Saturday, 30 January 2016

Primates gathering - another roundup

The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, offers his Perspectives on the Primates’ Meeting.

Colbert I King The Washington Post The Anglican Communion’s un-Christian stance on marriage

The Most Reverend Dr Mouneer Anis A Personal Reflection on the 2016 Primates’ Meeting

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Apology to LGBT community must be followed by action, senior Anglicans warn Archbishop of Canterbury — referring to this press release

Jacob Luther Hymn to the Anglican Communion

Christopher Wells The Living Church Catholicity, apostolicity: Come on down

Jesse Zink Church Times If it doesn’t work, do something new

Ben Irwin The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the real reason we’re having this debate

Charles Hefling Christian Century Has the Episcopal Church been plutoed?

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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
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Perspectives on the Primates’ Meeting?

Beyond Homophobia?

The shifting of ¨perspective¨ begins anew...we are told the Primates main objection is to TEC canons on marriage. No mention regarding Gay Clergy, Gay Bishops, celibate or not, ¨out¨ or not, at the Church of England/beyond. The Primates remain discomforted and need to seperate TEC from ¨decision making¨ to reaffirm our troubling existence in the Anglican Communion?

The need to love (really), support (actually) and help (without intent to harm us) LGBTI Anglicans/others thrive at home, church would be a healthier goal. To become welcoming, and all-inclusive, examples of ¨Loving God and ones neighbors¨ internationally would set a brave/noble example for humanity.

WE, LGBTI Anglicans/others, know what persecution feels like. We know it from most EVERY religion and society and we know it daily. The other Christians amongst us who feel/know they are in danger of religious/cultural persecution are not alone...we understand, we continue to offer you our gift of sisterly and brotherly love and the experience of our enduring strength and faith! We have always been with you, we are your family, your coworshippers, your friends.

Will ++Justins ¨taskforce¨ include members of TEC and LGBTI Anglicans from all Provinces? Will we be talked about behind our fronts and backs without ¨voice¨? Will well-meaning primates/clergy who are attempting to rearrange the discrimination of LGBTI Anglicans at all levels of churchlife find a way for ALL of US to join together...equally? I believe we need a clear understanding of who will be ¨in¨ and ¨out¨ of the task force.

The message from The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, seems to me to be another attempt at VALIDATING wrong/harm done to LGBTI Anglicans/others throughout the Anglican Communion.

Reassuring (explaining to me) me that I remain a second tier Anglican does not make me feel better about the Primates meet up.

Thank you

Leonard Clark
aka Leonardo Ricardo
Central America

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 2:28pm GMT

From Archbishop Josiah Fearon-Idowu: "Being in communion with you threatens their witness to the same Lord Jesus, especially but not only in Muslim contexts, where the cultural sensibilities about human sexuality are so very different. In short, your decision puts many of us at risk."

This old saw needs to be unpacked and discarded. There is not one human rights organization that has corroborated the assertion that any violence has taken place due to gay liberation in the West. If you read human rights reports, conflicts typically have practical issues at heart, things like pocket book issues such as grazing rights and equality issues. They happen where there's not a functional justice system to stop the abuses that happen with impunity. Religious extremists are more likely to abuse women and girls rather than gay friendly churches. How excellent it would be to see the ACC take a stand for women in girls, rather than add to the hysteria against gays.

In places where a dominant group wants to obliterate a minority, be it some Muslims persecuting Christians or vice versa, any excuse will do. Feeding the propaganda isn't likely to be helpful.

Again, he promotes the idea that "unity" has to be around homophobia rather Jesus and the Good News. The idea that the Good News is being held up because of sexuality is a giant red herring. What kind of Christian leader would say "we're not going to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit the prisoner, and do justice until we are 'unified' on a low level theological issue"?

Unity is in Jesus and His message of compassion and Good News to the poor and the oppressed. If sexuality distracts the leaders from the Global South, it speaks volumes about them and little about us.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 4:29pm GMT

This section of The Most Reverend Dr Mouneer Anis' article, which speaks about the role of The Canadian Primate and the American PB is certainly intriguing. I wish I could say to Anis, tell us more, tell us more.


"The turning point of the discussions came when Archbishop Winston Halapua of Polynesia asked the question, “how can we bless each other even if we walk in different directions?” In response to this question, I asked the presiding bishop of TEC and the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada to sit together with me for lunch. The Archbishop of York joined as well as the Archbishop of Uganda.

We had a frank and gracious discussion about how each of us felt and how the issue at hand had affected our respective provinces. We then moved on to consider the way ahead. I shared a thought I had had prior to the Primates Meeting of 2011. This idea was to create a “distance and continuous dialogue”. In other words this would create a space for contemplation without tension as a first step towards restoring our Communion. It does not involve excommunication of TEC, but limits their full participation in the Anglican Councils for a period or space.

When we shared this with the rest of the Primates, they wanted to know the nature of this distance. As a result, the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed a balanced working group to work out a proposal, which you can now see in the Communiqué."

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 4:53pm GMT

For your information, the link in Ruth Gledhill's piece to the original letter is wrong. It should be:

www.lettertoarchbishops.wordpress.com

Posted by: Anne on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 4:56pm GMT

After apologizing, is ABC going to reverse church actions against clergy who have been marginalized or ousted for their following their nature, marrying their love, etc.? If not, it seems that the whole apology is just a plop of dung.

Posted by: John Clifford on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 5:18pm GMT

"Being in communion with you threatens their witness to the same Lord Jesus, especially but not only in Muslim contexts, where the cultural sensibilities about human sexuality are so very different. In short, your decision puts many of us at risk." - Archbishop Josiah Fearon-Idowu.

To me this reads as saying that Christ's church should ensure its policies don't offend Muslim sensibilities and that the church should bow to cultural sensibilities.

Posted by: Kate on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 5:28pm GMT

Ben Irwin - spot on!

Posted by: Kate on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 5:55pm GMT

“how can we bless each other even if we walk in different directions?”

Perhaps by following Jesus' injunction to love one another? I was burglarized last summer. I am certainly walking in a different direction than the person who robbed me - but I pray for him, ask God's blessing (without having any idea what he needs; God knows better than I do), and I would certainly have no hesitation to take communion with him. Cannot the archbishops do as much?

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 7:09pm GMT

Kate, here I agree with you.

Archbishop Fearon-Idowu seems to be saying that Christian churches should trim their sails to accommodate Islamic beliefs.

Obey the dictates of Islamic culture? Why, Archbishop? Why?

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 7:10pm GMT

Could someone remind me why it is risky to be a Christian in a Muslim context if you are in communion with a church thousands of miles away which endorses gay marriage, but it's not risky to be a Christian in a Muslim context claiming the divinity of Jesus and (implicitly) denying the divinity of Mohammed? Should African, and indeed Western, churches deny the Trinity in order to appease Muslims? It strikes me that the divinity of Mohammed and the non-divinity of Jesus is a pretty fundamental theological divide between Christians and Muslims.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 10:01pm GMT

The Archbishop of Canterbury and all the Primates of the Anglican Communion should stop pinkwashing LGBT Anglicans with mere words of apology without real action or sanctions against primates and provinces which advocate and support the persecution and jailing of LGBT Anglicans.

Its seemed to me leaders of the Anglican Communion thinks it’s more important to keep the Anglican Communion at all cost on the expense of its LGBT Anglicans.

I propose that the Archbishop of Canterbury sets up monitoring group of the primates structures against homophobic words and actions.

Posted by: Davis Mac-Iyalla on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 11:10pm GMT

And here I thought being a Christian was supposed to be risky business...

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Saturday, 30 January 2016 at 11:12pm GMT

We wondered how the Secretary General would handle a public address at the progressive SE FL Diocese, due to an invitation likely issued before the Canterbury gathering. This is far more detailed and direct than one might have thought. There is no evidence of any alleged step down from that gathering's statement.

Posted by: christopher seitz on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 7:14am GMT

Colbert King's article in the Washington Post says it all:

"The Anglican Communion’s murmured criticism of “homophobic prejudice and violence” and “criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people” hardly rivals its condemnation of the U.S. Episcopal Church"

How can the Primates square their declared 'sorrow' for the sin of homophobia, and at the same time suspend the one Province of the Communion that has done something concrete about redressing this imbalance at the heart of our Communion?

Talk about 'stoning the prophets'

There was a similar kerfuffle about TEC's initiative to emancipate women in the ministry of the Churches of the Communion. In the end, even the good old Church of England was able to follow suit - although some Provinces still resist that justice initiative.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 8:50am GMT

"Two different kinds of reactions arose after the release of the Communiqué. Some reacted with outrage and others with triumph. Sadly I found little grace in these reactions. I recalled the compassionate words of Jesus in Luke 13:34, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you! How often I have wanted to gather your people just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that”. I feel that we need to pray so that we may have such Christ-like compassion."
- Dr. Mouneer Anis -

Indeed, Mouneer. Especially that bit about 'stoning the prophets' - in this case, TEC, whose openness to ALL people has scandalised the 'Holy Ones' who took the moral high ground.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 9:00am GMT

Interested Observer: I think claiming Mohammed was divine is more likely to get you into trouble among Muslims than claiming Jesus was. Muslims are generally pretty emphatic that both Mohammed and Jesus were human prophets who received revelations from God.

Posted by: Jo on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 10:07am GMT

Regarding Fearon's statement that decent treatment of gay people in the West puts African Christians at risk at the hand of Muslims: perhaps Fearon & Co. might consider seeking forgiveness for their failure to achieve - or even to seek? - reconciliation with their Muslim neighbors, rather than scapegoating gay Christians in New York, Toronto and London and their failure in that regard.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 12:36pm GMT

I rather like Davis's idea of a monitoring group to see if the Primates will not engage in homophobic comments or actions. Accountability has to go both ways if we're to take it seriously and not just dismiss it as an excuse not to move forward on same sex inclusion in our own churches.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 12:49pm GMT

how many centuries have Muslims and Christians in Africa been at one another's throats? Since the Stonewall riot? Since legislation in the UK de-criminalized homosexuality 60 years ago? No, I think it goes back a bit further than that.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 1:34pm GMT

Commentators need to take some care to contextualize the remark by bishop Idowu-Fearon regarding Muslims. His comment should be critically evaluated and placed within the context of place and with reference to militant Islamists.

The Muslims represent over three percent of the population of Canada and participate within our multi-cultural society. They are not showing up here at Christian schools or churches engaging in violence. Quite the contrary, in Canada Muslim women have been targeted for street violence and Mosques have been vandalized here by marginal bigots exploiting right wing wedge politics.

Idowu-Fearon's comment demonstrates that the better approach is to focus on the issue of human rights in which GLBTQ people are often victimized by both Muslim extremists and Christian complicity with oppressive regimes.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 1:39pm GMT

Quite, Cynthia. We're still waiting for genuine evidence that TEC's support of SSM has had all these catastrophic impacts we are told it has had in provinces with substantial Muslim populations.

The high-profile claims to this effect have come chiefly from South Sudan (Welby's report visit to a mass-grave, and pronouncements of their Bishops). This is a country in which Muslims are a vulnerable minority in a conflict zone.

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/208410.pdf

Posted by: David Beadle on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 1:49pm GMT

"This old saw needs to be unpacked and discarded. There is not one human rights organization that has corroborated the assertion that any violence has taken place due to gay liberation in the West."

That may be so, Cynthia, but it shouldn't matter: I'm willing to accept the claims on their face, because to dispute them would implicitly accept the argument that violence abroad should retard progress at home. Disputing them also implies that many African Anglicans are either ill-informed, or lying, which is toxic to progress. This is a fight that can't be won.

If inclusion and equality are right, they're right, and shouldn't be hostage to violence and terrorism.

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 4:52pm GMT

The one thing Bishop Idowu-Fearon’s statement has convinced me of is that the best thing we could do for human rights elsewhere is to take ourselves out of the politcal framework of The Anglican Communion.

By taking ourselves out of this archaic and increasingly curia like framework we would no longer cast the shadow on the safety of Anglicans in the Global South as The Communion Secretary suggests we do.

Once freed from the suggestion that standing up for human rights at home plays out badly for Anglicans elsewhere, we could become even more proactive in advocating for GLBTQ human and civil rights in the places Idowu-Fearon mentions.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 6:16pm GMT

The fact remains - despite the usual weak-willed and enabling spin that is a result of the mental abuse from con-evos - that the "endangering us" cry is no more than a cynical manipulation, as are jovial little lunches and "conversations." I hear a lot about TEC as prophets; prophets are willing to condemn evil acts and demand repentance, not excuse it. Even Jesus had those who chose to be his enemies, and he knew when they had decisively rejected Grace.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 6:54pm GMT

Davis has it right. The ABC should set up a monitoring process to hold archbishops and other church leaders accountable for homophobic comments and support of criminalization, with threat of sanctions/consequences for breaking the spirit of the primates communique.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 7:23pm GMT

Daniel Berry, NYC on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 1:34pm GMT, yep. It's been going on for centuries.

Jo on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 10:07am GMT, you are absolutely correct. Islam, to my knowledge, teaches that there was a long line of prophets preaching Allah's message, but imperfectly. Jesus of Nazareth was one of the last of that line of prophets. Then came Mohammed, and Mohammed taught Allah's message without error. In Islam, all the prophets, including Mohammed, were human beings.

Regarding Archbishop Welby's apology to GLBT people while the primates' confab was stoning TEC for being inclusive of GLBT people, he needs to tap-dance faster, it isn't working.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 8:27pm GMT

A thouht: Idowu-Fearon seems insistent that this all relates back to their culture - which, we've been told, we must respect - so, perhaps they should see it not as a problem of TEC, but as a *consequence* of their own cultural differences.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 12:56am GMT

An organization which may provide of a template to replace the the now lame duck Anglican Communion is the Commonwealth of Nations, of which my country, Canada, is a member.

In the Commonwealth one tips the hat to a common heritage, both positive and negative, meetings take place, thankfully no more often than required, and a common form of government derived from Westminster is praised. However, perspectives both divergent and with varying degrees of proximity are a reality. Some Commonwealth Countries debate, without fear of being drummed out, whether or not to retain the Monarchy. A great number of Commonwealth countries are republics.

One recalls how, during apartheid, the PM of a commonwealth country (Canada) successfully advocated in favor of a boycott of South Africa-- a stand that enraged the PM of the mother of all Commonwealth countries i.e., Margaret Thatcher of England.

Oh that the former full Anglican Communion would become something more like The Commonwealth of Nations and less like the international private men's club it has, for all practical purposes, now become.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 2:43am GMT

Ben Irwin has the problem neatly encapsulated in his perceptive article linked here:

"Some have questioned the primates’ selective application of punitive measures—penalizing Episcopalians for their decision to bless same-sex marriages, while neglecting to penalize Anglican church leaders who have promoted state-sanctioned persecution of gays in countries like Uganda—contravening Jesus’ command to love your neighbor. (I’m pretty sure he DIDN’T say, “Unless they’re gay, ’cause gross.”) - Ben Irwin -

Surely, at least. the Archbishop of Canterbury has, for justice' sake, to recognise the injustice of penalising TEC and not penalising GAFCON Provinces that perpetuate the vilification of Gays on their homeground.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 7:33am GMT

Father Ron,
It's wider than GAFCON. Even CofE should be "plutoed" (nice word from Charles Hefling) for its relaxed stance to divorce. Which points the way to the issue. One province - maybe two - can be disciplined; several cannot.

Posted by: Kate on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 8:03am GMT

[[ Thanks for the correction about the Muslim position on the divinity of Mohammed. My general point stands, however: that homosexuality is not the only theological issue, nor even the main theological issue, that separates Christianity and Islam ]]

"Idowu-Fearon seems insistent that this all relates back to their culture"

Which is odd, given that the conservative position on reasons to opposed same-sex marriage in the West are all about being "counter cultural". So let's get this right: in the west, Anglicans should oppose society's move towards equality for LGBTQ people, because that shift is cultural and the church is counter-cultural. But in the "south", Anglicans should opposed the west's move towards quality of LGBTQ people, because that shift is cultural and it's important that the culture of Africa be respected in all regards?

That's Welby saying that heads he's homophobic, tails he's homophobic: it's the argument that never stops giving.

Of course, one might argue that even in the west, homophobia is still deeply entrenched, and therefore being accepting of LGBTQ people is, in fact, counter-cultural. Oh, it's all so difficult.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 9:28am GMT

Dear Interested Observer. Yes, it's all very confusing, especially compounded with the fact that our very own CofE did not find her counter-cultural nerve on the matter till the nation's culture actually, and surprisingly to the Archbishop, turned against them quite recently. Before that they happily swam with the flow of prejudice. I am absolutely amazed that any Christian dares use this argument with a straight face.

Posted by: Lorenzo on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 1:30pm GMT

Twice +Josiah refers to the 'doctrine of marriage'.

This is the chief point of disagreement between TEC and the Primates gathering.

That this has ramifications in a Muslim context is a by product of this disagreement. Muslims charge Christians with having a religion that relies on a book but then doesn't; tells potential converts to Christianity that this a genuinely old religion, but then it is one that changes form and is not held in common across continents. All this feeds a narrative that Christianity is a made-up religion and not worthy of respect as coming from God: Who doesn't take different forms and doesn't have a book that gives multiple and contradictory meanings for living.

Don't shoot the messenger, but this is the problem +Josiah is identifying and it has to do with a distinctive teaching about marriage that Muslims know derives from a book and also the teaching of Jesus the Prophet.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 1:31pm GMT

"God: Who doesn't take different forms"

Well, there you have it. Perhaps the "problem" is not with Christian hermeneutics, but rather with the doctrine of the Trinity.

Similarly, who seriously thinks that Islam does not take different forms?

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 6:29pm GMT

A really good commentary can be found here, by the Crusty Old Dean. http://crustyoldean.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-nflization-of-anglican-communion.html

It has a great summary of the Anglican Communion.

What is clear is that the primates have no legal or constitutional authority to rule on anything. These sanctions/consequences/requirements on TEC are an enormous power grab.

Lambeth 1.10 was merely a suggestion. No province with a General Convention or Synod could or would receive orders from foreign bishops (isn't that why Henry VIII broke with Rome?). The polity of numerous provinces don't accept authority from outside.

So the innovation here is the "New Anglican Communion" with bishops who are unelected and accountable to no one making up polity as they go along and grabbing power "as needed" Their instrument of unity? Homophobia and/or crazy focus on a Doctrine of Marriage that never was, and even if you believe it was, it is low on totem pole of Gospel imperatives.

Apparently, the ABC didn't have the backbone or inclination to tell the GAFCON bishops that with the failure of the Anglican Covenant they have no authority.

Some of the bishops come from countries where democratic, legal, and constitutional institutions are weak or nonexistent. They are bringing that dysfunction to the Anglican Communion and calling themselves the majority and creating powers for themselves.

What's to be done? Crusty Old Dean writes "Crusty thinks we just need to walk separately with as much charity and goodwill as possible." At least for a time.

I'm inclined to stay engaged. But this is above my pay grade.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 7:02pm GMT

Jeremy's point is a valid one; historically, Islam has enjoyed culturally-dictated differences. The current prevalent form, identified with violence and repression is a result, largely, of the culture arising from the Mamelukes, which was the result of a militant fear reaction, very similar to that of modern Christian conservatism. It is rather obvious that this current communion issue stems from a regional cultural outlook, not a religimous one. Religion is merely the excuse. Even without marriage equality, the wide variety of matrimonial connection for heterosexuals, including divorce, persists. To speak of the Book also ignores the rather unpleasant and unnecessary character given it in the New Testament. No. The argument of the Islamic take doesn't work.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 7:09pm GMT

The Christian Trinity -- how very odd. Simply refer to any Creed. God from God, etc.

I will leave you to fight the good fight vis-à-vis Muslims over their own convictions about Allah being different in time and in space.

Let me know what you learn.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 7:47pm GMT

You're right, Interested Observer, it's inconsistent, 'cause it's driven by politics. Successful churches get to make the rules.

Contrast the West and the Global South: it's stark. Global South churches are packed with millions of zealous believers who'd gladly martyr themselves for Christ; Western churches are in existential decline, and plenty members don't seem to believe in anything much.

What do Gafcon see when they look West? From their POV, churches so incompetent they've managed to lose Christendom. Decadent societies that worship hedonism. Babylon without the prowess. No wonder the Gafcon bossmen view the West with contempt, and get their way by whatever justification they choose.

If progressives in Western churches ever want it to change, the answer's simple: evangelize like crazy. Numbers, money, and organization are the way to get taken seriously. Get associated with decline, and so too will all you hold dear.

Posted by: James Byron on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 7:59pm GMT

The use that Muslims make of the Episcopal Church's policies and practices toward LGBT people are ever changing, yet they magically coincide with the needs of the Episcopal Church's Christian opposition at any given moment.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 8:40pm GMT

"Muslims charge Christians with having a religion that relies on a book but then doesn; tells potential converts to Christianity that this a genuinely old religion, but then it is one that changes form and is not held in common across continents......" cseitz

Professor Seitz makes explicit something that Archbishop Fearon implies, that somehow it is possible to make a claim beginning with the words "Muslims charge.....", and seriously mean "all Muslims". The Sunni/Shia/Alawi/ISIS conflicts provide ample evidence that Islam is also "not held in common across continents", but is equally influenced by local cultural pressures.

Specifically in relation to issues of sexuality, a very cursory Google search can give ample evidence of a lively debate among Mulsims, One interesting article I was able to find easily was


http://islamandhomosexuality.com/5-muslim-nations-gay-legal/

The article outlines 5 majority Muslim countries and a good number of others with substantial Muslim minorities, where issues of GLBTi rights can be and are debated without fear of legal sanction.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 8:48pm GMT

@ cseitz, We need to be clear with bishop Fearon-Idowu that we are not going deeper into the woods of convoluted logic about what some Muslims may be telling someone else about Christians and holy books.

Islam in Africa has a very long and complex history. The situation there remains complex and driven by the African politcal and cultural contexts. It has also developed increasing fluidity in recent times, again, much of that a contest between militants and other long standing African Muslim groups.

The militant Islamists in Africa (and elsewhere) are as much of a threat to other Muslims as they are to Christians.
Fearon-Idowu knows all this, I'm sure.

We know that socially conservative Christians are opposed to same sex marriage. We get it. Stop using Muslims and their tragic problems with militant Islam to muddy the waters.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 9:25pm GMT

As I recall, Chapter 112 of the Quran declares that God "begets not nor is begotten." It would be hard to square that with Christian belief in the Incarnation which many Muslims regard as scandalous.
The scandal of two women marrying and starting a household seems small in comparison.

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 10:35pm GMT

@ Jeremy: Well, the boys in Isis (many of whom, apparently, are Brits) think Islam takes only one form and that those who disagree should be killed.

Which is strangely coincides with some African religious leaders, who believe human sexuality takes only one form, and those who disagree should be killed.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Monday, 1 February 2016 at 11:04pm GMT

Daniel Berry: Of course. I used the word "seriously." ISIS may be a serious paramilitary threat in parts of the Middle East, but I do not consider ISIS troops to have a serious understanding of Islam.

As you say, there is Christian fundamentalism along with Islamic fundamentalism, and both can breed violence.

FD Blanchard: Thank you for putting the Islamic view of the Trinity better than I could.

Cseitz: As you know, the Trinity is a mystery. Just because Christians finally agreed on creedal statements does not mean that many others do not find the notion of God in three persons puzzling, even offensive.

"There is no God but Allah [God]" is, in part, a statement denying the divinity of Jesus.

And of course the view that "there is no God but Allah" predates the Primates' Meeting (or gathering), the Anglican Communion, even the Church of England.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 1:31am GMT

I hope it isn't too trite to point out that Christians and Muslims from the get-go have always had a fundamental disagreement about the doctrine of marriage -- a Christian man could have only one spouse; a Muslim man could have up to four.

Is the doctrine of Christian monogamy now to be a threat to Christians living in countries with large Muslim populations?

Posted by: dr.primrose on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 2:33am GMT

" Stop using Muslims and their tragic problems with militant Islam to muddy the waters." - Rod Gillis

Thank you, Rod. This ought to be used as a Tenth Commandment - especially significant for Christians who would lump together All Muslims as the 'enemy' - to be feared more than fundamentalist Christians.

Muslims are also 'Children of Abraham' - like Christians, part of a great variety of God's family.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 5:25am GMT

I will repeat myself.

"Twice +Josiah refers to the 'doctrine of marriage'.

This is the chief point of disagreement between TEC and the Primates gathering."

I'll leave non-Muslims to squabble over what Muslims believe.

In the end it isn't the main point of agreement amongst the Primates and the place where they distance themselves from TEC.


Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 5:31am GMT

Would that the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion would also abandon any argument from Islam or from its cultural contexts.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 9:58am GMT

Maybe the divinity of Jesus should not have been asserted by the early disciples (or implied by Jesus himself) because of the offence it would cause to the Jewish religious community and the risk that would pose to Christians?

It's pretty straightforward. If Provinces operate with their own autonomy, then they are accountable for their own communities, and *not* to dictate to other Provinces with vastly different cultures.

'Risk' and sacrifice is - in the end and along the way - integral to Christian faith (easy to say of course, from the relative safety of the UK). But it is. As others have pointed out, there are many other grounds for calling 'risk', such as the divinity of Jesus. Does that not cause far more offence?

Jesus taught all sorts of challenging lessons, but it was the implication that he was God that triggered his death. When Christianity is perceived as blasphemy, the lives and values of lesbians half a world away can hardly escalate risk much further.

No. The underlying dynamic is the desire to 'control' dogma and impose uniformity. The driving force of 'The Anglican Covenant' was precisely that - prompted by the desire to 'control' the rules on human sexuality. That dogmatic attempt to impose uniformity (where no uniform conscience exists) was rejected in England.

Both the Bishops' 'Pastoral Letter' (sic) and the recent Primates' Communique seek to re-assert the principles of the Covenant. As far as the Church of England is concerned, since it was rejected, Justin has acted outside his mandate.

Local priests and churches that wish to act in good conscience (in line with the now majority view in England) should have the courage to network, organise, and act outside his.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 10:20am GMT

"If progressives in Western churches ever want it to change, the answer's simple: evangelize like crazy. Numbers, money, and organization are the way to get taken seriously."

JamesB, I can't quite tell if you're being facetious. Certainly, on Good Friday afternoon it didn't appear that (per PB Curry's phrase) the Jesus Movement had accomplished the all-important "Numbers, money, and organization".

[RodG: "I wish I could say to Anis, tell us more, tell us more." Why not ask him? http://dioceseofegypt.org/2016/01/a-personal-reflection-on-the-primates-meeting-2016/ I left a comment on his blog myself. Too early to see whether it's passed moderation, but no harm in your giving it a go.]

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 10:21am GMT

The biggest disappointment to me is not the actions of GAFCON (which are predictable and comprehensible) but the craven nature of the liberal response... lack of solidarity... failure of local priests to lead resistance and dissent... even the second letter Jayne organised, 'thanking' Justin, I have to say I find deeply disappointing.

Why don't dissenting priests 'risk' their positions and simply say 'we WILL celebrate gay and lesbian marriage, we WILL bless gay couples, we WILL get married ourselves as priests and our PCCs will retain us.'

Justin gets away with this because people are prepared to 'say' things are wrong, but they don't seem to want to 'risk' their livings, their standing, in active resistance.

The biggest blame, frankly, falls at the feet of those who know justice but are not prepared to act on it.

Justin is at least being true to his own beliefs. Can the same be said of those who say something is wrong, then 'thank' Justin and carry on as before, submitting to what they are told, to unjust authority, authority that doesn't even have mandate, but which repudiates the decision on The Anglican Covenant, and perpetuates the diminution of lesbian and gay lives, and the effective invalidation of their most precious, intimate, and sacrificial lives?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 10:21am GMT

@ cseitz, "I'll leave non-Muslims to squabble over what Muslims believe." You would appear to be the non-Muslim most interested in squabbling over what people in a religion and culture not your won believe.

[The doctrine of Marriage] " ...is the chief point of disagreement between TEC and the Primates gathering."

Let's look at disagreement as a paradigm. This year Canada's General synod is facing first reading of a motion to amend its marriage Canon that if passed would put us on the road to same sex marriage in the church. This situation exists not because of initiative from officialdom but because of the initiative at the previous GS of two female lay delegates who moved a "private members" motion.

So here we have disagreement demonstrated in two contrasting paradigms. The one, aging male primates meeting in a closed door meeting in a church crypt. The other, is two female lay delegates working within the transparent forum of an open General Synod comprised of the orders of bishops, clergy, laity.

This ought to be an education about the dynamics of disagreement for the Communion General Secretary and folks like yourself who are on side with him.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 12:09pm GMT

"Muslims charge Christians with having a religion that relies on a book but then doesn; tells potential converts to Christianity that this a genuinely old religion, but then it is one that changes form and is not held in common across continents......" cseitz

It really is about time Christians and the church started explaining the nature of the Bible isn't it?

The Bible tells of perfect creation (Genesis 1,2), the fall occasioned by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3), the consequences of the fall (OT) and redemption (the Gospels). (The Epistles are a bit more complex.) That is, it is a story about man's progression from ignorance, through gaining revealed knowledge of good and evil, on to dealing with moral dilemmas himself.

So we expect differences in the book according to that progression. As soon as we moved from God's Chosen People relying upon revealed knowledge of good and evil to the complexities of moral issues in the Gospels, geographical differences are to be predicted too.

The charges you level are not weaknesses: for me they are the evidence that the Bible narrative is a true story.

Posted by: Kate on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 12:47pm GMT

I will repeat myself.
"Twice +Josiah refers to the 'doctrine of marriage'.
This is the chief point of disagreement between TEC and the Primates gathering."

Indeed, and the rest of us are saying that African Christians will still be struggling in the competition to conquer souls with that other rival imperial religion no matter what the TEC does.
Why should a congregation in Oregon put on hold what they see as an urgent matter of justice because of the feelings of another congregation in Kampala? And vice-versa. Why should the congregation in Kampala feel in any way constrained by what the congregation in Oregon decides?


Posted by: F. D. Blanchard on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 1:16pm GMT

“Global South churches are packed with millions of zealous believers who'd gladly martyr themselves for Christ”—James Byron

Sounds to me like they are packed with religious fanatics who will do almost anything—including murder their Muslim neighbors. Not to mention murdering people thought to be gay, their killing of alleged “witches” and their promotion of polygamy and “female circumcision.” Nice crowd that you want us to emulate, James. If this is “Christianity” then it is doomed to devolve to the world’s most backward areas.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY


Posted by: Kurt Hill on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 2:56pm GMT

re my post of 12:09 pm, typo alert, "...not your won believe." That should read, ...not your own believe...

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 2:57pm GMT

JCF, the early Jesus movement evangelized like crazy, and weren't taken seriously until Constantine brought them money, numbers, and power. Before then, they were a despised and marginalized superstitio.

Today, most people who believe in equal rights simply disregard the church. Its institutional homophobia bars them from hearing the message that inspired those first disciples. It's a barrier that must be torn down, and to do that, liberalism must acquire a power base.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 3:12pm GMT

Susannah, "Why don't dissenting priests 'risk' their positions and simply say 'we WILL celebrate gay and lesbian marriage, we WILL bless gay couples, we WILL get married ourselves as priests and our PCCs will retain us.'"
I'm more than happy to do as you suggest, but I don't want to jeopardise whatever negotiations are going on through proper process or behind closed doors. I feel we are not organised enough, or perhaps it's just me - I'm out of the loop. So it is hard to know what to do for the best. Also, it might be different in town churches but here in rural Oxfordshire I don't get LGBT couples knocking on my door asking for blessings. If they did, I hope I'd do the right thing by God rather than by The Church. I do at least preach in favour of full inclusion and marriage equality and here that causes hardly a ripple.

Posted by: Rev Drew Tweedy on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 4:16pm GMT

I am loathe to second guess overmuch the perception of life in the midst of Muslims of one who lives in Kaduna province in N Nigeria.

And who did advanced doctoral work on Islam at Durham.

Of course there are varieties of Muslims, but the range that people like Josiah confront on a daily basis agree on the core tenets of Islam, and know that Christians and Jews are 'people of the book.'

+Rowan Williams, +Burundi, and +West Indies were all in Miami, as was +Josiah.

None of them holds that Christian marriage can be altered to include LBGTI couples without changing what marriage is. They hold that Christian marriage is a specific estate.

They also oppose criminalization of the same body of people.

And this is what the Primates as a body also upheld.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 4:29pm GMT

Christopher, I'm hearing the summary of your arguments as this: because Muslims don't respect and utilize Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, we should abandon it as well.

The argument that Muslims would make peace with Christians if we just "followed our own book" of which they likely know little, is a bit absurd.

None of this nonsense is reflected in any human rights reports about conflict. Someone said that Muslims seem to oppose whatever it is that Western conservatives oppose. That about covers it.

The "New Anglican Communion" is an invention of Western conservatives who've lost the majority in the culture wars at home and are rallying an international field with unprecedented powers to regain the majority.

That's what this is all about, Charlie Brown.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 5:04pm GMT

Hear! Hear!, Susannah Clark [comment 10.21am)

I can't recall if you live in England or are familiar with the CofE, Susannah - if not, you may be unaware of the wringing wet 'niceness' and almost complete aversion to conflict of most of its 'members'. Well, that's been my experience over the eight years it has been my misfortune to be connected with the Church - people who are all ever so 'supportive' of gay people and marriage equality in private but then do absolutely nothing concrete about it.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 7:19pm GMT

Kurt, to clarify, I emphatically don't want anyone to emulate religious fundamentalism: I want to see liberalism grow precisely to counter it.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 11:40pm GMT

Well said, Laurence.

Good isn't nice. In refusing to speak out, many conflict-averse "nice" people are enablers of oppression. They'll provide endless sympathy, but stab you in the back the second they're asked to stand up and be counted. Oh, *then*, when confronted with their own cowardice, they'll embrace conflict like a lost son.

Courage is perhaps the greatest virtue, 'cause without it, none of the others get a look in. Some of the finest people I've known have been crotchety SOBs, but every time, they'll go to bat for their friends and their beliefs. Give me that over the maudlin niceness of the gutless, any day.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 11:54pm GMT

Baptised, confirmed, worshipped in Church of England, Laurence. Still do, though I identify most with its religious communities, two convents in particular.

I simply want to marry my partner, before God, in my own church tradition. It shouldn't be too much to ask. And for others to be able to marry in church as well, whatever their gender. Anything else is discrimination.

I am just a nurse, not a priest or an archbishop. I don't pretend to know the ins and outs, and the internal politics of my church. But I do understand the logic of the present situation: the Archbishop has lost the majority of his members on the issue of gay and lesbian relationships. He is out of step with his own flock in England, even if he's in step with half of Africa.

Of course, I accept that here in England, the church is divided down the middle on human sexuality. That's why I believe that 'unity in diversity' is the only mature and decent way to go. You can't enforce conscience. You can't demand uniformity (against the consciences of most of your members). You can't just ignore the decision the Church of England took on The Anglican Covenant.

Standing up for justice, and your faith in good conscience, doesn't necessarily involve submitting 'nicely' to an authority figure at odds with his members - or many of them.

(continued...)

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:00am GMT

It's clear that the hundreds or thousands of signatories of Jayne's recent letter should stand up for the rights of LGBT people inside and outside our Church - by creating a network that WILL bless, celebrate, and if they decide to and dare to, *marry* people, regardless of gender.

They should signal that if 'unity in diversity' is not granted by a set and specific date, then multiple churches will commence acting on their consciences - which will get wide public support.

It's not a question of 'being nice'... it's a question of justice, and it's a major conscience issue. LGBT lives are diminished - and the Christian message alienates a generation - if people just 'say' but don't 'do'.

With a majority supporting gay marriage, and even more supporting gay sexual relationships, the Archbishop has lost his mandate to dictate. Instead of trying to control and dominate, he should have listened to the outcome of the Covenant, and recognised that the consciences of local churches, PCCs, priests and members need to be respected - only 'unity in diversity' can do that. But power is reluctant to abdicate its control - so it needs to be repudiated in action and 'de facto' affirmation of gay lives and the precious, tender relationships of good and decent people.

Is there not a single priest in the Church of England who will marry my partner and me? And if there is, there also needs to be a network acting in solidarity, because (as you know all too painfully, Laurence) isolated individuals can be picked off too easily. A whole network of churches needs to set Justin a deadline, or take 'de facto' control of things.

Justin could avert the problem by just respecting conscience, instead of imposing his own, but otherwise - for the lives and precious relationships of LGBT people - a network of courageous, decent churches should set the date, set the agenda, and state 'Here we stand' ... side by side with lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people. Otherwise, what do we have? 'Love the sinner but hate the sin.'

There comes a time for action, driven by prayer, conscience, justice, and doing what is right.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:13am GMT

Mr Seitz posted the following:

"+Rowan Williams, +Burundi, and +West Indies were all in Miami, as was +Josiah.

"None of them holds that Christian marriage can be altered to include LBGTI couples without changing what marriage is. They hold that Christian marriage is a specific estate."

In the American offices we've been reading the story of Abram and Sarai at Morning Prayer for the last couple of weeks. Anyone who knows this story (or many like it in the OT) knows better than to come with this nonsense about marriage as a "specific estate." It's as fluid as pretty much any social or economic institution we hear about in'"holy writ." Honestly, I don't know where anyone gets the idea that the bible is some sort of magic book. All one has to do is actually read it to see what sort of nonsense that is.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:19am GMT

@ Christopher Seitz, "I am loathe to second guess overmuch the perception of life in the midst of Muslims of one who lives in Kaduna province in N Nigeria."

Whether one lives in Nigeria or Canada or the United States or England, cultural context gives us all both perspective and tunnel vision. Canada is a multi-cultural country. Same sex marriage is the legal state of the question here. It is my view that the Canadian church should be free to draw upon the social positives of our situation unqualified by the strife that exists somewhere else. Our domestic problems are sufficient to occupy our attention.

[Bishop Fearon-Idowu]"...did advanced doctoral work on Islam at Durham." There are lots of people out there with academic knowledge of Islam. Judging by the good bishop's positions his view from graduate studies is qualified by his own existential situation.

"None of them holds that Christian marriage can be altered to include LBGTI couples without changing what marriage is." This statement simply articulates one side of the controversy. The rejoinder is that some us believe that marriage can and ought to be changed to include same sex couples. Everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury (previous and present) to bishop Fearon-Idowu to little ole you and me are partisans on one side or another of the issue.

So let's deal with the situation on the face of it,that individuals in significant positions of leadership in The 'Communion' are partisans.

Meanwhile, I wish those, near and far, who are opposed to same sex marriages would stop dragging Muslims into the debate. It simply adds to the tensions,misunderstanding and alienation that Canadian Muslims face here from the marginal politcal right.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:59am GMT

"None of them holds that Christian marriage can be altered to include LBGTI couples without changing what marriage is."

I'm fairly certain there have always been intersex people who have married, even in the most "traditional" churches, given that a good number of persons with intersex spectrum conditions are never diagnosed and remain unaware of being as much. Nor am I aware of any Christian tradition which teaches that they cannot or may not.

Posted by: Geoff M. on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 2:58am GMT

Crusty Old Dean seems to have gotten spot on, to me:

http://crustyoldean.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-nflization-of-anglican-communion.html#comment-form


Shady backroom deals and gangster tactics mean that there *is* no communion.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 5:37am GMT

No, but I understand how you hear the things you hear.

The Primates of the Anglican Communion agree on the doctrine of marriage. TEC wishes to hew a different path. It will do that.

+Josiah's experiences on the ground in Kaduna are both moving and chilling at once. They contain extensive encounters with the Muslim world, for which he has risked his life. He knows the Koran inside and out, and quotes from it extensively.

But all that can be ignored or minimalized. He speaks out of that cultural context, but the Primates of the Communion wish to retain Christian marriage in accordance with scripture, tradition and reason (even the 20th century adaptation of this!) and are doing so, whether they have the same experience of Muslims as does Josiah or whether they do not.

If TEC believes it is leading the way, on usual American terms, then it will press on regardless. Some will find that exciting. Others will demur.

God is in charge of the world's time and his church.

God bless.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 6:49am GMT

Do we really *know* it was Constantine's "conversion" that brought in the followers? Do we have a hugely-accurate count of the number of Christians *before* the churches were made part of the government?

I'm also very wary of talking about converts, when conversion takes the form of "Convert, by order of the emperor [or king, or duke] or die." Even without direct secular pressure, in a monarchy, most would consider it unwise to be outside the monarch's chosen faith?

Are we certain that the Faith was ever meant to be powerful, to have the quantities over the quality? Isn't it just as possible, given Jesus' own dire picture of the future, that the actual Church was only ever meant to be on the margins, just hanging on? As for the growth in the times after the Constantinian "conversion," don't forget how often those who separated themselves from the "church" and headed off in disgust were what saved the official structure, when, panicked, that structure suddenly ruled that the desert fathers, the hesychasts, the monks of Nursia, all were suddenly *part* of the church they'd been disgusted by, and whose witness was drawing fewer, but far more influential and dedicated, followers than the larger state church vision. The vision that saved Christendom wasn't just numbers and political influence, but a vision of being less than, of giving up self-determination, giving up personal possession and right, and even giving up a personal life, submitting to a rule of commonality and submission to one another, a direct abandonment, not only of worldly power, but the world, as they saw it.

The decline and rot of the monastic powerhouse began when it started gaining worldly power and wealth and office.

Now, we see the purity of that vision of brotherhood and simplicity being acted on again - in religious communities, yes, but even more in communities outside any regular authority, the so-called New Monasticism, among them, which isn't interested in a place in the churches, nor in the offices of power, but in real community - not a way of withdrawal, in the medieval sense, but of true community spreading out, "infecting" so-to-speak, the greater artificial communities.

Maybe, we should stop worrying so much about the structures we received from other times and people, and have become their own end.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 7:50am GMT

"It's clear that the hundreds or thousands of signatories of Jayne's recent letter should stand up for the rights of LGBT people inside and outside our Church - by creating a network that WILL bless, celebrate, and if they decide to and dare to, *marry* people, regardless of gender." - Susannah Clark

It might be clear to you, but as one of the supplementary signatories it is not clear to me because that isn't what I think the letter said.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 11:41am GMT

"Baptised, confirmed, worshipped in Church of England, Laurence." Susannah Clark

My apologies - I must have been confusing you with another commentator.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:09pm GMT

"... the Primates of the Communion wish to retain Christian marriage in accordance with scripture, tradition and reason ..." - Christopher Seitz

There is a very important correction needed to that statement:

"... the Primates of the Communion wish to retain Christian marriage in accordance with THEIR INTERPRETATION of scripture ..."

TEC maintains that the restriction of marriage to same-sex couples is not Scriptural because of Galatians 3:28. For me it is telling that the traditional primates fall back on Lambeth 1998, Resolution 1.10 rather than debate Scripture itself. For years I bought the traditionalist view but having now studied it myself, I believe they are wrong on the basis that the traditional estate of heterosexual marriage is, by Genesis 3, a consequence of the fall of man and Jesus was sent to redeem us from the consequences of that fall - hence Galatians 3:28.

Indeed, a cynic might wonder if the attempts to exclude TEC aren't at least in part to reduce the airtime given to Scriptural discussions since it doesn't take any great scholarship to recognise the problems inherent in accepting the Levitican moral code wholesale given some of its other provisions. If ++Welby really wants to resolve the matter, one way forwards would be a televised Scriptural debate in which primates get a chance to expound their view of scripture.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:14pm GMT

Thank you for your words, Susannah. (But don't call yourself "just a nurse". You have one of the noblest vocations there is!) Actually, I don't think the division over sexuality is down the middle in the C of E. The views of a small number of vehement, unrepresentative fundamentalists are being allowed to dictate to the larger number which wants change.

The kind of resistance you envisage is appealing, but can it happen in the present climate of fear? The Archbishops and Bishops know they have the clergy over a barrel. Any priest who married you and your partner would instantly be disciplined or dismissed. (Would the marriage be declared illegal?) Others will deny their consciences in order to continue their work, but sad and dispirited. So our leaders can disregard the clergy. (This, combined with the present treatment of Bishop George Bell, would make a scenario for Kafka.)

The challenge must come primarily from the laity, I believe. That said, though, wasn't it the refusal of clergy to tolerate any longer being denied permission to marry divorcees with a previous spouse living which finally got change there? So perhaps clergy and laity need to be as mobilized as the opposition, and supporting each other to the hilt. At least we must make ourselves heard - again and again.

Posted by: Barry on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 12:49pm GMT

@ Christopher Seitz, "+Josiah's experiences on the ground in Kaduna are both moving and chilling at once. They contain extensive encounters with the Muslim world, for which he has risked his life."

Your use of the alleged experiences of others in the form of hagiography as polemic is not convincing on the issue of same sex marriage.


We should pray for and support the human rights of all people who live in dangerous and oppressive situations be they dissidents, Christians, Muslims, or GLBTQ folk. We should strive for justice and peace for all people. Playing off one type of oppression against another only results in propaganda.

"[Bishop Fearon-Idowu] ... knows the Koran inside and out, and quotes from it extensively." That may or may not be helpful. Lots of humanist, atheist, or agnostic scholars are very competent in dealing with the biblical text for instance. It does make them any better necessarily in dialogue with people of faith.

The notion that social problems are resolved by quoting holy books, one's own or someone else's, is naive. It actually can make things more intractable.

You can quote your own book, The Bible, chapter and verse, in support of your argument against marriage equality if you like. And I'll bet I can find a professional scholar, one of your peers, with an opposing view on those texts, or on the meaning of just about any other biblical text. Don't overstate the role of interpretation of texts in this or any other debate.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 2:08pm GMT

"If TEC believes it is leading the way, on usual American terms, then it will press on regardless. Some will find that exciting. Others will demur."

I don't think there is anything more to add to this, Kate.

There came a time in debates in the early church where the catholic voices -- Justin, Clement, Irenaeus, Athanasius, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Basil, Theophilus of Antioch -- understood well that scripture was being bent to purpose and that arguments would likely get one only so far.

We are at this kind of moment. They sensed that something like a 'rule of faith' was likely the only arbiter, and without it, scripture would only confuse the debate with those seeking a novel way.

We are in the midst of what Alistair MacInytre described as a clash of world-views and the telos they embrace. Our own generation will not know what the truth is, though we will testify to it as we understand the truth and its sources, and watch the ensuing confusion.

God will keep watch and sort out what he wishes to bless and further. TV debates will accomplish nothing as they are part of the format of confusion in such a time as ours.

God bless.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 3:50pm GMT

Mark, I agree that Christendom was built on coercion, and the post-Constantinian church, like its predecessor, left a lot to be desired. Accurate numbers are, understandably, hard to come by, but from the contemporary observations and laws we have, we know that, thanks to state backing and coercion, Christianity experienced significant growth from the fourth century on.

It can't and shouldn't be repeated, of course. What's significant in the Global South is that the growth is voluntary, and the passions real.

As for what Jesus of Nazareth would've wanted, since he was a devout Jew who thought Adonai was about to end the world and build a new earth, he wouldn't have wanted a church of any kind. Since one has been built, we must do the best we can, and, allowing for differences in time and culture, stay true to his spirit. Jesus was wrong about Adonai ending history and making a new earth, so the task for us is to work to make the earth we have as close as possible to the new earth Jesus dreamed of.

To bring about earthly change, we need earthly resources.

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 8:10pm GMT

'The Primates of the Anglican Communion agree on the doctrine of marriage.'

This statement is suspect. Can it really be true ?

Given that there is no agreement on 'the doctrine' of the Church, eucharist, Baptism, salvation, the Saints, Theotokos - need I continue ? ...........

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 9:31pm GMT

That's fine, James, but the numbers aren't going to do that - if that were the case, the Kingdom would've been realized long ago.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 12:06am GMT

Well I've waited, and my comment at Abp Anis's blog is still in moderation purgatory. Ergo, cross-posting it here:

"Some of the Primates came with the desire to walk apart; those who support same-sex marriage in one direction and the others who do not in another."

Respectfully, Archbishop Anis, this is false moral equivalizing.

There is NO desire by the Episcopal Church (least of all, its Presiding Bishop) to "walk apart." There has been a stipulation by a majority of Anglican Primates that our autonomous and PURELY LOCAL decision (by Godly discernment, in the counsel of the General Convention) to treat the spousal covenants of all the Children of God equally somehow *translates* to "walking apart."

Emphatically, the overwhelming majority of Episcopalians ***do not see it this way***. We see it as obeying the Great Commandment (to love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves). We see it as bringing the Imago Dei, made gay as well as made straight, together. We see it as modeling ethical integrity, in the service of reaching more people---again, in our *local* context---for Christ. Finally, we see it in NO way contradicting (accurately translated and fairly interpreted) Scripture.

We do not in any way wish to impose our decision---however much we discern the holiness of it---upon the wider Anglican world. [As Rabbi Gamaliel counseled, "if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them" Act 5:38-39]

We simply ask for the fraternal courtesy that the rest of the Anglican Communion not impose its decision upon TEC either. Rather, we wish that the Anglican Communion TRULY "walk together", even if in the uncomfortable condition of having different marital doctrine&discipline in different parts of the Communion. Bearing our differences, AS we walk together, for the good of the Whole Body, under the common Headship of Christ. That is the Episcopal Church's desire.

Pax et bonum.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 4:52am GMT

"We should pray for and support the human rights of all people who live in dangerous and oppressive situations be they dissidents, Christians, Muslims, or GLBTQ folk. We should strive for justice and peace for all people. Playing off one type of oppression against another only results in propaganda."

Amen.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 6:40am GMT

"Are we certain that the Faith was ever meant to be powerful, to have the quantities over the quality? Isn't it just as possible, given Jesus' own dire picture of the future, that the actual Church was only ever meant to be on the margins, just hanging on?" - Mark Brunson -

Indeed, Mark. One only has to read the New Testament storties of the infancy of Jesus to realise that it was the Anawim, God's little ones - like Joachim and Anna (parents of the BVM); Elizabeth and Zechariah (parents of John Baptist); Simeon and Anna (present at the Recognition of Jesus in the Temple) - that were instrumental in drawing attention to the Good News of Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer of ALL.

Even then, Jesus' - closest disciples were ordinary 'little people' - neither powerful nor influential - that brought the 'knowledge of salvation to people; "by the forgiveness of their sin" - that Zechariah spoke of in the N.T.

The worldly power syndrome, that was lacking in the teaching and example of Jesus ("The greatest among you must become servants of all") was not part of the plan of the Gospel then. Why should it be suggested as the answer for the Body of Christ in today's World? Whatever ever happened to Jesus' call for us to be 'salt and light' ?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 10:22am GMT

Excellent comment, JCF.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 10:28am GMT

JCF,

Did you notice, as well, that the lunch where they all got together and talked had something of the feel of a gang-up? PB Curry and Archbishop Hiltz are asked to have lunch with Anis and then they "were joined" by Sentamu and Ntagali (sic). It sounds like, "Oh, hey! Come sit with us!" until you realize that, suddenly, Curry is very much alone (Hiltz having vacillated repeatedly on the issue and showing signs of breaking for cover at the first opportunity)with three of the most vocally anti-gay (and anti-TEC) members of the Anglican Communion. And they "talked" about "how they felt" - sounds like they just gossiped and had a great time, doesn't it? They just ran into each other at the food court and shared their feelings.

Does anyone really believe it went like that? I don't think they all talked, I think Curry and Hiltz were talked at, and very pointedly and dismissively, given what we've heard from these three in the past. I didn't overlook Anis' veiled warning that the only thing keeping us from complete exclusion was their heart-rending worry about those in TEC who still hold to the "acceptable" teachings on sexuality.

What has left me most sick is the sleazy, slick veneer of fraternalism that these people have put on their strong-arm tactics. It literally makes me feel ill, these oily, honeyed and oh-so-obviously insincere words of brotherhood and love for TEC and for GLBTI's. How stupid do they think we are? They are only determined to "walk together" because they know that a real excommunication would land the CofE in hot water, and the GAFCON folks need a state church on their side, not a disestablished one. On top of that, an excommunicated TEC means a free TEC, and that, they simply cannot afford. Their opinions on our acts only get listened to because we are in this ridiculous sham communion. If we are out, they can bloviate and it reflects on us not a bit. They can't make us the bad guy. Worse - what if we succeed? Without them to hold us back in public opinion, we might actually succeed, and they know their own hold at home isn't all that absolute. It might give ideas about primates not having all the answers. The worst thing that could conceivably happen to GAFCON and ACNA (and, consequently, Cantuar and Ebor) is a TEC free of the Anglican Communion. They would be irrelevant to us, and they don't want that.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 11:53am GMT

JCF, you have beautifully summed up the position of TEC in regard to "walking together". Thank you!

Posted by: Mary Clara on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 4:03pm GMT

Excellent comment JCF.

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 7:26pm GMT

Thank you all, for your kind remarks. I just wish Abp Anis had published it (and better still, responded to it).

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 5:25am GMT

"The rejoinder is that some us believe that marriage can and ought to be changed to include same sex couples."

What about the doctrine of marriage needs to be "changed"?

Is it more accurate to say that the doctrine of marriage should be applied to same-sex couples?

We need to be careful with our rhetoric. Extending marriage to same-sex couples does not change anyone else's marriage.

It's not as if there's a limited supply of marriage. There is more than enough marriage to go around.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 1:19pm GMT

@ Jeremy, you quote an earlier post of mine, "The rejoinder is that some us believe that marriage can and ought to be changed to include same sex couples."

You then ask, "What about the doctrine of marriage needs to be changed?... more accurate ...should be applied to same-sex couples?"

My rejoinder was targeting the dogma that there is a "doctrine" of marriage, dictated from heaven and binding from all time, that only the "unorthodox" would wish to change i.e., "Matrimony was ordained for the hallowing of the union betwixt man and woman; for the procreation of children; for the mutual society, help, comfort etc. etc." ( BCP).

So, if conservatives are arguing that same sex marriage is a "change of doctrine" then I say, fine, let's change it.

However, I agree with you. It is not so much a change but an extension; but for conservatives to even concede that point means the worm turns in the debate so to speak.

If you are interested, the link below will take you to my submission to the Canadian Primate's study group on the matter (pdf). I think you will find my argument on the vows as applicable to same sex couples puts us in agreement on this.

The submission is short (500 words) just scroll down to the second bit, 'Pastoral'. The submission is also available with all the others on the Anglican Church of Canada website.


http://www.anglican.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/9-17-2014-Rod-Gillis-Nova-Scotia-PEI.pdf


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 2:52pm GMT

There is no 'doctrine of marriage' -- there is a discipline of marriage, and that discipline has changed many times since the earliest days. (In fact, Jesus attests to one of those changes, which he deprecates, even though it is enshrined in the Word of God!)

Does the Church of England permit marriage in which one of the couple is not baptized? Or has a spouse still living? Don't both of these touch on any supposed 'doctrine'?

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 4:13pm GMT

It's not impossible Tobias , given our established status, for two unbaptized people to be married in the Parish Church.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 8:01am GMT

Thanks, Perry; that's what I thought. The "doctrinal" issue would be more focused on a marriage in which one was baptized and the other not; I understand that is possible as well, as it is in TEC. (That change, for us, only happened in the last century, when there was much protest on grounds both biblical and traditional. England, of course, has the heritage of Lord Hardwicke and the establishment.)

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 2:37pm GMT

Re: Tobias Haller, Marriage as "doctrine", I suppose it all depends what you mean by the term 'doctrine'.

See just for example see, Where Shall Doctrine Be Found? (chapter 5) in, Believing in The Church: A Report By The Doctrine Commission of the Church of England (1981). The Report's only reference to marriage on page 277 is, interestingly enough, a reference to "marriage discipline" but within the an extensive treatment of doctrine.

If one equates a notion of doctrine with a general notion of "teaching" then it is possible to say that the didactic sections of marriage rites in the Book of Common Prayer, or even something like the Canadian Book of Alternative Services (1985), including lengthy ( though not especially liturgically elegant) bits of instruction constitute a kind of doctrine.

Bernard Lonergan notes that doctrines " ...are concerned with the affirmations and negations not only of dogmatic theology but also of moral, ascetical, mystical, pastoral, and any similar branch." ( Method in Theology p. 132).

More generally just as we can speak of the Munroe Doctrine in history or a military doctrine regarding amphibious assaults,we can speak of marriage doctrine when it is articulated in official didactic liturgical texts.

The question is, however we define it, can it be changed or extended? The answer to my mind is, yes. And, let's not allow the dogmatists to stonewall.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 8:00pm GMT

Rod Gillis; yes, if doctrine is simply taken at its simplest meaning, a latinate form of "teaching" then it becomes more or less an umbrella term. But when a church speaks, as for instance TEC does, of "doctrine, discipline and worship" the impression is that "doctrine" is understood in a narrower sense.

In any case, pace Lonergan, there are clearly differences between dogmatic doctrines and pastoral doctrines, particularly in terms of their -- for want of a better word -- durability.

In the present instance, it is absolutely clear that the discipline of marriage has changed; and if one wants to call it "doctrine" then the doctrine has changed as well. In fact, marriage discipline (or doctrine), according to the historical record of what has been forbidden but is now allowed, resembles nothing so much as the Laws of Animal Farm.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Sunday, 7 February 2016 at 10:19pm GMT

@ Tobias Haller, "In the present instance, it is absolutely clear that the discipline of marriage has changed; and if one wants to call it 'doctrine' then the doctrine has changed as well."

Tobias, I think we are pretty much in agreement on substance. In fact, Believing In The Church addresses that very question i.e.doctrine, definition and sources, distinctions, and the notion of evolution of doctrine and so forth, referencing Newman, as you may well know.

However, it is Superbowl Sunday, and I'm simply applying the adage, "The best defense is a good offense".

If conservatives want to dig in behind the notion that marriage is doctrine, and raise the battle cry that we are "changing doctrine" then I say, yes it is, and, yes we are.

Bring it, gentlemen. ( :

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 8 February 2016 at 12:23am GMT

Glad we've got that all sorted!

It will be intriguing to see what the new TEC BCP provides in the light of these comments. Will they go the 'let's have different rites for group A and for group B' or will be the enlarged/redefined/altered version be the Rite for All?

On this question hangs the difference between Locke and Rousseau within Western individual rights logic.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 8 February 2016 at 7:39am GMT

The rites under trial use at present may be used by any couple, except in those dioceses where the bishop's direction lies otherwise. I'm not sure if Rousseau or Locke give a better take on the "rights of bishops" -- but neither have anything to do with the marriage rites themselves, which are not primarily about rights, but responsibilities, based not in the Enlightement, but the Gospel.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 8 February 2016 at 3:26pm GMT

"On this question hangs the difference between Locke and Rousseau within Western individual rights logic." This sentence is a form of sloganeering, although a little long to fit on a bumper sticker.

For those who are interested in reading the work of some systematic theologians who are attempting to carefully work out the implications of rights in relation to theology, I would suggest you check out the latest edition of The Australian eJournal of Theology via the link below. It is available free on line. Two articles are of note:

Tina Beattie is the Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society
and Human Flourishing at the University of Roehampton. Much of her research focuses on
the relationship between the Catholic tradition and contemporary culture, particularly in
areas to do with gender, sexuality and reproductive ethics; Catholic social teaching and women's rights, and theology and the visual arts.

Robert M. Doran, S.J., holds the Emmett Doerr Chair in Catholic Systematic Theology
at Marquette University. He specializes in Catholic systematic theology and the philosophy
and theology of Bernard Lonergan. He is general editor of The Collected Works of Bernard
Lonergan (University of Toronto Press).

http://aejt.com.au/


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 8 February 2016 at 4:22pm GMT

Have you looked at the liturgy "I Will Bless You...", Christopher? It is beautiful and contains all the marriage elements, short of property related stuff. Straight people are already using it.

There are several versions of the Mass in the BCP, plus the inclusion of Rite I and Rite II... I don't see why there can't be a couple of versions of the marriage liturgy.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 8 February 2016 at 6:22pm GMT

That's lovely. They both win, Rousseau and Locke!

Thanks for the update. So there will be a couple of choices for those so inclined. And there will be an enlarged/altered/improved Rite (if one wants to think that way about it) and so can choose it.

Choice is a key ingredient. Individual freedom. Gospel-grounded of course.

I see that seminaries are being asked to send in resources for the Task Force, and the tenor is 'we have moved on, but could you help us with same-sex parenting or what about a cohabiting couple who want a blessing, etc.'

The idea that anyone should have worried about a 'bunch of old men' meeting in Canterbury cramping TEC's chosen direction did strike me as pretty odd.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 9 February 2016 at 7:12am GMT

“Because we differ on the core doctrine, it would not be seen as appropriate for us to represent the Anglican Communion in ecumenical, interfaith leadership,” he said. “That’s fair.”

PB Curry.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 9 February 2016 at 11:44am GMT

@ Christopher Seitz, "That's lovely. They both win, Rousseau and Locke!"

Ah yes, let's not abandon the rear guard action in the conservative evangelical's phony war with the Enlightenment.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 9 February 2016 at 2:53pm GMT

When I was teaching at St Andrews I heard a fascinating discussion on the BBC about Muslim women's dress, and one philosophy professor--clearly a 'liberal'--spoke of liberalism's quandary on this question. The Rousseau genealogy would wish to say, 'let everyone do as they please, cultures are different' and the Locke genealogy would wish to say, 'if a thing is wrong, it is wrong everywhere, and we know what 'right' is because we have progressed.'

I do not recall it being a bumper sticker discussion, but a serious and engaging one.

And it is also relevant to the question of 'choice' and 'freedom' in a consumerist and highly affluent west, led by the USA.

The new BCP can offer various rites (A,B,C) for various groupings, in the tradition of Rousseau; or it can declare one altered/improved Rite the standard for all. One supposes it could also do both, and let people make up their own mind about the logic of this, and which one they believe is appropriate for their needs.

Is this the same as optional Eucharistic rites? In a way Yes. But in another way decidedly No.

So the question before the taskforce (or whoever undertakes this) will not just be, do we have a lovely new rite, but how will the new rite fit alongside others, or will it stand alone. If the older rites (with their 'goods of marriage' still referenced, and attendant scriptural warrants) are now wrong, it is hard to see what would justify their retention, for those who would wish to be married according to their logic and warrants.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 at 7:27am GMT

Re: Christopher Seitz on Locke & Hume: Good to know you have heard serious discussion on the Beeb.


Contemporary Christian theology must understand itself as as much an inheritor of the Enlightenment as it is an inheritor of the reformation or medieval period. Such is one of the major problems confronting systematic theologians.

There is, in my view, a commonality between socially conservative theologians and socially liberal theologians that needs critical reflection. There is no clear cut enduring answer to be had from a reading of Scripture, conservative or liberal, on many of the social issues confronting contemporary theology. There is only theological reflection and response in the light of new, sometimes radically new, information. New information brings with it new responsibilities.

Conservatives would have us believe that many new issues have already been sufficiently addressed by scripture and tradition.It is just a matter of showing how.

Liberals who make claims that changing church approaches are based almost entirely on "the gospel" are equally mistaken. One would think that we opened the bible and with the aid of new hermeneutical techniques suddenly discovered that slavery or racism or sexism or hetero-sexism are wrong. Nonsense. The impetus for re-thinking things has usually come from outside the church, with the church late to the party and in disarray.

Changes to the church's marriage doctrine while correct and just are in fact indebted to social policy. Liberals are wrong to understate the non-theological vectors that account for change while conservatives are wrong in their opposition to change.

The sexuality issue must be seen as a human and civil rights issue for which the church requires a theological response for itself.

I'll say again, it cannot be sorted out by biblical theologians only (is Biblical theology still in crisis?) but requires a contribution from other disciples like systematics, and indeed from secular disciplines including sociologists, sexologists and sex educators.

Anglican theology has a particular challenge because of our belief that the bible contains all things necessary for salvation. The problem is, the axiom is usually modified i.e. all things contained in the bible are necessary for salvation. They are not.

In any event, Lent beckons, and with it radio silence. I'll be happy to return to the trenches on the day of Resurrection.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 at 5:47pm GMT

I believe we have progressed enough to know that, in some circumstances, what is right for person A may not be right for person B.

Yes, killing is always wrong; slavery is always wrong; bigotry is always wrong.

But the choice of words to be used when getting married? As a society, we already have a myriad of choices...the words of a civil ceremony, and those of a wide variety of religious affiliations (some of whom have multiple variations of the words already).

Why would it be an issue for TEC to offer multiple choices? Because Christopher Seitz thinks it ought to be a "one-size-fits-all" thing?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 at 8:46pm GMT

Rod Gillis said this, above:

Liberals who make claims that changing church approaches are based almost entirely on "the gospel" are equally mistaken. One would think that we opened the bible and with the aid of new hermeneutical techniques suddenly discovered that slavery or racism or sexism or hetero-sexism are wrong. Nonsense. The impetus for re-thinking things has usually come from outside the church, with the church late to the party and in disarray.

And I agree entirely. Such social change that last led to broader decent treatment of the various social grous in society owes very little to the church, which, in most cases, has dragged its feet and done as much is it could do to prevent or slow such change. If we're a more just society today than we were a century ago, it's no thanks to the church.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 at 10:34pm GMT

My question is precisely whether TEC will decide a la Locke that it has a new rite and that it will be the rite for all, the LGBTI group and traditional marriage group; or whether it will have rites that one group thinks is wrong, and another for those who have a new understanding of marriage.

But I have said that already...

Holy Lent.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Thursday, 11 February 2016 at 7:40am GMT

For what it's worth, as a practical matter, the current American Prayer Book permits a variety of marriage rites.

There's a fully set-forth rite.

And then there's An Order for Marriage, which may be used if it's desired to celebrate a marriage otherwise as provided in the fully set-forth rite. This alternative rite contains a list of several things that the rite is to include. The only prescribed words in the alternative rite are the vows.

My prediction is that there will ultimately one fully set-forth rite that all couples may use with a continuation of an alternative rite. If "traditionalists" want a service that contains lots of language about men and women, they would be free to use the alternative rite to do.

Of course until there's a new Prayer Book, the current fully-set forth rite remains an authorized rite.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Friday, 12 February 2016 at 1:50am GMT

Mr Gillis, I often sense I am talking to someone who continues to live in the 1980s. That's OK. One has to live somewhere!

1. In my 9 years in the Toronto School of Theology I believe I have heard Lonergan mentioned 1-2 times in total.

2. Major theological Chairs in the UK and NA are held by people who do not use the term 'systematic theology' preferring instead 'divinity' (Hart, Webster, Brown, Ford) or 'historical theology' (Radner, O'Donovan, Griffiths, Elliot, Milbank, Hare) or 'Christian philosophy' (ranging from Al Plantinga to Marilyn Adams) or patristics (Daley, Coakley et al). Those who might -- Bruce Marshall or Robert Jenson or Rheinhart Huetter would do so out of a Lutheran heritage you would be loathe to embrace.

3. The major movement in theological-biblical circles is the ressourcement of Vatican 2 (Danielou, du Lubac) and the heirs of this in theological circles (Hans Boersma, Radner, et al) and biblical circles (Childs, myself, et al). The biggest influx of new sessions at AAR-SBL lodge under rubrics like 'theological exegesis', 'reception history', 'scripture-theology.'

4. Aquinas would not recognize a division of labour called systematic theology as distinct from exegesis, of which he was extremely invested and competent. Here he stands with Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Augustine and the entire history of theological reading.

Have a blessed Lent.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Friday, 12 February 2016 at 7:33am GMT

Mr Seitz, is that really how you see the world? that multiple rites must mean that one group is right and the other(s) wrong? Really?

Why, instead, do we not face the reality that all people don't live, want or need the same things, but that the one universal family - you know--the catholic one? - can not just accept and accommodate that, but embrace that as divine gift?

How about we recognize what should be a self-evident truism that the world just isn't that way, and let our liturgy reflect that?

I'll go you one better: why don't we stop letting Bronze-Age mores determine how people live in the modern world? surely we've seen enough - in our history and others' - to have firgured out that Bronze Age attitudes toward sex, sexuality, marriage and the rest of it just don't cut it?

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Friday, 12 February 2016 at 12:01pm GMT

"My prediction is that there will ultimately one fully set-forth rite that all couples may use with a continuation of an alternative rite."

Thanks.

That would be my guess as well. The main rite is the new enlarged/altered one.

Those who want the present BCP one, will need to design it as an alternative.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 13 February 2016 at 6:35am GMT
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