Comments: A Church Asunder redux

At the risk of being naughty (TA might want to delete this post), but I couldn't help but laugh over this line: "The point is that it made Christianity seem more fun and more exciting than The Da Vinci Code..."

It reminds me of a sermon my departed minister gave about Thessalonians late last year, where the Thessalonians' conversion was like a bomb going off: "1Th 1:8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it"

Which the minister said was because: "1Th 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 28 April 2006 at 10:38pm BST

As I didn't contribute on this one last week, here are a couple comments from this article that I think are telling:

On the different religions in the Anglican Communion: “One has sin and needs a Saviour, the other one simply tells you that you’re O.K. as you are,” don't believe +Duncan ? Read on... "We’re not talking about taking a liberal or conservative stance on a particular issue; we’re talking about who I am." - VGR apparently claiming that "who I am" defines how things should be.

And I thought that holiness was defined by who God is... the great "I AM" !

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 29 April 2006 at 1:09am BST

quote: DAVE SAYS:
As I didn't contribute on this one last week, here are a couple comments from this article that I think are telling:

On the different religions in the Anglican Communion: “One has sin and needs a Saviour, the other one simply tells you that you’re O.K. as you are,” don't believe +Duncan ? Read on... "We’re not talking about taking a liberal or conservative stance on a particular issue; we’re talking about who I am." - VGR apparently claiming that "who I am" defines how things should be.

continued at
http://drdanfee-blogs.blogspot.com/2006/04/quote-dave-says-as-i-didnt-contribute.html

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 29 April 2006 at 7:56pm BST

re the cartoon: OK, that's clearly +Akinola and +Duncan staring down judgmentally.

...but is that supposed to be +Robinson or +Griswold upon whom they are passing judgment? (not a good caricature either way)

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 29 April 2006 at 9:32pm BST

I guess it's VGR, because pBp Griswold seems to have now realised that consecrating "gay bishops" is the wrong thing to do...

Although I think it's implication is rather unfair since it suggests that ++Akinola and +Duncan think that only homosexual sin makes someone unsuitable to be a Bishop. I doubt that is what they believe. I think there are lots of criteria in Scripture and Tradition for what qualities a Bishop should/shouldn't possess!

Posted by Dave at Sunday, 30 April 2006 at 10:21pm BST

"guess it's VGR, because pBp Griswold seems to have now realised that consecrating "gay bishops" is the wrong thing to do..." Dave

Dave, why do you continue to make up negative and ugly/hurtful "spew" and "spin" as you go along?

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 30 April 2006 at 11:15pm BST

Leonardo

There are some people that are concerned that if they don't post ugly things on "liberal" websites, that people might think we are nice. So to make sure that it is not just them throwing mud at homosexuals, feisty women and other unsavouries, they throw insults at us to see whether or not we will protect ourselves. If we protect ourselves they can criticise us for not being submissive. If we don't protect ourselves they can say that we can't protect ourselves because we are in the wrong. An isolated individual in a parish is a sitting duck for this strategy. The beauty of the internet is that we can back each other up and protect each other from their vitriolic attacks. Plus the world can see publicly what they have been doing privately for decades. When an individual in a parish says they were talked to badly, the bullies can claim they are lying or exagerating, this way people can be judged on their postings.

I am a simple person, I figure that if they are prepared to attack us openly on the internet in this manner (or myself for that matter), then they are prepared to attack privately when they think no one is watching (or other people for that matter).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 1 May 2006 at 9:33am BST

Some catchisms that might be useful for our Arabic cousins as well as us:

"Victory is not becoming like your enemy. Victory is transcending your enemy."

and

"The victor of a war based on failed economic theory guarantees their own failure."

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 1 May 2006 at 10:15am BST

Cheryl wrote: "An isolated individual in a parish is a sitting duck for this strategy."

No kidding. Which is why I worked so hard to get my family out of the AAC church that's 5 min from our home in Plano, TX to a decent, mainstream parish that's farther away in Dallas :) Best church-related move I've ever made.

Posted by David Huff at Monday, 1 May 2006 at 6:19pm BST

David

Praise be to God that you found a church suitable for your family. That is easier in some dioceses than others. There are some dioceses that white-ant alternative parishes (no diversity here please, we're "pure").

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 1 May 2006 at 8:15pm BST

Dear Leonardo and Cheryl, I am not making it up.. pBp Griswold has warned parishioners of the diocese of California that they would widen the confrontation it they chose another "gay bishop". Of the six candidates three are in gay partnerships. He told the Guardian (a liberal UK national newspaper): "The diocese needs to respect the sensibilities of the larger communion."

I just wonder why, given the warnings and resolutions of the primates meetings pre-Hampshire, he took so long to work this one out!

As for being ugly, vitriolic attacks and bully tactics. All the stuff liberals worry conservatives are planning to do, IS being done right now ! - by liberal ECUSAn hiearchies to conservative priests and churches!! They are the ones who *are* defrocking dissenting priests, attempting to take over churches' property and funds, suing in secular courts and attempting to impose as much control as possible.

I wonder whether you would like to respond to the theory that liberals worry about this being done to them precisely because this is what they do to others ?

Posted by Dave at Monday, 1 May 2006 at 9:02pm BST

"I wonder whether you would like to respond to the theory that liberals worry about this being done to them precisely because this is what they do to others ? " Dave

No Dave, I'll pass the phony blamegame/shamegame offer right back to you and the gang of Diocese crossing, Windsor Report repudiating, outside/secret money taking, underhanded scheming/deceiving cluster of zealously righteous (African and other) double talking brothers and sisters who wish to destroy/steal TEC because Bishop Robinson was elected/confirmed/consecrated and YOU don't approve of him and insist that God hates him too (besides you could use the $$$).

Go fish Dave.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Monday, 1 May 2006 at 10:28pm BST

Dave: The priests are not being defrocked because they are dissenters; they are being defrocked because they have repeatedly and unrepentently violated their ordination vows, plain and simple.

How do you take over property and funds that already belong to you? Churches and their assets are held in trust for the diocese. The vestry is charged with stewardship, not ownership. It is they, by trying to leave with property and assets they do not own, who are stealing from the diocese and larger church.

The only one here thinking in terms of power and control is you (and your ilk.) Bishops have a fiduciary responsibility and, when given no other alternative when faced with theft of property, rightfully exercise whatever resources are available to them, including the courts.

The most blatant power play in this whole business was Duncan's reference in EC's constitution to us being "constituent members of the AC," meaning that when (in his mind) the EC is declared out of the AC, "who (in his actual words) is the real Episcopal Church?" - meaning who gets all the property and assets?

Posted by Marc at Tuesday, 2 May 2006 at 2:27am BST

The other slander campaign that is going on is claiming that the "lefties" precipitated this issue. For those who don't remember, we spoke out when the global south published an internet public letter challenging Rowan Williams whilst he was making a speech (that two signatories later asked their names to be removed from). (Why now ABC talks behind the scenes to only them and not us makes me question his judgment). Similarly this round was precipitated by the LEAC petition (see http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001635.html )

As I wrote to one colleague: "...the lead up to Easter is not the time to launch a debate. The LEAC stuff has probably been done at exactly this time to muddy the waters (they overlook Ezekiel 34:18) in the lead up to the 2006 conference (so the homophobics can talk about the “tension” the GLBTs are causing) when they could have done this months ago and had it resolved by the conference. They don’t want it resolved by the conference, because they are relying on the GLBT tolerant people to be naive and not have a vocabulary to defend themselves from such attacks. Be prepared for sophisticated maneuvering. A friend of mine recently read a book called “The Chosen Ones” which looks at some of the dynamics of the Sydney diocese. It would be worth reading to realize the level of political craftiness and the preparedness to “play the game” of some players. I do not approve of the tactics, but such tactics rely on the other side being ill-prepared and thus unable to respond to their politics until they have succeeded in their “fait accompli”."

An example of this kind of politics can be demonstrated with this recent example from Serbia http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_06051serbia.shtml

The whole strategy relies on us meek immature lambs taken to the slaughter. However, lambs can mature into rams and develop horns...

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 2 May 2006 at 11:10am BST

Cheryl wrote: "Praise be to God that you found a church suitable for your family. That is easier in some dioceses than others."

Yes, we feel very lucky indeed :) Since most of the troublesome dioceses in the U.S. are affiliated with the AAC/"Network," they tend to have Via Media USA affiliates active within them as well. A quick trip to their link page at http://viamediausa.org/links.html should, hopefully, give anyone living in one of these beleaguered locales a way to find a mainstream Episcopal parish.

Posted by David Huff at Tuesday, 2 May 2006 at 6:26pm BST

Leonardo wrote: Lots of accusations and "....because Bishop Robinson was elected/confirmed/consecrated and YOU don't approve of him and insist that God hates him too (besides you could use the $$$)"

Dear Leonardo, I insist that God loves everyone!!! Maybe you can't love anyone who you disapprove of (I certainly feel that you hate me) but I can/try.. Otherwise I would have to hate everyone - starting with myself - as we are all sinners!!

And it is not a personal thing against Gene Robinson. Same-sex sex is sin whoever is involved; and someone who is living in a sinful relationship shouldn't be made a Bishop.

As for boundary crossing I think that is fully justified in circumstances where Bishops are heretical and persecuting faithful Christians who object. I think that the rest of your accusations are very debatable!

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 12:08am BST

Marc wrote: "Dave: The priests are not being defrocked because they are dissenters; they are being defrocked because they have repeatedly and unrepentently violated their ordination vows, plain and simple.....

Dear Marc, The priests are being defrocked because they will not accept a Bishop's authority to assert unscriptural beliefs and behaviours. And GC is now considering a proposal from ECUSA's WR group that the canons should clearly state that noone can be made to obey something not clearly taught in scripture. When/If this in place I hope that the cases of the defrocked priests will be reviewed!! However, in the end, a priest's loyalty should be primarily to Christ - not the Bishop, who is only the current tenant of the Christ's local "vineyard".

Marc said: How do you take over property and funds that already belong to you?"

I would agree about buildings and funds if the churches were wanting to leave ECUSA because they wanted to join another religion or even maybe a different denominaton. However, in the current circumstances it is almost the opposite that is true - it is ECUSA that has been moving!! I can't see why Bishops and dioceses want to make themselves so mean by trying to take away a church's buildings and funds. Especially the churches that have just funded their own new buildings and have now been told to leave!

Marc quoted +Duncan: "..when.. the EC is declared out of the AC, "who.. is the real Episcopal Church?"

That the EC is facing imminent loss of "membership" of the AC should, I would have thought, been enough to stop Bishops defrocking priests and throwing churches out of their buildings. That they continue says a lot about their real attitudes!

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 12:14am BST

Dave

Unfortunately in the modern world there are many churches who are in fundamental dispute over who owns the assets (I know of some non-Anglican churches in Sydney where all maintenance and renovation were stopped pending the outcomes of international court disputes). I also recall seeing some correspondence early last year about priests trying to seize ownership of a particular dioceses' buildings etc. Some of the removal of priests might be a pre-emptive move to prevent similar tactics in particularly acrimonious dioceses. (Personally, I would advocate that anyone who wishes to break with their diocese should be "above reproach" and refrain from taking any of the church assets - it would start the new church on a bad footing and give the enemies an unfair slander advantage).

On the issue of unfair dialogue and misrepresentation, this is the Virtue Online article that first raised my hackles http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3969 Plus this article posted today from the US Living Church has not alleviated my fears that "behind the scenes" talks are being held more readily with some parties than with others: http://www.livingchurch.org/publishertlc/viewarticle.asp?ID=1957 (Especially as the article cites that it is the first time an ABC has not attended the annual convention since the 1950s).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 10:04am BST

Cheryl
The ECUSA General Convention is once every three years. And the Living Church article is a bit confusing: discussion elsewhere suggests that they may have meant to say that an Archbishop of Canterbury has attended at least once in the tenure of each recent presiding bishop of ECUSA. I don't know if that is indeed the case or not.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 12:20pm BST

Dave: Even if you believe that your bishop is teaching contrary to scripture, a priest does not have the right simply to declare of their own accord that their bishop no longer has authority over them (as the folks in Connecticut did.) (And who is to say that what you believe is necessarily true simply because you believe it.) It is an issue of adherence to the "discipline" that was promised at ordination. If you disagree so strongly with your bishop, you have several options: work to bring about the change you want, bring presentment, change canonical (and physical) residency, or renounce your holy orders. But a self-proclaimed declaration of a refusal to accept your duly elected, confirmed, consecrated and standing bishop clearly is a violation of ordination vows and not an acceptable option (speaking from the perspective as one who is a member of the clergy.)

And, again, all I can say is that vestries are charged with stewardship, not ownership and so it makes no sense to hold to the view that, even if a sizable number of people want to leave, that they take what does not belong to them. What of those who wish to stay, those who also have given their time, talent and treasure to build the church? As you ask, Why would those leaving "want to make themselves so mean by trying to take away a church's buildings and funds" that do not belong to them?

Posted by Marc at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 1:47pm BST

"Same-sex sex is sin whoever is involved" Dave

"What do I do (what do you do?) when I realize (when you realize) that a relationship, touching, an intimacy – which is experienced by me (or you) as grace-giving and filled with love – is for another Christian, equally devout, an act of great sin and offence? Such is the experience of many gay and lesbian Christians. Even if the friendship is rooted and grounded in mutual respect, in faithfulness, in
prayer, in worship, in trust, indeed, experienced as “in Christ,” still the judgment of the other Christian is the same: it is sin."

Something is very wrong here’
Christian law on sexuality ‘not right’

By Bishop Terry Brown

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/129/05/oped03.html

Check it out my brother Dave.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 8:13pm BST

Marc

I agree with you. There will be other dioceses (such as Sydney) where it may well go the opposite way. In both cases, the people leaving should not try and take assets with them. In Sydney in recent years, I have seen a large proportion of a parish leave a church (not Anglican) that would not recant its tolerance to homosexuality, but they are still respected because they did not take assets. I have also seen ministers resign as a matter of principle, but not try and take assets with them.

This kind of honest separation is different to "rigging the numbers" through restructurings to close parishes or remove ministers who would not vote consistently with the bureaucrats.

Simon, yes the stuff is confusing. My issue is not that it is confusing, but that it is being painted as if the "liberals" have initiated a campaign without provocation. Also, I can't help wondering if the Lambeth commitment to listening hasn't practically evolved into all GLBT advocates "will be silent and listen and listen and listen until they repent".

My humour has also come to the fore. I now understand why Northern Ireland developed into a fiasco because "the Church of England is never wrong", why Gandhi had to lead a passive revolution "because the Church of England is never wrong", and why there had to be the American Revolution because "the Church of England is never wrong". When church and state aren't separated, problems in one reflect on the character of the other, if the church is the official advisor to the state, then the church is responsible for the state's reputation.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 3 May 2006 at 11:16pm BST

Marc wrote: "a priest does not have the right simply to declare of their own accord that their bishop no longer has authority over them".

Dear Marc, I would have some sympathy with this view if the issue was reasonably disputable. But the new beliefs and practices of this small and rather nasty minority of Bishops are generally condemned by the rest of the Bishops internationally, and by the leaders of all the other main Christian denominations. In such circumstances I wish the AC could do what the RCs do and recall the miscreants to Canterbury... as it is they might instead find that they are the only ones not called to Canterbury !

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 6 May 2006 at 1:23am BST

Dear Leonardo, I don't think it is just "how you do" your relationship(s) but also "what you do" that is important - that is the consistent moral teaching of the old and new testaments. People find happiness and fulfillment in all sorts of relationships, even ones that are clearly sinful (eg adultery) and may even learn about themselves or "discover a grace" through them. But that does not make the sin right - just shows the richness of human relationships.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with close same-sex relationships [non-sexual] love, covenanted relationship, mutuality, faithfulness etc. In some ways I think that the loss of these between men [particularly] in western cultures recently is very sad. In other cultures you see great displays of affection and close relationships between men.

But to be good, the relationship also has to conform to God's order for people - as revealed in Genesis and consistently taught in both the OT Law and by the writers of the NT. That excludes not only same-sex sex but also polyamory, and various wierd "perversions".

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 6 May 2006 at 1:39am BST
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