6/01/2007

What I said....Bishops in Solidarity.

On May 23rd I posted the following in an entry titled, "The Archbishop as Vintner, Judge and Host."

"I hope Bishop Robinson takes up the offer to go (even as guest), but if he does so he needs the overwhelming support of bishops from The Episcopal Church and worldwide, support taking the form of a promise that they will in some way share his discomfort and his status as guest. I think it is important that he go and that all the other bishops go. Not to go is to relieve the realignment crowd from having to decide if to go or not themselves.

A suggestion: That all those bishops who feel that Bishop Robinson should be invited without reservation, as any other bishop, join with him in being guests on whatever level of reduced status that entails. If he can speak, they can. If he is enjoined to silence, they are too. If this means that there is a lot of silence around the sharing, prayer and reflection tables, so be it. If he is consigned to the press room and cafés for conversation, so will they. Perhaps then the real Lambeth Conference will take place in the pubs and cafes and not in the reflective and non-legislative halls of the University where the conference is held."

The more I think about it the more I think this is right. It plays into the hands of the realignment crowd to stay away. It plays into the errors of inviting some as full participants and others as guests to simply allow the hosts decision on the matter to prevail. Go, but in solidarity with Bishop Robinson by accepting his status.
When votes are taken bishops in solidarity might rise and say, "I abstain in solidarity with Bishop Gene Robinson who cannot vote." (This is assuming a "guest" is not allowed to do so.) After all the row about who got invited, it still stand (properly I think) that the Archbishop can invite who he wills. But the invited have some say in passing the peas.



13 comments:

  1. This is, in my opinion, preposterous. I've already written a long post on the subject so I won't reinvent the wheel here (that post can be found here: http://www.j-tron.org/propaganda/?p=293 )

    Of course, my opinion is a minority view and it only goes as far as it goes. But suffice it to say that any mass rejection of the archbishop's invitations by either Americans or Ugandans or Nigerians, for whatever reason, precipitates an ecclesiological crisis of even greater depth than we have as yet seen.

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  2. Absolutely correct. I too have been saying this all along. It's the only way any of our bishops should attend: as "Guests" along with Bishop Robinson.

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  3. Viriato da Silva1/6/07 12:30 PM

    I sympathize with the approach you suggest, but fear it will only end up shooting ourselves in the foot, in the same way that TEC and the Canadians did in agreeing to "withdraw" from voting at the ACC. (E.g., the forced inclusion of the Primates into the ACC would never have been approved by the ACC had TEC and Canada been voting.)

    TEC's bishops -- and indeed, all progressive bishops, including those of Canada, the CoE, Brasil, Southern Africa, Scotland, Wales, etc etc -- do indeed have a moral (and ecclesio-political) obligation to stand in solidarity with +VGR and express that solidarity at Lambeth in some visible and meaningful way.

    Turning over votes, and so possibly the heart, soul, and body of the AC itself, to the realignmentistas, strikes me as a counterproductive way to express that solidarity and uphold +VGR.

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  4. Although I deeply respect your point of view regarding the response of TEC's bishops to VJR, I am concerned about the "guuest" role. I am concerned because of what happened at Dromantine and Nottingham. When Westminister and TEC voluntarily sat out, the agenda changed and the GS crammed through resolutions etc.that would not have passed had the Americans and New Westminster group been there with voting status. +Orombi has already stated that Uganda will not be there if those who sanctioned and continue to sanction Bishop Robinson's consecration following, not on Kilgali, but the CAPA "Road to Lambeth" document purportedly drafted by Stephen Noll (late of Trinity Sem., now the CEO of an Ugnadan Univerity) and and an African colleague. Can you elaborate on how you would see things working out if the agenda of Lambeth 2008 does become legislative, (like 1998) and those who support +Robinson have effectively disenfranchised themselves? EPfizH

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  5. Mark, this sounds good to me, very Anglican. Each American bishop can follow his/her conscience about assuming a position in solidarity with Bp. Robinson.

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  6. No matter how it's justified, attending would be a complete sellout (IMHO).

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  7. If Nigeria and Uganda don't attend and/or the TEC bishops show solidarity with +VGR we have to recognize that we don't have "a communion". We haven't had a "communion" since a group decided that they could not accept communion from this bishop or that. I think we have to move on and not expect those who choose to absent themselves from "communion" can claim to be part of the Communion.

    I never have understood why such anglo-catholics at those of Ft. Worth don't understand "ex opere operato".

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  8. IMHO it boils down to this - those who have the gospel uppermost in their minds won't be too fussed about whether they are members of the AC and attend Lambeth or not - they know that God works the power of His gospel beyond the councils of men, and yes, even outside of the AC. While those who are more concerned about pushing the liberalist agenda of full inclusion of all kinds of unrepentant sinners even into the highest ranks of the church will want to be at Lambeth, even if it means they appear to not stand in solidarity with Robinson.

    So, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ugandan and Nigerian bishops and possibly many others from orthodox provinces refusing to attend Lambeth unless those who voted for and participated in the consecration of Robinson are disinvited; while almost none of the liberal ECUSAn bishops will be willing to not participate. As Abp Akinola has said before I believe - you don't have to go through Canterbury to reach God.

    j-tron - i think the ecclesiological crisis is already as deep as it can go - it is a crisis over the interpretation of Scripture, which is the foundation of the church, and a crisis over the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord over the church. The real crisis perhaps just hasn't fully surfaced yet, but the building (that is the institutional church) is unsafe to be in at the moment until some serious structural restorations are completed.

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  9. John-Julian, OJN2/6/07 11:52 AM

    But I understand that +Gene offered to the ABC back in 2003 or 2004 that he would be willing to attend Lambeth in "some diminished capacity". And, as a matter of fact, if he goes as the only specifically invited "guest" he will have all the limelight and attention - much more than any other person there.

    I don't think TEC bishops can risk being voteless!

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  10. the interpretation of Scripture, which is the foundation of the church

    Silly me--I thought Jesus was the foundation of the church.

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  11. nlnh - Scripture uses a number of metaphors for the church - I was thinking particularly of Eph 2:20 - where we, the household of God are built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets - a reference to the revelation of God inspired by God and recorded by them for us in Scripture, with Christ Jesus being the cornerstone - the point of reference, in whom the church is built. If we can't agree on what our foundation is, then clearly we are in two separate buildings - one is of God and the other ....

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  12. then clearly we are in two separate buildings - one is of God and the other ....

    The other, it seems is of John Calvin.

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  13. j-tron....I believe all invitation should be accepted. My thought is that those who go should go in solidarity with "the least of these."

    For a long time I have argued that when accepting an invitation to a party it is not proper to request that others not be invited or proper to say "I won't come if he or she comes."

    If people don't want to come, fine, don't come. But it should not be an occasion for proving purity.

    In order to be "guests" with Bishop Robinson bishops would have to be clear that they were indeed attending, but in the same category as Bishop Robinson.

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