on Friday, 4 April 2008 at 9.43 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion
Mark Oakley wrote a comment article for the Church Times last week, arguing that those who divide the Communion lack an Anglican spirit.
Read it all now: An issue! An issue! We all fall down.
By definition those who think that an anglican spirit is more important than a Christian spirit (as though the former were the set and the latter the mere subset) are putting the cart before the horse. To mix one’s metaphors.
A splendid reflection — since the C of E gave up trying to prosecute “thought crime” it has displayed generosity of spirit (as any truly “catholic” institution must — of course the objection that an Anglican spirit is more important than a Christian spirit is an “have you stopped beating your wife” observation)
You might say that, Christopher Shell, but you are not an Anglican, are you? Anglicans do not believe, as you imply, that an Anglican spirit is not a Christian spirit. Nor does the author of this article say that.
This article deserves a much less glib response than this one; let’s hope the comment thread isn’t derailed by your cheap shot against Anglicanism.
So define a Christian spirit, Christopher. Is it a spirit that derides those whose beliefs are different, that demands separation from one another over such disagreements, that makes false statements about those with whom one disagrees, that uses falsehood dressed up as fact to demonize a group of people, that hypocritically denies a process of Biblical interpretation if used to justifiy acceptance of a certain group of people while allowing that same process to justify other things from which those having that “Christian spirit” can benefit? Is it to be found in disrespect, dissembling, scheming, plotting, reviling, and dishonesty, or… Read more »
“The division, however, is not really between conservatives and liberals at all. It is much more serious than that. It is a division between, first, those who are willing to say that other Christians, who have different views or lifestyles to themselves, are still, nevertheless, Christian, and have a Christian integrity that must be part of the Church; and, second, those who think that this simply cannot and must not be the case.” Archdeacon Oakley is spot on here. Spot on. To the best of my knowledge, there is only one party, group or side in current discussions that refuses… Read more »
Christopher, I believe Mark O makes an important point. In context, generosity and consideration for people who differ from us is basic to Christian identity. So you say we are willing “to live with … diversity and join at the altar with brethren with whom we might disagree on some issues.” So far so good. We agree. The issue overlooked here is, are there any differences that are so contrary that they deny the meaning of Christian confession or life? (it might be something like a married man regularly expecting to go to another woman for sexual relations and simply… Read more »
I think the Noah’s Ark imagery was insightful and appropriate for these times. After all, on the fractal scale of global realities, we are all going to have to give a bit to make space for the refugees from global warming: rising sea levels and desertification of previously agricultural land. “It is not so much that the Bible neatly answers all our questions, as that it questions all our answers.” God, I love that phrase. Sometimes people accuse me of bible mining – a fair accusation. What they don’t sometimes realise is that when I put up the alternative intepretations… Read more »
It is a very sad fact that the warning of the Primates, given so long ago, was not heeded by those who had the choice over whether to divide this communion or not. We have all paid for their failure. If his [Robinson’s] consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world,… Read more »
Those believers who still fear VGR’s election and consecration, thanks above all to the Diocese of New Hampshire who knew him, tested him, and discerned him as their own – are still living in a shadowy folkloric world where queer folks are dirty, dangerous, and above all, other than the good pure folks themselves. Those straight believers freely give themselves in marriage, but high and mighty, forbid queer citizens to do so. Those holier than thou believers praise and proclaim their own strictness from the rooftops, while repeating all manner of slanderous false witness, categorically claiming that queer folks –… Read more »
Margaret: Why is the consecration of an openly gay bishop anymore of a Communion-breaker than the consecration of a female bishop? Why is it that the provinces that refuse to even ordain women–let alone consecrate them as bishops–can consider themselves in communion with the ones who do either or both…but not with a province that consecrates a gay man? What’s the difference? Both are disagreements over the prerequisites for episcopacy. Why is one more a problem than the other? One other question that nags at me…would it have been as big a problem if it had been “Jean” Robinson, an… Read more »
Ford, It does seem at times like you want to turn this into some kind of contest (why the question about who shows more of the “Christian spirit?” And you are very sure about who does!). With the end of March I did not respond to your last post. You said, “I agree that society determines what’s normative, and sexuality is not a simple genetic trait, though genetics obviously plays some role.” At least on the second part then we seem to agree. The first part “that society determines what’s normative,” is often too much the case, but for Christians… Read more »
“are there any differences that are so contrary that they deny the meaning of Christian confession or life?”
I recall that candles on the altar was once deemed to be one of those issues.
Be W wrote (to Ford Elms): “On the same basis I might ask you what are you doing about the children who die of hunger every day and when will you start doing something about them? (Not to say you may very already be doing something!).”
Then, on the other hand, why are you asking the question?
That is just the kind of thing I had in mind. Unless we are rooted in the gospel and in the longer history of Christian faith we may lack discernmeent about what are “weightier matters” (e.g. Matt 23:23,24) and what are simply matters of preference.
RW put it on the table in reflection on the thought of Bonhoeffer: time to think about what are matters of “difference” and what matters of “apotasy.”
Do you read what you respond to? My point to Ford was precisely that I am in not his judge and am not the one to to ask the question. It is simply an example of a parralel kind of question to the one he asked me!
Seems to me that the present issue is MORE important than candles on the altar and LESS important than the plainly heretical sacramental theology emerging from Sydney.
And then it’s free?
“I do not know why you think you need to put yourself in the place of judge and presume about what I do or do not do about standing up for homosexual people?” When you use the same language as those conservatives who are now reviling not only gay people, but those who seek to show compassion to gay people, when you defend them, then I, perhaps too hastily, assume you think like them. It isn’t up to me to “be in communion” with anyone other than my bishop. But, I am very disturbed that no-one wants to break communion… Read more »