Comments: Pittsburgh: more information

Good letter from Bruce Robison, very well written, measured and accurate.

Otherwise I'm afraid that it's all getting a bit boring and predictable. It's easy in the US religious culture to break away and found your own 'pure Church'. This is because ecclesiastically the Church operates like a variation of the capitalist competitive market and a sense of 'catholicity' is weak.

There is nothing that will stop Bishop Duncan or other schismatically inclined conservatives from competing with the Episcopal Church or indeed the Anglican Communion. Of more interest is what will happen in the longer run with what are essentially the 'Equatorial African Provinces'. I think that they are as unpredictable as who happens to be Archbishop at the time.

Duncan et al are effectively gone for ever but regarding the Africans, I'm not so sure.

In any case, am I the only one to sense that the 'outraged support' for Duncan is a bit lack lustre or half-hearted just going through the motions? Only David Virtue seems to have the stamina to keep the game going.

Watch what happens in November, if the Democrats win the American election things will quieten down, if not - well.

Posted by penwatch at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 6:51pm BST

Bishop Lawrence's remarks sound supportive, but I for one doubt that he is actually doing desposed Duncan any long-term favors.

That Bishop L cannot accurately discern why Duncan was desposed might suggest that he still has a long-term case of the San Joaquin Schofield-Iker-Venebles flat earthisms. Yes, some ambiguities exist in the current language of the canons involved, about any strict inhibition step needing to be taken before desposition, and about what constitutes a quorum so to speak, depending on how you adopt this or that bishop counting rule for the possible desposition vote.

No doubt future General Conventions will take some pains to clarify and speak to these issues, and meanwhile, witness the voice votes of the proceedings reported - we did observe passing due process by (1) duly allowing Lawrence or others to raise the two points of canonical interpretation, and then (2) submitting their alternative interpretations to the mind of the house.

Due process only requires that we give conservativistic views a fair hearing according to modern best practices, not that we rush to join some particular conservative view in this or that flat earth preachment. More often than not, way too many particular conservatisms are founded in an odd, closed starting presupposition that conservative equals orthodox before we have even opened the good tool box of modern best practices of inquiry and discernment.

Even odder? The constant realignment appeal to modern best practices in order to get a hearing, which is then used to preach the sin and error of the best practices which occasioned the big tent conversation in the first place.

Bishop L is running his own strategy of playing both ends against the middle, just like Duncan or Schofield or Iker. He is right on course to eventually contravene the big tent DDW of TEC, though he can always draw back from the brinks. Bishop L is probably wrong about modernity, wrong about queer folks, and wrong about how big the Anglican tent historically was, or about how big the tent can be in our own believer lifetimes.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 7:38pm BST

No one expected to win the conservative factions at this time. It was anticipated that they would lobby and move to thwart the developments of more inclusive and liberal theology. Their vehemence and open collusion was a blessing (rather like the Pharoah and his sorcerers trying to thwart God's agent Moses).

Their kind of theology will continue, scribes of such ilk have given all the prophets and Jesus a hard time throughout the ages.

The victory was that TEC has affirmed a robust commitment to true justice, and that the previously disenfranchised now have a foundation upon which they can build, with biblical underpinnings to provide their rudder through turbulent times.

As souls step back and watch the shenanigans, the conservatives will have to deal with the dissonance of claiming that they love and are in stewardship of all the earth, which will be in stark contrast to their abuse, accusations and rejection of most of the earth.

You can not the "true bride" of the Lord of all the earth, and then abuse and abdicate responsibility for the planet and the overwhelming majority of its occupants. God is responsible for all of Creation throughout all of time. If Jesus is only for Jesus' fans, then Jesus is negligent in his duties and in breach of the covenant of peace. His performance as High Priest has been remarkably disappointing or even non-existent.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 8:04pm BST

As the airwaves and bloggers seem very quiet at the moment and as Peter Akinola's opening address has now appeared, might I be permitted a second bite at the cherry?

Reinforcing my earlier point, even Akinola seems to have run out of steam. No mention of Bishop Duncan in his address and GAFCON gets little more mention than 'indecently dressed brides' - I wish there was an accompanying photograph, I can hardly imagine what he means, and also road safety figures high on the list.

GAFCON need to send Martyn Minns in to sort him out he's going off message and beginning to sound like a more regular mainstream Anglican African Archbishop.

Posted by penwatch at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 8:58pm BST

"We called Gafcon because we refused to ‘succumb to the turmoil in our Communion and simply watch helplessly'. We have found ourselves in a world in which Anglican leaders hold on to a form of religion but consistently deny its power. We have a situation in which some members of the Anglican
family think they are so superior to all others that they are above the law, they can do whatever they please with impunity. As a Communion we have been unable to exercise discipline’. - P. Akinola

If 'Discipline' is what the Nigerian Primate is asking for, where is it evidenced in his ecclesial alliance with the intentional schismatics of CANA and FOCA?

This arrogation to himself and his own particular cronies of the Global South of their own view of Christian 'orthodoxy', ia nothing less than risible - if not outright rebellious. Akinola's apparent humiliy, when speaking of his own meteoric rise to Primacy in his own Church, is only severely compromised by his questioning of the integrity of the very Churches which have founded and funded the existence of the formerly colonial Church of his province.

If only his diatribe against the Churches of the West was matched by a similar determination to get rid of the appalling corruption presently thriving in his own country, then the world might be more ready to listen to his 'holier than thou' condemnation of fellow Christians.

You will have to do better than this, Archbishop, if you want to earn the sort of respect given to your Apostolic name-sake in the Christian world that you so dearly would like to influence.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 12:01am BST

OK, this is frivolous, but a very funny comment on the current tensions in TEC (Pittsburgh, Virginia and elsewhere)... And shows that we "conservatives" can be fun:

Posted by davidwh at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 1:10am BST

I suppose if your 'fun' consists in promoting laws which condemn defenders of Gays to the prospect of imprisonment (as in Nigeria) then this is certainly no joke. How davidwh can still seek to justify the condemnation of homosexuality, when the Gospel demands that we not judge others more severely than we judge ourselves is a mystery to most of us who believe in the redemption that we are meant to offer to the world. To side with Archbishop Akinola in his mindless defence of the cult of purity - in lieu of justice and mercy - is to fail in the mission of Jesus and the Church he founded.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 10:36pm BST

Truly the Episcopal Church have made a rod for their own back with Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina.

They allowed him to avoid consecration by Jefferts Schori and now he is gradually moviing in a schismatic direction.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 10:45pm BST

"To side with Archbishop Akinola in his mindless defence of the cult of purity - in lieu of justice and mercy - is to fail in the mission of Jesus and the Church he founded."

God love you for this!

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 1:11pm BST

I tried to let the alleged fun and humor of the linked streaming vid grab me - some spiffy guitar picking there, I think I heard - but alas find that I am really much too worried about the current state campaign by constitutional amendment initiative to deny a whole host of legal-economic supports to my family - carried out under the conservative sound bite rubric of protecting traditional marriage.

I guess I am still just one, thinking about how to empower the ladies in the midst of this now, including its current hellish aspects and powers of injustice, evil, and yes, simple mean-spiritedness that would deny me what any conservative straight believer unabashedly takes completely for granted - the citizen-civil freedom to marry.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, please.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 7:40pm BST

drdanfee, I agree wholeheartedly, and to watch one's country transform from a "superpower" (which I doubt we ever were in the U.S.) to another rotting third world country (a certainty) while the leadership was more concerned about LGBT's getting married is nothing more than a travisty. Unfortunately the rest of us have to suffer along with them in the Republican Party's never ending quest of financial malfeasence, ineptitude, and infrastructure negligence. But by golly, we've got an admendment to protect marriage in my own state to protect us from those insurgent queer people.

As said often these times, we are very far from God.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 6 October 2008 at 2:52am BST
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