Let there be no Illusions…

Stephen Bates ends his fine article, written today, on Archbishop Akinola with these lines, "Let there be no illusions," he says to his fellow churchmen. "The Communion is broken and fragmented. The Communion will break." He and his acolytes are content to bring it on, to inaugurate the reign of the righteous. We're a long way from the Vicar of Dibley here."

So it appears. Among the late day announcements via the Living Church (who by the way I sent a gift of thanks to for their work on site), was the note that "The extra-curricular session with three bishops from The Episcopal Church has been changed from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, according to the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. The change of date for the special session during the Anglican primates' meeting was announced last week, but was not widely publicized. No further information was available at press time." The announcement was actually in Bishop Duncan's request for a "Prayer Novena." It seems not to have been anywhere else.

The only significance of all this is that rather than the meeting with the three American wise men being at the beginning or before the other business at hand, it will be in the midst of the business at hand (whatever that now is.) It will be of considerable interest to see if things actually get to that particular "outside the regular business" session at all, or if it will become part of the agenda of the meeting per se. At stake, of course, is what seems to be the press by Archbishop Akinola and friends to change the agenda and to challenge the presence of the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of York. If that discussion takes place tomorrow (Wednesday), then the three American visitors (who have no business being there except to report in) will be in play, as they say. All sorts of negotiations can take place, most of them politically bad news and worse ecclesiological news. If for any reason the Moderator finds himself at the table other than to make his report, negotiated into the tent in one way or another, as part of a deal not to have a vote taken on excluding the Presiding Bishop, the deal should be off.

The various realignment folk are not there in Dar Es Salaam to make peace, but to make war. Let there be no illusions indeed.


  1. And the quantity of egos that are running amuck over there is staggering. Peter Akinola's leaves me utterly speechless, other than livid.

  2. The "realignment" people did not start the war. When did it start? It's tough to pick a date, but GC2003 seems the best date. On that date, TEC refused to listen to the Lambeth conference, the Primates, the ACC, the ABC and its own Bishop's committee and affirmed the election of a man who is sexually active outside of marriage to the Episcopate.

    In October, 2003, the Primates spoke again and said that consecrating Gene Robinson as bishop would "tear the fabric" of the communion at its deepest level. We refused to listen again.

    In 2004, the Lambeth Comission produced the Windsor report that talked about the best way forward in the communion and we refused to listen.

    Since we have refused to listen with the Anglican Communion spoke, they are speaking louder with actions that will make official what is unofficial - that TEC no longer desires to do or believe what is required to be part of the Anglican Communion.

    We spent so many years not caring what the Anglican Communion had to say to us that I am surprised to hear anger or dismay when the AC says it will not listen to us any more.

    Phil Snyder

  3. I posted the following on my blog:
    Personally, I think (and who cares what I think?) +++Williams should tell the gathered throng the following:
    1. I am the Archbishop of Canterbury, the titular head of the Anglican Communion
    2. The Anglican Communion is Anglican - English, you know - headquartered in Canterbury and will remain so
    3. The Anglican Communion has traditionally been a voluntary organization of Christians who are willing to share the eucharist regardless of differences
    4. The Anglican Communion has never required a litmus test of any of its members and never will
    5. Anyone who believes that they cannot support any of the above is free to disassociate with the Anglican Communion and go their way with our blessings

    Then he should call for the celebration of the eucharist. The folks who show up and commune will be the Anglicans and the ones who do not will form their own alliance with the blessing of the AC. Then the Primates can get on with their business without all this idiocy.

  4. There still seems to be this blindness regarding actions and reactions.

    The 'network folk' are not doing this in a vacuum. They are reacting to actions of TEC (and ACC).

    You may consider TECs stance prophetic, and the reaction incorrect. However, at least credit it for what it is, and not portray it as some kind of action that has absolutely nothing to do with anything TEC did.

    There is something to be read in that you do not seem to be willing to count the cost of your own actions.

    If there is a split, TEC will have been the causal agent. Casting the blame on others is simple projection.

  5. PseudoPiskie, 3 and 4 just are not true. Please read something besides blogs and current opinion pieces on Anglicanism. Try Sykes' The Integrity of Anglicanism. Try anything with some scholarly integrity, from left, right, or center. And think what it can possibly mean to say we are not "confessional" (okay not like some Presbyterians or RC's) when we confess so much in the course of the liturgy and the communion service you promote.

  6. The Anglican Communion is dead.

    Long live the Anglican/Episcopal Communion.

    (Folks, if you're willing and eager to break up over something that's not even a matter of doctrine, well, nobody can stop you. Hope you enjoy your newfound purity; personally, I'd rather concentrate on offering a home to the unchurched.

    I think we'll find something to do....)

  7. The various realignment folk are not there in Dar Es Salaam to make peace, but to make war.

    The various realignment folk are there in Dar Es Salaam to witness to the other primates of the war already raging in the USA part of the Anglican Communion, and to plead for relief.

    Can anyone look at the Diocese of Virginia and tell me that a war is not already raging there?

  8. bls,

    Morality is certaily a point of doctrine - otherwise, why did I have to take Moral Theology for my preparation for ordination?

    The problem is that a very small (<1%) portion of the Church has decided that homosexual sex is not a matter of doctrine and assumed it can be blessed.

    We stopped listening to our brothers and sisters around the world and only listened to those who agreed with us. Now we are reaping the results.

    Phil Snyder

  9. Phil: The Episcopal Church's two official statements of doctrine are the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds. GC2003 violated neither.

    Please let's at least be honest and admit that "reasserters" are breaking away for the silliest, most petty of reasons - reasons that are matters of discipline, not doctrine. These are "excuses," not "reasons," in fact, and I suspect the real "reason" is simply resentment at having been shut out for the past 50 years as the church became more liberal. This is a power-play, Phil, that's all. The manipulators are pulling strings, using the most time-honored method of all: denouncing other people's sexual behavior. It's classic.

    But it's definitely not a matter of doctrine. Sex sells, that's all. It's sexy.

    History will truly wonder what you guys were thinking. But at this point, I really would like to move on. So I'll just wish you all goodbye and good luck.

  10. bls,

    To you and the rappraisers, this may be about power. For me and the reasserters that I know and have interacted with, it is about faithfulness and authority. We are called to be faithful to Jesus Christ and to "The Word of God, Written." (e.g. Holy Scripture).

    Am I to understand that the only "qualification" for ordained leadership is to accept the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds? If so, then you would have no problem with a professional theif as a priest or bishop - or a polygamist - or a pedophile or an alcoholic. After all, there is nothing in the creeds that speak against any of those sins or sinful lifestyles.

    So, please, let's dispense with this "moral thinking is about discipline and order in the Church, not about essentials." It is patently false on the face of it.

    Phil Snyder

  11. If so, then you would have no problem with a professional theif as a priest or bishop - or a polygamist - or a pedophile or an alcoholic. After all, there is nothing in the creeds that speak against any of those sins or sinful lifestyles.

    Oh, at long last will you please stop making these absurd comparisons; they are ridiculous, and they are deeply offensive. With the exception of alcoholism, those things are all crimes. What is the point of comparison, please? Are you suggesting that, like your friend Mr. Akinola, we should again make homosexuality a crime? Then please leave off comparing us to pedophiles, sir.

    Beyond that, none of those things has even the first thing in common with a gay man who's been a priest for over 30 years and in a faithful partnership for almost 20. His partnership doesn't destroy his life, as alcoholism does, but improves his life. It expands him and makes him a better, more giving person, as love does.

    I've asked you on this blog to describe what you think these things do have in common, and you haven't been able to do it. So please don't get so high-handed, sir, when it is you who can't make the case, and it is you who are the offending party here. You are the ones who need to make the "moral" case here, and you haven't and you can't. You can only quote the Bible, which BTW doesn't make the case, either. And that is the heart of the problem.

    I notice you completely avoided the fact of the matter, as well. This is not a matter of doctrine at all, is it? No, it's a matter of taste; it's an of the majority who doesn't have the same tastes as the majority they fear and, on account of that fear, scapegoat. That's pretty much it, I'm afraid.

  12. Let me explain to you how ridiculous your argument is to me, Phil.

    I know many, many gay couples who've been together for 10 or more years. One such couple has adopted 4 special-needs kids out of foster care and given them love, a home, and a family for the first time in their lives. They are getting therapy and other medical care that they needed for their medical problems; best of all, they are out of the system and in a home filled with love. They are Episcopalians who also dedicate their time to their parish.

    They are far from alone; I know many several couples like this. Many gay people - I'm one of them - care for their elderly parents; many are social workers, health care workers, therapists, or work in other "helping professions" fields. A good friend works with Downs Syndrome kids. Others are teachers of kids with learning disabilities. Many volunteer their time and money to the less fortunate. Many are priests of the Church.

    So when you talk about the "sinful lifestyles" of gay people, I literally laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of this statement. More and more people join me every day; they know what the reality is, even if you seem not to.

    If you prefer your ideology to reality, well, I can't do anything about that. But isn't it time that you at least acknowledged the yawning gap between the two? And stopped hectoring people with untruths?


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.