2/28/2007

The Archbishop’s Briefcase

Writing for WORLD Magazine, Edward E. Plowman, in an article titled, Showdown in Africa, wrote:

"The primates discussed a number of topics but spent almost the entire final day on matters related to TEC. The global south kept hammering away for stronger, more specific language in the communiqué, and defending their interventions on TEC soil in America on behalf of parishes seeking refuge from TEC.

The primates finally adjourned as midnight approached. Akinola was the last to sign the document.

"It was the most intense meeting I have ever attended," Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda said afterward. "Even until the last night of our meeting, we were in a deadlock. But, the Lord has prevailed. Biblical authority is being restored, and from that, we are hopeful that biblical mission will be the result."

"We came very close to separation over this," said the global south's Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Southern Cone in South America.

Separation indeed. In Akinola's briefcase was a signed statement by global south primates, ready to be released as a minority report with the communiqué if it had not been strengthened, according to several sources. It also would have signaled a breakup of the communion, they added." (emphasis mine)

The "signed statement" in that briefcase was obviously known to the Primates that signed it. But as a threat or a promise the document had little value unless it was more widely known that it existed and might indeed be put forward. That is, as a element in a week of what Stephen Bates called "raw politics, power plays, tactics and boycotts," the place and value of such a document rested in it being known by everyone that some of the Primates were ready to bring the whole house down. The document, it is reported, "would have signaled a breakup of the communion."

What then was in that signed statement?



34 comments:

  1. christopher+28/2/07 9:28 AM

    "What then was in that signed statement?"

    We might all yet find out, because they might still feel a need to use whatever "nuclear option" they have dreamed up if things don't go exactly their way. But then they will have done their worst - and the rest of us can can finally get on with the work of God's Church. Why anyone is willing at any time to give in to such blackmail - to pursue appeasement and "unity in our time" - is beyond me, but I suspect that trend won't last forever.

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  2. christopher+28/2/07 9:38 AM

    An interesting and instructive extract from the actual "Peace in our Time" speech, given by Neville Chamberlain in 1938:

    "To those who dislike an ultimatum, but who were anxious for a reasonable and orderly procedure... every one of [the] modifications is a step in the right direction. It is no longer an ultimatum, but is a method which is carried out largely under the supervision of an international body."

    And before anyone gets all excited and enraged about this comparison, my observations are about the likely prospects for appeasement in the face of a highly motivated party - not about the specific actors involved.

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  3. Richard III28/2/07 10:51 AM

    And when one gives into a bully's demands in an effort to appease them the bully will just keep demanding more. I think this dispute is as much about what we do in the church as who gets to call the shots and make the rules. Being in communion with the See of Canterbury is a wonderful ideal but if we have to give up our intergity and live out the Gospel as others require, not as we honestly believe it speaks to us, we deserve what we get. If we have to go our own way, so be it. We're on the right side of this issue and time will bear that out, but changing attitudes about homosexuality aren't going to happen overnight considering how many centuries of condemnation of it have gone before. Treating homosexuals with the same dignity and respect as everyone else may be the right thing to do but that still isn't going to change the way things are until people have a change of heart and make the effort to consider the possibilty the writers of the Bible might have gotten it wrong.

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  4. christopher+28/2/07 11:44 AM

    Ok - I am proactively repenting. "Blackmail" is too strong a word; what we are dealing with at present is more accurately described as "coercive diplomacy."

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  5. Bill Carroll28/2/07 11:49 AM

    Is the reason so many want to shift power to the Primates Meeting to make backroom negotiations like this possible? Hard to imagine keeping the contents of this ultimatum secret in even the Lambeth Conference or ACC. Any primate who was aware of this ultimatum was duty bound to share it with the Church, for the sake of transparency and basic Christian honesty. These have not proven to be strong suits among the primates.

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  6. Or more specifically, Bill, among *some* primates. I wouldn't want to paint *all* Primates in this light because it isn't all of them. I think it's a mistake to keep saying that the Anglican Communion has given us an ultimatum. It isn't the Communion, but a handful of loud-mouthed theological thugs. To refer to this group as "the Communion" or "the Primates" is to afford them much more recognition than they deserve.

    Richard III has it right in this respect: when someone claims more authority for themselves than they actually have, and then tries to exercise it, that is called coercion and is an abuse of power, which is neither biblical nor Anglican. And I don't think the writers of the Bible got it wrong, Richard, I think those who misread what the Bible actually says (and doesn't say) regarding homosexuality get it wrong.

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  7. What was in the document is of virtually no value since it apparently worked.

    I hope there was more substance in that 'briefcase bomb' there was to the claim of WDMs. The tactic of envoking impeding doom if you don't do it our way has become the substitute for listening and rational conversation and negotiation.

    The Primates who signed the document have just been good pupils of the current US foreign policy. They have taken from us what they can use and discarded the rest. When they get away with it then they can declare themselves the winners for the cause of TRUTH.

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  8. Of course, there are no political power plays among those who support SSBs, are there?

    Whenever there are two or three gathered together, there are politics. Politics is how we get things done in the human realm.

    My question for those on this board is this: Are you willing to rupture the Church yet again so you can have someone bless same sex unions? Is the blessing of same sex unions something required by the Faith or is it an optional aspect of the Faith. If it is required, then please stop saying that you are not forcing your views on anyone and if it is optional, then shame on you for being willing to split the Church rather than not have your way.

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

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  9. Phil Snyder asks: "Are you willing to rupture the Church yet again so you can have someone bless same sex unions?" Of course I could easily turn his question around, but I'll spare him, and you, for the sake of his wonderful insight: "Whenever there are two or three gathered together, there are politics."

    All right then, Phil, what kind of politics are we going to play? Politics that allows a small, unelected group of determined and obstreperous men to bring the whole machinery of the Communion to a grinding halt? Politics that allows a very few people at the top to dictate to all the rest?

    If we stay in -- and it's a serious "if" at this point -- we need to see to it that the independent power of the Primates' Meeting -- power it has arrogated to itself over the past six or seven years -- is taken away. An Anglican Communion Constitution that allows for broad representation of all orders, with strong checks and balances against the exercise of arbitrary powers, should be put in its place.

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  10. I suspect that the contents are actually included in the Primates' statement. At several points they make such satements as "Some of us believe" If one strings them together there is an interesting (Horrifying actually) set of propositions included. They also are in contradiction to much of the rest of the statement.

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  11. Phil,

    My comment back to you is that there are people who are willing to rupture the church to ensure that I don't bless same-sex marriages or relationships, even when what I do in the middle of a province (secular not church) that no one even knows exist has extremely little impact on them or anyone related to them.

    We are not forcing our views. We are not insisting that just because we wish to bless same-sex relationships that everyone has to do the same. We are saying that after many years of study and discernment this is what we have come to sincerely and firmly believe that God would have us to do. We realize that you are not there yet and we do not require that you do the same.

    What you are suggesting is exactly what those who oppose full inclusion are doing.

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  12. Ann Marie,

    You are inforcing a view that homosexual sex (in a committed relationship or possibly not) is something that God intends. The reappraisers are insisting that their view be part of the Christian faith and witness. Remember that 2000+ years of moral teaching say that homosexual sex is not blessed, but is sinful and I challenge anyone to give conclusive evidence otherwise. The Church is involved in a conversation whether we should change that teaching or not. Until the teaching is changed, the old teaching remains and those who act in contravention of the current teaching are acting schismatically, not those who are upholding the existing teaching.

    As for the Primates exercising leadership, that is what primates do. The formal "split" cannot come until all the "Instruments of Unity" agree and that won't happen until ACC 2009. However, if TEC bishops continue to defy the Communion in blessing same sex unions, then they don't need to pack any bags for England next year as they will not be invited.
    The lack of invitation is not the schismatic act. Rather it is a recognition that schism has already occured.


    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

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  13. They do seem confident that we won't call their bluff. That paper in the briefcase could have been blank for all we know. And I am sure I am not the only cynical one to think that.

    NancyP

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  14. Ah, the shame is on TEC again, eh?

    Funny, I thought the deep and stunning shame was on the Anglican Communion for turning its back utterly as one of its national churches openly encourages the of persecution of homosexual people in that country.

    But I suppose we all have our priorities....

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  15. I suppose it was a terribly schismatic of us to act in contravention of the accepted teaching that the enslavement of African peoples was divinely sanctioned.

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  16. Phil,

    I just don't buy the whole church thing. Who is the whole church? Is it the parish (Baptist polity), or the diocese, or the communion, or the church universal.

    It seems difficult to me to for someone to be in a church the is descended from a church that arbitrarily broke from the catholic communion (CofE), and to be in a church that then couldn't get it's bishops consecrated by the mother church, to talk about some sort of catholic consensus before we change some tradition or teaching.

    What is the danger of blessing same sex unions? Will those gay and lesbian who have been baptized and confess Jesus as Lord go to hell? I think not, do you? Will those who celebrate same sex unions and then live in faithfulness with one another break up the family structure od society? I think not. Are people in same sex marriages hurting one another or their families any more than we all do in our sinfulness? I haven't seen it.

    So why split the church of Jesus even further over this? Why is it so hard to say that, given what we know about human nature now, that different people can interpret what Paul said to 1st century people differently now?

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  17. Phil,

    I just don't buy the whole church thing. Who is the whole church? Is it the parish (Baptist polity), or the diocese, or the communion, or the church universal.

    It seems difficult to me to for someone to be in a church the is descended from a church that arbitrarily broke from the catholic communion (CofE), and to be in a church that then couldn't get it's bishops consecrated by the mother church, to talk about some sort of catholic consensus before we change some tradition or teaching.

    What is the danger of blessing same sex unions? Will those gay and lesbian who have been baptized and confess Jesus as Lord go to hell? I think not, do you? Will those who celebrate same sex unions and then live in faithfulness with one another break up the family structure od society? I think not. Are people in same sex marriages hurting one another or their families any more than we all do in our sinfulness? I haven't seen it.

    So why split the church of Jesus even further over this? Why is it so hard to say that, given what we know about human nature now, that different people can interpret what Paul said to 1st century people differently now?

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  18. "There are none so blind as those who will not see"

    Ah, Phil:

    When I hear your willfully blind, willfully insane rantings, how can I show you? How can I reason with you?

    For the love of God-in-Christ, does anyone know how to "Love One Out" * of pathological homophobia?

    Prayers for your healing, my brother.

    YQIC,
    JCF

    [* But of course, LOVE will win out: Love will win Phil. Love *will* win Peter Akinola! :-D

    "I believe---Lord, help my unbelief!"]

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  19. Marc,

    I agree that the Anglican Communion hasn't given us an ultimatum. A small group of bishops, who are attempting (as a group) to grab power for themselves, has given us an ultimatum. Not even the Lambeth Conference can speak for the Anglican Communion. It can advise only. We do not have a global synod, and if we were to have one, which I think is a terrible idea, it would have to include representatives of other orders of ministry, including laypeople. The ACC is a better venue to discuss these matters (but still not nearly representative enough and still only consultative-it's in the name, though assumed for the other instruments of unity).

    I think "among some of the primates" is redundant. "Among the primates" implies nothing about individual primates. At the same time, the group as a whole has issued the communique. I am troubled by the absence of a dissenting voice by our Presiding Bishop. The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has distanced himself from the document, so should she. So should anyone who cares about normative Anglicanism.

    I can understand why Bishop Katharine might have felt she needed to sign. I personally would have refused. There is no reason why she couldn't have indicated that she intended to try to lead the House of Bishops to reaffirm the resolutions of GC2006 as our best offer and that she did not know whether we would be willing to extend B033 past 2009 and that she had doubts whether we should.

    I am troubled by this talk of the need to stay at the table. Her first official act as Presiding Bishop was to buy a seat at the table by lending her support to a horrible resolution (B033) which violated the rules of the House of Deputies as well as the non-discrimination canons of this Church, to say nothing of the Gospel and the Baptismal Covenant. If she continues to buy a seat at the table by sacrificing others (a bishop is supposed to feed Christ's sheep, not eat them), this is a troubling development indeed.

    I do think she still deserves our support and respect. She also has earned criticism for how she has chosen to lead. Every effort at appeasing the Anglican right leads to new demands and ultimatums. Unfortunately, the ABC and primates seem to have gotten the upper hand and may effectively speak for the Communion. I'd like to see the ACC assert itself, but the court may have been packed, due to a miscue by the PB's predecessor.

    Phil,

    There is a difference between power over others and power with others. The Episcopal Church is acknowledging what God is doing in local communities. We may eventually be able, by means of a democratic process, to include rites of blessing in our Prayer Book (this almost certainly will happen) and to confirm another bishop living openly in a same sex relationships (this too will almost certainly happen). We are not trying to force Nigeria, et. al to follow our lead. And no one, to my knowledge, is suggesting that any clergy person must perform a blessing that would violate his/her conscience. The Church only blesses, witnesses, and celebrates a union. It doesn't make the union. The couple does, in partnership with God. In cases where clergy conscience won't permit them to bless a union, I think the baptized should take it upon themselves to offer a blessing. The Holy Spirit dwells in them too. The couple are the celebrants at a marriage or union anyway.

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  20. As an outside observer and reading blogs on both sides, I note that both sides view the other as "bullies" and both have cited the appeasement analogy. I think it would be instructive for partisans to read the "other sides" blogs for one week during lent. I'm not saying that one would change fundamental views or that both sides are "equally" right, but it would result in a little more charity.

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  21. christopher+1/3/07 10:29 AM

    Phil said:

    "You are inforcing [sic] a view that homosexual sex (in a committed relationship or possibly not) is something that God intends...insisting that their view be part of the Christian faith and witness."

    Phil does a service for this discussion by saying much more clearly how it is that some - presumably in the Episcopal Church, in this case - feel they are being "forced" to believe or do anything (which they are, of course, not). It is, Phil says, about "insisting that their view [the view of those committed to the full inclusion of our GLBT sisters and brothers in Christ] be part of the Christian faith and witness."

    The Body of Christ being what it is, Phil, yes, all of us are part of that Body - also including, for example, our brethren in the United Church of Christ. Therefore, a biblically based understanding of the full inclusion of all God's children in the life and ministry of the Church is already firmly part of the Christian witness. That is not going to change. As you surely know well, righteousness is not always to be found in numbers, voting majorities, or the way things have always been seen and done.

    Christians have as long a tradition of getting things wrong, very wrong - the Crusades, collusion with the Nazis, slavery, segregation, for example - as we do of getting things right. The gift of Anglicanism is that we remain in relationship and continue the discussion - and that our faith is grounded in and defined by Christ, and not second-tier issues of human sexuality.

    And let's be clear: If those for whom issues of sexuality are as central to the faith as the Creeds themselves are willing to split the church over this (and also sanction human rights abuses in Nigeria and elsewhere), then it is indeed they who cause schism. The Episcopal Church does not deny fellowship to those who disagree with its commitment to GLBT Christians, and it most certainly does not force its views on others.

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  22. Thomas (et. al.)

    I am not splitting the Church over this. I hope we can all agree that those who support blessing SSU are doing "a new thing" and those who don't support blessing SSU are not doing a new thing (in regard to the blessing aspect).

    Thus, logically, those who support blessing SSUs are changing - they are the ones moving and they believe that they are moving at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    Now, I relate to God more with my head than my heart, so please excuse me if this sounds too logical. If the rest of the Church (Anglican Communion, or Church universal) is not moving on this issue then those who are doing "a new thing" are the ones walking away from the rest of the Church.

    The Christian life is often spoken of as a journey. We are travelling together with the Body of Christ towards our goal of union with God (theosis / divination). There is a fork in the road. One small group wants to turn right and the larger group wants to stay on the same road. Now, the best thing to do may be to take the fork and turn with the smaller group. We don't know that yet. But shouldn't we listen to the rest of The Church before we run off to take that fork? Aren't we leaving the main group (walking apart) if we take the fork and the rest of the group believes it best to continue on the same path they have always been on?

    Marc,
    If you will take the time to learn the history of the abolitionist movement, you will find the the USA was decades behind the rest of the Church in abolishing slavery. We were "schismatic" in insisting that we keep slavery in the US.

    JCF: You speak of my ranting and insanity. Can you please provide examples of how I am ranting or provide evidence of my insanity? I try to be very reasoned in my debate and to avoid logical fallacies (such as slavery or shellfish). I also try to avoid ad hominem attacks (such as calling people insane).

    All I want is an argument that is based in Holy Scripture and Tradition as to why the moral teaching of the Church should be overturned. All I see is "God blesses homosexual sex." I don't see any argument, just an assertion.

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

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  23. I always appreciate your thoughtfulness, Bill (Carroll); thanks.

    Adoremus - If *you* read other blogs, you would know that I, for one, am a fairly regular commenter at T19 (much to their consternation and my ire, but it's fun - sometimes.) Most of us do have other things to do than hang out at blogs all day, but I do look regularly at this site, Fr. Jake, T19, and Thinking Anglicans.

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  24. Say "no" to Akinolan politics/discrimination and hate to the Archbishop of Canterbury:


    jonathan.jennings@lambethpalace.org.uk

    His "press official" will "pass on" your e-mails.

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  25. OK -- I wish people (including the PB) would stop acting as if we were dealing with people of good will who can be persuaded -- the evidence indicates that this is simply untrue.

    AND -- considering the shape of the proposed Covenant, it seems to have no purpose other than to expel people.

    BUT -- I have no desire whatsoever to be part of that centralized New Anglican Homophobic Church.

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  26. christopher+1/3/07 6:23 PM

    Phil said,

    "Now, I relate to God more with my head than my heart, so please excuse me if this sounds too logical. If the rest of the Church (Anglican Communion, or Church universal) is not moving on this issue then those who are doing "a new thing" are the ones walking away from the rest of the Church."

    Phil,

    Someone truly "walking away" would either discontinue dialogue or demand that everyone else conform to their view of things (or else). The Episcopal Church is clearly doing neither of these. The Nigerian Primate, however, is - not least by actively supporting human rights violations against GLBT people in his country.

    If there is no room for diversity of thought and extended dialogue on second-tier issues in the Anglican Communion and Lambeth 1.10 - and, yes, the hermeneutical tradition behind it - effectively become foundational, displacing faith in Jesus Christ and the Creeds as the cornerstone of unity, then THAT is a definitive change.

    I suspect we will all see, however, that there is more room for extended dialogue than there seems to be at present. Scripture and Tradition are always balanced by Reason in Anglicanism.

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  27. To Phil Snyder,

    I have never read a post by you that was thoughtless (oh, except one), and I do believe you have battled your battles with integrity. However, with your last post it just hit me. Are we, as God's children, as Jesus' followers to be always thinking with our heads?!! What was the central, cohesive, uniting message of Jesus? Was it about logical policy and procedure? Or was it about making waves? Yes, those waves that challenged the logical thinkers of His time. Why did He dine with sinners?

    As a priest I admire said recently, some of the things that divide us do so because we think God stopped talking to us 4,000 years ago. He didn't. He keeps challenging.

    I know you want to say, we need to give the church or the Anglican Communion time to catch up with the notion of 'homosexuality.' Well, too many ugly words have been spewed, too many people have tried with their "HEARTS" to find understanding. And you have helped them. If they feel that enough is enough, I am with them.

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  28. Let me try one last time.

    Everyone here I have read uses the "we not forcing anyone to accept our view" argument. My point is that you are forcing the Anglican Communion to accept your view that sexual morality is a "second tier" issue. The rest of the communion says (and has always said) that sexual morality is a first tier issue and the direction that TECUSA is heading is not the direction that the Communion desires to God and it is different enough to break communion over.

    You may not want to force the Anglican Communion to bless homosexual unions, but you want to force the Anglican Communion to say that blessing homosexual union is OK for Christians. Therein lies the change in teaching that the reappraisers desire.

    I submit that a change in the teaching of the Communion should be determined by the whole communion and not just one small province.

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

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  29. christopher+2/3/07 10:10 AM

    Let me try one last time, then, as well.

    1) The Archbishop of South Africa, for example, is on the record as saying that issues of human sexuality are second-tier issues. These issues are, in other words, not to be equated with the Creeds as a central matter of faith, nor are they a litmus test for being Anglican. I think you would find more people worldwide agree on this than you seem to think. The first-tier issues for church unity from an Anglican perspective are firmly established in the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral - and have been for more than a century.

    2) Further, this is not a disagreement or theological "fault line" between Provinces, but one that runs right through dioceses and parishes in MANY Provinces. This is NOT just about "one small province" - which makes ongoing dialogue that much more important.


    3) Maintaining the TRADITIONAL Anglican space for diversity of thought and practice is NOT - oh so very clearly NOT - the same thing as trying to force anyone to do, say or believe anything. Or have the Anglo-Catholics also been "forcing" their sacramental theology on Evangelicals and/or vice versa? If diversity of thought and practice leads some to experience - quite incorrectly - any sort of "guilt by association" with someone with whom they disagree, then they must decide how best to handle that. But imagine the state of things in the Communion if people had claimed they could not or would not be in ecclesiastical fellowship with anyone who ordained women or allowed divorce and remarriage - both highly charged issues for some, related to biblical theology. Of course, some did claim just that...

    4) You assume quite wrongly that these issues have been decided once and for all, probably on the basis on that now infamous 1998 mind of the bishops present resolution at Lambeth. The Anglican bishops gathered for Lambeth did not decide that, in 1998, the world had stopped - and with it theology, science, reason, thought and dialogue - and that matters of human sexuality had thus been decided once for all. That's why they set up a long-term LISTENING process.

    5) I submit that there is no such thing as a teaching of the Anglican Communion until it is adopted as such by each individual Province gathered in Synod. This is NOT the Roman Catholic Church.

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  30. Phil Snyder wrote: “Whenever there are two or three gathered together, there are politics. Politics is how we get things done in the human realm.”

    The extreme left-wingers of the 1970ies put it “Everything is political”. I must confess haven’t heard anything as extreme since then.

    Phil Snyder wrote: “Remember that 2000+ years of moral teaching say that homosexual sex is not blessed, but is sinful and I challenge anyone to give conclusive evidence otherwise. The Church is involved in a conversation whether we should change that teaching or not. Until the teaching is changed, the old teaching remains and those who act in contravention of the current teaching are acting schismatically, not those who are upholding the existing teaching.”

    Sorry, but the “2000+ years of moral teaching” of Alexandrian Philosophy was that the non Spilling of Semen was the path to “Virtue”, giving Authority over the vulganum plebs.

    Abstinences (water, soap, food, “sex” in that order) were required for the ordained;
    Continence (in-holding Semen) for the lay. Marriage was a lesser celibacy for those week in the Flesh.

    “Masturbation”, the Spilling of Semen for non procreational purposes, was a Deadly Sin – in fact worse than murder – worthy of an Eternity spent in Hell (both Indo European Philosophical categories un-known to the Biblical authors).

    I was taught this traditional moral teaching as a child:

    "Hands on the blanket, children - lest the Angels weep."

    When minted around 1050, the word “sodomia” referred to (4 kinds of) Masturbation as self indulgence: Concupiscentia, the 3rd of the 7 Deadly Sins; Luxuria (only the one actually Spilling the Semen was the guilty party).

    This teaching of ancient Alexandria and pro Empire Academics became an increasingly hard sell in medically defining 20th century Modernity. There was an intermediate, quasi medical stage, which claimed that Masturbation emptied the Spine.

    When that no longer worked, what had been conjured up as “biblical” “proofs” for this heathen nonsense was re-circulated as anti-gay “proofs” instead.

    This happened with the 1966 Cambridge “translation” of the not yet overtly homo-sexualized 1955 Bible de Jérusalem (from the Codex Sinaiticus) of the French Dominicans and its accompanying Grammatical “analysis” by Pr Zerwick of Rome.

    The word malakoì (soft, of textiles; secondary sense: “sloppy”) in 1 Cor 6:9 – proof since the 10th century in both East (where this false exegetic still stands) and West of Masturbation as Deadly Sin – was re-invented as anti-gay, as “soft, effeminate ; catamite homosexual”, which is the late Modern Essentialist category of “passive gay man”:

    From Sin to Sinner; from “act” for all, to Sexual Orientation as Identity for the novel (1890) social minority.

    The following word; arsenokoîtai – a hapax legomena of uncertain meaning, probably “male bedfellows” as per the ancient Latin translation “masculorum concubitores” – was changed symmetrically by the same “translators” to “sodomite, homosexual”, that is “active gay man”. Again, Sexual Orientation as Identity.

    Now, it is Modernity which is Egalitarian, Symmetrical (2 opposite genders) and Essentialist.

    Whereas pre Modernity was Patriarchal (as long as there was a subordination Senior => junior everything was just fine), Asymmetrical (no “genders”: humans were on a continuum; slave => child => woman => celibatarian => Man), and Pragmatic (to Gnosticist systems “chaste” women were Men).

    This means that Symmetrical, Opposite and Essentialist categories such as “active gay man”/”passive gay man” did not exist in Antiquity (pace poor old philosophically charged Philo or Alexandria who tried to mint symmetrical words for men having sex with men, but failed).

    Post 1966 several other Biblical “words” mis-used in 2nd Millennium Academia as “proofs” for its teachings on the Spilling of Semen, have been re-circulated as anti gay but late Modern exegetes into anti Modern Social Politics (mainly in the USA). These are heavily dependent on the late Modern invention of a Heterosexist Fertility Cult in Colorado (Focus on the Family and others), much into the re-subordination of women and so on.

    This late Modern American Heresy, this “new thing”, is what Phil Snyder and others who think “everything is political” believe to be “2000+ years of moral teaching” of the Church”.

    2000+ years of Academic moral teaching certainly, but not in the Bible. I wonder who lied to them.

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  31. Phil Snyder wrote: “Now, I relate to God more with my head than my heart, so please excuse me if this sounds too logical. If the rest of the Church (Anglican Communion, or Church universal) is not moving on this issue then those who are doing "a new thing" are the ones walking away from the rest of the Church.”

    Not it’s not at all logical.

    How is “doing a new thing” walking apart? And who said they aren’t “moving”?

    They are moving the double act of seceding and blaming those who stay for it.

    Also, Anglican churches are not the Church universal, but a branch of it.

    Phil Snyder wrote: “The Christian life is often spoken of as a journey. We are travelling together with the Body of Christ towards our goal of union with God (theosis / divination). There is a fork in the road. One small group wants to turn right and the larger group wants to stay on the same road. Now, the best thing to do may be to take the fork and turn with the smaller group. We don't know that yet. But shouldn't we listen to the rest of The Church before we run off to take that fork? Aren't we leaving the main group (walking apart) if we take the fork and the rest of the group believes it best to continue on the same path they have always been on?”

    First, surely we a r e the Body of Christ, not travelling with it?

    But I do find this image of a forkey way interesting.

    Y

    Which way is the fork? Right, left? or both? But if it is a fork, then both forks are the same road – and yet no longer the same.

    Pretending to be on the same road after a fork is a well trod avenue which leads nowhere.

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  32. All I see is "God blesses homosexual sex."

    Phil, perhaps the reason you have such a hard time with this issue is that all you see is sex.

    As for forcing anyone to accept teachings, the presence of Truro never made me feel that anyone was forcing me to consider babbling and rolling in the floor an act of worship, and the presence of Christ Church Plano never made me feel that anyone was forcing me to embrace fundamentalist megachurches with divorced clergy.

    As far as I was concerned, they were doing what was meaningful for them, and I had no problem with that, until they tried to insist that I become a pentecostal fundamentalist or get out.

    Frankly, what I want is a church where there is room for all these voices. Many, however, seem to want an RC-style curia with mandatory fundamentalist theology.

    These are the ones who are "doing a new thing."

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  33. Phil, I can agree that sexual morality is a first-tier issue, but isn't the issue more about sexual orientation than morality, and that sexual behavior follows orientation rather than drives it. I submit that ++Peter Akinola and many others haven't come to understand that mankind's sexuality isn't exclusively hetero, that gay and lesbian sexual behavior is just perverse behavior by straights. Thus they concoct all manner of tortured ideas to account for gay sexual orientation, like disease or sub-humanness, just like Paul attempted to do to account for same-sex behavior in Rome (he attributed it to abandoning God).

    Once Christians come to understand sexual orientation, gay or straight, as normal and human, they will no longer insist on celibacy as the sole "solution" for gays' sexual choices.

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  34. christopher+3/3/07 12:10 PM

    Just a point for clarity: Saying that issues of human sexuality are "second-tier" issues in the life of the Church is not to say that these are in any way unimportant issues. Rather, these are second-tier issues with regard to shared standards for church unity.

    The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral lists four, first-tier issues for church unity (here summarized):

    Acceptance of

    1) the Holy Scriptures as "containing all things necessary to salvation" and as being "the rule and ultimate standard of faith";

    2) the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds (with the Nicene Creed as "the sufficient statement of the Christian faith");

    3) the Dominical Sacraments;

    4) the Historic Episcopate.

    On point one, it is important to note that "containing all things necessary to salvation" is not the same as saying all things contained are necessary to salvation. This, of course, is where biblical hermeneutics and the interpretive work of the whole Church come in.

    There is no one involved in current discussions in the Anglican Communion who disagrees with the central role of the Holy Scriptures. Disagreements on selected biblical-heremeneutical issues - like human sexuality - are thus "second-tier" when it comes to church unity, meaning, simply, that these are not issues that should divide the church.

    Claiming that these are somehow church-dividing issues is to elevate sexuality issues - e.g., as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 - to the level of the Creeds as statements of faith. Do we really want to do that? I doubt it.

    ReplyDelete

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