Thinking Anglicans

ECUSA/Windsor: two essays

First, Lionel Deimel has published a very substantial article entitled Saving Anglicanism: An Historical Perspective on Decisions Facing the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. This is available in PDF format from this page. See also his earlier analysis of the draft resolutions.

Second, Christopher Wells has written an article, which has been published by the Anglican Communion Institute, entitled Wounded in Common Mission: The Term of Inter-Christian Divisiveness.

Both essays have been welcomed by Mark Harris, the first one here, and the second one in an email which he has kindly allowed me to reproduce below the fold here.

I recommend both articles too.

Comment by Mark Harris on the article by Christopher Wells
…For me,(and this is my own read, not his) perhaps his most important push is for us to understand that provisionality, the ability to hold to what we believe, but not as absolute, against the day of greater revelation, is a peculiar gift to Anglicans. As with all gifts, it comes with its own built in “hook”: provisionality requires that we also be willing to suffer the consequences of not being able to make the claims of the righteous, namely that we are right. We have, at the very least, to say to our opponents, “Well, you may be right… and yet here is where I am.” Having done that, how then do we deal with the competing claims to rightness? What, as my friend Michel Krausz says, are the “limits to rightness?” If we given in to an either /or place, we give up our provisionality. If we make truly autonomous and binding decisions as a province, or even as the Communion, against other Christian communities, we run against the vision of the Church yet made manifest as one, known through our provisionality and the suffering that accompanies that stance. It is a puzzle. I have the sense that the way out of the maze is in coming to our senses (or perhaps some form of recapitulation), as in having the good sense and faith to live with hope in God’s call to us, in the light of which crises are not what they seem…

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marshall Scott
15 years ago

I have begun to think that perhaps this unity we prize so highly is the visible unity of an institution, and not the demonstrated unity of mission. I have begun to think that being different “members of one body” may speak as much to faith communities as to individuals. If that is the case, I cannot Mr. Wells that visible unity has to be reflected in consistency of message nearly so much as on cooperation rather than competition in mission. It would ideally be reflected in table sharing; but in these in-between times while we wait for the Kingdom it… Read more »

k1eranc
k1eranc
15 years ago

Lionel Diemel has given us much to ponder. My immediate response was to wonder if “militant traditionalism” might be an institutional expression of co-dependance, where there is a group of people who have no other means of affirming their identity. All of those repressive attitudes have to emanate from somewhere, so I wonder what drdanfee might make of it!

drdanfee
drdanfee
15 years ago

I join Chaplain MS in witness: Our Christian Differences are not the problem that believers who valorize the unity of believers seem to perceive them to be, nor the true source of the scandal that shames Christ. The true embarrassment is one group of differentiated believers shaming another by trying to exercise an absolute right to mistake who those other believers are, and what they are essentially doing among us. It is the current realignment campaign that is embarrassing, not because it pledges conservative believer-hood, but because it newly joins conservative believer-hood to customs of bearing false witness against LGBTQ… Read more »

Steven
Steven
15 years ago

k1eranc:

Hmmm. Well, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. That would mean that militant liberalism is also a pathological byproduct. LOL I’m sure you’ll go far in patching up things between the two sides with this not particularly unique liberal approach to the opposition/issues! (Sarcasm intended).

Steven

Daniel T. Palmer
Daniel T. Palmer
15 years ago

I have read Dr. Diemel’s paper last night. I am trying to understanding the many ideas and statements that make up this paper. As an Anglican for 30 years, I have not seen any serious attempt by any of the American parties to come togther to discuss and resolve the Church’s issues within the dynamics of the imperatives Biblical principals for truth and individual mutual respect.

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Closer to the beginning than the end of the paper Wells posited the question of whether the church is in battle against a “…a possible, putative enemy, an enemy that may or may not exist…” The first time I found out that there was an Anglican element who did not wish to consider the question of whether the deceiver exists, is an enemy of Jesus and/or the church was when I was locked out of an online Anglican forum without notice in mid-2005. The administrator’s shut down notice included this “While I am prepared to reinstate your account if you… Read more »

The Rev. Douglas Warren Ph.D.
The Rev. Douglas Warren Ph.D.
15 years ago

Christopher Wells’ massive opus comes down to one question on page 21: “We should wish, however, that the report had also had the courage to face with candor the most difficult decision before American Episcopalians: can we commit, at the very least, to ‘respect’, as the primates said, Resolution I.10 of Lambeth Conference of 1998 as ‘the standard of Christian teaching on the matters of human sexuality’, that holds for Anglicans, even if we ourselves do not believe it to be true?” As an American Episcopal priest, my answer is “NO, Never.” To do so would be to claim that… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
15 years ago

Saving Anglicanism?

Or should it be allowed to evolve and change, even if it produces two Anglicanisms in formal terms in the process.

Saving the Institution is probably a more accurate description of the aims.

Marc
Marc
15 years ago

I am in agreement with Dr. Deimel, Merseymike:

We should “save Anglicanism and [nearly] all costs and save the Anglican Communion if at all possible.” An important distinction.

Steven
Steven
15 years ago

Hi Merseymike: What usually strikes me the most is what I consider to be the sham piety of those that grandly state that they are “trying to save Anglicanism” (as they define it, of course). The truth here is that liberals in the U.S. are busy trying to isolate, disempower and eject traditionalists from their midst, while traditionalists are busy returning the favor at the international level. The underlying attitude (by both) of my side “uber alles” dictates the result here–a break-up the Anglican Communion as it presently stands. This cannot be avoided unless one or both sides back-off, which… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
15 years ago

To be fair Steven, I think the same is true on both sides – as all I hear from the conservative camp is not talk of the sort of split we both think is logical and sensible, but a wholesale expulsion of liberals. And here in the UK to even mention the word is simply beyond the pale. I haven’t heard anyone of any seniority at all actually advocate an organised and reasoned split. It is always referred to by the loaded term of ‘schism’, for a start – rather than just a recognition that we really do have two… Read more »

Steven
Steven
15 years ago

Merseymike: Agreed. And, I agree particularly with your observation on the use of the word “schism” to cut off any reasoned debate about the merits of, and the most compassionate way in which to, effect a division. This is unfortunate. “Schism” has become one of those ultimate BAD words. So, like other ultimate BAD words in the past–“heresy” for example–it can be used to justify un-christian actions and attitudes just because the logical and compassionate alternative to those actions can be labelled SCHISM!!! I think it’s not only a way of dodging the inevitable, its a sham and a cover-up… Read more »

John S. Morgan
15 years ago

Should the resolution I.10 of Lambeth Conference of 1998 as ‘the standard of Christian teaching on the matters of human sexuality’be respected by the American Church? Lets look to the resolution of the 1910 Lambeth Conference which resoundingly condemned birth control and exhorted all prelates to use the force of their Christian characters in opposing it. Should that one be equally respected? I just got back from visiting the Roman Catholic side of my family – my uncle and nine of his ten children. Do Episcopalians in other non third world countries respect the 1910 Lambeth Conference decision by their… Read more »

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