Comments: CANA latest: PB writes to Akinola

Akinola doesn't see the Episcopal Church as a legitimate church, and he sees it as more important to oppose homosexuality than to respect provincial and diocesan boundaries. I don't expect him to listen to KJS, and I doubt she really expects him to do the same. But of course, the letter had to be sent.

Posted by Weiwen Ng at Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 10:19pm BST

I don't agree with Archbishop Akinola. But I think a lot of people do. Actually, I'm a little fed up about the adversorial tone and approach developing in some parts of the Anglican Communion. I know some like it. I don't. This attitude either demonises Archbishop Akinola, or demonises the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Time magazine wrote this about Archbishop Akinola: 'Akinola personifies the epochal change in the Christian church, namely that the leadership, influence, growth and center of gravity in Christianity is shifting from the northern hemisphere to the southern. New African, Asian and Latin American church leaders like Akinola, 61, are bright, biblical, courageous and willing to point out the inconsistencies, weaknesses and theological drift in Western churches.'
How can we who are everyday laity encourage some form of rapprochement?

Posted by Awdry Ely at Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 11:40pm BST

It's a bit comical really. PB KJS appeals to Akinola on the basis of canons which died at the time of the Great Schism, and on the basis of efforts towards reconciliation which were firmly rejected by the bishops whom she is supposed to lead.

Posted by James Crocker at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 12:32am BST

As I have stated elsewhere, ++Peter Jasper Akinola is a "law unto himself" accountable to no one but himself. Do we expect any other kind of behavior from him?

I am proud of TEC's HoB for standing up to bullies and psychopaths, whereas spineless ++Rowan Cantuar panders to them.

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 12:39am BST

Well, first she invited him to talk with her while he was here. Now she appeals to him on sound and solid grounds. As we sometimes say in the south, ain't no flies on ++KJS.

Would the ABC have a word on this? Or is he too busy planning his next book and his sabbatical?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 4:11am BST

Part of the Tanzania communique is that TEC must return (unequivocally)to walk with the AC in real unity and fellowship if it wants faithful Anglicans to stop organising outside TEC structures within the US

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 7:07am BST

I do not think rapproachement is needed with Akinola and his ilk - unless they abandon their prejudice, then separation is by far the beter option

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 9:49am BST

She would make either a Muslim or a Klingon proud. Always give warning and a chance at repentence before the point of no return is reached.

May God bless her and all those who understand honor and loyalty to God before idolatrous empire building and wanting to hasten God's judgment. (Isaiah 5:18-24)

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 11:30am BST

“would violate the ancient customs of the church”

Which in the case of sexually active homosexual bishops were for them to be promptly excommunicated -- which she will do as a sign of her strong adherence to the said ancient customs.

yeah right!

Posted by Margaret at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 11:33am BST

What poppycock, NP. How does the Tanzania communique support what Akinola is doing? On what genuine grounds can his action be justified? If he proceeds in the proposed action, then TEC would be completely right to begin to demand that the Nigerians be expelled from the WWAC, or disciplined severely at the very least. They could appropriate the whole rhetoric we have been used to from Duncan et al, with the added force of really having the money that does stuff. Oh, and a clear instance of a deliberate, even flagrant, violation of an important statement that has been made in every statement emanating from the *instruments of unity* since this whole saga began. Let's not begin to forget that...

From the other side of the world I don't buy the whole reasoning behind CANA, simply because it has to do with a fantastical misconception of how the Church works. At bottom it rests on an absurdity and lacks any real precedent in the history of church polity. I think you'll find that the majority of people in TEC are equally unpersuaded by the whole proposition. I doubt whether many of the GS bishops are genuinely comfortable with the implications of the whole situation +Akinola has cooked up with the aid of Duncan, Minns and company.

Frankly, it would be better for your friends to leave totally and start from scratch, rather than the current international mess they are creating. By doing this they would be displaying sincerity and the courage of their convictions. The rightness of their cause would be discernible by the number of communicants in their churches. At present they look like a group of whining so-and-so's.

Posted by kieran crichton at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 1:26pm BST

This is an act of hostility aimed at the whole Episcopal Church from the Presiding Bishop to the pew sitter. If Canterbury keeps his silence after this, or continues to read from the script provided him by ++Akinola and the IRD, then it's time to consecrate Episcopal missionary bishops in Abuja and London.

Posted by counterlight at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 1:27pm BST

NP -No kidding? The Communique was and has always been a set up to give the GS permission to invade, divide and supplant TEC. Why do you think the reasserters are so happy with it. Glad you are finally catching on. But in case you still don't quite get the big picture here - EVERYONE KNOWS that TEC is not going to repent of its position on gays. EVERYONE KNOWS that even prior to Lambeth'98 conservatives and GS Primates have been planning and orchestrating a wedge issue to divide TEC (and if need be the AC). EVERYONE KNOWS it was just a matter of time before the right wedge issue could be found. EVERYONE KNOWS that Tanzania was just one more step in that process. The issue for a very long time has been - where is the divide going to occur, and how many divides there will be. It is not going to be clean. It is not going to be pretty. It is not going to be pleasant. And it's not going to happen just the way the reasserts want it to.

Posted by C.B. at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 2:00pm BST

So in other words, NP, TEC must depose Schori, all women and gay bishops, renounce same-sex blessings and gay rights, and renounce theological liberalism?

In other words, back to the "Republican Party at prayer"? And I mean the contemporary Republican Party.

Posted by Ren Aguila at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 2:43pm BST

Part of the Tanzania communique is that TEC must return (unequivocally)to walk with the AC in real unity and fellowship if it wants faithful Anglicans to stop organising outside TEC structures within the US

NP, I've had an excellent idea. In order to conserve electrons, and until you come up with a new argument, just post by numbers - you know 'number 27' = Windsor only makes demands of TEC or 'number 14' = Cultural conditioning is a liberal tool of Satanic sort except when it gets me and my preferences off the hook, and epsecially 'number 9' = only churches which agree with me are growing....


Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 3:30pm BST

I'm with James Crocker. This is Bizarre. Totally bizarre.

KJS appeals personally and/or as PB of TEC on the basis of:

(1) the ancient customs of the Church--which she and TEC have held in disdain and dismissed in order to go their own way on sexuality issues.

(2) the fact that it would not help efforts at reconcilliation--all of which she and TEC have adamantly rejected in order to go their own way on sexuality issues.

(3) the fact that the disunity of the Church is thereby openly displayed to the world--as if this ever stopped her or TEC before in their determination to go their own way on sexuality issues.

Hmmm. This letter displays either an incredible obtuseness (which I doubt), an incredible sense of irony (which I also doubt), or an incredible amount of gall (which seems most likely).

However, be that as it may, she can't have it both ways. TEC and KJS can't turn around and appeal the actions of others based on the very standards they have already rejected and continue to reject. Or, to put it another way, put up or shut up!


PS-NP is also correct.

Posted by Steven at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 4:05pm BST

Ah yes, "NP" - the Windsor Report and the Dar es Salaam Communiqué only apply to TEC, never to any, other part of the AC... esp. never to any part of the AC which is fanning the flames of issues with which you agree, eh ?

We've heard this tired, old excuse too many times before, and as we say in the South - that dog don't hunt. You're going to have to do better than that.

Posted by David H. at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 5:11pm BST

"How can we who are everyday laity encourage some form of rapprochement?"

By demanding that the bishops of the Church actually obey their ordination vows to be to the flock of Christ shepherds, not wolves. This means actually behaving like Christians, not taking actions that are known to be seen as provocative by people on the other side of the planet, by not scheming and plotting, by not engaging in the behaviour we see on both sides, by demanding that they be bishops and not self appointed liberators of those they define as downtrodden or zealous fighters for their own power. In short by saying very loudly "A pox on both your houses!"
And Cynthia, some here would say

"My maid, the flies on she pays rent!"

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 6:22pm BST

Actually, I haven't a problem if ++Akinola if he:

1. Uses property outside of the Episcopal Church for his consecration, which he is planning to do so.

2. All further uses of this group's gathering with +Minns (as Bishop) are not trespassing on TEC grounds.

3. That this group may call itself anything but the Anglican presence in the U.S.

That Minns+ is setting himself up as a metropolitan of the Church of Nigeria in the U.S. is evident, we'll see how much of a following he has and gains.

We already have a half dozen non-official denominations here in the U.S. using the word "Anglican" in their church titles and this I suspect will just become another. Ho-hum, Let them have their 'pout'.

Again, look at where they are having their consecration. They have the money to build their facilities and start from scratch. And I don't think that ++KJS will be able to do a thing about it.

How sad, to build a church with hate as the motivation.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 7:43pm BST

Audry Ely - I think you may be confusing 'rapprochement' with 'appaisement'. I can see KJS now: "I have in my hand an agreement signed by Archbishop Akinola..."

Posted by Caliban at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 7:44pm BST

Perfect solution to NP, Mynsterpreost. Thank you.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 8:00pm BST

>>>back to the "Republican Party at prayer"?

That's the point of the whole thing. Only the dupes really believe that this has anything to do with sex or Scripture or whatever.

It's about the radical right in the U.S. making the mainline churches wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Republican Party, as it has already done to the evangelicals.

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 8:19pm BST

In his insufferable arrogance, ++Peter Abuja had his GS change the preamble of the C of N's Constitution, re-defining Anglicanism in terms of adherence to the 1662 Prayer Book and the Articles of Religion rather than in terms of Communion with the See of St. Augustine, Canterbury.

I recommend that serious inquirers read Fr. Tobias Haller's reflections on the proposed Anglican Covenant on the latter's Website (In A Godward Direction). Fr. Haller points out that border-crossings, such as contemplated for May 5 by ++Peter Jasper, violate the very Preface to the 1662 Prayer Book and the Articles of Religion. Once again the ego-maniac and power-grabber of Abuja, who is a law unto himself and accountable to no one, violates the very basic principles which the Anglican Church in Nigeria allegedly espouses. And ++Rowan the Spineless won't even call him on that!

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 8:36pm BST

To quote Fr. Tobias Haller on the Proposed Anglican Covenant:

"But the original 1662 book contained, as a necessary step to ordination the swearing of an Oath which said in part:

'...I do declare that no foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State, or Potentate hath, or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, within this Realm. So help me God.'

This ecclesiastical independence is a formative element in the creation of the Church of England, and of The Episcopal Church, whose ecclesiastical independence from its Mother Church was seen as natural and necessary at the time of the American Revolution, as stated in the Preface to the First American Book of Common Prayer. The Draft Covenant is out of step with this principle, a principle at the heart of the very authorities in which its authors place so much stock."

++Peter Abuja, invading TEC's jurisdiction, is therefore out of step with the 1662 BCP, which the C of N views as a foundational document, and thus exposes himself as the "power grabber" that he is.

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 10:02pm BST

Poor Martyn. He has wanted to be a Bishop for years. How many elections has he been in? I've lost count. So he finally finds a place that will make him a Bishop.

Poor Martyn. At General Convention, his wife Angela told me, after the vote on the Windsor response resolution "the Bishops just want to have their tea Party with the Queen." And now the Queen is in Richmond this week, so he has to have his celebration at an I-95 rent-a-chapel.

Poor Martyn. He was given the reins of a healthy church from John Howell and now he is about to loose it.

Can we not, in a spirit of good charity, allow this pitiful man to have his celebration?

Poor, pitiful Martyn.

Posted by Charles at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 1:47am BST

John, while we are on the subject of Pope Akinola I's arrogance, let's not overlook this quote from His Holiness:

We are Anglicans. They are the Church of England.

Kinda says it all, doesn't it.

Sometimes the man truly embarrasses me with his humility.

Posted by JPM at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 2:24am BST

"This is an act of hostility aimed at the whole Episcopal Church from the Presiding Bishop to the pew sitter. If Canterbury keeps his silence after this, or continues to read from the script provided him by ++Akinola and the IRD, then it's time to consecrate Episcopal missionary bishops in Abuja and London." - Counterlight

I really don't think that it would be appropriate to consecrate (American) Episcopal Church bishops in London, as most of the Church of England will ultimately reject the fundamentalists who are trying for a putsch in the Anglican Communion. There are far more friends of TEC in the CofE than detractors.

On the other hand, while it would certainly be appropriate to do that in Nigeria, I also have no doubt that the reality of that totalitarian state, and the comfortable relationship of the Akinolaites with that state, would make it perilous to any person attempting to minister to non-fundamentalists in Nigeria.

There are quite a few other places in the "Global South" where that would, to varying degrees, be a similar problem.

TEC or Anglican Church of Canada or other non-fundamentalist national Anglican churches would not be, quite frankly, competing on a level playing field when it comes to attempting to interfere with the local equivalent of the Anglican Church in many of these locations.

They would have no risk but legal constraints in North America or Europe, but there would be very real personal risk in the inverse approach.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 3:39am BST

The problem is not so much that Akinola is coming here as it is that people here are inviting him to come. While the Primate of Nigeria seems unlikely to win any prizes for consideration of the rights of others, he is nowhere near as culpable in this unfortunate situation as those in this country who seek to use him to do serious harm to TEC and institutions like it.

Posted by Nick Finke at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 6:01am BST

Quite easy to respond to you, Mynster:
- let liberal response 1 be "it's not what I want to do so I interpret the bible to mean the opposite to what it says";
-and let liberal response 2 be "it's a bronze age book, let's follow the liberal state rather than the bible - but still do religious ceremonies". (just playing your game)

Kieran - what you call "poppycock" is actually true. The reason CANA has not been stopped is that there is a problem to deal with in the form of the current leadership of TEC. Tanzania was a way forward - if TEC stops doing its own thing regardless of the AC's expressed wishes, incursions will stop.....

CB - so if it is inevitable that TEC walks away, why waste so much time disrupting the AC? Because liberals have never had the guts to go it alone as they would be such a small denomination? Because some people hope that the AC will cave in ultimately because TEC has inherited some money and might be able to buy AC acquiescence to its "innovations"? Happily, most of the poorest churches do not appear to be susceptible to being bought.

CANA would love to cease to exist if a faithful AC church existed in the US. I hope to see it merge into "ACUSA" next year together with the "Windsor bishops" and the Network. All of these groups walk, talk and look like Anglicans - to the AC if not to TEC

Posted by NP at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 7:13am BST

Abp. Akinola's response is on


Posted by Tunde at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 12:48pm BST

NP: "Because liberals have never had the guts to go it alone as they would be such a small denomination? Because some people hope that the AC will cave in ultimately because TEC has inherited some money and might be able to buy AC acquiescence to its "innovations"? Happily, most of the poorest churches do not appear to be susceptible to being bought."

Yes, Colorado Springs, Fairfax and Falls Church are certainly stellar examples of poverty stricken parishes.

It's not case of the poor being beyond co-option, it is as Nick Finke stated as [the wealthy] who seek to use (++Akinola) to do serious harm to TEC.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 1:29pm BST

Akinola's response provides no surprises, accept to confirm everything we already knew. The concept of border-crossings to him is meaningless - never mind that both the Communique and the WR talked about them being improper even in the present situation. So, take not AC, nothing is going to stop him. He also has dispensed with the illusion that CANA is a mission - no where is that term used any longer. He's building an alternative province for himself for certain, and for the rest of the AC if he can swing it.

Posted by C.B. at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 1:36pm BST

"CANA would love to cease to exist if a faithful AC church existed in the US. I hope to see it merge into "ACUSA" next year together with the "Windsor bishops" and the Network. All of these groups walk, talk and look like Anglicans - to the AC if not to TEC"

What an absurd statement. A faithful church *does* exist in the US. It is called The Episcopal Church and any accusation of apostacy is mendacious.

The problem for the conservatives is that they aren't in control. Since they aren't in control, TEC must be torn down. It is an evil, sinister and demonic plan which has been in the works for over a decade.

Posted by ruidh at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 1:39pm BST

"How sad, to build a church with hate as the motivation." Indeed.

Reminds me of the old story of the man who had been shipwrecked on an otherwise uninhabited island for some years - when rescuers came ashore, they saw two huts wit crosses on the roof. They asked the guy - what's that building there? "That's my church!" He said. "Well what's the one a little ways away?" "That's the church I used to go to."

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 1:42pm BST

Thanks to John Henry for the 1662 Prayerbook quote and to Nick Fink for his contribution to this discussion. I'd somehow missed the fact that A & M have set their drama to coincide with ER II's visit.
Those who say they want reconciliation while demanding that others conform to their standards remind me of self-righteous bullies. I don't hear anyone in TEC making demands of Nigeria. Do you?
Anyway, keep the Paschal candles burning and ignore the secular press if you can.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 1:49pm BST

Tunde: Akinola seems to enjoy press coverage. Here is some in Virginia that you may wish to bring to his attention: Falls Church Press "Anything But Straight: Nigeria's Frequent Flyer"

Posted by Robert at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 2:08pm BST

Guess I'll have to save my comments on Akinola's reply for Mad Priest's site - he publishes that sort of language.

Posted by lapinbizarre at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 2:09pm BST

In an earlier letter I referred to this week's upcoming visitation activity of ++Akinola as a "consecration" of +Minns. This was in error, as it should have been stated as an installation.

My apologies.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 3:01pm BST

This is an article with an interesting take on things from the Washington Times
In digest:
Despite a general invitation to CANA-affiliated parishes in Virginia plus about 200 invitations to out-of-town church officials, most conservative Episcopal leaders are avoiding the rite.
    A phone survey of 10 Episcopal dioceses that belong to the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) -- a confederation that opposes the Robinson consecration -- revealed that only its moderator, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, plans to attend. Bishop Don Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network of Canada, has also accepted.
    But Central Florida Bishop John Howe, also a conservative and Bishop Minns' predecessor as rector of Truro, will not attend because of schedule conflicts. Rio Grande, the New Mexico diocese where Bishop Minns was under consideration for the bishop post in 2004, is sending no one.
    Neither is South Carolina, a solidly conservative diocese.

Posted by EPfizH at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 3:08pm BST

The body of the Tanzania Communique does not say that law suits should stop. This reference comes from the annexes.

The suggestion that legal actions should be "suspended" (which is not, in fact, procedurally possible, and so was a dead letter from the start) was coupled with a requirement that assurances be given "that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations". Neither CANA nor the CANA parishes have given any such assurance.

On the other hand, I can understand why CANA is so keen to stop lawsuits - judgment has just come in from a case instituted by a defecting parish in South Carolina, and the defectors lost. The Court held that those who joined the Anglican Mission in America, although the majority, could not continue to run their old church.

In another interesting development, the Washington Times reports that Akinola will not be appearing at any of the press conferences associated with the Minns installation. I suspect that he's done CANA enough damage already with his disgusting expressions of prejudice.

Posted by badman at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 3:24pm BST

Duncan's going a bit far out on the limb, there.

Posted by lapinbizarre at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 4:45pm BST

Re the recurring theme of some posters that TEC is hypocritical in citing the ancient custom and practice of the Church against boundary-crossings, while The Current Unpleasantries arose in the first place because of TEC (allegedly) disregarding the Church's ancient custom and practice regarding homosexual conduct:

The boundary crossings matter was dealt with by an Ecumenical Council. (Nicea)

Show me an Ecumenical Council that deals with the proper interpretation of the biblical passages that get trotted out against homosexuality, and we may have something to talk about. (And kindly don't fall back on circular reasoning by asserting that these passages' interpretation is self-evident; it's not, and that's the match that lit the fire that IRD et al. have worked for decades to build.)

Posted by Viriato da Silva at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 6:07pm BST

"The suggestion that legal actions should be "suspended" (which is not, in fact, procedurally possible, and so was a dead letter from the start)..."

This is a very important point. +++Rowan et al. are clearly not US attorneys, or else they would have realized that "suspending" actions at law will often not lead simply to maintaining the status quo in a holding pattern (which in context is what they meant by "suspending").

Rather, suspending certain legal actions, especially where there is a statute of limitations, or where (as in real property matters) non-acquiescence to the other party's actions must be made loudly, can be tantamount to *abandoning* them or, at the very least, undermining one's ability to reassert one's rights at a later date.

In that light, "suspension" = surrender, and while ++Akinola may have intended such a thing, it is rather more dubious that all of the other Primates did so.

Posted by Viriato da Silva at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 7:00pm BST

“Duncan's going a bit far out on the limb, there.”—lapinbizarre

Indeed. Perhaps we can saw it off for him.

Posted by Kurt at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 7:38pm BST

I'm getting really really bored of this rubbish.

Please go back through the archives and document precisely where anyone has actually EVER said that "Don't means Do" and that the bible is a "bronze age book and therefore to be ignored".

I shall be very surprised if you come up with a single reference.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 7:50pm BST

++Akinola seems to have a letter/press-release generator, doesn't he? It just spews out the Standard Talking Points. But let's look closer:

"our current predicament"
"the Episcopal Church would “tear the fabric of our Communion"
"the brokenness remains, our Provinces are divided"
"the usual protocol and permissions are no longer applicable"
"those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within The Episcopal Church"
"as it is currently being led" [euphemism, in the passive, for "You, apostate You!"]
"such pastoral protection is even more necessary"
"the only way forward for full restoration into fellowship with the rest of the Communion"
"its current unbiblical agenda" [my personal favorite]
"Until then we have no other choice" [the Nuremburg defense]
"than to offer our assistance and oversight" [euphemism: "invade"]
"to our people and all those who will not compromise the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)" [Where would an Akinola Communique be w/o "the faith once delivered"? Of course, it's the predictable boilerplate for ALL schismatics, and probably has been since *before* the "Letter of Jude" was even canonized!]

"protect the church from false teaching [You, Apostate You!"] not to prevent those who hold to the traditional teaching of the church [ConEvs] from receiving faithful episcopal care [++Me and mine, mine, mine, MINE!!!]

"It was also a time when the Church had yet to face into the challenge of different denominational expressions of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" [Say wha? Good Lord, has this man even READ the Book of Acts? The Letter to the Galatians? The "the challenge of different denominational expressions" were there from the beginning!]

(to be con'td.)

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 8:31pm BST


"I also find it curious that you are appealing to the ancient customs of the church when it is your own Province’s deliberate rejection of the biblical and historic teaching of the Church that has prompted our current crisis." [You, apostate You!]

"the call to reconciliation. As you well know this is a call that I wholeheartedly embrace" [Reconciliation = "submission". Funny, Pete, you'll find Rome seeks "reconciliation" w/ *you*, on EXACTLY the same terms. How's that sit wit' ya?]

"you are still continuing your own punitive legal actions against a number of CANA clergy and congregations" [We, acting righteously (and faithfully). You, reacting punitively (and godlessly)]

"I look forward to the day when this current crisis is behind us [when you are squarely UNDER us] and we can all be reunited around our One Lord and only Saviour Jesus the Christ [who hates f*gs]. Until then be assured of my prayers for you and The Episcopal Church." ["prayers for you"---but NO meeting *with* you. Wouldn't want anyone to get the mistaken idea that you were my equal. We can both SIGN our names "in Christ", but we can't both actually BE in Christ. If *I* am, thereby, "my dear Presiding Bishop", you ain't. Just don't try to pray for *me* on the grounds of Hylton Chapel, or I'll just have to call the cops of this area-no-longer-in-your-primatial-purview, and have you arrested for trespassing. Buh-bye!]

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 8:36pm BST

++ Akinola wrote: "the brokenness remains, our Provinces are divided"
"the usual protocol and permissions are no longer applicable"

Or in one word: You made me do it!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 4:40am BST

If the PBs letter to Akinola deserved its own heading and post, then Akinola's reply (which has substance and is important) certainly does.

To relegate it to a addendum position is to reveal your bias, and does your readers a significant disservice.

Posted by Margaret at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 5:56am BST

Erika - YOU said it was a "bronze age book" on a thread no longer visible, a couple of weeks ago!

"Don't means do"....if you read St Paul's letters to Timothy (for one example), you will see that TEC is reading what St Paul says re who is not fit to be a leader in the church in exactly this upside down (disobedient) way.....this is why the AC is not accepting TEC's innovations (in case you are not sure why we have had Dromatine, TWR and Tanzania, it is because of TEC risking its place in the AC for VGR et al and trying to force everyone else in the AC to accept that TEC can read "do not" to me "do")

Posted by NP at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 7:16am BST

Of course it's "bronze age" in terms of historical timing. So?
Go back through the archives and show me where I said it was a bronze age book AND THEREFORE TO BE DISREGARDED.

As you're accusing the liberals, and by extension many of us here on TA, you will really have to show me an actual quote where anyone said that Don't means Do. I don't want your interpretation on what people say, I want you, just for once, to provide evidence for the slander you keep coming up with. A real, verifyable quote would be very helpful.

The archives here go back years - if we keep saying all these things you claim it shouldn't take you long to come up with actual evidence.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 9:37am BST

Erika - you don't seem to realise that all the pain in the AC is caused by a small group within the AC (for the moment) claiming that "do not" means "do" when most of the AC just cannot see how that is justified- here is a good summary of what has happened and why:

Posted by NP at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 12:06pm BST

Margaret said:
'If the PBs letter to Akinola deserved its own heading and post, then Akinola's reply... certainly does.
To relegate it to a addendum position is to reveal your bias, and does your readers a significant disservice'

Margaret- the site is called 'Thinking Anglicans' (emphasis on that word 'THINKING'). With a name like that, I'd EXPECT it to be biased against Akinola.

And how are us readers rendered a disservice? Are we incapable of scrolling down a page? Are we incapable of thinking for ourselves? Well, again I refer to the site's name: 'THINKING Anglicans': what do you think?

Posted by northern_soul at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 12:06pm BST

So Akinola has effectively told the Anglican Communion 'I will go where I want and do as I please'.

Posted by Frank at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 1:06pm BST

Have you ever read Equipping the Saints: A Crisis Resource for Anglican Laity? It can be found here:

It is a nasty little piece of misrepresentation and general false witness. It is also meant to fan the flames of paranoia in those whose faith is susceptible to such things. If nothing else, reading it will explain the tactics, mindset, and worldview of groups like the AAC. Now, I don't know if NP has read it or not, he hasn't said. He certainly seems to think along the lines put forward there. If he does think that way, it is easy to see how he can see what he does in what's written here. He's arguing to a particular paradigm, one that, to me, contains a lot of value, actually, despite my interactions with him and my overall disagreement with his position.

NP, my use of 'if' and 'it seems' in the above is intended to show that my statements are inferences only, and if you do think other than I have inferred above, please correct me.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 1:33pm BST

Erika asked "NP", "I want you, just for once, to provide evidence for the slander you keep coming up with."

Don't hold your breath (unless you look good in blue). "NP" has never provided any evidence for his (her ?) emotionally-charged, defamatory statements the entire time I've been reading TA.

And none will be forthcoming, as no such evidence exists (to say nothing of what I assume is a complete lack of desire on NP's part to engage us in a charitable way as fellow Christians).

Posted by David H. at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 4:46pm BST

Erika and Ford

Good points. Make him find the pertinent passages and quote them.

I've found the search engines work quite well, and have used them a couple of times in discussions with NP. (The one about prosperity and healing of this world was quite good and I now remember to look up 21 December 2006 if the topic ever comes up again).

It is also one of the reasons that TA is my main forum. When they make a faux pas, they can't edit away the evidence.

Similarly, the evidence shows that I apologise when I make mistakes. There are a couple of stirrers on this forum who I have yet to see one apology from. I wonder if they have ever looked up the meaning of humility and contemplated that it is a trait that God respects?

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 4 May 2007 at 10:06pm BST

"He's arguing to a particular paradigm, one that, to me, contains a lot of value, actually"

That may be, but I fail to see the value in presenting a position by continuously lying about what one's "opponents" are saying just so one can continue to support one's own view.
There must be more intellectually convincing ways of being conservative than to consistently refuse to engage in constructive debate. Knee jerk reactions, falsifying what the others say, not providing supportive evidence when asked, and showing them no respect at all really disqualifies someone from reasonable debate.

Which is why I shall now leave this particular field to you. Good luck!

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 9:24am BST

Ford and Erika:

It's about control, period. In the fundamentalist's mind salvation of souls means total agreement with a group leader. An individual who differs is shunned and shooed away for fear of loss of control by the leader as opposed to dissension. This has also happened in the liberal camp, but not to the extent of groups engaging in schismatic behavior, mostly in the former of recent times in TEC.

Using cookbook theology seemingly makes it simple, and repeating selected verse also introduces the circular reasoning of making it appear simple. It is beyond fundamentalism, it judgmentalism that puts it's trust in taking something that is deeply complex and arguably contradictory and using it to one's gain and not to the glorification (and awareness) of God.

I'm sure you both know this, but it seems some never understand the process of knowing what is material and isn't, i.e. what I would call discernment, that is something not to be taken lightly, and better left to those better trained at it (myself excluded.)

Thanks for your thoughts. This isn't an easy period for me either.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 12:07pm BST

"I fail to see the value in presenting a position by continuously lying about what one's "opponents" are saying just so one can continue to support one's own view."

In an apparent about face, and not wanting to seem patronizing to NP, but we shouldn't be too hard on him. We live in a world that glorifies the oppressed, indeed, I would say that society only truly validates those it sees as fighting agasinst their oppression. It's everywhere, gay rights, women's rights, animal rights, the rights of the unborn, and on and on. Everybody searches for victimhood in something. It's there on the left as well, and we all fall for it from time to time. Now put yourself in NP's place, in a religious culture that contains great persecution, expressing views that are more and more unpopular all the time, possessed of a tradition that only gives you one way to preach your message: a gloating, judgemental, holier than thou method that is heavy on condemnation and the debasement of the individual, and that really insults and infuriates large swaths of society. Add to that then leaders who foster this oppressed victim mentality. (I've already linked to the AAC, a group of these "leaders"). I would like to suggest that buying into this victim mentality is actually selling out the values of the Kingdom for the values of the world. Whether or not people are plotting against us, we Christians have a call not to behave like that, either in the plotting or in the fearing of it. In so far as we plot, we are letting dowen the Gospel, just as much so if we fear the plots of others. But, we all fall prey to it from time to time, and if we are submerged in a culture obsessed with it, we become just like NP, in defence of our own political position.

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 3:18pm BST

I accept what you say. And I would say that to an extent, I certainly have also become obessed with the defence of my position, and maybe so have you?

There is still a difference, though. Your listening to NP is constructive, taking him/her at his/her word and engaging with the actual points made. You always try to move the conversation on to some kind of mutual understanding and tolerance.

It is the lack of this kind of engaging on NP's side that makes a meaningful conversation impossible

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 6:18pm BST

As do I Erika. Witness the things I've said lately about Evangelicals! Mea culpa.

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 6 May 2007 at 12:17pm BST


Would you care to expound on why Equipping the Saints is "nasty?" It appears to be fairly well documented w/ little commentary save the last 3 or 4 pages.

The "Facts Regarding Youth" exhibit is chilling (assuming the sampling method is valid....).

Posted by Chris at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 4:51am BST

I have found it unpleasant because it listed pages and pages of things people on either side of the debate apparently believe. One of the great frustrations of trying to have a conversation with some of the conservatives on this forum has always been that they claim to know exactly what I believe and why, and aren't listening to one word I actually say.

By all means, treat this document as a first level discussion document, but not as a final product arrived at after careful analysis and deep conversation.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 11:16am BST

Further to my previous comment:
The title alone is defamatory. Equipping the Saints against the others is the title of a document to be used in a kind of spiritual warfare against those who don't agree with you. It is not a document designed to further true conversation and understanding between Christians with differing views.

The document is compiled based on the assumption that the Saints are scriptural and right, and the others ignore Scripture and just suit their own selfish purposes.
That is indeed a nasty and deliberate misrepresentation.

For someone to say they don't agree with my way of understanding Scriptures is one thing, to tell me that only their way of reading it is admissible and that anything else makes me unfit to be in their church is nasty.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 11:39am BST

I don't have time right now for a full critique, but basically it sets up a dichotomy between the "reassesssors" and the "reasserters" which, I argue, is false. It asserts a uniformity of belief on the part of the "reassessors" which is a gross misrepresentation and is built upon some spurious statements. Look at PP 8 and 9, where they contrast "reassessor" and "reasserter" beliefs. I have been involved in very left wing "progressive"online lists, and have never heard any of "them" argue these points. Indeed, most react scornfully to any attempt to deny the fullness of the Incarnation, for instance, and have never even been favourable to most of the ideas contained in the list of "progressive" beliefs. Some people believe these things, but it is false to paint them out as some monolithic "reassessor" belief system, just as it is to say that all "reasserters" are narrow minded fundamentalists.

The "evidence" is given on the following two pages, where there are three left field statements that are certainly not mainstream in "reassessor" circles, two of them from Spong, about whom I have heard few "reassessors" speak positively, one from John Robinson, of whom I have never heard a "reassessor" speak. The rest might be things that are currently being discussed, but not beyond the pale, surely, and some sre simple statements of fact. Yet, ETS presents this as some sort of monolithic belief system that is angling to take over the Church. This is deliberate misrepresentation designed to manipulate people's fears. I have already, I fear, gone over the space limit.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 1:30pm BST

All those of you who are concerned about breaking the word limit, you know you can just copy the text from this box into Word and then count the words via Tools - Word Count.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 3:31pm BST

Ford & Erika,

Good points and thank you for your thoughts.

I agree that many of those comments are extreme and don't represent the mainstream spectrum of Episcopalian thought. The issue is these voices aren't criticized and at times even reach positions of power (+Spong). When this happens there is a clear message that NOTHING is critical to the faith w/in TEC.

Paul's circumcision of Timothy after the Jerusalem Council shows that we need to be firm on fundamentals but forbearing on other issues. The problem is we're giving in on the fundamentals to these extreme voices and losing sight of all we DO hold in common.

Posted by Chris at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 6:22pm BST

The biggest irony is Akinola spouting forth about `traditional teachings' that have only come to be during and since the Victorian era.

Posted by Tim at Monday, 7 May 2007 at 6:55pm BST

"The issue is these voices aren't criticized"

Precisely! So why do we not do it? We, or at least I, don't have any problem coming out swinging against the more extreme conservatives. Time for a change, maybe?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 11:49am BST

Because it is dangerous, Ford. Remember what Wilhem Tell's father says in the last act: My son, if we behave like oppressors, aren't we then ourselves oppressors?

Non of us - unless we are authentically sociopaths - can ever compete with the anti-moderns into denigrating - but then, if we tried, we would be making denigration "normal".

Dangerous :-(

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 8:33pm BST

With a heavy heart I agree with Göran. I thought I could engage passionately but without resulting to denigration. I have discovered that I'm quite unequal to the task. I end up meeting continuous slights and insults with my own version - and I don't like the person I'm becoming in the process.

Göran is right - it's a dangerous game.
And yet....the fight is worth fighting and I admire Ford for continuing. I hope, Ford, you can continue to engage properly, passionately but without becoming contaminated.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 10:03pm BST

"The boundary crossings matter was dealt with by an Ecumenical Council. (Nicea) "

And The Windsor Report refers to this (A p.19)

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 12:42am BST

I'm not suggesting we denigrate. None of us has any qualms about telling NP he's wrong, for instance, yet, except when he says something truly infuriating and anger gets the better of us, we don't denigrate his position. Why equate disagreement and critical appraisal of someone else's position with denigrating them? I already AM contaminated, I fear, Erika. Lot's of times I fall into the same trap of homogenizing the "other".

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 11:31am BST

I suspect +Akinola's supporters would quote Article 21 at you, conveniently ignoring its rather Erastian first clause.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 12:47pm BST

half of the problem is that there's not a lot of agreement on the fundamentals - which is why so many Christian basics courses are doomed to failure. Fundamentals/Orthodoxy often only become clear in hindsight - there was a time in C4 where what we would now define as heretics were regarded as orthodox and had positions of power (Ursacius and Valens, for example) and pillars of orthodoxy (Athanasius) were at risk of exile.

Those who ceaselessly cite +Spong maybe need to learn a bit more Church History and understand its essential untidiness. For me, more worrying than TEC's ability to contain Jack Spong (perhaps on the understanding it's better to have someone in the tent widdling out than that person outside the tent widdling in) is Central Africa's ability to contain +Harare.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 9:46pm BST

Ford, I can only speak for myself. When I started to post on TA is engaged with conservatives as politely and intelligently as I would wish to be engaged with myself. I truly believed that a conversation could actually lead somewhere.

I no longer believe that is true for the few extreme conservatives who debate here. And over time I have become more sarcastic myself, more angry and posted more one liners. I have caught myself writing that people's thoughts are "silly", that they post "rubbish" etc., and I don't believe that is an acceptable way of engaging.

And even when I manage to write constructively, I do privately denigrate some of the extreme and illogical positions and repetitive arguments.

There must be an intelligent way of being conservative and I still hope that constructive conversations are possible somewhere. In my "real" life I have met many people who have changed their minds over time. And I have come to respect them and some of their views better. But I suppose that's because of the experience of living side by side with "the other".

Arguments alone will not win over someone who is filled with revulsion or fear but rationalises it to the extent that he isn't even aware of it as a prime motivator. Angry misunderstanding appears to be the only consistent outcome of such conversations. I can't afford to get drawn into this spiral any longer.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 10:18pm BST

Erika - it is not that people are "angry" or afraid of is just that convincing arguments have not been made by you, VGR or even the ABC in his liberal acadamic past.

If you said "do not lie" means "it is ok to lie", "conservatives" - even "intelligent" ones, would not be convinced by you.....and that goes for other issues too.

I am sure you would not even try to say "do not lie" means it is ok to lie...

Posted by NP at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 9:55am BST

In the past few days, especially after yesterday, I feel the same way. I'm frustrated by the continued disrespect of claiming that those who prefer a more traditional understanding of Scripture are faithless, to the point of actually denying historical fact or even the evidence on their computer screens! I started with some pretty unpleasant stereotypes about the ignorance, self delusion, and selfrighteous judgementalism of Evangelicals. I find I am continually drawn down into that trap. I DO frequent boards where these stereotypes are challenged. I think it would be best for my soul if I kept to those sites.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 12:14pm BST

How can discussion ever take place, and issues be settled, if there is constant sidetracking onto the irrelevant (important, yes; relevant, no) issue of people's emotions.
Being angry and intemperate does not make one wrong. It does not make one right. Being cool, calm and collected does not make one wrong. It does not make one right. Therefore emotions (though *highly* important in their own right) are utterly irrelevant to the *substance* of the discussion. Pls resist the temptation to be sidetracked onto them and lets keep our eyes on the ball.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 1:10pm BST

I'm not sure I believe that it is possible to be purely rational when discussing faith issues. Certainly not those that affect people's lives directly (although I prefer to use the word impassionate).

I suppose I can be rational about many issues - Christology, the Incarnation, PSA, Transsubstantiation etc. I also know and respect that others posting here feel much more strongly about those things than I do.

I peronally cannot be impassionate about inclusivity, about human rights, about poverty and about the gay issue. They affect me and my life very directly and very personally.

It is one of the big failings of many conservatives who post here that, although they are repeatedly being told how their postings affect us, they still insist that we and our lives can be discussed (and rejected) as though they were a mere theoretical or theological "issue".

If that's really the case, then it's definitely time I bowed out and left this conversation to the robots.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 2:33pm BST

How can discussion take place if one side consistently, despite all evidence to the contrary, dismisses the other side as faithless? If one side dismisses the other out of hand and consistently misrepresents what the other side says, how can one discuss anything? If one side consistently refuses to accept simple fact, how can there be discussion? If one side hurls accusations of wrongdoing at the other while failing to acknowledge their own wrongdoing, how can there be discussion? This is the source of my frustration and anger.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 2:37pm BST

Ford - Sorry, you're right - the endless chat is pointless because there is no mutual respect - not from either side. What you see in Dromatine, TWR and Tanzania is a consistent view that there is false teaching in the AC....and "conservatives" have little respect for false teaching.

Let's split - if liberals have the guts (with TEC's inherited cash) to go it alone as a "TEC Global" with few members around the world, I know, but freedom to make bishop people that most of the AC find unacceptable with regard to their teaching and unrepentant conintuation in sin.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 5:26pm BST

"and "conservatives" have little respect for false teaching."

Right! Pull the other one. And as for having the guts to split, this merely shows that you have no idea what being in communion means. Let's both wait till Lambeth 2008, shall we? I rather suspect that, unless some of the GS people stack the deck, which seems to be happening, there will be a very Anglican "Behave like good little boys and girls" from the true Anglican mainstream who have had quite enough of this spitting and snarling and have no time for either "side" in this debate. I will rejoice at this. Any other outcome would be cause for sorrow and soul searching on my part.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 7:20pm BST

NP: so we get to keep VGR and you get to keep +Harare? Are you SURE about that?

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 9:48pm BST


Emotional debate does not have to mean denigrating debate. But genuine debate does mean internalizing and considering the statements made by other voices in the conversation. I think I actually post less than a third of the messages I begin writing on TA – so I certainly understand your frustration.

Erika raises an excellent point about sensitivity in addressing issues around human sexuality. While we may disagree, none of us has the right to use this topic as a weapon against the other. Some may approach this as an intellectual exercise, but for others it’s a real and personal reality. This is a serious subject and both viewpoints carry with them huge implications on human nature – both for the individual and for all humanity.

I disagree with most of the comments on TA (passionately), but I’m glad I read because I am hearing new viewpoints. While I still hold that the “traditional view” is God’s standard for human sexuality, I believe there is a call in TEC and AC (and the larger Church?) to rethink how we view and treat LGBT brothers and sisters.

Posted by Chris at Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 10:01pm BST

Mynster - not at all - I am the guy who, as you have pointed out, keeps on boringly repeating that I want to stick to the standards set by scriptures for leaders so I would fire all unworthy of the position (whether the sin is money, power or lust. NOte, I have not been blindly defending Armstrong(for example) - everyone is subject to the same standards for those of us who accept the standards of scripture.

Ford - it is not possible to be "in communion" with people who completely disagree on key issues like the authority of scripture....a house divided against itself cannot stand and communion with false teachers is never taught as the way forward - not in the bible, that is, even if is the aim of Anglican hierarchy to try to force this.

Posted by NP at Friday, 11 May 2007 at 9:19am BST

"it is not possible to be "in communion" with people who completely disagree on key issues like the authority of scripture"

Glad to know you agree with the Pope! Seriously, though, you really need to consider the ramifications of what you are saying. Anglo-catholics have been in communion with those who fundamentally disagree on key issues, despite the fact that these same people have reacted with hostility and even violence against ACs. There has never been a move by ACs to get the Evos, for instance, out of the Church because of their "false doctrine". This is the problem. It seems to me that you don't really grasp that there are those for whom your beliefs are 'false doctrine', yet it HAS been possible to be in communion with you. This is why, as I have stated many times in the past, I fear and mistrust Evangelicals. You, it would seem, are unable to extend to others the charity (as the word is used in the KJV) that they have extended to you. Anyone who does not understand Scriptural authority as you do is accused of ignoring Scripture, for instance, and no amount of discussion or argument will make you even admit the possibility that this is untrue, let alone profoundly insulting.

"communion with false teachers"

And you cannot look back at history and see that this has ALWAYS led to more and more schism as the group that originally declared itself pure and free of heresy finds more and more things to disagree on? Do you seriously think that the Bible's clear admonitions against following false teachers is intended to permit such things? How do you indentify false teachers?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 11 May 2007 at 1:48pm BST

Sorry, NP, didn't make myself clear.

If the Church Anglican splits into the 'liberal' and (for want of a better expression) 'conservative' groupings, it looks like the conservative grouping will be stuck with +Harare, given that the GS will be the driving force in any realignment, and that Bernard Malango, one of the GS prime movers, seems reasonably happy with his man in Harare. This means that those who stick with the GS led group will also be lumbered with +Harare as an honoured part of their set-up. I don't imagine for a nanosecond that you approve - I just think that I'd rather have +VGR in my camp.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 11 May 2007 at 10:22pm BST

I agree 100%. NB that not all discussions are bifurcated/polarised into two so-called 'sides' - on the contrary there are numerous different (provisional) positions one can hold.

I so agree. I have repeatedly made the same point myself. For example, people when discussing abortion often begin 'This is a highly emotive topic, so let's be cool, calm and collected'. To which I think inwardly 'Is your heart dead?'.

So: one should always be totally passionate about things that deserve passion. But the point I am making is a quite different one. Namely, that (a) sometimes people think that the angry one is always wrong (or right). Or (b) that the cool one is always right (or wrong). Or (c) that it is relevant to discuss emotions when the topic under discussion is an issue of substance. On all these 3 counts a-c I disagree.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 12:51pm BST

The last time I have brought emotion into play was when I surmised that those who repeatedly insult their conversation partners and who do not properly engage in the conversation but who just spout slogans, are avoiding a true debate because they cannot acknowledge that their rejection of the others are based on revulsion and fear.

I do believe that this is one reason for not engaging in debate properly - and your example of people wanting to talk coldly about abortion is a good one. It's safer to hide behind supposedly rational arguments than to admit that our views are also highly influenced by our revulsion at what happens during an abortion.
Or - at the other extreme - our refusal to see the deep distress that causes people to opt for terminations.

Including emotions in our perceptions and our debates means looking at the other person as a whole complex entity that cannot be reduced to an issue.

I suppose what I'm saying is that our feelings about something are also of substance. We do ourselves a disservice if we believe we are wholly rational beings. Emotion can be as wrong as supposed reason, but it can also check reason and temper it. We function on rational and emotional levels, and a comprehensive debate will be aware of that and will include all aspects of our humanity.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 6:46pm BST

the other point about leaving out emotions is that we are likely to misunderstand what each other is talking about.

Take the same sex debate. One side speaks of Scripture and whether having sex with a person of the same gender is allowed. It’s a very non-emotional narrow focus on a particular act.

But when you add emotions into it, the topic changes completely. Think of your wife, of how you are together as a couple. Remember those wonderful first months when you both felt that the world revolves around each other. About the incredibly emotional and intellectual closeness to this one other person, who is so very precious to you that you cannot imagine a life without her. You know what makes each other laugh, you sometimes catch yourself looking at each other, knowing what the other is thinking without a word needing to be said. You can be so safe with her that you can share your disappointments and be open about your fears. There is no-one else you could do that with. You share your hopes for life, your dreams, your goals. You know you can depend on her to be there for you, just as you will be there for her, regardless of what happens. If you’re lucky, you will grow old together, still loving, still caring, growing closer and closer over the years. She is the most precious person in your life and you in hers. Other friendships will come and go, but none will rival that unique depth of your marriage.

If I talked about your marriage as though it was just a vehicle for sex you would know that I don’t comprehend what makes you two tick at all. I wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface and you would probably be exasperated or even cross at my limited thinking. We would have very little touching points if we talked about relationships.

And yet, that is how my relationship is seen and talked about by those who rationally reduce it to a Scriptural issue of sexuality and to having sex.

The emotions involved change the whole picture. We disregard them only if we’re trying to score points. If we are aiming at true understanding and healing, we will take them into account.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 7:31pm BST

Erika - when you see the "prosperity gospel" preachers saying "greed is good" when you know the bible says do NOT be you doubt your position?

If you want dialogue, as I have said many times, the basis for it must be not ignoring scripture but showing that what you want to do is not condemned (by God) but is holy - according to Him.

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 16 May 2007 at 12:35pm BST


It won't happen because it can't happen.

Even if one rejects the "clobber passages," you can't get around the positive model of human sexuality in Scripture. When God's standard is so clear in Scripture you have to find a way to undermine the role of Scripture.

Of course most people miss that the passages that get rejected contain a litany of sins that afflict every person. We all face sin, but for some reason some are in a battle to make one type of sin clean.

I do think God is speaking to the church to amend attitudes and treatment of LGBT Christians. I don't think He's rewritting the rules of human sexuality though.

Posted by Chris at Wednesday, 16 May 2007 at 11:51pm BST
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