Thinking Anglicans

Akinola's US visit: yet more reports

Updated Friday

The BBC radio programme Sunday had this:

Breakaway Anglican church in Virginia
A British man, Martyn Minns, was installed as bishop of the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which is a mission of the Church of Nigeria. The Nigerian Archbishop, Peter Akinola, led the service in Virginia, having ignored pleas not to go from both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, as well as the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori. Critics see it as an unwelcome form of Anglican colonialism. Julia Duin of the Washington Times reports.
Listen (3m 39s)

Michael Conlon at Reuters wrote Anglican church turmoil over gay issues deepens in which Bishop Mark Sisk is interviewed.

Andrew Brown wrote on Comment is Free about The end of communion. His article concludes like this:

…What Dr Akinola did was an act of unequivocal ecclesiastical aggression: it has been a recognised principle among Christians since the fourth century that there is only ever one bishop governing every diocese. So where you have two bishops claiming jurisdiction over the same territory, you have two churches. Dr Akinola’s actions show beyond any shadow of doubt that he does not consider himself to be part of the same church as the liberals. He is, in fact, in schism with them.

The rest of the churches which once constituted the Anglican communion will now have to choose whether they want to belong to any international body at all, and if so, who will head it. Here it seems that Dr Williams may have played a subtle game, because Dr Akinola’s ambition has repelled a great many of his potential supporters. The American, liberal line on homosexuality is not popular around the world; at one stage it seemed that 22 or more of the 38 Anglican primates would demand the Americans be expelled. But the more it became obvious that they would have to choose between being globally led by Dr Akinola or followed round the world by Dr Williams, the more popular the prospect of Dr William’s non-leadership became.

The number of primates supporting Akinola has steadily diminished from 22 to about eight. Even among the American conservatives, it is only a minority who are prepared to join up with him and his new enterprise. Installing Bishop Minns may prove to be the moment when he decisively over-reaches himself. Even if it does not, it is decisive for Dr Williams, too. Nothing that he now does or says can be justified on the basis that it preserves the unity of the Anglican communion. That unity has now been shattered. There is no communion, and no good reason for anyone to pretend otherwise.

Update Friday
The Church Times report by Rachel Harden is titled Akinola installs US bishop, despite appeals.

65 comments

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    Is Andrew Brown generally a “sound” commentator when he makes assessments of this kind? I’m not sufficiently familiar with his stuff to know. He sounds very plausible to me, but I’d hate to be thinking this purely because he’s saying what, in a situation that has no ideal resolution, I would prefer to hear.

  • Daniel Stoddart says:

    …but it wasn’t shattered by ++Akinola, now, was it? The American church was warned, repeatedly and politely, about what the repercussions would be if they flouted the recent Lambeth resolutions, Windsor, Dromantine, ad nauseum. They were told what would be required to avoid “walking apart”, and guess what?

    The TEC felt called to go ahead and do their own thing. So let’s just make sure that we all keep in mind that the blame for the tear in the fabric lies squarely on TEC’s doorstep. Got it?

  • Nick Finke says:

    Dr Williams behavior in this whole sorry mess has, at time, been hard for me to fathom. On reading Andrew Brown’s excellent piece, however, I am reminded of Matt 10:16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

  • NP says:

    Daniel – you make a factual point about the main causes of the recent crises in the AC…

    but around here, you will find that everything is ++Akinola’s fault…….

  • Merseymike says:

    But the American church is right, and Akinola is wrong. because the American church is working for the change the church needs – and that is far, far more important than any ‘communion’ based on homophobia and prejudice.

    I agree with Andrew brown. The communion is finished. Now, lets accept that, and allow new linkages to be made. A church without the cancer of conservatism would be more than welcome!

  • I don’t agree there is not a communion.

    It is a smaller communion, and there is a smaller communion yet to be formed around Akinola and behind the scenes schemers’ camp.

    I think souls will be pleasantly surprised to see a communion revived and renewing the broad tent principles that epitomise the best of what makes Anglicans anglicans.

    Remember, Enoch was not disgrace for advocating on behalf of the fallen ones. Abraham was not disgraced for pleading for the lost causes of Sodom or Gomorrah. Jesus was not condemned for advocating for the outcaste, afflicted or gentile.

    Isaiah 33:20-24 and Isaiah 54 are our hopes at this time.

    In the meantime, let’s remember the souls who refused to help the Zimbabweans (see http://www.episcopal-life.org/81808_85686_ENG_HTM.htm ). Who adopted the Millenium goals to “buy” votes?

    Let these souls also savour the fruits of being known as the theologians who refused to treat Gaia and her occupants with manners.

    My last few days have been spent rejoicing at news that the need to help Gaia has been heard loud and clear. For example:
    – Rupert Murdoch’s speech and commitment towards zero carbon footprint http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21705121-601,00.html
    – Aussies launch of the Live Earth concerts scheduled for around the world this July http://au.christiantoday.com/article/live-earth-hopes-to-trigger-a-mass-movement-to-deal-with-climate-change/2674.htm

    Let them also recall Jesus’ warnings not to blaspheme against Spirit (also known as the Shekina or Daughter of Zion) e.g. Luke 12:10 Blasphemy also includes denying Spirit’s existence or ability to move. It also includes hiding or denying her covenants or attacking her charges. Zion’s charges has always included the afflicted and outcaste.

  • Hugh of Lincoln says:

    ” Lambeth resolutions, Windsor, Dromantine, ad nauseum. ” – Daniel

    You mention these as if they have juridical force. They don’t. None of them have entered canonical law in TEC. So TEC cannot be found to be flouting them in the legal sense. Windsor et al accuses TEC of placing a strain on “bonds of affection”. But this latter is so ill-defined, as to be pretty meaningless.

    “So let’s just make sure that we all keep in mind that the blame for the tear in the fabric lies squarely on TEC’s doorstep.”

    Far from it. TEC were compliant with their own polity in the election and consecration of Gene Robinson. They chose him because he was the most gifted person for the episcopate in the diocese of New Hampshire.

    Bear this in mind before seeking to apportion blame.

  • As has already been suggested – No, we certainly do not “get it”.

    If the torn fabric of the Anglican Communion was its institutional homophobia then we “get it”.

    If this fabric is woven so that Provinces should be given free range to supporting the further criminalisation of homosexuals and their supporters (Nigeria & Singapore) and to stand aside when we are murdered and tortured – then “we get it”.

    If this torn cloth can only contain us as long as it is steeped in the poisonous hatred of lesbian and gay people, then “we get it”.

    Oh, yes then “we get it” and “we get it” and “we get it” ……

  • C.B. says:

    Daniel – When there is a tear in the fabric, one can take out a thread and set about to mend it, or, if one wants to use that tear to split the fabric, one can pull at the sides of the fabric and rip it a part. All fabrics get tears, as all relationships do. This tear has been used to wrent the fabric. Blaming TEC for the tear is meaningless. Akinola and the GS are using it to reconfigure the fabric.

  • Merseymike says:

    Cheryl – but that’s the point – there are at least TWO communions. the idea of the continuing, single, all-embracing communion is dead.

  • badman says:

    Daniel Stoddart seems a little confused in his chronology.

    Lambeth 1.10 didn’t say anything about bishops and didn’t purport to represent a consensus opinion or a binding opinion: one of the hundreds of bishops who publicly repudiated it was Rowan Williams.

    Gene Robinson was elected, confirmed and consecrated as a bishop in 2003.

    This was before the Windsor Report, which was published in October 2004.

    The Primates Meeting at Dromantine did not take place until 2005.

    Since then, no gay bishop has been consecrated in the US, and no rite of same sex blessing has been authorised.

    On the other hand, border crossing has been condemned by successive Lambeth Conference resolutions, starting in 1878 (yes, that’s 1878, not 1978). It is also condemned by the Windsor Report, which insists that it should stop, and that those involved should apologise (which they have never done). It is also deprecated by a majority of Primates, most recently in the Dar es Salaam Communique, which sets out the majority view alongside the wrecking, Akionla-led minority.

    I’m afraid that “you started it” isn’t a recognised defence to sin, to rule breaking, or to law breaking.

    I’m not surprised that the Akinolites have a shaky grasp of history. After all, the Church of Nigeria was established as recently as 1979, which was also the year of the first Primates Meeting.

    These people obviously have no time for or patience with the Anglican Communion. Since they largely define themselves by opposition to it, it will be interesting to see how well they fare when they finally walk out. Again.

  • Charles says:

    It is very easy for us, as humans, to cast blame. When I hear things like “TEC is to blame” or “++Akinola is at fault”, my thoughts move to Job’s friends during his crisis. Regardless of where we stand on this issue, are we not called to comfort the afflicted. Is not our communion currently afflicted?

    Communion is not one relationship but relationships at multiple levels. The PB and Archbishop may not be speaking, but loyal TEC churches and loyal Nigerian Churches still have mission programs they share.

    I recently saw a church planter from my Diocese who switched to the Church of Uganda. We disagree on polity, but we are still Christians, we can still speak about each others lives and ministries and share the Gospel in that way.

    When we say “that person broke the communion”, it illustrates more about our limited understanding of Communion than it does about their actions.

  • badman says:

    Lapinbizarre, I’m not sure what you mean by a “sound” commentator. Andrew Brown is a well informed and widely read commentator on the Anglican scene. But he’s not afraid of controversy. For example, his 1999 piece about George Carey, “Is he the worst Archbishop we’ve ever had?” caused a lot of fuss: http://anglicansonline.org/archive/news/articles/1999/990909.html

  • ettu says:

    As a lighthearted aside, I appreciate the humor (OK humour) that has entered into the discussion on FR.Jake stops the world and also on the Episcopal Majority –both of which I recommend if you have not already seen and/or taken the literacy test or observed the photo of Akinola and Minns on the respective websites–seriousness has its limits and a bit of leavening improves matzoh.

  • Robert says:

    The Anglican Communion continues on. ++Akinola and a few other head-strong primates just don’t stay in touch with the good works led and fed by liberals that are going on “under the radar” throughout the Global South.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “Peter Akinola, installed an Englishman, Bishop Martyn Minns, as his representative in north America.”

    Martyn and his wife are English born, but both are naturalized American citizens and have been for some time, I am pretty sure.

    “It is the latest, and the most brazen attempt by conservatives to seize the legitimacy – and the money and property and pensions [of TEC]”

    They are in litigation in VA over our property, which they are seeking to steal.

    Pensions, however, are not up for grabs. The Church Pension Fund is a defined benefit plan, a very generous one, and when you leave the employ of the church, for whatever reason, you are entitiled to the value of the pension up to that date. You just don’t get to continue in the plan.

    I’m non-stipendiary, so don’t participate in the that retirement plan, but my church-employed friends do.

    I’m not sure what other raids on TEC “money” the author has in mind. The costs of litigation over real propety are will continue to be high.

    As for another tiresome comment about TEC ‘violating’ Windsor and Dromantine – those are REPORTS, not legislation. Even the much cited Lambeth resolution which restates the fundamentalist literalist reading of the Bible on sexuality is not LEGISLATION. It is an opinion, and one NOT supported by science.

    Sorry for the exasperation – it’s like trying to reason with the anti-evolutionists or the flat-earthers. No amount of actual evidence can stand against what the RCs call invincible ignorance.

  • Christopher Shell says:

    Cheryl-
    For the uninitiated, the word in our gospels for ‘Spirit’ is neuter. Gender is not something central to discussions of the Spirit, though there are plenty of both feminine and non-feminine connections that may be made; unlike created human beings the Spirit is not gendered. There may well be a conceptual overlap with ‘Shekinah’ but by no stretch of the imagination is there an overlap with ‘Daughter of Zion’ which refers to the people Israel.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “let’s remember the souls who refused to help the Zimbabweans”

    I didn’t know about this, Cheryl! Pope Peter has said quite clearly, though, human suffering doesn’t matter. Surely what’s important is that +Nolbert is suitably vigilant about keeping the gays out of the Church.

  • lapinbizarre says:

    Badman. By “sound” I meant do Andrew Brown’s prognostications tend to be accurate. The split is obviously now in motion, thanks entirely to the arrogance of Akinola and his followers (“Many people say I embarrass them with my humility” is even funnier than Brown’s “Mail” piece on Carey, for which many thanks) and to the right-wing American gravy-train that bankrolls their antics. The only uncertainty is where the fault line will lie and which churches – most, one expects – will keep a foot both camps.

  • Steven says:

    Hmmm. Hugh says that TEC’s actions contra lambeth, etc. don’t matter because they have broken no rule of the TEC.

    I think this is mixing apples and oranges.

    What TEC must observe within its own boundaries in accordance with its own cannons and what it should observe as a member of a voluntary communion are two different things. TEC cannot claim to have kept the latter just because it has kept the former.

    This does not necessarily mean that TEC has breached the bonds of communion–though I believe it has. I am merely pointing out the fact that whether TEC has adhered to its own cannons and whether it has broken or impaired communion with the AC are two different questions.

    Steven

    PS-In a broader sense, no one can claim to have adhered to the standards of friendship, communion and comity on any matter just because their actions related to that matter have not broken the law. If you think so, try using that argument with a friend or spouse the next time you are on the hot seat! /s

  • C.B. says:

    badman – Your points are irrefutable. We have never denied that our actions have strained the “bonds of affection.” We know this. We have apologized. We have even entered into a moratorium, we have voluntarily withdrawn from ACC meetings. We are in a dialogue with the ABC regarding what further actions are within our polity that we may take to accommodate reasserters. We are operating under a deadline to respond to further recommendations by the Primates. What is Akinola doing. Is he engaged in the requested listening process? No. Has he stopped his border crossing are requested. No. But we are the one’s who are schismatic. He has over reached. The media is now onto him. He wants to remake the AC in his image. It’s simple. It’s straight forward. It’s the fact of the matter.

  • Pluralist says:

    People forget the Subgroup of the Windsor Process, presented by Rowan Williams to these assembled primates, which gave TEC 2 out of 3 passed and one neutral. That then became a more negative Communiqué after a lot of business of Akinola going backwards and forwards to his friends at a nearby alternative HQ.

    Williams is talking to the Presiding Bishop. She was invited. After a long pause, when he says it was never in doubt, he is going to talk to US bishops. He has sent a slow letter to Akinola asking him not to go to the US, arriving with Akinola after he’d gone.

    The US bishops have said they cannot meet the demands of the communiqué, nor should they, but have been patient too – contrasted with Akinola and his continuing actions.

    The Communion according to some rule, process, international oversight, as proposed by Rowan Williams, is already dead. It is dead because no Church would have such a constraint, and it is not the way Churches have proceeded, and especially in the US qualified episcopacy. The Communion as some sort of vague bonds of affection also now seems broken by the deliberate invasive and impatient actions of Akinola.

    The logic of Akinola’s actions, and always has been, is to remake the Anglican Communion in his own structural image, and he is the one who quite possibly will give a better and theologically broad definition of Communion based on discussion not oversight to the rest. This is after he has made his own Communion as well on very different lines and under a Church structure. Isn’t that what he is doing?

    He says he’d give it up if the constitutent parts of the once Communion agreed with him about what is biblical. But he knows it won’t as indeed it does not.

  • drdanfee says:

    One grows weary indeed of all the rightwing definitional and presuppositional campaigning. If this were the world of business, the prior older company TEC could simply sue the upstart CANA for mis-using the copyrighted business materials. That wouldn’t be a pleasant enterprise for anybody concerned, but it would at least offer a full airing in a public legal venue.

    None of these disagreements violate the communion that is simply mystically given among all believers by God’s gift to us in Jesus of Nazareth. If that could be broken by any sort of sin or heresy, we should already have seen it go the way of so many other churchly and worldly things, passed.

    The dilemma is how to weigh and oppose the prejudice and the injustice founded upon the rightwing orthodoxies, definitions, and presuppositions. We try evidence. That helps but powerful people ignore it, obfuscate, and refuse to pay attention to evidence, daring everyone else to find ways to force them to do so. We point towards the good, decent lives of honest LGBTQ believers among us for some three or four decades now. Some rightwing believers simply bury their noses in their special readings of scripture, and say that their traditional readings trump real people witness lived among us. Others look up, note that the people on witness are ordinarily fine people, then preach a definitional-presuppositional curve ball message that after all nobody is saved by being humanly good, and besides, human perceptions flawed by original sin cannot be trusted. The crowd willfully ignoring the evidence then grabs the curve ball message quickly, adding their objections about flawed humanity and original sin to the mad chorus.

    What to do? Keep on keeping on, I guess. Do any of these urgently claimed definitional or presuppositional distortions actually undo God in Jesus of Nazareth?

    Deeper than just the LGBTQ issues per se, we may be struggling with fierce roots of misogyny and the struggles of institutional patriarchy for owning all the global oxygen in all our Anglican rooms.

    See: Two audio clips: At: http://www.sewanee.edu/gsa/talks/vgr_041407

  • Nick Finke says:

    While the Spirit in the NT (pneuma) is neuter gender in Greek, it is certainly feminine gender in the OT Hebrew (ruach). Also, the Hebrew word used for wisdom (hochmah) which we now see in some of the Wisdom literature to refer to the Son, is also feminine. I would say that the general tenor of Cheryl’s comment seems correct even if the underlying grammar may wiggle a bit.

  • BobinWashPA says:

    Daniel: Forward in Faith and the American Anglican Council all existed prior to +Robinson’s consecraion. This battle has been ongoing in the country for much longer than 4 years. We have had two women rectors and both were horribly (with the nastiness I can’t say I’ve experienced any but in the church) treated by their male counterparts. The one was attacked in from of her teenage daughter at a section meeting. The daughter ran out of the room to get her father to make the male clergy help her mother.

    Our last rector got hate mail openly signed by a priest who is very close to Duncan. At our diocesan convention a group was talking to me until they found out I was from a non-network parish. Immediately they turned their backs to me. Want to talk about who’s leaving who???

    My bishop, Duncan, goes to Tanzania not to help heal and seek reconcillation but undermine one of the central messages of Christ.

  • NP says:

    Look – it is obvious that TEC wants both to do its own thing and to stay in the AC.

    TEC has inherited some money so might think it can buy acquiescence.

    Most in the AC (including many people TEC) do not see TEC’s innovations as legitimate i.e. not right (or wrong, if you prefer)…..so, let’s cut the pedantic nonsense….the issues are clear and what is required of TEC before Sept 30 is very clear

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    I once had dealings with a couple where there was a long history of abuse. Most of the husband’s abuse expressed itself emotionally / verbally, though there had been incidents of physical abuse as well.

    The odd thing was that, when challenged, he always claimed that his abusive actions – in whatever form – were her fault.

    Now, she probably wasn’t without sin. And perhaps he even had some legitimate causes for anger.

    But he did not have the right – and certainly not the duty – to engage in emotional and physical abuse.

    Daniel / NP – do I have to draw out the analogy for you? or are you able to follow it on your own?

  • Ford Elms says:

    “around here, you will find that everything is ++Akinola’s fault…….”

    Again,not true. I am quite willing to acknowledge that TEC acted precipitously. You however, seem to think that +Akinola is above reproach. You have even defended his attempts to jail gay people as consistent with the Gospel, at least as +Akinola sees it! You have repeatedly ignored requests to give even one “Scripture” that justifies jailing sinners, and have even accused me of wanting to let all the criminals go merely because I do not believe that Church should usurp the powers of the state! And it isn’t only +Akinola, there’s lots of scheming going on, and lots of behind the scenes political connections that run way outside the Church, and that have been repeatedly pointed out to you, but which you seem incapable of seeing. What most amazes me is that, while claiming all sin is sin, none worse than another, you are willing to break the Communion because one American bishop refuses to repent of his sins, while turning a blind eye to those unrepentant bishops who share your desire to punish the Americans.

  • Steven says:

    Malcolm:

    You obviously mean that even though the revisionists continue to blame the orthodox for what is going on this is clearly a sham. The revisionists do not have the right and duty to engage in this kind of abuse! Right on!!

    Thanks for coming out in favor of the orthodox Malcolm, though the analogy (even when used in our favor) is–like the rest of your comment–a bit ham-fisted.

    Steven

    PS-Irony is intended. I want to make this fact clear as I’m not sure (apropos your rather snide comment to Daniel/NP) that you would be able to discern this on your own. /s

  • Tim Jones says:

    Dear Malcolm,

    The analogy is a weak one, because it casts TEC as an abused wife, weak and helpless, when the reality is that TEC has immense financial and theological resources. It likens the inappropriate ecclesial activities of Archbishop Akinola to physical abuse, when in reality there is no physical abuse being perpetrated at all. The only strength in the analogy is its shrill emotionalism, which does not further the debate.

  • Mark says:

    I beieve that Akinola and Minns, by their illict ecclesiastical acts have formed their own communion (joining dozens of other ”continuing Anglican churches.” Akinola is now pope of the Nigerian communion. In the USA, we have freedom of religion. I have no problem with the existence of the Nigerian communion as long as they refrain from trying to steal TEC property.

  • Nick Finke says:

    Steven,

    I think you understood what Hugh said, but I’d like to make it clearer still.

    It is not just, as Hugh points out, that Lambeth resolutions and Reports of working groups and Communiqués from various meetings have no legal force in TEC, they have no legal force at all anywhere. They are simply expressions of opinions of those attending the meeting or whatever. The mere fact that a lot of people agree with the opinions doesn’t make them binding on anyone. They could be made binding, but there would need to be explicit agreement on that issue, it doesn’t just happen because a number of people would like it to.

    Until very recently it seemed axiomatic that membership in the Communion existed indirectly as a result of each province’s communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The significance of this is that the only one who can grant or deny membership is the ABC. This means that as long as the ABC is in communion with TEC, Nigeria can say nasty things about us but they can’t expel us from the Communion. Also, membership is not subject to a vote of any group, even the Primates’ Meeting. If the current ABC says that he will do whatever a majority of the Primates’ agree to, that’s another thing, but it’s because the ABC decided to to it this way, not because the Primates Meeting possesses this power on its own.

  • Thanks Nick. My grammar has always wobbled a bit. I catch myself by surprise when sometimes it works.

    In the past, there have been denials that God has feminine traits or that Spirit might have its own independent consciousness with opinions or feelings about how Jesus’ “trusted” acolytes were dispensing the energy.

    Those souls who are still in such a space have fallen into the trap of relying on the flattering comments from within their own coterie. They have forgotten the bigger picture. History also tells us that if you spend too much time primping in front of the mirror, you start taking hyperboles on what is reality so that it matches up with your paradigms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shekhinah has one definition. Goran rightly pointed out a few weeks ago that she is associated with the dwelling of the divine light within the holiest sanctuaries of the temple. It has amused me for years to know that one of the Cherubim of the Ark was female.

    Merseymike the “but” was not required – you and I are making the same observation.

    Martin. Yes we do “get it”. If it is any comfort the anathema to persecution and deprivation of any group has a biblical justication. See Genesis 3:14-15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” As the mother of all living things (Genesis 3:20), Eve is responsible for protecting her children. The bible is redolent of imagery of the feminine rising to protect the vulnerable and to discipline the tyrannical e.g. Proverbs 17:12 or 2 Samual 17:8 “…as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs.”

    Yet Ezekiel 19 contains a warning to the mother that if her children are too tyrannical they are to be torn up and burnt to the ground. Hosea 13:4-16 integrates both sets of imagery.

    God’s feminine plea can be found in part at Hosea 11:1-11. Micah 3 to 4 make it clear that there feminine traits relating to Zion. Hosea 2:16 and Isaiah 49:1 to 52:10 make it very clear that God has promises for the feminine.

    Some might want to debate whether the Daughter of Zion or Sheckina share the same consciousness. Go ask Jesus, or look up the Hebrew texts.

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    No analogy is perfect, but I do think my analogy applies.

    And lest Steven’s witty retort confuse anyone, at no point have I heard any of the “liberals” claiming that they were forced to do anything by the “conservatives.” If what the “liberals” did was wrong, they have certainly not tried to evade that by claiming that the actions of others forced them into it.

    But the Prince Bishop of Abuja refuses to take responsibility for anything he has done. Despite the clear language of the Windsor Report (which he claims as authoritative on certain issues and as non-authoritative on others), despite the clear statements of other Primates, despite a distinct lack of consensus among American “conservatives,” he blunders on with his campaign of provoication, all the while claiming that the Episcopal Church made him do it.

    Like the abusive husband in my analogy, Peter Akinola is a coward who refuses to be accountable for his actions.

    Refusing to repent (as one may honestly argue that the Episcopal Church has done) is one thing. Pretending that someone else’s actions have forced your hand is a refusal of accountability. It is dishonest. It is cowardly.

  • NP says:

    Ford – please do not tell lies – I have not “defended” ++Akinonla re jailing anybody….many times I have said that I do not agree with the proposes legistlation of his government (you do realise, it is not his legislation – even if he supported it – it was being put forward by the government)

    Anyway – you have misrepresented me horribly!

    Malcolm French – your logic is twisted and weak but, using your inappropriate analogy, it is clear that it is the AC which has been abused by TEC from Spong to VGR.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “you have misrepresented me horribly”

    NP, I’m sorry.

    “You have even defended his attempts to jail gay people as consistent with the Gospel, at least as +Akinola sees it!”

    When you made this statement, one to which many here reacted with shock, I took it as support for +Akinola. It certainly isn’t condemnation. You see, for me, his support of this bill, whether or not he initiated it, is evil. End of story. As a bishop, especially as one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed “Orthodox”, he has a duty to oppose this bill.

    “You have repeatedly ignored requests to give even one “Scripture” that justifies jailing sinners, and have even accused me of wanting to let all the criminals go merely because I do not believe that Church should usurp the powers of the state!”

    Again, I feel this was factual. I apologize if I have misunderstood, and I have no desire to twist your words.

    “turning a blind eye to those unrepentant bishops who share your desire to punish the Americans.”

    This was harsh. Again, I apologize. To explain, it seems to me that you never oppose the actions of people like +Akinola until you are called out, at which point you express your own personal opposition to their actions. You have never, for instance, claimed that +Akinola ought not to be a bishop because of his support of the aforementioned bill. I feel his actions are sinful, so if unrepentant sin is good enough to defrock +Robinson, surely it is enough to defrock +Akinola. You seem to see things differently, and that is what I was getting at in my overly strong statement.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “…the reality is that TEC has immense financial and theological resources.”

    What? Is TEC accused of whupping people upside the head with its immense theological resources?

    Eschatology! Wham!

    Systematics! Bam!

    As for financial resources, yes, TEC has resources to operate, but operating budget is what it is, paying for programs, staff, and the ongoing costs of institutional life. It’s a pretty lean budget at that.

    Evidently someone has the money to send ++Akinola and his entourage flitting all over the globe.

  • Christopher Shell says:

    Doesn’t that just go to show that emphasising the so-called gender of the Spirit is a classic example of the dangerous underlying tendency to read the NT on our own terms, in terms of (in the service of) our own contemporary interests, rather than on its own terms, which is the only way we can hope to understand it properly.?

  • Steven says:

    Nick:

    Once again, you are confusing “legalities” with the more subtle respect, comity and standards that bind people together in a friendly and voluntary association. The AC cannot legally force TEC to do anything. This is not a matter of breaking laws. It is a matter of breaking the tenuous bonds of friendship and mutual respect for each other and a common standard that hold the AC together.

    You might as well talk about whether your best friend has a legal right to force you to recant some comment or action that has broken your bonds of friendship. In other words, your point–even if correct–has very little impact or meaning in terms of the situation on the ground.

    Malcolm:

    Things have yet to sort themselves out. Many primates already consider that TEC is no longer a full member of the communion–de facto if not yet de jure–based on TECs unwillingness to pay any real attention to the admonitions of the AC acting through its authorized bodies. As Nick points out, these admonitions are not legally enforceable. And, as I point out above, this makes no difference: TEC is widely seen to have breached and ignored the tenuous bonds that hold the AC together. It has chosen to walk apart. Thus, to many, TEC is not entitled to claim exclusive right to particular “turf” in the U.S. vis-a-vis other Anglicans any more than the local Baptist Church can. It has separated itself from the AC and cannot claim the rights and privileges of a full member.

    Have no fear, these matters will sort themselves out over time. In due course, the ambiguities will clear up and either Nigeria or the TEC will be universally recognized as longer having any claim of being a member of the AC.

    Steven

    PS-As a lawyer I am very well aware of legalities and their importance. However, I have found that the most important relationships in life generally flourish or fail without regard to “legalities” or whether someone can legally force someone to do something. Our most intimate and familiar relationships are based on deeper and subtler rules of respect and affection. When someone starts arguing “legalities” the marriage is already on the rocks and headed for divorce./s

  • drdanfee says:

    How neat, how pat is the claim that TEC is the problem. Convenient, too, so far as deflecting our attention from the new conservative push to take over and claim apostolic rights to everything in sight that might matter about following Jesus of Nazareth. Conservatives are tired of rubbing church shoulders with anybody who isn’t them. They say as much in public now as part of the new realignment campaign, and they certainly act as if they alone hold the only invitation to the kingdom feast in their very strict hands.

    But the liberalities cut through and across many other provinces, too. Many believers can embrace equality/democracy in womens’ issues and status, up to and including ordination. We all know at least some of the other hot button issues about which believers in this or that province hold non-conservative views. Most tellingly, these controversial issues cut right through the CoE. Most tellingly, civil society in UK is moving in just the directions that TEC has weighed, tested, and continues to test for equality, freedom of conscience, and justice. These changes are conscientious change evolving right before our very eyes in our own lifetimes.

    So if TEC is the problem, so are all the other stripes of non-conservative believers in all the provinces.

    Let’s be clear: the campaign is to define away anything but conservative doctrinal possibilities, along with shutting up or getting rid of any and all of the people who might believe anything but strictly conservative doctrines.

    This amounts, institutionally, to a move to rigidly disenfranchise any non-conservative lay person, deacon, priest, or bishop, by way of the plausible but false claim that their being different is a dire threat to orthodox believers, just because they exist and are trying to follow Jesus of Nazareth so openly – but from some non-conservative angles – with some piece of place, of instiutional sanction, among us.

    TEC is a staging front in the ongoing conservative campaign because it has most openly tilted towards having a non-conservative majority of believers – step by step through four or five or six decades of change. It is hard to pick a starting marker for TEC as change agent. The continuities were always there from the beginning, but also the discontinuities were present. The province’s involvements in the USA civil rights movement were a decisive heightening of the province’s occupation of struggle for justice frameworks.

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    I’ve read enough of your posts, NP, to realize that you’ve got “twisted and weak” down to an art form.

    At what point, sir, have the “liberals” ever claimed that their actions were forces on them by the actions of the “conservatives?”

    Never.

    Let the Prince Bishop of Abuja take accountability for his behaviour. Let him say “I am not prepared to wait while the Anglican Communion sorts itself out. I am going to overthrow the Episcopla Church because I believe it is what God is calling me to do.”

    Let him repent of that cowardly excuse “the Episcopal Church made me do it.”

  • Ford Elms says:

    Christopher Schell,
    I feel obliged to mark the comparatively rare instances when we agree. Though I use ‘she’ at times to refer to the Spirit, largely to force myself to remember that, classically, God is neither one nor the other, neither both nor neither, I DO indeed agree with you on this point.

    “TEC is no longer a full member of the communion–de facto if not yet de jure”

    But Steve, this is the sticking point. The Church has a long established way of addressing doctrinal issues. Neither side has been willing to work within that framework. The church has been recommending dialogue and listening for at least three decades. TEC and to an extent Canada are the only one to have done so, and have gotten to the points where they are as a result. It is thus hypocritical for those who have ignored the voice of the Church for three decades to turn to an accuse the “other side” of this sme ‘crime’ now. TEC then decided to act unilaterally and force the issue, some in Canada, under the radar just like the “lay presidents’ in Sydney, have done the same and in so doing stepped outside the usual framework. But the actions of the GS step just as much outside the bounds. I would argue that both sides have decided to walk apart from the rest of us, the majority who respect the traditional processes of the Church and see in the actions of both sides something to be ashamed of.

  • Hugh of Lincoln says:

    “It is a matter of breaking the tenuous bonds of friendship and mutual respect for each other and a common standard that hold the AC together.” – Steven

    To me it is a gross injustice and an insult that TEC should be singled out in the way that the Primates do, as if the bonds of affection with (male)Primates are the only bonds of importance in the Communion. What about bonds of affection with the marginalised in our societies, LGBT people such as Davis MacIyalla? Or with those of us in other provinces who support TEC’s actions, and feel stronger bonds with those who are criticised? Don’t these bonds count too?

    “It has separated itself from the AC and cannot claim the rights and privileges of a full member.”

    TEC acted in accordance with its own polity, discernment and democratic principles. Or isn’t democracy something to be cherished in church? Shouldn’t General Convention be scrapped, along with General Synod in Canada and England? After all, what would be the point of having them if every decision voted on has to be ratified by unnaccountable foreign prelates? How are members of Synod/GC, accountable to their own constituencies, to discern the opinion of the Communion as a whole? Are they not able to bring measures and vote according to their own conscience?

    You agree that the Instruments of Unity have no legal powers; but the Primates, especially those of churches without democratic structures, are acting as if they do. This is a fatal error.

  • Malcolm

    As someone who knows first hand what it is like to be as a child on the receiving end of a father’s fist. I totally agree that abusive people will make you responsible for their actions. The clever ones (like my father) learn to hurt you so that they don’t leave bruises and to intimidate you into silence so that the police don’t take away their victims.

    Like my father, their violence is never confined to one child. As adults, we later found out that cousins were also molested too.

    Was I guilty of overemphasising Spirit’s femininity? Yes. Spirit has both masculine and feminine traits, human and divine traits. Sorry.

    But sometimes it is necessary to overstate the case so that the agreement is at the appropriate centre.

    By overstating the case, you have agreed that God has feminine traits.

    That is the victory.

    My blushing is immaterial.

  • Nick Finke says:

    One point of my earlier remarks was that the only person who can declare that TEC is no longer a member of the AC is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Declarations by others, be they Primates or whatever, may have moral significance, but they are irrelevant for deciding whether a particular Church has Communion membership.

    Until Cantuar tells us that we are no longer in communion with him, we remain members of the Communion. Others may be offended by our statements or actions, but their actions/opionions cannot separate us from the Communion.

    This is not a mere “legality.” There have to be definite criteria for Communion membership and, at least at present, the opinion of anyone other than the ABC is irrelevant.

  • Erika Baker says:

    Ford,
    “Though I use ‘she’ at times to refer to the Spirit, largely to force myself to remember that, classically, God is neither one nor the other, neither both nor neither”

    That’s true when you think theologically. But because in every day language God is “he”, and too many appear to imagine “him” as a stern old man in the sky, it is quite important to use “she” on occasion.

    It’s interesting that “he” never raises any comments here, whereas one single reference to the Spirit as “she” brings about a fair bit of protest.

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    Cheryl, I don’t think I ever questioned your views on the feminine aspects of God. Indeed, a few weeks ago began the Sunday sermon with a reflection on Jesus rather startling imagery of God as a mother hen.

  • I agree Malcolm, I do not recall your challenging the feminine God imagery either.

    I found a new website via an article by accident today. I am mild compared to some adventurous souls. Snicker.

    http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/MikeSAdams/2007/04/30/my_conversion_to_the_lutheran_feminist_faith

    http://www.herchurch.org/

    I love Jesus’ imagery as a mother hen in Matthew 23:37-39

  • NP says:

    Ford – thank you for your post. Yes, I find ++Akinola too harsh in his support of the proposed laws but I am afraid I cannot equate him with VGR as he is not preaching direct contradiction of some very clear teaching. His supporters (not me) may claim that the law is in fact softer than scriptural prescriptions (sorry, if this offends you.) I think he is wrong to support the laws but I do not see him being heretical so much as harsh and unwise in this.

    Malcolm – you are so wrapped up in your inappropriate analogy that you forget that the issue is not who started the current farce and stress in the AC but whether or not the TEC decisions and actions of 2003/6 with regard to VGR, in particular, are right or wrong for members of the AC….and yes, the AC has a right to decide what is right and wrong for those who want to be members.

  • Malcolm French says:

    I’m sorry, NP. I didn’t realize that you were the new moderator who decides what is or is not the issue.

    I made an observation about something that struck me – specifically the refusal of the “conservatives” (or at least one particular “conservative”) to take responsibility for his own decisions. I’m allowed to do that. You and the Prince Bishop of Abuja have not yet silenced me.

    Of course, you fail to acknowledge that there might even be an issue about who gets to decide what, and by what means, in the Anglican Communion. You may think that the usurpation of curial powers by foreign prelates is a good thing. I respectfully disagree.

    But it would be nice if the Prince Bishop of Abuja (or even you as his proxy) could simply acknowledge that His Grace does actually have free will, and that therefore he has undertaken his ecclesiastical aggression because he decided to undertake it, and not because the Almight TEC made him do it.

  • Steven says:

    Ford:

    Good to hear from you again. I don’t know if you’ll get this–I’ll keep it brief as we are probably close to the end of this thread.

    I agree that lay presidency is going too far. However, your analogy between the errors of the puritans/presbyterians in Sydney and the current brouhaha is problematic. The via media has always existed between the very CHRISTIAN extremes of Papism on the one side and Puritanism on the other. And, one or the other–in this case Sydney–should be reigned in from time-to-time if the via media of Anglicanism is to be preserved.

    Extreme liberalism–whether of the Spongian or VGR variety is quite different. It goes beyond and lies outside of not just the Anglican via media, but the basic CHRISTIAN viewpoint established by Bible and tradition. Hence, the sense of urgency and the more radical actions taken.

    I regret that more was not done when Spong was a presenting issue, but I don’t regret the current attempts to impose some sort of discipline in the Anglican Communion vis-a-vis VGR. Maybe, with this as the presenting issue, the necessary structures will be developed that will allow some type of effective action to be taken in places like Sydney as well. Time will tell.

    Steven

  • NP says:

    Malcolm – stop digging! You start with a flawed analogy and then try and defend it….

    -anyway, if you want to know how we (the AC) is going to decide what is right and wrong with regard to the crisis TEC started by its 2003 actions, see Dromatine, TWR and the Tanzania Communique

  • Hugh of Lincoln says:

    Steven,

    On the one hand you say there are two very Christian yet contradictory and opposing viewpoints – Papism and Puritanism; on the other you claim there is a “basic CHRISTIAN viewpoint established by Bible and tradition”, from which Spong and VGR have departed.

    I guess it all depends from whose “basic Christian viewpoint”, Spong and VGR are deemed to have strayed.

    It seems VGR has been chosen as the scapegoat and taken the brunt of conservative fury: combine age-old homophobia with dislike of “extreme liberalism” and you have a potent alliance of the historic extremes of Catholic and Reformed traditions.

    Would this alliance be the “basic Christian viewpoint” you refer to?

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    Congratulations, NP. I had no idea you were now the official arbiter of who is or is not part of the Anglican Communion.

    WRT Dromatine and Tanzania, those are statements by a collection of bishops who have no juridical authority.

    Windsor, of course, is also a document with no inherent authority. It does, however, have a lot of very useful things about it. And when the the Prince Bishop of Abuja and his assorted henchmen honestly and with integrity attach themselves to Windsor – that is, to the whole of Windsor, not just cherry-picking the bits they like – then I’ll believe they migh have something worth listening to.

    In the meantime, I don’t have much use for hypocrites who demand that everyone adhere to certain bits of both Lambeth 1:10 and Windsor when they themselves are defying other aspects of those same documents.

    And BTW, you still refuse to acknowledge that the Prince Bishop of Abuja has free will. That will doubtless be a very useful defence for his when he is called to account for his schismatic behaviour.

  • Jerry Hannon says:

    NP posted: “-anyway, if you want to know how we (the AC) is going to decide what is right and wrong with regard to the crisis TEC started…”

    Is NP now speaking for the “AC”? That is truly impressive.

    Of course that should mean that I am qualified to speak for the Church Universal (CU), and “we” hereby declare that hateful and uncharitable and prideful prelates, and their knee-jerk followers, are to be excommunicated from the CU, unless they repent of their anti-Christian words and actions.

  • Hugh of Lincoln says:

    Is NP now speaking for the “AC”?

    NP = Nexus Primatis? 😉

  • Steven says:

    Hugh:

    RE: Would this alliance be the “basic Christian viewpoint” you refer to?

    NO.

    Steven

  • NP says:

    Malcolm – yes, I have not bothered to respond to your weak points re Akinola because all you are doing is distracting from the main issues.

    Your point about “no juridical authority” in Primates’ statements is also a weak smokescreen but if you do not believe they have any serious intention behind them, then wait and see what happens post Sept 30…….but I do not believe that most of the Primates are like KJS or Griswold who are able to sign things and oppose the things they have signed without seeing any contradiction (let alone hypocrisy)

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    I suppose it is one approach to write off any contradictory view as “weak” without providing any substance of your own. Strikes me as sort of weak, though.

    Now, NP, please provide me with the references which support the primatial prelates’ claim to have juridical authority over the Communion. Given that it doesn’t exist (indeed, all the references to the Primates Meeting make it very clear it does NOT have juridical authority) I expect your response to be another weak write-off of contradictory views as irrelevant.

    And you may ignore the other matter to your heart’s content. But people are beginning to notice that the Prince Bishop of Abuja is nothing more than a self-aggrandizing bully who, like all bullies, claims that he is not responsible for his own actions. Likewise an intellectually weak position.

  • NP says:

    Malcolm – post Sept 30th, you will see that there is power behind the Primates’ statements. It is time for action as even the ABC is now part of a deadlline on “dialogue” ad nauseam with liberals.

    Until then, you please yourself with your pedantic smokescreens – and focus on criticising ++Akinola etc.

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    The crux of the matter is precisely this. The Primates do not have the authority that (some of them) are claiming.

    They simply don’t.

    From time to time throughout history, power hungry bullies have siezed power in both Church and State.

    That doesn’t make it legitimate.

    But I do think, NP, that you may be counting your chickens a trifle too early. The Prince Bishop of Abuja may just have overplayed his hand last weekend.

    But I’m sure if you prefer to belong to the Akinolist Communion, the Anglican Communion will wish you well on your departure.

  • NP says:

    Malcolm – I am really not sure whether you understand what is going on.

    Do you realise that it is TEC that must decide by Sept 30th to walk apart or stay in the AC?

    Nobody else in the AC, sorry to disappoint you, is facing any choice so your demonisatoin of ++Akinola is pointless.

    But, if the AC is forced to choose ++Akinola or VGR…….the choice is easy for most in the AC – TWR, Dromatine, Tanzania all show this.

  • NP,

    May I remind you about what C.B. wrote in the thread above?

    “When there is a tear in the fabric, one can take out a thread and set about to mend it, or, if one wants to use that tear to split the fabric, one can pull at the sides of the fabric and rip it a part.

    All fabrics get tears, as all relationships do.

    This tear has been used to wrent the fabric. Blaming TEC for the tear is meaningless. Akinola and the GS are using it to reconfigure the fabric.”

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    I’m well aware of what is going on, NP.

    A gang of foreign prelates is attempting to overthrow one of the founding principles of Anglicanism by establishing a new papacy and a new curia.

  • NP says:

    Goran – is TEC willing to repair the tear?

    It does not seem so.

    TEC still has a PB with the remarkable “skill” of agreeing to something (in Tanzania) and immediately disagreeing with the same thing (in the US)…..

    How can TEC repair the tear….see TWR, the Tanzania Communique – it is all very clear unless you want to muddy the waters or do not understand the issues

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