Thinking Anglicans

Misguided and missing the point

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has criticised Anglican bishops who are threatening to withdraw from next year’s Lambeth Conference on issues of principle as “misguided and missing the point”, saying that the purpose of the ten yearly gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world has always been to discuss divisions and differences since it was begun by his predecessor, 140 years ago.

Read the full press release about his Advent Address.

…Speaking of his predecessor, the first Bishop of Ripon, Charles Longley, Bishop Packer said, “The act for which he is remembered in history is that calling of the (Lambeth) Conference in 1867 in which bishops were invited to express their differences in the context of their unity in Christ… There was strong disagreement over the necessity for Christians to believe in the reality of eternal punishment following the publication of ‘Essays and Reviews’.

“There could not be a greater contrast between the attitude of the bishops at Lambeth in 1867 and those who appear unwilling to attend in 2008 who I believe to be misguided and missing the point….. (In 1867) there was no sense of a need to achieve unity before meeting, or refusal to attend on the grounds of the deep divisions which then split Anglicans from each other. Indeed the fact of such divisions was the chief incentive to meet…”

The full text of his address is available as a PDF file here.

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Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

Exactly! You won’t solve anything by not meeting and/or not discussing. The rationale of some of those who are wondering whether to attend is, however, different: namely, there has already been a great deal of meeting and discussing. Proportionally (and financially) probably a great deal too much.

Bp of Ripon is right that those who convene should not merely ‘celebrate’ but discuss and pass motions.

Aaron Orear
13 years ago

My, how times have changed. We no longer tolerate any sniff of disagreement as unity has come to mean sameness. If we’re not the same we’ll refuse to sit down and talk or even, in a classic confounding and rejection of the power and meaning of sacrament, take communion together. The Protestant, as in “protest-ant”, star must be ascendant.

Pluralist
13 years ago

As part of the Bishop’s Course taken locally, we were reminded yesterday that there is no agreement in the understanding or even having baptism and eucharist among Christians, and ministry varies. Even within the Anglican Communion and within the Churches there are wide varieties of understanding. There is now interpretation that includes same sex blessings and a fully inclusive ministry. There cannot be a one for all Lambeth resolution, and such carries no directive authority anyway. My only disagreement with the above is how a Covenant is supposed to be about providing support one Church to another. That is more… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Christopher: Have the conservative and liberal wings of Anglicanism nothing in common? Is there not enough unity in Christ among us for us to sit at the same table and enjoy the fellowship of our communion (small c and capital c)? We have differences about doctrine, interpretation, liturgy–we have always had those differences. Like the poor, they will always be with us. Why is it that this one difference–not about the nature of God, or Christ, or salvation, but about human sexuality–must rend the communion? I (and those who think as I do) am more than willing to sit with… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

As Paul the apostle, wrote:

Don’t give up meeting together regularly (as some have done).

Jesus is recorded as encouraging the meeting of two or three in his name. (Was he wary of the debilitating and paranoia inducing effects of large group dynamics ?).

I wonder if ‘in my name’ may mean, in the radical tradition of listening and spiritual hospitality he initated. Meeting with his ethos,in a small group, it becomes harder to call my brother or sister, “Raca”.

Meet dear bishops in the spirit of Jesus ….

Malcolm+
13 years ago

Now, could someone please explain to me again how one who refuses to go to a meeting if anyone at the meeting disagrees with him, and refuses to attend the eucharist if any one attending the wucharist disagrees with him ISN’T a schismatic?

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Definitely one of the good guys.

But I think the time has come when they (liberal CofE bishops) have to get off the fence and start speaking out clearly and firmly in support of TEC and the liberal cause.

I hope this is a beginning.

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

The bishop’s talk is as good a start as any, on reminding ourselves of what it means to follow Jesus of Nazareth as Risen Lord, across a variety of global differences, and by living together as honestly as we can manage given our hot button Anglican differences. Thereby we model peace, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We still have good hope as we seek to grow out of self-righteousness, glimpsing how God is working through others of very different cultural and worldwide Anglican church life. The moment with the Bretheren visiting the bishop reminds me greatly of the USA… Read more »

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

“We shall only grow in Christ if we are prepared to listen to one another and learn from one another.”

OK, I missed the “pass motions” bit — not that I am against “mind of the house” motions — they just are legislation — never have been — only will be if the puritans seize control of meetings (so they can exclude the impure, as they have always delighted in doing). Archbishop Whitgift was right about them.

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Pat, I identify with much of what you say. The crux is much of what the bishop says is past the point of where we are now. In essence you say can we not converse? Yes on this matter we have talked now, what is it – three decades or more? Tough as the conversation was at Lambeth ’98 something was affirmed together. Who walked away from that conversation in direct violation of agreement and the commitment of trust? Now when things are falling apart the cry goes up from those very people, “Let’s talk.” What about all the conversations… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
13 years ago

“The debate we face now is often represented as a debate over scripture. I do not believe that is true.” The debate we face now is often represented as a search for the perfect church. I do not believe that is true. But perceptions matter – on all sides – and we should not be content with proving ourselves right in our own eyes. As for the question at hand (to attend or not to attend), meetings are important because they can help to clarify such matters. They allow some to ask “what makes you think we are in search… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

“Bp of Ripon is right that those who convene should not merely ‘celebrate’ but discuss and pass motions.” This sentence actually gives a lot of cultural insight. It says that it is not enough to get together to enjoy each others’ company, to share stories, and gain wisdom from each others’ experiences. It states that the purpose of convening is to discuss and pass motions. This highlights a major problem in the fast-paced, outcome-oriented, performance-driven global economics and associated theological, philosophical and sociological paradigms and practices. Namely, that everything has become “results” oriented and that everything has become a competition.… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

The problem with listening processes is that at the end of the listening, there is still disagreement. And neither side can be really expected to go against what they feel to be right. Thus, the question is – given the disagreement, can the two sides co-exist or not, accepting that the other side will continue with practices and beliefs they disagree with? Conservatives – and ONLY conservatives – insist that liberals must change and fall into line. That isn’t going to happen. The problem is that conservatives cannot handle diversity because it flies in the face of their (in my… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Ben: The problem is that–at least for what I must call (for brevity’s sake) “the other side”–they did a lot of “talking” but not a whole lot of listening. They only heard “contradiction” of Scripture…and not the heartfelt belief that, for 2000 years, we have misread the meaning of God’s word, because we didn’t have the human understanding of God’s creation we have now. Further, if we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be able to share that sibling relationship even in the presence of our differences. I don’t agree with my brother and sister on everything–not… Read more »

David Wh.
David Wh.
13 years ago

Hmm, ´Machevellian motives’…. Since a letter from this good Bishop is hardly likely to be received by the orthodox Global South Bishops as a positive encouragement to attend Lambeth I wondered, sceptically, whether he really wants them to turn up – putting the conservatives in the usual vast, and growing, majority – or whether this is a subtle attempt to harden the GS’s resolve not to attend… They should, of course, come. If they come it is their Communion; if they don’t it will belong to TEC and their like. Attending would also make it pretty embarrasing, if TEC’s 98… Read more »

David Wh.
David Wh.
13 years ago

ps Simon, I think that Mark Wh and another contributor adequately answered your challenegs to give examples of TEC’s persecution of the orthodox etc.
I was suprised you weren’t aware of what liberals have been doing to orthodox Christians in TEC who can’t agree that gay sex is good.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ben I agree with Pat. And if I may get personal for a moment, this not really listening includes you too. A week or so ago I posted a brief description of my own relationship with my partner here. Ford later asked you to comment on what that description signified for you and whether what I am describing can rightfully be called Sin, and if not, what it can be called. You did not engage with Ford at all, moved the conversation to a different point and later closed it. I have such a strong sense of people “hearing” but… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

” If they come it is their Communion; if they don’t it will belong to TEC and their like” No chance that it could be “our” Communion then? It’s all nothing but a power game? No genuine attempt to discern where God might be guiding his church? No genuine attempt at respecting the other’s viewpoints? OK, so I presume your reality is: If the conservatives turn up and reaffirm their hostility to same gender love we’re all expected to treat the resolutions as gospel truths. But if they don’t turn up and the resulting statements are a little bit more… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Mark Wharton
13 years ago

I fully support the action of the orthodox Bishops to decide not to attend the Lambeth conference; if they cannot share the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when they attend, why should they go? We ALL know if we are honest that regardless of how many orthodox Bishops attend, the traditionalists will always be heard but never listened to. There are two types of Christianity being played here and I for one am in full support of the Traditional Universal catholic teaching that we should ALL be adhering to. On a different matter, I have only recently found this site but I… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

David Wh
No, I don’t think so at all, but please, let’s keep that discussion on the other thread, not here.
Simon

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

Mark Wharton

Then why are anglo-catholic parishes, where you get the holy sacrifice, usually like gay clubs of the 50s and 60s then ?

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

In my experience “inclusivity” usually ends up with those calling for inclusion only wanting those with whom they agree to be included! This then is the most exclusive form of Church!”

Can you provide any evidence for that please?

Stay around here for a bit and judge us after you’ve actually had a few proper conversations with us.
I don’t know where your experience comes from but I for one am very happy to live side by side with all those who would kick me out of their church.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Mark Wharton:

Do you ever read without your own prismatic glasses on? Many here–including myself and Erika–have clearly said we have no interest in excluding those who disagree with us. We welcome them as brothers and sisters in Christ…the differences we have with them are not sufficient to turn them away from the table (figuratively and literally).

The choice to leave is theirs, not ours.

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

One of the great vexations of our current realignment is the either/or manner in which so much of the realignment gets pitched to the rest of us. It is completely right; we are completely wrong. It is completely faithful – we are said to be completely unfaithful. We are said to even be, not even interested in being faithful. A great touchstone of our vexed liberal status repeatedly comes to mind as we listen. We ask too many questions. All hot button domains of modern life get pitched ahead of time, in inadequate and strikingly self-serving forms: as black/white, as… Read more »

mark wharton
mark wharton
13 years ago

“he choice to leave is theirs, not ours” If a situation is created whereby the teaching of the universal church is prohibited, the catholic anglicans have no alternative but to seek to build a church upon universal catholic teaching somewhere else! I would also ask if Pat O’Neill and Erika Baker are in favour of structured provision i.e. a free province for those who seek to maintain universal catholic teaching? “Then why are Anglo-catholic parishes, where you get the holy sacrifice, usually like gay clubs of the 50s and 60s then” I have never worshipped in an Anglo-Catholic church that… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Erika, I want to answer you directly here, but in part with reference to what I said to you on the Calvery to Lambeth thread, because the conversation overlaps. We may have to raise the issue of listening to each other from time to time. We could begin to go in circles on this; a person may have listened to this carefully before, sometimes to the same person. And none of us has unlimited time; as I believe you agree this goes both ways. I have not commented on your situation, as Ford suggested earlier I do, because for one… Read more »

mark wharton
mark wharton
13 years ago

Erika Baker:
The call for a single-clause measure with regard to women Bishops in England; yes it may be an attempt to secure no stings attached ministry for women Bishops, but it is also an attempt to remove catholic Anglicans from the CofE. If a single clause measure is approved then we will have no choice but to go.

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

Mark, as I said in another thread, that liberals are good at the talking and not necessarily doing “inclusivity”. God forbid if you don’t agree with them during a “lovefest”/”trendfest” as I like to call our local diocesan conventions. But at the same time, refusing and agreeing with refusing to attend anything in the leadership capacity of the church (including Lambeth) is a ticket to automatically being ignored and marginalized. Learn from the LGBT (at least of us that are honest about it) experience in the church. We refused to be marginalized and openly participated in the inner workings of… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Pat, I think conversation has been hard at times in large part because of preconceptions on both sides. Before we ask a lot of fresh questions I think it is important to hear and attend to those that have already been asked. What I don’t see you facing, if we want to understand where we are now, is what I asked, “Tough as the conversation was at Lambeth ’98 something was affirmed together. Who walked away from that conversation in direct violation of agreement and the commitment of trust?” We do after all think and determine with reference to some… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

One of the strengths of the local church is that it has people of difference in it. You cannot reduce or minimise the differences. I went to a prayer meeting, ecumenical, and through increasingly gritted teeth sang some Graham Kendrick songs, wrongly given the title hymns (in my opinion). I did not sing a chorus attached to one, and had a verse obviously difficult to rhyme and ended in the line “thing” – which reminded me of a rising hand, somehow. One participant went on and on and on with a prayer that sounded like a one woman recruitment drive.… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Erika earlier reminded us of another thread where direct questions were asked of some but, as she commented: “You did not engage with Ford at all, moved the conversation to a different point and later closed it.” I’ve actually watched a number of such threads over the last few weeks on TA. It’s a pity we’re not in the same room playing poker, that way when we say “bluff” they really have to show their cards rather than emitting another smoke screen and dissembling into another tangent. Mark wrote “If a situation is created whereby the teaching of the universal… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

I admire the way you engage with different individauls, groups and theologies Pluralist. I hope your generosity will inspire many.

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

The issue of Anglicans listening to Lambeth 1.10 continually comes up as a hot point. But do we listen, legalistically? Is the resolution quite like a court ruling, come down from the bishops at that 1998 Lambeth, as it were? So the matter is indeed – closed, settled? If we still have pressing citizenship or church life questions, are they invisible or silent until/unless our questions can be strictly posed, only inside the 1998 Lambeth resolution frame? This alleged Lambeth traditional rule is how way too many conservative realignment Anglicans like to define and set up the fundamental dilemma or… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“”he choice to leave is theirs, not ours” If a situation is created whereby the teaching of the universal church is prohibited, the catholic anglicans have no alternative but to seek to build a church upon universal catholic teaching somewhere else! I would also ask if Pat O’Neill and Erika Baker are in favour of structured provision i.e. a free province for those who seek to maintain universal catholic teaching?” Who’s prohibiting anything on the liberal side? Has anyone said you CAN’T teach that homosexuality is sinful? No, we have simply said that some of us see it differently and… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Ben, you wrote: “We do after all think and determine with reference to some authority or other. If it is not centered in Jesus Christ in the context of scripture and Christian teaching as a whole, it will be something else. What is that “something else?” For you it seems what is final and above historic Christian teaching is “the human understanding of God’s creation we have now.”” Anglican thought has always had three parts–scripture, tradition and reason. Reason, to me, includes the human understanding of God’s creation…and that, thanks to science, is constantly changing, improving, becoming more aware. I… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

what is it that trumps scripture?

I see. So there might be a few scientific aces of hearts, the tens and kings of biblical criticism of clubs, the aces of experience in spades, but when twos or threes of diamonds are played of a literalist reading of scripture, whether said by St Paul (usually it is something to do with the early churches), or someone who wrote it like they thought he would think, then those low diamonds win the game.

Well in my game, diamonds are not trumps, and there are no privileged suits.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Ben W wrote: “Tough as the conversation was at Lambeth ’98 something was affirmed together. Who walked away from that conversation in direct violation of agreement and the commitment of trust?” “Something was affirmed together”? Dear Ben W, I would suggest this is being disputed. Lambeth 1998 was an internationally recognized failure in leadership (there were other churches there, remember), a scandal and an outrage. Why do you call it “a conversation”? “in direct violation of agreement and the commitment of trust”? I would beg you not to use a language of violence, if you want to be thought of… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Ben W wrote: “We do after all think and determine with reference to some authority or other. If it is not centred in Jesus Christ in the context of scripture and Christian teaching as a whole, it will be something else. What is that “something else?” What, pray, makes you think that people who believe the standing of lesbians and gays in the Congregation is a Gospel issue for today (just as the standing of Slaves and Women in the Congregation has been a Gospel issue in the past) are “not centred in Jesus Christ in the context of scripture… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Cheryl Clough wrote: “ .. reminded us of another thread, where direct questions were asked of some but, as she commented: “You did not engage .. at all, moved the conversation to a different point and later closed it.” Cheryl Clough commented: I’ve actually watched a number of such threads over the last few weeks on TA. It’s a pity we’re not in the same room playing poker, that way when we say “bluff” they really have to show their cards rather than emitting another smoke screen and dissembling into another tangent.“ Trouble seems to be, that for some this… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ben, I seem to have responded to your post here on the Calvary to Lambeth thread, getting a bit muddled about the way the conversation has developed on both. Apologies! “can we also agree on respect for those who hold to historic Christian identity and teaching on this (recognizing that there are things to be worked out both ways)?” Yes, I have no problem with that. I never have had, as it happens. And I truly respect those who have wrestled with this issue but honestly feel they cannot change their thinking. My problem lies with those who don’t appear… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

drdanfee, You say “The issue of Anglicans listening to Lambeth 1.10 continually comes up as a hot point.” And your question is how do we hear this or listen to it? Is it a closed or settled matter? I have already said in another post that “we do not simply close the conversation down.” In answer to your point one, there were some you say who dissented. That is the nature of any meeting in council. (Could be said about Nicea 325!). The question is, was something affirmed together in the end (even with the understanding on the part of… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Mark Wharton
13 years ago

“The Universal church is about correcting sin and wrong and not about condoning it!”

And I here I thought Christ died to forgive our sins. Silly me”

Do you really believe the cross has given you carte blanche to do as you please just because your forgiveness is guaranteed!
come on!

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Pat, Just a note. You make the point, “Anglican thought has always had three parts–scripture, tradition and reason.” I have repeatedly referred to “scripture in the context of historic Christian teaching.” That would inlcude the first two, and if we are going to think of scripture in light of historic Christian teaching we have the third :-). Of course we take account of the realities of life, but beyond that we may set up something else as authoritative which denies scripture its proper place. In the name of ideological – historical criticism or reason we have had denial of everything… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Pat wrote: “If scripture and historic teaching contradict scientific knowledge, then we must admit that scripture and teaching–having been written and taught before current knowledge–are, if not incorrect, at least misunderstood.” If scriptures are completely fulfilled by the “highest” prophet then there is no need for further religious texts. There should have been no need for the texts beyond what Moses gave us. But we have Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, Daniel, The New Testament… Historically, new prophetic works are incorporated that have ongoing merit and add value to the existing “complete” knowledge. Would we want to no longer have electricity, microwave… Read more »

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
13 years ago

Mark Wharton: a very large proportion of FiF priests are closet gays. Surely you are not unaware of that? They haven’t taken vows of chastity, you know, and they certainly don’t live as if they had: I know many of them well. It has always been thus in the Anglo-Catholic wing of the C of E. So, it’s perhaps not very seemly to get wound up about the gay issue if you come from that side of the Church: you have certainly been ministered to by many practising homosexuals if you have been hanging around FiF churches for any length… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Following up on my previous comment, I ran across the following at Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/verena-von-pfetten/sister-wendy-my-semispi_b_75338.html) in an interview with Sister Wendy, the Roman Catholic nun famed for her TV shows exploring art: “You’ve spoken out about gay marriage. How do you balance what you believe with what you have sworn to uphold? “I believe in loyalty. We should respect our church, but never believe that the church has the last word. The church is saying “this”, but I believe that sooner or later “this” will change. “This” is not the mind of our Lord. God is all love. It’s a… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“What is the Christian framework from which to think and act?”

That’s a bit basic, Ben!
Abusive relationships are wrong. Fullstop.
Loving, faithful and hopefully lifelong relationships are not. Fullstop.

You would do us all a great favour if you could indicate that you had indeed listened enough to understand that we are not pushing for paedophilia, pornography, molesting old grannies or taking a shine to our puppies.

Can you PLEASE begin to talk about what is actually the issue?

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

By all means meet and celebrate as well as passing motions: this is both/and. Bear in mind that other bishops are now only the touch of a button away, so the need to meet is less pressing – and even less so considering the number of other conferences, meetings and conventions there have been already recently. The central issue is the right use of time and money, and I agree that simply meeting together is a priority – just think that bishops can do and are doing that on plenty of occasions already.

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Erika, Thank you for your response and clarifying some points. I think we do proceed differently in our thinking and acting. I think this needs further reflection by us all. You highlight “the emotions, the personal story and the direct questions.” I did not work through the experience of divorce with my two brothers without a lot of all of all that! But in the middle of all that are questions about what really happened and the requirement for honesty to face up to that (on the basis of feelings one could simply blame the other or say “well many… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Fr Mark wrote “…certainly been ministered to by many practising homosexuals if you have been hanging around FiF churches for any length of time.” Actually, I think that anyone who has been ministering for any length of time would have been ministering to homosexuals, bisexuals and adulterers. The same as they would have been ministering to thieves, liars and thugs. Surely no one believes that souls who come to church every day do not sin at all? The evidence is in that being Christian and going to church does not stop souls slandering, abusing, deceiving and stealing. There’s heaps of… Read more »

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