Comments: Network council meeting decisions

Ephraim Radner has posted a "Brief Statement of Resignation from the Anglican Communion Network" on TitusOneNine: http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/4770/#more

Posted by Charlotte at Tuesday, 31 July 2007 at 11:19pm BST

Ephraim Radner, member of the "Covenant Drafting Group," has now distanced himself (literally) and spiritually from the raw antics of excluding +Duncanites and also seperately from the Diocese of Colorado and especially from Fr. Armstrong (who became suddenly CANA and a former buddy who is in deep trouble on several fronts).

One of my friends, a missionary priest, told me he met and had dinner with Ephraim Radner in San Francisco/Oakland recently and found him to be quite honorable, healthy minded and sincere even though they didn't "agree" on "everything"...perhaps being "healthy minded, spiritually straightforward, HONORABLE and sincere" aren't qualities that are much appreciated (or even wanted) by "The Network" or Armstong+ who is currently hiding out at CANA.

I don't agree with Ephraim Radner "on everything" either but I'd like to offer a standing ovation to him for discerning between Episcopal "right" and Duncan/Iker "wrong!"

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 12:34am BST

Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner seems to have split then from the splitters. It seems that the fragmentation of the sectarians is going ahead early. Can't they agree?

This isn't quite along the lines of Conservative Evangelical and Open Evangelical, though there might be that characteristic to it as it moves along. Oh dear.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 12:57am BST

Why are they 'splitting early' when the truth is so totally clear (to them) ? And all because they couldn't tolerate a few queers around the shop. Is THIS really so much better ?

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 10:46am BST

It is a shame...I think Radner is probably right that +Duncan need not have gone so far at this point, given the end of Sept is not far away....but still, amusing to see Pluralist still hoping for a split amongst evos and others praising Radner merely because he has disagreed with +Duncan.

Pluralist - ever thought about how liberals may split if the choice is TEC or most of the rest of the AC.....many English liberals are not automatically going to TEC......but in all your hopes for division, you are not finding anyone credible saying "actually, TEC is right to reject Lambeth 1.10 and VGR is fine as a bishop"....that is what you need to find a real split in the AC evos (Dr Radner has not given you that!)

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 11:03am BST

Actually, I have never heard anyone credible deny that Gene Robinson is fine as a bishop (& who wants a split amongst the Evangelicals?)

BTW -- this may be the first time I have ever agreed with Dr. Radner about anything (although it seemed obvious to me from the first that this was the Network plan -- Chapman Memo, etc. -- sorry, but IMHO, it is still unclear whether Dr. Radner is disingenuous or naive)

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 1:02pm BST

I haven't praised Radner, if others have, but the the split will be along ideological lines.

_ever thought about how liberals may split if the choice is TEC or most of the rest of the AC_

Indeed I have. The history of the liberals is that they put up with a great deal they do not agree with, and indeed it has often been their function. Should the screws tighten some will be going, but many won't. It depends how institutions respond, such as the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopalians and the Church of Ireland too (as we read). They, and an alternative Covenant, may provide a different means of association.

There has always been a leaning towards the Conservative side, because the liberals have always gone along with that bias.

However, in the current circumstances, this has been the liberals strength. They have kept up their inclusivist ethic (seen in the Archbishop of Armagh's address) whilst the schsimatics are schisming even among themselves. Whilst the Archbishop of canterbury carries on with his writing, with his invitations made, the wheels are coming off the schismatics' wagon as it keeps rolling along. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not coming along with a last minute cavalry. Rather, he seems to have circled the wagons but the people who'd surround him and "bully" him are shooting at each other.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 2:11pm BST

"ever thought about how liberals may split if the choice is TEC or most of the rest of the AC"

NP, I can't speak for Pluralist, but I can say I have often asked myself what I would do. I'm not at all comfortable with the hoops people jump through to get around the Clobber Verses. I don't believe marriage is about validating relationships. I don't feel particularly persecuted. But I also have no respect for those who condemn someone for sins they themselves are guilty of, or who excuse the sins they have done or are tempted to do, while condemning the sins of others. I have no respect for those who believe and attempt to apply falsehood towards me, who judge me without even talking to me, who, like you, claim to have listened to me when they plainly have not, who quote propaganda masquerading as science to back up their own bigotry. In short, I would be uncomfortable in a Church that explains away the clobber passages, but even more uncomfortable in a Church led by people whose practice of Christianity in general shows little respect for or understanding of the Gospel they claim to follow, who put words in God's mouth to justify their own bigotry, judgementalism, and power lust. That's why I say I'd go Orthodox. Trouble is, there's no Orthodox church here. They're not without their problems, God knows, but their Liturgy literallylifts you into the Heavenly places. A boy can dream, I guess.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 2:59pm BST

Ford - and if you went "Orthodox" would that be on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis or with full VGR validation for ignoring the "clobber" verses?

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 5:06pm BST

NP,
Not sure I get your point? Is it because they aren't all that friendly to gay people? Why would that stop me?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 9:42pm BST

NP
"Ford - and if you went "Orthodox" would that be on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis or with full VGR validation for ignoring the "clobber" verses?"

Not that I'd ever be tempted to become Orthodox, but could it be on a "let's concentrate on what truly matters" basis without pretending that what 2 loving people do in the privacy of their own bedroom is the bedrock of all of Christianity?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 9:46pm BST

"could it be on a "let's concentrate on what truly matters" basis"

Thank you, Erika! That's it exactly. The Orthodox say that Western Christianity is all 'a'. Either 'a+' like the Romans, or 'a-' like the Protestants. They are 'b'. By this they mean their attitudes are different. They don't just come up with different answers, they ask different questions. They are fraught with problems. They are even more tied to the concept of the Imperial Church than we are. Yet their attitudes are very attractive to me. I suspect NP, in so far as he thinks of them at all, considers them essentially Evangelicals (in relation to Scripture) who wear wierd dresses in church. Either that or Romans who speak Greek and Russian.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 1 August 2007 at 10:37pm BST

This is drifting off-topic, Ford, but I think you may have an overly-romantic view of the EOs (who have been copying many of the worst aspects of RC ethics lately).

"I would be uncomfortable in a Church that explains away the clobber passages"

What do you mean by "explain away"?

I believe there is ZERO evidence that any of the authors of the relevant passages (or the rest of Scripture, for that matter!) had any concept of *homosexual orientation*---in the sense of life-long, immutable and CAPABLE of being expressed in a committed, monogamous, and non-exploitive (AND non-pagan!) manner. Does that make me someone who "explains away"? Or just a Christian using the brain God gave me?

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 2:22am BST

“The progressives dismiss everything that Lambeth says,” the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, said…"

Well, I for one, tend to remind people of the 14 other "resolution" of Lambeth 1998 ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 6:22am BST

I remeber reading a rather famous work on the Byzantine church called The Great Church in Captivity.

Captivating title, but it was all about church B described as a faulty church A(+).

"How could they (a thousand years ago) send their students to a university that wasn't "churchy"?" Yeah, how could they...

and so on...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 6:29am BST

Ford....that is my point, they have not thrown out the bible, like TEC, to please pressure groups....and as for focussing on what matters, it really does matter that I am honest with you and your church is honest with you about what the bible says......if we get what the bible says wrong, that must be shown persuasively.

You are not the same as some here who want to ignore what you call the "clobber" passages or come up with very unpersuasive arguments (eg St Paul never imagined scenarios we now see in a few relationships)so you are willing to accept more authority for scripture than some, I think.

JCF- ST Paul was inspired....so you are saying that the Spirit never imagined your situation so it is ok for you to ignore the "clobber passages"?? Sorry, not persuaded.....just as a large majority at Lambeth 98 were not persuaded by that kind of argument. Pls show that what you want to justify is not sin but actually holy and blessed by God.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 8:51am BST

"a Christian using the brain God gave me?"

As am I, JCF. I know very well what the issues are surrounding the meaning of the two Greek words Paul used. I am also fully aware, see elsewhere on TA, that the kind of monogamous relationships we are talking about were not something Paul would have known about. There's a difference between my relationship and boffing a number of people I don't even know in a back alley. But take for instance the recent discussion about the symbolism between the married couple and Christ and His Church. I tried, untrained though I am, to engage that. I might not have been successful. Why do no "liberal" theologians seem to be able to do so? It IS important to address these issues. It was the same thing with ordination of women. During that debate you never heard a liberal argument that dealt with issues of symbolism and signification, for instance, or of why the Tradition had never done it before. It was just patriarchal oppression of women and anything else wasn't even considered. The argument that a woman couldn't act in persona Christi because of her gender was laughed at, with no counterargument given. Well, it was an important point, it could be, and has been, answered, and it is not appropriate to just pooh-pooh the argument. I've changed my mind on that issue, BTW. That's what NP refers to in his opposition to "rights based arguments." I agree with him on that score. The arguments can be made, even I can try, and I have no theological training at all. I've corresponded online with people far more liberal than me who can make these arguments, yet they like us for the most part are lay people and not involved in the higher debates of the Church. Why is it when these arguments are made, they are not dealt with? Just saying "that's not what the words mean" and "Paul didn't understand" isn't good enough. It's not about Paul. The symbolic correlation between marriage and the relationship between Christ and His Church is not a translation issue.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 11:54am BST

ACN delegates also passed a resolution stating their “unconditional commitment to the unanimous urging of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that all existing litigation between The Episcopal Church (TEC) and those who have left TEC or are otherwise engaged in litigation involving claims of TEC, be suspended.” Could it be we're running scared on that one?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 12:08pm BST

Ford
"But take for instance the recent discussion about the symbolism between the married couple and Christ and His Church."

I'm finding it really difficult to engage on that level because to me it is entirely based on the wrong premise. The symbolism is just that - symbolism. The words and symbols used came about because they made sense in the times when they were developed. They try to describe concepts for which no other human words are appropriate, so they use the language that comes close to what the church understood the relationship between Christ and His church to be at the time it needed to find words to formulate those concepts.
They are based on perceived differences, not actual ones. They point to God's truth, but they themselves are not God's truth.

For me, they are metaphors that simply have to be expanded to include what I know to be true for my love and that of so many others. It doesn't require theology to do that, as the theological truths these symbols and metaphors point to will not be changed.

Our growing awareness of this in all areas where symbols are used to explain inexplicable truths has resulted in ever greater inclusion – of gentiles, of those who used to be slaves, of women... this is not a new process.

It has nothing to do with rights based arguments, but with a different way of evaluating the meaning of symbols. I find it difficult to see how you can say that you know that Paul wouldn't have known about the relationships we are talking about now, and yet appear to believe that the symbolism surrounding his arguments is not also influenced by that same lack of knowledge.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 12:51pm BST

Ford Elms wrote: "During that debate you never heard a liberal argument that dealt with issues of symbolism and signification...."

There are no such "issues". Those "categories are made up. False. Don't exist. Fraud.

It's like "civil, ceremonial and moral". It was invented for the purpose of schewing a (one) certain debate. Made up. False. Don't exist. Fraud.

There must be mutual respect.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 12:53pm BST

NP.

No one is "ignoring" the "clobber passages".

They don't exist in reality.

Not one of them adresses "homosexuality" in any sense. It is just in-reading.

The Emperor is naked.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 12:57pm BST

"they have not thrown out the bible, like TEC, to please pressure groups...."

"who want to ignore what you call the "clobber" passages"

NP, is there any point? Live in hopes, die in dispair, I suppose. OK.

TEC is not ignoring Scripture. They interpret it differently than your legalistic simplistic imterpretations, but that isn't ignoring it. Christianity is based in Christ, not the Bible. The Bible is one of the most important ways in which God reveals Himself to us. I agree with you that Western theologians have a difficult time with Scripture, on all sides. We have in a sense divorced God from reality. All have difficulty dealing with the supernatural reality that is God. Thus, liberals approach Scripture from what they can understand: respect for all people, respect for freedom and the basic dignity of humanity. Right wingers approach it from what they understand: a need for conformity, for clearly written rules, and a readiness to scorn anyone who opposes those rules. I feel both approaches are wrong. Some in either camp do indeed get it. Just because you don't relate to their method doesn't mean they ignore Scripture. I feel the arguments coming from Evos about male headship are just bizarre, much like you think about some left wing arguments, but that doesn't mean they can't be engaged with. You just dismiss anything that doesn't agree with your particular approach as faithless, and that's just wrong.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 1:07pm BST

"The symbolic correlation between marriage and the relationship between Christ and His Church" was always a deeply flawed concept and one that is now irrelevant. It only works if you continue to believe that God is a male Being and that marriage is a relationship between a dominant man and a subordinate woman.

It overlooks the fact that God never intended Adam and Eve to have procreative powers and that He imposed 'marriage' on them as a punishment for their disobedience. All subsequent marriages and families in the Bible are largely disfunctional, involving everything from incest to fratricide. In sharp contrast are the relationships between Ruth and Naomi and David and Jonathan. In the Bible, whenever God acts in the world it is usually in opposition to the 'family values' of the times. The Incarnation takes place outside of marriage and Christ shows strong antipathy to marriage and family life. His closest friends are all unmarried.

The Church itself did not adopt marriage until the 12th century; until then it remained an entirely secular institution. The form and meaning of marriage has changed significantly during the past thousand years. In fact, if you want marriage to symbolise the relationship between Christ and the Church, modern gay marriage would be much more relevant.

Posted by Terence Dear at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 2:13pm BST

"It was invented for the purpose of schewing a (one) certain debate."

Well, this comes as a shock for someone for whom symbol is a vital part of my faith. The priest acting in persona Christi is pretty important to me. All priesthood comes from Christ. It is HE who takes, breaks, blesses, and distributes, as the Orthodox say in their liturgy. You might not agree, but is it really true to say this is a 20th century innovation? I find what you say pretty academic, even abstract, and I certainly don't have the theological background to argue with you. Some dismiss you here because of that, but I don't. I find what you say challenging. Hence my question. When was this "made up", that's something I didn't know?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 2:20pm BST

Ford - sorry but if we take the AC's interpretation of the bible at the hear of Lambeth 1.10, TEC is ignoring the bible on this issue.


If the bibe says "do not" and some chap (even Rowan Williams in his old writings) wants to say in essence "don't worry about that bit, it means the opposite to what it says, you go ahead"....I do not take him to be interpreting but simply selectively rejecting the authority scripture. Maybe you are right that I am "simplistic" etc.....but even Rowan Williams says there is no positive scriptural case to support overturning the interpretation of the bible at the heart of Lambeth 1.10......and 2000 years of tradition, by the way.

My question for you is, given our scriptures and tradition, who is right - the AC wanting to stick to Lambeth 1.10 or TEC wanting to revise it and allow what it prohibits? WE cannot both be right....who is right, Ford?

Posted by NP at Friday, 3 August 2007 at 11:04am BST

After this post, I will not respond to you. St. John Crysostom said "The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies." I know, he was just an ordinary Christian, deserving of no great respect in your eyes. You need to be right. You need everyone else to say you are right. That is sad. I have tried to point out how your behaviour puts the lie to your claims of being a follower of the Gospel. And how this casts aspersions of the Gospel. You took this as opposition to your position WRT gay people and support for TEC. You, and others like you so need to be right that you are willing to split the Church over it. That is equally sad. You are willing to split the Church over your desire to be right. I am truly sorry for you. I have talked to a wall long enough.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 3 August 2007 at 1:36pm BST

"The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies." Great, utterly true statement; wonderful, above reproach, source. Thank you Ford.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 3 August 2007 at 2:10pm BST

Any further comments to be directly related to Network Council decisions, please.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 6 August 2007 at 6:33pm BST
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