Comments: reports from Columbus

These dioceses if they are network and of course they are, have already left the church. They refuse to sit with other bishops or to take communion. They refuse to contribute in church mission and work. They regularly call the rest of us heretics, apostates, and pagans. They are Episcopal in name only. Perhaps my view is a minority one, but I say let them go. Our Church will be better for it. They will have a fight on their hands over property and etc but that is to be expected. The sooner these bishops place themselves under another bishop's jurisdiction the sooner they may be deposed and new bishops named.

Posted by RMF at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 11:19am BST

Andrew Gerns blog entry about his conversation with the Archbishop of York is fascinating and, I think, so key to this whole thing.

I think my prayers are going to shift slightly in relation to Columbus. I think the Archbishop is truly in the right place at the right time carrying a Christ-like message that we would all do well to hear deeply.

I pray he gets listened to and is able to really help ECUSA get the best possible result this week.

Posted by David at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 11:43am BST

I have to agree with the assessment of the behaviour of some 'conservative' dioceses in ECUSA. They have already broken communion with the majority of their own church. The AbC is deluding himself if he thinks otherwise.

His posturing and lack of leadership has allowed the axis to form and grow strong. Nipped in the bud by an early and modest expression of the limited authority accorded to his office across the Anglican Communion this whole business could have been contained. It would then have been possible to save the Anglican Communion and to talk to about what the real problem is. The Jensenists et al would have been required to be truthful about their wishes for Anglicanism. We would be able to know what exactly is on the table (ordination of women to the priesthood/episcopate, sexuality, creationism, inerrancy of Holy Scripture) and the thinking Anglicans (forgive the pun) in our midst would have to wake up and speak up.

If and when ++Rowan resigns let us pray to God that we get the Bishop of Cork and not the Bishop of Durham in his place.

Posted by Anglicanus at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 12:52pm BST

“…I say let them go. Our Church will be better for it. They will have a fight on their hands over property and etc but that is to be expected. The sooner these bishops place themselves under another bishop's jurisdiction the sooner they may be deposed and new bishops named.”-- RMF

Amen! And about time, too!

Posted by Kurt at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 1:45pm BST

Nothing in the Archbishop of York's conversation avoids the great lack of Windsor. That is, it tries to engage worldwide walking together without either explicitly engaging the issues of traditional Anglican leeway or traditional Anglican provincial autonomy. Instead of leading firmly into sufficient and generous Anglican worldwide time/space, though it says it aims to do so, Windsor falls rather nicely into the bear trap set for it by conservative thinking which aims to make our journey into discernment way too closed, too lock stepped, and too incapable ahead of time of the very listening/conversation we still say we seek.

The real world signs are that so far we are mostly incapable of real conversation, starting with Canterbury, and running right through. The key reason we fail at conversation have little to do with our differences as such - we are hardly as conformed, ever, as the idealizing and loaded narratives of the rightwing believers in many places would have us be. So we constantly hear about how our not being conformed has jeopardized Christ, and the gospel, and a zillion other terribly important things, up to and including service to the poor. The reasons we founder on our differences have mostly to do with no forthright Anglican leadership that tells us and models for us just how to differ in sanity, peace, good will, and common prayer. Anglican leaders who cannot stand up to garden variety huffmanship leave us foundering, confused by the misleading rightwing religious rhetoric so often unloaded in our variant directions: - dark resonances about how vile and untouchable unconformed people are, - inflated warnings about doomsdays for unconformed believers, - veiled and not so veiled threats that conformity preceeds and trumps inquiry when it comes to a conformed way to read scripture or else Jesus is not Lord; well the list could go on couldn't it?

The key comment, lingering: Our relatively sudden progressive change into greater justice and autonomy (for women, for sexual minority citizens, for variant groups of autonomy and inquiry and conversation and discernment) has speeded ahead of our worldwide abilities to reach consensus in the face of all these new changes.

I trust and pray that GC 2006 will do its considerable best, avoid these traps already set for it, and be as honest and forthright in charity as can be managed. At minimum two fudges must be somehow sidestepped that will do us all no good in the long run - i.e., the Windsor fudge that somehow unity and consensus can be engaged without engaging the real believers who will inevitably be defined as outside that new unity (Is not the real, long-term test of real Christian unity still how open and generous and charitable it empowers us to be with people who are not just like us?); and the rightwing believer fudge that their way is simply the only real and good way (If it takes a church council to impose/reach/define conformity, that already tells us we are not expecting to get along together, growing from the ground up via organic processes of our ground level listening and conversation and discernment).

If LGBTQ believers stay in ECUSA, they shall need to be ready to follow Dignity's paths, perhaps, in order to keep on keeping on. That is, at any rate, where most conservative-biblical-orthodox rightwing theology wishes to put them. If LGBTQ believers leave, at least they could do so with thanks for all the blessings and all the memories - and go forth to witness in the rest of the world that is still listening and rethinking. Once LGBTQ folks are not so handy as a keen wedge that immediately gets everybody anxious and riled up, surely another group will be chosen to fill in the vacuum. As new knowledge floods out we shall have no shortage of controversial topics, and controversial people.

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 3:22pm BST

I laughed like a drain to see Ruth flitting to the firm right again - much as she did at Lambeth 1998 - I dare say she expects better material to come her way (even in London) from this position at this time. She is such a one, that one!
I think she had better stay there this time – it suits her style!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 5:42pm BST

Oh, that Ruth G: too bad she couldn't have been around 230 years ago, and snip that whole "USA" business in the bud! [a few choice *hangings* might have sufficed then, the Gledhills of the AC think---and might still work, to whip the "sodomy-worshippers" (term from Gledhill's *moderated* comments) into shape today? >:-/]

But the Bloody Colonials *did* break away . . . and today most Episcopalians "in the pews" (y'know, that "moderate middle" that the reasserters always *claim* are on their side?) really don't follow English archbishoprics (and the *race* of the right-honorable office-holder thereof). So some were surprised ++York is black? Big Whoop-De-Doo...

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 7:26pm BST

I thank God for the ministry of Archbishop Sentamu. May his message be heard.

Posted by Nick Finke at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 8:48pm BST

Andrew Gerns writes of ++Semantu that "He pointed out to me that the language of Windsor itself looks forward to a new consensus in the future. [- implying that with time a *new* consensus on gay sex *will* be reached].

That is the current strategy of our liberal elite in the CofE, I think. It explains the glaring ommission of debate on the homosexuality issue at GS, and the lack of agreed sanctions in the HoB rules for clergy entering CPs, and the recent strange instruction from the English HoB to clergy - that they should not ask about the sexual nature of a CP relationship when "parents" bring children for baptism (etc)... Allowing clergy to have same-sex partners, and same-sex partners to present a child for public baptism will have a huge effect on the *perceptions* of the congregation - for many it will LOOK LIKE gay partnerships are accepted as ok. For instance, here is a quote about a pro-gay-sex film being shown at GC2006: "There is also the story of a woman who admitted she opposed gays adopting children until she saw a gay couple's children baptized at church. The woman nearly cried as she explained how spiritually moved she felt after participating in that baptism service. "The whole church embraced it," the woman said."

This is, I suspect what the liberal elite are hoping for. By not disciplining people who make same-sex sexual partnerships they become percieved to be normal (at least by many people). The initial revulsion at this sin fades as it is seen repeatedly and authority appears to smile down benignly. That makes it much easier to sideline Scripture and 2000 years of Christian moral teaching.

So here's the formula: Stifle dissent and hamper real action against homosexual sin until we get used to it, or loose interest... or leave. A much safer way to get the "right result" than a full open discussion that might well come to the wrong conclusion (again) - and/or reveal that the true beliefs of folk in the HoB are far from proportionately representative of the beliefs of active members!

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 15 June 2006 at 11:59pm BST

This is nothing new. The conservative dioceses have been planning and orchestrating their movement for years now -- since GC03 and before. Remember the 2003 meeting at Plano, TX, where to even get in to hear the presentations one had to sign a covenantal statement of conservative belief? They are funded by those whose interest is to break the backs of any denomination that does not fit their model of conservative "hate the sin, love the sinner but only if they change their ways".

Posted by mumcat at Friday, 16 June 2006 at 1:28am BST

"This is, I suspect what the liberal elite are hoping for. By not disciplining people who make same-sex sexual partnerships they become percieved to be normal (at least by many people)."

Dave,

most people already do perceive same-sex sexual partnerships as normal. By disciplining clergy who live in them, the Bishops would risk a complete collapse in their authority analogous to the situation in the Roman Catholic Church over contraception, not to mention driving people out of the church altogether.

You seem to think that the church needs to impose a definition of sin on lay people in order to stop the spirit of the age doing the same thing - rather ignoring that most of us are quite capable of coming to our own views of scripture and the traditions of the chuch, and more than used to being derided for our faith, and therefore sceptical of the spirit of the age.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Friday, 16 June 2006 at 1:40pm BST

That you can characterize a video showing a child's BAPTISM as a "pro-gay-sex film", speaks volumes about you, Dave. >:-/

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Friday, 16 June 2006 at 10:40pm BST

A few centuries ago a supposedly loving Church, on supposedly biblical grounds, justified its burning of gay people alive at the stake; the injustices are still not over. Get on with it, people, stop playing God.

F Salmon

Posted by Frank Salmon at Friday, 16 June 2006 at 11:36pm BST
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