9/26/2007

AAC, ACN and FiFNA in a snit. Why are we not surprised?

The ACN just posted a Joint Statement on the Resolution of the House of Bishops.

In it AAC, ACN and FiFNA (the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion Network, and Forward in Faith North America)

"The last seven days have been eventful ones for the worldwide Anglican Communion. The future of our 500–hundred year fellowship has been focused on The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops (HOB). The worldwide Anglican Communion has been looking for clarity, praying for unity, and searching for Christ and His will in our lives. Unfortunately, the HOB has failed the Communion; their continued ambiguity, questioning of basic Christian beliefs, and rejection of obvious Scriptural teaching has widened the gap between them and biblical Christianity."

"…To our disappointment, the House of Bishops (HOB) did not meet the request but offered a carefully crafted response that appears to comply but actually maintains the status quo."

"….We, with others gathered in Pittsburgh for the Common Cause Council of Bishops, are committed to remaining within biblical Christianity even as The Episcopal Church once again has chosen to continue on its own tragic course…"

Well, no news here. At least some of the ACN bishops saw no reason to take part in the deliberations of the HoB at all, some stayed and now want to make sure we know they did not agree with what was written, and some simply kept quiet.

So, the snit was already in place and ready to go. The Archbishops of Nigeria and Kenya have taken no time in making it clear that they don't like what was done either. So at least the ACN bishops, the AAC executive bishop-elect, and the FiFNA bishop elect waiting for an ordaining gaggle of bishops, are all of one mind. Too bad the CANA, Kenya and Uganda bishops at the Common Cause Council of Bishops didn't see fit to join in the chorus. But they will.

In the almost empty theater on Wednesday night I can hear giggling in the third row. I think it is the beginnings of laughter to come. The HOB may have maintained the status quo, but the dissenters are taking the stage with nothing but their snit to carry them. Sooner or later they will be laughed off the stage of history.

9 comments:

  1. I note an Australian Associated Press (27 Sep 07) report that the head of the Anglican Church in Australia, the Most Revd Dr Philip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane (who was the press spokesman for the Dar Es Salaam meeting) has welcomed the US Bishops' response.

    "I believe that the House of Bishops has responded positively to all the requests put to them by the primates in our Dar es Salaam communique. Certainly they have responded to the substance of those requests. I would now like the time to undertake careful analysis of the House of Bishops response, but my initial reaction based both on my preliminary reading of the document itself and on my first-hand conversations with many of the Bishops involved is that the house has responded positively to the substance of all the requests made by the primates."

    Plainly the willingness of the US bishops to limit the role played by gay and lesbian people in the life of their Church is at odds with their affirmation that they "proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church."

    That said, the US church has done more than any other Anglican/Episcopal church to affirm gay and lesbian people, which should be acknowledged and applauded. The American bishops have done all in their power (a power limited by the polity of their Church) to bring oneness in Christ. Those who say it is not enough may do as they please.

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  2. Thanks, Mark - I've said from the beginning of all this that the Moderator and his ilk would be yet another isolated and lonely small group eventually. They may well be affiliated with the new 'really really really otrhodox Anglican Church of Africa,' but I suspect that the rest of the communion will pretty much ignore them in the long run. I hate that my glbt friends are told once again, 'be patient,' but the reality is that we ARE moving forward and no one can stop the HS from her work, thanks be to God.
    (Fr. Earl is one of my best buds - say hello!)
    Fr. Craig

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  3. Those words from the primate of Australia are comforting. I think it's particularly interesting that his reaction comes not just from the written statement but from his personal interactions with the bishops themselves. It makes a big difference when everyone is forced to be in the room together. It has been unfortunate that so much of this wrangling has been done at great distance where it is so easy to dehumanize.

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  4. Brian,

    I'm not so sure that is true. I think the Anglican Church of Canada has done quite a lot more in terms of providing for the most of gay and lesbian people and speaking quite highly of our relationships.

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  5. I hope that all of us who are feeling disappointed that the Bishops did not make a less compromised statement will realize this.

    We have said all along that the HofB cannot act alone for our church. What they have done is to affirm what General Convention has done. They cannot say more, nor can they act in a way not in accordance with GC. That takes us back to the unfortunate B033 which remains until the next GC the mind of TEC.

    It's the realigners who correctly interpret this as a bad action. The rest of us have to accept that it is a messy action -- something we Anglicans have always been good at. Let the Pope in Rome and the many "popes" of the so called "orthodox" be the ones who shun messy solutions.

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  6. I am curious to see where primatial oversight is going to take these people, or more likely how it will divide them. Given the instinctive reaction of many conservative whites, particularly white Southerners, to those of African descent, I cannot see many of them opting for oversight from as strong-minded an individual as Archbishop Akinola. PB Venables, perhaps?

    Regarding my comment about Southern whites, three years ago I saw three or four aging, male pillars of the community ostentatiously stalk out of a Southern cathedral church's Martin Luther King Day Sunday Eucharist, rather than join in or sit through the singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing".

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  7. "Too bad the CANA, Kenya and Uganda bishops at the Common Cause Council of Bishops didn't see fit to join in the chorus"

    There are currently two distinct groups in Common Cause. AAC, ACN and FiFNA are one set who at this exact moment in time are still inside TEC where the other Common Cause bishops are not.

    I think in these times it was wise to not confuse the issue and have the group speak in the voice they have.

    Using your logic, CANA and Uganda are in the same boat as REC and APA (AMiA w/ CANA or REC in your logic), so what would it matter to you. In that way I'm confused by your reference, for it seems those who spoke did so in form your past posts would accept.

    (the quote could be a 'jab-line' but I'm honestly confused if not a quib why you'd want others to sign on)

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  8. You wrote:

    The HOB may have maintained the status quo, but the dissenters are taking the stage with nothing but their snit to carry them. Sooner or later they will be laughed off the stage of history.

    If this is true, then you have nothing to worry about.

    But I can't help feeling that you *are* worried about it.

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  9. christopher+28/9/07 10:00 AM

    From AAC, ACN and FiFNA:

    "Unfortunately, the HOB has failed the Communion; their continued ambiguity, questioning of basic Christian beliefs, and rejection of obvious Scriptural teaching has widened the gap between them and biblical Christianity."

    It looks like we Anglicans are just going to have to agree to differ on whether excluding GLBT Christians from the full life and ministry of God's Church constitutes "basic Christian belief" and "obvious Scriptural teaching." After all, it is painfully, painfully obvious to many that there is nothing basically Christian - and basically nothing Christian - about shutting a targeted group of God's children out of God's Church, constantly speaking over their heads without really listening, and contributing - whether actively or passively - to the emotional and physical violence against them.

    It also bears repreating that anyone who devotes so much energy to marginalizing GLBT people because of "obvious Scriptural teaching" better not, for example, be divorced and remarried, except under the most extraordinary circumstances. Or is that Scriptural teaching not also "obvious"? Which other "obvious" Scriptural teachings might they - might we all, for that matter - be conveniently ignoring as well?

    The truth is that it is the work of God the Holy Spirit and of God's Holy Church to interpert the Holy Scriptures for our life and ministry together. The results are not always as "obvious" or simple as we human beings would like, as Jesus Himself demonstrated in His life, death and resurrection so very, very obviously.

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