Comments: ECUSA: California property dispute reversal

The bible has something to say about lawsuits...but I am sure TEC leaders are able to ignore these verses if inconvenient for them.

I would encourage those faithful Anglicans who face lawsuits from TEC to let them have the buildings....they need the assets to sell fund their decline.

Better for the growing, faithful churches in TEC at the moment to make their own way, free from the interference of heretical leadership dominating TEC

In the AC and CofE however, the leadership is not dominated by heretics so we should see the AC move on from the disruption caused by TEC and Canada....and those faithful Anglicans forced to meet in cinemas and schools will be welcome in the reformed AC post September

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 8:28am BST

Its really all about money, isn't it - these churches are leaving their denomination - which is the Episcopal Church - but expect to take their assets with them. Crazy.

If they were prepared to simply leave, then they would have a lot more credibility.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 10:09am BST

It was a prudent court decision. Otherwise, imagine you could have organised groups of scallywags gallavanting around the countryside and stacking parishes to get the numbers to vote to leave the church and take the assets with them.

Not that I am saying that this is what has been happening.

But the opposite court decision it would have been a terrible precedent as it some machevellian schemer would eventually have thought of it as a strategy and proceeded to act it out.

Churches with a large dose of arrogant hecklers do find it hard to build robust congregations. Get rid of the hecklers and the hypocrites, and we might even find some gentle souls returning to church services. We might even find communities intent on caring and healing this planet, rather than praying for the demise of the unsaved.

Isaiah 5:18-19, which includes "Woe to those... who say, “Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it.”"

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 10:40am BST

You wish, NP, you wish. You're not paying attention. Rwanda is taking a walk, and doing so on the basis that it sees the Anglican Communion continuing on with discussions. If the Nigerians and Ugandans follow the logic of Rwanda, then the Anglican Communion will favour the tolerant and not the selective literalists.

The thinkg about broken records is that they need replacing, especially when there is an updated version.

Of course you may say that the invitations can include the AMiA bishops, Minns and company to get the Rwandans (and the rest?) back, but then they would have to include all, but that would not meet the Rwandans' objections. The logic is now the birth of another Anglican Communion of which the Church of England will not be a part, and where the Church of England will be with the Canadians and with TEC. Of course, should any wish to splinter off...

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 12:59pm BST

Everything that Pluralist said at 12:59pm BST -- the stated rationale of The Windsor Report was to try to keep the Communion together, but the Evangelicals keep using it as a weapon to break the Communion apart -- ditto the Proposed Covenant.

I don't understand why The Southern Cone & Southeast Asia are taking so long to join Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda & Sydney in "walking apart" from the WWAC.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 2:16pm BST

NP, the Bible also has a few things to say about coveting and stealing, which the "reasserters" seem to happily ingore.

Those congregations that have joined the AMiA have credibility because as a rule they have either left their buildings or paid for them, unlike the current crop of the disgruntled.

The courts here in Massachusetts have also ruled in favor of the leadership of "hierarchical" churches (Episcopal and Roman Catholic) in property disputes, that the church and not the parish owns both property and buildings.

Posted by Jeffrey at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 2:24pm BST

The 'Road to Lambeth' makes it clear that for the fundamentalists of the so-called Global South, there is no place for discussion, no listening process, and no place for any sffirming gay or lesbian people in the church nor anyone who supports them.

This doesn't have majority support in the CofE and if it is the way the GS wish the Communion to go, then they may well have to do it under alternate leadership.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 2:31pm BST

"The bible has something to say about lawsuits..."

Then there is the awkward Commandments to consider...something about stealing and coveting...ah well, the attempted and selective hate/fear mongering agaist LGBT Christians continues at The Body of Christ with little hope of "loving one another" at this particular moment in Global South/Network time.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 3:13pm BST

Is this all just about Breeding? I keep hearing and reading idealized narratives from realignment folks that explicitly and implicitly mention numbers, size of allegedly larger realignment believer congregations, combined often with preachments that prog-lib believers are faltering in numbers, dying off in the face of real bibilical vigor, and goodness knows what else.

The overlapping queer communities are familiar with size queens, historically and otherwise. But it is an odd moment when this size oriented realignment narrative falls into its typically self-congratulating and self-praising places.

But we might face some facts.

Foremost among the facts is that most of all of the most dedicated and spiritually minded/hearted queer folks I have ever known were raised assiduously in - guess what? - Bible Belt USA straight families where they eventually matured into being somewhere along our current church life continuums of welcome to grudging welcome to conditional welcome (silence + invisibility) to mean welcome (self-hate) to no welcome at all. This leads us to surmise: The larger the local congregation, the more likely that standard statistical variations will probably apply, with the result that anywhere from three percent to ten percent of the large sample will end up being not straight, no matter who pretends otherwise, and no matter how idealistically the pretending may be.

Given how detached and disconnected so much of these realignment preachments are, from real social and church and work life on the ground, I again find myself wondering: Do the realignment believers actually know, work among, and live among the Out/Partnered/Parenting queer folks that otherwise populate the planet - and all to the good at that?

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 3:49pm BST

Jeffrey et al (for the nth time), the issue is that some in the AC want to justify a particular sin....you will find no evangelicals in the AC seeking to justify greed or pride etc etc

Pluralist....I am missing nothing....I am telling you that the ABC will cave and withdraw invites to TEC bishops and you will see Lambeth 2008 with Rowan Williams, Peter Akinola, Bob Duncan and Peter Jensen all having a very productive time....without proceedings being hijacked by a tiny special interest group

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 4:55pm BST

It isn't all about the money/property, but it is important.

The conservatives have realized after their "mass walkout" over women's ordination that most of the people in the pews don't really follow these national stories and don't really care - they'll stay in the pews of their church building under virtually any bishop. So in order to maintain a following, they need to take the property with them.

Otherwise, they would have simply walked out some time ago. They could easily have gotten one of the existing continuing Anglican bishops to welcome them in to the fold. No need for additional consecrations by Abuja et al.

Posted by Robert Leduc at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 5:28pm BST

"even if the local church is separately incorporated, bought and maintained the property."

The "local church" is the diocese, not the parish, unless someone made the Anglican Church congregationalist while I wasn't looking. Howbeit that these Anglicans, who presumably recite one of the Creeds at least once a Sunday, if not every day in their prayers, seem not to understand that the Anglican church holds fast the CATHOLIC faith? There are lots of congregationalist protestants out there, we're not.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 5:34pm BST

Of course, I'm a bit suspicious about how a "majority" in each parish voted for schism. After all, we have recent evidence from Colorado one was only allowed to vote if one had already signed on for the schismatic scheme.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 5:48pm BST

Both 70, we plan to leave the bulk of our estate to our own well established schools, colleges and universities and a portion to three very responsible TEC congregations - one of which is quite small.

One criterion in our planning is the genuine inclusivity of recipients.

We intend to be good stewards (as we see it) of our late parents' and our estates. (With no siblings, we're the end of our biological family line.)

Until it becomes very clear that dissenting clergy/parishes cannot take property and invested bequests with them as they leave, we would not even consider including any additional churches in future revision(s), if any, of our estate plans.

I would imagine that for the most part truly wealthy people (we're not) will be watching very carefully as they draw up their bequests. Potential recipients must be trustworthy, and we churchpeople are not automatically so. That has become very evident.

Canon Richard T. Nolan and Robert C. Pingpank, West Palm Beach

Posted by Richard T. Nolan at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 6:21pm BST

drdanfee

It is important to be aware that there are multiple subcultures that interact with each other. Some of the methods you use to describe how people express themselves come from a culture that is brash and bold and they have the biggest in the world (and will build something bigger if someone out gazzumps them).

They might dominate the media airwaves, but they have only existed for a short time as God measures history.

The history of Christianity is usually more modest and discreet.

Mind you, quietness does not necessarily ensure saintliness. Being too quiet can be just a sinister and harmful as being too overwhelming and dominating, but for different reasons.

That said, there is a historical evolution between the sources of alignment and their locations, the brash evangelical outpouring of the 60s failed to heed the warnings that some sounded about what could happen if they lost perspective and their egos became too big.

Similarly, the bible warns us not to gloat over others' suffering, lest we avert God's wrath or cause God to take a closer scrutiny at our own inadequacies e.g. Micah 7:8-13 and Proverbs 24:17-18. Look also at Luke 10:8-12, Jesus' exhortations to accept hospitality, heal the sick But if you are not welcomed; go into the streets (remember where Wisdom can be found Proverbs 8:3), sweep the dust off your feet and again say the Kingdom of God is near.

The other thing I would say is that it is those same regions who have actually picked up and run with the promptings consistent with Wisdom. They have done so with alacrity, enthusiasm, consistency, compassion and determination. There have been camps who have broken the evangelical ranks in superb and hopeful ways.

They have been role models for other religions who have found themselves penned in by excessively aggressive and dominating scriptural interpretations and leaders. For example, I am sorry, I don't see how women or music are intrinsically evil, whilst drug trafficking and assassination training is aided and abetted as "holy".

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 11:11pm BST

NP, continuing his/her delusions about what is actually happening in the global Anglican Communion, posted: "Pluralist....I am missing nothing....I am telling you that the ABC will cave and withdraw invites to TEC bishops and you will see Lambeth 2008 with Rowan Williams, Peter Akinola, Bob Duncan and Peter Jensen all having a very productive time....without proceedings being hijacked by a tiny special interest group"

Along with his/her ever-repeating mantra of "Dromantine, TWR, and Tanzania," which we must all realize by now are NP's equivalent of the Council of Nicaea, we are now being treated to delicious predictions of what is going to happen at Lambeth.

If NP believes that the ABC will disinvite the bishops of TEC (ex the non-invited, but personal guest, Bishop of New Hampshire), then I have Class A Preferred Shares of The Brooklyn Bridge Company LLC which I am offering to sell NP at a mere USD 100 per share.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 12:09am BST

NP, quote "without proceedings being hijacked by a tiny special interest group;" does that mean GLBT folks in the church and their supporters? That's simply mean spirited. Dont' know where you'll find that in scripture.

That comment makes me think of that star trek phrase "resistance is futile. You will be assimulated." We'll all be part of the collective. My idea of a real church. Everyone is like minded, no thinking necessary, pray, pay and obey.

In Pennsylvania, the state has ruled in favor of the Heirarchical church. Several of the former parishes closed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh for their old parishes. I was always curious what they would do with them if they did get them. They'd still need a priest since most wouldn't leave the RC church. I suppose the Duncan and crew will wind up leaving the diocese and the property behind. They can't take it with them. This will take time but it's over. Save the money and go build a church somewhere else.

I'm sorry if this is harsh but I have family members buried in one of these network parishes.

Posted by Bob in SWpa at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 2:49am BST

So, according to P, he will be bullied and be forced to change decision, in other words a different decision from that he has made now and wishes to make. Good to know you possess a crystal ball, NP, whereas I am going on what is actually happening.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 2:56am BST

Malcom+ mentioned the situation in Colorado Springs.

Don Armstrong, the disaffected Rector and architect of the secession to CANA from the TEC Diocese, has gone on record over at SFiF that the 4th District Appellate Court in California's ruling in the property dispute will soon be overturned.

"It is slam dunk," said the C.I.A. director about the 'incontrovertible evidence' of Saddam's possession of WMD before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Don Armstrong, inhibited by his canonical Bishop for misusing parish funds, which allegations have been substantiated by a forensic audit team, hence the Standing Committee's presentment against him, may, I hope, be proven as wrong as George Tenet of the C.I.A.

Posted by John Henry at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 4:20am BST

"I am telling you that the ABC will cave"

With friends like you, NP, Rowan hardly needs enemies! ;-/

*****

I pray for reconciliation in California (as everywhere else). The legal decision, however, was really the only one available to the court, based upon established precedent. I wonder how many votes for schism are being made on the bill-of-goods that the schismatic *leaders* are selling? ("I promise: we can get a new, orthodox bishop in a no-gays-allowed Anglican church, and keep our property!").

It's those schismatic leaders who are responsible for this mess... :-(

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 4:27am BST

Dang right! I don't want any anti-other-Christian ANYBODY running off with my Great Grannies pretty Church window (she would have shot them for theiv'n and saved all the litigation money)...I know, we're so "American"...but just remember we're direct decendents of you at the CoE so the apple didn't fall too far from King Henry's tree!

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 5:50am BST

NP and the other conservatives always argue that the Episcopal Church is in serious decline while the conservative parishes, dioceses, and provinces are growing.

So, if this is the case, why are they so upset? Won't the liberals just disappear in time and be replaced by the faithful, orthodox conservatives? Why not just sit back and watch the historically inevitable take place? Why bother to fight hard when you cannot possibly lose?

The fact that the conservatives are fighting so hard against ECUSA (and the Canadians, the Scots, and a good deal of the church in England, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) suggests that the numbers argument is more of a bluff than a sincere belief is the strength of the appeal of their message.

Posted by John Bassett at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 7:23am BST

Pluralist says "I am going on what is actually happening..." - really???? When you ignore recent history so easily, I wonder if you do understand what is happening.

A few people above want to pretend Dromantine, TWR and the Tanzania Communique never happened or do not matter........and the same people are against the covenant which will also come into being (to give the AC some order rather than the chaos now reigning)

And, some don't like the idea that the ABC will cave...but he has done it before you know (facts again!) eg Jeffrey John, Tanzania and at other times......he will do it again and has a record of not wanting to sacrifice the AC for a small group which broke church order and has not persuaded what he calls "the mind of the Communion" He will cave for the sake of the Communion.....look at his record

Posted by NP at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 8:53am BST

`Why not just sit back and watch the historically inevitable take place? Why bother to fight hard when you cannot possibly lose?'

I think that's the defining misfeature of conservatism. Always seeing something to fight about - obvious enemies are ignored not loved and supposed friends fought with. Pull the other one, it hath bells on.

Posted by Tim at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 10:08am BST

"The ABC will cave."

What interesting use of language. One is persuaded by argument. One caves in to threats. Thanks, NP for your confession that the GS antics are not to do with discussion but with intimidation. How very Christian.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 10:37am BST

Really John Basset?? I don't see the logic in your assertion. Just so you know, conservatives oppose false teaching because it MISleads people about what the Lord actually said and did.

Our message is quite strong enough, thanks - see The Windsor Report, the Tanzania Communique and the upcoming Covenant.....sorry to bring up real facts!

Posted by NP at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 11:27am BST

One thing that the California case makes abundantly clear (along with the recent Florida and South Carolina cases) is that keeping the property is now a very long (and costly) long shot, including rolling the dice with the SCOTUS. A prospect they probably thought was likely, but that they would be not being the ones seeking relief, TEC would.

Further, the Duncanites and Cananites have long banked on TEC being disciplined by the AC, and their being able to lay claim to being the "real" Anglican Province in the U.S. with TEC/815 being the breakaway. Hence, all the hyped up rhetoric about TEC being apostate. In the alternative, they have looked to the courts to apply "neutral principles" to save the day. Now without stunning reversals by the ABC and courts both are looking unlikely.

They (and their lawyers) have packaged and sold their scheme on the basis that it is part of God's grand design to save orthodoxy in the U.S. and solidify the conservative witness of the AC worldwide. But they may learn rather soon and rather painfully that the course they have taken has failed, even backfired (if the Virginia churches had only wanted to breakaway and be a little conclave of "orthodox" unto themselves, a negotiated settlement for the properties probably would have gone through). However, now at most they likely will be part of another communion, not Canterbury centered, without their property. I am sure that Standing Committees and vestries all over the Neoconservative landscape are now reassessing their support both in the pews and their pockets.

Posted by C.B. at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 2:17pm BST

NP-
If I was the supporter of a crowd of men who hijacked the LAST Lambeth and who now demand that it become a curial congress for their own ego's sake, I would be very careful what insults I toss about.

You’re sounding desperate. Face these facts: There has been no pressure on Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the rest because there is no money behind it. Also, the Lord had a good deal more to say about hypocrisy, greed, hate and judgment than he did about sex. Don't try and use fundamentalist eisegesis to invent meaning in unrelated texts to support you position, it's unworthy of your or our time.
Come up with something new to say, other than sticking your head in the sand.

Posted by Johhn Robison at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 2:38pm BST

Ah yes the closed legacy presumption of those special sorts of sexual orientation sin ascribed now to everybody who is not straight, definitional. Repeating this allegedly biblical framework ad nauseam will do as little - and for about as long - as repeating the legacy biblical views that supposedly commanded women to refrain from higher education, or that supported the revelation that Ptolemy had gotten the model of the cosmos just right, settled, correct.

The review in Jack Rogers' book, juxtaposing how the scriptures definitively tell us these revelation things is maybe a good place to start looking. See: http://www.drjackrogers.com for a bit of a sense of the man as believer, scholar, teacher. See: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0664229395/wwwdrjackroge-20

The flat earth qualities will hardly go away any time soon, nor will queer folks' competence suddenly disappear from the face of the planet just because realignment believers cannot yet perceive it. If your mind has not already been made up, final, closed, also see the linked mention of the Princeton Theological Review article putting Rogers and Gagnon, side by side. Might want to mull that juxtaposition over for a while. Whether we go to the next Lambeth or not.

And lawsuits? It is a fine day indeed when the police and the courts, secular at that, are our main protection from realignment Home Invasions aimed at shutting down and condemning inclusive church life because we correct our errors and try to let God change us for the better in that regard as new data becomes available. The lawsuits tell us at least as much, if not more, about the realignment campaign strategy, published, designed to push the rest of the varied believers to every possible brink; than about the rest of us, alas, Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 2:41pm BST

Frankly, NP, I've had it up to here with being lectured about "false teaching". The only folks who can validly, from their standpoint (which obviously is not my standpoint), lecture me on scriptural absolutes are strict (and I mean STRICT - Six Day Creation, Noah's Flood, the whole shebang) fundamentalists. No one who equivocates on anything that is in Holy Writ can get in my face and tell me that this, that or the other is "false teaching". By the act of questioning or rejecting six-day creation; of doubting the truth of the Garden of Eden and the Creation of Man; of questioning the probability of the Flood, or whether the Ark, as described in Genesis, could ever have been built, one opens the Scriptures to interpretation in the light of reason and the element of subjectivity enters the question of belief. In which case, believe whatever you personally need to believe, but don't go around telling others that they are courting damnation because "the Bible tells you so".

Out of curiosity, NP, are you a literal fundamentalist?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 2:45pm BST

"conservatives oppose false teaching because it MISleads people about what the Lord actually said and did."

No, NP, conservatives oppose what they consider to be false teaching when it makes them able to exert power over others, and when it does not contradict their own comfortable world view. How many divorced and remarried conservatives are there? How many anti-gay bishops, or priests or laypeople, are gay themselves and hiding in marriages? How many conservative clergy see nothing wrong with the obscenity of blessing a battleship? And, as to what the Lord said and did, I notice a distinct absence of Christian love in most of what you post, and even an attempt to justify not showing Christian love to those who disagree with you, not to mention attempts to justify Church sponsored oppression. I guess this means that "love your neighbour" and "love one another" are false teachings in your eyes.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 3:19pm BST

But, you see, the Archbishop of Canterbury is well aware of those facts: The Windsor Report, the Tanzania Communique (the upcoming Covenant is not a fact), and Dromantine, and on this basis has decided, for Lambeth 2008, not to invite certain people and to invite others, including those who consecrated Gene Robinson.

Quote, to Time:

Of course, exclusion is not particularly a Gospel idea. The election and ordination of Gene Robinson was an event which many in the Communion had warned would deepen our divisions. Similarly, with Martyn Minns, there had been warnings that [his missionary assignment in the U.S.] looked like a kind of aggression against another Anglican province. I felt we would run the risk of their attendance becoming the subject matter of the conference.

Nor are any of the boundary crossers going.

Of course he MIGHT cave in, he might buckle under pressure, but he has addressed this recently.

In the same interview he said:

The task I've got is to try and maintain as long as possible the space in which people can have constructive disagreements, learn from each other, and try and hold that within an agreed framework of discipline and practice.

This is where we are.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 4:15pm BST

NP wrote, "Just so you know, conservatives oppose false teaching because it MISleads people about what the Lord actually said and did." REALLY!

Talk about misleading. Today I received a parish news letter from a neighboring network/orthodox parish. The rector writes,

" The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church denies that Jesus is the Son of God: tells us that the Virgin Birth of Chirst is a myth, and endorses the idea that Christ really didn't die for our sins as she regards the Scarifice of Christ on the Cross as "cosmic child abuse."

Seems to me this rectors parishoners are being misinformed!

I liked the word analysis on "CAVE." Spot on.


Posted by Bob in SWpa at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 7:15pm BST

John Henry: Rev. Armstrong thereby shows his ignorance of both the applicable substantive law and California appellate procedure. There is no right of appeal from the Court of Appeal to the CA Supreme Court. One can only petition for review, grant of which is discretionary, and rarely extended. In my experience, a grant of review is unlikely, although I fully expect the disaffected congregations to seek review in the CA Supreme Court.

Review in the US Supreme Court is also discretionary. There is no right of appeal to the US Supreme Court from decisions of state court courts of appeal or state supreme courts. Since the Fourth District Court of Appeal's decision rests solidly on existing US Supreme Court precedent, the likelihood of that court granting a petition for a writ of certiorari is nil.

Posted by Richard Zevnik at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 8:07pm BST

Having just attended a lecture given by a very eminent Christian NT scholar, it was interesting to note that the people most agitated in the room by what Jesus (and for that matter, Paul) 'really said' were the diocesan conservative evangelicals.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 9:52pm BST

A god that is only for the repentant and pure cannot be the god for all the peopleS of all the nationS.

A god that does not provide justice for the afflicted and outcaste has no authority over the afflicted and outcaste.

A god that is willing to expel souls based on limitations or refusal to renounce family members and friends is not a god to be trusted.

It certainly doesn't sound like the God of gods, who makes promises to both male and female; young and old; alien, slave, beast or human, eunuch or barren or fertile; pure or afflicted.

They can keep their god. I don't know how they can trust him, but that is their choice and they are welcome to him.

I'm going for the one who honors God's annointment to be gentle and end tyranny, mend the sick, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release the prisoners, proclaim the LORD'S favor, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 10:56pm BST

Further to Richard Zevnik, the US Supreme Court is now dominated by a cabal of five Roman Catholic conservatives. A ruling by the court against TEC would have considerable implications for the property rights of other "hierarchical" churches - notably those of RC dioceses in the US. I would be exceedingly surprised if the court favoured breakaway parishes.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 11:52pm BST

Thank you, the Hon. Mr. Zevnik, for clarifying the legal process, which makes Supreme Court intervention discretionary.

Mr. Anderson, under investigation for misappropriation of parish funds by the Diocese of Colorado, and now presented for trial, misled his parishioners at Grace and St. Stephen's Church when they voted to seccede from TEC with their claim to church property intact, saying that possession was 90% of the law. Obviously, he is not a reliable person nor legally savvy.

Posted by John Henry at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 12:21am BST

Oh have I missed something David?

Anyway, John Bassett said:

Won't the liberals just disappear in time and be replaced by the faithful, orthodox conservatives?

More to the point, why haven't they long gone? Because, of course, liberal minded believers keep being made. They are either made from former evangelicals or traditionalists, who keep reading, or thinking through, or they come (like me) from the secular, plural, world and keep reading, or thinking through. I think I can safely say there is a chap in our church who spent some time in India and, said to me, it can't but not rub off on you, and openly says does not buy the whole package, as read straight out of the book, and I said neither do I, who comes regularly, and attends a discussion group, and who is a spiritual person. And, gosh, if only we could attract in the many more, who are not going to buy all of it and yet engage with spiritual practice and have discussions on topics of religious and related importance.

What we need, I say, is more open communities, less threatening, less jargon-riddled (I mean Christian insider words), and an understanding of a relaxed terms of engagement with the liturgical material. For some, at least.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 1:52am BST

Ford - too often you argue that x should be allowed because others do y and y is questionable too......I often find I agree with you that y is not right.....but this is not at all convincing as an argument for tolerating false teaching on X

I agree with the view that we should not get too excited about current events and invitations.....eg whether or not VGR is a guest or whatever property dispute TEC is fighting in the courts.

We are now waiting for TEC's September decisions.

I still think the RECORD of the ABC (if you see Jerffrey John, TWR and Tanzania) is that in the end he is not willing to see the AC split for the sake of a small group's agenda - especially whent he "mind of the Communion" is still represented by Lambeth 1.10 as he says......as I say, look at his record of trying to keep everyone together but in the end coming down with the orthodox who did NOT tear the fabric of the communion in 2003

Posted by NP at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 7:29am BST

"Ford - too often you argue that x should be allowed because others do y and y is questionable too"

No, NP, I do not. I'm not saying one sin should be allowed because another is. My argument is: "How can you, in good conscience, argue that the "other side" is guilty of ignoring parts of Scripture when your side does the same thing?" Here's one of many examples: Divorce used to be a no-no, based on Scripture. Then the Church, in direct contrast to Scripture, said otherwise. How many of "your" leaders are divorced and remarried? They are CLEARLY going against the plain word of Scripture, so don't go accusing others of what your own leaders are guilty of, that's simply hypocrisy. Stop claiming that you don't "pick and choose" the bits of Scripture you accept. You clearly do, your behaviour here is a prime example of your choosing to ignore the passages of Scripture that refer to Christians loving one another, not slandering and reviling one another.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 1:26pm BST

Ford,

You might find Zechariah 11 useful, which includes "So I pastured the flock marked for slaughter, PARTICULARLY the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I pastured the flock... I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. It was revoked on that day, and so the afflicted of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the LORD. I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter” — the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter. Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. Then the LORD said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hoofs. “Woe to the worthless shepherd,who deserts the flock!"

Core messages being that you can't buy your way into God's grace, and that it is the oppressed and afflicted who are first given the ability to see God's grace being made manifest. Most probably because they are the first to witness and comprehend that the worthless shepherds have abandoned the flocks.

As it was for Jesus' generation, so it is for this generation.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 3:04pm BST

Richard Zevnik says "Review in the US Supreme Court is also discretionary. There is no right of appeal to the US Supreme Court from decisions of state court courts of appeal or state supreme courts. Since the Fourth District Court of Appeal's decision rests solidly on existing US Supreme Court precedent, the likelihood of that court granting a petition for a writ of certiorari is nil."

Though the Supreme Court has become activist conservative (overthrowing long established precedent), and it's not clear what that would mean for this issue. Lapinbizarre points out it's now "dominated by a cabal of five Roman Catholic conservatives," but it wouldn't surprise me if some of them were friends of IRD, too. I think justice Thomas would just love to give the liberals in 815 a black eye. The irony is that one of the worst, least-effective presidents in history may have finally succeeded where even Ronald Reagan failed, in the great conservative dream of Borking the Supreme Court.

Posted by Mark at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 4:01pm BST

Ford - none of my direct leaders are divorced and remarried....and I would have issues if any of them were - given I am trying to be consistent

Posted by NP at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 4:15pm BST

NP - greetings.

Over and over you refer to September 30 as a sort of Red Letter Doom’s Day far worse than Y2K, and Lambeth, Dromatine, Windsor, and Tanzania like they’re written on stone tablets Moses brought down the mountain. I can almost imagine you licking your lips in anticipation every time you mention any one of them. What do you expect to happen October 1? What will you read when you open the papers that glorious day? That the ABC has called the PB and said, “Bad girl. You’re out.” Or that the U.S. courts have decided TEC must acquiesce to the thievery of church property? Or that TEC bishops, priests, and laity are going to come to the conclusion that the inclusivity of the Gospel they have proclaimed these thirty-forty years was wrong and any not toeing the line of the faith once delivered (particularly homos) have got to go? If not these things, then what?

I mean you no disrespect, but you may remember Y2K turned out to be a dud so you may not want to stay quite so worked up about September 30.

Posted by Edward of Baltimore at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 5:30pm BST

"the orthodox who did NOT tear the fabric of the communion in 2003"

If only because the (self-professed, incessantly) "orthodox" did so at Lambeth '98 . . . if not *years* earlier!

For all the talk of "the gay agenda", it is fact the extreme conservatives of this Communion who have schemed, and strategized, and engineered schism---some going back as far as WO in the 70s (both those who stayed, nominally, within the AC, and those who joined "continuing" churches, but never gave up the dream of "recapturing the castle"---if not of Lambeth, per se, then a putative Lambeth-substitute like Abuja).

The October '03 *framing* by the primates of an entirely canonical, morally (and Biblically!) just consecration of the bishop of New Hampshire as "tearing the fabric of the communion" will, in succeeding decades, go down as one of the LOW points of Anglicanism. It should be formally repented of. I'm convinced that, before too long (Come Lord Christ!), it *will* be. Alleluia! :-)

Posted by JCF at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 6:33pm BST

NP: none of my direct leaders are divorced and remarried

Rspectfully, NP, that mattereth not a stuff in the present debate. Simply, a large number of those espousing an anti-gay position seem to have no problem with divorce and remarriage, including some very vociferous commentators. The special pleading which accompanies many conservative postings, finding good reason to ignore the biblically-condemned practices of divorce (or the old pal of usury by the tool of redefinition) seem to me to have a whiff of self-serving about them. I can stand the redefinition of biblically condemned activities, but not when a shutter drops down to exclude - arbitrarily - those which do not sit comfortably with a certain suburban mindset.

David Catchpole's lecture in Lincoln yesterday would have had many ConsEvs seriously worried by the uncompromising message which he found in Jesus' words, particularly the anti-family, anti-possession, anti-comfortable middle class logia he found.

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 10:47pm BST

Edward of Baltimore, before it was September 30, it was GC2006 that would mark the end of TEC. Then it was the recent primates conclave that would end with TEC kicked out and Bob Duncan triumphantly paraded through the streets of Dar es Salaam on a sedia gestatoria adorned with the skulls of his enemies. Then it was the Lambeth invitations that were really going to show us when we all got left out except for the Duncanites.

It is a safe bet that wishful thinkers will come up with some new doomsday in the fall. Hope springs eternal, you know, especially the hope for bad things to happen to those we don't like.

In this the new Puritans remind me of those early Jehovah's Witness who confidently predicted the end of the world several times, each time setting a new date when the Apocalypse failed to arrive as scheduled.

Posted by JPM at Friday, 29 June 2007 at 11:25pm BST

Ford,

You wrote, "My argument is: "How can you argue that the "other side" is guilty of ignoring parts of Scripture when your side does the same thing? ...example: Divorce"

But, of course, you don't mean to say that orthodox Christians BLESS divorce. They don't say that some people are just MEANT to be divorced and that God will bless their divorcedness. As one orthodox minister explained, "Divorce is a sin, but it is not an unforgivable sin."

What the reappraisers are trying to say is that behavior that is biblically defined as sinful should actually be blessed, and the reappraisers frame this as a social-justice issue.

Let the state decide whether or not civil unions between homosexual partners should exist.

There is a fabulous line from the powerful 1980's movie "The Mission." In it, a monk (played by Robert de Niro) asks his superior (played by Jeremy Irons) to bless him as his takes up arms to defend the church's mission in South America. Jeremy Irons responds, "No. If you have God's blessing, you do not need mine. If you do not have God's blessing, then mine will count as nothing."

Very true words. Apply it to TEC's current situation, and we really could have a 'way forward' that everyone's conscience could abide with.

Posted by selah at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 3:13am BST

With regard to the following:

"In this the new Puritans remind me of those early Jehovah's Witness who confidently predicted the end of the world several times, each time setting a new date when the Apocalypse failed to arrive as scheduled."

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 29 June 2007 at 11:25pm BST

I believe this may help to clarify:

"The Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Question of Unfulfilled Prophetic Expectations"

http://jehovah.to/exe/general/prophetic.htm

Agape, Alan.

Posted by Alan at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 10:19am BST

selah - One small point. It is not divorce that is a sin, it is remarriage. And it is these remarriages that the church does BLESS in "contradiction" to Scripture. And by so doing they do say in effect that the divorce from the first spouse was MEANT to be, and that God BLESSES the divorce, for otherwise the remarriage could not be blessed. Oh, I guess it wasn't such a small point after all.

Posted by C.B. at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 12:59pm BST

Re the Catchpole lecture, Mynsterpreost, when I was a kid in the '50's, Jesus's "social conscience" ("go, give all that thou hast to the poor", etc.) was clearly understood and taught, both at church & school. On the anti-family front, Gore Vidal somewhere - where, I don't recall - speculates that "woman, what art though to me?" is the only transmitted example of Christ's making a joke (he adds "Mary's no doubt lengthy reply is not recorded"). Vidal was forgetting Christ's main recorded attempt at a joke, "and upon this rock ..." - and look what that one led to!

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 3:21pm BST

"of course, you don't mean to say that orthodox Christians BLESS divorce."

This is an argument? We bless remarriage, but the Scripture nowhere says remarriage after divorce is a sin, so it's OK? "Reasserters" have been known to scornfully use the word "fudge" to describe far more reasonable arguments from their opponents. There's this troublesome little statement of Jesus about living by the spirit of the Law, not the letter, so I'd suggest remarriage after divorce is as much sin as divorce itself. And if divorce is not unforgivable, why is homosexuality also not unforgivable? Perhaps because some of those who think they are allowed to do the forgiving enjoy the benefits of remarriage after divorce, and those who would enjoy the benefits of being openly homosexual are so self loathing and closetted they wouldn't dare make the argument? For the love and honour of God! Do you actually not see what this kind of doublespeak does to our credibility?

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 3:39pm BST

It would seem to me, though I am admittedly no theologian, that every time the remarried couple hop into the sack they are committing adultery.

Posted by JPM at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 8:03pm BST

CB wrote "It is not divorce that is a sin, it is remarriage." That is a valid interpretation. Jesus did say, however, "What God has joined together, let no man tear asunder," so there is another interpretation, too. Both can be argued by scripture, reason, and tradition, so there is no need to argue it here.

Ford Elms wrote, "And if divorce is not unforgivable, why is homosexuality also not unforgivable?" No one with credibility says that homosexuality is a sin, much less an unforgivable one. Scripture identifies homosexual BEHAVIOR as a sin; no where does scripture say that the orientation itself is sinful.

Tradition teaches that repentance is needed for forgiveness. Both the divorced individual and the individual who engages in homosexual behavior can repent and be forgiven.

Posted by selah at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 8:07pm BST

I don't want to get into a discussion about whether divorce without remarriage is a sin, but Matthew 19:9 states "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." Clearly, Jesus is emphasizing the sin of remarriage after divorce.

Posted by C.B. at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 8:41pm BST

Selah said: 'As one orthodox minister explained, "Divorce is a sin, but it is not an unforgivable sin."'

Does anyone repent of divorce and remarriage? Everybody I know who's divorced and remarried and wants to make peace with Jesus' words ends up repenting of having been in a bad marriage. When they talk about their sin, they talk about the mistakes they made that caused their first marriage to fail, but the divorce/remarriage itself is somehow seen as an inevitable consequence of the bad marriage. None of them say, "I regret my divorce/remarriage, however bad my first marriage was: getting divorced and marrying my present spouse was an avoidable sin." Taking Jesus' words at face value, though, ("and I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery’")suggests that, whatever one's sin in causing the first marriage to be a disaster, the act of divorce and remarriage was a sin on top of that.

It seems to me a biblical literalist who is divorced and remarried should be willing to say, "If I had it all to do over again, I hope I would not commit this sin: I wish I had remained in that original bad marriage."

Posted by Mark at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 10:02pm BST

I don't want to get into a discussion about whether divorce without remarriage is a sin, but Matthew 19:9 states "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." Clearly, Jesus is emphasizing the sin of remarriage after divorce.

Posted by C.B. at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 11:13pm BST

Mark said, "Does anyone repent of divorce and remarriage?" That is a valid point. I DO think that people repent of divorce and all the ghastly failures that lead to it. Whether in a Christian realm or not, divorce carries with it such a feeling of failure...of shame...of falling short of the ideal that God (or society) has given us. Everyone I know who has gone through divorce feels utterly broken by the experience: none of them say, "There is nothing wrong with this situation."

So, I suppose that some people divorce, confess their sin, and receive forgiveness. Then they feel free (their 'slate' is washed clean; their sin is cast as far as the east is from the west) to begin anew. Some of them remarry.

I am not saying that this is right. I am just trying to explain how some people might view this situation: might believe that they are forgiven and allowed to begin again.

Posted by selah at Saturday, 30 June 2007 at 11:50pm BST

On divorce and re-marriage, notice how the REFORM covenant and the Sugden one , all care- ully sidestep the issue.

Why?

Because evangelicals even though they claim the perspicuity of Holy Scripture cannot agree as to the nature of heterosexual marriage and divorce.

How ironic that they can not conme to an agreement as regards heterosexual adultery, yet they are united in a crusade against homosexual sin. Motes and beams eh?

Demmand that the Anglican Covenant includes a specific definition of heterosexual marriage,inclusive of the divorce issue and it will fall at the first hurdle.

That is the way to scupper the covenant...demand they come down one way or another on this issue.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 2 July 2007 at 8:07am BST

Mynster - we feel uncomfortable most weeks in our conservative CofE church given the bible challenges all our sin.....and our ministers do not seek to make excuses for us but call us to repentance....on our sins, not anyone else's.

I agree with you on greed. I don't support "my side" where if they compromise

As Dr Goddard says, some want to "scupper" the covenant (as Robert says above) because they do not want any discipline....this is not wise for the long term health of the AC - right from st Paul it was clear that a healthy church requires clarity on its beliefs and requires discipline

Posted by NP at Monday, 2 July 2007 at 11:30am BST

Re discipline - I hope NPs church uses only those forms of worship authorised by the Province to which he or she belongs. Re discipline, how should the likes of Richard Coekin and illegal ordinations be viewed?

Posted by Neil at Monday, 2 July 2007 at 4:42pm BST

Neil - don't worry - we have the Bishop of London round to do the ordinations

Posted by NP at Monday, 2 July 2007 at 4:56pm BST

According to Pete Broadbent, posting hereabouts a couple of weeks back, Bishop Chartres does not normally "do" ordinations, NP. Which of you are we to believe?

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002447.html

Sunday, 17 June 2007 10:58pm BST post

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 2 July 2007 at 11:59pm BST

NP - How gracious. But how/why is he acceptable when he tolerates the official House of Bishops line re civil partnerships, just like the Lord (that's what I do) Bishop of Southwark? And what about 'made up' liturgies?

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 12:01am BST

"no where does scripture say that the orientation itself is sinful"

Well, there's that bit about homosexuals not entering the Kingdom, for a start. And I find your justification for the remarriage of divorcees to be absolutely hilarious! Talk about fudge! "Then they feel free (their 'slate' is washed clean; their sin is cast as far as the east is from the west) to begin anew." But if some feel God accepts them, homosexuality and all, then they are wrong. Some people's "feelings" about what God will allow them to do are valid, other people's feelings aren't. How convenient when the "feelings" that are valid are yours or those of your fellow Conservatives! And what it says about your understanding of sin is telling. Sin and forgiveness are some kind of mechanical process, and repentance is like the lifting of the lid of some spiritual washing machine where our souls can get a good scrubbing?!?!

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 2:29pm BST

Ford,
which bit about becoming aware of what you have thought, said or done, coming to regret it deeply, finding forgiveness and being given the freedom to start again without being burdened by a constant deadening sense of guilt and failure do you find so hilarious?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 4:23pm BST

Not long ago, the Church would have considered anyone marrying after divorce as living in sin. Now we do not. This is clearly an innovation in Church teaching, yet it is accepted, even justified, by those who benefit from it. We justify it by claiming that people shouldn't be forced to remain in an unhealthy marriage, they should be free to find happiness. Gay people are not free to find that happiness. There is no requirement for divorced people to repent before remarrying. Sin is sin. The Church cannot say something isn't sin when God says it is. Yet we have done that for heteros. Is it not hilarious then that people are quite happy with this, even to justify it based on their feelings that God wasn't really serious all those years when the Church forbade divorce, yet claim that others are acting innovatively and in disobedience to God when they try to do something quite similar? In essence, we are justifying something the Church condemned for centuries, yet refusing to do exactly the same with something else. We are using "fudge" type arguments to justify divorce, speaking of people's need for happy committed relationships yet condemning others for using the same type of arguments. How terribly convenient! Is the hypocrisy of this not funny?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 6:44pm BST

Ford,
I agree that if you compare people's attitude to divorce and to homosexuality the arguments are comical.
I suppose my question really referred to what I understood to be the hilarity of the mechanical process of the spiritual washing machine. And I admit to being a bit tetchy about this because I am divorced and I know just how painful and terrible it all was and how desperately I needed forgiveness. If I hadn't believed that the "spiritual washing machine" works I could not now be in a new relationship.

Incidentally, I don't see any sense in distinguishing between marriage and gay relationships in this context. Any love that both partners hope will be for ever comes under the heading "unbreakable partnership" in God's eyes, and any separation requires forgiveness before a new start can be made.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 9:35pm BST

An interesting point here is that the Orthodox (the real ones) allow remarriage after divorce, they change the marriage liturgy to include prayers of repentance for the breaking of the first marriage. Even a third marriage is not unheard of in Orthodoxy, if irregular. It is seen as part of the Divine Economia towards our Fallen nature. This seems much more reasonable than the current Anglican practice of not even liturgically acknowledging the repentance you describe, and which I agree is necessary, and more humane than the Roman practice of declaring the first marriage never existed at all. As to "spiritual washing machine" that was a reference to what seems to be the prevailing Evangelical idea, in practice if not in statement, that repentance is not a lifelong process of drawing closer to God, but is some sort of one shot deal whereby we make ourselves acceptable to Him, that it is not so much something we do "for love of His love", but more like the currency by which we buy that love.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 4 July 2007 at 12:25pm BST

I agree that repentance is a life long process. But only because we continue to make mistakes throughout our whole life.

Unless we believe the forgiveness to be somehow not complete but conditional upon continued feelings of guilt on our part, we have to be able to "move on".

While Christians often seem to be critical of those who make mistakes and then truly put them aside and start again, perceiving them to be lacking an awareness of their sin, it strikes me that there is a kind of arrogance in rejecting the freedom God's forgiveness grants us.

Once I am aware of my errors and confess them, I am truly free to start again. Isn't that the most amazing part of the whole doctrine, rather than the usual feeling that we should always be sorry for all our past faults because we can never quite trust that God has truly allowed us to be free?

As for a repentance for breaking the first marriage component in a new marriage service - yes, but it's at the wrong place, with the wrong person and somehow too late.

My dream had been to have a kind of “divorce ceremony” in church or just with our priest, where we could both have given thanks for all we shared, repent of what we got wrong, grieve for the end of our marriage, and then promise faithfully that, although our marriage was over we would still be committed joint parents to our 2 children. Sadly, for various reasons this never happened. What we did manage to do was to give each of the children one of our wedding rings as a promise of our joint continuing love and care for them, and so far we have been able to live up to that promise.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 4 July 2007 at 1:55pm BST

Erika,
I guess I'm being muddled on this. I agree with you. My sarcasm is directed at the, to me, mechanistic idea that we repent of some specific sin(s) and then it's all just a matter of resting on our Christian laurels. There's an old revival hymn that has the line "Now the sins of the past have all been forgiven, and my name is inscribed in the Book of Heaven." Redemption is about so much more than that. That's not to deny our need to repent of sins as we identify them in our lives, confess, be forgiven, and move on, but that that process is a part of our being Christians, not the way we become Christians, much less a prerequisite before God can love us. To make a medical analogy, human sinfulness is a chronic condition for which we need to be on long-term therapy, not an illness that can be cured by one surgical procedure.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 4 July 2007 at 3:30pm BST

Lapin - as you say, he said "normally" - which means that sometimes he does do them....and he certainly was there, big booming voice and all, at our place.

Also, you should be aware that he is one of the bishops who has made public his commitment to Lambeth 1.10

He is not an "evo" but I have no hesitiation is saying he is a great man with gospel-centred aims....you see, we are not just willing to accept our camp but all who are genuinely following a gospel agenda rather than their own.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 5 July 2007 at 9:29am BST
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