2/01/2011

Is now "the zenith of TEC's influence on the life of the Communion?"

Has TEC topped out in terms of its influence on the life of the Anglican Communion?  Peter Carrell over at AnglicansDownUnder seems to think so.  He writes,

 "The zenith of TEC's influence on the life of the Communion is now. Over the next few decades its declining numbers will expose the weakness of the hand it has played: progressive theology is not a theology of renewal of generations in a church. American money will keep the ACO afloat for a while longer, but eventually the financiers will understand that money is going down the drain on meetings of no importance." (bold emphasis mine)

Carrell is a fine writer and his analysis of issues from an evangelical seriously south and down under perspective is always worth reading.  Still I think he as over reached on this one.

Peter's comments, "Over the next few decades its declining numbers will expose the weakness of the hand it has played: progressive theology is not a theology of renewal of generations in a church."  

Peter believes TEC is at its zenith for reasons not related to its declining influence vis a vis the Global South at all. He believes it is TEC's "progressive theology" that will do us in. We will be less influential because we will be smaller.

Peter's argument is not about our support and "influence" over missionary work abroad, or our support or influence over the ACO, arguments often used by the Global South.  His argument is about TEC having a progressive theology, and such theology not being "a theology of renewal of generations in a church."

Well, we will see.

Perhaps progressive theology is not a theology of "renewal of generations," what ever that finally means. 

But what does it mean? Does it mean we progressives simply do not have enough children who we bring up in the progressive faith? 

Well to paraphrase someone well known to us all, "If they are not enough, the stones will become our children." 

Progressive theology at its best does not renew generations, it renews hope for the hopeless and calls for justice to roll down like waters. It believes that God's future is known in the union of justice and mercy in the self-emptying of Jesus the Christ and as well in you and me as we are true to our calling as the anointed ones, being emptied for the health of the world.   It turns out that that message, if delivered, will make for new peoples of faith where before there was despair. 

Perhaps Peter means that progressive theology is not finally the stable faith once delivered to the saints, able to be transmitted through the generations without loss of clarity about its basis in the Cross and Resurrection.  If that is what he is saying here, I think he is wrong.

But the warning is right: If progressive theology is not itself grounded in the reality of and faith in Christ Jesus there will be no generation of new peoples of faith.  My sense is that Peter does not believe progressive theology does this, and I do.

As to influence, think of the early church. Not many were people of great influence, save that they knew themselves to be God's beloved. That was influence enough.

110 comments:

  1. Carrell is certainly correct that TEC has succeeded in totalling dominating the major decision-making bodies of the Communion. The Standing Committee, the organising of the Primates Metings, Jamaica ACC and the list goes on. The PB should return to a ticker-tape parade. This will probably mean redoubling efforts to create a line-hierarchy via Title IV and other means. Rites for same-sex blessing will soon be drawn up and available for use, thus effectively creating a new ethereal 'BCP' requiring no constitutional changes. Zenith is probably the right word. But at what cost? The main lines of the global Communion hav lost all trust in (one-by-one) the ACC-SC, the SC, now the Primates Meeting, and of course RDW himself. I agree with Carrell that TEC's theology is threadbare and unsustainable; but leaving that aside. It has the support of something like 25% of he Communion *at te very most*. It will get what it wants, but what no one else does -- beyond the usual fellow-travellers. The Communion is now dead, and has been replaced by power brokering that has alienated the vast majority. That is the new vestigal 'TEC-Federation' with its own rump Instruments. Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sam F, is right about power-brokering, but most - if not all - of that has been done by US conservatives making alliances with bishops in Africa and elsewhere. I suspect that there is nothing, in principle, wrong that, but it does get a bit alienating for all of us.

    I'm not sure that it is progressive theology that has caused the drop in numbers in TEC. We are experiencing in North America what the churches experienced in most of Europe a decade or so ago. Professing Christians are becoming a minority and we might do well to learn from our Jewish neighbors how to live in the diaspora.
    I am reminded of James Alison's refusal, at Trinity Institute, to be labeled progressive. Or of one of Kenneth Leach's heroes bristling at being called unorthodox. Unconventional, but certainly not unorthodox.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What does it matter if TEC is at its zenith, its nadir, or somewhere in between in terms of influence, money, or numbers so long as we are a church which:

    renews hope for the hopeless and calls for justice to roll down like waters. It believes that God's future is known in the union of justice and mercy in the self-emptying of Jesus the Christ and as well in you and me as we are true to our calling as the anointed ones, being emptied for the health of the world.

    Forever and ever, amen.

    And, as Daniel says:

    ...we might do well to learn from our Jewish neighbors how to live in the diaspora.

    Amen. And may we not be the better for living in the diaspora?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Daniel. Send us a postcard when the new TEC is ramped fully up: Title IV, new liturgies for SSBs, lawsuits filed by Gays against conservatives holding to conscience and traditional practice, consent processes using litmus tests in WLA, Dallas, CFL, et al. You will be getting what you have longed to have: a new 'Holy Spirit' warrant for a new TEC. How can that 'Holy Spirit' then acommodate any lack of cooperation with the new agenda? Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "renews hope for the hopeless" - TEC is a deacon waiting for a bus, being asked by a homeless man to pray for him, and, after doing so, looking up and seeing a line behind the first man of others waiting and asking for him to pray for them, too. The deacon may have missed the bus, but he didn't "miss the bus"! Nor does TEC.

    The congregation I serve has what I sometimes call a "shadow congregation" - the grandchildren and their friends who come to my congregation's version of Fresh Expressions. The men in the line for prayer don't get counted in the parish register. Neither do those children who come to be fed by prayer, play, and learning.

    The congregation I served as a curate was in a dire inner city neighborhood. The choir school attracted the children of that neighborhood. Their parents began to attend. But the parents and their children were the "working poor" - no way they can ever give enough money to keep a tradition gothic pile going. That is TEC.

    My field ed supervisor once preached that TEC is being pushed to the margins, and thank God for that, he said. The margins is where the church is most needed and the margins are where there is no money and no parish register counting up the number of people served this Sunday.

    We are to renew hope for the hopeless. I can do that any day at any bus stop in this city. Along with a fellow blogger, who came up with the idea, I practice "drive by blessings". Those I bless don't get into the numbers we keep either. But the blessings renew hope.

    So go on and make fun of us. Go on and spell out our doom. What one sees as our doom I see as life abundant for all.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Make fun of you? Are you joking? Liberals in TEC are the only people I know who completely win and determine the character of the new teaching and faith AND declare they are victims! Don't you realize that this new faith and teaching will be enforced and no exceptions will be made? You can pretend otherwise, but Title IV is a way to make sure what the PB and liberals want, they will get, and assure all will comply with. Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I may be alone in this, but I look forward to a day when no one is born into the Christian Faith.

    In this country, born members of churches frequently leave them by adolescence or young adulthood. Ex-Catholics are almost equal to Catholics in number these days. The Southern Baptists, and other very conservative evangelical churches, still bring 'em in the front door by the trainload while trainloads more are exiting though the backdoor. The social obligation to go to church on Sunday no longer holds the power it once did. As a result, regular church attendance across the board dropped dramatically over the last 30 years or so.

    I think this is not cause for grief, but for rejoicing.

    I remember my large childhood Methodist church to be filled to the brim every Sunday. My parents dutifully stuffed my brother and I into wool suits, even in the Texas summer, and took us to an hour of preaching, praying, and hymn singing before Sunday dinner. When my parents' ferociously pious mothers passed away, they stopped going to church. They both candidly confessed years later that they never really bought all that virgin birth and people getting up from the dead malarkey anyway, and this after decades of regular church attendance and Bible classes. My parents found Methodist social functions to be excruciating.
    I remember a big church full of people a lot like my parents.

    Years later, when I returned to church, I returned to much smaller congregations than what I knew in childhood. They were smaller, but they were a lot happier and more enterprising. They were made up of people who wanted to be there. Most of them, like myself, were converts or renewals. Those smaller congregations had far more active religious lives than anything I remembered from my boyhood.

    Pardon my inner Anabaptist, but I believe the Christian Faith is something that people choose consciously and deliberately. The Kingdom of Christ is the only kingdom with no compulsion, and that includes compulsion by accident of birth.

    The Christian Faith is supposed to be Good News for a broken world, not a tribe. That Good News is a Person, and not a book or a check list of doctrines.
    It seems to me that "renewal of generations" more accurately describes Judaism rather than Christianity.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sam F, same sex marriage has been legal in a few US jurisdictions for a few years now, where are the "lawsuits filed by Gays against conservatives holding to conscience and traditional practice" in those jurisdictions?

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are kidding, right? When SSBs become the law of TEC, any cleric not agreeing to this is subject to discipline. Anyone saying otherwise is just temporising...the idea that priests have discretion is fine, but what of the couple everyone in the parish knows is Gay/Lesbian and they go the Fr M and he says No, I am pleading my discretionary license...how long will that last as OK? A NY minute.
    Go ahead and rejoice and declare victory and don't fool yourself about being liberal or generous. No. You have won and others will pay the price. Sam

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sam,
    You have such a low theology of the church. We, you included, are not in charge. In my work as a port chaplain, I preach in many churches and I am amazed at the vitality of ministry and mission in these congregations, large and small. Give us a break from your rantings.
    Jim

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sam, I have never known of any member of the clergy who was forced to bless any couple (heterosexual or homosexual.)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sam, why do you rant on so about things that are never going to happen? If you really believe things will get that bad on TEC, why not save yourself and leave? And if you have already left, why bother with comments about TEC?

    ReplyDelete
  13. "declining numbers"???

    Peter's god is too small.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't know what the source of your pain is, Sam---but you have my prayers for your healing. May we ALL be more conformed to Christ!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I cannot see how an "orthodox" theology of fear, an angry, small, brutal god - which is factually what they preach - of selfish withdrawal and self-segregation can possibly be considered a theology of "renewal." It is a theology of stagnation, abdication of responsibility, a dark night of the soul, but with no light, unless it is death - and then to stand before a vengeful, remorseless, compassionless god. Where is the renewal in a theology in which no one can possibly be saved and rigid, outward observance and fearful clinging to a tradition with no rhyme no reason, which has proven itself toxic for generation trumps any joy or expansiveness of spirit, a willingness to go forth and embrace?

    Look at Sam F.'s bitterness and paranoia - is that "renewal?"

    ReplyDelete
  16. It is no part of my argument that all is well in the churches which claim to be (whatever the right term these days is for) 'different to progressive theology'!. (Here I will call that 'conservative theology.')

    Versions of conservative theology can give rise to fear not love, to intimidation not inspiration, to arrogance not humity and so forth. But as a Westerner I am doubtful that progressive theology will lead any of our churches into sustained renewal of the generations (that is, to healthy vital replacement of the elderly in our churches with younger families and their children).

    Decline does vary a bit, not least because progressive theology churches gain adherents who have come to faith as young people in conservative churches and then moved on - a weakness of some conservative theologies is that they do not mature well in maturing people.

    But mainline protestant churches are generally doing badly in the West, especially compared with stability or growth in Roman Catholic numbers, to say nothing of new forms of evangelical and pentecostal churches.

    I could be completely wrong about TEC. The proof of my prediction would be (I estimate) about twenty years from now.

    That any commenter here is experiencing their local church full of life and vitality is a matter for rejoicing. But my argument is about the total effect of progressive theology over a whole denomination. In my own country (New Zealand) churches adhering to progressive theology are growing weaker with each passing decade.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I believe Peter Carrell makes a good point. Churches offering safe rules and guaranteed salvation of you follow those rules will always do better than churches that allow doubt, deep questioning, shifting positions.

    My question would be whether there is such a thing as one form of conservatism or one form of liberalism throughout a whole church.
    Wherever I have been I have found conservative churches, evangelical churches, liberal churches - all under one umbrella.

    I agree with Counterlight that nations appear to lose faith when church attendance is no longer obligatory and only a genuine personal faith becomes important.
    I don't completely rejoice in it, because in my generation, those who returned to church in adulthood at least knew what they returned to and believed it might give them some comfort. People who have been brought up outside the church are less likely to turn to a church in difficult times.

    But looking at Sam F’s contributions, it seems that most people aren’t actually discussing the deep differences between the churches. The only dividing line for them is whether someone is for or against same sex blessings.

    If that is real crunch point, it really is an entirely different topic.

    The question I still haven’t been able to understand is why people in conservative religious countries feel so terribly threatened by liberal churches that they cannot bear it when they exist on the other side of the globe without affecting in the slightest what happens in their own churches.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The key issue for TEC is Sunday attendance in the USA...... TEC gets fewer than 1 in 400 Americans attending on a Sunday, has few young people, sees decline yoy.....according to TEC's data.... this is what TEC needs to look at rather than hollow AC politics.

    ReplyDelete
  19. In the USA, it is those conservative evangelical churches, along with the Roman Catholic Church, that are having the worst problems retaining members, especially among the young. The evangelical churches are great at bringing them in the door, but not so good at keeping people.

    In my experience, progressive churches usually have the opposite problem. They are very good at keeping people, but not very good at bringing new people in.

    A big part of the problem in this country is that religion, and Christianity in particular, is so politicized. The Christian religion is so thoroughly identified with right-wing political causes (quite unfairly) that it is sometimes seen as the religious wing of the Republican Party. Far from being marginalized, conservative evangelicals have dominated the public discussion of religion in this country for 30 years.
    Correspondingly, there is similar drive in progressive congregations to embrace liberal to left political parties, perhaps an inevitable response to the politicization of conservative churches.

    I sometimes wonder if so many of the formerly churched in this country really changed their minds about what they believe, or if they simply got tired of being told how to vote from the pulpit.

    I'm not so sure about the never churched never considering becoming churched. I do know some people from secular backgrounds who've never had any religious upbringing or exposure who became Christians, including one whose parents were both Communists, and who came out of the closet and converted to Christianity at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think another problem these days is that when people in the USA see press reporting on religion, especially on TV, they are not likely to see people like Mark Harris or Peter Carrell. More likely, they will see people like Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Counterlight,
    I don't know what the figures in TEC are, but apparently, in Britain, 90% of churchgoers went to church as children.

    When I faced a crisis in my early thirties that brought me back to church it seemed natural that I should give God and the Christian church a try. I would never have considered visiting a Mosque or attending Pagan worship. I think it was the familiarity with Christian thought and ritual that facilitated the return.

    ReplyDelete
  22. TEC will have a new BCP or SSB rites (as in Boston) or both. It will allow individual dioceses/Bishops to decide over their appropriateness in their regions? So what is the worry? Is this your point Daniel Weir? Leaving aside whether BCP worship was supposed to be a loose-leaf binder affair with options for conscience, there is no reason to believe TEC will ever allow such freedom. If this cause it right, then it is right across the board. And then Daniel is correct: one must leave.
    Erica: SSB rites are not 'atheological'. When Genesis 1 is left out, or reference to Cana (as in Boston), theology is being done. To describe this as a single issue is naive, theologically.
    Brunson: Your clarity of vision is always refreshing. Throw the slaggards out! It is always good to have you make crystal clear what will be the lot of 'conservatives' (who you view as demonically possessed). Paranoia--why, for whatever reason? Sam

    ReplyDelete
  23. Here is one of the milder vituperations of Mr Brunson:

    "As I said in another post, we must cut ties.

    The defense of Orombi by Williams is shameful, and indicates that we *cannot* peacefully coexist in the same ecclesial structure."

    Daniel and others: Is this a view you share, and if not, how will you and Mr Brunson co-exist in the new TEC? His position is clear, and translated into the SSBs realm it is: no exceptions.

    So what is it? If this cause is right, how can it brook any exceptions? It must be mandated and served up in a BCP. Dioceses/Bishops saying No to such a BCP? This is ruled out by the logic of Brunson and co. Sam

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sam, you appear misinformed. First, there are a number of rites approved either for trial use (Enriching Our Worship) or for specialized use (The Book of Occasional Services). Article X of the Constitution does establish the Book of Common Prayer; but also says,

    "But notwithstanding anything herein above contained, the General
    Convention may at any one meeting, by a majority of the whole
    number of the Bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops, and
    by a majority of the Clerical and Lay Deputies of all the Dioceses
    entitled to representation in the House of Deputies, voting by orders
    as previously set forth in this Article:
    (a) Amend the Table of Lessons and all Tables and Rubrics
    relating to the Psalms.
    (b) Authorize for trial use throughout this Church, as an
    alternative at any time or times to the established Book of
    Common Prayer or to any section or Office thereof, a
    proposed revision of the whole Book or of any portion
    thereof
    , duly undertaken by the General Convention.
    And Provided, that nothing in this Article shall be construed as
    restricting the authority of the Bishops of this Church to take such
    order
    as may be permitted by the Rubrics of the Book of Common
    Prayer or by the Canons of the General Convention for the use of
    special forms of worship." (Emphases mine)

    Now, you're not the only one to regret (albeit perhaps for different reasons) that the worship of the Episcopal Church isn't more consistent, reflecting several different sources. Some of us are ready for Prayer Book revision. That doesn't mean, however, that such usages aren't authorized.

    As for your repetition of anxieties about clergy being forced to bless couples against conscience, I don't see anything in Canons IV, sections 3 and 4 (where those things for which clergy are accountable are laid out in detail) that would abrogate Canon I.18.3.4: "It shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to solemnize any marriage." (Emphasis mine) Does that mean no one could bring a complaint? I suppose someone could; but in light of the new Canon IV I can't see it going anywhere. Since I'm a member of the Diocesan Disciplinary Board (having previously been a member of the Ecclesiastical Court; may God spare us ever having to function), it's important to me.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Marshall--such a irenic view of matters. Perhaps you could respond to the question posed to Daniel Weir about Mr Brunson?
    When SSB rites are part of a new BCP, and a SS couple approaches a Priest who says he will not bless their marriage because 'it is against Holy Scripture' are you saying that couple will accept such a decision and find another priest in a parish not their own and all will be well?
    Or, a Priest in the Diocese of Massachussets AT PRESENT refuses for the same reason, and makes that known as the reason, are you saying Bishop Shaw and the Diocese will say, 'That's OK'?
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  26. Is this a view you share, and if not, how will you and Mr Brunson co-exist in the new TEC?

    Good heavens, Sam! Do you think progressives (or whatever you want to label us - liberals, heretics?) all walk in lockstep? I won't speak for Mark Brunson, but he expressed his opinion, and he has no position of authority in the church to implement policies based on his opinions. However, he has a right to his opinion and a right to express his opinion. Please!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sam, today NO PRIEST in the Episcopal Church is REQUIRED to perform a marriage, blessing, etc. Tomorrow, no priest in the Episcopal Church will be required to perform a marriage, blessing, etc., i.e., Grow up!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

    ReplyDelete
  28. To Sam again: I absolutely believe you and I can co-exist in the same church. Still, I remain puzzled by your fears. They seem without foundation to me.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Mr Hill--so the answer to the questions posed is 'all will be well'?


    "When SSB rites are part of a new BCP, and a SS couple approaches a Priest who says he will not bless their marriage because 'it is against Holy Scripture' are you saying that couple will accept such a decision and find another priest in a parish not their own and all will be well?
    Or, a Priest in the Diocese of Massachussets AT PRESENT refuses for the same reason, and makes that known as the reason, are you saying Bishop Shaw and the Diocese will say, 'That's OK'?"

    Let's consider another test case. St Matthews in Richmond is one of the conservative parishes in VA that did not seek to leave. A SS couple approaches the Priest there and wishes to have a SSB accoring to a VA rite (or a Boston rite). The Priest says No. It 'is against Holy Scripture.' The couple appeals to the Bishop. The Bishop issues a pastoral directive. He says that the reason given is not appropriate as it is not about discretion, but about a class action prejudice. The Priest refuses and is brought up on Title IV.

    I think the thing that is most curious is why liberals refuse to see the implications of their position on this: if it is wring to deny SSBs, then it is wrong across the board.

    Mr Brunson is at least consistent.

    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes, Sam, I am saying that it won't happen. Canon 1.18.3.4 doesn't require the priest to declare a reason, "good" or otherwise. The priest can refuse because the couple catch him or her on a bad day. Even with a pastoral directive from the Bishop, the priest in question is not violating the Canons - indeed, if the Bishop were to try to force the priest, the Bishop might well be. And at this point I see no interest around in changing the canon allowing a priest to decline.

    Now, your hypothetical case hangs on some serious "what if's." For example, you posit, "When SSB rites are part of a new BCP...." Well, as I've quoted from the Constitution, new rites can be authorized, but a new Prayer Book is at a minimum 10 years off. We might authorize a rite at General Convention next year, but that will fall under the description of "trial use" or "special circumstance," and so won't establish a new norm. Even when the Prayer Book is revised and the rite or the rubrics make provision for SSB's, if the canon you so readily discount is not changed, there is no grounds for compusion.

    You don't address why a gay or lesbian couple might approach a priest in a known conservative congregation, much less why they might feel compelled to appeal to the bishop. However, the bishop is just as bound by the canons as any other clergy. There's no grounds for compulsion. A bishop really has nothing else to offer such a couple than to help them find another cleric, or to do the wedding himself or herself.

    Or are you positing that a couple will go looking for an opportunity to make a case and embarrass a priest? Are you suggesting that they might be more interested in raising up a cause celebre than getting married? I would refuse that wedding, not because they're gay, but because they're marrying for a bad reason. If that's what your suggesting, please be explicit. If you believe that the canon will be changed, be explicit; but as one Deputy to General Convention, I would certainly and publically oppose any change.

    You say, as you have said before, "If it is wrong to deny SSB's, then it's wrong across the board." A lot of things happen in the world, and in the church, of which I disapprove, that still aren't contrary to the law, in this case Constitution and Canons. You have yet to present a hypothetical in which Constitution and Canons are substantively changed on this point.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Let me answer your questions Sam. I think when the time comes for SSM and SSB in the Episcopal Church, the couples involved will know quite well who the bigots are in the diocese. They would be foolish to be a member of a congregation headed by a bigot priest, don't you think? I, for one, would never consider approaching a bigot priest for any kind of favor. So, quite frankly, I doubt that your concerns have much merit.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

    ReplyDelete
  32. I lost in the ether a post that was a bit more snarky than it needed to be. I intended to make two statements of my own position:

    1. While I find Arbp Orombi's stoking of the prejudice against LGBT sister and brothers reprehensible, breaking communion is not something I would support. I hope - a foolish hope, perhaps - that Dr. Williams might speak sternly to him about how his actions are simply wrong.

    2. I think that clergy and laity alike would resist any move to deprive clergy of the freedom to decline to officiate at any wedding. I have yet to hear of any priest being discipline for exercising this freedom in the past.

    I find that the creation of nightmare scenarios is the stock in trade of fear mongers and those who have run out of rational arguments for their positions.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Here's a nightmare scenario for you, Daniel and Marshall. Read this:

    "I think when the time comes for SSM and SSB in the Episcopal Church, the couples involved will know quite well who the bigots are in the diocese. They would be foolish to be a member of a congregation headed by a bigot priest, don't you think? I, for one, would never consider approaching a bigot priest for any kind of favor."

    That is the church we are presently in. A priest who would not marry a SS couple because of a commitment to scripture and the teaching of the church is nothing more than a bigot.

    I regard this as the 'nightmare scenario' already at work in the counsels of TEC. Priests who took ordination vows in this church and believed in good conscience what they meant are, for the cause of the present, nothing more than bigots.

    Marshall, will it take ten years? Fine. But the basic point is surely, the bigots are already with us and their days are numbered. That is the message coming through very clearly.


    Sam.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Let me give you a ‘rational argument’ Fr Weir. There was a brilliant programme on BBC Radio 4 discussing the hijab, just after a MP got in trouble for requesting that female Muslim constituents remove the veil when they came to his office. One kind of liberal (Rousseau) wanted laissez-faire: who are we to tell other people what they can and cannot do. Even something like female circumcision; it is not our culture, etc. Vehement in opposition was another kind of liberal (Locke). If something is right or wrong, it is so across the board. The hijab is against basic human rights. It must not be allowed here, and it oughtn’t be allowed there. The new TEC has both types. Is Brunton wrong? Or is Weir wrong? Is one kind of generous liberal (the Rousseau type) only so ‘for a season’ – at issue is timing and good manners. 'Ten years' how long is that? We can put up with ‘bigots’ for that long. The other kind says, not on your life. I also think the Rousseau types are generous because they can see they are in control and all will end up where they want it in the end. Do they think that traditional Christian belief and practice is evil (so Brunson)? No, it is immature or slow in realising the truth. What about the Dan Martin case? Here is a good guy who seems to be smart enough. Can we let him be a Bishop? Well, perhaps. But so long as he plays by the rules and his diocese is small and we continue to make the kind of progress on implementing the new TEC practices. Is he wrong about SSBs etc. Yes. Actually, there are genuine rousseau-ian liberals who are tentative about their own belief-systems and are not so self-confident about SSBs and may wonder if conservatives are right in a way. But none I know are under age 70.

    In the new TEC, the two types of liberals will be dividing up the fruits of the last 2 decades.

    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm reading this thread largely dominated by a single person, and the words "paranoid" and "obsessive" come to mind.

    It also occurs to me that arguing with the above characteristics is impossible and a waste of time.

    Maybe we should stop.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Name calling? That seems unfortunate.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Just calling 'em like I see 'em.

    ReplyDelete
  38. You weren't being addressed anyway. Nothing you have said seemed relevant to the topic.

    ReplyDelete
  39. You weren't being addressed anyway.

    Sam, nor did you address me, although I addressed my comments directly to you. Is it that the words of little old ladies don't count, that we should act sensibly, and be quiet, and know our place?

    ReplyDelete
  40. The only way to stop the domination of this thread by one person is to let him have the last word.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Bonjour Madame--I did not see a question posed. Il n'y a pas de quoi.

    What can I respond to on your behalf?

    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  42. You know, I read these posts and I am even more pleased that I left organized religion (a liberal church, by the way-you're right: most of us don't want to be told how to vote from the pulpit)years ago.
    You're the mirror image of the fundiegelicals, only on a higher socio-economic level: NPR at prayer, rather than the Chapel-at-Branson, MO.
    Except for the ex-catholic/ex-Fundie gays and first in their families to go to college, you'd have shrunk away even faster than you have.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have declined to officiate at a few marriages. I guess I did it reverently and with care because those folks still attend the church I serve.... they are all straight couples too... because that is all I have been allowed to do.

    But, I agree with Mark --I cannot think that it is the 'fault' of 'progressive' theology that has brought on the recent decline in church attendance... I mean, the 'progressive' theology that I am aware of is the inheritance and next generation of the social-gospel movement in the late 19th century... without the expectation that we must perfect humanity to induce the second coming!

    --and my goodness --most of the mystics and folks like St. Francis certainly were after something other than rites and conformance to social expectations... and chose to be aligned with the marginalized, the outlaws, the out casts....

    What is wrong is the expectation that the gifts of the 'progressives' are of less lasting value than any other gifts brought to the table of our Lord. It's all ephemeral.

    Because in the Kingdom, all sacraments cease.... and I would imagine the same is true of biblical verbage...

    Thanks be to God!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Sam
    I for one have avoided - for the most part - words like bigot and homophobia (I actually prefer heterosexist and straight male privilege to describe the position that you are taking.) However, progressives have no monopoly on name-calling. I have heard TEC described as promoting a satanic religion, I have been accused of no longer being a Christian, and others have had much worse thrown at them. I have simply dissented from a widely-held and very conventional position on same-sexuality, in the same way Christians once dissented from the early Church's position on violence, and a later generation of Christians dissented from the Church's position on slavery. Did dissent on either of those moral issues make one a heretic? No, and I would maintain that neither does dissent on same-sexuality.

    BTW, none of us will get the last word. God will and I suspect that all of us have only the slightest of clues about what that word will be. We see through a glass darkly....

    ReplyDelete
  45. What can I respond to on your behalf?"

    Rien de tout, Sam, rien de tout. C'est trop tard.

    ReplyDelete
  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I didn't know that this was Sam's blog.

    ReplyDelete
  48. trop tard, Madam Mimi? is that self-justifying? Kindly pose your question, and ignore the rude Counterlight.

    Daniel--of course name-calling is evenly distributed. My question was rather different, How long for non-name-calling conservatives in TEC? I put this down to 2 years at most.

    Lockian and Rousseau-ian liberals may disagree on timetable and theology, but I doubt the latter will be able genuinely to promote 'diversity' much longer.

    We are headed toward a TEC in lockstep. Watch CFL, Dallas, W-LA. That said, their resistance may be judged negligible...and so a way to be 'generous' as it won't much matter for the new TEC's monolith.

    grace and peace--- Sam F

    ReplyDelete
  49. Friends: It is time to call it to a close on this blog entry. Sam,if you want to continue this rant, do it on your own blog, but not here any longer.

    Sam has some interesting and important things to day. The problem is that people are getting hooked into a increasingly mean spirited exchange.

    Time to cool down.

    I am only accepting brief comments on my shutting down further comments on this post.

    ReplyDelete
  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I don't know if this is an acceptable comment.
    I think Sam has a point.
    Whatever people intend now, there is no guarantee that things won't be changed again by future generations for reasons they believe are genuine and Spirit inspired.
    Of course, future change can be towards more liberalism or towards more conservatism, we have no means of knowing.

    For Sam that is a nightmare scenario, for me that is just how things are. No-one can ever legislate for permanence. Eternity is not ours to determine, we can only act within our own framework.

    So at the moment, there are no plans to compel any priest to marry anyone if he or she doesn't want to.
    There is nothing in the Canons that can force them and there is no desire to change the Canons.

    That just has to be enough.
    Because the alternative is complete sclerosis and no change, ever, just because it might possibly lead to something else in the distant future we might disapprove of.

    ReplyDelete
  52. "Over the next few decades its declining numbers will expose the weakness of the hand it has played." Let's see how ACNA - or, for that matter, the Anglican Church in New Zealand - does on that score before we start playing the "numbers game", shall we?

    ReplyDelete
  53. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Erika's comment seemed important to retain, and Lapinbiarre was responding to someone back further up the chain. I did cut one from Anonymous that decided to carp about the same ol same ol...

    I don't like having to screen comments and am repenting of my ways in my past post. Still, remember the general rule above, namely that Anonymous commentary will get cut off if it goes on too long, highly disrespectful or cruel comments will get the ax, and if someone comments on for ever they will be invited to start their own blog.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thanks, Mark.
    Grandmere, you observed that the Mark Brunson type is but one kind of new TEC liberal, and why should anyone worry, etc. I would submit a) he represents a 30% and b) that this kind of Lockian insistence on SSBs as a single advocacy does not sit easily with other new TEC liberals, who believe all is well and diversity protected. Once one makes the argument that the Holy Spirit tells the church SSBs are at His enabling, why would one not see to that being so across the board? SSB rites are in use. By what argument should they be denied to anyone? It is fine to say individual priests can do what they want; I doubt that. But what if a diocese like Dallas, CFL, TN, W-LA persists with the former teaching and practice and refuses to allow such rites. How can this be tolerated? Answer: it won’t be and isn’t. Hence stratagems like the logic of Title IV, giving the PB authority to speak into dioceses and discipline.
    The point in this discussion is that the new struggle will not be what to do with conservatives – their position will be denied on this matter and they will have to fend for themselves. The new struggle inside TEC will have to do with how the new teaching is enforced, what theology undergirds it (do we void mention of Gen 1 and Cana Wedding; why, etc?) and what of those liberals who thought it possible—or at least desirable—to have a church in which diversity of views was respected. Will the new TEC ascendancy decide the loss of conservatives is simply the price to be paid? Think of this at the diocesan level if that helps, and moves the discussion away from individual priests doing X or Y with impunity.

    The questions are more pressing now that TEC dominates the communion structures and outside of TEC, the main lines of the communion have simply pulled away.
    Grace and peace-
    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Excuse a brief footnote, please, which clarifies the concern.

    Here is the lockian liberal position in articulate form:


    "We aren't carrying our cross to Golgotha, but making a noose in the Potter's Field.

    As long as we maintain this farce, locked in mutual hate and quarrelling, pretending it's a "coexistence" or, worse, a "conversation" we abrogate our responsibility.

    Separation - a clean divorce from the right-wing - is the only way we can actually carry out our mission"

    This is from Mark Brunson. I'd put his view inside TEC at 30% -- though usually stated less tartly by lockian liberals.

    What percentage would you put his view at? (I suspect for example that this is the position of +Bruno, the NY Bishops, etc).

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I have to admit that Sam's last post made sense in so far as it identified a path that might be taken. I believe that we won't take the path towards enforced uniformity, although I would argue that bishops shouldn't impose their own convictions about the matter on their clergy. I trust that we will honor diversity on this issue as we have on others.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Sam, at this point you are just plain boring. You are convinced of the accuracy of your made up statistics which have no basis in any facts available to anyone. So you now are just repeating yourself over and over. We heard you the first three or four times and you remain unconvinced no matter how many folks have voiced a different opinion.

    So how about honoring the request of our host and either get your own blog or let it drop?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Daniel, thank you. I wasn't speaking about Bishops imposing their positions. I was speaking about entire dioceses who judged the positions heretofore to be correct ones, and so naturally in line with the Bishop. Here enforcement from the 'national church' is going to be messy. It can take the form of 'non-consent' when successors are elected (in W-LA, CFL, and Dallas this is not far off). It can take the form of Title IV discipling. It can take other forms, as well -- some which we cannot now know. But the basic point is: 'diversity' may die a slow death but die it will, once the claim is made that the Holy Spirit is warranting SSBs. For how can the Holy Spirit be set back in His purposes?

    David, the Moderator is capable of making decisions. Thank you.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  60. PS--Daniel, so the view of Brunson and that wing of the Church will not prevail? As I said, I think clearly, this is exactly where the new battles lines in TEC will emerge: between your view of diversity and between that of Brunson. Rousseau v Locke.

    Thanks for your charitable and coherent reply.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Mark Harris, the moderator said -

    Sam,if you want to continue this rant, do it on your own blog, but not here any longer.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Are you speaking of your own rant or mine! The Moderator is quite capable of exercising his discretion. One could just as easily say, David, get your own blog as Sam, get your own blog. I also read a request for civility and staying on topic, not for making personal remarks. So, let's stay on topic please. Grace and peace. Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  63. John Sandeman3/2/11 12:51 PM

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in the scenario that Anon is trying to describe of two versions of Liberalism (Rousseau v Locke), one tolerant of dissent and one not, being reflected in the responses to his or her posts? Daniel for example who will respond where he sees some sense to what Anon says and Brother Dah•veed who wishes them gone.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Back to what Mark was saying, mainline Protestantism (which can easily be read as “progressive” or “liberal”) has been in decline nearly all my life. This is not a sad occurrence or one to be mourned. I look forward to the day when Christians have only their moral authority to bear on the public discourse.

    In truth, each generation is charged with seeking and understanding the gospel. The last 150 years have been pretty tough on the “faith, once delivered.” It has been even longer for two successive generations to have the same problems. I, for one, am very happy to believe in a gospel true enough to be true in all generations. Most of Jesus’ friends were less concerned about “right” and more concerned about “right now.”

    Perhaps it is time for the Church to go underground. That may or may not lead to smaller numbers. But you know what? I don’t care, so long as the sheep are fed. The rest is just small stuff. And you know what they say about small stuff; don’t sweat it.

    Mark, I think you nailed it: “If progressive theology is not itself grounded in the reality of and faith in Christ Jesus there will be no generation of new peoples of faith.” You have set down the ultimate litmus test for the church and its Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Re numbers:
    (1) ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion and may never become one whatever its numbers do over the years ahead.
    (2) The Communion is not dividing into a Minority Communion/Majority Communion on the basis of any development occurring in ACANZP.
    (3) Part of TEC's influence on the Communion is that it has received a revelation of the Spirit about the future of Anglicanism. I think any marked decline in TEC's membership over the next two decades will undermine that claim. The more so if the Minority Communion (i.e. that part represented at the recent Primates Meeting) also continues to shrink making the Minority even smaller. ACANZP is doing its own bit of contributing to that shrinkage.

    Of course, within the Minority Communion, TEC may remain influential. But most Anglicans around the world in the years ahead will be moving further away from TEC's influence.

    ReplyDelete
  66. John--precisely my point. Sam

    ReplyDelete
  67. Perhaps it is time for the Church to go underground. That may or may not lead to smaller numbers. But you know what? I don’t care, so long as the sheep are fed. The rest is just small stuff. And you know what they say about small stuff; don’t sweat it.

    Point of Order, amen, and amen, and amen! You speak what is in my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Could you explain what you mean about the church going underground? I ask because 1) the powers-that-be and the general direction of TEC is 'above ground' and proudly so. This is no minority position in the West. It is front and center (NY Times). It is not 'underground' and does not want to be or need to be; or, 2) do you mean, it is time for progressives in TEC with a new Holy Spirit teaching to seek some kind of 'minority' status? If 2, I am not sure what that means. The PB of this denomination--not one or two prophetic strugglers--is on the side of this direction and is pushing for it all the way across the board, and is succeeding. Or, is it 3) be an underground church in the sense of pulling out of TEC, or pulling TEC out, vis-a-vis the Communion? But again, why is that necessary? For at present TEC dominates the Instruments by dint of hard work and careful strategy.

    I am genuinely curious what is being meant here and appreciate your help in understanding.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I agree; the “numbers game” isn’t decisive. Folks should here know that that fundamentalist Islam is expanding just as fast or faster in the Global South countries than is Christianity. There are factors at work there that promote the growth of ALL religious currents. Where governments are dysfunctional in terms of serving the needs of their populations, voluntary associations step in. These organizations become the “social safety net” be they churches, mosques or whatever. The countries with the largest growth in religious believers (Muslim, Mormon, Christian, etc.) are also those with the most dysfunctional governments and fewest social service programs.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

    ReplyDelete
  70. Kurt, with respect, I believe you are wrong. Christianity is growing faster in Africa than Islam. Check Philip Jenkins. The growth of Christianity there is only outpaced by China.

    But how is this related to the point about an 'underground church' -- for which, reflexively, one thinks of, e.g., the Church in China.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Peter, I've been mulling over your original assertion, and these sentences in your last comment: "Part of TEC's influence on the Communion is that it has received a revelation of the Spirit about the future of Anglicanism. I think any marked decline in TEC's membership over the next two decades will undermine that claim."

    I wonder if, as often happens across the Atlantic, across the Pacific we are using English differently. We have asserted, and tried to make our argument, that we are moved by the Spirit, perceived in the Gospel and in our own lives, to open all vocations in the Church (including ordination and matrimony) to all. I'm not sure that we're all that influential. Certainly, if we have influenced our critics, it is away from us and our experience. On the other hand, I don't think those Anglican churches that agree with us were moved because we had an experience and shared it as much as because they had a similar experience. Isn't this the case in A/NZ/P? That's my perception of Canada, Scotland, Brazil, and the progressives in England. I grant you, we're big and noisy, and I imagine it's nice to have our support. But, it's still the case, I think, that others agree with us, not because we've had an experiece, but because our experience is consonant with theirs.

    In ways that we can control, we've tried hard not to influence, or at least to compel. We haven't withdrawn financial support from those who disagree with us, or from gatherings they might attend. Some have refused our support; but that was their decision, and not ours; and not "influence" in a way that makes us happy.

    Now, Western capitalist (not to say mercantilist) culture is very influential; and it's easy (and, for good or ill, perhaps sometimes appropriate) to tar us with that brush. That's not, however, the same thing as saying that the Episcopal Church is influential, much less compelling.

    I do agree that time will tell whether our perception builds up the Body or not, whether in the Episcopal Church, or beyond in the Anglican Communion. On the other hand, I do think that, over time, other changes will supersede that.

    ReplyDelete
  72. No, Sam, I believe it is you who is mistaken. The world's Muslim population will grow twice as fast as non-Muslims over the next 20 years according to a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Within a generation they will make up more than a quarter of the global population.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

    ReplyDelete
  73. Dear Kurt--In matters like this, I prefer to leave it to the experts. Philip Jenkins has properly earned that title. He wrote an essay in First Things not so long ago where he made his demographics public. Muslim growth in Africa is not keeping pace with Christian growth. I am happy to be shown otherwise by reference to an expert. grace and peace-Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  74. “Though Pentecostalism emerged as a movement only at the start of the twentieth century, chiefly in North America, Pentecostals today are at least 400 million strong, and heavily concentrated in the global South. By 2040 or so there could be as many as a billion, at which point Pentecostal Christians alone will far outnumber the world's Buddhists and will enjoy rough numerical parity with the world's Hindus.”
    “The growth in Africa has been relentless. In 1900 Africa had just 10 million Christians out of a continental population of 107 million—about nine percent. Today the Christian total stands at 360 million out of 784 million, or 46 percent. And that percentage is likely to continue rising, because Christian African countries have some of the world's most dramatic rates of population growth.”
    “Within the next twenty-five years the population of the world's Christians is expected to grow to 2.6 billion (making Christianity by far the world's largest faith). By 2025, 50 percent of the Christian population will be in Africa and Latin America, and another 17 percent will be in Asia.”
    Philip Jenkins, The Next Christianity, Atlantic Monthly,2002

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  75. John Sandman you are misrepresenting my comments. I asked Sam to lay off being boring and repeating the same thing over end over in spite of the answers that he was given by others. I have not tried to silence his position on the issue.

    Regarding Mark B I embrace him as my brother and I admit that he represents an extreme outer edge position. That position is not new for him. And he is aware and admits that it is an extreme position. He also tends to express it more when he is fed up with the hatred of the other outer edge position, or when folks stubbornly become broken records repeating the same boring points regardless of what others may respond.

    ReplyDelete
  76. John sandeman3/2/11 7:00 PM

    Dah•veed,
    I have no desire to misrepresent you. I ask readers who have the time to read through this string of posts and make up their own mind as to whether you were suggesting that Anon stop posting. (I fear we all are boring from time to time in internet discussion, I certainly am.)
    And I absolutely accept that you can disagree with Mark B and accept him as a brother. I never imagined otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Again John, you misrepresent me.

    "I ask readers who have the time to read through this string of posts and make up their own mind as to whether you were suggesting that Anon stop posting."

    I have asked him to stop posting the same boring thing over and over in spite of having folks answer his points. He has now moved on to other points and unless he again becomes a broken record posting the same argument over and over then he is actually contributing to a conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Just a question...

    Is a priest required to marry any and all couples who come and ask to be married in that parish? Are they allowed to use their discretion and, say, decline if they feel the couple is just using the place as a "pretty place to get married" or somehow give the priest pause as to their sincerity or their commitment -- to the church as well as to each other?

    Sorry if it's a stupid question but I think it has a bearing.

    Kitty R.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Kitty, TEC priests have answered that question in their comments in this thread. No, they do not have to officiate at the marriage of anyone who asks.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Dear brother Daavid--I find you tremendously boring, ill-informed, and in certain instances obfuscating and/or seriously misleading. But I accept that you purport to represent a position now in favour in the West, and for that reason, must be engaged with charity. The idea that I could urge you to be banned by the Moderator is not within my expectation, as you are 'the majority' with your friends here, not me. With this new status -- not victim but ascendant -- come new responsibilities.

    I will not ask you to move on. I think the issues being surfaced here are critical to understand for anglicans who have known this church as their home and the sacred place of His blessing.

    Thank you for being so honest.

    all grace and peace in Christ Jesus, Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  81. desertcat, it's not a stupid question. No priest can be required to perform a marriage, any marriage. Somewhere back up the thread I quote the specific canon.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Sam F.,

    I do notice in all those comments about me, there was no attempt to actually address the content of the post here.

    Can you show where I've unfairly typified conservative theology? Where is the joy, the expansiveness, the renewal? Is it in this:

    Dear brother Daavid--I find you tremendously boring, ill-informed, and in certain instances obfuscating and/or seriously misleading. I grant there is a half-hearted "but" following this, yet can it really erase the initial attack?

    Sam, there is nothing but bitterness, selfishness and paranoia in your posts. You represent your own end of the spectrum, and your words are nothing but hate-filled. What response do you expect? I thought I was being rather polite, actually.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Now, to what I actually have said:

    I have no interest in SSB's. If homosexuality is the main topic, it is because the conservative side has made it such.

    To defend the sort of darkness and ignorance in Orombi's words and position, the defense of a bill, even in part, which criminalizes even the tolerance of homosexuality, the outright lies he defends in allowing the claim that homosexuality was unknown in Uganda before the whites came, all of this is Evil - I don't see how you could reasonably claim differently. It is to make something that may be interpreted from mythic literature as a sin to be a point of contention, while ignoring what is, even by social convention, regarded as "sin" in that it destroys and deforms.

    Do I think we must be separate? Yes.

    Because of SSB's?

    No. I necessarily believe those are inevitable because they are the work of God.

    I notice you didn't include the entire reasoning, merely that that serves your own sense of victimhood.

    I am perfectly happy for you to practice your view of religion - as I've also said, I will, for the sake of following my Christ, give up the mere words "Christian" and "Anglican" if you wish to somehow copyright them (notice you didn't include that, either) - but that this false sense of "staying together for the kids" is causing both sides to fail utterly in their witness. That will not change. Our differences are irreconcilable, and pretending otherwise is inherently deceitful.

    [NOTE: If that's the far edge of the spectrum, I hope none of you are marriage counsellors.]

    I should note that I am not a liberal. I don't trust self-identifying liberals any more than I do self-identifying conservatives; conservatives lie to others, liberals lie to themselves.

    I am a progressive. I believe we are changing and moving forward - concepts you do not seem to either agree with, nor understand - and that that is the nature of the Divine-in-Human. We can destroy all that, by the way. We seem to think that God means this world and this iteration of humanity in His promises. He can easily make more after we've destroyed ourselves to fulfill the promise. He is ageless, and we have no idea if there was a humanity that failed before us, how many, or how many may follow. The promise was made to Creation - not us.

    So, bite and scratch and devour. I don't believe, frankly, that either Humanity or the Church can be saved, at this point. We will end in the cosmic compost heap. Hell, I'll even admit that I hate people like you. Now - Peter Carrell and John Sandeman, at their most heated, don't generate the vile, insulting attacks on individual people that you do. You savage, belittle, harrass (note, I'm not going over to your conservative-heavy blogs to tell you off)and then engage in the most heavy-handed personal attacks when people respond in kind, insisting you have the right to stay and do so. Yes, hate isn't too strong a word for the feeling I have for people like you, with your blundering cruelty and malice that have nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with being a conservative.

    But, at least I won't have to stand and explain why I didn't warn anyone, why I lied to anyone.

    But, I would ask, if you're going to pull quotes for me from other threads on other blogs, at least try to actually represent what I said, otherwise, you can't make any argument that I have misrepresented conservative christians. In fact, the entire need to address posts on another blog on a completely different subject to make your point strikes me as a bit suspicious.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Hi Marshall,
    There are Episcopalians firmly acclaiming that the sooner the rest of the Communion catches up to TEC the better. What would we be catching up to? Since it appears to be something which is contrary to Scripture and tradition, it has all the hallmarks of a new message from God. However that is characterised across the Pacific or Atlantic, I suggest 'new revelation' is appropriate description in respect of the theological underpinnings of what we are being urged to catch up to.

    As for influence: TEC has steadfastly maintained its right to attend Communion meetings as the bearer of this new revelation, despite many, repeated voices saying that this new revelation is at worst wrong and at best not yet accepted across the Communion as God's truth.

    It has attended such meetings (through its representatives) because it has had a greater influence on the decision-making of the ABC than those who have argued that he should withdraw/withhold invitations to meetings (notably Lambeth 2008, Primates' Meeting 2011).

    One way and another this combination of new revelation and influence on the ABC has led to the current situation in which the Communion is deeply divided. To say that TEC has had a considerable influence on the Communion to date is a modest conclusion to draw from this overview of recent history. (In my view 'considerable influence' is not equivalent to 'sole responsibility'. The whole situation is complicated.)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Mr Brunson - you speak as if Archbishop Orombi takes a particularly backward and strange moral position....but is it not shared by most of the AC and the church catholic today, is it not consistent with what Rowan Williams calls 'the mind of the Communion" and did not the ABC defend ++Orombi just a few days ago in Dublin and point out that he has been part of AC Primatial calls against violence? You may think the church catholic, the mind of the Communion and ++Henry wrong but attempts to link their views with a tragic murder, unless you have evidence of a direct link, look like a crude attempt to discredit....and does not really work even on social liberals, as you can see from the ABC's defence of ++Henry.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Peter, there are a number of problems with what you state in your last comment. But first there is a side issue that I wish to point out. As a member of one of the smaller Anglican churches in N. America looking northward, I see TEC and ACCanada on pretty much the same course, and yet you constantly zero in on TEC only. The one thing that has occurred in TEC that has not occurred in Canada is the election and consecration of a sexual minority bishop living in a committed relationship. Is this some fear that you have of saddling your own bishop's mother church in your denunciations of TEC?

    There are Episcopalians firmly acclaiming that the sooner the rest of the Communion catches up to TEC the better.
    Who are these Episcopalians? I know of no one in a position of authority, nor any influential organizations which hold this position. This sounds like another falsehood that if repeated often enough must actually be true.

    TEC has steadfastly maintained its right to attend Communion meetings as the bearer of this new revelation
    False. TEC attends AC meetings because it is a constituent member of the AC. As I and other progressive Anglicans repeatedly tell you,TEC, ACCanada and any other progressive Anglicans have never pushed our beliefs on anyone.

    It has attended such meetings (through its representatives) because it has had a greater influence on the decision-making of the ABC
    Also false. The ABC is his own man, he makes his decisions, and oft times many progressives disagree with him. If you are going to make such an outrageous claim where is the evidence to support it? To me, your claim is a falsehood you perpetuate because the ABC does not do what you want him to do. Any true believer would agree with you, so he must be being influenced to make the decisions he makes.

    ReplyDelete
  87. you speak as if Archbishop Orombi takes a particularly backward and strange moral position

    He does Anonymous. Over the years Henry Orombi has continually told vicious and malicious lies regarding GLBT folks. Period.

    I have never heard the ABC say anything vaguely similar to Orombi's position. But I think that it is shameful and to the ABC's discredit that he recently defended Orombi in a press conference.

    If you wish to see Orombi's unChristian behavior well documented, go visit Leonardo Ricardo's blog, Eruptions at the foot of the volcano.
    http://leonardoricardosanto.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  88. Anonymous,

    Wasn't addressing you, but, since you chime in.

    It is a backward and morally repugnant position. I don't care if it's the mind of everyone from here to Beixing, it's still repugnant to refer to homosexuality as a choice of lifestyle, to speak of recruiting children into homosexual sex, to call for criminalization of homosexuality.

    Seriously, we've been over this so many times I wonder if you people can read! Really. Not being ugly, just really asking . . . Do you actually know what it is you're defending?

    Are you seriously defending a position that criminalizes homosexuality - even speaking of it? Seriously? Do you believe homosexuals are recruiting children to have sex? Really? Do you honestly think that numbers make it right? Before you answer, there's a lot of Muslims out there! Do you really not understand the difference between being in love with someone of the same sex, and murdering, torturing, and desecrating the graves of gay people? Are you that depraved?

    Yes. I know that Mr. Williams defended Mr. Orombi, that is why I now, officially and publicly, believe that Rowan Williams has never had a legitimate vocation to the ordained ministry. He is a shameful bureaucrat, afraid to stand up to a mob of people who cannot grow up.

    You don't seem to get it. I don't care if this is what you believe - go believe it wherever you want, as long as it is far, far, far away from me and my church. Go be Catholic or Orthodox or Baptist or be part of ACNA or AMiA or whatever alphabet soup you want -- just get away from me. You are a threat to me, my life, and, frankly, my soul. If you want to tell everybody that'll stop and listen that I'm the worst sinner since Judas Iscariot because I get excited by guys instead of gals, that's fine. But keep out of my life, spiritual, political and especially private. If you want to tell everyone you know that we Episcopalians are no longer Christians or Anglicans - FINE! I don't care. You have every right to do what you want . . . as long as it doesn't disrupt my life.

    While TEC said gay relationships were absolutely verboten, I accepted that. I eschewed relationships, would not back clergy in active gay relationships, and respected the decisions.

    Clearly, you guys are unable to do that. I stayed because I respected the structure and the rules, while working within that structure to change the understanding. You should leave us, honestly and without drama, because it is your choice to not live within that structure and rules.

    Now, you can make that argument about us and the AC. Fine. I agree. We in TEC should cut ties. What will be different? We won't be paying in to Lambeth's power grab, anymore. We won't be helping to fund Orombi's puppet, Williams, anymore. TEC will lose nothing because it is no longer called Anglican. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. So, by all means work to get us thrown out! Then we'll be forced to stop playing at baby RCC and start living a Gospel imperative.

    ReplyDelete
  89. David - why do you think the ABC defended ++Henry? You talk as if Lambeth 1.10 has been overturned and the AC has a new expression of 'the mind of the Communion' - but it doesn't .... and most of the AC still holds ot it and that is why the ABC defends ++Henry.

    ReplyDelete
  90. You may think the church catholic, the mind of the Communion and ++Henry wrong but attempts to link their views with a tragic murder, unless you have evidence of a direct link, look like a crude attempt to discredit....and does not really work even on social liberals, as you can see from the ABC's defence of ++Henry.

    Let's start with - what does that have to do with anything?

    I don't have to link this to Orombi to discredit, he's done it himself with the ugly display at the funeral which is a direct result of the environment of his church.

    The murder is linked to Orombi because he helped foster the environment that led to it. You do realize that the Ugandan police have changed their tune - now it's a "gay panic" murder. Even if this is true, the panic is the direct result of this teaching of the alleged "church catholic" (hardly catholic, as it is anything but universal!)

    You want to know who else that murder is linked to: Rowan Williams, Peter Akinola, Martyn Minns, Scott Lively, our friend Sam F., and you, Anonymous.

    Wash your hands all you like, yell "I was just following church catholic orders!" all you like, the blood stays until you repent.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Sam, I wish you could walk in MarkBrunson's shoes. [But walk in Dahveed's first, as you'll need to toughen up.]

    That is all.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I don't, JCF. Seriously.

    Even if I hate him, I can't bring myself to wish a life like mine on him, or a life like mine made miserable by people like him.

    I want him to just . . . go away and be happy, someplace else, without feeling the need to bring all this misery and despair on the rest of us, without expecting that, somehow, those who are repelled by his message must still make a place and support him in that message.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Mr Brunson -- joy, renewal, enthusiasm for Jesus Christ and the spread of His Gospel -- kindly see the figures given by Professor Jenkins. The joy is palpable where Christianity is growing; and elsewhere, where God has placed his Christian followers, there is joy as well, even as the Church departs from his teaching. The church in every age must bear witness through difficult times, and that is the season we find ourselves in as 'new revelation' purports to speak the mind of Christ but departs from his teaching and will for his Body.

    Thank you ++Henry for your comments of reminder, what the Anglican Christian Way is and remains.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Misery and despair? The point you are making is that not having people go away whose positions irritate you causes you misery and despair. Yes, that is clear from what you write.

    'Where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  95. "The point you are making is that not having people go away whose positions irritate you causes you misery and despair. Yes, that is clear from what you write."

    Isn't it rather than having people who wish for your exclusion, who debate the death penalty for someone like you, who will not honour and respect your relationships, who will not grant you legal equality, who slander you in public, who vilify you, call you sick, depraved and immoral, that causes misery and despair?

    Regardless of what you may think of homosexuality, do you really really think that none of this causes real people actual misery and despair?
    It costs some of us our very lives!
    What does it cost you?

    ReplyDelete
  96. No, Erika, I do not think that.
    How was slavery brought down in the British Commonwealth? By ardent evangelicals like Wm Wilberforce, who declared unwavering allegiance to the Scriptures' true word, not by preaching 'new revelation.' How will proper treatment of Gays in Uganda be secured? By the same means. Paul condemned hypocrisy and self-righteousness in Romans 1-2, but he did not preach a 'new revelation' re: Christian sexual conduct and nor did he tell people to 'go away.' No progress in God's will is made by altering it, but by the Gospel's graceful embrace of sinful men and women, of which I am the utmost. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Gospel is not about death penalities for sexual misconduct; it is not about chattel slavery (which IS condemned with the death penalty in Leviticus); it is not about rejoicing in the death of a David Kato; and it is not about finding a way to claim the Holy Spirit as a warrant for something never endorsed by the Same. This is the Gospel proclaimed by Christians the world over. Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Thank you JCF.

    Your words caused me to cry. Wow, someone understands a little.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Sam,
    thank you for that.
    But don't you see that liberals also follow Scripture, that we only have a different way of understanding it? That we focus on other verses than some conservatives?

    You might not agree with us, but I do feel that it is hurtful to be told over and over again that I ignore Scripture.

    If you read good liberal theology and good pro-gay theology, you will find a very deep engagement with Scripture.
    Different conclusions, I grant you, but certainly no blanket dismissal of what is written.

    I matters that we understand that about each other, because otherwise we will never respect each other enough to listen to what we have to say. And constant misunderstandings and shouting across the divide are not helping anyone's position.

    ReplyDelete
  99. A Gospel that categorises people as created ‘Gay’ or ‘Straight’ or ‘Bi’ and then seeks to affirm a ‘state of nature’ will for the vast majority of Christians consititute no Gospel at all, but a losing of compass points. There is nothing about us in a natural state that Christ has come to ‘affirm.’ He is making us new creations! Our lives are hid with God in Christ. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither ‘Gay’ nor ‘Straight,’ but a New Creation.

    It is for this reason that so many 'conservatives' halt and say, ‘we cannot go there.’ It disorients in a direction away from the Gospel and its power in Christ. ‘Conservative Christians’ don’t have any secret wisdom about some special impropriety of ‘Gay sexual behavior.’ We are all sinful and live by the faithfulness of Christ Jesus, which is the Righteousness of God.

    The new progressive view is that such Christians loathe and hate ‘Gays’ and are homophobic and so on. They come to bring pain and cause brother David to cry. No, most Christians are sensitive to their own sins and failings and do not have an special view regarding Gay sexual conduct; it is for them of a piece with God’s redeeming work on all sin.

    But when the Gospel as expressed by Paul – or Christ himself, or James, or Hebrews, or whatever – is recalibrated to speak of ‘affirmation’ and ‘created states’ and ‘Christ as moral change agent’ they see a Gospel without a Cross and a dismissal of the compass points that Jesus Christ holds up for us all. Behold I make all things new. Come unto me, all that are weary and heavy laden.

    Erika is correct at one point. This is NOT about a single issue (God’s intention for sexual relations). It is about the character of the Gospel itself. Christians who halt over the affirmation message do so because they fear it robs the Gospel of its truth and its power. Until this is grasped, calling such Christians homophobic and so forth will simply miss the issue that is central to their confession of faith in Christ.

    This is about the character of the Gospel Christ came to bring. It is not about figuring out who is in the most pain or distress. That road leads to nowhere.

    The King of Love hung on a Cross and there all pain was redeemed and made a victory. His Cross has the power he has promised.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Erika--I do not believe you ignore scripture. Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Hi David,
    You are right re Canada: as I understand some of the absenteeing primates (may be all), they did have a problem with ++Fred Hiltz attending, as well as ++Katharine Jefferts Schori.

    I see on the blogosphere strong words looking forward to the rest of the Communion catching up with TEC. I am assuming that these voices are not unrepresentative of the mind of TEC's leadership. But I am aware of the leadership line that it is not seeking to impose anything on anyone.

    Yes, TEC's presence at Lambeth etc is an exercise of membership. But in the face of all that has been going on since 2003 - Windsor Report recommendations, Primates' Meetings statements, etc, etc - I think it not unfait to characterise persistence in attendance as exercising the right to bear the new revelation.

    ++Rowan is his own man. Funnily enough I happen to think that he listens to his fellow primates, has cups of tea with ++Bob Duncan, etc. Since 2003 he has always made his mind up about the invitations he has the right to issue in favour of TEC and not against it. That seems to mean that the views of TEC have told more highly in his decision-making than the views of others. But I could be wrong. TEC may have no influence at all. As little as I imagine ACANZP ... or Mexico has!!

    ReplyDelete
  102. There is nothing "natural" about loving your spouse---self-sacrificially, in Christ---whether your spouse is of the same-sex, or opposite-sex.

    It's hard work.

    It's the cross.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Sam F.,

    Misery and despair? The point you are making is that not having people go away whose positions irritate you causes you misery and despair. Yes, that is clear from what you write.

    No. What is clear is that you expect the right to cause misery and despair, ruin lives, hurt people, destroy faith and then be fully supported.

    'Where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'


    The conservative lies become even more insane!

    You tell us "You lie!!!!" then say you just can't leave because we "have the words of eternal life?"

    Why don't you go to one of the churches who accepts the Bad News you preach - there are dozens, as you're always harping on about how many of you there are as opposed to us. Go. Be with them. We neither need nor want you. Orthodox, RCC, Baptist . . . whatever. You have nothing you can do but bring harm.

    Yet, now you claim that, somehow, wanting you to get lost and stop bothering us, personally, deprives you of the "words of eternal life!" Wow. What arrogance. What diabolic arrogance. We owe it to you to abuse us.

    We're not preventing you from yelling from the rooftops, if you want, that God Hates Fags - there's a whole congregation devoted to the message you send out, and they are even allowed to picket funerals - but, somehow, unless you can hunt us out and whine in our faces, you are being spiritually hurt!?

    Yeah. I can see where the joy and renewal is for someone with no decency and no compassion and no humanity.

    Like I said, no hope for this world or humanity.

    ReplyDelete
  104. 'Where shall we go, you have the words of eternal life'

    Apostles to Jesus Christ, on the futility of 'going away' -- which was your directive to Christians you opposed.

    Sorry this was confusing to you.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  105. They were talking about going away from Jesus, from Truth, so you equate us with Jesus?

    Sorry that was confusing to you. But, then, I imagine anything to do with Jesus is.

    Look, as far as I'm concerned, you are a Person of the Lie. Say what you want, rail, snark. I have no more to do with you. I consign you to your own darkness and hate, and you are as nothing to me.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Hmm. Peter, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this. We exercised membership, and attended when invited. I don't know that it indicates that we're influential as much as it indicates we're hard to influence. Well, that's true, as far as it goes; and entirely human. One could argue that it's consonant with Anglicanism. After all, many in the Global South seem to fear being influenced by us, and are proud that they're hard to influence.

    I wasn't so much arguing with you about "new revelation;" although I don't think of it as such. I think of it as incorporating new information from the medical and social sciences, just as we now assume issues of mental health before we determine spiritual possession. (Patience, siblings: I'm not suggesting that GLBT folks are mentally ill; but that the information that has helped us see that GLBT are "just folks" comes from the same reasoned experience - medical and social sciences - that helped us recognize that the mentally ill are sick, and not oppressed by demons.)

    It is this capacity to incorporate this new information - reflective of good Anglican sacramental theology - and not "new revelation" that we offer. After all, there is nothing new about the thought that Christ came to reconcile humans to God; but our understanding about what it means to be human has changed in a number of ways in the last few centuries. By the same token, I speak of experience as consonant in many places, places that are aware of the new learnings (again, not revelations) and have sought to make them meaningful in light of the faith.

    So, when we were invited, we attended. Should the Archbishop have not invited us? Perhaps; but he did. Should we have declined to attend, being invited? I agree that some feel that way; but we've been hard to influence.

    Does Canterbury continue to invite us because we're influential, or because he continues to believe there is room for diversity in the Communion, even in this? As near as I can tell, he's tried to keep everyone at the table, whatever his personal preferences, and whatever the calls from the various extremes to exclude someone.

    No, I continue to think we're more influential in stimulating rejection that we are at stimulating agreement, much less compliance. Frankly, I think Canterbury has found it hard to ignore us, less because he finds us compelling, than because he is also in a culture where many (including himself, based on earlier writings) have also sought to incorporate into their understanding of what it means to be human into their understanding of what God has done in Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  107. "...you are a Person of the Lie. Say what you want, rail, snark. I have no more to do with you. I consign you to your own darkness and hate, and you are as nothing to me."

    May Christ's grace and peace be yours this day! Let us bless the LORD.

    Sam F.

    ReplyDelete
  108. In the end, Marshall, it may be up to future historians to try to assess who contributed what to which part of the evolution of the Communion in the last decade.

    Right now the Communion looks like a body of autonomous, independent Anglican churches who have buried the notion of inter-dependence being a characteristic of the Communion. I am guessing that those historians might see that as a position influenced by the Western Anglican churches, if not one or two of them in particular.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Perhaps it is important to examine Peter where ones primary loyalty or responsibility to interdependence lies.

    You obviously desire that it is to the entire 38 provinces of the AC. But there are those of us who desire our provinces primary interdependence to be towards the national societies and cultures where they are called to minister. Our provinces have made a commitment to the GLBT folks in their midst based on the fact of our baptismal covenant and that we are Christians living holy lives, so they are no longer willing to sacrifice us to the wishes of certain personalities among the other provinces of the AC.

    You want our provinces to throw us under the bus for a false sense of primary loyalty to the AC. And when they are unwilling to do so, then those who demand to be considered before us throw tantrums and folks like you turn into Chicken Littles.

    The only difference that I see in the AC today, different from the AC of yesterday is that the primates are rediscovering the true purpose of what the Primates Meeting is about. In the words of ++Canada, "We recalled the fact that [the 101st ABC] Donald Coggan, 20 years ago, envisioned the primates’ meeting as a place “for leisurely thought, prayer, and deep consultation.” And then [ABC] Rowan Williams gave a history of the last 10 years of the primates’ meeting…What happened was there was a call in the communion for enhanced responsibility on the part of the primates… the primates were assuming an authority [that] as a group was never intended...The last few primates’ meetings have just been dominated by that issue [of human sexuality], [the] actions of certain provinces and the reactions of other provinces to those actions, people not going to the Eucharist. None of that happened, everybody participated fully in every aspect of the meeting…People were together at the Eucharist, they were together at tea, they were together at plenary, they were together for prayer, for meals. There was a real sense of community there… The blessing of same-sex unions was just not a big ticket item, not a topic of discussion at this meeting. Not only was it not a big ticket item but nobody was saying, “When are we going to get to this issue?” which was quite profound.

    For many of us the sky is not falling Peter.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Hi David,

    Future historians may also determine that nothing is to be lamented about change to the Communion; that sticking to one's guns about specific commitments to live out baptismal covenants etc is more fruitful for the gospel and the kingdom. Your view, in short, may be lauded in the future. I accept that is a reasonable possibility to consider.

    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.