10/08/2008

On the Opening and Closing of Blogs and Webpages.

One frozen:

Immediately upon the deposition of Robert Duncan, formerly diocesan bishop of Pittsburgh, a blog site went up to record support for him.
In Support of Bishop Duncan

The Global South Anglican web pages has also indicated support for Robert Duncan in several postings: HERE
recorded the support of thirteen persons and one synod (Nelson in New Zealand). As of October 6 the site is taking no new comments., HERE, and HERE. All told those references include one Province (SE Asia), CANA and perhaps 5 more individuals.

Obviously there were others in support. Andrew Carey wonders why more evangelical bishops have not stated their support for Robert Duncan. You can read his comments HERE.

At any rate, the blog is closing down, Duncan, now bishop in the Province of the Southern Cone, has moved on from any concern about his deposition.

One down and back up again (but how can you tell?)

The GAFCON web pages were down for six days or so. It's hard to know just what was going on, but they are back up. Nothing new, save the statement of the GAFCON Primates Council concerning the deposition of Robert Duncan. That came out on September 30 and is posted on the GAFCON website on October 1. But the site itself was down for several more days in October. It doesn't matter much. GAFCON's last posting was more than a month ago (August 22nd). There has been no notice of the number of people, parishes, dioceses, etc, that have "joined" the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Is this because there have been too few or too many? Well, we will know when they want to let us know.

FOCA, by the way, is yet one more affinity group using words to get us used to the idea that there can be something like "confessing Anglicans." It is the same gambit used way back in the formation of the Network of Anglican Communion Parishes and Dioceses. Here is what the Anglican Communion Network said about its beginning:

The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes—usually referred to as the Anglican Communion Network, or ACN—was officially launched on January 20, 2004, at the Network's Organizing Convocation held at Christ Church, Plano, Texas. It was organized as a network of "confessing" dioceses and congregations within ECUSA, and the first meeting included representatives from 12 Episcopal dioceses, as well as individuals from geographic regions and one non geographic area that were designated as convocations."

Back then in 2003-4 there was talk that the notion of a "confessing" group was somehow like the confessing church in Germany. That got quickly dropped when it was pointed out that Bishop Duncan and the others were not in the same league as, say, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and that whatever the sins of the Episcopal Church etc, it was no Fascist Germany.

So the "Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans" gets put in place to further the idea that real, true Anglicans willing to confess the Lord Jesus Christ (unlike their institutionally corrupt western bretheren) are gathering, willing to be martyred, willing to suffer for the cause of victory, etc. FOCA is a propaganda arm of the new truth: that there is out there an improved and refined form of Anglicanism that is the true Anglican presence in the world and that it is the inheritor of the good name Anglican.

The reason why the GAFCON web pages has little to say is that GAFCON was a conference. FOCA is not a real entity and can be kissed good by with ease. The GAFCON website will be replace by something else... The Primates Council page? Who knows. But finally it will be the new improved Anglican Communion page. The Presiding Bishop will not be listed, nor will the Primate of Canada, nor the Archbishop of Wales or the Primus of Scotland. Oh well.

Primate Akinola, shut down that site.

One gone the way of good hopes.

I started a second blog called "
Anglican Communion Redux." For a giddy moment I thought we might be turning the tide and there would be new "robust" articles and commentary that I would like to post along with comments from self and others that would "accuant the positive, and eliminate the negative." The problem is that what that work is being done, it looks more and more likely that when this is all over there will be two different Anglican fellowships: One that is roughly the Anglican Communion as a fellowship with very few strings but lots of historical ties and bonds of affection, and the other bundled together by covenant, stringent application of fundamentalist principles and religious purity. The first will be the Anglican Communion. The second will be the World Wide Anglican Church.


They can have the WWAChurch. As for me and my family, we will continue as part of the Anglican Communion an gather wherever we are invited.

I am shutting down Anglican Communion Redux for a long while. It will return, perhaps in another form when the current miserable entanglements have been resolved.

It was a nice idea. RIP.

12 comments:

  1. Mark, I think in the 21 century we're dealing with networks. Like Facebook, people are aligning together in less structured groups, networks that are held together by mutual affinity rather than rules. It's well - gosh darn it, pretty darn liberal, in the classical sense - libertarian in the modern sense.

    So we have the Anglican Communion, which is the most formal of all the networks, a Church even - as Rowan Williams said at his last press conference at Lambeth. Inside the Anglican Communion we have the formal provinces, but we also have the informal networks - the Global South, the Lambeth Conference, GAFCON, the TEC Network, the Communion Partners, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglican, and other networks. Some might solidify over time into lasting partnerships, others may wisk away into the wind.

    They could easily become factions - the Charismatics over here, the Evangelicals over there, the Progressives over here, the Anglo Catholics over there, the English over here, the Africans over there, the Americans down there, the Global South up there, and - as we say, ever the twain shall meet!

    We could end up in chaos, which as you may know, is actually a step toward real community. We have been working so hard to keep a lid on the chaos that we actually keep ourselves from walking into deep community. Maybe we need some organized chaos just to blow the lid off the pretentiousness and self-righteousness on all sides. Maybe we need to lie brokenhearted at the foot of the cross and open an eye and look over and see some surprising comrades nearby.

    Maybe we'll end up seeing each other there. There is - because Jesus is Risen - always hope.

    bb

    ReplyDelete
  2. In an odd way, I think the WWAChurch is a group who still need to "depend", who have not escaped the bondage of colonialism, who do not understand "responsibility". Their "people" are wiser than they. We are making partnerships with them. Mighty and true partnerships. God willing, the ABofC will finally grasp what is happening. In the end, why didn't he participate in (maybe it would better to say "grasp") "ndaba"? Is the ABofC an ur-colonialist?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I still don't know, have never known, and may never know what a confessing Anglican is!

    But, I suppose it doesn't matter. I know who THEY are.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mark,
    If you are depressed do not be. There a number of new blogs out "here" with the same goals. Maybe there will be two "Anglican" types but there is only one Real Anglican here in the USA.

    (I may be shameless.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am in agreement with the substance of most of what you said, but I am concerned about the the GAFCON/FoCA/whatever, use of the name "Anglican Communion" They are not. In this case, "what's in a name?" does matter. Those who claim this name, claim the heritage of this group, it's world-wideHi Mark. Although I agree in s reputation etc. "Branding" and "trademark" mean something.

    Most would categorize me as a communion liberal. I value the communion for the following reasons. 1. I am an inclusionist. I believe that we are called to welcome others, even, and maybe most importantly, those with whom we disagree. I continue to believe that if TEC fails to create a truly safe and loving place for its loyal opposition, it has failed indeed. And on the international level, if it shuts itself off from the voices of the "other", it is diminished as a faith community, a community on a journey. 2nd: The Anglican Communion provides an extraordinary network of opportunities by which we can take our faith to action in doing the work of Christ in the world, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked.... With "Anglican Communion" branding, we have more access to these networks based upon the heritage of trust that the Anglican Communion churches have built.

    I have no personal interest in membership in FoCA. I do not wish to be a member of a church driven entirely by a confessing approach to religion, rather than praxis or the religious experience of others and find the adoption of this weighty, tenet driven (actually western in origin) theology rather ironic when voiced so strongly and dogmatically from Africa. It would follow then, that I am even more disinterested in a "church" in which a self-appointed "primates-council" of 6 or 7 defines solely for itself the right to define "orthodoxy".

    Some may be easily misled if we allow FoCA to hijack the "branding" especially if they think that: 1. FoCA is the legitimate heir of the CofE. 2. That the traditional stool of scripture, tradition and reason are its tools for discernment and 3. That it will seek to help that are in need, rather than those who first meet the requirements of the theological and moral purity judgments of its 6-7 SC primatial leaders.

    If split does happen, and I really hope it doesn't. I hope that the "Anglican Communion" will remain and TEC will remain within it, a broad tent, generous in "orthodoxy", taking nothing away from its basic creeds, retaining its historic links to Canterbury and a manner of doing things that is really considerate of the "other" ...All at the table, broken and needy... EmilyH

    ReplyDelete
  6. It seems to me that the Faux Anglican Church (FAC) as I prefer it will be faced with some real problems. Chief among them, once they have actually gone off to independence they wont have opposition to TEC as a focus of unity.

    It is going to be much harder for them to be for something together. That strange, un-publicized meeting in Uganda that Fr. Christian and I have written about is perhaps a straw in the wind.

    I wonder a bit where York and Canterbury will land up in all this. I think in terms of the clergy centric focus, they both would prefer the church. But, Canterbury at least is probably not all that welcome and neither will be welcome to lead. Hmmm.....

    FWIW
    jimB
    Jim's Thoughts

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, there was also a web site supporting the alternate bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which was open for all to post to and continues its mission, unlike the Malarkey site.

    Nevertheless, BB points out how she thinks this new networked world is evolving. Unfortunately, the people who are left out of the conversation are any minority in the midst of a connected majority. Now the logical thing to say is "well why don't they just connect to a like-minded group". In some parts of the world, that's a death sentence. It also means that the big tent idea of Anglicanism is no longer valid. It means that we have devolved into warring camps who can't even break bread together. Should the networked world reach out to isolated groups wherever they are? That's a real waste of resources. On the practical side, where does the isolated person find a place to worship and receive pastoral care? The average dog in the pew finds this whole thing a complete waste of time and energy. Sadly, the de-evolution of the church will probably continue. There is, as BB says, hope, but it's pretty thin hope at this point. Jesus tells us to reach out to the lost and lonely. And for me, that means all are to come to the table and not even peek at the person next to them, for they are no more worthy or unworthy than I to receive.

    Those "connected" and "aligned" need to think about those who they have excluded and marginalized.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mark,

    Thank you for all that you have done in keeping us informed, inspired, in-touch.

    I do think we have turned a corner--but it is not an easy nor a necessarily positive one. I think we are in that dark limbo time between the cross and new life. The lack of "positive" papers is hardly proof positive that something lively is not happening. How many letters or Gospels were written in the three days between death and new life.... that took quite some time, decades even.

    And I do think that is where we are right now, between death and new life, --as a Communion, as a Nation, as a people --every facet of our institutions, order, authority structures etc etc are under duress and are being challenged.

    But that doesn't let any of us off the hook--there must be those who, even in the face of violent power and destruction of the Temple and pogroms and nations at war, ...are ready to hear the Good News, walking down the road type ready.

    You have been and are one of those ready-types Mark.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. As long as TEC leadership gives fodder for opposition, there will be an attraction for "faux" Anglicans. Apparently the PB is glad that the "worst" is over now that the Diocese of Pittsburgh has crumbled. Worst? Over? By any count Pitssburgh is just #2 of possibly 5 exiting dioceses. And then, there's the Title IV revisions that will sail through General Convention next year...including provisions for silencing and disciplining the laity. Then GC will also make canonical changes where the church proerties will have to be signed over to the diocese. Yep...all of this will go down very well. Right. Only in Executive inner circles who chant the lines together in unison. The worst is not over by a long shot. The laity will be ired beyond repair after the insanity at next year's GC. At this moment "faux" is a very relative term. Let the passive laity get whiffs of what more is coming and outsiders/insiders true/false will turn around overnight. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Emily, your comment reads like a brief for the Anglican Communion as charity, in which the individual beliefs of its members ought to be ignored, as irrelevancies at best, and impediments to the organization at worst. Unfortunately, the Communion as vague religious blob holds no power over the imagination of men; no ability, if you will, to motivate people at large to sacrifice their own treasure for the benefit of unknown others. Ultimately, the project to remake the Communion over in this image will, and should, fail, as there are far better “extraordinary network[s]” through which one can “feed … the hungry [and] cloth[e] the naked.” The U.N., the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and, yes, even the hated military are all better positioned to perform that mission.

    I prefer the Anglican Communion be Christian, and being Christian carries meaning – meaning consisting of not only, if you will read the Gospel even casually, giving our bread to our neighbor, but also allowing the Holy Spirit to reform ourselves such that we may be united to God – the real One; not the secular construct that some imagine we can create on Earth by our own good deeds. “Man does not live by bread alone,” Someone once said. Hard words, but ones many of us still feel are Truth.

    ReplyDelete
  11. ...once they have actually gone off to independence they wont have opposition to TEC as a focus of unity.

    Jim, I don't know. I believe that TEC could still be the focus that draws them together for a long time after they're gone.

    York and Canterbury should be concerned about an alternative province in England. If it can happen here, it can happen over there.

    As long as TEC leadership gives fodder for opposition, there will be an attraction for "faux" Anglicans.

    Allen, some might call it doing the right thing.

    As for me, I want no part of a World Wide Anglican Church.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I for one, am sorry to see Anglican Communion Redux go, Mark...

    ...as I was, I believe, one of the people who asked for it.

    It's impetus was the demise of the original Father Jake Stops the World---which, for all the original blogging which has arisen since its departure (including by Terry Martin himself) hasn't really had a replacement.

    Father Jake's, if I may be so bold to sum it up, was a place to discuss Anglican/Episcopalian developments...

    {and here's the key part}

    ...by the grace of Terry's delete key, FREE of hateful, extremist propaganda (which inevitably distracts, as faithful Episcopalians rush to defend Our Beloved Church from trolls, trolling).

    This thread itself, Mark, displays why such a forum is still desperately needed.

    Christ have mercy on ALL of us, but I don't to hear the same GARBAGE about my "faux" "dying" church and my "apostate" faith over and over and over again (ad nauseum)! Enough, and be gone w/ it!

    No, the liberal, insecure "Kick Me!" 'tude extends to believing that we can't even own our places of worship/places of discourse.

    Speech is free---doesn't mean our blogs should be.

    God bless holy moderation!

    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.