8/14/2008

Lambeth 2008: Invoking the Status Quo Ante

(Part I of a two part essay)

What a strange few weeks in Anglican Land. Here is where I think we are:

THE STATUS QUO ANTE

The Lambeth Conference resulted in the determination by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Third Presidential Address that everything is as it was before Lambeth:

Lambeth Resolution 1998 – 1.10 continues to be the mind of the Communion.

“…Perhaps we should read that Resolution (Lambeth 1.10) …acknowledging that it remains where our Communion as a global community stands…” (Presidential Address III – PA III)

The Moratoria suggested in the Windsor Report continue be understood to “command respect,” with the expectation that they will be implemented.

“…the pleas for continuing moratoria regarding certain new policies and practices have … have found wide support across the range of views represented in the indaba groups.” PAIII


The Pastoral Forum as the latest incarnation of a commitment to an international committee to provide alternative pastoral oversight.

“We have quite a strong degree of support for a Pastoral Forum to support minorities…” PAIII

The Instruments of Communion, as the instruments of governance.


We have “a strong consensus on the need to examine how the Instruments of Communion will best work…” PAIII


An Anglican Covenant.

we have “…a recognition … that a Covenant is needed.” PAIII



Lambeth 2008 did not resolve or decide anything. Instead the Archbishop of Canterbury found affirmation for his general plan for the maintenance of the Communion: A supposed common mind of the Communion on the church issues concerning homosexuals, moratoria, pastoral oversight from outside a Province, the instruments of Communion and a covenant.

Most importantly of all, the Archbishop of Canterbury was clear that the alternative to the scheme he outlines is the slow or perhaps rapid disintegration of the Anglican Communion. If the break up of the Communion happens, he contends, it will be because either the North American churches – the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada – or the Provinces intervening in the North American churches have not been willing to step back. Stepping back, or at least accepting the status quo ante is viewed as a matter of “covenanted restraint.” Not stepping back is viewed as selfishness.


THE WORK AHEAD

The Archbishop summed up his sense of the Conference and the way ahead: (I have highlighted several significant words or phrases:

“To our Communion many gifts have been given, and God wills to give many more if we let him. In these days together we have not overcome our problems or reinvented our structures : that will still take time. We have quite a strong degree of support for a Pastoral Forum to support minorities, a strong consensus on the need to examine how the Instruments of Communion will best work, and a recognition - though still with many questions - that a Covenant is needed. We have a strongly expressed intention to place our international development work on a firmer and more co-coordinated footing. Where will the work be done? Before the ACC meeting next year - which will be a significant element in implementing our vision - I intend to convene a Primates’ Meeting as early as possible in 2009. I shall look within the next two months for a clear and detailed specification for the task and composition of a Pastoral Forum, and I shall ensure that the perspectives of various groups looking at the Covenant and the Windsor process, as well as the Design Group for this Conference help to shape the implementation of the agenda outlined in the Reflections document, and are fed into the special meeting in November of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC. We may not have put an end to all our problems - but the pieces are on the board. And in the months ahead it will be important to invite those absent from Lambeth to be involved in these next stages. Much in the GAFCON documents is consonant with much of what we have sought to say and do, and we need to look for the best ways of building bridges here.”

His address then included a calendar for the plan forward:

  • August-October: Form the task and composition of a Pastoral Forum
  • August-October: shaping the agenda outlined in the Reflections document by Covenant, Windsor, and Lambeth Design groups for use by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC. (JSCP-ACC)
  • November: Joint Standing Committee Primates / ACC at which we can expect input from GAFCON.
  • Early 2009, Primates Meeting.
  • Joint Standing Committee - Primates and ACC April 29-May1, 2009
  • ACC- Jamaica May 2-12, 2009
MORATORIA THE KEY

In his press conference following the last Lambeth Presidential address the Archbishop said this, “I think if the north American churches don’t accept the need for moratoria then, to say the least, we are no further forward.” Oddly the ABC does not mention the moratoria on interventions here.

The moratoria – on blessing of same sex relations; ordination of persons whose “manner of life” was in question in the communion; and interventions in dioceses not one’s own – all grew from the Windsor Report which continues to be viewed as normative for the Communion in that doing as it recommends is seen as “mending the fabric” and not doing so is seen as ripping the Communion to shreds.

The problem with this approach is that if moratoria are the keys to the future of the Anglican Communion, shredding is the future for the simple reason that the call for moratoria will not be honored in the absolute sense that various parties are insisting they be honored.

The Archbishop has put the Communion in an untenable position. The ideas that were offered in the past regarding the future of the Communion are failing, and all he offers now are the same ideas regurgitated in roughly the same form.

He is pushing for a “closer” union with some of the paraphernalia of a worldwide church. He doesn’t want “merely” a federation and doesn’t want a Roman curia. But he does want a level of coherence among member churches that is more than toleration. He wants the Anglican Communion to be a body.

Yet there is nothing in Lambeth that provides any new approach to the problems of the brokenness of this body. It only offers the hope that member churches, bishops and people of the Communion will be willing to suffer the consequences of restraint for the good of the body. Gay but not celibate members of the church will have to suffer exclusion from ordained leadership and denial of blessing of relationship. Interventionist bishops will have to suffer limits on their ministries.

The Status Quo Ante continues to bind together the solution to the problems of the Anglican Communion and its future to the willingness to suffer the consequences of restraint. I suggest that the sufferings of those who long to find blessings instead of curse are much graver than those who have bishops they cannot agree with. Bishops, after all, are mortal and either retire, get other assignments or pass away. But the curse does not pass away and the blessing does not come unless the insistent plea is made and answered.

The Lambeth Conference leaves the matter where it was: blessing and ordaining is not to be and bishops are to stay in their own back yards, and unless there is willingness to suffer, the Communion is dead.

The suggestion that suffering for the fullness of the body of the Anglican Communion is a vocation that some faithful Christians ought to be willing to take on mistakes the Anglican Communion for the Body of Christ. And more, it equates the insistence for blessing rather than curse with a matter of ecclesial discipline. To ask gay and lesbian Christians to wait and wait and wait is to ask them to die without blessing. This is not about exercising restraint, this is about giving up hope. To tell a bishop to stay in his own jurisdiction is precisely to ask him to exercise restraint.

Ether way, the moratoria will not stand: people are eager for blessing rather than curse and some bishops will not exercise restraint.

So there must be either other options to the status quo ante, or the Communion is in shreds.

OTHER OPTIONS

Other options have arisen over time:

(i) the notion that various churches in the Anglican Communion might be in different “tiers” – some on a greater level of full communion, some on lesser. The “two-tier” approach seems to have come from the ABC.

(ii) the idea that The Episcopal Church could of its own accord step back from full involvement in the instruments of communion – the Lambeth Conference, the Primates Meetings, the ACC – for a period. This came from Dr. Katherine Grieb of Virginia Theological School and member of the Covenant Design Group.


The “Two Tier” possibility has been roundly trounced as a path leading to first and second class citizens of the kingdom of Anglican Land. It is a juridical nightmare, for how will ranking take place and how will it not be viewed as punishment if a church is removed from “full” communion to some lesser status.

Professor Grieb’s idea given in her paper for the House of Bishops, March 19, 2007 deserves to be stated again:

“I think the Presiding Bishop's language about fasting points the way for us: It is now very clear that the tremendous concern of the Primates to obtain these interim assurances is the point of the covenant process as a whole. As painful as it is for us to think about this, the whole question of a covenant for the Anglican Communion arose first in the Windsor Report in response to the General Convention of 2003 and was pushed forward by the Archbishop of Canterbury immediately after our General Convention of 2006. It is distinctly possible, even highly probable, that these events and these responses have had a distorting effect on the Anglican Communion. We haven't actually been a covenant-based tradition and it may be that the Communion is rushing to embrace a Covenant as a short-term solution to some questions that require a much longer process. Would it help the Communion if we removed the pressure to come up with a Covenant by stepping out of the room for a while as they discuss it?

I suggest that we enter a five-year period of fasting from full participation in the Anglican Communion to give us all time to think and to listen more carefully to one another. I think we should engage in prayerful non-participation in global meetings (in Lambeth, in the Anglican Consultative Council, in other Communion committee meetings) or, if invited to do so, send observers who could comment, if asked, on the matter under discussion. We should continue on the local level to send money and people wherever they are wanted. (This is not about taking our marbles and going home.) We need to remain wholly engaged in the mission of the church, as closely tied as we are allowed to the See of Canterbury and to the Anglican Communion as a whole. But we should absent ourselves from positions of leadership, stepping out of the room, so that the discussions of the Anglican Communion about itself can go on without spending any more time on our situation which has preoccupied it.”

This proposal has much to recommend it, but it didn’t get off the ground. I believe a variation on the Grieb proposal might.

IN SUM

I believe the Archbishop’s conclusion that the Conference affirmed the trajectory already laid out by Windsor and the processes that came from it is a disaster.

There is some hope in an alternative to the Status Quo Ante in a variation on the Grieb proposal.

That is the subject of my next reflection.

26 comments:

  1. Fr. Mark,

    I have written about the Windsor Report authors' search for status quo ante several times. In fact it was in my inital reaction to the report.

    As Fr. Jon put it on Mad Priest, that bus has left the station. I guess only Dr. Williams does not understand.

    Even if, we wont, TEC were to attempt to put the genie back in the bottle, the (non) Global South would not accept the idea. The African and South American primates are not going to give up their toe holds in the US and Canada. Neither sre the bishops of Pittsburgh, Ft. Worth, Quincy or Springfield changing their directions. I fear that there may another bishop or two on the same path.

    Dr. Williams is missing two very important points, first status quo ante is unattainable, second status quo ante is not a solution. I am mystified by that second reality.

    Any scholar of history (the archbishop alleges to be one as well as having in N. T. Wright available) can find in about 15 minutes a number of websites dating back to 2002 that contain strategic thinking from those who now lead the schismatic wing. Dr. Crew has several such items linked on his web pages.

    The schismatics were thrilled to see +Gene elected because they perceived (correctly) that gay inclusion unlike women's orders or the use of "we" in the creedal statements etc, the "ick factor" would give them a base.

    As is so often the case, the good old days were merely old. The same people who now lead the schismatics were agitating then and bemoaning the lack of response from what they called the "pew lumps." If we could somehow get to status quo ante, they would still be there agitating and seeking to "re-align."

    Dr. Williams seems to be firmly in fantasy land on the idea of a covenant. His widely recognized anti-American bias and what I perceive as homophobia, lead him to a place where he thinks he can just force the colonials to behave, and the gays back into the closet; all will be as he dreams it.

    As they say down South, that dog wont hunt.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  2. Moratoria being the plural form of moratorium, it is possible that the ABC was referencing all manner of moratorium found in the Windsor document, and not just those we may resist, whatever or encamped position.

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  3. Dr. Grieb, of course, is free to contribute her money to whatever she pleases. As for me, however, under either of these possibilities, I will make it very clear to my Rector that I do not want any of the monies that I contribute going to any Anglican Communion-related project.

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  4. Fr. Mark: With great respect for your opinions, I think the Anglican Communion has had its day and that we should simply leave it to the bigots. The Episcopal Church doesn't need it. We should be perfectly free--as a national Church and as individual dioceses--to form companion relationships with other church bodies abroad or here in the States. Staying in an organization like the AC has no future for us. If we try to remain as full members, we will continue to have the same stressful conditions. If we follow Professor Grieb's "benevolent nonentity" strategy, we simply become everybody's punching bag. I doubt anything we could possibly do would bring about changes in the Akinolas or Orombis, and we could certainly find ample avenues of mission outside the AC.

    Wolfstan

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  5. Mark,
    I find much to agree with in your post-Lambeth assessment, particularly as you have summarized the Archbishop's views and his agenda for several key constituent parts of the Communion over the next several months. As you might expect, I don't share your opinion that following Rowan's course would be a "disaster." Leaving that aside, however, I concur that something along the lines of Professor Grieb's proposal may turn out to be helpful. My codicil would be that dioceses and parishes have some way to "opt back in" to full Communion status and participation even as TEC as a whole steps out of the room.

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  6. Mark, thanks for the reminder that Professor Grieb had proposed a time of "stepping back" in her paper. I had forgotten; but I do think it might have real merit, especially in light of some of the conversations and relationships established and re-established at Lambeth.

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  7. Marshall Scott has a proposal similar to Grieb's on his blog. I said there that I favor showing up and voting when our integrity permits it. I also favor accepting whatever exclusion comes our way, including second-tier status, if it comes to that. Second-tier status is no different from what many of us assume the Anglican Communion has always been. I think Rowan's leadership continues to be deeply disappointing and ill advised.

    What needs to be built on is the indaba process. What needs to be rejected is the Windsor Continuation process and every bell and whistle Rowan seeks to add to contribute to coherence. When forced to choose, we should choose the Baptismal Covenant and the Gospel over the innovations of the Covenanters.

    But those who break relationship should have to make that decision, and we shouldn't make it easy for them. We should show up, bear witness to the Gospel as we understand it, seek to understand the other, and let the chips fall where they may.

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  8. There does come a time in a relationship when actions and words become abusive... and for many in our neck of the woods, that time has already come within the Communion.

    Every co-dependent in recovery knows there is no affecting or effecting the actions of the abuser, only the responsibility to one's self care. Which means leaving the abuser.

    That may be true in the case of our Communion. It is one thing for one individual to decide to stick it out with an abuser, and work and hope and pray for a better day.

    It is quite another thing to ask others to stay in a relationship until the abuse stops.

    It is time for us to say to no. No more. No way.

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  9. There does come a time in a relationship when actions and words become abusive... and for many in our neck of the woods, that time has already come within the Communion.

    Every co-dependent in recovery knows there is no affecting or effecting the actions of the abuser, only the responsibility to one's self care. Which means leaving the abuser.

    That may be true in the case of our Communion. It is one thing for one individual to decide to stick it out with an abuser, and work and hope and pray for a better day.

    It is quite another thing to ask others to stay in a relationship until the abuse stops.

    It is time for us to say to no. No more. No way.

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  10. "…acknowledging that it remains where our Communion as a global community stands…."

    I have just exhumed the August 5th, 1998 "Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans from Some Member Bishops of the Lambeth Conference", issued in the wake of Lambeth 1:10.

    "Within the limitations of this Conference, it has not been possible to hear adequately your voices, and we apologize for any sense of rejection that has occurred because of this reality ..... We call on the entire Communion to continue (and in many places, begin) prayerful, respectful conversation on the issue of homosexuality. We must not stop where this Conference has left off. You, our sisters and brothers in Christ, deserve a more thorough hearing than you received over the past three weeks. We will work to make that so."

    Signed, as of August 8th, by 146 bishops, among them eight primates. One signing bishop was Rowan Williams, bishop of Monmouth.

    No need to compare then and now, except to note how successfully the radical right has dominated the field and, with the complicity of useful idiots, cowed open dissent. Can anyone imagine 33 English bishops signing this statement in today's climate?

    http://www.mindspring.com/~bcglm1/lesgay-anglicans.html

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  11. obadiah slope14/8/08 9:01 PM

    Dr Carroll has held a consistent "left" position through our Anglican troubles and one that deserves respect.
    I wonder if he will permit me a major quibble with his view. It seems to me that his analyis lacks a consideration of power relationships in this discussuion.
    TEC is the wealthy member of the communion - this shows up in such matters as an over representation at Lambeth - this is a province that can easily afford to have more bishops than other places.
    It is also true that some poorer provinces recieve significant aid from TEC.
    This is to TEC's credit and I applaud their generosity.
    It does mean, though, that we are not talking about a meeting of equals.
    So Bill's "let them throw us out if they must " attitude needs to be nuanced somewhat to take differences in wealth into account.

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  12. I agree with it's Margaret and Wolfstan. The Episcopal Church is filled with beautiful people with generous hearts. We have much to be proud of and much to be thankful for. FWIW I don't appreciate the poke in the eye with a very sharp stick being delivered by the AC.

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  13. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis, Mark, though I am afraid I disagree.

    From the standpoint of the IRD, the CCP, and the wild meld of Gafcon types, there is NOTHING positive in remaining together. Their entire intent was division from the start long before +Gene Robinson was so much as a whisper outside his diocese. They will only be happy when the whole crowd makes a sharp right turn and, as we know, that won't happen in the US. At least not now.

    If the Gafcon types and their sympathizers won't go to a Lambeth meeting because Bishops that acted to affirm +Gene Robinson, WHY would they choose to stay in a communion relationship unlesss TEC and CoC were eliminated from that communion? I don't think they would/will. And I think they have pretty much said so.

    If I read their intentions correctly (and please let me know how you disagree if you do), they are already moving on by WRITING their own standards--standards that we in TEC, obviously, could not meet moratorium or no moritorium.

    This isn't, imho, about the lgbt community. That is just a handy wedge issue to drive through our heads while the real magic started and continues on another stage.

    It is about plain reading (what I personaly believe is literalism wrapped in fundamentalism) and their definition of "othodoxy". They want and require some sort of shape of a magisterium to measure and test orthodoxy against, with a penalty if you don't meet that test. They have said as much.

    Further, there is so much bad blood between the GAFCON types and TEC, for instance, that I do not believe it can be repaired, nor do I think they are interested in repairing it.

    They are charting their course, they are building and manning their ships and they will chose a leader to live under sooner v. later and definitely as soon as they can. They don't like the idea of the ABC being in 'colonial' Canterbury when they view Anglicanism's gravity is in Africa which requires some kind of restructuring to make them happy. Their list is long (and getting longer every time they hold a press conference or meeting) and non-negotiable. amelioratable.

    I think it is over, personally. The music is still playing, but the dancers have left the floor.

    I hate to be a cynic, so forgive me, but they will NOT take communion with us... and how can there be a communion when they won't and we cannot meet their conditions for kneeling with us?

    We have to move on, imho.

    The downside to this moving on, as much as anything, leaves stranded many clergy and laity not in TEC or CoC that need our support in communion. But I don't know how we can sacrifice our own to save others. Dread.

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  14. There is a saying that, if pone only has a hammer, then everything is a nail. That does seem apt, given that the "new" proposals of the Windsor Continuation Group are merely the same failed proposals tarted up with a new coat of paint.

    I find the idea that the legitimate North American provinces should proactively "fast" from our participation in the Communion's structures to be asinine beyond words.

    Why should Canada and the US accept punishment for the same sex blessings that occur as frequently in England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand . . . ? As a Canadian, this says that honesty is something to be punished, while those who dissembled and cloaked their actions face no sanction.

    The legitimate North American provinces should show up at every damned meeting, with every intention of full participation.

    If the bigots, their fellow travellers and those whom the bigots have cowed choose to toss us out of the room, let them. Then and only then do we leave.

    Part of the apologia for authentic Anglicanism is the honest historical account of the Reformation as it played out in England. Canterbury did not excommunicate Rome. The guilt of schism belongs to Rome.

    Well, by analogy, I have no intention of initiating the act of schism. Let the schismatics do it or let them shut up.

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  15. Can anyone imagine 33 English bishops signing this statement in today's climate?

    Thanks, Lapin. You are now going to make me cry.

    ***

    IMO, the moratorium on blessings---HOWEVER interpreted (God only knows, those in GAFCON would interpret it in more horrifying ways than we can even imagine) is D.O.A., IMO.

    Trying to imagine the moratorium on episcopal consecrations---even as currently enshrined in the execrable B033---one must face this likely scenario:

    1) A gay candidate is elected bishop.

    2) The moratorium (defacto or dejure) holds: the bishop-elect fails to receive confirmation (either at GC, or via Standing Committees).

    3)???

    If not the first time this happens, at some point (under a moratoria regime) I think it highly likely we will see an irregular consecration of the gay bishop-elect.

    With ALL the prophetic spirit (Spirit? ;-/) of "The Philadelphia 11" (and not JUST w/ 3 retired bishops, either!).

    Now what? Does the HofB pull a "Lambeth" on the new bishop, ala +GR? Does the HofB split into +John(Jane) Q. Queer-welcoming, and -denying, factions? Does Rowan (or his successor) become a "flying Cantuar", trying to get the HofB to keep the new bishop out?

    What a mess!

    The longer such a moratorium lasts, the more INEVITABLE such a confrontation becomes...

    Re the "Time-Out from the AC" proposal: I'd be more encouraged to try this, if not for what happened at the last ACC meeting, when we DID refrain from voting, ONLY to have substantial changes made to the ACC, in our (voting) absence [Not to mention, that I believe it was only TEC's/AngChCanada's presence, that KEPT Lambeth from becoming another '98-style dictatorship-of-the-majority]

    I honestly don't know what we should do... :-/

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  16. TEC should wake up and smell the coffee here....even with 1/4 of the bishops in attendance at Lambeth and a couple of hundred GAFCON bishops not there, still TEC cannot persuade a majority to even accept "two integrities" and the ABC ends up basically restating the Windsor Report....and Lambeth 1.10 (which he himself has his doubts about. TEC gained nothing.

    If TEC could not swing it at Lambeth, it ain't going to swing it in the early 2009 Primates Meeting....is it?

    And since nobody believes TEC will abide by any moratoria, why stay if the only result is going to be to bring more division and be further divided by incursions?

    Why does TEC want so badly to be in the ABC's club that it even accepts one of its own bishops being excluded by the ABC? A high price to pay....but what was gained for that sacrifice? Nothing....again.

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  17. We may pontificate all we like about the wishy-washiness of The Grand Tufty (aka ++Rowan). We may also congratulate ourselves on the relative tininess of each of these factions. However, the consensus up here in Canada is that what the AAC and other related thug organizations are after is not a separate province, but to eventually take over TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada through civil courts by alleging disenfranchisement and by pressing this lie until it sticks.

    Lambeth may congratulate itself on having skirted the issues and we may feel smug in what is the rectitude of our position. However, in the end, this is the concerted effort of a few very wealthy, large and highly conservative parishes to stage a pirates' coup and put the clear majority in both the US and in Canada out on the streets. Scotland, England and other Anglican bodies don't even come into the picture; they want the cash and prizes and won't stop until they can steal it for themselves. No amount of covenant, or official non-binding conference (such as Lambeth) or other various and sundry instruments of communion, or friendly agreement or appeasement will stop these greedy thugs. Ultimately, none of these venues hold much value to them because they are out for all they can steal.

    There. I said it. Perhaps I've violated every sort of Anglican polity in saying this, but it's time our side came up with more effective methods of dealing with these wolves in the pen.

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  18. Mark,

    I am eager to read you follow-up suggestions. I'll not offer a plan—I don’t really have one—but I do have some observations.

    In January of last year, I wrote: “Until ++Rowan realizes that The Episcopal Church is willing to leave the Anglican Communion rather than betray its principles and be humiliated … he will continue to treat The Episcopal Church with disdain.” I stand by that statement.

    When Rowan suggested second-tier status, my immediate response was, “Were do we sign up?” There may be benefits to being in the Anglican Communion—my view on that matter can be read here—but it has become a drain on all our energies, with no end in sight.

    Temporarily stepping back is not an answer, as it will just leave the field open to our detractors. What jcf pointed out about the ACC meeting should be warning clear enough.

    Does anyone doubt that this struggle is primarily about power? And, if so, can anyone imagine the co-existence of the theologies of Peter Akinola and Katharine Jefferts Schori in the same ecclesiastical entity unless that entity somehow embraces theological toleration big time?

    Our detractors know how to play the power politics game—they build narrative, and they build conspicuous coalitions. There is a Global South; why have we not constructed a Global North (or whatever you want to call it).

    We were outfoxed yet again at Lambeth; Rowan is smarter than we give him credit for. He got the bishops singing "Kumbaya," threw in variations on his plan to transform the Communion into a church while no one was looking, allowed no votes, and claimed consensus for his plan, leaving no one with data to dispute the assertion.

    It’s time to stop trying to make everyone else happy—they can only do that for themselves, anyway—and start worrying about making Episcopalians happy. Let’s forget the Anglican Communion and start building the American Communion.

    Well, maybe I do have a plan.

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  19. At this point - the only "tactic" should be clarity - clarity - clarity. This is who we are, this is what we believe, this is why - this is who we are, this is what we believe, this is why. Over and over, again. Without apology. The rest is up to those who can not stand being around such as ourselves.

    I simply don't get why the burden is on us to suffer, to "fast" - exactly to what end and until when? Until things get, what? I see no clarity in such a tactic, only confusion and frustration without limits. No one on either side is going to behave "better" because of it - no one.

    I hope we don't misjudge this moment because we are looking at what has happened in the past and not what is happening now. I think we are in the process of turning a major corner in this country, lead by the Holy Spirit no less - for the purposes of perhaps saving ourselves from literal oblivion.

    I think stepping back and "fasting" sends exactly the wrong message. The right message is there is no going back. We must seek our future together. Period.

    If others want to manipulate the situation into a choice between embracing the gays and lesbians in our midst and splitting the AC, let them make the choice and split the AC. We need to continue to pray up, show up and speak up. And leave the rest up to God.

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  20. Think Bill B about says it. That seems to be exactly what it's about.

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  21. What I do not understand is, why has not one sat ++Rowan down and said, "Listen, we have done everything we were asked to do -- we had obeyed the moratoria we were asked to obey. The other side has not.

    We have no official blessings for same -gender relationships, we have not consecrated a single honest gay or lesbian bishop. We have done what we were asked.

    Our bishops have completely failed us -- they should have made it very clear that we WILL leave if the ABS continues to abuse us and allows other provinces to abuse us.

    Unfortunately, our witness is the only hope for many other provinces. IF we leave, they are at the mercy of the wolves -- ravenous wolves.

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  22. Here's what I think: We shouldn't leave. We should make them make us go. Anything less is not only premature and gives us too much of the share of "blame" for the current state of the communion, it positions GAFCON to be exactly what it wants to be - the "real" manifestation of TEC in the Anglican Communion.

    Two words: No Way.

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  23. obadiahslope16/8/08 1:27 AM

    James,
    I can't recall anywhere TEC was asked to refrain from authorising "official" blessings only. Rather the call since Windsor has been to refrain from "public rites of blessing". The ABC made it clear in the final Lambeth presser that anything that approaches a liturgical form goes too far. This is a rejection of the idea that TEC has complied with two of the moratoria.
    I am sure that Rowan has had many conversations about this one on one, including with TEC bishops. In his presser he was talking to all of us.

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  24. "... even with 1/4 of the bishops in attendance at Lambeth and a couple of hundred GAFCON bishops not there..."

    It was the "couple of hundred" who were the 1/4 absenting. Some 670 were reported to be present.

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  25. Note also that the ABC's last statements at the conference included his aim to get the absent GAFCON bishops back into the club......now, how is he going to do that without TEC compromising again.

    TEC sacrificed the dignity of Gene....and the reward is to be asked to sacrifice more....because TEC obviously wants to be in the AC more than it wants to stick to its principles.

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  26. It is time to get real. We know—we have always known—that demands being made of us are demands we are not willing to make. They are intended to be. Our integrity demands that we state what we believe and our intention to act on it, whatever others may think.

    This is not walking away from the Communion; it is telling others that we will participate in it as we always have. We will not allow others to grab power not granted by those they would govern. Remember that thing from the eighteenth century about consent of the governed? Capitulation is not consent, and capitulation is not a conscientious option.

    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.