Thinking Anglicans

Armagh on the Communion

The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Reverend Alan Harper, preached this sermon at Clonmacnoise on the Feast Day of St Mary Magdalene. Read it all, but here’s the concluding part:

Archbishop Drexel Gomez, addressing the General Synod of the Church of England on the issue of an Anglican Covenant, said recently:

Anglican leaders are seriously wondering whether they can recognize in each other the faithfulness to Christ that is the cornerstone of our common life and cooperation. While some feel there will be inevitable separation, others are trying to deny that there is a crisis at all. That is hardly a meeting of minds. Unless we can make a fresh statement clearly and basically of what holds us together we are destined to grow apart.

I doubt if anyone believes that there is no crisis. Rather, in the context of Archbishop Drexel’s key test, that is, recognizing in each other the faithfulness to Christ that is the cornerstone of our common life and cooperation, a spirit of arrogance on both sides is causing people of genuine faith and undoubted love for the Lord Jesus to bypass the requirement for patience and for making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

I have yet to meet any “leader” who does not treat with the utmost respect and indeed reverence the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. I have heard no one in this crisis deny the fundamental tenets of the faith as Anglicans have received them. Yet I have heard believing Christians attack other Christians for not believing precisely as they themselves believe. Equally, I have heard believing Christians attack other Christians for not attaching the weight they themselves attach to this biblical text compared with that.

This is not the way of Christ; it is the way of fallen humanity. It is a boulder of our own creation and I do not know who will help us to roll it away.

Some fear, and I am among them, that an Anglican Covenant, unless it is open and generous and broad, may simply become a further means of obstruction: a boulder, rather than a lever to remove what obscures and impedes our access to the truth that sets us free.

The truth is that the tomb is empty and we are called to live a new life in which resurrection and not death is the new reality; a life freed from the narrow constraints of human expectation, predictability and conformity; a life that confidently expects the disclosure of new vistas offered by the God whose very nature and purpose is to make all things new and make us part of His new creation.

Throughout history the way of the Church has been strewn with boulders of her own making. Those boulders conceal from us what God has already done and is continuing to do. They are boulders compounded of pride, hypocrisy and conceit, envy, hatred and malice and all uncharitableness.

From such things, good Lord, deliver us! And deliver especially this tortured Anglican Communion of Churches.

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RPNewark
RPNewark
14 years ago

“Throughout history the way of the Church has been strewn with boulders of her own making. Those boulders conceal from us what God has already done and is continuing to do. They are boulders compounded of pride, hypocrisy and conceit, envy, hatred and malice and all uncharitableness.

“From such things, good Lord, deliver us! And deliver especially this tortured Anglican Communion of Churches.”

Amen!

cryptogram
cryptogram
14 years ago

This is good. Many people said “Who?” when Abp Alan was elected. Clearly the Holy Spirit knew what (s)he was doing.

NP
NP
14 years ago

Harper says, “I have yet to meet any “leader” who does not treat with the utmost respect and indeed reverence the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.” Well, the guy does not get out much obviously…. he can go meet VGR who ignores certain scriptures, he can go meet KJS who is a pluralist by her own admission and he can go to Harare and meet a man who clearly does not respect what the scriptures say with regard to the poor and oppressed! Nonsense from Harper…..he wants us all to pretend to be united (and accept rejection… Read more »

Noel Hennelly
Noel Hennelly
14 years ago

NP,

A literalist reading of Scripture is not the only form of respect and reverence. Our tradition has always maintained diversity of interpretation in this area. Nothing new at all. Back to school for you!

Malcolm+
14 years ago

NP, do you believe it is even possible that someone who disagrees with yu may actually just disagree with you? Or is disagreeing with you ipso facto proof that a person is evil and doesn’t take scripture seriously?

cryptogram (John Marshall)
cryptogram (John Marshall)
14 years ago

NP, have you spoken PERSONALLY to the Bishop of New Hampshire, or the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church? Have you read every word of their writings? If not, how can you so summarily dismiss them on what amounts to hearsay evidence? I wonder too whether +Kunonga actually fits the profile you create for him. He supports a despot indeed, but does he himself grind the faces of the poor or refuse them all aid? I don’t know. And I strongly suspect you don’t either. But then it seems from what you write (so interminably) that all these are false… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

NP,
Did you stop reading before you got to this bit:

“Yet I have heard believing Christians attack other Christians for not believing precisely as they themselves believe. Equally, I have heard believing Christians attack other Christians for not attaching the weight they themselves attach to this biblical text compared with that.”

or do you simply lack any ability for self criticism?

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

I endorse Harper’s sentiments. It also shows a naivity of what is happening outside of his sphere of influence. NP’s postings prove a level of myopic beligerance. I am currently trying to reconcile souls and parishes where there was a fundamental impasse over whether or not the Old Testament is still relevant. I have observed appalling readings of scripture that actually involve misreading the Old Testament so that they can now claim that Jesus has done some new thing. I also recall a few months ago on TA there was a discussion about whether or not the Old Testament was… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Well….it seems some of you do understand that many of us in the AC do not respect the “all views, even if they contradict, are valid” approach……it ain’t even “anglican”, it is just a formula to allow weak leaders not even attempt to have any discipline.

“Blessed are the fudgemakers” is not a saying of the Lord”! Harper is a fudgemaker like York….still deluded that the AC can be saved through fudge….but it is too late for that, following TEC’s 2003 actions, most of the AC realises that fudge just does not produce real unity

L Roberts
L Roberts
14 years ago

Reading some threads on TA give ‘trolling’ a whole new meaning !

ettu
ettu
14 years ago

NP’s song has become repetitive and he has fallen back on platitudes and is rather successfully hijacking comments – I for one intend to ignore such trolling from this point on – when (s)he has something worthwhile to say then I will read his or her comments thoroughly but until then……….

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Matthew 5:9-12 “Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” James 3:16-18 “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
14 years ago

Hi Noel Hennelly- Your comment made no sense to me for 2 reasons: (1) What do you mean by ‘a literalist reading of scripture’? A correct reading of scripture will abide by the author’s intentions. This means (for 26 and a half of the 27 New Testament books) that the words are to be taken literally. (Any parables and allegories within the main framework of a writing are clearly signalled as such: they are not themselves the framework.) (2) What limits would you impose on pluralist interpretation? I interpret John 1.1. to mean ‘The moon is made of green cheese.’… Read more »

Neil
Neil
14 years ago

you are quite right ettu. Same point every topic…
Lambeth
Tanzania
naughty TEC
repent of the worst sin (and only for some so it seems) imaginable…

L Roberts
L Roberts
14 years ago

I think ettu is on to something !

Unless there is too much secondary gain from trolling itself, to be able to let go of its (perverse) delights …

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

ettu,
I’m getting to that point as well. I just find him so infuriating that I can’t restrain myself. I will have to try though, I’ve derailed enough threads trying to make him see the bad way he portrays the Gospel, and in so doing do not portrayed it all that well myself at times.

NP
NP
14 years ago

ettu…..you are right, I do have to keep on repeating what the issue in the AC is and what is required in order to make progress…..because so many are in denial or want to avoid the cause of all this chaos is the fudge we have had in the past…….I keep on seeing assertions repeated on TA that “Anglicanism” must accomodate two contradictory views but I have to keep on repeating that actually the AC has a clear stated position (in Lambeth 1.10) and TEC deliberaltey violated with VGR so this issue needs to be resolved……I am not trolling but… Read more »

Malcolm+
14 years ago

During my undergraduate degree, I was registered through a Jesuit college. This was around the same time that the late Pope John Paul II disciplined theologian Hans Kung. One of my professors came into class the following day and commented on the way in which Rome had acted arbitrarily. Towards the end of his . . . rant(?) . . . he looked at me and said that Anglicans would have handled it differently – there would have been a real engagement, a discussion about the merits of the respective positions and an exchange of letters in the Church Times.… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Jerry Hannon
14 years ago

In addition to finding ways to ignore the now-clear trend among AC provinces outside central Africa, SE Asia, and the West Indies, we can also look forward to NP reverting to his/her old tactic of repeating TWA, Dramamine, and Lambeth 24.7, or is it 7.11, as his/her “equivalent” of the Council of Nicaea. Sorry, NP, but I’ve grown tired of your repetitive redefining-the-AC tactics. Isn’t it clear to you, after the Abuja putsch rejections by Brasil, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland, South Africa, and United States, with Wales clearly inclined to join them, and at least half (probably two-thirds) of England… Read more »

cu leitreach
cu leitreach
14 years ago

I don’t agree with NP that Harper is a “fudgemaker,” nor is it very intelligent to deride anglicans who are open to listening to what the Spirit may be saying to our society in 21st century Europe, viz., that centuries of scapegoating and persecuting those who are different must finally come to an end. History is on our side: conservative evangelicalism does not have the answers (not least, because it is not based on any sacramental community life). What is really distressing is just how the strong foot-dragging of the backward-lookers in the Church is allowed to hold everyone else’s… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Jerry Hannon…a few times you have dismissed Lambeth 1.10, TWR etc etc when I cite them as evidence to try and get some to see the way the AC is going…..but you have never given ANY evidence to show that actually it is going the opposite way, have you? I mention these things because some like you are in denial when it comes to what has happened in the last few years in the AC. Sure, we do not have a final resolution but it does not seem to me that the AC is moving towards accepting TEC’s actions in… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“It is so easy to rubbish the conservative NP,” You do know that what is being rubbished is not your conservatism, right? “arrogant” Pot shake hands with the kettle! “You do know that Lambeth 1.10 stands? (and that any vicar or bishop unrepentant in breaking it lacks integrity, therefore)” Again. +Akinola himself has said that it is not binding. Why do you presist in only thinking that one part of that statement is binding? The report was not, I believe, called Lambeth 1.10. If you mean the whole thing, then say the whole thing. You repeatedly ignore this. Give one… Read more »

Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

“A correct reading of scripture will abide by the author’s intentions. This means (for 26 and a half of the 27 New Testament books) that the words are to be taken literally.”

So should we believe that all Cretans are liars? The letter to Titus solemnly assures us that this is a true testimony.

Paul’s rhetorical flourish about males abandoning the natural use of the female is a similar text.

If someone is willingly hooked on the letter of Scripture where Cretans are concerned, such a person is surely a Cretanophobe.

MJ
MJ
14 years ago

NP wrote “You do know that Lambeth 1.10 stands?(and that any vicar or bishop unrepentant in breaking it lacks integrity, therefore)” Well, Resolution 10:3 of Lambeth 1978 still stands: “While we reaffirm heterosexuality as the scriptural norm, we recognise the need for deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research.” And Resolution 64:1&2 of Lambeth 1988 still stands: “This Conference reaffirms the statement of the Lambeth Conference of 1978 on homosexuality, recognising the continuing need in the next decade for “deep and… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
14 years ago

Nice catch MJ.

Pluralist
14 years ago

What did I say?

http://www.churchnewspaper.com/

_This week’s top story

Nigeria prepares its own English bishop

NIGERIA is on the verge of appointing its own ‘flying bishop’ in England to represent disillusioned Anglicans, The Church of England Newspaper has learnt. A new bishop to be appointed by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, pictured, could be consecrated before next year’s Lambeth Conference if plans succeed._

They are racing ahead.

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford…..for the nth time, I think it is all binding (not just 1.10) -and yes, MJ, the AC “listened” and studied but not been convinced! (you have noticed that the ABC who gave us TWR and the Tanzania COmmunique wrote in the past in favour of the “liberal” position….but even he is not pushing it through because most of the AC is not persuaded – the AC listened and still thinks TEC and VGR are wrong) Ford, I find it intereting that, on other threads, you dare not make a judgment on whether VGR does fit the Anglican church’s requirements… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Nice catch MJ. In same ilk, the evidence that the earth orbits the sun was dismissed, that the earth is really old and there was life before mammals or hominoids was dismissed. Let’s face it, for some priests, facts are just a confusion. Savi Hensman’s Ekklesia paper nicely rebutts such souls http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/rewriting_history The point is made that when religious souls spout rubbish that is obviously not congruent with the real world or scientific evidence, their credibility as sound advisors an any matter (physical or spiritual) is fundamentally compromised. The beauty of the blind soul, is they give God a chance… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“I think it is all binding (not just 1.10)” But you DON’T. You think it is perfectly reasonable for foreign bishops to interfere in the affairs of other dioceses. The statement also forbids that, it is thus the agreed position of the Church. This kind of hypocrisy makes you look silly. As to you and +VGR, I do not have the right to tell the people of New Hampshire or Abuja, dioceses to which I have never been, and in whom I do not know a living soul, that the Spirit did not guide their electoral synods. I do not… Read more »

ettu
ettu
14 years ago

As a general comment – without naming names but let those who have ears hear- I find repetitive comments – the same obvious points repeated over and over ad nauseam – to be quite bullying and disrespectful to others – I believe we are all mature, educated bloggers and do not need to be thwacked over the knuckles time after time by a pedantic headmaster who insists on drilling into us the same points over and over and over – yes, yes, yes we all know about certain individuals opinions about this or that (including Dromantine etc etc) – I… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

ettu,
I consider myself justifiably named in your post. You are totally right. I really must stop this, it gets nowhere, wastes time, and derails thread after thread. Restraint is in order.

Pluralist
14 years ago

The problem with every thread getting the same response, is that every thread ends up being the same. There might be fewer responses, but we could instead be analysing the Archbishop of Armagh’s sermon – and we are not. Elsewhere this sermon has come in for some criticism that it denies some Article or other of the Thirty-nine, because it allows the Spirit to have a freedom beyond some biblical scriptures. I think my difficulty with it is that it uses the tradition of the moved stone in an unclear way, as in what is the status of this form… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
14 years ago

Restraint from me too!

ettu
ettu
14 years ago

I apologize to Ford Elms who was not the blogger who ticked me off – if I may use the vernacular – otherwise regards to all and I shall now be silent for a while and stand in the corner – is a pointy hat a good idea?? Can I redeem myself with humor or humour or both? Seriously, the good will present in most -perhaps all posts – and the desire to help others apparent in most posts is heartwarming

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

OK, no further comments on this thread unless they relate directly to the remarks of Archbishop Alan Harper.

cu leitreach
cu leitreach
14 years ago

I think one thing worth noticing from Abp Harper is that the C of Ireland has recently been “doing rather well” numbers-wise, which seems to be the con-evo sole criterion of being church, precisely because it is not as hard line on issues of sexual ethics as the two other options for mainstream Christianity in Ireland. The RC Church in Ireland, in particular, is going into free-fall, largely as a result of its perceived intransigeance, hypocrisy and unreality in the areas of gender and sexuality. Real Christianity can be attractive too!

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

ettu,
No need for an apology, whether or not you were referring to me, you were right! I have wasted too much time and derailed too many threads, I feel. No worries.

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