Thinking Anglicans

Fulcrum conference talks

Updated Tuesday afternoon

The talks given on Saturday by the Bishop of Durham and by Andrew Goddard are published in full:

Conflict and Covenant in the Bible by Tom Wright

Conflict and Covenant in the Communion by Andrew Goddard

Episcopal Café and Pluralist have drawn attention to one point made by Bishop Tom. See What is Bishop Wright talking about? and Repressive Letters Go Out.

Update Monday morning

The Advent Letter can be found in full here. The relevant passage appears to be:

I have underlined in my letter of invitation that acceptance of the invitation must be taken as implying willingness to work with those aspects of the Conference’s agenda that relate to implementing the recommendations of Windsor, including the development of a Covenant. The Conference needs of course to be a place where diversity of opinion can be expressed, and there is no intention to foreclose the discussion – for example – of what sort of Covenant document is needed. But I believe we need to be able to take for granted a certain level of willingness to follow through the question of how we avoid the present degree of damaging and draining tension arising again. I intend to be in direct contact with those who have expressed unease about this, so as to try and clarify how deep their difficulties go with accepting or adopting the Conference’s agenda.

And what Bishop Wright said was:

…After a summer and autumn of various tangled and unsatisfactory events, the Archbishop then wrote an Advent pastoral letter in which he reiterated the terms of his initial invitation and declared that he would be writing to those bishops who might be thought particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant to ask them whether they were really prepared to build on this dual foundation. Those letters, I understand, are in the post as we speak…

Emphasis added in both quotes.

Tuesday afternoon update

Ruth Gledhill has been talking to Lambeth Palace and to Tom Wright and she reports all that here.

Update Wed And now also here.

Some other bloggers who have written about this are listed in the comments below.

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Simon SarmientoGöran Koch-SwahneBen WJohn OmaniPluralist Recent comment authors
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Ian Montgomery
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Ian Montgomery

I am interested that here as well as many other times writers fulminate at the boundary crossings thus giving them similar weight to the revisionism that led to the consecration of VGR. Windsor may have given some the idea of an equivalence of offense. That was clearly not so with the responses of the Primates at Dromatine and Dar Es Salaam in their interpretation of Windsor and its application. The boundary crossings and the mess that has ensued were a direct result of offshore provinces intervening to save the ministry of both congregations and clergy who were oppressed in their… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

I balk at the words “unnecessary and damaging uniformity” since the application seems to be to gay rights. Places that say “we don’t need them here” are surely the very places that do!

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“The boundary crossings and the mess that has ensued were a direct result of offshore provinces intervening to save the ministry of both congregations and clergy who were oppressed in their dioceses. They needed saving, many were friends of mine.” Please explain the manner in which these clergy and congregations were “oppressed.” Were they required to perform rites or services they did not believe in? Were they forced to make payments, other than the canonically required diocesan assessment? Were they forced to welcome preachers they did not share beliefs with–other than the canonically required visit from the diocesan bishop or… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

+Dunhelm said in his lecture: “Please note, I do not for one moment underestimate the awful situation that many of our American and Canadian friends have found themselves in, vilified, attacked and undermined by ecclesiastical authority figures who seem to have lost all grip on the gospel of Jesus Christ and to be eager only for lawsuits and property squabbles. I pray daily for many friends over there who are in intolerable situations and I don’t underestimate the pressures and strains.” What, pray, are we to make of this? Is Dr Rowan aware? Are the other Primates aware?? Would they… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

My mind is elsewhere at the moment, but as the person who highlighted this, it seems to me that these letters contradict an aim which is to have as many different positions around the table as possible. This is itself a divider of the Communion. Too much is being given to this communion. The letter of Paul to the Church at Corinth was to a Church, not a Communion, and all this about offence caused by one Anglican Church to another presupposes an existing communion structure – yet it has to be built up by centralisation. If each Church is… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Empathetic thoughts with Pluralist and his ilk. If it’s any consolation, when things look really bad, we are meant to go into exile: whether that be Babylon or the wilderness. In actual fact, things go worse for the souls who try and avoid exile. Zephaniah 1:9 “On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.” Amos 6:4-8 “You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

If true, sadly obvious that Williams still hasn’t realized what the “Northern Cone” provinces and he himself are up against. Neither Dromantine nor Dar es Salaam, where the primates’ meeting was manipulated spectacularly by Akinola and back-up attendants Sugden & Minns, has anything approaching the standing of Lambeth, Ian, as you well know. The 1988 Lambeth conference explicitly rejected border-crossing in a resolution reaffirmed in 1998. This “my Lambeth resolution is bigger than your Lambeth resolution” business is school-yard stuff. Squid ink and smoke screens. “…unseemly property fights and canonical slight of hand.” Smoke screens and squid ink.

Andrew Innes
Guest

From Bishop Wright’s talk:

Please note, I do not for one moment underestimate the awful situation that many of our American and Canadian friends have found themselves in, vilified, attacked and undermined by ecclesiastical authority figures who seem to have lost all grip on the gospel of Jesus Christ and to be eager only for lawsuits and property squabbles.

This really is a terrible mischaracterisation, for which the bishop ought to be ashamed.I hope someone from Canada, better informed than I am, will take issue with this.

BobinSwPA
Guest
BobinSwPA

Ian I sympathize with your friends. I’m in a diocese (Pittsburgh) were we’re in the same situation albeit a liberal or welcoming parish in a very conservative diocese. The only reason I stay is I believe that this will all be over with soon. Oppression works both ways and we learn nothing from our experiences. As for the letters, I certainly think that the ABC has sent the same letter to all, us in TEC, ACofC, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and a few others. I’d like to have the money spent in postage. I have to admire +Wright for not basking… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Andrew Goddard wrote: “It seems that most of my speaking engagements in recent years have focussed on three topics. Each of these is a subset of that traditionally unmentionable trio – politics, sex and religion. A standard conversation at home is “What are you speaking about this time? War? Homosexuality? The Anglican Communion?”. Of course I’ve often found myself speaking about two of the three on the same occasion – I’m sure you can guess which two! Today I think is a first in that I’m going to speak about all three in the same presentation! My decision to include… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

It seems to me there is a big difference between “those who have expressed unease about this,” and “those bishops who might be thought particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant.” Uganda expressed unease about the Lambeth Conference because it would not be legislative in form or intent. Nigeria and Rwanda expressed unease about the Lambeth Conference because they felt some of their bishops were excluded inappropriately. At the same time, they are enthusiastic about a process to complete an Anglican Covenant, as quickly as possible. On the other hand, some American and Canadian bishops have expressed unease about any… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Viewed from a more narrowly strategic frame, Bishop Wright’s remarks at Fulcrum might be seen as same-old, same-old conservative evangelical campaigning. Get to defining the frame categorically, presuppositionally – first – before anybody else gets there – and according to the conservative realignment play book you have already won the whole game. That Lambeth or much else among us in church life should be presumed to be a winner takes all game is itself indicative of conservative realignment campaigning. Suddenly shared Anglican spaces and places, both real and symbolic, belong only to the most conservative belivers with whom everybody else… Read more »

John B. Chilton
Guest

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/anglican_communion/about_those_letters.html

This was a curious reading of the Archbishop’s Advent Letter, as Simon Sarmiento has pointed out. But now we have this from Jim Rosenthal of the Anglican Communion Office: “No additional letters have been sent to anyone at this point.”

Pluralist
Guest

A comment to my blog says that the Anglican Communion office denies that any letters have gone out. So it could be that Tom Wright’s titbit of information to the gathered faithful is wishful thinking. If he likes to give a hefty pat on the back to his friend the Archbishop (ie to encourage him to get on with it) it explains more about him than it does about the process, or at least the corrupting nature of this process.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

When the Advent letter was eventually published after a couple of false starts I expressed the belief here on TA that Blessed Tom’s hectoring stamp was all over the document – particularly this quoted section – now it seems that he wants everyone to KNOW he wrote it AND the one now in the post and how influential he has become. Such are the ways of men! Young Tom would appear to have convinced Rowan that just keeping everyone at the table has proved to be a disaster and now its time to get a firm grip and knock heads… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Dearest Rowan Thanks for the recent letter, it has been so long since we last spoke and the ground beneath your feet seems to have shifted seismically in recent years, it is hard to keep up with the stream of unfortunate mishaps that seem to have overtaken you since you came to office yet alone the radical departure from your previously held views. You are quite right to suspect that I think the Windsor Report and the proposed Covenant are just a little short of a total disaster. It would indeed be hard for me to turn up at Lambeth… Read more »

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

martin, sorry to be picky, but there is a typo in your post. you write: Young Tom would appear to have convinced Rowan that just keeping everyone at the table has proved to be a disaster and now its time to get a firm grip and knock heads together and show we mean business …… You will know the sort of thing I mean … Rowan (poor lad) has fallen for this bullish line. when you clearly mean: Young Tom would appear to have convinced Rowan that just keeping everyone at the table has proved to be a disaster and… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“the awful situation that many of our American and Canadian friends have found themselves in, vilified, attacked and undermined by ecclesiastical authority figures who seem to have lost all grip on the gospel of Jesus Christ”

Yes, for LGBT Anglicans and their allies in reasserter US/Canadian dioceses—nevermind LGBT Anglicans in much of the rest of the world—this is indeed the “awful situation” they find themselves in (and/or getting the cr*p beat out of them, too)

Lord have mercy!

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

But now we have this from Jim Rosenthal of the Anglican Communion Office: “No additional letters have been sent to anyone at this point.”

That’s potentially troublesome. I was hoping that Bp. Schofield would have received a missive by now.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Just read that those unsympathetic to Windsor are to be asked not to attend Lambeth. This can’t be right , can it? Surely the Covenant should be debated freely and not imposed on a
“packed” Conference?

Is Bishop Wright the puppet master of Rowan Williams?

Do they honestly think that this will pull the carpet from under the feet of the GAFCONITES?

Do they honestly think that they can win the day by such tactics…surely the reporting must be wrong?

JCF
Guest
JCF

+Tom Wright blathering? Say it ain’t so! 😉

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

And there is another comment about this at the Modern Churchpeople’s Union blog, by Paul Bagshaw

http://modernchurchblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/bishops-receive-black-spot.html

Pluralist
Guest

As aspect of the Tom Wright lecture is an internal confusion (or at least it seems so to me). Early on his reference to super-apostles seems to be about The Episcopal Church leadership, but in later making a reference to a super-gathering (GAFCON) there has been a shift in terminology. It is not clear at all but many evangelicals are assuming that by super-apostles he refers to the GAFCON leaders, which then means they are not cross and resurrection, and therefore Gnostic in the sense that Michael Poon accused GAFCON. Wright says that Paul had his living out of that… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

While everyone is focused on the invitation list, I’d like, if I may, to call attention to several other worrying features of Bishop Wright’s speech: 1) the offhand use of a historically very loaded word, “usury,” with reference to home mortgages: “normal Western usury, a phenomenon heavy with multiple ironies granted our own scriptures.” 2) the disparaging reference to “the supposed Olympic ideal of global peace and fraternity, itself of course a kind of pseudo- or semi-religious post-Enlightenment construct.” 3) the claim that, if a local government official opposes something Bishop Wright wants to do, it is because he is… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

More on this super-apostles confusion (explanation too long for here) and also the absence of letters going out:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/04/super-apostles.html

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Thanks for the chuckles Martin and Poppy. Charlotte, I share your concerns about the rhetoric. One of things that bemused me was the recognition of the wonderful opportunities that have opened up, but then the desire to attempt to reign and channel where and how that grace will be meted out. They fought against this open unconditional inclusive theology (as long term TA subscribers can verify, quite nastily on many occasions). Now they want to be seen as in control of a fire that not only they didn’t start but they did everything in their powers to quench? Recriminations and… Read more »

Lois Keen
Guest

Good work, Charlotte. It’s just bone idleness on my part – I skim a lot of stuff, there’s so much of it. Yes, Tom Wright scares me, especially the at least appearance of the necessity of genocide, both physical and spiritual (wiping out ideas). This is not Anglican Christianity as I was taught it.
Lois

JCF
Guest
JCF

Outstanding analysis, Charlotte: thank you!

Pluralist
Guest

That aggression is there in Andrew Goddard’s piece too, the comparisons of an honest gay bishop with Nazis and Apartheid. I admit I glossed over the aggression rather because I refer to him “chucking his weight about” which is a shorthand for the stance of him always ‘taking them on’. Well BabyBlueOnline is happy to state that the operative word is *yet* http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/ _When Ruth pressed her further, he reiterated the point in a second e-mail_ Implying that there are letters to go whereas I state that Ed Greenhall (her? I don’t know him/ her) emailed again and changed his… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Charlotte, Is it that hard to read in context? The very idea that Wright suggested genocide! I do not consider this worhty of a full response. Or that he literally identifies his opponents with Satan (he does think in terms of structures of power – principalites and authorities as in Rom 13 – that represent distortions of human order and life). I am surprised that on this list this passes for “analysis” (I think this is the kind of instance in which there is serious misrepresentation and and we need to hear from the list sponsor on it). He does… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Scared little men.

John Omani
Guest
John Omani

Excellent analysis Charlotte. I would add that another disturbing feature is Wright’s crusade to reunite the Church and politics, and it this respect he is pursuing an agenda very similar to Rowan Williams’ own in trying to increase the influence of faith groups on political decision making. In practice, it is the conservative religious voices that shout the loudest, and whose influence Wright would increase. Unfortunately, Wright’s arguments are built on shaky foundations. In his writings, Wright fundamentally misunderstands Enlightenment thought, shockingly so as a scholar who is supposed to be sensitive to history and historical processes. In spite of… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

John O, I have just reread Wright’s piece. I think the best answer is for you to read it again as well as others reading this stuff that goes under “analysis” to read the piece itself! One does not have to read him without context, he has written at great length on various subjects including a front-rank commentary on Romans (Interpreters Bible Commentary). There is no excuse in light of his work out in the public domain for these wild charges against him! (They amount to either unthinking falsification or outright slander). On the Enlightenment, he would at least in… Read more »

John Omani
Guest
John Omani

Ben W, No, this will not do. I am sure Charlotte is as competent a reader as I am – Wright’s lecture speaks for itself. The claim that one has to digest the corpus of Wright’s works in order to understand his speech is preposterous, and almost certainly not one that he would accept. Similar diversionary and arrogant tactics were used by Rowan Williams’ acolytes after his Sharia lecture shambles: in that case his intelligent critics called out such smokescreens for what they were. The ‘wild’ charges are nothing of the sort, as I have already explained, but analogies and… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

John O,

Talk about “smokescreens!” There is lot of huff and guff here but very little light.

If you begin by reading closely what I wrote it is clear at the outset, the point is not that you have to read all of Wright to understand this piece – rather, there is no excuse for wild charges when there is a large context for what he is saying. (I suppose this kind of thing is what we must expect – after all even Jesus’ work was interpreted as “of the devil”).

Ben W

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ben W wrote: “He is speaking to the point here and not providing a precise history.”

How, pray, does one “speak to the point” without being “precise” in ones description of History and Herstory?

Mustn’t one get the facts right first??

How can you even construct such a thing???

But in the World of Ideas spin and lies do not count; = )

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Goran,

There you go again, you can only see “spin and lies.” Could it have something to do with the glasses you are wearing?

My statement was simply to say that he was speaking to the point in the present situation, not trying to give us a stage by stage account of how the Enlightenment developed (with its various aspects). Clear enough and straightforward to me and I think to most people who seek to understand.

Ben W

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ben W wrote: “Could it have something to do with the glasses you are wearing?”

Without my spectacles I would be quite helpless.

(you didn’t guess that, did you?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Ben and Goran
Please desist from further trading of personal remarks here. Thanks.