6/08/2008

GAFCON re-imaged.

The GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) has been re-imaged: the logo for the conference now is that copied here.

No mention in the logo of any part of the conference being held in Jordan, and nothing on the website to indicate the agenda of the meeting in Jordan from June 17-22, at the the so called "Consultation."

Of course that consultation is a very private affair. The whole thing is. Take a look at the registration page. You can't register without a special "pilgrim number." The terms and conditions related to registration are quite specific: you must be a legitimate pilgrim (no fake numbers please); you won't hold GAFCON responsible for lost or stolen goods; you will allow pictures to be taken of you while there; you will carry your own health insurance and not hold GAFCON responsible for you in any way; you agree that once having paid the registration fees you may not get them back. I don't regret that I have no pilgrim number. When the roll is called out yonder, I won't be there.

Still it would be interesting to know what the agenda is for that Jordan meeting, or even if that meeting will take place.

The GAFCON materials are totally focused on the Jerusalem event. The Bishop of Jerusalem's concerns about GAFCON are clearly justified. GAFCON in Jerusalem is not a pilgrimage. It is a full fledged effort to craft a new way of understanding Anglicanism - one that is decidedly illiberal. If GAFCON has its way, the search for ways to be inclusive will have reached an impasse. The moral compass will turn away from any effort to build on the biblical witness and will turn to a formalism and literalism that echoes the righteousness of community dictate that made stoning to death a preferred response to sinners.

GAFCON will have no concern for Anglicanism as in any way related to the first world, which GAFCON now sees as corrupt and vain. The Archbishop of Canterbury will not be a symbol of unity. The Church of England will be a historical source of Anglicanism, but not a church to be taken seriously as a sister church to churches in the "South" and so called "orthodox" churches in the West. It will not finally matter if the new Anglicanism has any connection to Canterbury at all.

GAFCON will draw together churches and leaders who will confront Lambeth and other Anglican Communion entities with the threat that they might leave and form a new improved Anglican Communion. The threat is that the regular Anglican Communion will be reduced to some 40 million, including what they consider the poor sorry non-church going English, not the some 77 million members now counted. They will say that the result is the new improved Anglican Communion will have some 35 million really, really, steadfast believers and the old defunct Anglican Communion only some 20 million actual believers. The numbers will flow like water.

In the midst of all the other goings on, the shadow issue of Christianity and Islam will be always there: Islam knows its morals (although we may think them wrong); Islam is muscular, not weak like Christians from the West; Islam is filled with believers willing to take over the world, Christians need to take the mission to universal conversion as the core of its own mission. The new improved Anglican Communion will be as righteous, muscular and competitive as the best of Islam. The words may not even be whispered, but the thoughts are there - how to compete with Islam.

No wonder the Bishop of Jerusalem told GAFCON not to come to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is at its core interfaith and interdenominational. The Bishop of Jerusalem has to deal every day with Lutherans, Roman Catholics, the various Orthodox Churches, the Reformed Churches, the Jewish religious communities, the Islamic communities, with secular advocates for Palestine or for a greater Israel, and finally with the occasional visitor who suddenly believes he or she is Jesus Christ. Why should he want 1000 people to come proclaiming a form of Christianity that by no means represents the whole of the Christian community, and not even all of Anglicanism? Why should he want to invite people who will likely make a mess in public and then step in it? Things one might say about people of other faiths and other beliefs, said there in Jerusalem, carry very different weight.

This pilgrimage is not simply a reflective visit to holy sites. It is also a conference.

In TIME Magazine, in an article on Bishop Robinson and Bishop Minns, the reporter, David Van Biema writes,

"On Monday, Minns will jump on a plane for Jerusalem to help prepare a meeting of conservative Anglican bishops in two weeks called the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon) that he claims will attract Anglican bishops from 27 countries.

It is distinctly possible that the GAFcon meeting will determine what actually happens at July's much larger Lambeth Conference, which may see bishops from 160 countries in attendance. That is because, as Robinson put it to TIME recently, Lambeth "is designed not to be productive in the conventional sense." Although long heralded as the potential Armageddon where opposing bishops could finally duke out a position on sexuality and biblical fidelity, Lambeth's planners intentionally left out any opportunity to produce a concluding statement, apparently turning the meeting into a toothless series of conversations.

One of the few things that might shift it could be the goading from the bishops gathered at GAFCon. Although observers have accused conservatives like Akinola of trying to force an Anglican schism, Minns, who acknowledges occasionally polishing Akinola's prose, says "schism will not happen." Instead, he predicts a Communion "realignment" with the conservatives as the new center, possibly catalyzed by the articulation in Jerusalem of a "new revised version of 'this is who we are''" featuring traditionalist positions on Christ's divinity, his virgin birth, and a conventional understanding of marriage." Asked whether such a statement could prove exclusionary to liberal Anglicans, he said, "it will be up to the American Church to see whether it wants to be part of that or not. "

Or, to the entire Lambeth conference to chew over a month later."

GAFCON is much much more than a pilgrimage. It is the strategic planning for a Lambeth "goading," a word that comes from old English for spear. They are sharpening the spears and the righteous warriors are at it.

No wonder the Bishop of Jerusalem wants nothing of it. In a land where goading goes on all the time with disastrous results, no one needs more.

The GAFCON leadership has long been critical of the imperious ecclesial West, acting as if its agenda was that of the whole Communion. Some of that criticism has been well deserved. But here we have a clear instance where GAFCON leaders from both the "Global South" and the "West" have together, in the cause of righteous Christianity and so called "orthodoxy" decided that the bishop of a diocese in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Diocese of Jerusalem, has no veto on holding an Anglican event there.

But the Bishop of Jerusalem, invited or not to GAFCON, given or not a special "pilgrim number," will be left holding the bag for all the damage done by Anglicans who came to town to pilgrimage and stayed to strategize a "new revised version of 'this is who we are.'"

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and for its bishop, The Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani.

41 comments:

  1. In a cover story for the Good Weekend (similar to the NYT Magazine) published in the sydney Morning Herald and The Age (Melbourne) Peter Jensen makes it clear that he is not taking Sydney diocese out of the anglican Communion.
    The article is written by journalist and author, David Marr Australia's best known gay writer, who has written extensivley on anglicanism and gay politics.
    David conducted lengthy interviews with Dr Jensen and Dr John Woodhouse principal of Moore college.
    The difficulties Sydney would encounter leaving the anglican Communion are frankly discussed: the constitution of the Anglican church of Australia is frankly unchangeable. It is clear that the properties and assets of the diocese can not be removed.
    An analysis of Gafcon that presumes that the leadership of the conference has gathered it together to leave the anglican communion is presented with the dificulty that at least some of the leadership is committed to staying in the communion.
    Obadiah Slope

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  2. Obadiah Slope...thank you for the comment from Australia and for the cautionary note.

    For some at GAFCON, where a whole province is not up for a move, as seems to be the case in Australia, all sorts of problems would arise. But is there anything to say that the Sydney diocese could stay as it is in the Province but have as little to do with the Province and with AC I and everything to do with ACII. That is, not change the constitution but simply deal with the rest of the province at the greatest distance possible and with a new improved AC as much as possible.

    What then?

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  3. dr.primrose9/6/08 1:09 AM

    I note that the Latin logo on the cross has been changed so the theme for the conference is longer an approximation of "True Onion."

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  4. The threat is that the regular Anglican Communion will be reduced to some 40 million, including what they consider the poor sorry non-church going English, not the some 77 million members now counted.

    And when the Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, and Recusant Roman Catholics left, was not the "Anglican Communion" (as it were&was) reduced in number?

    Don't get me wrong: I'm sorry each and every member of all the above groups left (and I rejoice in the ecumenical progress towards reconciliation that has been made, w/ some of them).

    But I'm NOT sorry that Anglicanism remained Anglican: both messy and delightful!

    ...and IF, God forbid, the GAFCONians leave, I'll think the same. God, speed us towards Your reconciliation!

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  5. "In the unlikely event of the Event [gotta love that capital "E"] being cancelled we will not offer you a full refund of the price you have paid for your Pilgrim fees."

    If this is how they address and treat their closest supporters, what consideration can the rest of the Anglican Communion expect?

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  6. You might be interested to know that he is the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, not of Jerusalem. This was in order to stress to the pre-existing Christian prelates in the Holy City that Anglicans were not trying to claim episcopal authority over them or their flocks.

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  7. Marcus...you are right, and I know that. But now that the Anglican Communion office and indeed the Diocese website titles the diocese the "Diocese of Jerusalem," it's hard to remember that the bishop is called the bishop IN Jerusalem, so I slipped into bad habits.

    The AC website also calls him bishop of Jerusalem. Interestingly, the diocesan website refers to the bishop IN...

    The "in" phrase began when there was a joint Anglican / Lutheran presence and has continued.

    If we remember the IN perhaps we can help keep what is a very useful distinction.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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  8. Mark,
    you raise a key point when you ask if Sydney could stay in the Communion and Province (of Australia), but have little to do with these structures.
    It could be said that the Anglican Church of Australia's relatively weak general synod structure has meant that our experience here is one where Sydney leads a largely seperate existence.
    Australia might be a model of our Anglican future with some places Progressive, others Conservative and one or two mixed, within one structure.
    Another model might be TEC itself, a multinational structure that contains several national churches.
    If TEC in some sense is a communion within a communion (consider Bp Whalon's churches in Europe), then GAFCON could be similar - an association of churches within the larger communion.
    The National Churches in TEC are linked more firmly to the rest of TEC than they are to the communion. The members of GAFCON might similarly be linked more closely to each other than to the rest of the Communion.
    I think this is roughly the sort of model GAFCON is seeking - a conservative fellowship within the wider body.
    ObadiahSlope

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  9. "Lambeth's planners intentionally left out any opportunity to produce a concluding statement, apparently turning the meeting into a toothless series of conversations."

    Well, yes, as the Lambeth Conference, according to the Anglican Communion website, "takes place every ten years [and] is the one occasion when all bishops can meet for worship, study and conversation." Only journalistic sensationalism - or Minns-style spin - wants Lambeth to be toothy.

    As for Bishop Minns's aim of
    a "new revised version of 'this is who we are''" featuring traditionalist positions on Christ's divinity, his virgin birth, and a conventional understanding of marriage." Well, Christ's divinity and virgin birth, while often discussed, are not officially disputed (we do all say the Nicene Creed each week). So, once again - GAFCON spin and attempted obfuscation notwithstanding - we see that this attempted realignment is really all about one thing: gay sex.

    christopher+

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  10. Well, I'm shocked. Who could have seen that the Most Holy Primates of the Global South would mislead anyone in regards to their Most Holy Pilgrimage!

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  11. Looks like some significant numbers of folks are straying from the 815 Plantation...and those above don't like it.

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  12. Here's the real news.

    The 60s & 70s generation avant garde secular progressives who have captivated this Church have turned into institional curmudgeons. They have become the very people that were criticized 30 years ago as being out of touch. The cultural captivity of TEC to all things new and progressive has turned the stomach of most of Christianity. The REAL revival, the REAL hope, and the REAL growth in this Church is among those who are recapturing the faith once delivered. Call them every name in the book, but they certainy aren't the institionalists...and for that they will succeed in leading this Church out of its Ameri-centric worship and back to the faith of Jesus Christ.

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  13. I don't think the leaders of GAFCON want to be sullied by the rest of the Anglican Communion. According to the latest entry at Jake's Place, we aren't pure enough.

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  14. Christopher+, I get the impression that the likes of Minns think that we progressive Anglicans hold our noses while saying the Creeds, or at least portions of them!

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  15. To be more precise, GAFCON is about elevating opposition to gay sex to the level of the divinity and virgin birth of Christ as a tenet of the Christian faith, as received by Anglicans.

    That wasn't necessary with regard to women's ordination - about which some people still disagree based on scripture and tradition - nor with regard to sacramental theology, about which many Anglicans still differ. It is not necessary in this case either.

    In fact, the very notion that opposition to homosexuality - specifically gay sex - should be a deal-breaking tenet of the faith - right up there with Jesus Christ's divinity - is demeaning to us all.

    christopher+

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  16. What I find sad in this mayhem is all the fuss about dogma - the creeds - and no fuss about doing what Jesus asked us to do. I read nothing about what Jesus taught in the reasserters/etc. writings or speeches. In fact the only times I seem to see Jesus mentioned is when TEC is being accused of not believing anything about him.

    If the "faith once delivered" that seems to be in question is not about doing as Jesus asked us to do, what is it about? Is Jesus basically ignored in favor of Paul? I perceive these reasserters/etc as Paulists who don't want to get their hands dirty with the work of feeding, clothing, sheltering, etc. but are most eager to spread the gospel of exclusiveness.

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  17. Allen, the "reasserter" mindset was brilliantly dissected by Richard J. Hofstadter in his essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics

    The complete essay can be found here:

    http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/conspiracy_theory/the_paranoid_mentality/the_paranoid_style.html

    A great many "Reasserters" could do worse than use this as a basis for self-analysis.

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  18. Jensen article now available http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-archbishop-says-no/2008/06/10/1212863623804.html
    ObadiahSlope

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  19. Allen said:

    "The REAL revival...in this Church is among those who are recapturing the faith once delivered...they will succeed in leading this Church out of its Ameri-centric worship and back to the faith of Jesus Christ."

    Allen, no name calling necessary or desirable. You are, however, quite wrong. Opposition to homosexuality is NOT the same thing as the faith once delivered, nor is it the faith of Jesus Christ. It sounds nice to call it all that and no doubt makes many feel better about the effort to make oppostion to homosexuality a core tenet of the Christian faith (together with Christ's divinity), but that effort is something very different from having faith in or being faithful to Christ Jesus. And, of course, compassion, empathy, and love are not "Ameri-centric" qualities; they are Christian qualities.

    David,

    You are quite right. Somehow many people have confused some people's honest and heartfelt struggles in pursuit of faith and understanding with a *departure* from faith, and that seems to apply as much to well-known writers like Bishop Spong (whom I respect but with whom I disagree on many things) to the average person in the pew wrestling with questions of faith and doctrine. They apparently cannot - or do not want to - believe that those of us who prayerfully profess the ancient faith of the church week in and week out through the creeds mean what we say.

    Time and again, though, they prove something that has been put well by others: "The opposite of faith is not doubt; the opposite of faith is certainty." For those who are certain - as the GAFCON folks appear to be - have no need really for faith, except as it applies to content or doctrine; they have certainty to lead them "forward," with or without their brethren in Christ.

    christopher+

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  20. Obadiah suggested, Australia might be a model of our Anglican future with some places Progressive, others Conservative and one or two mixed, within one structure.

    As one of those awful liberals in TEC, this actually sounds perfectly fine to me. As long as the minority in a place wasn't prevented by the majority from "doing church" as they'd like (as a mainstream Episcopalian in the very conservative Dio. of Dallas, I'm already pretty sensitive to that ;)

    We're Episcopalians/Anglicans - common worship binds us together. Other than that, no forcing stuff on those who disagree - whether it be a "liberal" bishop forcing a conservative parish to choose a female priest, or someone like +Stanton telling us we can't bless same-sex unions.

    A little bit of tolerance, and remembering to keep our noses out of other peoples' business, would go a long way to defusing the Current Unpleasantness...

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  21. Nice to hear from all of the new institionalists. Just remember that there is no honor in greasing the gears of an apostate Church. According to the brain trust on this blog, the vast majority of Christianity is like a collection of knuckle-dragging neanderthals....intolerant, confused by facts, and in all things opposed to wisdom. Same ol message. Same tune. Same death-knell masking itself as love as acceptance. Yep...TEC is right...the majority need to wise up. Got it.

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  22. Perhaps it is fitting that GAFCON takes place in Jerusalem. There, the Sanhedrin, the guardians of all that is sacred, chafed under colonial domination by a great Western power. It was in Jerusalem that this same revered body of priests conspired and put to death an upstart young carpenter who had no respect for authority, and no regard for anything sacred. This young blasphemer cared not a whit for what was clean or unclean. He certainly didn't respect them. When the Romans finally executed him like a common criminal, I'm sure there was more than a little satisfaction on their part. He got what was coming to Him.

    To paraphrase George Orwell, I don't think the Christian Right fears the Muslims so much as envies them.

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  23. Allen, please, you are making huge generalizations. Perhaps you should come to one of the four Sudany services at my church. Sounds like you might prefer the 9:00, the kinetic energy of the kids is a lot of fun. I usually go to the quiet 8:00 Rite I, but I sure enjoy the smiling families coming in as I'm leaving.

    "Within conservative evangelical denominations, the minority moderate and somewhat liberal churches are actually more likely to grow than very conservative churches. Among most mainline denominations there is a curvilinear relationship between conservatism and church growth; with more conservative and more liberal churches growing and moderate churches most likely to decline." (C. Kirk Hadaway, Facts on Episcopal Church Growth, 2005). This is certainly our experience in my area. Although you might claim that any official publication of TEC is biased, certainly it is no more so than one produced by those with other opinions.

    There's a wonderful, vibrant Baptist church a block away for those with other worship preferences. If you prefer a slightly different, but still moderate-to-liberal Anglican worship atmosphere, there's another healthy TEC church eight blocks away from mine.

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  24. I took a look at the GAFCON registration site. Very nice. It leads off with "Registrations without a valid Pilgrim number are invalid and will forfeit the registration fee." Then over at the left is a picture of Archbishop Akrofi saying, "GAFCON will provide an opportunity to proclaim the transforming love of Christ."

    You just can't make this stuff up.

    Bill

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  25. David,
    I possibly mislead you. the Australian model is a polarised anglicanism. No women priests in Sydney. Evangelicals banned at various times in various places.
    To bring about what you want - a liberal presence and an evangelical presence in each city will require parallel jurisdictions of some sort except in the mixed dioceses.
    Unless everywhere became a mixed diocese.

    Obadiahslope

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  26. Lynn, and others,

    The huge generalizations are being foisted by the secular progressives now running TEC. Is there a more inane collection of decisions other than at General Convention? There you will find the cultural elite (in many cases) passing its wisdom on to the Church. One minute they are debating the color of wallpaper at 815, and the next day they are deciding doctrine...most times in total disregard for the fact that TEC is a mere speck of Christianity compared to the rest of the Christian world. No matter, the Draconian pronouncements will ring out and everyone must do or die. Most of those decisions do not fly except in metro and collegiate populations. The rest of the country - the majority - is expected to fall in or leave.

    They are. By the hundreds and soon by the thousands.

    What author can be quoted to fix THAT?

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  27. On the GAFcon agenda: The following is from Ephraim Radner at Covenant: http://covenant-communion.com
    "The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine (SPREAD) recently issued an appeal that the Anglican Communion be split. In particular, the appeal, entitled “Counterfeit Communion and the Truth that Sets Us Free”, has urged that all those committed to the “Anglican Faith” which is “defined by the Church of England’s Articles of Religion, 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1662 Ordinal” , “separate from” the Archbishop of Canterbury and form a new and properly orthodox Anglican Communion. This “urgent call to action”, the appeal says, will be presented to the assembled gathering at the upcoming meeting of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) to be held in and near Jerusalem."

    If this "urgent call" is to be given voice at GAFCON, in what way is it to be considered "pilgrimage" and not political? Is Radner correct that the call will be presented? EPfizH

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  28. It just occurred to me how completely presumptuous and boastful the title "Global Anglican Future Conference" really is - as though this group were going to decide for all of us what our future will be. Well, I am sure that idea appeals to them, but it won't happen.

    Allen, righteousness is not to be found in numbers or majorities. History - including biblical history - is full of enough examples. And if you believe the Episcopal Church and/or the Anglican Communion to be guilty of renouncing the faith by virtue of our working through complex questions of biblical morals and ethics, then you have as high a view of sexuality as a core tenet of the Christian faith as I feared - and, as you correctly said, you are not alone. These are nonetheless secondary issues of discipline; the Christian faith itself is anchored in the creeds and - more especially - in Christ Jesus.

    You also complain about name-calling, and yet you go on and on about how the rest of us are apostates and "new institutionalists" for wrestling with honest-to-God questions of faith and morals. Did anyone here call you or anyone else a "knuckle-dragging neanderthal"? Unless I missed something, no. Perhaps the real question is why you yourself "hear" that in this discussion. If you want to be part of this conversation in the life of God's Church, then by all means join in - but, by God, afford others the same respect you yourself would appreciate.

    christopher+

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  29. David (da-veed),

    Certainly Tom Woodward bounces up and down depending on whether or not he agrees with the section of the Creed being spoken. Only have to look at Episcopal Life to see that.

    And certain other prominent bishops have dismissed parts of the Creed, so yes, we think many liberals/progressives hold their noses at it. And with good reason. Because it's been shown to be true.

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  30. ..."These are nonetheless secondary issues of discipline; the Christian faith itself is anchored in the creeds and - more especially - in Christ Jesus".


    Do you have any wisdom for the Diocese of the Arctic? They jsut met and do NOT agree about an easy dismissal of faith and practice into "essential" and "nonessential". That's hearkening back to the compartmentalization of life that Protestantism revolted against. The smallest things ARE the faith.

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  31. David (da-veed) wrote, "And certain other prominent bishops have dismissed parts of the Creed, so yes, we think many liberals/progressives hold their noses at it. And with good reason. Because it's been shown to be true."

    In fact, those who wrote the creeds all had to hold their noses at one thing or another. The creeds, at lease the Nicene Creed, were hammered out by compromise. And even then, the eastern church, in the end, could not stomach the procession of the Spirit "from the Father and the Son", any more than they could stomach the western church's use of unleavened wafers instead of leavened, real bread for the Eucharist.

    ornqzz

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  32. I've heard this "liberals hate/don't believe the Creeds" business for ages. And yet, my very disgustingly elitist liberal parish in New York (the poseur capital of America) still says the Nicene at every Eucharist and the Apostles' at every Baptism and funeral. A lot of people in my congregation say daily prayer and say the Apostles' at least once a day. Seems like a lot of time and energy spent on things we're told we don't believe.
    Indeed, if right wingers so love the Creeds, then why are they not enough to form a faith community? Why this determined effort to add to them a confessional covenant with police powers? Who are the ones who really believe and trust the Creeds here?

    As to the whole numbers and demographics business, remember that the fastest growing denomination in America now is "None of the Above." And the Southern Baptist Church, that paradigm of right wing success, is having a very bad time retaining members, especially among the young.

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  33. RevLois, Yawner wrote that directed to me by name. He was responding to my post much higher on the page. I did not write that.

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  34. First of all GAFCON has always been a “by invitation only event.” There are a large number of people invited so registration is on the internet. This is not different from a diocese convention having online registration. So everyone get over the “pilgrim number issue.”

    Second, what is the problem with a closed meeting of like-minded people? Would I be welcome to speak of the clear message of Holy Scripture in its condemnation of homosexual acts?

    Third, The Lambeth Conference has produced resolutions at most of its meeting. This is what a meeting of Bishops is to do. That is give guidance to the Church. The fact that the Episcopal Church in the United States has chosen to willfully not follow such guidance is something which is clear.

    Fourth, in one real sense the issue before GAFCON is gay sex. But not in the fashion that its critics are calling the issue. Homosexual acts are something which is clearly called sin in Holy Scripture, and the sodomy movement within the Episcopal Church in the United State, is calling sin holy. It steps over the line which issues like women as priest does not step.

    Fifth, issue of sodomy as holy needs to be addressed as this is a major heresy in our day. It is likely a new version of the Gnostic heresy but there are elements of other classic heresy in the mix. Most Bishops have been charged in one way or another to drive out false teaching and doctrine.

    Sixth, GAFCON may have changed because of changing to a toothless Lambeth, It may be the alternative to Lambeth, something which I think it founders did not intend. But Lambeth as scheduled today is really nothing more than a large tea party. If Lambeth cannot address issues like sodomy then why spend the effort to attend. Inaction will be viewed as approval of the “sodomy is holy” agenda I fear. At least now GAFCON stands to issue a clear message even if a quiet one, that sodomy is not holy and should not be affirmed by the Holy Catholic Church. But the issue is that Holy Scripture means what it says. The sodomy issue is the challenge not the issue.


    Scott+

    http://traditionalanglican.wordpress.com/2006/08/13/homosexuality-and-reason/

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  35. Anonymous said:

    "[The Diocese of the Arctic] just met and do NOT agree about an easy dismissal of faith and practice into "essential" and "nonessential". That's hearkening back to the compartmentalization of life that Protestantism revolted against. The smallest things ARE the faith."

    I rather like the idea that the smallest things "are" faith - yes - but these are not THE faith. There is a difference, because THE faith "once received" is expressed and anchored in the Creeds. The rest we work out in community under the guidance of the Holy Spirit - and pretty much as Christians always have, although not always in agreement with each other.

    I do agree, though, that small things are important to people's sense of belonging and identity, which - more to your point - impacts their sense of faith, for better or worse. In the end, though, faith is really about *trust* and *confidence* in God in Christ. If one's faith in Christ Jesus depends heavily on matters of sex, then there is a problem that needs to be addressed. This is as true for entire communities as it is for individuals.

    A communal focus on THE faith - as opposed to other matters related to faith and practice, as these differ from community to community - is indeed very catholic, but it is the opposite of dismissive, for it *affirms* the essentials of orthodox Christian belief. It is the attempt to force (or enforce) *nonessentials* that leads to fracture. Did the Anglican Communion ultimately force women's ordination on anyone? Anglo-Catholic sacramental theology? Evangelical biblical theology? No.

    The truth is that the Anglican Communion has held together in faith as long as it has because it has been able to agree on the essentials and agree to disagree on nonessentials. And the essentials for Anglicans are established in the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral, as they have been for more than a century now.

    christopher+

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  36. 815, Integrity and Changing Attitude think they have done well in neutering Lambeth 08 but....

    ...fact is - you can indaba with your ubuntu as much as you like.....but after Lambeth 2008, Lambeth 1.10 still stands....
    -not changed,
    -not watered down,
    -not gone
    ....."incompatible with scripture" it says...and that is what it means.....and it still has the support of most bishops in the AC.

    Ubuntu!

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  37. I finally figured out how this all goes together. Consider, the only other institution that requires special id's for routine access is the LDS. They have to get special credentials to enter the temples. They have a history of polygamy. Which leads us to GaffeCON. Hmmmm.......


    FWIW
    jimB

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  38. Of course, Lambeth 1.10 amounts to an opinion poll on the view of a majority of the Anglican Communion's bishops - and *only* the bishops - back in 1998.

    New polling might reflect much the same majority viewpoint in 2008. But - and this is significant - it probably would NOT reveal that most Anglican bishops think disagreements among Anglicans over issues of sexual orientation and ethics should be the cause of schism, as the GAFCON crowd apparently do.

    christopher+

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  39. Yes, Lambeth 1998 1.10 will still stand.

    And it is entirely likely that a significant majority of the bishops of the Communion will agree with it.

    And it will still say that homosexuality is "incompatible with scripture."

    It will also call for bishops to listen to the experiences of homosexual persons.

    Though the majority of bishops will ignore that bit.

    And the whole resolution will have the same binding authority of any other Lambeth resolution.

    Two-thirds of four-fifths of bugger all.

    I do wish the phony "conservatives" would stop lying about the authority of Lambeth resolutions.

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  40. Mark,

    I disagree with your (not unique, by any stretch characterization of Lambeth 2008 as "toothless." Teeth aren't just there to kill prey, after all; human beings use them far more often in the beginning of a process of digesting and incorporating.

    Lambeth 2008, at least as I understand its design, is to be precisely that: an opportunity for bishops to listen and learn in a way that lends itself more readily than up-or-down resolutions do to digestion, incorporation -- or, if we switch to more metaphors focused more above the neck, comprehension.

    I'm hopeful, and would give my eyeteeth to be there.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Total idle curiosity here...

    Does anyone know exactly who (or what agency) created the new logo?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.