Martin Reynolds' comment at 10:05am BST --

It strikes me that the debate has taken a new turn among the general public in Britain. More and more the Communion troubles have become a reason for mocking and scoffing at Christianity altogether, as merely a collection of irrational taboos held by narrow-minded bigots.

I'm on somewhat shaky grounds in making this claim, because my evidence consists of eyeballed surveys of the comments to British newspaper articles on the Communion conflict. But it looks as though that's what's happening.

This is not a good thing for the Church! And no, sorry, priding oneself on being "countercultural" doesn't help. Accusations of prejudice and bigotry aren't leveled at people who are genuinely countercultural.

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 2:57pm BST

Both Martin Reynolds and Hugh of Lincoln mention changes in the law as though Christian standards were bound to change as a result, and I've seen other posts to the same effect, especially on TA. I don't see the force of this--as far as I know, it would not be against any law for me to tell my wife I was working late when in fact I was playing poker, but I assume Christians of all sorts would say the fact that it wasn't against the law didn't mean it was acceptable Christian behaviour.

Has anyone actually made a case that changes in the law regarding homosexuality require changes in Christian moral standards? I'd be very interested to read it if there is one.

Posted by: Philip Wainwright on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 3:34pm BST

And, in your view, Christopher, who is most responsible for the lack of "whole truth" in this discussion? Somehow, I doubt you think that those who share your views regarding the full participation of our gay brothers and sisters in the life of the church are the ones mostly at fault.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 3:45pm BST

There is a bit of TEC polity that you lot are missing and so I wish to point it out so that you are more aware of it.

There is no letter from the Presiding Bishop to the ABC!

There is a letter from the presiding officers of the two houses of TEC General Convention; Bonnie Anderson, D.D., President of the House of Deputies, and the Most Revd. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop;
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/D025%20letter%20to%20Archbishop.pdf

A second point is that D025 is not about the House of Bishops doing anything. The D in the resolution number alerts you to the fact that this resolution came from the House of Deputies. It was later amended by the House of Bishops, passed by the HoB and returned to the HoD. The HoD passed the resolution without further amendment. So the final version is a resolution of the General Convention, and the directives are from the GC.

I say these things to emphasize that in the Anglican churches of the New World, we do not have prince bishops (except perhaps in the Southern Cone.) We are democratic in that all orders of the church are involved; lay, clergy and episcopal. The House of Deputies of TEC is the senior house of the GC with over 800 members. If I remember correctly there are eight delegates, four clergy and lay folks in each delegation from each diocese. My church, la Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, was formerly dioceses of TEC which became an independent province in 1995. We are organized similarly, but on a smaller scale, we have six dioceses and TEC has 110.

Also, I also think that folks here afford the Presiding Bishop much more respect than she receives from the ABC or the CoE and many of the other primates! The CoE does not recognize female bishops. +Katharine is not welcome in England as a bishop or a primate. Do you know of any setting, other than tolerated as an attendee at Lambeth Conference that she has been welcome in England? Anywhere that she has preached or presided?

Posted by: David |dah•veed| on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 3:48pm BST

Meanwhile, the BBC reports today http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8158469.stm on the alarming rise in HIV amongst gay Africans, and lays the blame largely at the double lives necessitated by the culture of taboo on homosexuality, which we Anglicans by our acquiescence to a culture of Untruth and Hypocrisy are perpetuating.

Do any bishops or other ecclesiastical luminaries care enough about people or the Gospel to be interested in dispelling taboo rather than wasting their energies on enforcing it?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 4:45pm BST

In Integrity's statement the reference to 33 years was saddening. Progress is so slow that one may die before seeing the land of promise. 40 years since the moon landing, and the expected sequels never happened. 50 years since John XXIII announced a Council and ecumenism is almost non-existent...

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 5:46pm BST

David, as part of the pre-Lambeth welcoming of bishops, the Presiding Bishop preached at the main Sunday services in Salisbury Cathedral (where one of the C of E's most senior female priests is Dean) and at St Martin's-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 6:13pm BST

The Presiding Bishop preached in Salisbury Cathedral last July - in the presence of 20+ bishops from the Sudan - she processed in cope and mitre alongside the Archbishop of the Sudan; the best possible welcome was accorded her - a press conference took place with together with Bp Kate Goldsworthy and the Dean of Salisbury.

Posted by: Mark B on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 6:46pm BST

Fr. Mark, he so-called "orthodox" will, no doubt, point to that rise in HIV infections as an example of divine justice.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 8:06pm BST

David asked

"The CoE does not recognize female bishops. +Katharine is not welcome in England as a bishop or a primate. Do you know of any setting, other than tolerated as an attendee at Lambeth Conference that she has been welcome in England? Anywhere that she has preached or presided?"

+Katharine visited Salisbury Cathedral before Lambeth, as a guest of the dean, the Very Revd June Osborne. She took part in various services, although I am not sure of the exact details of what she was allowed to do. She also took part in a "meet +Katharine" session one evening which was very well attended by a wide range of local people, most of whom were hugely impressed by the way she accepted and responded to a huge range of questions.

Simon

Posted by: Simon Robert Dawson on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 9:13pm BST

Fr. Mark,

We Anglicans do not even wish to admit our tacit complicity in driving young LGBT people in our own communities to self-hatred and - sadly, far too often, suicide - while also unwittingly condoning violence against them by constantly proclaiming in word and deed that LGBT people are ostensibly not supposed to exist in the first place. We are hardly going to wish to admit that we are also contributing to double lives and the spread of HIV in places far away with the very same messages. That would be far too honest - and far too upsetting - to ponder for too long.

Posted by: christopher+ on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 9:32pm BST

Thank you Mark & Hugh.

I should have limited my comment to episcopal functions. She cannot serve in the capacity of a bishop in England. So she would not be invited to participate in confirmations or ordinations in England.

Likewise, it has been said that a roaming English bishop would not be able to assist in the consecration of a female bishop in an Anglican province that extends the episcopacy to women.

Posted by: David |dah•veed| on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 9:41pm BST

I am sure we would not want to encourage Philip to think that a trip to Thinking Anglicans dispenses him from fidelity!

Perhaps I might suggest another analogy to him. Anti-miscegenation laws were common until relatively recently, where these laws changed it often caused deep challenges to people's deeply held convictions and these were often clergy and congregations of deeply "traditional" churches.

I am sure the legal changes did not convince many people that interacial marriage was right, moral or God's will indeed some people in your country fought against the change and as late as 1913 a Democratic Repesentative tried to introduce a constitutional ammendment saying:

" "Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians... within the United States... is forever prohibited."

Indeed many gay people like myself will recognise the rhetoric Representative Roddenberry used in his much applauded speech, here is a small taster:
"I offer this resolution ... that the States of the Union may have an opportunity to ratifty it. ... Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant to the very principles of Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery of white women to black beasts will bring this nation a conflict as fatal as ever reddened the soil of Virginia or crimsoned the mountain paths of Pennsylvania. ... Let us uproot and exterminate now this debasing, ultra-demoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy"

You will understand then why I, prefering this analogy, might feel the change in law has an important bearing on how God's Church should act.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 11:28pm BST

I am sure we would not want to encourage Philip to think that a trip to Thinking Anglicans dispenses him from fidelity!

Perhaps I might suggest another analogy to him. Anti-miscegenation laws were common until relatively recently, where these laws changed it often caused deep challenges to people's deeply held convictions and these were often clergy and congregations of deeply "traditional" churches.

I am sure the legal changes did not convince many people that interacial marriage was right, moral or God's will indeed some people in your country fought against the change and as late as 1913 a Democratic Repesentative tried to introduce a constitutional ammendment saying:

" "Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians... within the United States... is forever prohibited."

Indeed many gay people like myself will recognise the rhetoric Representative Roddenberry used in his much applauded speech, here is a small taster:
"I offer this resolution ... that the States of the Union may have an opportunity to ratifty it. ... Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant to the very principles of Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery of white women to black beasts will bring this nation a conflict as fatal as ever reddened the soil of Virginia or crimsoned the mountain paths of Pennsylvania. ... Let us uproot and exterminate now this debasing, ultra-demoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy"

You will understand then why I, prefering this analogy, might feel the change in law has an important bearing on how God's Church should act.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 11:32pm BST

PB Katherine preached and presided at Ripon College Cuddesdon last summer just prior to the Lambeth Conference. Hurrah!

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Monday, 20 July 2009 at 11:43pm BST

I would agree with you, Charlotte - I struggled for years with the whole notion of the institution of the AC, with its Boys Brigades and the display of regimental flags, etc. Finally I decided that I was taking too much offense, and wanted to 'get on with it' rather than just prevaricating for apparently superficial reasons.

But Lo! Just as I enter the AC, in its fundamentals it is starting to represent the picture you paint; I don't much care about the mocking (I have been mocked for holding other views, why not for these!) but the charges that it is plain irrational and bigoted are really starting to stick. It's not about 'spinning' what the AC is to the public, not about the 'perception being the reality' but on the whole, one finds there is less and less in the AC that might even warrant its taking this position, that apart from the irrationality and the bigotry, the bureaucracy and the hierarchy, there is little that is redeeming of it in the normal understanding of most people, and heck, I still hold with the view that most people ain't stupid.

I would like to stay and fight for a different AC but more than half of me at times wishes it would go the way of all flesh.

Posted by: MikeM on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 9:12am BST

Philip Wainwright:
"Both Martin Reynolds and Hugh of Lincoln mention changes in the law as though Christian standards were bound to change as a result, and I've seen other posts to the same effect, especially on TA."

Indeed you have. And you have also seen other posts on TA that say quite clearly that we should make our decisions based on our discernment of God's will for the Church, not on what society says. I know because I have posted some of them. You have also seen other posts from people who believe God works in His own way, and that He sometimes leads us through the actions of the surrounding society when we have proven ourselves too hidebound to hear the Still Small Voice. Yet, you seem to be implying that the main force behind this is really just the Church being guided by the world. If I am inferring incorrectly, I apologize. But believe me, and this is from experience, standing far off from something can make you think you see clearly motivations and attitudes that are actually a lot more complex when you see them up close. The big issue is, can you not see that even those who appeal to the current trends in society, appeals that leave me just as cold as they do you, BTW, are actually coming from a position of faith, an attempt to follow the Gospel, and are NOT selling the faith out to the world? I have often thought the same thing, but I find, more and more, that when you engage the people who you think are doing this, they really aren't, for the most part, and are just as sincere in their attempt to follow the Gospel as you are. It's quite a pain, because like most people I like to have those I oppose and don't like and all very clearly demarcated. It's easier to dislike them that way. But I'm learning that Evangelicals aren't all judgemental legalistic hysterics, and conservative ACs aren't all closet Romans, and liberals aren't all so open minded their brains have fallen out. It can be quite unnerving to realize that while you disagree with practically every approach someone has to the faith, you still pretty much believe at least compatible things, and at times pretty much the same thing. Trust me, I am currently quite unnerved having recently had that experience. How well I'll incorporate that into my overall attitudes remains to be seen, but a boy can dream!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 1:39pm BST

Hi Pat-
The answer to your question is to be found in my original comment. Broadly: whoever sees most dimensions of a question is closest to the truth; whoever sees fewest is furthest away. There is little or no chance that this will correlate with any one ideological group all the time. (in fact, in the interests of scholarship and integrity, anyone would seriousl advises against people belonging to ideological groups at all.)

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 4:09pm BST

"In my judgment a, or the, leading characteristic of truth (besides truthfulness) is maximal comprehensiveness: the characteristic that spawned the phrase 'the whole truth'. Related to this is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of different parties" - Christopher Shell -

Having just dropped back in from the 'outside world', I noted the above surprising statement by Christopher Shell. I must admit I am at a loss to understand this as being the true mind of the writer - having observed his former insularity on the subject of gays in ministry (amongst other assorted shibboleths) which would seem to be at odds wiuth what he states here: that diversity (comprehensiveness, in his words) might really lead to something he calls 'the whole truth'.

From God's plan for the universe, one can see that diversity is abundantly evident in its unfolding complexity - both materially and spiritually. What has come to light with the TEC General Convention's decision to forego the former tradition of hypocrisy on the matter of affirming same-sex relationships is that the Church has to decide whether Gospel imperatives or out-dated conservatism should be allowed to rule in Church life. This is not a matter of the Church following worldly convention to contravene its own established tradition. Rather, it is a matter of Gospel necessity overcoming legalistic moralisation, which has inhibited the outworking of the Gospel to a substantial minority in the family of the Church.

Hooray to TEC G.C., for its prophetic admonition

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 5:58pm BST

Hi Fr Ron-
I don't know what 'shibboleths' you are referring to, but I would be surprised if they were actually shibboleths as opposed to things taken very seriously by Jesus and by the Father to whom he prayed. If you can think of any that don't fit into that category, fire away.

Surely entrenched positions are no less and no more 'insular' and polarised than one another.

But are you showing a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of debate? The worst thing in debate (unless one is not a lover of truth/accuracy, which one should be) is to be wrong, not to be insular. Being 'insular' (rather a loaded term for simply being in a minority; and of course in some gatherings I would not be in a minority anyway) is in some cases a sign that someone can think for oneself, resist peer pressure, do without bandwagons etc..

I have several times refuted the idea that diversity is intrinsically a good thing. Yes, people have wonderfully diverse characters and giftings. But 3 people who (respectively) never, sometimes, and daily steal mobile phones are also a diverse bunch. I don't know about shibboleths, but the unexamined absolutist belief that diversity is in all cases a good thing is certainly a bit of a sacred cow. More importantly, it's not true.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 24 July 2009 at 1:42pm BST

Dear Christopher (Shell), I suppose my main trouble with what you contribute on this site (in response, mainly, to the contributions of other people) is that you are clearly in it for the opportunity to play word games. Scrabble and didactic discourses on logical sequence and biblical inerrancy are hardly the material of impassioned debate.

Most of us on this site are not looking for correction of our (sometimes) deficient presentational nicety. Rather, we are looking for inspirational input from fellow Anglicans (are you, by any chance, a fellow Anglican?) who are concerned for the direction in which our Church is going at this important time in her history. The opportunity for intellectual discourse on textual refinements and syntactical accuray is not, for me at any rate, the reason I give my time to the debate on T.A. Rather, one looks for something more substantial in the way of spiritual and theological enlightenment, which, I think, was the original intention of the web-masters.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 24 July 2009 at 4:41pm BST

Hi Fr Ron-
The way that one finds the truth in any debate is in the first instance by eliminating the self-contradictory. Chillingly, there are some people who do not believe that finding the truth is the name of the game at all. But for those who realise that it is, logic is their best friend, together of course with compassion. If one opposes compassion to logic, one ends up with unfairness/injustice. Logic and compassion are friends.

I would be amazed if you found any time where I emphasised biblical inerrancy. You've got the wrong guy, though we all recognise the stereotype. Are you sure you don't want to use the terms bible-basher and fundamentalist as well? Against someone who, in actual fact, thinks that if any given bible passage is true, it has to prove its truth rather than its truth being taken as read.

I think that the small-world quasi-solipsism of those who speak about the anglicans as though there were no other christians around is actually the central problem. Jesus didn't know about catholics, orthodox, protestants, pentecostals - let alone about nationally-named churches like anglicans or armenians - but he did know about disciples. Having a whole-world view of the church and becoming big-minded is the remedy for many ills. I have fantastic friends and associations in different parts of christendom, but it is fatal to identify too much with any one party, since then one is imagining that the real thing is party politics, tribalism, in-goups, inner rings, left-ism and right-ism, rather than the real thing being God's massive agenda. I love the anglican church my family are currently part of, just as I love the non-anglican churches with which we are equally associated. They are all great, and they are all fallible, and they are all so irrelevant to the main point.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:28am BST

Perhaps it would be more memorable if I made the same point in fewer words:
Prof EMB Green wrote that it does not matter what regiment one is in so long as one is in the army. Which is obviously true.
Supposing the Coldstream Guards knew little about any other part of the army -let alone the actual battle- and busied themselves with their own [relatively] little constitutions, analysis of point D025 etc.. Would they not be guilty of several things?- (1) inward-looking navel-gazing is the first stage of withering up altogether; (2) the smaller one's view is, the less accurate it is to the big international world we live in; (3) the whole idea that internal politics is the main thing is irredeemably secular - it reminds me of the way that the newspapers presuppose that the Church of Jesus Christ must be a political body with rightwingers and leftwingers. It could not be further from the gospels.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 1:59pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.