Thinking Anglicans

NACDAP provokes responses

Following a recent meeting in Texas, NACDAP has issued two documents: ACN Council Communiqué and Windsor Action Covenant.

This has provoked several strong responses: The Fat is in the Fire: The Network and the Windsor Action Covenant and also Windsor, DOA. But clearest of all is this from the Bishop of California, Bill Swing: The House of Bishops: All for One and Some for Something. Some extracts from these:

Bill Swing asks NACDAP these questions:

1. Why do you usually avoid House of Bishops meetings? And why will you not go to the altar rail and receive Communion alongside your sister and brother bishops?

2. Rumor has it that you receive lots of money from private foundations and give it to support African bishops who, in turn, will attack the Episcopal Church. Is there an audit of your receipts and disbursements? Could I review it? What are the goals of the foundations that financially support you? What African bishops receive your money? What American Episcopalians whom you know are on the staffs of African bishops?

3. If the bishops of the Episcopal Church are not invited to Lambeth Conference 2008 but the Network bishops with Bishop Robert Duncan as head are invited, will you attend?

4. What are the names of Network bishops who have consulted lawyers to ascertain the possibilities of someday separating “Network properties” from “Episcopal Church properties?”

5. In what situations around the USA is the Network in conversation with individual congregations, strategizing as to how the congregation can leave the Episcopal Church, take its assets, and join the Network?

6. It is stated that Bishop Duncan is on record as promising “to wage guerilla warfare on the Episcopal Church.” Is this true? Also on the House floor he has been accused of paying lay people of his diocese to go to a neighboring diocese to try to persuade conservative members to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Network. Is that true?

Mark Harris writes:

This Covenant is an attempt to hijack the Windsor Report and make it the instrument of the realignment effort. It is yet another effort to spin an advisory committee’s report into a partisan litmus test.

…All of this would be of no great import if it were not for the last pledge, not bulleted, which is the real basis of the covenant, and its only focus. That last pledge states, “If General Convention chooses finally to walk apart, I will not follow, but will remain a faithful Anglican, God being my helper.”

This then is the opening salvo of the battle of General Convention. One may be sure that the Network will come to Convention with pledge lists of persons who they contend will not be bound by General Convention action IF the Convention “chooses finally to walk apart.” And of course, it will be the Network and its leadership that will want to determine if General Convention has so chosen.

This Covenant is a marshalling of numbers, and an attempt to get members of this Church to pledge disavowal of actions of General Convention, leadership of the bishops of their dioceses, if not viewed as “Windsor Dioceses” and teaching of their clergy, if not viewed as “Windsor Parishes.” Its purpose is to implement resistance to any leadership other than that of the realignment groups, and in particular the Network itself.

The fat is in the fire and the play is unfolding. It is time to be watchful. It is not a time to be nice, for these are not nice times.

J-Tron notes:

It’s heart breaking. It really is. The Windsor Report has some deep flaws. But I have remained hopeful that it can be a starting point, a place to facilitate communication and unity. Certainly the folks who produced it had that hope for it. The Network does not. It chooses instead to use Windsor as a weapon, a method of labeling and relabeling those who it dislikes. This is an especially interesting development considering the Network’s own deep criticism of Windsor in the days after it came out. Now all of a sudden the Network wants to embrace Windsor, but only in so far as it pushes us forward into the rift.

…But the enemy that presents itself in the Network is not that of ultra-conservatism or homophobia. The enemy that presents itself in the Network is the evil of pride, deceit, lust for power, and a thorough drive to divide the Church. Not all members of the Network are engaged in this kind of behavior, but the Network perpetrates it on behalf of all who it calls “orthodox,” leaving those on the so-called right who truly wish to be in communion without a voice.

I call on Anglicans and Episcopalians of good conscience, whatever their political stripes or feelings about human sexuality, to reject the evil, schismatic vision that the Network is trying to perpetrate. If we have to split in the end, let it be because we have tried every possible remedy, every conceivable avenue of dialogue, and nothing else seems like it can be done. Let it not be because a small group of the power hungry possessed swept us into armageddon like battle with our friends and neighbors for the purpose of fulfilling their own ambitions….

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Bill Penn
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Bill Penn

very impressive bill

Alison
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Alison

I am thrilled to see this stuff appearing, especially Bishop Swing’s open letter. I hope we get some honesty into this mess.

Alison

Dave
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Dave

Later in his letter, not quoted above, Bishop Swing was rather more conciliatory sounding: “Perhaps there are good and honest answers which will prove my fears false and point out that I have maligned innocent bishops….” Notwithstanding that no-one is perfect and pure in all their motivations in this world, whoever they are, I do think that on the whole we should start with the presumption that people are acting primarily for the reasons they say they are; until we can show in a reasonable way that this is not the case. The NACDAP group have long stated the reasons… Read more »

Steven
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Steven

I grew up in the Episcopal Church, but joined another denomination when I married some 25 years ago. Nonetheless, I am interested in what is going on and try to keep up. Here is my query. I do not understand why making preparations for a possible future “apart” is somehow seen as an afront and a breach of faith? My professional life as an attorney has involved a good deal of litigation and negotiation. In negotiations, the other side must know that you are committed to your position and prepared to take the matter “to the mat” (i.e., to trial)… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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“they see loyalty to the ECUSA authority structure as of primary importance; of higher importance than loyalty to Scriptural or traditional “Truth”.” No, Dave: “loyalty to the ECUSA authority structure” is NOT primary to “loyalty to Scriptural or traditional ‘Truth'”. It’s THROUGH those structures that we KNOW Scripture and Tradition. Otherwise, it’s the chaos of millions of opinions, each and every one of them having “souvereignty.” Instead, I trust the General Convention—through which, I have *a voice*—to prayerfully discern the Tough Questions: to bring their collective wisdom to Scripture and Tradition, using their Reason. And IF they screw up, I… Read more »

Douglas Lewis
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Douglas Lewis

On JCF’s post. 1) ECUSA has never claimed a magisterium of the sort you claim for it. Given the number of things it has made changes in, it cannot. Consider what Michael Hopkins said recently:’“Do you have the agenda of overturning centuries of Christian teaching about homosexuality, what the Bible says about homosexuals?” Pat Buchanan once asked me incredulously in a TV interview. I said something wonderfully nuanced. I should have simply said, “Absolutely.” The Bible and the Church have both been wrong. The Holy Spirit is teaching this to us. Jesus said she would do things like this and… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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Strangely enough, I read Michael Hopkins’ sermon (over on Louie Crew’s site) not 30 seconds before coming to TA. My thought as I read the line you quote above: “Respectfully, Michael, I disagree: the Bible has not been wrong about homosexuality, because it says nothing about homosexuality. The Church has been *struggling* with homosexuality, but I wouldn’t say that it has ‘been wrong’ about it (not in the way, for example, it accepted slavery for many centuries).” “Magisterium” is your term, Douglas (and is, I would argue, what seems to be concretizing through the actions of the AC Primatial Majority).… Read more »

Ian
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Ian

“I disagree: the Bible has not been wrong about homosexuality, because it says nothing about homosexuality.”

Oh boy! Probably not in your Bible, but it does in mine.

friend_from_afar
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friend_from_afar

Until we can move far beyond the mutually alienating principle of ‘your Bible may not say it, but mine does’and into a more charitable/compassionate and emotionally/spiritually stabilised approach of ‘my reading of the Bible leads me to believe thus and so, and your reading feels unfamiliar to me…would you like to spend time together for mutual understandinng’, the issues that divide us shall never diminish, and the witness of the Church as a reconciling and transformative community of faith shall remain impaired. May a spirit of compassion and self-emptying, our Lord’s own Spirit, guide and lead us as we endeavor… Read more »

Pete
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Pete

Blah blah blah blah queers.
Blah blah blah blah homophobes
Blah blah blah blah scripture
Blah blah blah blah MY reading of scripture
Blah blah blah blah tradition
Blah blah blah blah gospel

Isn’t it time to shut up?

Pete

Tim
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Pete: no. It is not time to shut up. This is no more a mature option than any of the bickering going off (“we refuse to come talk to you! we don’t want to discuss with you!”). The anglican communion should come to a resolved policy on the matter – as I hoped would happen last September/October time, let folks gather, discuss and get it out their system. That can be either “we don’t want to allow gay bishops or unions”, or “we’ll permit them”, or “we don’t mind what a local church does in these cases”, etc. Unfortunately it… Read more »

Dr Abigail Ann Young
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I just want to add a rousing Amen to what “friend from afar” posted. This, I believe, is the attitude that will see us through, with the grace of God, if only more of us can pray that prayer and walk that walk. I don’t expect everyone in the Diocese of Toronto or the Anglican Church of Canada to agree with my interpretation of Scripture when it comes to same-sex blessings, much less everyone in the rest of the Anglican Communion. The same applies to my reading of Scripture on divorce and remarriage, or the ordination of women, or capital… Read more »

Ian
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Ian

friend from afar: I am indeed sorry if my comment came over as alienating, but I was taken aback by the blunt assertion that “the Bible has not been wrong about homosexuality, because it says nothing about homosexuality.” It was just plain wrong! Interpretation of the scriptures may be a matter of debate; that the Bible says something about homosexuality is fact. If it came over badly I apologise. That was not my intention. But having looked at many postings here in the past, I can’t help but observe that any excess of comment from a liberal point of view… Read more »

friend_from_afar
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friend_from_afar

Ian, bless you for reaching out to me in a personal manner. I find in your willingness to make any movement towards closer communion with me a hopeful sign of our Lord’s presence in our midst. I recognize that it required of you to take some risk, to open yourself up to potential alienation and rejection, given that you know nothing of my background, how I read and understand our holy scriptures, or where to place me in the context of the matter at hand in our Church. I hope that you feel a warm welcome from me, without hesitation… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Ian-

If you look back a few posts, you’ll see that we’re retracing old ground here. I was similarly befuddled to hear the assertion that the Bible never mentions homosexuality.

This position is defended by the idea that what we call homosexuality is a social construction. But it is far more than that. Of course, it has a social dimension. It also has a biological dimension; an anthropological dimension; an ethical dimension; a theological dimension…one could go on.

J. C. Fisher
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It’s my personal mission to befuddle you, Christopher (just kidding! *g*) Seriously, I wish you *would* “go on”, as you say. I’m *still* (after . . . a year or two at Thinking Anglicans?) waiting to hear about a citation of “homosexual orientation” (w/o which “homosexuality” does not exist) in the Bible. Until we can get down to brass tacks on the above question—*the issue* as far as I am concerned—then words like Ian’s “plain” and “wrong” and fact” can be seen for the rhetorical discussion-squashers that they are. (Though, as you see Ian, I remain unsquashed and unsquelched—and prayerfully… Read more »

Ian
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Ian

J.C. Fisher, your original statement was “the Bible has not been wrong about homosexuality, because it says nothing about homosexuality.” It was this that elicited my response, because it was clearly incorrect! Your attempt to twist the argument is somewhat dishonest thinking. You say you are “still … waiting to hear about a citation of “homosexual orientation” – for which you know full well there is no citation in the scriptures. Had your original statement referred to this, I would have not have challenged it. “Though, as you see Ian, I remain unsquashed and unsquelched” That is rather unfair. I… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

What is “clearly incorrect” (as is my alleged attempt to “twist the argument” with “somewhat dishonest thinking”) is, still, clearly *just your opinion* Ian (to which you are fully entitled to hold—just not entitled to mandate over me and ECUSA). “How they are to be interpreted may be a matter for legitimate debate. That is quite different from reinventing the scriptures by denying that the Bible says nothing about homosexuality.” How, pray tell, can we have “legitimate debate” when you declare—presumably as grounds for that debate—that my (faithful Anglican) interpretation of scripture is “reinventing” them? [Not to mention aspersions like… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

This is getting rather silly. In your posting of 28 April you stated categorically that the Bible says nothing about homosexuality. That’s plain rubbish and you know it. Later, on 2nd May you say “I’m *still* (after . . . a year or two at Thinking Anglicans?) waiting to hear about a citation of “homosexual orientation”. You know that there is no reference to this in the Bible, and that you were now twisting the argument. That is not opinion, as you suggest – but sheer fact! No attempt from me to mandate! Would it surprise you to know that… Read more »

ducks
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ducks

As a from the cradle Episcopalian I am forced at present to make decisions that I would rather avoid. To me we are all Christians living by creed no more complex than an admonition to love God and our fellow man. Any other road is unacceptable. Now I see that schism is unavoidable. Each side here is unchristian in thought and action. Bp Swing bears false witness against other Bps without proof, by insinuation. Bp Duncan fights his war for division. Both sides now fight for division. One side loves homosexuality more than the church and the other hates it… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Thank you for your prayers, Ian (I imagine we *both* must seem very silly to the Holy Spirit!)