Comments: a bridge too far?

It may be tactless, but it would be disingenuous to feign ignorance of his point. Canada for the most part does not have the clown Masses, raisin cake offerings to Isis, and unitarian bishops that give ECUSA part of its bad rap, which is arguably why we have been able to press on with the project of including gays and lesbians fully without drawing the ire that has so often been the American church's cross to bear.

Posted by Geoff at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 12:36am GMT

I am rather shocked that the crass and slanderous diatribe, posted by "Geoff" at 12:36 GMT, has been permitted on this moderated site.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 12:50am GMT

"clown Masses, raisin cake offerings to Isis, and unitarian bishops"

Please document. Places, dates, names.

So far as I know, the Unitarians don't have bishops.

This reminds me of the accusations leveled by the TeaBaggers and Sarah Palin last summer: death panals! kill Granny to save money! guns will be seized! [actually quite a good idea] Obama's actually [a] Muslim [b] not American born [c] part of a radical leftwing plot to subvert the Constitution.

Get off it.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:04am GMT

I echo here my comments at Episcopal Cafe:

This is troubling. I would also agree about questions about who (or whose positions) they're describing as aberrant, but more to the point I'd like to hear where the visitors and/or the Canadians think we disagree on Christology.

I think, too, that they end up damning the Canadians by faint praise. A good meeting but "theologically light weight?" Not working from "theological first principles?" Exactly what did they expect the bishops to be about? If I were a Canadian bishop I'd be curious and concerned about this report, and about the description of Archbishop Hiltz as being like Archbishop Williams.

Any comments from any Canadian correspondents?

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:34am GMT

Thank you, Geoff, for repeating yet more of the slanderous nonsense some delight in spreading about the Episcopal Church.

As far as I know, the oldest and most famous "clown mass" is held in the Church of England.

Others may wish to comment on this point. For my part, I point to Geoff's comment and say, once again -- Why are we so desirous of remaining in an organization that consistently abuses us in this fashion.

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:58am GMT

On the other hand, the fully orthodox Ugandan church has very modest issues to deal with, such as child sacrifice in the service of the prosperity gospel:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8441813.stm

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 2:02am GMT

So now the issue is Christology?

The other issue is really such a non-issue. That two people choose to live together in loving partnership is obviously something the church should be happy to bless. Oh, but they may indulge in immoral sexual acts? Well, can that not safely be left to an adult conscience? Do we police and monitor married couples -- or forbid them to marry -- on the basis that in the privacy of their bedrooms they may indulge in immoral forms of love-making (or contraception)?

The Uganda scandal has given a clear insight into the madness of those who have made this a church-splitting issue.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 2:14am GMT

"I suppose one has to ask whether the sexuality issue is something in isolation or whether it’s symptomatic of something more profound... There are a number of issues around authority and power. For example, the authority of Scripture, and how you interpret Scripture... So it’s more than just human sexuality, which happens to be the marker for a much wider discussion that needs to take place."

A remarkably double-edged statement. It implies that the side that refuses such discussion is the one alienating itself from truth. Thus it is a crypto-liberal statement that will incense the Akinola people. So this can be taken as a very encouraging sign.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 2:21am GMT

As an American ordained and serving in the ACoC, I have to second Geoff's point. The Canadian church has no one to compare with Jack Spong (though the Essentials crowd would like to paint Michael Ingham with that brush).

Posted by Jim Pratt at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:06am GMT

Of course, the entire anti-American tenor of the recent troubles has nothing do with liturgy, theology, doctrine or ministry. It doeesn't really have anything to do with the place off LGBTQTS in the life of the church.

This is all about people on the extreme right in the US who want the Episcopal Church (and the Presbyterian Church and the United Methodists and the United Church of Christ) to abandon the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to preach instead the false gospel of the rligious right - American dominionism, manifest destiny and the unfettered free market). These extremists have invested millions and millions of dollars to destabalize thesee churches. The current besetting issue is merely a wedge issue for these gospel-hating extremists.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:26am GMT

What unitarian bishops? The one that might just be (at a stretch), and might have been appointed, wasn't.

And this is rubbish too:

where religious and ethnic groups are synthesized into “Americans,”

The United States maintains quite a strog sense group culture: of ethnic identities that seek out their own churches, for example.

This is simply an exercise on behalf of Rowan Williams's deputies to try to isolate The Episcopal Church whilst keeping the Canadian Church in. It is pure institutional politics and the Canadians especially should not fall for such a tactic - divide and separate.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:06am GMT

By the way, this report made ostensibly about the Canadians is quoted, but is the report itself available?

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:44am GMT

You know, I could well be mistaken, but I strongly suspect that badmouthing people behind their backs might not be such a good way to build bridges.

And Geoff, I have not heard of a clown mass taking place anywhere near me in well over twenty years, have never participated in a raisin cake blessing, and have never had a bishop who could not recite the Creed without crossing his fingers.

It sounds like what little you "know" about TEC is coming from the likes of Virtue.

Posted by JPM at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:45am GMT

"A: I suppose what we’re looking for is the patience that will enable this process to develop. [We’re also looking for] a genuine commitment borne out of love for the other person…. So in general terms, these are the things that need to be present if any of this is ever going to work." - Bishop Colin Bennetts -

Having been Baptized and Confirmed as a teenager in the Coventry, UK, Diocese, I am interested in what the retired Bishop of Coventry has to say about his task as Archbishop Rowan's 'healer and reconciler' in the Communion. One should note that Coventry Cathedral became a force for good in the post-war era of healing and reconciliation with Germany - the new Cathedral of Saint Michael was partly built by German expatriates. Perhaps the history of Coventry Cathedral's ministry is part of the reason why Bp. Colin Bennetts was chosen by the ABC as part of the new 'Task Force'.

As the primary ministry of Jesus was to 'Heal and to Reconcile', it weould be wonderful to think that the Anglican Communion could respond to the efforts of the likes of Bp. Colin. However, any comparison between the Anglican Churches of Canada and the U.S.A. has to keep in mind the fact of the different origins of their Anglican provenance. Canada was a part of the British Commonwealth and therefore more easily conformed to the Church of England; whereas TEC was first 'bishopped' by Scottish Episcopalians.
One only has to compare national characteristics of the two countries to realise the different cultural background and spirituality of each.

To attempt to homogenise the two cultures - in terms of cultural and theological contexts, is to imagine that the likes of Uganda and the U.K. are similar areas of mission, with similar problems of ministry. In the current differentiation that exists between most of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, it will be hard to come to any conclusion about the homogenization of a 'one theology fits all' Covenantal relationship.

If one were to allow differences in matters of adiaphoral content - like the issues presently confronting the Communion - to co-exist between the Provinces, then there might be a chance of reviving the koinonia relationship that has hitherto bound us together. However, if there is to be any hierarchical plan of governance, that seeks to rule on such apiaphora, then there may be no way of finding common ground.

It would seem that, for certain parts of the Communion, the basics of our theological and spiritual fellowship: The Doctrine of Christ, the Creeds, Trinitarian formula, The Scriptures, Tradition and Reason, are no longer enough to keep us together. This reason - together with a stubborn unwillingness, on the part of some Provinces, to engage with modern hermeneutics; - and a refusal to listen to the LGBT communities in their different contexts, seems sufficient, at the present time, to undermine any further exploration of inter-Provincial relationships.

What is needed in this situation, is not only the intervention of 'Head Office', but also the willing and patient listening process that was asked for by the original Windsor Process. This has not been conscientiously carried out (either internally or inter-Provincially) by all of the Provincial bodies - espcially in the Global South Provinces which are still seeking to influence other Anglicans with their illicit invasion of other Provincial borders.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 5:33am GMT

"clown Masses, raisin cake offerings to Isis, and unitarian bishops"

What are you smoking? I'm sorry but these are untrue. Where on earth do you get this stuff? Raisin cake offerings to Isis? In an Episcopal Church?

I have no idea what you've been told at that seminary in Toronto but you should try visiting America and seeing how things are in this church. Or just try a quick visit to reality. thanks.

Posted by Dennis at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:08am GMT

Jim Pratt
if all you can come up with is Bishop Spong, then there's hardly a widespread abdication of creedal belief in TEC.

But I genuinely don't understand it. If the issue is homosexuality, then Canada should be at least as much in the dock as TEC. If it's not homosexuality, then what is it that's blowing the Anglican Communion apart?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 9:14am GMT

You see, I think Cynthia's comment on child sacrifice is just exactly what we should be avoiding. I am quite sure that nobody in any of the Anglican African churches is sacrificing children. The witch doctors are outside the churches, and it is as unfair to blame those vile practices on Anglicans as it is to blame Peter Tobin on the C of E. If you want to say that those who live in a culture which has such a strong belief in magic may find it hard to appreciate the more empirical approach to morality in the West, where we look at the results of our actions and reason from them, then I would agree. But that is another point.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 9:52am GMT

Driving a wedge between the Canadian and US churches might make isolation of TEC and the furthering of the GAFCON/ACNA agenda more achievable? Just wondering.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 10:36am GMT

I wonder can anyone tell me: what is a "clown mass"?

Posted by Hugh James at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:09am GMT

This does seem to me a rather obvious example of 'divide and conquer', so let's not give into it. By the way, on a visit to Canterbury within the last two years or so, I discovered a Clown service in the cathedral .... Oh, in my own English diocese it is well known that some evangelical (CofE) churches re-baptize people (cause the first one didn't count, don't you know - apparently baptism has nothing to do with the once for allness of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but is some sort of rite of confession). So, let's all get a grip and get off our high horses.

Posted by Grumpy High Church Woman at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:20am GMT

I think we have much larger issues than same-sex unions. For example, are we 'strangers and pilgrims seeking homes eternal', or not? Do we believe that we are each broken and in need of healing and forgiveness?

In my US parish those propositions are by no means acceptable or agreed to. We do support same-sex unions, however.

Posted by Aking at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:37am GMT

""clown Masses, raisin cake offerings to Isis, and unitarian bishops"

Please document. Places, dates, names."

Good Lord, am I the only one here with Google?

Clown Mass:

http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/webcasts/videos/worship/special-worship-events/clown-eucharist

Raisin cakes:

http://www.challengeonline.org/modules/articles/article.php?id=40


Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:39am GMT

Oh no! Regular clown services discovered to be happening in Church of England.

Pictures here: http://www.ukstudentlife.com/Ideas/Album/ClownService.htm

Still, at least true and faithful Christians know that Canada remains a refuge of orthodoxy.

Thank God for Canada - land free from the clown heresy.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:39am GMT

Lapin
fair enough, but what IS the GAFCON agenda if not to get all those nasty gays out of their pure church?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 12:10pm GMT


I understand Rosemary Hannah's wish not to misplace blame, we should all be careful about laying fault at the wrong door.

But I would argue that the practice of human sacrifice - ritual murder - is widespread in some Anglican communities and that gay people are often victims.

During the last Lambeth Conference I listened to the stories of two gay Anglicans working as stewards at the event. They came from different countries and did not know each other but their stories had the same ending. If it was known they were gay then their families would have them disappear and no questions would be asked though the family shame would be mitigated by their ritual murder.

Perhaps what was most disturbing was the "matter of fact" way these people discussed the inevitable outcome. One had seen one of his friends vanish in this way and saw it as a real possibility this would be his fate if his graduate engineer father or ophthalmologist mother discovered the truth.

Both said that the local Anglican community would be fully approving and complicit in this outcome, in one case the witch doctor executioner was also the local Lay Reader.

One said that in his educated middle class world this was seen as quite sophisticated, in many communities those suspected of being gay were openly murdered, sometimes by burning but mostly by stoning.

What neither could understand was why gay people were so cowardly in the west and still hid their sexuality - and why fellow Anglicans and especially gay people in the west did not come to their aid.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 12:23pm GMT

Lapinbizarre - agreed - it is the old divide and then conquer in detail technique rather than face the "enemy" when they are unified - a successful strategy on the battlefield since antiquity and still primary in any conflict. Napoleon excelled at it -

Posted by ettu at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 12:26pm GMT

Reading the above commemts I come away feeling the Rowan 'visitors' are in fact big brothers trying not to reconcile, but divide and conquer. Having lived in the UK all my life I am well aware of the cultural divide between Canada and America; and try not to make the big mistake of mistaking a Canadian for an American.

Living now in Scotland I find the 'antics of Rowan Archbishop of Canterbury confusing. He seems to have taken an about turn and become a fundamentalist protestant, renegading on his catholic heritage. This has been clear in recent appointments of English Bishops whose theology is clearly very protestant with no catholicity in them. Yet they still proclaim the creed of believing in One Holy Catholic Church.

I fearfully suspect the pastoral advisors are in fact storm troopers calling the Anglican Church to come into line with the likes of Uganda , and the Southern Cone.

Pray God that the Canadian Church, the American Episcopal church will send them away with a flee in their ears.

Never trust a person coming with a forked tongue, and deceivingley aparent soft voice.

Fr John

Posted by Fr John E. Harris-White at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 12:41pm GMT

"Cynthia's comment on child sacrifice"
That was Charlotte's posting.

Jack Spong is retired, although he does have a blog and continues to write.

Why not pick on poor old Bishop Pike? He's dead, so cannot defend himself.

I'm still waiting for documentation of raison cakes for Isis. What IS a raison cake?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:02pm GMT

Rosemary Hannah, it wasn't Cynthia's comment, but mine. I think now also that I shouldn't have made it. Not even in a spirit of tit for tat.

But what Malcolm said I fully want to endorse, and that is the reason I want TEC to get used to life without the Anglican Communion.

The people who want us gone will slander us with any means at their disposal. Yes, the "real issue" keeps shifting -- if they think they can get traction out of Christology, they go for Christology. If they think they can get traction out of something else, they go for that.

Yes, it is exactly the teabagger/Sarah Palin style of attack, and it would interest many to know that the same people work on both campaigns.

Yes, the game plan now is to isolate the US church. Yes, driving a wedge between the US and Canada is a good way to further the GAFCON/ACNA agenda, and, yes, that appears to be what Lambeth Palace is now doing.

I have to make the point again: These people are trying to destroy the Episcopal Church and they will not stop abusing and battering us until they do.

Episcopalians, we have other options. Let's take them! Let's move away from abuse and cruelty from partners who take every opportunity to voice their loathing and detestation of us. Let's move toward openness, mission, joy with ecumenical partners who want to be in relationship with us. Let's do it now.

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:08pm GMT

I think the comments at the top of this thread must be misdirected from somewhere else, such as the New Liturgical Movement or What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Those things seem to be more common in the ROMAN communion...

Posted by kieran crichton at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:25pm GMT

Rosemary--the Anglican Church of Uganda seems quite willing to sacrifice children---as long as they are GLBT.

Posted by Doxy at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:27pm GMT

Before everyone pops a vein:

I'm not slagging off the Episcopal Church. I have great admiration for it. Some of the ensuing comments seem to assume my post was "more of the same" from the Virtuosity [sic] crowd, but that's not at all my angle.

Canada is culturally different from the US. This is true in civil society. Contra Pluralist, any high school social science course here covers the difference between the American melting-pot and Canadian mosaic models of immigrant settlement. It's true in the life of the church as well - Canadians can be cautious, sometimes frustratingly so. Episcopalians have tended to be pioneers and innovators, while Canadians have been about "the process." Both traits are admirable in their own way, I think. Certainly the Americans have been ahead of the curve of us on many of the difficult questions facing the church. But the flip side of that is that the Canadian emphasis on order means we can sometimes work (again, sometimes painfully slowly) toward the same end without getting the backs of the Global South and co. up. As Erika points out, Canada *should* be in just as much hot water. But it appears that we are not, and the reasons are probably as much to do with temperament as anything else.

I think that the extreme conservatives are able to draw some audience from those who might see themselves as moderate – and certainly not in favour of, say, stoning gay Ugandans, but who balk at some of the “blips” that can result from ECUSA’s innovative mentality. We don’t have seminary deans who regard abortion as a “blessing.” The clown Mass came out of Trinity, Wall Street. The raisin cake rite was an experimental resource for a women's liturgy linked on the 815 website a while back. I would be surprised to learn that Bishop Spong subscribes to the dogma of the Trinity, but I could be wrong. Like Erika, I do not believe there is therefore evidence of "a widespread abdication of creedal belief in [ECUSA]." Wherever there is experimentation, there will be mess: trial precedes error. Blips don’t make for apostasy, and I would reject any attempt to pass such examples off as representative. But let’s not be too tendentious: these are things that have happened, and dismissive words like “slander” aren’t helpful.

Posted by Geoff at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:31pm GMT

@Dennis: I'm not in seminary yet, nor have I committed to studying in Toronto, but I hope eventually to do advanced theological study in the US. I should very much like to gain some experience in an Episcopal parish setting, so I hope I will be able to take you up on your invitation!

Posted by Geoff at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:36pm GMT

"Thank you, Geoff, for repeating yet more of the slanderous nonsense some delight in spreading about the Episcopal Church."

It's only slander if it's not true. Unfortunately, it's not true. There *have* been Clown Masses celebrated in Episcopal churches, like Trinity, Wall Street. The Office of Women's Ministries *did* post an unabashedly pagan "A Women's Eucharist: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine" on their website, although it has since been removed.

It does us no good (not to mention no credit) if we pretend that the Episcopal Church's latitudinarianism is not sometimes abused. We *have* had at least our share of liturgical and theological aberrations. Acknowledging them is not disloyalty to the Episcopal Church.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 1:57pm GMT

Oh no! UK Bishop preaches pro-unitarian sermon (and preaches on texts from the Qu'ran too)

"...it is sad that sometimes an unfaithful or careless Christian way of speaking has led Muslims and Jews to believe that we have a doctrine of God that does not recognise the oneness and sufficiency of God, or that we worship something less than the One, the Eternal. In our conversations with Muslim friends, we Christians are rightly challenged to think more deeply, to think as our Egyptian Christian fathers did, about the unity of Almighty God."

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/13459.htm

Thank God for Canada. No heresy there.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 2:14pm GMT

D'oh - "unfortunately, it's true"

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 2:46pm GMT

BillyD. It is one thing to acknowledge incidents and another to have outside supposed visitors for reconciliation make generalizing comments of this sort while having never visited parishes in TEC. I'll bet if we look close we can find all sorts of aberrations in any number of the Anglican Churches, including the CofE, and what if we started generalizing in the same fashion. The Brits would be insulted. This is insulting and not reconciliatory in the least.

Posted by Christopher at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:02pm GMT

After all with this kind of generalizing, I might conclude because of certain bishops' comments in the CofE that those folks all believe gays have demons in their nether regions.

Posted by Christopher at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:04pm GMT

Thanks for documentation of clown mass, raison cakes, etc. - and their passe-ness and scarcity.

A great many of the 'shocking' things in Spong's earlier writings had already been explored by J.A.T. Robinson, an English bishop.

Having lived for a while across the Detroit River from Windsor, I would agree to the cultural differences between our countries.

As for the visiting CoE bishops, they should go home and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc ect, instead of junketing about.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:12pm GMT

One further comment about the articles BillyD cited. First, "Challenge" is hardly an un-slanted news source. That publication has been in the forefront of anti-Episcopal Church commentary since its inception by those opposed to ordination of women and Prayer Book revision. True, it's not as vitriolic as some others might be; but it definitely has a posture.

Second, while the post cited was very recent, as BIllyD accurately notes the information in it is quite dated. In fact the the Rev. Mrs. Melnyk cited in the article has long since foresworn her participation in "Druidic" activities and has affirmed her faithfulness to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:25pm GMT

My Puerto Rican, Dominican, West African, Asian, and Arab students would be more than a little surprised to hear the USA described as a melting pot where differences are subsumed into a common identity. That certainly is not their experience, nor mine.

Most Episcopalians, including myself, experience the church through their own parishes. Mine sticks very closely to the BCP and says the Nicene Creed every Sunday. Its last major controversy was over Anglican chant vs. plainchant for the Psalm at Sunday Eucharist. I strongly suspect that my parish is not exceptional.

Perhaps clown mass and raisin cakes for Isis are exceptions that prove the rule. It is remarkable that the Episcopal Church is painted with the very broad brush of the views of a single retired bishop, Bishop Spong, assuming with no evidence that his views represent the majority of even liberal Episcopalians. This is especially remarkable since the most controversial of all bishops, Bishop Robinson, is actually quite conservative in his theological and liturgical views. The same is true for bishop candidate Mary Glasspool.

Perhaps this controversy is less about the true situation in the Episcopal Church and more about the very human habit of generalizing from the particular.

Posted by Counterlight at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 3:29pm GMT

Cynthia and Charlotte - I am so sorry - I'm dyslexic but it is no excuse for carelessness.

Please understand that I work as hard as any straight person can for equality causes, and have since I was in my teens. I accept and deplore that in many countries gay people are not only discriminated against but 'disappeared'. I just feel that one way we can take a lead is by trying to resist getting dragged into name calling however tempting - and it is, really tempting.

Let me say again that I think the lack of a stance on these issues by the Anglican hierarchy is a disgrace.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:29pm GMT

Geoff and BillyD, I'll cede you your point that clown masses have happened, and the link on the National website was there. But the implication in your comments is that this is representative of TEC.

THAT is what is so offensive, so don't be surprised at the depth of reaction!

What IS representative of the Episcopal Church in the USA is what happened at my "liberal" parish in my "liberal" diocese on the "liberal" Left Coast. We celebrated Eucharist with our bishop using Rite II, and she preached a sermon on the mystery of the Incarnation as the reason for hope. We confirmed and received candidates into the Communion and renewed our baptismal promises in the ancient words of the Apostles Creed. That's representative of TEC: Christocentric, deeply rooted in the Tradition of the faith, orthodox, joyful and prayerful.

Sorry, but uninformed opinions to the contrary sound like slander.

Posted by Lou Poulain at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:42pm GMT

As some of the comments have alluded to, I think the problem is precisely in trying to use occasional abuses of latitude (good phrase) as a sample on which to substantiate allegations of "apostasy," which the ACNA crowd needs to legitimate their existence. (ACNA literature, one notes, typically characterizes the gay debate as an "example" of this apostasy, but is invariably vague about what the other "examples" might be).

Posted by Geoff at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:57pm GMT

Rosemary - no apology needed - I wanted only to clarify who said what since this thread has gotten so long.

I too find name-calling oh so tempting when the issues are so close to home.

Thanks for your support and your contributions to this list.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 5:05pm GMT

"Thanks for documentation of clown mass, raison cakes, etc. - and their passe-ness and scarcity."

These things (the clown eucharist and the raisin cake liturgy) happened within the last decade. Maybe it's just an artifact of my advanced old age, but the early-to-mid-Noughties hardly seem like ancient history. And anyway, the rector of Trinity is still so tickled about the clown eucharist that he posts the video on the parish's website.

Nor do I find their scarcity all that comforting. OK, so only one official arm of the Episcopal Church published a plagiarized pagan ritual -- does it have to have happened at GC before it is of concern?

Mind you, I'm not saying that these and other aberrations are the most burning issues for TEC today, nor are they characteristic of the Church as a whole. They do point to a certain lack of discipline, though.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 5:51pm GMT

Erika,
Jack Spong was my homiletics professor. Based on conversations in and outside of class, it's an open question whether he would affirm the divinity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in the creeds and Ecumenical Councils. He certainly has a lot of issues with the creeds. Despite that, he has been good for the church in challenging it to think about how its message is perceived in modern society (and Spong is definitely a modernist, not a post-modernist) and in challenging fundamentalism. He has also been a lightning rod for conservative criticism.

TEC has a much broader theological scope than the ACoC, and there has been much more experimentation at the edges, some of it good, some of it bad.

Compare the American-based conservative blogs (you know the names, I don't need to publicize them) with the Anglican Essentials Canada blog. The latter is focused on a single issue in its criticism of the ACoC, whereas the former use Geoff's whole laundry list and actively seek to dredge up instances where experimentation goes too far in their opinion.

Personally, I would welcome a bit more experimentation and pushing the envelope in the Canadian church. But I also appreciate that the lack of too much radical innovation has allowed us to move forward with much less strife than south of the border.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 5:52pm GMT

"BillyD. It is one thing to acknowledge incidents and another to have outside supposed visitors for reconciliation make generalizing comments of this sort while having never visited parishes in TEC."

You make an excellent point.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 5:53pm GMT

"One further comment about the articles BillyD cited. First, "Challenge" is hardly an un-slanted news source."

I would argue that there's no such thing as an un-slanted news source, but in this case you certainly have a point. Blame Google, though, not me - before my Google search I don't remember ever hearing of The Christian Challenge before. It was merely at the top of the results.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 6:02pm GMT

I've read many of Bishop Spong's books, and I often find myself in agreement with him. But then I'm Reform Jewish, not Anglican. I have to wonder if anyone asked him, whether he would say he is "post-Christian", or at the very least does not agree with formulas like the Nicene Creed. In numerous of his books, he's asking us to quit relying on literalist or formulaic responses and seek to find what Christianity means in a modern context. Is he throwing out the baby, the bathwater, the bathtub, and the house? Perhaps, but I can't read his books, especially his latest, without getting a sense that he is trying to figure out for himself who Jesus of Nazareth was, and what his life, ministry, death, and aftermath means for today.
But, while this discussion of Bishop Spong, raisin cakes (were they unleavened?), clown masses, Isis, the sacred feminine, etc., is fascinating, isn't there an underlying issue?:
What in God's great Creation is the Archbishop of Canterbury doing sending appointed visitors, his official representaives, to Canada with mindsets like these two had? What is he thinking? What was their purpose? What was he really trying to accomplish?
If he's trying to isolate TEC, why doesn't he slam through his precious Covenant, issue am archbishopal bull, and be done with it? Enough with the libeling, the prevarication, the academic mindgames.

Posted by peterpi at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 6:10pm GMT

Geoff, it's slander against the Episcopal Church.

It's slander because your charges are repeated from -- shall we say -- a motivated source.

It's slander because that motivated source and others like it have repeated the same handful of charges against the Episcopal Church, with no updating, ad nauseam. For years. As the whole truth about the Episcopal Church.

It's slander because these charges were repeated as the whole truth about the Episcopal Church by someone with no direct experience of it.

It's slander because they are repeated as part of an obvious attempt to drive a wedge between the US and Canadian churches.

Now, Geoff, for your album: Here are two slanders from this same crowd that didn't stick and had to be abandoned.

One: The Episcopal Church is heretical because it practices (horror!) open communion. This slander, facilitated by an ambiguity in the term "open communion," was promoted by Stand Firm! and others of its ilk until they discovered that the British con evos who are their nominal allies all practice communion of the unbaptized. So they dropped that issue like a hot potato, though if you go back in their archives, you'll find their dilligent attempts to create a blogswarm around it.

Two: The Diocese of Los Angeles communed (oh horror!) HINDUS -- PAGANS! -- at an interfaith mass. Well, it turned out that the "Hindus" were members of the (ANGLICAN) Church of South India who came to mass wearing traditional Indian dress. So that slander, too, they had to retreat from.

That's how it goes. Over and over and over.

Do we need this Anglican Communion? What's the point of it?

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 6:13pm GMT

A number of comments have been made here by people who have obviously not read the original Anglican Journal article very carefully.

The AJ article makes it very clear that the two visitors were quoting from the Canadian bishops, not voicing their own opinions. At the end of the article Canadian primate Fred Hiltz endorses their report and says that it accurately reflects what they heard when they visited the Canadian HoB. So, as I have said on another blog, if there's blame here, let's assign it accurately. This is not a plot by the Archbishop of Canterbury to divide and conquer. This is simply two pastoral visitors reflecting (apparently quite accurately) the general opinion they heard in the Canadian House of Bishops.

Secondly, the two pastoral visitors were not 'two Church of England bishops'. One of them was; the other was not. Again, please read the original article carefully.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 6:51pm GMT

"a general consensus on the nature of orthodoxy"

...which is what precisely???

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:05pm GMT

EPICURIOUS.COM lists 67 recipes for raisin cakes. This seems to me to be the one that Isis would like best: Microwave Chocolate Orange Raisin Cakes with Chocolate Glaze

It's made in a microwave, making it particularly suitable for us apostate American Episcopalians.

Sheesh.

Pamela Grenfell Smith, Bloomington, Indiana

Posted by Pamela Grenfell Smith at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:10pm GMT

@Charlotte: you need to check your definitions. A truthful statement cannot be slander, though if it is disseminated maliciously it may be the sin of "detraction." In this case, my intent is neither. I am merely making some observations on the differences in style between Canadian and American Anglicanism. Unlike the "motivated sources" you and I bewail, I haven't an interest in taking potshots at ECUSA, nor do I in any wise mean to represent these incidents as typical. I think they are a side-effect (not a fatal flaw) of their way of doing theology, a way which nevertheless I do not regard as without its merits.

Jim Pratt's post (is that Fr Pratt of St Philip's?) makes more or less the same points as mine, without the ensuing dogpile. I'm starting to see how the Americans must feel next to us!

Posted by Geoff at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:15pm GMT

I'm no Girardian, but this whole episode is a perfect example of the "build community and commonality by scapegoating others" syndrome Rene Girard describes. If this is the future of the Communion -- built upon the sand of "thank God we're not like THEM" we had best rethink the whole exercise.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:18pm GMT

Jim
(I hope this is not a repeat, my previous post seems to have disappeared before I got the Thank You For Your Comment screen).

I like Spong very much although I don't agree with everything he says. But my point really was that everyone always quotes him and only him when they want to prove that TEC is unorthodox, not credal, too liberal etc. One single man! It's hardly representtive of the whole church.


BillyD
What's wrong with the Trinity video? Where does it display unorthodox credal understanding or Christological errors?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:44pm GMT

"But the implication in your comments is that this is representative of TEC."

Not at all. That's your inference. Not even the visiting bishops' comments implied that. If they did, they would not have used the word "aberration."

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 7:56pm GMT

"It's slander because your charges are repeated from -- shall we say -- a motivated source."

You need to look up the word "slander," Charlotte. I do not think it means what you think it means. The fact that a fault is pointed out by an enemy does not mean that the fault doesn't exist. Indeed, that's one of the few benefits of having enemies.

"It's slander because these charges were repeated as the whole truth about the Episcopal Church by someone with no direct experience of it."

Again, if the bishops had meant that, they would not have used the word "aberration."


Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 8:01pm GMT

"One: The Episcopal Church is heretical because it practices (horror!) open communion."

A. You are referring to communion of the unbaptized, which is not at all the same thing as "open communion." Indeed, "open communion" seems to be a label attached by its proponents to make it more palatable.

B. The Episcopal Church does NOT practice this. As a matter of fact, our Canons forbid it. Some people in the Episcopal Church do it anyway.

"This slander, facilitated by an ambiguity in the term "open communion," was promoted by Stand Firm! and others of its ilk until they discovered that the British con evos who are their nominal allies all practice communion of the unbaptized. So they dropped that issue like a hot potato, though if you go back in their archives, you'll find their dilligent attempts to create a blogswarm around it."

A. It's not only the folks at SF who object to the practice. Not even "others of its ilk." Just like not all "progressives" are in favor of it.

B. Whether or not British evangelicals practice it is irrelevant (do they, in fact? I've never heard that).

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 8:07pm GMT

Kelvin said: "Thank God for Canada - land free from the clown heresy."

Malcolm notes: Clearly Kelvin is not familiar with our Prime Minister. Or our Leader of the Official Opposition.

I think there are three main reasons that the Episcopal Church is more of a target than the Anglican Church of Canada.

First, based on some of the cultural differences Geoff has identified, the Americans have been far more inclined to push the envelope. By contrast, even in relatively radical New Westminster, the process leading to same sex blessings can only be described as institutionally conservative. (Passed at three successive synods, the "radical" Bishop Ingham declined consent the first two times, and after the third set up an extended process to follow before any parish would be given the go-ahead.)

While the American Constitution is about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," ours is about "peace order and good government."

Do you know how to get 100 Canadians out of a swimming pool?

You say: "Hey guys. Time to get out of the pool."

The second reason reason is that the extremists who are funding the schism are all about American politics. It's American churches they want to destabalize, so it's American churches they slander.

The third reason (and I do not intend this to be disrespectful of my American brothers and sisters) is that the US is simply easier to make out the villain. Much of the world - even among your friends - has a significant undercurrent of anti-Americanism. Canada, by contrast, is the world's boy scout - and in most regards a marginal player on the world stage. IOW, you're easier to hate than we are.

It's ironic, of course, that it's the GAFCON financiers who more closely represent the American stereotypes the rest of the world likes to hate - certainly moreso than TEC.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 9:06pm GMT

Most Anglicans in Canada admire the ability of the American church to bring civil rights and democratic process into the courts of the church. These are the Episcopalian "aberrations" that the good ole boys in bishop's orders elsewhere in the Communion fear most.
Canadian bishops are not chosen with the same rigorous discernment as U.S. bishops, elections here being mostly a popularity contest. Avoiding any kind of conflict is a trait of most nominees.
What else would you expect then but a plea "just make it go away".

Posted by Chuck Inglis at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 9:51pm GMT

"Do we need this Anglican Communion? What's the point of it?' - Charlotte, on Monday -

Not only do 'we' need the Anglican Communion, Charlotte; perhaps the more important question may be: "Does God need it?".

This, I think, may be the deeper and more taxing question at this time in our history. Anglicanism has, historically, been considered (by us at least) to be the Via Media - the go-between modality of the Christian Churches. If we are moving into a more rigorous Holy & Righteousness sectarian phase, then we might just as well move back into the pre-Reformation era of division on the grounds of East versus West 'Orthodoxy'.

What, I believe, Anglicanism at its best is still capable of - provided we steer clear of the new tendency to Sola Scriptura Fundamentalism - is the open and inclusive Mission of the New Testament revelation of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. To turn back now from the initiatives of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, in their progressive understanding of the Scriptures, and of modern scientific understandings of gender and sexuality, woulod be tantamount to surrendering the gains made by the LGBT community and Women in their acceptance as bearers of the Divine Image and Likeness of God in our world.

If certain sections of the Anglican Communion want to continue in their denigration (and in some contexts, persecution) of Women and Gays, then who would want to remain within such a so-called 'Gospel' Community? Far better to stay, without hypocrisy, in an Inclusive Church - no matter what we call it. Maybe we just need to remain in our own local contexts, as we are now!

I believe that the Schism has already happened. Why would we need another one, or two, or three?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 10:06pm GMT

"What's wrong with the Trinity video?"

Nothing, if it were a video of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey.

On the other hand, as a celebration of the Eucharist it's a complete fail. For my money, it's closer to a parody of the Eucharist than anything else. It's a cheap gimmick. A performance. Completely outside Christian Tradition. And not anything close to doing things "decently and in order."

And, by the looks of it, a pretty joyless performance, at that. The parts of it I've looked at are marked by people grimly going through the motions of their performance. I admit that I have not pored over every frame.

[Of course, what's really the problem is all the damned clowns. As all right-thinking, God-fearing people know, it's not just evil clowns that are evil - all the S.O.B.s are. Evil, evil, EVIL! ;-)]

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 10:48pm GMT

"Do we need this Anglican Communion? What's the point of it?' - Charlotte, on Monday -
When American Episcopalians ask this question, I find myself thinking that the question which ought to be asked is "Does the Anglican Communion need the Episcopal Church?" Speaking as a welsh liberal I would say "Yes, we do". Your inclusivity, your generosity towards your critics and your readiness to remain in the Communion despite so much provocation is an inspiration to the rest of us.

Posted by Hugh James at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:04pm GMT

I frankly would not trust, do not trust, either of these appointed Visitors. They are hardly fair, neutral observors or witnesses. Bridge builders? Not. These two are obviously not much more than advance scouts in an incompleted church war campaign, designated sorters of the wheat from the tares, sheep from goats ... we get their idea, it's stinking obvious and rankly overt.

Thanks, though, for the useful and patent hints that during and right after the new covenant processes of signing get going in public, strong spin doctoring will flood out (even from Canterbury, get it?), as renewed campaigning takes place to try to peal off TEC from Canada, pitting one against the other in a typical conservative presupposed false definitional Either/Or.

This not only disrespects both TEC and Canada, it disrespects the rest of the global audience, insofar especially as any audience believer accurately recalls the Grand Anglican Heritage of Both/And. These spin doctor presuppositions could equally be applied to dissing New Zealand-Aotearoa, back on Canada, and a list of other provinces right up to CoE itself. We are advised, reminded, then.

An odd business. A frankly mean business. A lying business - often glossed in Old and New Testaments as being the witness of a false prophet, just to pick one scriptural tag phrase. Even when the real details are right so far as they may go, the urged-presupposed campaign contexts are simply as wrong factually, ungenerous-un-Anglican, as ever.

Gee folks, part of what got Jesus of Nazareth crucified is that he was widely perceived by empire and Jerusalem Temple as clowning around with both the Roman Emperor (as deity, as state) and with YWHW and temple priesthood. What sort of believer suddenly gets amnesia about all that?

Part of what has regularly, consistently happend in religious history is that formerly nothing but utterly pagan practices and observances have been mixed in with church life, this way and that way and the other way. What sort of amnesia makes cinnamon rolls nothing but a sign of Great Evil? Watch out, Pillsbury.

Similar false choices plus implied character assassinations are posed for the straight family and friends of queer folks, ALL THE TIME, duh. So - just where conservative Anglican realignment puts us, Alas, Lord have mercy. Lots of prestigious leaders need to be sharply corrected, called to account - just as this review and signing process unfolds.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:30pm GMT

From the report in the "Anglican Journal"

'Differences between the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church were underscored, including the area of Christology. “We sensed that in Canada there was a general consensus on the nature of orthodoxy, with fewer extreme views of the kind that have led to some of the aberrations south of the border,” the report said. “Even the bishops who were strongly progressive in the matter of same-sex blessings insisted that they stood firmly within the creedal mainstream.” This, the report said, is “an encouraging sign that it allows for a more obviously Christ-centred approach to issues that currently divide the Communion, to say nothing of the wider church.”'

BillyD, from that quote (as noted, all we really have of the visitors' report), I have no sense that "aberrations" was a word spoken by any Canadian bishop. Moreover, the "aberrations" are clearly consequences of "extreme" views of the Christian faith as seen "within the Communion." So, the issue is Christology, and Canadian ways of doing things are "more obviously Christ-centered." Again, in context that is not a quote from a Canadian bishop, but an interpretation on the part of the visitors.

So, a critical part of my earlier questions goes undiscussed: just how is the Christology in the Anglican Church of Canada different from that in the Episcopal Church? Now, the reponsibility for answering that, really, is the visitors'; for those are their terms. If any Canadian (lay or ordained) wants to discuss differences he or she sees in our Christology, I'd be very interested. That is a serious concern, and an aberrant Christology needs confrontation. However, all I see in the quotes from the (otherwise unpublished) report, the topics discussed were actually actions seen by the visitors (and perhaps by some Canadian bishops) as aberrant, and not the theological positions that might justify or challenge them.

Posted by Marshal Scott at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:39pm GMT

The posters who pointed out that the likely source of this lies with the Canadian bishops are probably right. On reading it a little more it looks like the visitors were repeating what they were told.

In order to protect their own hides the Canadians have skinned us like seal pups.

The solution lies in urging those of our bishops who have ties of friendship with some of the bishops to the north to pick up the telephone and ask the Canadians to cool it with the triangulation.

Posted by Dennis at Monday, 11 January 2010 at 11:51pm GMT

Malcom+ life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a phrase from the US Declaration of Independence not the US Constitution. However I think that you hit the nail squarely when you said, "Canada, is ... in most regards a marginal player on the world stage."

However, my opinion based on four years of traveling in both nations, I think Canadians have been led down the garden path if you think yourselves more culturally sensitive and diverse than your United Statesonian cousins. Whomever first used the term melting pot to describe the US has done it a great disservice. Throughout the great cities of the US are vast neighborhoods of immigrants from the world over celebrating their own cultural heritage and striving for a slice of the Statesonian Dream. Neighborhoods called Chinatown, Little Italy, Korea town, Little Tokyo, etc.. Much more so than Canada which is mostly representative of the Commonwealth nations.

And whereas, both churches share the shame of their cultural insensitivity towards the indigenous peoples within their borders, the ACoC did so much more hand in hand with your government, as did other Commonwealth nations, than did TEC.

If the reporting is true, I think that the Canadian bishops have betrayed their fellow bishops in the US.

Posted by David | Dah•veed at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 1:23am GMT

...all of which, the above, is to say we TEC United Statsonians in the Americas are sick of being the whipping boy. As long as we hang in there with the rest of you, the abuse, the lies, the half-truths peddled as universal damning truth will continue. Enough already.

Posted by Lois Keen at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 3:27am GMT

The term "pastoral visitors" reminds me of the Roman Catholic Vatican bureaucrats like the current Cardinal who is investigating Catholic nuns in America who belong to the progressive Leadership Conference of Women Religious. These remarkable and courageous women are targets of trumped up charges that call into question their "orthodoxy." It's a reuse of course and just about every Catholic Sister and Catholic lay person I know aren't buying the Cardinal's motivation behind this witch hunt. They are resisting and and they are getting enormous support from Catholics and non-Catholics who see the injustice of these actions by old white men in Rome. The current crop of ultra conservative and reactionary "control freaks" in the Roman Curia wear the same masks as these two Anglican "pastoral visitors" sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I believe there will be a "show down" of all of these masquerades that devalue women and gay people by members of BOTH Roman and Anglican hierarchies. They will ultimately be the losers in this debacle and they will not recover from the consequences of their very un-Christ like behavior. It's a shame that there is not a mechanism to "unseat" or "dethrone" these hypocrites like the Roman Cardinal investigating women Religious or the Archbishop of Canterbury sending "pastoral visitors" to Canada to weed out the "unorthodox" Anglicans. The shame these people bring to the Body of Christ by their nefarious "investigations" of their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is a scandal in itself. I refer to myself as a Vatican II Catholic in communion with all people, and I especially appreciate the thoughts expressed in this thread by Father Ron Smith (no relation) who I believe has stated quite succinctly the dangers of Fundamentalism. The schism has not only happened in the Anglican Churches, it is also happened in Roman Catholicism and the last two Bishops of Rome are examples of "Restorationist" Popes who have actively tried to "reform the reforms" and "liturgical abuses" they maintain occurred as a result of Vatican II. I believe Roman Catholics are witnessing the last days of the triumphalist imperial model of the Latin Rite Churches and the Church envisioned by the Council fathers of Vatican II will emerge. I have high regard for the American Episcopal Church and its' current policies of inclusiveness and equality for women and gay people. Vatican II's goals have never been realized because of the Fundamentalist Catholic power grabs that began in the autumn of 1978 after the very short papacy of John Paul I. It appears a similar power grab seems to be in play by the "restorationist" Archbishop of Canterbury. Shameful.

Posted by Chris Smith at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 3:39am GMT

Fr. Smith, I'm going to take the liberty of reposting something from an earlier thread on this site, in hopes it will make my position clearer. Here it is:

"TEC is in the process of being expelled from the Anglican Communion. It is virtually certain, at this point, that it will be expelled. ... So it doesn't matter whether TEC wants to stay or wants to go. It is being expelled, whether it wants to go or not.

"My comments simply ask members of TEC to get used to the new state of affairs. We cannot stop our expulsion from the Anglican Communion. Trying to stay in only wastes our time and energy. Instead, we should focus on building ecumenical relations with ELCA and other like-minded mainline protestant churches. [Father Smith, that could include yours!]

"For what it's worth, I think TEC should sign the Anglican Covenant, but it won't make a bit of difference whether we do or not. As soon as we sign it, proceedings will be started to expel us; but if instead we make it clear we won't sign it, proceedings will be immediately started to expel us. So the same thing will happen, either way.

"As soon as the proceedings to expel us have begun, we should put all our contributions to the Anglican Communion into escrow. Then, like Catherine of Aragon, we should refuse to come into the court. By participating in our trial, we would give the proceedings an air of legitimacy they have no right to have.

"When the inevitable decision is made to expel us from the Anglican Communion, we will be well advanced on building our links with other protestant churches, and we will use our escrowed funds for real mission-related purposes."

Posted by Charlotte at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 3:40am GMT

Erika, it occurred to me that a major problem with the clown service is that it does not, as far as I can tell, meet the requirements for being an actual celebration of the Eucharist. When the Church does Eucharist, in the words of the Chicago Quadrilateral, it is "ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him." I just watched the watched the part of the tedious affair that would correspond to the Prayer of Consecration, and there are no words, or even the actions I've read have been used in other Clown Eucharists (e.g. rocking the loaf of bread like a baby and putting a crown of thorns on it, or holding it up against a cross). The celebrant merely lifts and lowers the elements. (There is a bit afterwards where a woman is brought up and addresses the congregation in American Sign Language, but that's the only use of language.)

This whole performance is simply *not* what the Church does when it does Eucharist. I suppose that saves it from being a profanation of a sacrament, but it's still a major problem IMO.

Posted by BillyD at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 4:20am GMT

Hasn't the Harare bishop enough trouble in his own diocese, Province and desperate nation?

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 5:42am GMT

This is an exclusive:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2010/01/pastoral-visit-report-in-full.html

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 6:27am GMT

Yuk! Two "Pastoral Visitors" attended a meeting of the Canadian bishops "at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury." This reminds me of a former friend of my brother-in-law who calls us from time to time to tell us that his ex-wife has "given him the kids" and he, with them, will be right over to spend the day. So, RW has taken upon himself the onerous burden of saving the communion from ourselves by selecting two bishops to visit a foreign Church and report to him on the current state of the visitors' own points of view. How Romanesque.

Someday we, too, may have pastoral visitors here in TEC. I can hardly imagine the reception they will get now that they have opined on the process used by Canadian bishops to consider moral issues. Entirely too pragmatic; not proceeding from "theological" principles to their application, as is done in theologically "heavyweight" environs. TEC theologians are often guilty of similar "thologically lightweight" ways of thinking. This is what got us into trouble in the first place. Foolishly taking Jesus at his word, as we dialogued with LGBT persons and couples in our Church, we checked the tree for its fruits. And we found the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit unmistakably present in the lives of people that we had institutionally condemned. This experience, over a period of thirty years, led us to reconsider our theology of marital and committed relationships.

The good bishop-visitors write with such sureness about themselves and apparent condescension towards the Canadian bishops. And they cannot resist blatantly praising RW in the report, whose humility was not so apparent at his visit to GC 2009.

Now to throw a firecracker into the works. My creedal views are Orthodox, i.e. I lean towards the Greek Fathers and Mothers of the Church and their medieval and modern theologians as my guides to understanding and appropriating the Creeds. That is why I do not subscribe to substitutionary atonement as a doctrine of salvation. But are we supposed to pretend that the average person in the pews, and many of their priests and bishops find little in some of the fifth century language of the Nicene Creed? I don't mean John Spong, who has been helpful in asking questions, but, in my view, particularly unhelpful in his 1950's to 1960's scientism and materialistic rationalism. His self-righteous anger, though well placed, simply cuts off dialogue by banishing those who disagree with him to the outer darkness. I mean good sincere Christians who find the arcane language of the Creeds say little to them that they understand or find spiritually nourishing. Surely, translating the language of the Creeds into meaningful ideas that strengthen Christian life and witness is one of the major tasks of religious education in our time. This is not helped by bishop-visitors who write about the Creeds as if they are talismans. Did the bishop-visitors actually have a remit from RW to comment on the creedal orthodoxy of Canadian bishops?

Finally, what is most revealing here is what the ABC thinks are the most pressing moral and theological issues in the communion. When may we expect the report from the Archbishop's Pastoral Visitors to the Church of Uganda? Nigeria? Rwanda? The West Indies? You know, the places where the Churches are united in agreement to make the lives of LGBT persons unbearable, stripping from them their human dignity, and advocating for putting them in jail, where they are most often beaten and raped, or more simply, executing them.

When was that date? Never, you say... surprise, surprise...

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 7:24am GMT

"My comments simply ask members of TEC to get used to the new state of affairs. We cannot stop our expulsion from the Anglican Communion."
- Charlotte, on Tuesday -

Charlotte, may I suggest that you are ahead of yourself in what you are saying here. I doubt very much whether TEC will be "expelled from the Anglican Communion" as you are suggesting - almost as though this were already an established fact. Who, exactly, would be pronouncing the deed of expulsion? Certainly not the Archbishop of Canterbury, he simply does not have the power.
Nor, I suggest, does any other Instrument of Unity on their own - not even the newly-established 'Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, until , and unless, all Instruments were in complete agreement on such a process.

I personally believe that the witness of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada is so crucial to the integrity of the Mission of the Communion, that it would be an act of the greatest human folly to seek their expulsion. Those who have put up such a pony-show of disagreement with TEC's and ther A.Cof C.'s innovative policies of inclusion into the Fellowship of their Churches: ACNA, for instance, and the movers and shakers of the GAFCON Primates, have already schismatically distanced themselves from Lambeth and the rest of us in the Communion. They are gone-burgers!

Let the others who have the same anti-gay and anti-women continue in their schismatic activity -but not at the loss of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada's witness with the rest of us to the Gospel of Christ in the Communion as we have always cherished and acknowledged its openness to all who want to be members.

I still remember a notice I saw once in the rear window of a car on the motorway: "Feeling the absence of God? Guess who moved!" I guess that now is not the time for us to move away from AC.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 10:05am GMT

Re:

The clown service--if we, as Anglicans and Episcopalians, cannot occasionally have a little fun with our services we come off as a bunch of prigs, IMO.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 12:58pm GMT

Fr. Smith, it's not premature to say that TEC is going to be expelled from the Anglican Communion. That's what the purpose of the Anglican Covenant has always been. Any of the Anglican Communion Institute's papers on the topic of the Covenant will tell you that.

The maneuvering at General Synod to recognize ACNA is preparatory to our expulsion. The evo-dominated C of E is ensuring that a new Anglican entity in North America will be waiting in the wings, ready to take over when the Americans are expelled.

Meanwhile, the likes of Billy D and Geoff and Graham Kings (at least the bishop uses his real name) search for and twist and repeat repeat repeat any statement, event, lapse in taste, anything at all that could be used to TEC's discredit, to degrade us in the eyes of the ordinary pewsitters. (And they say they are not slandering us!)

We have to walk on eggshells around our abusers, who are waiting for us to slip up so they can play "Gotcha!" Of course, they will always find some stick to beat us with, though, once in a while, as with their accusations of "Open Communion! Hindus at the Altar!" they make a rod for their own backs. That is why answering their accusations is beside the point. Answer one, and they will go on to something else. Do you not notice how they constantly shift the grounds of their accusations to keep us on the defensive?

So none of this adds up to a concerted move to expel the Americans from the Communion? Let me add a final remark about the weak-to-nonexistent response of liberals and moderates in the rest of the Communion to these events. It is nice to hear from you all that you will still feel in communion with us even if we are expelled, but it is also rather beside the point. When you say "Don't go, we need you!" that is very much beside the point. We are not going anywhere. It is the machinery of the Communion that is maneuvering to expel us. If you don't want us to go, you have to do something to stop our expulsion.

I can see that my efforts have been fruitless, however, and I will desist from my vain attempts to wake up the moderates and liberals in the rest of the Communion and get you to do something to stop TEC's expulsion. On one condition, that is: when it happens, when TEC is expelled, "remember Margaret was a prophetess."

Posted by Charlotte at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 1:44pm GMT

"The clown service--if we, as Anglicans and Episcopalians, cannot occasionally have a little fun with our services we come off as a bunch of prigs, IMO."

I'm not sure fun is what we're meant to be having - not that the eucharist cannot be lively, but how about "uplifting"?

As I see it, we Yanks "behave badly" and then wonder why others find they cannot take us seriously.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 2:10pm GMT

"Meanwhile, the likes of Billy D...search for and twist and repeat repeat repeat any statement, event, lapse in taste, anything at all that could be used to TEC's discredit, to degrade us in the eyes of the ordinary pewsitters. (And they say they are not slandering us!)"

Uh, Charlotte? I know you're on a xenophobic roll right now, but you're mistaken about basic facts. I'm a member of TEC, not some outside agitator. One in favor of the ordination of gay people and women. And more or less against the Covenant.

Again, acknowledging TEC's flaws is not disloyalty to it.

And you still need to look up "slander."

Posted by BillyD at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 3:44pm GMT

>> "The clown service--if we, as Anglicans and Episcopalians, cannot occasionally have a little fun with our services we come off as a bunch of prigs, IMO." I'm not sure fun is what we're meant to be having - not that the eucharist cannot be lively, but how about "uplifting"?
As I see it, we Yanks "behave badly" and then wonder why others find they cannot take us seriously. <<

Hear, hear. It's hardly "priggish" to think that when Jesus instructed us to "Do this in remembrance of me," He probably didn't have the wearing of red clown noses and oversized shoes in mind as the "this" to which He was referring.

Clown Masses are gimmicky, trying-too-hard liturgy, but worse, they're bad theology too. Do we really mean to communicate that the work of the Cross and God's saving grace are like a circus? A joyous banquet, yes; but buffoonery?

It's not like it's just an inculturated Mass for Clown Americans, that uses Clown-American culture in order to convey the Gospel in culturally-fluent forms for Clown-American Christians.

Clown Masses may be rare, but they do call attention to a broader acceptance within TEC of liturgical experimentation that has theological implications either unintended or unapproved, from Kevin Thew Forrester's freewheeling tinkering with the baptismal rite to the not-at-all-uncommon encouragement of communion of the unbaptized to the famous summoning of the orishas at the Gaia Mass and, yes, the infamous Women's Eucharist incorporating raisin cake offerings (a direct referencing of offerings to Ishtar/Astarte condemned in the Hebrew Scriptures).

I'm another progressive Yank Episcopalian, and I second the notion that "we Yanks "behave badly" and then wonder why others find they cannot take us seriously." These departures from order may be rare (although, communion of the unbaptized is hardly rare, clear violation of the canons though it be), but they are sufficiently common and high-profile enough simply to play into the hands of the IRD folks and their allies.

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 4:21pm GMT

I have been an Episcopalian for 14 years. I have been a member of 4 parishes in that time, and visited probably at least a dozen others. I have never ONCE seen a "Clown Mass," experienced a Eucharist that didn't use the words of institution in the BCP, or had anything other than unleavened bread/wafers offered to me at the altar. (I will confess that one of my parishes used WHITE WINE for the chalice, but I'm not sure that's an offense against canon law, even if it is an offense against good taste and aesthetics.)

Davis--I am grateful that most sensible people do not judge who I am based on the silliest things I've done. I wish other Christians would be as gracious to the Episcopal Church as the people in my life---many of whom are not believers---are to me.

I was also taught that it isn't polite to keep reminding people of the mistakes they've made in the past---especially when they have acknowledged the error and tried to move on. Apparently certain of our Anglican brothers and sisters never learned that lesson.

Posted by Doxy at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 4:27pm GMT

karen macqueen+, I thought you made some great comments concerning Bishop Spong. Yes he has drawbacks, but I do think he is trying to ask questions that others seem afraid of. Maybe that’s the role of “heretics”. *grin* And I think he's deeply concerned that the evangelical/fundamentalist crowd wants to freeze Christianity in place, turn Sola Scriptura into bibliolatry that forces science to conform to it(Humans walked with dinosaurs! The Universe is only 6,000 years old! Fossils are God's trick on humans' curiosity!), and ultimately make Christianity an irrelevant, misogynist, homophobic fossil itself.
A little bit of synchronicity going on: I was also thinking about the Nicene Creed. The Episcopal church my partner and I sing in the choir of recites the Nicene Creed every Sunday. Recites the Apostles' Creed every Evensong. And I wonder, ... how many people in the pews have the foggiest notion what they're reciting? Why they’re reciting it? Fully understand what the Creeds mean? Recite it because, … why we've always recited it?
I'm no scholar by any means, but I bet that the Creeds were forged over time as a means of trying to determine for that time just who Jesus of Nazareth is, and what does it mean that he is the Son of God. But to recite something by rote, just because we've always done it, turns it into a memory exercise. So, yes, Bishop Spong has his weaknesses, but … Who is this person Jesus of Nazareth? Why should people follow him today? What do the ideas in the Creeds mean today?

Posted by peterpi at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 5:06pm GMT

peterpi, the best explanation I have read of the Nicene Creed and its practical ramifications for our faith today is "The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters" by the American Roman Catholic New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, a former Benedictine monk and priest. In the book, Johnson defends the Creed from attempts one the one hand to further restrict its parameters or on the other to dismiss it as irrelevant or arcane.

The Arian controversy and the ultimate prevalence of the orthodox party may seem distant to us now as we recite or chant these words week by week. Johnson lucidly explains the rationales behind the provisions of the Creed, line by line, and explains without jargon what they entail and what they negate. If you find yourself wondering one Sunday why we should care whether the Son was begotten or made, I can't recommend Johnson's book enough. In fact, I think I'll re-read it myself for Lent.

Posted by Geoff at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 6:00pm GMT

Doxy,

I can't speak for Geoff or BillyD, but in my view, though it is markedly unfair, this sort of reaction is sadly to be expected. In our day, no one lets anyone forget (nor forgives them) for past trespasses large or small. We need only look to the media - reasserter or reappraiser.

And, no, I've never been to a "clown mass" either, though I did have one near miss years ago. God is good. So I worry little about what these two "ambassadors" from the ABC might think.

Next time, they might want to get a closer view.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 6:09pm GMT

"Next time, they might want to get a closer view."

But there seems to be an inability to do just that by CoE functionaries, including the Top Man, who spent a year in DC holed up with the Jesuits to write his book. To my knowledge, and if anyone in that area knows better please correct me, he did not darken the door of one single TEC church for worship. Thus he missed a chance to experience the full range of TEC worship, from the nosebleed high regions of St. Paul's K Street to the freewheeling of St, Stepehen and the Incarnation [aka St. Stephen and the Insurrection] to the grandeur of National Cathedral, to chapel worship at VTS [Virginia Theological Seminary] to - well - DC and MD and VA suburbs have it all.

So much easier to stay above it all, in glorious ignorance.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 6:42pm GMT

'I have never ONCE seen a "Clown Mass"...'

I've never seen a train wreck, either, but I believe they happen.

Posted by BillyD at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 6:45pm GMT

Is the eucharist a celebration? We always say we are celebrating the eucharist, right? Since when can't a celebration involve a little joy, a little exuberance, a little playing around? One of the things I've discovered about Anglicans since I became one some 25 years ago is that we have a terrible tendency to take ourselves 'way too seriously at times.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 8:43pm GMT

I've always been taught that "open communion" meant that communion is available to anyone who wishes to receive it (either one or both elements) if they are Christians (of any denomination) who have been baptised (whether sprinkled or drowned, er, I mean immersed) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I'd be shocked that anyone would find that shocking.
I have attended several different Episcopal churches over the years and, like others, have never been told differently by any priest inviting people to come to the Lord's Table. This is contrasted to "closed communion" where communion can only be properly received by members of that church. Roman Catholicism for example. Possibly Eastern Orthodox churches, though I'm not sure.
If we are going to condemn an entire province over isolated examples, then even the mighty Church of England had better be prepared to be condemned and maligned. Oh, I'm sorry, I think that has already happened by the "more Anglican than the Archbishop of Canterbury" crowd.
As for raisin cake objections, I can understand the concern, but I've never seen anyone use matzoh as a communion host, and I suspect matzoh is a lot closer to what Jesus made blessing over and broke at the Last Supper than those instant-dissolving wafers of "bread" served at most churches. I've seen several websites that offer gluten-free hosts. They're made from potato starch and rice flour. Jesus may have known rice, and possibly eaten it during Passover, but he never saw a potato in his life. So, are gluten-free communion wafers verboten?

Posted by peterpi at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 8:46pm GMT

As a senior M.Div. Student at an Episcopal Seminary, I am greatly surprised to learn that we are out of the "creedal mainstream." The current creedal thinking of the Episcopal Church, as far as I know, is the creedal thinking of Nicea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon.
Joseph Farber, Sewanee, TN

Posted by Joseph Farber at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 10:12pm GMT

'Hear, hear. It's hardly "priggish" to think that when Jesus instructed us to "Do this in remembrance of me," He probably didn't have the wearing of red clown noses and oversized shoes in mind as the "this" to which He was referring.'

I've no idea. But in that case we must also doubt that he envisaged vestments, lace, ritual over much either,

red noses can I'm sure open new dimensions of experience, relating and worthship ... if not obstructed too vigourously.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 11:16pm GMT

I'm with peterpi on the 'open communion' question. It certainly is offered in our parish church - to 'All the Baptized', is the invitation made. We believe that if people from other Churches come to our Celebration of the Eucharist they need to be welcomed to share in that celebration with us.

This was the awful lack of manners which caused offence at the last Lambeth Conference (and since): by certain Bishops of the Communion who refused to share at the Eucharist with parts of the Body of Christ they found to be unworthy of their Fellowship - a dastardly slip, and an abuse of The Lord's hospitality, if ever there was one.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 11:45pm GMT

"I've always been taught that "open communion" meant that communion is available to anyone who wishes to receive it...if they are Christians (of any denomination) who have been baptised...in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

Correct. We haven't always practiced it; in the first part of the 20th century, "pan-Protestant" ecumenical gatherings would typically feature three Communion services: one for Episcopalians, one for Lutherans, and one for everyone else. Among Lutherans, I think that the ELCA practices it now, while WELS and LCMS do not.

"As for raisin cake objections..."

I believe that the "raisin cakes" used in the pagan liturgy were not baked goods, but made of raisins pressed together.

"...matzoh as a communion host, and I suspect matzoh is a lot closer to what Jesus made blessing over and broke at the Last Supper..."

Modern matzoh crumbles so easily, though, and would be a nightmare for the altar guild and celebrant. I've read that ancient matzoh was more like what we call pita bread, which you might have seen at Mass.

"So, are gluten-free communion wafers verboten?"

Here's what the Anglican Communion's Liturgical Department has to say about it:

http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/liturgy/docs/ialcreport.cfm

Posted by BillyD at Tuesday, 12 January 2010 at 11:54pm GMT

Correction: while the biblical precedent for the raisin cake may have been a mass of raisins pressed together, the one used in the Women's Ministries liturgy appears to have been a baked good, judging from this excerpt:

"Mother God, our ancient sisters called you Queen of Heaven and baked these cakes in your honor in defiance of their brothers and husbands who would not see your feminine face. We offer you these cakes, made with our own hands; filled with the grain of life--scattered and gathered into one loaf, then broken and shared among many. We offer these cakes and enjoy them too. They are rich with the sweetness of fruit, fertile with the ripeness of grain, sweetened with the power of love. May we also be signs of your love and abundance.""

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 12:31am GMT

BillyD, you're forgetting about U2charists, Hip-Hop Masses, Labyrinths and lest we not mention the charismaniacs' contribution of silliness (of which the troubles for the LGBT community festered from), Pentecost Sunday services with red balloons and champagne (Cold Duck I suspect)!

I'm sorry, after the Green Books, Zebra Books and Goundhog Books, I've gotten quite jaded to 'innovation'.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 12:32am GMT

On "Clown Masses" - I'm not sure if a clown mass is inevitably a crime against orthodoxy. I suspect that would depend on the details of the particular clown mass. I'm fairly certain they are a crime against good taste, but in gvstibvs, non est dispvtandem. In general, if something out of the ordinary about worship gets the attention of those who never come and makes those who do come think more deeply, it's likely a good thing - but not necessarily.

On "Open Communion" - Peterpi is correct that open communion is permitting other Christians to receive who are not members of that particular church or confession, in contrast to the practice among Romans and some protestant denominations of only allowing those who are "in communion" to receive.

This has effectively been standard Anglican polity since the early 1700s with the introduction of "occasional conformity," whereby dissenting protestants could still hold public office in England by "occasionally conforming" to the established church. (It effectively barred Roman Catholics from public office since their own rules would not permit it.)

That said, here in post-Christendom, unbaptized adults are far more common that they once were. I rather suspect that the communication of the unbaptized first arose with the application of an old practice in a new context.

Certainly communion of the unbaptized happens - sometimes knowingly and deliberately. However, it is still a violation of canons, even in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 1:10am GMT

peterpi, the problem with the raisin cakes isn't at all about the use of alternative materials for consecration as the Body of Christ. Iirc, this was a "Eucharist" without confection of the Body of Christ. Rather, the raisin cakes were basically to be offered to the Feminine Divine, and they themselves were being "reclaimed," explicitly citing the passage in Hebrew Scripture in which (as the liturgy characterized it) the men told the women to stop offering the raisin cakes to Ishtar. By "reclaiming" this practice, the liturgy went well beyond justifiably incorporating female/feminine imagery of God and instead expressly reinstituted a pagan practice honoring a specific goddess.

Btw, re "So, are gluten-free communion wafers verboten?": Not in Anglicanism, but certainly so in Roman Catholicism, FWIW; it it isn't wheat, it can't be used there.

As for "open communion": What we're talking about is not open communion - which is generally understood as what you explain - but rather the distinct practice of not merely permitting the unbaptized to receive communion if they present themselves for it, but actually explicitly inviting and encouraging unbaptized persons to receive along with everyone else. In defiance of the canons, it has become the practice I have observed at the majority of the TEC churches I've attended or visited in recent years. The invitations in these churches used to invite all baptized Christians to receive communion, and all persons not receiving communion to receive a blessing instead; now the standard invitation simply invites "all who seek Christ" to receive at "God's table, not any church's table," usually emphasizing this invitation by reference to "God's extravagant welcome" or "radical hospitality" -- the canons and sacramental theology be damned.

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 3:10am GMT

'I have never ONCE seen a "Clown Mass"...'

I've never seen a train wreck, either, but I believe they happen. - BillyD

I hope that BD was attempting a poor joke, or else he is so far off base in logic and equity as to be insulting to around 99.99% of Episcopalians.

What if some Episcopal parish preaches and worships more like Baptists; does that make the rest of us Baptists? I had the misfortune to find one rather like this near Tampa (Florida), this past October, but have found no other Episcopal parish like this.

And what if some Episcopal parish preaches and worships like a Roman Catholic parish out of the 1950's; does that make the rest of us Roman Catholics? Coming from a Roman Catholic background, I find that statistical aberration easier to take, so when I encountered this in San Diego in 1980, and in Portland (Maine) in about 1982, I was a bit surprised yet have found few parishes like those two. Even Smoky Mary's in New York did not seem to go as far in old Roman practices as those.

And what if the rector of some Episcopal parish is deceitful, and plays with schismatic forces, and tries to stack the decks of a vestry election (been there, seen that, in a former parish around 1979); does that mean that all rectors are untrustworthy, or are promoting schism in the Church?

I've been a member of seven parishes in my thirty-three years as an Episcopalian, and a communicant at about fifteen others across the USA during business and vacation travels. And, like the others whose comments you have denigrated, I also have never seen a "Clown Mass," nor, until this thread, even heard of one.

Now, I have heard of a Pirate Mass (though I don't know if they are real), and what I have read suggests that they would be very respectful of the liturgy, but simply use "pirate jargon and accents", such as:

Celebrant - The Lord Be With Thee, Aaaargh.

People - And Also With Thee, Matey.

So, BD, I will end my posting with: The Lord Be With Thee, Aaaargh.


Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 3:31am GMT

"But in that case we must also doubt that he [Jesus] envisaged vestments, lace, ritual over much either..." - Rev L Roberts

I don't know if you clicked on the link provided earlier by Martin Reynolds, on another thread, where you will see some lovely lace and more old Roman garb in one of our Episcopal parishes, St. Clement's in Philadelphia:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/saintclementsphiladelphia/sets/72157620945630082/

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 3:44am GMT

"...we must also doubt that he envisaged vestments, lace, ritual over much either,

"red noses can I'm sure open new dimensions of experience, relating and worthship ... if not obstructed too vigourously."

Both forms of drag say something theologically, as indeed does *any* type of clothing and dramatic performance. The "traditional" drag of vestments and ritual drama communicates a theology consistent with the Tradition. If it gets in the way for you, fine, then cast it aside; a Sydney-style jacket and tie is a different form of drag but still communicates respect and reverence. But clown drag communicates buffoonery, trivialization, and disrespect.

Heck, if "having fun" is really what the Eucharist is about, instead of any of that old-fashioned, priggish worship and sacrament stuff, bring on the go-go dancers and the rollerskaters and the fog machine and the laser lights, eh? Who needs Amen when you can have Woo-hoo! instead... Shall we ask Lady Gaga to preside, or be more traditional and go with Madonna?

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 3:50am GMT

Erika,
I agree with you. I don't think Bishop Spong is representative of TEC. But I think the conservatives have been able to make him into a billboard for everything that they perceive as wrong about TEC and liberalism (and he has been quite willing to revel in the attention). And in many cases, liberal bishops have not challenged Spong when he has stepped outside the creedal mainstream, giving the false impression that they agree with everything he says, at least not in any way that has attracted much attention. Without that responsible, well-reasoned, orthodox and progressive response to Spong, the conservatives have had plenty of ammunition with which to bombard (slander) TEC.

Geoff -- yes, I am at St. Philip's.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 4:09am GMT

My best guess is that the campaigning and false witness aimed at TEC will continue, right through the new covenant signing/adoption and afterwards. This scapegoating will get especially nasty and intense if/when the lesbian suffragan bishop in Los Angeles receives sufficient consents to be installed. All of that de facto puts all other Anglicans on notice, as it were, and that response or reaction will probably play heavy role in determining whether the TEC explusion/punishment proceeds, or not. I do not think even a full global majority needs to push back at the scapegoating and the false witness - when are over-simplifying and over-generalizing not fair markers of conservative Anglican realignment so far? - but instead, I think a vigorous minority resistance would slow down and moderate the punitive urges so enacted.

A long time ago in college workshops I heard people ask about the alleged Gay Agenda ... and it sums up in just about two basic themes. One, have legal and public policy equality (just pretty much as if one were straight). Two, get the continuing, positive support of one's family, friends, and allies.

We are no doubt stronger in common prayer when we hold together across Anglican differences. Stronger in service. Stronger in witness, despite the love affair with strict conformity which presently typifies Anglican realignment. A pressing hot button question really is whether or not we can successfully be pitted hard against each other, by signing or not signing the new covenant. That involves a low, mean view of the covenant.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 11:46am GMT

note to Doxy: there is no canonical rule about the color of the wine used at HC. Why do you find white wine in 'bad taste'? Do you think the wine should look like blood? ... and what about the bread then?? I'm asking in part because at the church where I served my title post, we had complaints every time we used white wine.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 12:40pm GMT

BillyD--is that kind of snide comment really the best you can do to address the point I was making? How disappointing...


"And in many cases, liberal bishops have not challenged Spong when he has stepped outside the creedal mainstream, giving the false impression that they agree with everything he says"

And yet, all those conservative bishops always had the opportunity to bring +Spong up on charges in the House of Bishops, but chose not to do so. If they were REALLY concerned about orthodoxy, they would have at least made the attempt. But the truth is that +Spong has always been a cash cow and an excellent whipping boy for them---and they weren't going to endanger that to "protect" the Church or the Gospel. It's all about power and winning...

Posted by Doxy at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 1:48pm GMT

For those uninitiated in the ways of the Clown Mass, here is Trinity Wall Street's Clown Eucharist; "you decide": http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/webcasts/videos/worship/special-worship-events/clown-eucharist

Not aware of any videos of the "Women's Eucharist" offering raisin cakes to the "Queen of Heaven," i.e., not the BVM but Ishtar (that was her title, and the references subverting the Hebrew Scriptures are clearly to the practices of the cultus of her worship). As BillyD noted, the raisin cakes are offered as follows to the conflation of (a) Ishtar/Astarte, the Queen of Heaven, with (b) Mother God:

"Mother God, our ancient sisters called you Queen of Heaven and baked these cakes in your honor in defiance of their brothers and husbands who would not see your feminine face. We offer you these cakes, made with our own hands; filled with the grain of life--scattered and gathered into one loaf, then broken and shared among many. We offer these cakes and enjoy them too. They are rich with the sweetness of fruit, fertile with the ripeness of grain, sweetened with the power of love. May we also be signs of your love and abundance."

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 2:11pm GMT

"I hope that BD was attempting a poor joke, or else he is so far off base in logic and equity as to be insulting to around 99.99% of Episcopalians...like the others whose comments you have denigrated, I also have never seen a "Clown Mass," nor, until this thread, even heard of one."

Jerry, my intent was to respond to what I believe is yet another bad thing about TEC: our sometime tendency to dismiss anything that happens outside our own parish or, for those who are really cosmopolitan, our own diocese, as irrelevant and unimportant. Or even nonexistent. We might want to rethink our name...something like The Parochial Church.

[Is the proper response to "The Lord Be With Thee, Aaaargh" "Aaaargh, and with thy spirit" or "And with thy spirit, Aaaargh"? The Pirate Eucharist, I understand, started out in a work of fiction, but was actually staged at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento in 2008. Of course, no one on TA was there or has even heard of it, so it's of no consequence...]

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 2:30pm GMT

Sara---yes, I think the symbolism of the red wine is important. Plus the white wine they chose in my parish was just awful. ;-)

I also prefer real bread rather than the little pieces of styrofoam. But it does make it hard on the priest and the altar servers to have to drink up the soggy remains from the chalice. Ugh.

Posted by Doxy at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 2:36pm GMT

"BillyD--is that kind of snide comment really the best you can do to address the point I was making? How disappointing... "

Just what was your point, Doxy? That Clown Masses are not being performed everywhere and all the time? No one has argued to the contrary. That it's not significant because you've never seen one?

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 2:55pm GMT

"And yet, all those conservative bishops always had the opportunity to bring +Spong up on charges in the House of Bishops, but chose not to do so. If they were REALLY concerned about orthodoxy, they would have at least made the attempt."

Right. The only bishop they charged with heresy was Bishop Righter, for ordaining a gay man. Using the disciplinary process wrongly, I would argue, makes using it for its intended purposes that much harder. Conservatives are just as responsible for what sometimes seems a lack of accountability in TEC as progressives are.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 3:30pm GMT

As we all know the churches of the provinces of the Anglican Communion are all the same and look the same in practice. Right! So the church I grew up in (I keep having to remember that I am now older than I think I am, so it was longer ago than I think!) you'd all (or even y'all would) recognise as part of the communion. NO candles on the communion table [they still choke on calling 'it' an 'altar', now it is usually the 'Holy Table'] or elsewhere in the church, unless to provide light (i.e. no electricity); bread-bread not wafers (very Orthodoxos but that wasn't the reason); and wine; celebration at the
North side.

The POSITIVE of the Anglican Communion is that when you go from somewhere like Lisbellaw to Williamsburg Va there was a pointer that took me to Bruton Parish; in Richmond Va there are possibilities, but St Luke's is [or at least was then] a difference from Bruton Parish and from St Gall's Carnalea and also from All Saints, St Andrews.

The outward things are different (so very different from the home-life of our dear queen) but the inward things that matter ARE the same.

Posted by Dion at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 5:51pm GMT

so BillyD, since you don't seem willing to let the clown masses drop and along with our friends at SFiF want to see someone pay for such a horrid abomination (even though you admit that clown masses are not the norm in TEC) what would make you happy?

For us to have the priests in question shot in a public square? For every single Episcopalian to wear sack cloth and ashes for a year to prove to you that we aren't so parochial that we can feel horrible overwhelming shame and guilt over a tiny thing at a parish 2,000 miles away from our home parish?

Would these things ease our obvious collective guilt? Or should we just dissolve the entire Episcopal Church and raze the buildings to the ground, making sure to salt the earth after us, to prove that we are so very very very sorry about the clown masses?

At what point can we just drop it and move on? At what point are you willing to forgive the Episcopal Church at large and each of us personally for the mistakes of a few priests in violating your personal standards of taste and your personal theological understanding? Please let us know what you expect from each of us, and from every single parish and diocese in this church, to make up for and wipe away the horrors of what is obviously the greatest church error of all time.

Sorry if the sarcasm is a bit heavy handed here but seriously, seriously, at what point can we drop it and quit the collective blame game???

Posted by Dennis at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 6:59pm GMT

Dennis wrote, “so BillyD, since you don't seem willing to let the clown masses drop..."

From my point of view, it's not so much that I'm unwilling to let the matter drop as it is that there are some posters who seem intent on denying that anyone ever misuses the liberty enjoyed by TEC, or that it doesn't matter because it doesn't happen in *their* neighborhood, or that it doesn't matter because you can't pop into your local parish for a raisin cake or a Speak Like a Pirate Eucharist, or that it doesn't matter because it took place more than four years ago, and that it's unfair that people outside TEC should notice these things, or disloyalty to TEC to acknowledge their existence. Your post (“guilt over a tiny thing at a parish 2,000 miles away from our home parish?”) is simply one more.

Our views of our Church naturally are mostly formed from our experience with our own communities. Outsiders, though, learn about us from other sources, and the more outré examples of liturgical or theological abuse are part of what come to their attention. It ill behooves us to act as if the domestic problems we ignore or dismiss don’t exist or are invisible.

As I said previously, these are not the most burning or important problems the Church is dealing with, but they and other “aberrations” do take place from time to time. And, contrary to Doxy’s early training (“I was also taught that it isn't polite to keep reminding people of the mistakes they've made in the past---especially when they have acknowledged the error and tried to move on”) we never do acknowledge the error. We just move on as if nothing happened at all. I don’t think that’s healthy.

YMM – and obviously does – V.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 8:14pm GMT

As much as I also tire with BillyD's harping being made here about "Clown Masses" and the like, the unfortunate fact remains that the build-up of change and innovation in the Episcopal Church over the past forty years has led to this horrible reaction to the right emancipation of LGBT (myself included) people in our denomination. It is the excesses of the past that have come back to haunt us with the reaction of the present.

If the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church were have to been more sensitive to the pastoral needs-especially liturgics-(after all, we are a liturgical and be definition an aesthetic religion) over these many years, then perhaps the foment over the worthy cause justice issue of SSM and full inclusion of the LGBT part of the church might not have happened.

It is never easy to take partial responsibility to another's reaction, and to do so outright is unhealthy co-dependence, but to ignore a legitimate need will ultimately result in the unleashing of anger as we have seen over these last few years.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 8:52pm GMT

Here is my interpretive dance of this thread:

Geoff says that some weird things have happened in TEC, and that it affects our international reputation.

Various posters do a pearl-clutch and question his truthfulness and/or sobriety.

I provide links showing that the weird things did, in fact, happen.

Various posters shrug, pointing out that they don’t happen everywhere and in all places.

I suggest that they are still a real (but relatively minor) concern.

Various posters respond that they’ve never seen the weird things happen, so (presumably) they do not happen at all or are completely meaningless.

To bring the matter to a close:

I recant, brothers and sisters! I admit it - no one connected with the Episcopal Church has ever committed any action that would cause anybody any alarm whatsoever,* at any time. Those who say otherwise are obviously lying, and agents of GAFCON. Just please, please don’t send me to re-education camp…

*unless they live in the (old) Dioceses of Fort Worth or Pittsburgh, of course.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 9:12pm GMT

Yeah, enough already BillyD! Give it a rest!

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 9:21pm GMT

@Dennis: I don't think BillyD seems unwilling to ''let it drop'' at all. I know I would be happy for the matter to have dropped entirely ages ago, but some seem to feel the need to perpetuate rancour by frenetically defending the Episcopal Church's honour - even though neither Billy nor I am calling it into question.

I'm sorry, I see that feelings are running high, but I fail to see anything controversial in saying that a) "aberrations" happen, and b) this is to be regretted, but c) it is not to be taken as an indictment of ECUSA's overall creedal orthodoxy. Can we move on please?

Posted by Geoff at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 9:49pm GMT

BillyD, I pleade temporary insanity for forgetting about how easily modern matzoh crumbles. I can see how that would be a problem at the celebration of the Eucharist. If Jesus fed the 5,000 with modern matzoh and a few fish, one sheet would have created enough crumbs to suffice!
Whoever mentioned pita bread I think is on the right track. Ancient peoples didn't have little packets of fast-acting yeast. They didn't know yeast existed. They made the bread dough, waited several hours, kneaded the dough again, waited some more and hoped and prayed that it would rise. Possibly by the time of the writing of the Exodus story, someone had figured out a starter culture, but nonetheless, it took a lot longer for bread to rise than it does today. So, I suspect that the Jews of Jesus' time made traditional flat bread (like pita) for Passover according to the usual methods, then baked it before the dough had a chance to rise.
Modern matzoh and other more historically recent Halachic (canonical) rules about unleavened products for Passover I bet came about after scientists discovered yeast and how yeast is the active ingredient in making bread rise. That, and the discovery of agents like baking soda and baking powder that have the same effect.
There is a Jewish rap song online about matzoh that has a line about matzoh tasting worse than the box it comes in. Believe me, for any reader here who has never experienced matzoh as made today (ingredients: flour, water), that's an accurate assessment.

Posted by peterpi at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 10:03pm GMT

"The "traditional" drag of vestments and ritual drama communicates a theology consistent with the Tradition. If it gets in the way for you, fine, then cast it aside; a Sydney-style jacket and tie is a different form of drag but still communicates respect and reverence. But clown drag communicates buffoonery, trivialization, and disrespect."

And your opinion wouldn't be *subjective* in the slightest, David dSC?

Good Lord, this is a dreary, self-serious thread. "Reverent Fun" is an oxymoron, apparently. And if irreverent fun ever happened ANYWHERE (in TEC, that is), it means there's constant irreverence EVERYWHERE!

Trying to prove the "Creedal Orthodoxy" (much less BCP---which one?---uniformity) of TEC to our Anglican Inquisitors, is a pointless "Have you stopped beating your wife?" game. {*} We lose by even playing it.

{*} I realize that, in some provinces of the AC, the above question is a simple Yes/No one, providing no conundrum. >:-/

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 13 January 2010 at 10:31pm GMT

A catastrophic earthquake in Haiti; war in Afghanistan; continuing economic misery in much of the world, and this thread goes on to 120 posts about "clown Mass" and raisin cakes for some kind of female deities.
How would you folks feel about astrological rituals held in the Vatican palace? (yes, it happened back 400 years ago, and for a long time, and the sun continues to rise every morning).

I think a little necessary perspective is in order.

Posted by Counterlight at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 12:33am GMT

Summing up, have we agreed on how many angels actually fit on the head of a pin?

Or are GAFCON angels superior to TEC angels, so that the actual number is less important?

Or would angels with oversized shoes and red noses take up more space, again changing the equation?

In the meantime, what will be done for a proper relief effort in Haiti?

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 2:52am GMT

I just took a second look at this TA posting (from this past Sunday) and noticed that it had attracted 119 comments. My goodness! So I read them. All.

"A Bridge Too Far" indeed!

Posted by Bill Moorhead at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 4:17am GMT

No one needs the Anglican Communion, and, indeed, it has become hazardous to our health.

God needs the AC? God doesn't even *need* us! That's why we say it is His Love that sustains us.

Whatever the Anglican Communion offered, it has died and rotted. Throw it on the compost pile to fertilize something better.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 8:13am GMT

The implied argument that the earthquake in Haiti should preclude discussion of lesser issues really is specious.

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 11:45am GMT

"The implied argument that the earthquake in Haiti should preclude discussion of lesser issues really is specious."

No it isn't...it's horrible and real, and you're basically being a B***chy old q***n. Sorry, I'm done defending you...get your priorities in order. If you feel the Episcopal Church has done itself in, then contribute to the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief and watch how alive the Church really is. The Real church that is...

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 1:28pm GMT

According to the “Anglican Journal” the Canadian house of bishops has agreed to send the Anglican covenant to the General Synod, which meets in June 2010, for “consideration”. The interesting thing is, the bishops could not agree to send the Covenant to the General Synod with the recommendation that it be adopted. This is a sign that lines of debate, pro and con, have formed within the ranks of the Bishops. In the past, the bishops voting as a separate order have been able to veto decisions agreed upon by the clergy and lay delegates. The bishops are able to block decisions, but what is crucial here, is that they cannot make things happen without getting the other “houses” lay/clergy delegates onside. So the fate of the covenant rests with, not only the Canadian House of bishops, but with the entire several hundred delegates to General Synod 2010. Delegates from several dioceses i.e., Montreal, Huron, Ottawa, and of course New Westminster, and likely a large segment from Toronto, will be very concerned about the Covenant because of the position they will be in if it is adopted. Look for lots of confusion on the floor as amendments to a Covenant that cannot be amended are attempted. The role of Rowan Williams will be interesting as well. No doubt he will manage to get himself or one of his envoys invited to Canada’s General Synod. No doubt he/they will bring the “dire consequences” speech to Canadians. The role of the Canadian Primate is one to watch as well. He seems to have a strong aversion to controversy, but is adept at “leading from the chair” in order to get the outcomes he wants. (He voted in favor of same sex blessings at the previous General Synod). He is now caught between not alienating members of his House who don’t want the covenant and delivering to the “gracious restraint” crowd. To complicate things, a recent national visioning exercise “Dream 2019” has, according to the Canadian Journal, documented the very deep polarization among Canadian Anglicans on the issues of gender and theology. The pastoral visitors to Canada, of course, had the coming General Synod before them when they prepared their report. It explains some of the content. If I were the wagering sort, I would be careful about the betting on a crystal clear outcome for the Anglican Covenant at the Canadian Synod. --Chuck Inglis, Canada
http://www.anglicanjournal.com/100/article/house-of-bishops-recommends-anglican-covenant-for-consideration-by-general-synod/?cHash=75e79f2014

Posted by Chuck Inglis at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 2:55pm GMT

Ahem.

The reason that the argument is specious is that Thinking Anglicans is not the national news, where, if the presenters focus on a lesser story (Tiger Williams' infidelity) they necessarily neglect another another one (the earthquake). We don't have a limited amount of time to fill here. Relief efforts for the earthquake do not grind to a halt because someone also takes time to discuss liturgical matters, or the Equality Bill before Parliament.

And, I might add, I forwarded generous donations to the American Red Cross and Episcopal Relief and Development. Yesterday.

I really think you owe me an apology.

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 2:57pm GMT

@choirboyfromhell

Please provide a citation for where BillyD has said that "the Episcopal Church has done itself in." Thank you.

Seriously, and we're the drama queens?

Posted by Geoff at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 3:03pm GMT

Far greater departures from Anglican belief and practice happen every day in Sydney than have ever happened in the U.S. or Canada, yet we seldom hear a word about them.

As for liturgical tackiness, yes, clown masses are silly, but how about those who drool and convulse on the floor and and somehow call themselves "orthodox"? One would have to get up real early in the morning to beat the charismatics when it comes to liturgical abominations.

Posted by JPM at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 3:30pm GMT

"I suggest that they are still a real (but relatively minor) concern."

So that's why you've made over 20 comments in this thread about them? Because they are a "relatively minor concern"?

Right.

Posted by Doxy at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 3:30pm GMT

"So that's why you've made over 20 comments in this thread about them?"

Doxy, the aberrations themselves are a relatively minor concern, yes. The resolute refusal to acknowledge their existence and the insistence that presenting any image of TEC as less than perfect is a traitorous attack on her -- that I find more troubling. Like I said, it's not healthy.

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 5:16pm GMT

BillyD you'll get an apology from me when you admit to making mountain out of a molehill over the liturgical practices of the Episcopal Church and damaging our aggregate cause for peace and justice issues. It is this very issue of dis-proportionate nit-picking that has seriously damaged the Episcopal Church, if not the Anglican Communion. You of all people should know this.

We might agree on the issue of liturgical correctness (I doubt on the churchmanship however) but your beating to death "clown masses" is a circus act in itself.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 5:28pm GMT

Geoff, do I have to call the folks over in Ohio City and order an "Etch-A-Sketch" and have it drawn for you?

Your obsession about the masses is self-evident.

Sorry, I don't have "collective amnesia", I know well the dumb decisions at 815 Second Avenue, but this harping here won't help, so wipe your nose with that lavender maniple and move on. Save it for the sacristy.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 6:21pm GMT

"Far greater departures from Anglican belief and practice happen every day in Sydney than have ever happened in the U.S. or Canada, yet we seldom hear a word about them." - JPM, on Thursday -

You are right, JPM. Things such as the movement for Lay Presidency at the Eucharist. The Abp. of Sydney really does prefer collar and tie to any sort of Eucharistic vestment.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 6:35pm GMT

"Ancient peoples didn't have little packets of fast-acting yeast. They didn't know yeast existed."

So how did they make beer in ancient Egypt? Don't you need that for brewing? I do know that beer was brewed in Egypt [primarily by women, I think], but not being a brewer myself, may have the yeast bit wrong. So I will escape the ongoing horrors in Haiti [I have contributed through Episcopal Relief and Development - very effective short [relief] and longtern [developement] aid and will work closely with the local Episcopal churhces and clergy.] and go to the web to learn about beer.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 6:36pm GMT

Look, me hearties, what was found on Treasure Island while I was bored this morning.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/

And someone on the comments found one.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 7:33pm GMT

From Chuck Inglis: "The role of Rowan Williams will be interesting as well. No doubt he will manage to get himself or one of his envoys invited to Canada’s General Synod. No doubt he/they will bring the “dire consequences” speech to Canadians."

During GC 2009, I understand that Rowan Williams "requested" a joint meeting of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies so that he could deliver his "dire consequences" speech. After some hours of discussion, the office of the Presiding Bishop, on behalf of the House of Bishops and the office of the President of the House of Deputies, on behalf of her House informed his Grace that there would not be sufficent time in the schedule of GC to arrange such a meeting. When RW requested to address each House separately, still no time could be found in the schedules of each House. It was utterly unprecendented that any bishop would address the Houses to threaten our Church with marginalization. As I understand it, RW left GC 2009 earlier than he had planned and, as I saw him leave, he clearly appeared to be in a grumpy mood.

Frankly, many of us in TEC do not want to hear any more from RW. As a Canadian myself, raised in the Diocese of Niagara, I think my fellow Canadians may be too polite to respond to RW in the same way that I understand GC 2009 did. But, I heartily recommend it. The ABC should not be travelling to other provinces to threaten them with marginalization in the Communion.The only authority that RW could have is moral authority, and he trashed that long ago.

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 8:08pm GMT

There is extensive history to the decision of GC 2009 to decline the request of the ABC to address our General Convention in order to deliver his "dire consequences" speech. So-called Global South Primates began to intervene and establish parishes in the United States five years before Gene Robinson was consecrated. RW was singularly unhelpful in responding to requests from American bishops to assist with this problem. RW presided over Primates meetings where the Primates made demands of the House of Bishops of TEC that would have subverted our polity and which they had no authority to make. RW commissioned the Windsor Report and then treated the report as if it were some sort of authoritative document setting boundaries for the provinces of the Communion. He came to the US on his sabbatical at Georgetown, where he worshipped with the Jesuits and did not enter any Episcopal church, so far as anyone can tell. RW has refused to meet with progressive bishops in TEC, including my bishop, the bishop of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in our Church, while finding time to meet more than once with Robert Duncan and David Anderson, who were actively working to dismember TEC. After much pleading from our House of Bishops, RW acceeded to their request to attend a House of Bishops meeting, ostensibly to listen to our bishops explain their points of view. Instead of listening, RW spent much of the time lecturing our bishops and making comments about deficiencies in the ecclesial role of bishops in TEC, at one time remarking that it was questionable if our polity was truly "Anglican." RW issued a published response to a letter from Bishop John Howe of Central Florida stating that the primary ecclesial relationship in the Anglican Communion is between a diocesan bishop and the ABC, as if TEC and the General Convention were merely functional organizations. RW refused to invite Bishop Robinson to Lambeth, while lamenting the absence of the Primate of Nigeria who had publicly called for the jailing of LGBT persons who assembled to advocate for their civil rights. After a week of "Indaba" at Lambeth, where the assembled bishops seemed to move towards a shared view of unity in diversity and the need to understand better each other's contexts for ministry, RW directed the second week towards his Covenant, which would marginalize provinces if they did not conform to the most conservative position on LGBT persons in the Church.

We all know too well RW's performance on the matter of the right to life, human dignity, and participation in the Church of LGBT persons. He is clearly opposed to executing them. Other than that, his views vanish in a fog of obscurities, while his behavior is consistently opposed to LGBT persons. It seems clear that RW has decided to sacrifice LGBT persons to his dream of an international Anglican Church, even though it is now well known that LGBT persons are suffering in many countries with the active support for their oppression by their own Anglican Churches. RW presides over a Church, the CofE, where many gay and lesbian priests are actually afraid to come out. Prominent bishops in the House of Lords are currently arguing for extensive exemptions to the Equalities Bill to allow the CofE to continue to discriminate against LGBT persons in hiring.

This man is a hot mess.

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 8:26pm GMT

"...and damaging our aggregate cause for peace and justice issues."

Beg pardon?

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:19pm GMT

"So how did they make beer in ancient Egypt?"

From what I understand, they made it using bread.

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:23pm GMT

"Sorry, I don't have "collective amnesia"..."

Now you *are* being unfair. The collective amnesia bit is from my blog, not Geoff's.

"so wipe your nose with that lavender maniple"

And rose is not anywhere close to lavender. It's really more of a salmon shade: http://saintbedestudio.blogspot.com/2009/12/rose-by-any-other-name-but-pink.html

Sorry if pointing this out damages our aggregate cause for peace and justice issues...

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:34pm GMT

According to my deep deep research via Google, yes indeed you use yeast in the production of beer. In fact, if I got the dates right, when the children of Israel whined to Moses about missing the "garlic, onions, and leeks" of Egypt, they might have added "and beer to wash it down with." Perhaps that bit was edited out.

In the meantime, and seriously, prayers for the people of Haiti and those trying to help them. If you want to help materially, I recommend Episcopal Relief and Developement, which I'm sure you can find by Google. They will go in to address immediate needs of food, shelter, water, medecine, and, more importantly, stay, if need be for years, helping with infrastructure. They have a bery low overhead, and have he advantage of being able to consult the Episcopal Church in Haiti for firsthand knowldge of needs.

Finally, I heard the Rev. Pat Robertson explain that to get rid of the French, the Haitians made a pact with the devil, that they would worship him, and Satan agreed, but also decided that they would be subject to hurricanes, crop failures, etc etc etc. Do you English have evangelnuts this bad? He has hisown radio and tv stations and a "university" in Va Beach. Our soon to be GOP governor went to law school there.

Now it's martini time.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:46pm GMT

This thread has not been a very uplifting read.

Having heard about "clown masses" and "having fun," and raisin cakes (baked by what appear to be witches for witches?), I can only ask whether enough of us - conservative and liberal - remember that we celebrate the Eucharist in the presence of our Lord?

Does "having fun" and "pushing the envelope" improve the liturgy which we perform in worshipping the God who is depicted as hanging in agony from a cross in so many (most) of our churches?

It's not about us. It's about Him.

Oh ... and while I'm about it -

Blow Bishop Spong and his clever questions. You don't have to be a modernist to accept the ordination of women and the full inclusion of gays and lesbians into the life and work of the church.

Nor do you have to be a ruddy theologian to make sense of, and draw comfort from, the creeds.

William

Posted by William at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 10:24pm GMT

" So-called Global South Primates began to intervene and establish parishes in the United States five years before Gene Robinson was consecrated. RW was singularly unhelpful in responding to requests from American bishops to assist with this problem." - Karen McQueen, on Thursday -

Karen, let's be fair here. Archbishop Rowan Williams was not made ABC until 2002, and was therefore not in a position - at the beginning of the invasions of foreign prelates into the ES and Canada "five years before Gene Robinson was consecrated" quote - to interfere at the outset.

In fact, it was the then ABC, George Carey, who did absolutely nothing about these breaches of etiquette on the part of foreign prelates in their continuing culture of illicit interventions in the USA and Canada. Even though the ABC would have no actual 'power' to intervene. Bp. Carey was not known to have even raised any protest.

It would have taken some sort of 'Palace Revolution' (very 'un-English') to overcome the damage done to the Communion by Bishop Carey's encouragement of the anti-Gay activities of the Global South Primates, which had already wreaked their havoc in the Communion before Gene was episcopally ordained in TEC. Let the blame rest where it originated.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 10:44pm GMT

@choirboyfromhell

The only one making a mountain out of a molehill is you. I *noted* the Clown Masses, and for you that translates into "beating to death" an "obsession." Anything short of unmitigated praise for the Episcopal Church (which, if it needs to be said again, I dearly love and hope to share the Communion with for years to come) is sacristy backbiting to you.

There are plenty of people who devote their blogging to undermining the Episcopal Church, but for the most part, they don't post here at TA. If you are convinced that there can be nothing in between, then I guess there's nothing left for us to say to one another. Here in Canada, the right to kvetch about our church is the ninth sacrament, following coffee!

Oh, and lest anyone be deceived into reading a lack of depth into my blog title: I think that having an unbaptised person as Bishop of Utah, and "receiving" Christians from Protestant churches without confirmation, are of far more concern than whether Father or Mother wears a maniple and faces east or not. And of course, my sorrow over the Anglican Church of Canada's historic mistreatment of Aboriginal people in its care outstrips all of the above. I don't intend by merely talking about second- and third-order issues to deny that they are such.

Posted by Geoff at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 10:50pm GMT

"an unbaptised person as Bishop of Utah"

Can't it be assumed that the deficiency in Bishop Tanner's LDS "baptism" was made good by divine oikonomia at her confirmation?

""receiving" Christians from Protestant churches without confirmation"

I wasn't aware of this. Can you give an example?

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 11:25pm GMT

Cynthia, as awful as Pat Robertson is, I haven't yet heard him say that gay men are inhabited by rectal demons that cause floods, so I don't think the English really have any room to talk about our nutty fundamentalists.

While we are on the subject of bad liturgy, here is Martyn Minns, ventriloquist and all around arbiter of orthodoxy, turning the Holy Eucharist into an old-fashioned hootenanny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X6th4pQTq8

I can't really see that a clown mass is much worse than this.

Posted by JPM at Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 11:28pm GMT

To answer both of your questions, BillyD: Title 1, Canon 17, section 1, does not appear to require that those who do not have episcopal confirmation receive it when entering the Episcopal Church. In fairness to ECUSA, however, their rite of reception does require the episcopal laying on of hands, unlike ours in Canada, where priests not in episcopal orders have been known to administer the rite of reception to incoming members from non-Lutheran Protestant denominations. (Mind you, I would have no problem with allowing priests to confirm with episcopally-consecrated chrism, but that's another story).

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 12:31am GMT

Two borrowed thoughts on traditional vestments versus clown suits at the altar:

JULIUS: Open the door, will you? at least, if you can. And if you were really doing
your job, it should have been open long ago, and decorated with all the heraldry
of heaven.
PETER: Pretty lordly. But first tell me who you are.
JULIUS: As if you couldn't see for yourself.
PETER: See? What I see is new to me, like nothing I ever saw before, and I
might say monstrous.
JULIUS: But if you're not stone-blind, you're bound to recognize this key, even if
you aren't familiar with the golden oak tree. You can certainly see my triple
crown, as well as my cloak all gleaming with gold and gems.
PETER: That silver key of yours I do recognize, though there's only one of them,
and it's very different from those that were given to me long ago by the one true
shepherd of the church, that is, Christ. But that glorious crown of yours, how
could I possibly recognize it? No tyrant ruling over barbarian peoples ever
ventured to wear one like it, much less anyone who came here asking for
admission. Your cloak doesn't impress me either; for I always used to consider
gold and jewels as trash to be despised. But what does this amount to really? In
all this stuff-the key, the crown, the cloak-I recognize marks of that rascally cheat
and impostor who shared a name with me but not a faith, that scoundrel Simon
whom I once flung down with the aid of Christ.
JULIUS: Enough of these jokes, and watch yourself; for I, if you don't know, am
Julius of Liguria, and I don't doubt you recognize these two letters P. M., unless
you've forgotten how to read.
PETER: I expect they stand for "Pestiferous Maximus."
– Erasmus, Julius exclusius (1514)
http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/lansing/classes/hist4b/materials/Week7.pdf

How difficult it is to form a true judgment with nothing but external appearances as a guide, [the Prophet] Elijah proved to Rabbi Baroka. They were once walking in a crowded street, and the Rabbi requested Elijah to point out any in the throng destined to occupy places in Paradise. . . . Elijah designated two men to whom a great future was assigned in Paradise. Yet these men were nothing more than clowns! They made it their purpose in life to dispel discontent and sorrow by their jokes and their cheery humor, and they used the opportunities granted by their profession to adjust the difficulties and quarrels that disturb the harmony of people living in close contact with each other.
– Louis Ginzberg, The Legend of the Jews
http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/loj/loj408.htm

Posted by Steve Lusk at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 12:37am GMT

From karen macqueen+ “Frankly, many of us in TEC do not want to hear any more from RW. … I think my fellow Canadians may be too polite to respond to RW in the same way that I understand GC 2009 did. … The ABC should not be traveling to other provinces to threaten them with marginalization in the Communion.”
Thanks for the interesting analysis of RW’s visit to GC 2009. This is one Canadian who doesn’t want to hear anymore from RW either. The report of the “pastoral visitors” to The Canadian bishops is equally aggravating. They certainly have a strange way of going about “conflict resolution”. In fact, instead of reporting to Williams, genuine conflict resolution would be more inclusive i.e., include Williams as part of the problem.

Posted by Chuck Inglis at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 1:56am GMT

Well, well, well.

That Williams person really has done quite well. All it takes is sending his "observers" - and why does the name Dolores Umbridge come to mind? - his "observers" to Canada, and he's already got us attacking one another.

Our weakness: arguing over idiotic minutiae and a determined inability to let it drop.

I can tell a group of fellow "liberals" "Good morning!" and I'll immediately receive a verbal dissertation on the sexist nature of such a greeting, at least 10 different complaints that it is not a "good" morning at all, three or four scattered in the audience who felt that I was greeting everyone but *them*, and the remainder arguing the origin of both the words "good" and "morning" as a sign of their excellent education. What might've been accomplished after that simple greeting will have died.

This is a microcosm of what our leadership is doing. Have fun.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 5:14am GMT

Cynthia Gillett, I believe BillyD is on the right track regarding on how beer was made. Both Egyptians and Babylonians were prodigious consumers of beer, according to ancient written accounts. They called beer “liquid bread”. So I suspect the ancient stuff was closer to soupy mush than the beer made today. The laborers on the pyramids received a daily beer ration. No, beer, no work.
Yeast has been around forever. It's in the very air around us. Humanity was growing wheatand barley long before bread came into existence. So, I speculate that different people at different times figured out the following: Wheat is good. Grinding wheat, adding water, and making it into dough is good. Baking the dough is good. Now, imagine someone leaving dough around a while before getting around to consuming it or baking it. Wild yeast in the air settled on the dough, began eating the carbohydrates in the dough and creating alcohol and carbon dioxide. The dough starts to rise. Rather than be scared out of their wits, someone figured why waste good dough and baked it. Voila! Bread! Imagine (how this happened I can't begin to guess) the raw dough was soaked in water. After several hours, maybe days, voila! Beer!
So, yes, ancient peoples didn't know about yeast, but the yeast was around them. Once some courageous individuals realized that this strangely rising dough created fantastic stuff like bread and beer, add decades of time, and people figured out how to routinely repeat the process.

Posted by peterpi at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 6:37am GMT

William,

I’m not advocating that there should be clown churches or habitual clown worship. But I really don’t see why the occasional fun worship should be wrong. Yes, it is about our Lord, but he is with us in the fullness of life, in sorrow and in joy, in laughter and in tears. He’s not just in a quiet corner of the church waiting for us to be all hushed and reverend and overawed. If we think that he would mind the occasional joyful celebration of what he has done for us, we’ve probably already made him too small.

JMP,

Absolutely, we have completely nutty fundamentalists too. The question I’ve been asking yesterday is whether people actually take Pat Robertson seriously, and a lot of Americans told me that, apparently, they did. Whereas here, these wingnuts are derided and laughed at in every newspaper and usually not reported on television. Their views must have some following, but it is no more than very marginal.
I hope that most Americans only laugh at nonsense like that?

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 8:38am GMT

"I hope that most Americans only laugh at nonsense like that?"

Unfortunately, few televangelists ever go broke overestimating the stupidity and gullibility of the American public.

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 1:50pm GMT

Erika Baker, regarding the status of Pat Robertson in the US: He is a paradigm evangelical, and still politically quite powerful.

As a matter of fact, the Bishop of Central Florida, John Howe, is a long-time supporter of Pat Robertson. +Howe even participated in a somewhat peculiar laying-on of hands ceremony Robertson underwent, sometimes referred to as his "reconsecration."

This is the same Bishop Howe ++Rowan has invited to detach himself, with his diocese (a melange of similarly "orthodox" views) and join himself directly to the Anglican Communion.

Well, judging by this board, none of this is any concern, next to...oh, I'm so tired of it all. I'm so tired of the sickness and dysfunctionality witnessed by the TEC-attacking posts on this board. I think, though, that many of you now understand the kinds of abuse and sheer nastiness that American Episcopalians have had to suffer for years from these people. We've had no help whatever from the rest of the Communion. Indeed, most of the rest of the Communion has been glad to aid and abet their jackal-like behavior as they tear apart the Bride of Christ and rend it with their teeth. Well, they will do the same to you, once they've finished with us in America.

Thank the dear God I no longer worship at a church with any connection to this miserable Anglican Communion. I advise all my fellow Episcopalians -- but I said I wasn't going to say any more of that. Perhaps, now, you see my point of view?

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 2:04pm GMT

@Erika:

Far be it from me to suggest that worship cannot or ought not be fun, but as BillyD has already pointed out to you, that which we are for shorthand calling a Clown "Mass" doesn't actually involve consecration of the elements. I don't know anything about the context or rationale for Clown Masses, and I'm sure whoever came up with them did so in a sincere spirit of reverence and desire to adapt the Eucharist to the local community. But I would hope that if I were to find myself in such a liturgy on a Sunday morning, I would have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament, and not just to share a meal of unconsecrated bread and wine left over from the props of a pantomime.

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 5:15pm GMT

"Thank the dear God I no longer worship at a church with any connection to this miserable Anglican Communion.I advise all my fellow Episcopalians..."

So you don't worship at an Episcopal parish?

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 6:01pm GMT

"I think, though, that many of you now understand the kinds of abuse and sheer nastiness that American Episcopalians have had to suffer for years from these people." - Charlotte

"Now"? I don't know about anyone else at TA, but certainly I was highly distressed by the predictable, tedious, frivolous, and disingenuous attacks perenially made against the Episcopal Church long before I started participating in discussions on this site.

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 7:10pm GMT

Moreover...

"...abuse and sheer nastiness..."

Just out of curiosity, Charlotte: how would you characterize the tenor of your own contributions to this thread?

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 8:26pm GMT

I do not, thanks be to God. I am a third-generation cradle Episcopalian who cannot worship in the Diocese of Central Florida. I worship at my local ELCA parish, with which the Episcopal Church is in full communion. It is a delight to worship there after the miseries of attempting to remain an Episcopalian in the Diocese of Central Florida.

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 9:19pm GMT

And yes, BillyD and Geoff, I could go on and on about what the so-called "reasserter," so-called "orthodox" Diocese of Central Florida is really like. It's a nasty place. There's the neglect of the Book of Common Prayer and the bishop-mandated "blended music" PowerPoint services. There's the prosperity gospel-asserting clergy with their claimed miracle-working powers. These talk endlessly about "power" and how to get it, "spirits," and how to make them work for you (and, of course, they never stop bashing the gays), to the neglect of the Sacraments and the real gospel message -- yet the clergy claim to be Scriptural fundamentalists. It's like nothing I'd ever experienced in any Episcopalian or Anglican church.

The diocese refused (until publicly shamed into doing so) to contribute to the Millenium Development Goals. Their clergy do nothing -- literally nothing -- to contribute to the relief of poverty, homelessness, and hunger in their own back yards, though they are in one of the most economically challenged, foreclosure-ridden parts of Florida.

And there's worse: the endless backbiting, rumor-mongering, slandering, and heavy-handed intimidation engaged in by the tiny group of "orthodox" who control the Diocese of Central Florida. Everyone there lives in fear.

But BillyD and Geoff, you two are pretty good examples of the "reasserter" mindset and code of conduct, and you are doing an excellent job of setting it forth to the rest of the word. So I think others can judge by your examples what it would be like to be in a diocese controlled by people who thought and acted the way you do.

Now as for me, I left the sickness of this so-called "reasserter," so-called "orthodox" faction behind, and moved to a healthy church with which we Episcopalians are in full communion. It was a painful decision -- I am, after all, a third-generation cradle Episcopalian -- but I am very glad I did.

I recommend this to everyone. Leave behind the Communion controlled by the "reasserters" and join with healthy churches worshipping and serving Christ in a healthy, mainstream way.

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 10:36pm GMT

"I worship at my local ELCA parish..."

I completely understand. I can imagine there are several places in the US where I would rather go to the local ELCA franchise than an Episcopal one.

"But BillyD and Geoff, you two are pretty good examples of the "reasserter" mindset and code of conduct..."

Charlotte, you either do not understand what real "reasserters" believe, or what Geoff and I have been saying. Seriously.

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 11:31pm GMT

Many thanks for this. The wisdom of Judaism at hand to help, and encourage us-- and raise a smile at the ways of truth and love among us.

'How difficult it is to form a true judgment with nothing but external appearances as a guide, [the Prophet] Elijah proved to Rabbi Baroka. They were once walking in a crowded street, and the Rabbi requested Elijah to point out any in the throng destined to occupy places in Paradise. . . . Elijah designated two men to whom a great future was assigned in Paradise. Yet these men were nothing more than clowns! They made it their purpose in life to dispel discontent and sorrow by their jokes and their cheery humor, and they used the opportunities granted by their profession to adjust the difficulties and quarrels that disturb the harmony of people living in close contact with each other.
– Louis Ginzberg, The Legend of the Jews
http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/loj/loj408.htm

Posted by: Steve Lusk on Friday, 15 January 2010 at 12:37am GMT

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 15 January 2010 at 11:55pm GMT

With all due respect - to both my colleagues in TEC and the Aglican Church of Canada - all this talk of CLOWNS has not much to do with the issue at hand. Whether or not the Anglican Church of Canada will be prepared to resist the ABC or his delegates in any move to address the upcoming Covention of the A.C.of C. in 2010 on the move to establish the Covenant is so much more important that quarrels over liturgical niceties - with or without clowns or charismatic fallings-down or
other carrying on.

It would be heartening to others of us in the Anglican Communion around the world - who applaud the prophetic stance of both TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada in their treatment of women and the LGBT community in the Church and the World - to believe that the next Canadian Convention could be free from foreign intervention as it debhates the merits or otheswise of the proposed Communion Covenant.

To renege on the A.C.of C.'s Gospel commitment to Same-Sex Blessings and the Ordination of Gays would be seen by many of us in the Communion as a retrograde step, which would set back the tone of inclusivity to the tenor of Uganda's proposed legislation against homosexuals and their families in that unenlightened and seriously compromised part of the Communion.

A Loss Of Nerve now, at this crucial point in our outreach to Women and Gays in the Church would be a sad reflection on the Church's irrelevance to the real needs of today's inclusive ethic.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 12:07am GMT

Oh, BillyD, I understand only too well what you and Geoff have been DOING. It's a very familiar scenario to me. You have been acting as agents provocateurs for the radical reasserter right, hoping to harass, disturb, break up and render useless a favorite internet gathering place for "the other side." Your crowd used to do it to liberals and moderates in the Diocese of Central Florida all the time. I suppose you think of it as Christianity in action, because, of course, you are right and we are heretics, so you feel justified in doing anything at all to us.

Both of you had all the signs, from your very first posts, of agents provocateurs. The "I am one of you" mask you both assumed, to accompany the faux-naif repetition of the nastiest stuff you could dig up about the Episcopal Church, repetition ad nauseam if it stuck, quick abandonment and shifting the attack if it didn't -- all straight out of the radical right playbook.

Not to mention your weasel-word responses to other people's sincerely-meant replies. In fact, most of the people here replied to your scurrilous posts as if you were honest, sincere, and attempting to dialogue. I knew what you were from the beginning.

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 12:59am GMT

Is anyone else tired of the childish temper tantrums and the thin-skinned hysteria?

Charlotte et al, Geoff and BillyD made some comments about irregular things that have happened in the Episcopal Church. THAT'S ALL.

The only place that they "attacked" the Episcopal Church was in your fertile and overactive imaginations.

Their progressive bona fides are at least as good as yours.

I recommend spending siome time trying to tell the difference between friends and foes because treating your friends like you have hear will result in damned few of them.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 3:09am GMT

Charlotte,

As *frequently* as I disagree with BillyD on his personal views, he is not a Reasserter. Truly. This I can assure you.

Geoff is a new voice to me, but, I think he may have simply made a rather ham-handed entry into the conversation.

I can understand what both are saying: the liturgical "abuses" which they enumerate have happened, and those "abuses" - though very few - have been used to make political hay by our adversaries.

I can understand what *you* are saying, as well: these events are very few in number, and we have learned, by hard experience, that taking too much of a hardline on these issues results in the flourishing of exactly the mentality you find yourself surrounded by in Central Florida.

This was my point. We are all sore and weary from defending ourselves against the wolves in our midst, defensive from Canterbury's betrayal, jaded by the lack of response and support from our assumed allies, particularly those in power.

It's this that is being manipulated, to keep us antsy and irritable and touchy so that we don't present a united front.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 4:57am GMT

Thank you, Mark and Fr Malcolm.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 12:38pm GMT

Charlotte, your post of 12:59 sounds positively paranoid.

It seems to me odd that someone who writes as you do of an entire diocese being so outside the mainstream of Anglican faith and practice that she cannot bear to worship with them any longer should hold such caustic views of people who point out, as Fr Malcolm says, a couple of irregular things. When you blast your home diocese it's proof of your heroic faithfulness to the Episcopal Church, but when someone else alleges a flaw in TEC's action it's treason?

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 1:12pm GMT

Not everyone is your enemy, Charlotte. Why do you treat people like they are? All Geoff and BillyD have done is point out some of the more questionable things that have happened liturgically over the years. Similar things have probably happened in any other province of the AC - I'm sure they have in the CofE too!

This board could have been a reasonable discussion of those questionable things. But you seem to interpret anything anyone says on Thinking Anglicans as a personal attack on the Episcopal Church or on you, and you've offended a fair few people in the process.

Posted by Nick Lincoln at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 1:38pm GMT

Malcom,+, Mark Brunson, I can accept what you say (though, Malcolm+, if you think the Episcopal Church is being attacked only in my imagination, you are not aware of the real situation). If Geoff and BillyD are sincere, not "plants" or agents provocateurs, then I owe them an apology.

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 2:19pm GMT

Nick Lincoln, would that these things are being discussed as you say, reasonably, with an intent to amend the failings of our friends, and with due attention to the logs in our own eyes!

They are not discussed this way. They are used. They are used to attack and discredit the Episcopal Church in the eyes of other member churches. They have been used for years upon years with exactly this purpose in mind. The people who do this (e.g. at Stand Firm!) have backgrounds in public relations and political campaigning. They know exactly what they are doing.

Please try to realize this. It will help a great deal. When people sail in, swinging in all directions, repeating a few discreditable incidents over and over, as if they were the truth and the whole truth about one of the member churches in the Communion, while admitting no failings in their own churches -- well, yes, I do think they are attacking, and I do think they are motivated in their attacks.

If you are offended by this, Nick Lincoln, I am sorry. I think, for my part, that it's time you woke up to what has actually been going on.

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 3:40pm GMT

BillyD, your choice was to use a few incidents to discredit all moderate and liberal Episcopalians nationwide, ignoring the overwhelming amount of testimony that such incidents are uncommon.

The Diocese of Central Florida, on the other hand, is a 100% reasserter, orthodox diocese. It's exactly the sort of place reasserters love. It's a good example of the sort of church reasserters want to have, once they have finished driving out all the moderates and liberals.

As for how it operates -- I have not exaggerated. Check with any of the other moderates or liberals who have flooded out of the place. If there are any left in the diocese, they keep very quiet! It's a dreadful place and known as such nationwide.

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 3:47pm GMT

So, now that we are all calming down, and recognize that foolish and distorted comments were made and then led to a cascading of hyperventilation on all sides, perhaps we should focus on what Father Smith said at 12:07 GMT today.

For my part, I am concerned at the lack of cohesion of the Global North (ex-CofE, for now) as these assaults on TEC and ACofC continue. That many of them are presently coming from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury is very disturbing, but when I do not see any sensitive and strong responses I am even more concerned.

One could take some of the comments related to the "visitation" as designed to sow discord between TEC and ACofC.

So, why is there not a better coordination among Scottish Episcopal Church, and Wales, and Ireland, and ACofC, and TEC, as well as some other southern provinces really aligned with the Global North?

Why do we all allow a "divide and conquer" assault strategy to succeed by our limp and passive lack of response and failure to coordinate?

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 4:28pm GMT


"Where Charity and Love are: there is God". AMEN

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 8:33pm GMT

Yes Charlotte, you owe both BillyD and Geoff an apology. They are neither one Reasserters.

karen macqueen+ actually the largest diocese in TEC is the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, which with more than 180,000 members is more than double the population of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The bishop of Utah was baptized in water by full immersion when she was eight years of age with these words;
N, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
The intention was to baptize her into the Church of Christ Jesus, so I am dumbfounded that anyone would consider her unbaptized, regardless that it was done through the LDS Church.

Posted by David | Dah•veed at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 9:56pm GMT

I have not been offended Charlotte.

I like this beautiful quotation by artist Bo Bartlett about his sensibility.

"From the smallest particle to the largest galaxy the mystery is great and I am awed by it. I have no need to name it, to quantify it, to sum it up. If I attempt to address it in my work sometimes, it is not from a dogmatic point of reference..'

Inspiring thoughts ..

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 10:42pm GMT

"Geoff is a new voice to me, but, I think he may have simply made a rather ham-handed entry into the conversation."

I may have been naïf in omitting to offer a disclaimer to the effect that my criticism is limited in scope and located within the context of a relationship of unimpeded full communion. (What I meant to convey, with respect to the bishop's comment, was in effect: Episcopal polity messy; bears excrete in woods. Film at 11). Unfortunately, such a preamble has become perhaps more necessary in the polarized climate in which we find ourselves.

Posted by Geoff at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 11:02pm GMT

Geoff, thank you for the explanation, which helps a great deal. Again, I apologize for my assumptions about you. Deep breath.

(But you say that bears excrete in the woods? Now that's a shocker! Where's Smokey the Bear? Why isn't he looking into this?)

Posted by Charlotte at Saturday, 16 January 2010 at 11:46pm GMT

"so I am dumbfounded that anyone would consider her unbaptized, regardless that it was done through the LDS Church."

I first heard of it in the context of Eastern Orthodoxy. A Greek priest who used to serve in Utah told me that the Orthodox used to receive LDS converts by chrismation, but LDS theology set off warning bells to him and other local clergy. On the occasion of a visit by some prelate or other, the local clergy arranged for him to take a tour of the LDS Visitor Center. After the tour, the policy was immediately changed, and converts were received by baptism. I believe that the RCC receives them by conditional baptism.

The problem is their view of the Trinity, which puts them squarely outside orthodox Christian thought. In their teaching, God the Father used to ba a human being, but was such a great human being that he got to be God. God the Father has a body of flesh and blood. He and Mrs. God produced every soul that has ever existed; these were later incarnated to become us; Jesus is literally our older brother. The Holy Spirit is an entirely separate entity, lacking a body. When Mormons speak of the Godhead, they really mean something like a committee.

The thought is that although they use Trinitarian language, what it describes is something entirely different than the Christian conception of the Trinity, and this (the argument goes) makes their baptism invalid.

There is a theological concept called oikonomia, or economy, as opposed to a strict approach to the rules. I'm not an expert on economy, but I know that it allows some Orthodox who do not recognize *any* non-Orthodox sacraments (and there are some of that description) to receive converts by chrismation, the theory being that God provides whatever grace was lacking in the original performance. That's what I figure happened at Bishop Tanner Irish's confirmation.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 12:49am GMT

"(What I meant to convey, with respect to the bishop's comment, was in effect: Episcopal polity messy; bears excrete in woods. Film at 11). Unfortunately, such a preamble has become perhaps more necessary in the polarized climate in which we find ourselves." - Geoff

Yes, Geoff, we in TEC can sometimes be a bit overly reactive because of our sad experience with other provinces that we thought had been our theological brothers and sisters.

So, a bit more sensitivity in citing points of criticism by non-TEC friends would help, and a bit less knee-jerk reaction by some TEC posters would also help.

But the points by Charlotte in which I offer full agreement are those regarding the reality of the attacks on TEC -- directly and through sometimes unwitting intermediaries -- by the ultra-right, as Jim Naughton has so brilliantly been identifying for years.

This is indeed a time to focus upon what is truly important, rather than silly and ephemeral, and to also recognize that silence by allied provinces in the face of attacks by the neo-Puritans on TEC and ACofC will ultimately result in a gradual destruction of all provinces that are not already co-opted by the Global South and its co-conspirators or enablers.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 12:51am GMT

"BillyD, your choice was to use a few incidents to discredit all moderate and liberal Episcopalians nationwide..."

Since I consider myself a moderate Episcopalian, that was certainly not my intention. Please point out where I did so, and I will retract it.

"...ignoring the overwhelming amount of testimony that such incidents are uncommon."

I think you will find that I actually acknowledged that the incidents are uncommon. Again, if you will point out where I said otherwise, I will gladly retract it.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 12:54am GMT

Charlotte, your response to me seems indicative of the problem. At no point did I ever say that the Episcopal Church has not been attacked (and unfairly so). I said that the Episcopal Church had not been attacked (unfairly or otherwise) BY BILLYD AND GEOFF.

You did not respond to what I said, but to what you assumed I was saying (based on no logical interpretation I can see).

Much of the unpleasantness of this this thread might have been avoided had you responded to the points BillyD and Geoff were making:
* that there have been irregular incidents in the Episcopal Church,
* that the "reasserters" have dishonestly made out that these irregularities accurately reflected the common reality of Episcopal worship and doctrine.

Instead, you leapt to the conclusion that they were falsely claiming these irregularities reflected the common reality and that their motive was to discredit the Episcopal Church.

The irony is, Charlotte, that you make EXACTLY the same point in your post of 16 Jan 3:47 PM GMT.

Reasserters attack the Episcopal Church (and the Anglican Church of Canada and even some other bits of the Communion) on a regular basis.

The only reasserter attack that has occured on this thread has been in your imagination.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 7:58am GMT

BillyD, I know the theology, but I think that what is important is not what whomever baptized her believed, but what she believed. And she believed that she was being baptized in the names of the personages of the trinity into Christ's Church, and has reconfirmed just that at a later age when she left the LDS Church and joined the Episcopal Church. A situation that has been examined obviously by the bishop who received her into the Episcopal Church, as well a number of times afterward as she has been approved as a candidate for Holy Orders, and then ordination as a deacon, priest and bishop. I think that it is now a matter between her and her God.

Posted by David | Dah•veed at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 9:14am GMT

Well, David, at least we agree that she isn't in need of going down to the riverbank!

It also occurred to me last night that the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral doesn't say that we recognize people baptized with water in the name of the Trinity provided that their theology is sound. If a Muslim or an atheist can legitimately baptize in case of need, then a Mormon would, too.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 1:31pm GMT

By the way, does anybody know if Anglicans ever baptize conditionally? Certainly the form isn't provided in the American BCP. If the choice is between trying to re-baptize an already baptized person (which seems like a big no-no) or trusting God to work the details out (which is how I read the doctrine of economy) I know which one I choose.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 1:46pm GMT

BillD check page 313 in the English TEC BCP for the form for Conditional Baptism. I say English because in the Spanish TEC BCP, which we use, it is a different page number!

Posted by David | Dah•veed at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 3:49pm GMT

Conditional baptism? Yes, certainly the Church of England provides rubrics and words for conditional baptism where there is doubt that a person has previously been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Common Worship provides that where there is doubt then the rite will proceed in the usual way, but at the baptism itself the minister says, 'if you have not already been baptized, I baptize you on the name of ...' etc.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 3:51pm GMT

Certainly the Canadian BCP of 1962 has a rubric regarding conditional baptism should there be any doubt of validity.

That said, unless we want to start second guessing every sentimental act, we must accept that correct intention does not depend on correct theology. If the form is correct, it is evidence that the intention was "to do what the Church does."

Posted by Malcolm+ at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 3:53pm GMT

“It would be heartening to others of us …to believe that the next Canadian [Convention] could be free from foreign intervention … A loss Of Nerve now … a sad reflection on the Church's irrelevance … .” (Father Ron Smith 16 January 12:07am GMT)
Of course there will be foreign pressure, some overt, some not transparent, when Canada debates the Covenant (read “gay and lesbian rights”) in 2010. Yes, if Canada buys into this trap, it will be a retrograde step and a disappointment. Should that happen, the main victim of social irrelevance will be The Canadian church within its own cultural context.
But, foreign influence is in a dynamic relationship with internal polarization. The previous General Synod of 2007 made two decisions that were subsequently ignored here. First, a motion to permit dioceses the local option to bless same gender unions was defeated (vetoed effectively by the House of Bishops). Several key dioceses with their bishop’s permission have moved on the local option notwithstanding. Second, The General Synod asked its National Executive Committee (officially The Council of General Synod) to begin work on changing Canadian Canon law on Marriage so that all couples, homosexual or heterosexual, could be married in the church. The national executive committee devolved into deadlock on the issue, and announced it would not comply with the request. So when Rowan’s advance scouts report that the Canadian bishops hold out little optimism that the 2010 General Synod will resolve this issues, they are likely bang on. Strangely, this may be good news for those of us who wish to mark human rights, not against the lowest common denominator in the Communion, but against the high standard set by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Even if General Synod makes some sort of positive gesture towards the Covenant (We Canadian Anglicans are good a frustrating the daylights out of seekers of clarity), do not look for General Synod here in 2010 to be anything like “the end of the beginning” on this issue.
-Chuck Inglis

Posted by Chuck Inglis at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 6:36pm GMT

Thanks, David, Simon, and Malcolm.

I stand corrected. That's what I get for not checking out the additional directions, too.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 17 January 2010 at 6:37pm GMT

Charlotte-A terrible thing about Central Florida...the latest is +Howe proclaiming to join the covenant as soon as it's hot of the press. You have my sympathies at living down there with denial blue-hairs and frozen rotting oranges. What's really silly as there are hard-core Episcopalian types that don't think your present bishops are worth anything because they didn't get the apostolic succession franchise certificate. Laughable.

BillyD and Geoff: A hard lesson I learnt as a child was perception is one's own reality...after attacking others reactions to the mentioning of "clown masses" on this lengthy string (and remember that I wasn't the first to bring the subject) many of us thought that you were attacking the TEC overall because of Trinity Wall St's 'excesses' around 2005. Trinity Wall Street doesn't speak for the rest of us south of the border/west of the plantation sound, and somebody was indeed using a sweeping generalization against TEC, that's a fact. If you don't want to paint yourself in a corner, then don't go there to begin with..you know the bigger picture, of how an emerging persecuted minority is coming to recognition and acceptance in a Christian denomination and stop attacking like minded members, regardless of their churchmanship or preferences on wearing maniples or saying communion in cassock-surplice and stole.

And I will pledge to do my best to do the same as well. Apologies for soiling somebody's ego here.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 18 January 2010 at 1:17am GMT

I rather expect Canada to get bogged down in whether or not the Anglican Covenant is a federal or provincial issue, and if the entire thing is even valid if it's in English only.

Seriously though, I don't see this General Synod saying yes or no to the Covenant, but rather indicating that a truly honest and transparent process cannot be rushed in this way.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 18 January 2010 at 5:32am GMT

"stop attacking like minded members, regardless of their churchmanship or preferences on wearing maniples or saying communion in cassock-surplice and stole."

Choirboy, just to make things clear, I don't think anybody is attacking people over churchmanship issues. While people obviously have preferences, I don't think there's a campaign to hang Low Churchmen by their tippets at work. At least I'm not heading it. I'm with James DeKoven when it comes to ritual.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 18 January 2010 at 11:33pm GMT
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