Thinking Anglicans

CT reports on Communion events

Today’s Church Times has several reports (and others not on the web until next week):

Nigerians set to write off Lambeth by Pat Ashworth

Requests for alternative Primatial oversight leave ECUSA guessing by Douglas LeBlanc

Leader: Is the Communion too much bother?

Columnist: A new way to silence prophecy? by Giles Fraser

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Christopher ShellJohn HenrydrdanfeeCheryl Cloughmynsterpreost Recent comment authors
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Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

The last line in Giles Fraser’s piece is the flaw in his argument. Namely: He sees the bottom line, the essential issue, as preserving ‘anglicanism’, as opposed to being faithful to Jesus.

The best thing for him to do is to draw up a picture of his overall system / worldview, in which anglicanism is a more significant and basic entity than Jesus.

Tim
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Christopher, if everyone were “faithful to Jesus”, we would be loving our neighbour as ourself in one big happy maptocostal-angloholic Communion.

mynsterpreost
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mynsterpreost

“The best thing for [Giles Fraser] to do is to draw up a picture of his overall system / worldview, in which anglicanism is a more significant and basic entity than Jesus.” A somewhat uncharitable assessment in the eyes of this one, who sees Anglicanism as one of the ways in which the voice of Jesus may be heard in the world, and without which something of the Lord might be lost. Whether we like it or not, Jesus is known in a matrix (or series of matrices) and to lose one of them is to lose a way into… Read more »

Columba Gilliss
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Columba Gilliss

Why not just admit that we are a large and diverse family with both inherited and acquired customes, beliefs, and the like. Our gatherings could be the sort of family picnic/reunion that brings folks together with only bonds of affection and stories of ancestors. Perhaps for the foreeeable future even that will be hard. Some members of this family wish they could divorce others but cousins and siblings really can’t write each other out of the family Bible.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Ah, I read that article by Fraser differently. Fraser is presuming that Anglicanism exists, partly defined/described at center by an intentional breadth/flexiblity of inquiry, discussion, discernment to which even Canterbury has recently referred. We are quite back to the 3-legged Anglican way of following Jesus, as a shorthand way of gesturing towards what used to be self-evident as an Anglican given. A conservative claim that this typical Anglican inter-twining of reason, scripture, tradition is mainly meant to supercede or demean or obscure Jesus is a little bit of a stretch I think. A common Rushdoonian stretch, perhaps, but rather a… Read more »

Steven
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Steven

As noted in a previous post, I think the various parties are establishing initial bargaining/ fighting positions. This does not mean that Nigeria will not hold its own “Lambeth”, but it does not mean that it is a certainty either. Rather, like statements and actions by many of the parties, it is primarily intended to keep the pressure on the ABC and others in the communion. However, there is a primary difference between Akinola and some of the others. Akinola is indicating (rather than consent to the process and a desire to enter into negotiations, even with reservations) some initial… Read more »

austin
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austin

Is there any new way to silence Giles Fraser? Where ‘s Canterbury when he’s really needed?

Ray
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Ray

Surely, Christopher, this is an inept or malicious misreading of Fraser’s article. The essential point that he highlights is the tendency of institutions to seek to avoid having to listen to the prophetic voice challenging long accepted opinions. By doing so they could be seeking to silence the voice of God. The historical toleration of a wide range of opinion and practice within the Church of England, far from dishonouring our Lord, provides the setting within which the radical challenge can be heard, tested and responded to. Narrowly defining what is and is not to be accepted and creating a… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Interesting post, Steven. However, I can see a course of action that Network clergy in the US and their hardline Evangelical supporters abroad could take — immediately — that would have the effect we both desire, of preserving the Anglican Communion. Briefly described, that is: — Cease trying to set up parallel structures, tenth provinces, and other dubious ecclesial entities. — Cease trying to require a novel series of litmus tests for membership in what has never been a confessional church. — Accept, as the Church in Wales has been able to do, that Anglicans may disagree with one another… Read more »

Frank Durkee
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Frank Durkee

As one who in both TEC as an ordained priest and the political world as an employee and staff actor, I have been involved in the major liberation battles of the last 50 years in the US. I have been a member of a vibrant and inclusive Episcopal parish in Washington D.C. for of significant periods of that time. In each and all of those efforts race, poverty, gender, and sexuality there has been great resitance, attempts to disrail or silence the efforts, a strong desire for us to ‘go away’, and the direct statement and/or implication that we diod… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Austin wrote. “Is there any new way to silence Giles Fraser? Where’s Canterbury when he’s really needed?”

Indeed! In fact the ABofC had answered Giles’ article *before* he wrote it.. didn’t GF read, or listen to, his Archbishop’s comments?!

And isn’t this the same Giles Fraser who has just written articles attacking Anglicans that he disagrees with over what they would probably believe to be prophetic – and he sees as undermining the church (viz the Sydney Archdiocese and lay presidency at communion) ?

Athos
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Athos

Giles Fraser has a very odd idea of what it is to be prophetic. In Scripture the prophets were calling the nation of Israel back to their foundational covenant with God established at Mount Sinai. Likewise all great refroming and prophetic movements were calls back to the Scriptures. What GF seems to think is prophetic is nothing other than a call forwards and away from foundational documents and into some unchartered territory where no church has gone before. He should not be surprised if what he sees as prophetic others regard as apostasy.

Steven
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Steven

Hi Charlotte: Perhaps. But I’m not holding my breath. I think the end result (as discussed in an earlier post) will be the TEC and some others forming a separate communion, some “odd men out” such as Jensen (whose final disposition is questionable), and the bulk of the AC formed into constituent members of a (for the ABC anyway) uncomfortably conservative communion, with a few more liberal hangers-on as associate members. The TEC, freed from conservative constraints (which it has pretty well thrown off anyway) will finally achieve its aim of ultimate liberalism, and the new AC alignment (which will… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

I would suggest that the attacks on Giles Fraser here only go to prove his point: God’s prophets disturb the peace of the oppressors, and must be “silenced” by those in power.

Lord have mercy!

Jon
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It looks to me like people are placing unreasonable expectations on the ABC. He has been pretty clear in saying that he won’t do anything to other provinces in the Communion simply on his own authority. This doesn’t mean people can’t get excluded, but it does mean that what the other primates think is vitally important. What do Sudan and Japan think about the ABC’s reflection and Archbishop Akinola’s less than polite response? What about the other provinces? At this time I suspect Nigeria is nearly as likely to get the boot as TEC, especially if they refuse to have… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Well, Steven, you could be right. So far as I can tell, the Ruth Gledhill/Network “spin” post GC-2006, that ++Rowan is now firmly in the extreme conservative camp, is completely dominating everyone’s response to his address to Synod as well as to his initial “reflection.” The rightist radicals have not stopped chortling over the blank check they believe they have been handed, while the liberals and progressives in the American church now react as if ++Rowan were just another right-wing bully. So TEC could end up on its own through a complete misunderstanding of what it is being asked to… Read more »

mynsterpreost
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mynsterpreost

“I Scripture the prophets were calling the nation of Israel back to their foundational covenant with God established at Mount Sinai.”

I’m no OT scholar, but many of the prophets seem to have scant knowledge of a lot of the Exodus-based material: Amos and that lot don’t make much of an appeal to the Decalogue. By all means suggest that the continuing prophetic tradition should be based on ones found in Christian tradition — but not a simplistic reading of that tradition. please!

Cheryl Clough
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Actually as least some of the liberals have been going back to scripture, it’s just that the conservatives don’t recognise biblical tracts unless they prop up their intellectual edifices. One of the challenges I laid to Sydney in Autumn 2005 and a few months later to Cantebury is how does the church review and assess prophetic voices. In fact, it was apparent there is no mechanism to recognise whether a soul has been anointed, no body to appeal or submit evidence, no court to measure the evidence to determine if God is moving or not. Ironically, in these modern times… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The lip service formerly paid to listening processes across our worldwide communion is the closest we have come so far to having that inclusive, plural, long-term discernment of change/prophecy. A common sense look at how we have changed for the better, in retrospect, demonstrates that this notion of communal change being a conscious and orderly process is mostly a misleading mythology. People grow and change for the better in dynamic waves, moving forward and pausing and looking back and even sometimes temporarily moving backwards to re-evaluate something too quickly left behind, only to again move forward into even clearer change… Read more »

John Henry
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John Henry

I highly commend Dr. Andrew Linzey, Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, for ‘truth telling’ in his introduction to GAYS AND THE FUTURE OF ANGLICANISM: RESPONSES TO THE WINDSOR REPORT (2005). He points out the disparity between what the church (i.e., the C of E in particular and the Anglican Communion in general) says and what the church does. After the WR was published, he discuseed its contents with a friend who happened to be one of those in charge of training ordinands in the C of E. The latter sought… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

I love the term maptocostal angloholic – is it Adrian Plass, I think? In fact the church is already all of that, and what I keep urging is that we have broad horizons and not narrow. Let’s not just follow the press (of all people to follow) for whom the C of E more or less equals the christian church, primarily because it provides them with the juiciest stories. John Henry’s remark only the duplicitous can agree with. This is exactly the same kind of dishonesty and infinite flexibility that has led to blind eyes being turned to the (and,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Read ‘illegal (and more importantly…)’.

I found Andrew Linzey’s Times article a month ago disappointing. It is, of course, hard to write journalism without over-simplifying and resorting to cliche.