Saturday, June 03, 2006

You've Got Mail!

Reflections from Elizabeth Kaeton, deputy from Newark, on some of what's showing up in her mailbox during this countdown-to-Columbus and General Convention 2006.

I got a packet of information in the mail from the AAC, which includes:

1 - "Equipping the Saints: A Crisis Resource fro Anglican Laity - 2nd Edition"
2 - "Moving Slowly With Caution Isn't Stopping: AAC Commentary on the Special Commission Report
3 - "The AAC's Profiles of the Presiding Bishop's Nominees"

Some fascinating things I didn't know before reading this information

1. On the very first page, they "crow" about a reported 12% decrease in giving to the National Episcopal Church. One might be led to believe that this is a significant figure, until one recognizes that it is the AAC affiliated and Network churches which are the ones withholding money. Suddenly 12% doesn't seem as significant as it might.

2. They also "crow" about 200 churches which have disassociated from TEC since 2000, at least 100 of those since 2003. And, the reason for that would be ..........? (Do they really think people are unable to see through this? I suppose they really do. Really, really deep sigh.)

3. Their "Timeline of Significant Events" begins in 1966-67 (!) with the heresy charges brought against Bishop Pike who declared that, "the Church's classical way of stating what is represented by the doctrine of the Trinity is . . . not essential for the Christian faith." We then fast-forward, 10 years later, to the Consecration of John Shelby Spong as bishop of Newark and General Convention calling for a study/dialogue on sexuality and the ordination of homosexuals. Who knew that the doctrine of the Trinity, Jack Spong's consecration, and a study on sexuality and the ordination of LGBT people would be the epicenter of the ecclesiological earthquake which is causing the "split" in the church? (Note to those who think we need more dialogue and more study - by the AAC's own admission, we've been studying and talking about homosexuality for 30 years!! I feel like I'm in the middle of a Verizon commercial, "Can you hear me now?")

As you continue to read on, you recognize that they are absolutely right: it's really not about LGBT people, as has been the AAC's persistent claim.

It's really not even just a difference in the interpretation of scripture.

No, it's much, much more than that.

It really is about a form of evangelical Christianity which informs a theology and ecclesiology that has nothing to do with the spirit of classical Anglicanism. The deep irony is that they use the word "Anglican" - and even "Classical Anglican" to describe themselves. Amazing. Simply amazing.

4. Their "Summation" of the Windsor Report ends by saying, "The trajectory of the leadership of TEC remains on that very course of revisionism, and it seems nearly impossible that General Convention 2006 will change the course. We will continue to pray for a miracle, because only the truth sets us free." Well, there it is, then.

5. Their Summary of the Profiles of the Nominees for Presiding Bishop concludes: "No candidate has committed to uphold recommendations from TWR calling for moratoria on blessing SS Unions and consecration of non-celibate homosexuals. Each candidate has expressed, however, a commitment to unity - in most cases, unity at the expense of truth. Each candidate has expressed some degree of desire to remain connected to the Anglican Communion but not at the cost of autonomy." They do not - apparently cannot - endorse a single candidate. Well, and there you have it.

Nothing will satisfy this group but having their own way. Burger King Theology rules the day.
And they complain about "the autonomy of the revisionists."

Oh, BTW, that sound you hear is the distinct thud of tightly packed suitcases being closed. In 2003, after the vote to confirm +Gene Robinson's election, many of the AAC and FiFNA folks walked around with the biggest, fattest, darkest smudges of ashes in the middle of their foreheads. It was a very dramatic way to make a point.

Be prepared, if the vote on TWR doesn't go down exactly the way some want it, for a major, dramatic presentation. They are all set for a "live feed" of it - appropriately entitled, "Lent and
Beyond." Check out here -- A fairly pricey little project. Now we know where at least some of the 12% of the money to the National Church has been redirected.

If this is your first General Convention, and even it it's not, fasten your seat belts, kids and put on your crash helmet. Well funded with redirected money, underwritten by the IRD, and fueled with high test, industrial-strength vitriol, the AAC promises to put on quite a show.

28 comments:

tony said...

Elizabeth is right - it really isn't about gay people. It is about a form of gnostic Christianity that was rejected by the church over a thousand years ago but has reappeared in our time. It appeals to the Holy Spirit and redefines the Christian faith in ways just as earlier gnostics did. It is not, finally, Christianity at all and that's the problem.

tony said...

I do find it strange that Elizabeth is referring to classical Anglicanism since this is clearly what she has rejected, although she still dresses up like a good catholic according to the picture that went with her last piece on this site.

qe2 said...

Jesus was the chief revisionist and I think following in His footsteps is the way to go. He was for progress, He told us He was the fulfillment of the Law, that only two commandments were necessary now: Love the Lord your God with everything you have and are, and love your neighbor as yourself. Apparently our more conservative "neighbors" don't think much of themselves as they are not loving their neighbor--gay or straight--as themselves. If they did, they would be focused on more immediate issues of mission and mercy, poverty and justice. Apparently that is not one their plate, nor do they want it there.

If celibate "homosexuals" are allowed to only be priests, then I think all married hetero priests should either divorce or renounce their ordinal vows and start over.

See, putting conditions on those called by God serve in ordained ministry is ridiculous. Others deciding who should or should not be ordained or married is collective nonsense.

revsusan said...

tony ... help me here: based on precisely what do you discern that Elizabeth has "rejected" classical Anglicanism?

As for gnosticism, I'll see you and raise you the donatism rampant in the "reasserter" camp.

Karen B. said...

I will write Elizabeth+ personally off-line about some of my concerns in addition to this comment, but here, for the record, I need to clarify something important.

Elizabeth wrote:

Be prepared, if the vote on TWR doesn't go down exactly the way some want it, for a major, dramatic presentation. They are all set for a "live feed" of it - appropriately entitled, "Lent and
Beyond." Check out here -- A fairly pricey little project. Now we know where at least some of the 12% of the money to the National Church has been redirected.


The blog Elizabeth has linked is NOT Lent & Beyond.

The blog Elizabeth has linked is GenCon06 -- a place for live blogging of news from Columbus that has been set up by the folks at Classical Anglican Net. (I don't know that there's actually going to be any live video coverage on the blog. We know of one guy who will be videoblogging as a volunteer on a freelance basis, but that's totally separate.)

Lent and Beyond, by contraast,
http://lent.classicalanglican.net/

is a prayer blog and has been running since February 2004. Our vision then as now is simple, I and my fellow bloggers (there are currently 7 of us from all over the US, clergy & laity, men & women) are committed to "Encouraging and providing resources to those who are committed to praying for ECUSA, the Anglican Church of Canada & the Anglican Communion."

We don't hide who we are or our evangelical sympathies. Yet we are not praying about issues or specific votes on any resolutions. Our prayers are responses to the Daily Office lectionary. More often then not they are focused on personal repentence and our own spiritual growth.

Please visit the site, pray with us and judge for yourself. Here is the link for the current 40 Days of Prayer for ECUSA in the lead up to General Convention. (Hey, Louie even kindly linked our site last night on his prayers for General Convention page.)

http://lent.classicalanglican.net/index.php?cat=31

What probably contributed to Elizabeth's confusion of the two blogs was an e-mail that was posted on my behalf to the HOB/D listserv yesterday. (I am a kibitzer on the list.)

Since Lent & Beyond is hosted by Classical Anglican Net, I volunteered to help them out with their Live from Columbus blog, specifically helping them compile a list of any and all who will be blogging from Columbus. That's what the listserv message was about, and I have been very encouraged by the response.

If you go to the blog that Elizabeth has so hastily attacked, without having seen any commentary actually POSTED there (as there IS no commentary yet), you will see links to this very blog, and Louie Crew's blog, and blogs by Dylan Breuer, Tom Woodward, and a link to the Witness magazine, etc. etc.

The GenCon06 site is focused on INFORMATION. We want it to be easy for folks looking for news and commentary from Columbus to have one place to find much of it. So, please if you'll be blogging from Columbus, leave a comment with the link.

Funny that Elizabeth+ would launch an attack based on an e-mail that was seeking information to foster better communication across the divide in our church, and seeking to include and publicize all blogs of those who will be in Columbus, regardless of whether one is a conservative or progressive.

Thanks for the opportunity to offer this correction.

Please come pray with us on Lent & Beyond and let us know how the Lord is leading you to pray as you read the daily lectionary. We'd really love to hear what's on your hearts and how we can be praying for all of you who will be in Columbus.

In Christ's fellowship,
Karen B.,
Lent & Beyond coordinator
laywoman, SE Florida

Anonymous said...

By definition a practicing homosexual is, sorry to say this, rejecting classical Anglicanism, at least that of Hooker, Andrews, Taylor, et. al,. Further, when so many of the revisionists say (incorrectly in my mind, and to most serious scholars of Anglicanism eg., Stephen Sykes) that Anglicanism has no confessional theology nor emphasis on doctrine but is chiefly a praxis--namely a prayerbook and liturically enacted faith--they only increase the conflicted nature of their case for, drawing attention to praxis, they clearly have departed from some basic, first order, practices that have long held sway in Anglicanism and, more broadly, Christianity of all stripes.

As for qe2's quotation from Jesus, one hardly knows where to begin. Surely, Jesus showed and taught what it might look like to love God and love neighbor. The apostolic witness to him in the gospels and epistles shows us what love, on his terms, not our own, looks like. Nobody of any theological viewpoint gets it all right and lives perfectly, yet it is precisely those commandments that we on the traditionalist side are trying to live out without bowing to a 1960's inspired version of love (Jos Fletcher's paltry Situation Ethics is very much alive among much of our episcopate and elsewhere).

Beyond Reconciliation said...

I found it quite amusing that in the AAC's timeline, one of the "events" that rocked their world was Rev. Susan & her partner's blessing this year. So, I wouldn't rule out homophobia altogether.

tony said...

Classical Anglican Theology: let's begin with theological method - Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Experience is not a separate part of the method (it is given separate treatment in Wesleyan theology), it is part of reason. Tradition and reason interpret Scripture. Gay sex is rejected in classical Anglican theology on all three grounds. Gay marriage is rejected on all three grounds. Do you need more, or is this sufficient?

revsusan said...

tony -- how about you check out the Claiming the Blessing theology statement -- available online at http://claimingtheblessing.org/files/pdf/CTBTheology_Final_.pdf -- and then get back to me on the Scripture, Tradition and Reason argument? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Accusing the reasserters of donatism is hardly credible. The donatist controversy and what came out of it was about sacramental efficacy after--listen closely--after the persecution was over and those who had capitulated reclaimed the faith. Were the sacraments efficacious independent of the previous sins (as they were seen by those who did not capitulate)? The church answered Yes. But, first, we are not talking about sacramental efficacy here. We are talking about moral rectitude and obedience to Christ. Second, those in question had repented. They were not persisting in the behavior that had called their faith and allegiance to Christ in question. Though the charge 'Donatism!' one of the routine slogans thrown about by the revisionists, it is hardly accurate or germane.

Chip said...

Rev. Keaton,

Regarding point #2: The reason for this is that many of the laity have been voting with their feet and leaving our parishes. One of the rectors of the departing parishes in Florida was asked in an interview why he and the parish were leaving now as opposed to waiting to see what happened at General Convention 2006. He reportedly replied that he and the parish had to leave because of the mass exodus of parishioners that was already occurring at his parish. Many reasserting parishes have seen members depart in a more-or-less steady stream over the past few years, sometimes in the hundreds. They're rarely heading to other Episcopal churches, but instead settling in churches of other denominations and non-denominations. They don't want anything more to do with the Episcopal Church, and many of them won't stay with a parish unless it leaves ECUSA. Rectors have felt the pressure.

Regarding point #3: Who knew? Um, anyone who's been looking at either reasserting or reappraising blogs over the past three years, and possibly longer, should know. Reasserters have been saying pretty darn consistently that it's essentially not about what happened three years ago, but the changes in the Episcopal Church's direction on a host of issues over the last few decades.

Peace of Christ to you,
Chip

Chip said...

Rev. Kaeton,

A few more thoughts:

"It really is about a form of evangelical Christianity which informs a theology and ecclesiology that has nothing to do with the spirit of classical Anglicanism."

But evangelicals have been a part of Anglicanism since its beginning. Take a look at Anglican evangelicals throughout the church's history: Cranmar, Ridley, Latimer, Watts, Newton, Wesley, Wilberforce, et al. All of them had a theology that would have opposed Bishop Pike's beliefs, Bishop Spong's beliefs, and the decisions of General Convention 2003. And then there's also the other orthodox (not specifically evangelical) Anglicans over the century who would have done the same thing.

It seems to me that the "classical Anglicanism" that progressives cite is actually the Anglican strain perhaps first present in some of the latitudinarians, and that has its most obvious origins in the "broad church movement." However, this "classical Anglicanism," while it may have been taught in the majority of Episcopal seminaries for a while now, would not have been "classical Anglicanism" for all Episcopalians or Anglicans of the past. If I'm right, it's really been prevalent only for a bit over 100 years -- and with the increasing changes and differences in doctrine that supposedly are justified under this "classical Anglicanism," it becomes less and less historical by the day.

"Nothing will satisfy this group but having their own way. Burger King Theology rules the day."

That's clever, and maybe even a great tag line -- but it doesn't hold up. Which group insists on our unity with those who have gone before us, as expressed in holding on to the essentials of the Christian faith and apostolic teaching? Which group stresses the catholicity of the church?

"In 2003, after the vote to confirm +Gene Robinson's election, many of the AAC and FiFNA folks walked around with the biggest, fattest, darkest smudges of ashes in the middle of their foreheads. It was a very dramatic way to make a point."

Despite many progressives' belief (and your implication) that this was just a show to gain attention, it was a very real act of contrition. I know. I was there, and I was one of the laity who participated. It was not a time of pride at all, but sorrow. Do you know our motives better than we do?

"Well funded with redirected money, underwritten by the IRD, and fueled with high test, industrial-strength vitriol, the AAC promises to put on quite a show."

As I've said before, compare the AAC's daily publication with Every Voice's publication from last convention. Which group devoted much ink, practically every day, to smearing groups on the opposite side of it? If you guessed the AAC, you're very wrong. And regarding funding, who had more money? The Living Church reported that progressive organizations had raised $375K months before the convention -- far more (by well over $100K) than Jim Naughton recently reported the AAC as having spent. "Well funded"? Given the heavy exodus of orthodox parishioners from ECUSA over the past few years, I seriously doubt it, and I'll ignore the IRD conspiracy angle for obvious reasons.

Peace of Christ,
Chip

tony said...

Susan, What part of the pdf are you referring to? Brueggeman's assent to the gay agenda is pretty well known, and Brueggeman is unquestionably a top theologian. However, Countryman, by his exchanges with Gagnon has proved himself to be the most dishonest theologian in ecusa.

I was particularly taken by this quote in the Tradition section:

"Classic Anglicanism, by contrast, focused not on having a detailed and certain knowledge of the mind of God, but on maintaining life and conversation in the faithful community."

This is anachronistic to the extreme and total nonsense. Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and others gave their lives to maintain life and conversation in the faithful community? Is Countryman this ignorant of Church History or is he so blinded by his ideology?

hiram said...

The Rev Ms Kaeton said, "Nothing will satisfy this group but having their own way."

No, it is not a matter of having our own way because it is our way. It is not about power. It is about truth -- it is about an ostensibly Christian institution actually being Christian, by trusting Jesus and following his teachings. beleiving that in the Scriptures the Lord gave us what we need to know to be reconciled to him and to grow in being like Christ.

We are trying to keep the Episcopal Church as a Christian body, not as the ACLU in meditation.

revsusan said...

And hiram, dear hiram ... can you truly not see that saying "it's not about power" and then claiming sole possession of "the truth" means you claim the power to say what is true and what is not? What is Christian and what is not? How is that NOT about power?

You write ... "actually being Christian, by trusting Jesus and following his teachings. beleiving that in the Scriptures the Lord gave us what we need to know to be reconciled to him and to grow in being like Christ" -- and I could write PRECISELY THE SAME WORDS to argue for the full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ and there we are. I'm not interested in deciding whether or not you're a Christian -- I figure that's between you and our Lord. Help me understand why your "side" is so determined to make those determinations about us ... and then say it's "not about power."

hiram said...

Rev Susan, it is not about power. You claim to have found a new teaching from the Holy Spirit -- one that means the Holy Spirit is either dunderheaded or a liar, for Scripture is clear (unless you use very contorted methods of interpretation) that sexual activity with members of one's own sex is wrong. Either the Holy Spirit was wrong in earlier years, or he misled the human authors of Scripture.

Furthermore, sexuality is far from the only point of difference. The AAC document gives an overview of many differences between the historic Gospel and a new "gospel" that makes Jesus into a mere example and his death into a tragedy, not a sacrifice for sins.

What "progressives" believe about the Christian faith sounds more like gnosticism, with some updated terminology factored in from our more scientific age. It is the "progressives" who seek to change the nature of hte Christian faith, not those who hold to the historic central tenets of the faith.

PS to qe2 -- When Jesus said "Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself," he was not replacing the Law, he was summarizing it. All the OT commands could be fitted under one of these two, or both. He said, "All the Law hangs on these two." The precise commands show how love for God and neighbor is expressed. Some of the OT law has been surpassed; the ceremonial laws pointed to Christ, and once he came, they are not needed. But the moral laws, including those which tell us God's design for human sexuality, are still how God tells us to love him and our neighbor.

Beyond Reconciliation said...

To anonymous -

If it can't be said in 500 words or less....get you own blog!

revsusan said...

hiram ... in a nutshell, we don't understand it to be a new teaching ... we understand it to be a further manifestation of the oldest teaching there is: "For God so loved the world ..."

Gotta run ...

Hiram said...

Rev Susan says, "hiram ... in a nutshell, we don't understand it to be a new teaching ... we understand it to be a further manifestation of the oldest teaching there is: 'For God so loved the world ...'"

Allow me to point out that (like qe2) you take a saying of Jesus and use it to extrapolate an idea -- from that saying alone. But Scripture must interpreted by Scripture (see Article XX of our XXIX Articles), and Scripture forbids same-sex sexual activity. God's commands are expressions of his love. They tell us how God has designed us to function in the most human and God-honoring way. When we disobey those commands, we go against what God created us to be and we dishonor and insult God. God's commands are to be taken seriously --not as ways to earn his favor, but as ways to reflect his character and to live most beneficially for ourselves, individually and together.

rmf said...

anonymous is good at posting graffiti, not much else. His posts, besides not being read, serve the good purpose of exposing him and others like him for what they are.

Catherine + said...

Hiram, two things about your comment re: the Holy Spirit and QE2's comment:

First, do not--even in jest-- blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and second, Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law. Nothing more need be said.

Catherine + said...

Oh, and Hiram, its Rev. Kaeton, not Rev. Ms--there is no such designation in the Episcopal Church. And she is a mighty fine Reverend at that!

Hiram said...

Catherine said, "Hiram, two things about your comment re: the Holy Spirit and QE2's comment:

First, do not--even in jest-- blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and second, Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law. Nothing more need be said."

In what way did I blaspheme the Holy Spirit? I simply pointed out the logical consequence of saying that same-sex sexual relationships are now acceptable to God. It is not I, but those who claim "the Holy Spirit is doing a new thing" who are blaspheming.

And I am afraid that I do not know your interpretive methods that leave nothing more to be said after saying that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. What is your moral compass, so that you know what accords with God's intentions for human interaction?

You also say, "Oh, and Hiram, its Rev. Kaeton, not Rev. Ms--there is no such designation in the Episcopal Church. And she is a mighty fine Reverend at that!"

I am the Rev. Mr., and I know many others who use the same appelation. In fact, for centuries, it was the common way to address Anglican clergy. So, "the Rev. Ms." is simply continuing, with an amendment, a long-standing custom.

RMF said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RMF said...

hiram said,

"But Scripture must interpreted by Scripture (see Article XX of our XXIX Articles), and Scripture forbids same-sex sexual activity."

That is an interesting interpretation and then conflation of Article 20, which states that the Church cannot "expound one passage of Scripture so that it contradicts another passage." Of course to expound it one must first interpret it, and in interpretation we may apply reason and tradition. This is not new; Episcopalians and Anglicans are not limited to a sola Sciptura interpretation of Scripture. It is part of what makes us Episcopalian.

The negative limitation you speak of in 20 is more accurately described as applying to salvation: "nor is it [the Church] to enforce belief in anything additional to Scripture as essential to salvation."

Also, to say that evangelicals have always been part of the Episcopal Church or Anglican churches is true and points to the comprehensive nature of Episcopal and Anglican communities; but it is quite another thing to state that their interpretations and other contributions have been binding on the community or presented as being dispositive on matters simply because of their classification, which has never been the case. The Episcopal Church is not an evangelical confessing church and never has been.

Catherine + said...

Hiram said: "the Holy Spirit is "either dunderheaded or a liar" and "Either the Holy Spirit was wrong in earlier years, or he misled the human authors of Scripture."

It's fine to call us names but to refer--even in jest--that the Holy Spirit, a part of the Holy Trinity, is a "dunderhead or a liar" is the blasphemy I refer to, and to suggest that the Holy Spirit "was wrong" or ever "misled" is to me blasphemy also.

Reviling the Holy Spirit, in jest or otherwise is unforgivable so hurry up and make it right with God, Hiram. The other thing, "he" is not a he, but a She, as mentioned by Rev. Susan and myself in another comment on a different post.

I rest my case.

Catherine + said...

As far as designations, Hiram, just by your name and tone I can tell you are male so I don't need the redundancy of the "Mr." with your Reverend, just as Rev. Kaeton doesn't need to be reminded that she is intelligently female. We can usually tell by the person's Christian name and appearance.

The Rev. Catherine Windsor+

Hiram said...

Catherine says: It's fine to call us names but to refer--even in jest--that the Holy Spirit, a part of the Holy Trinity, is a "dunderhead or a liar" is the blasphemy I refer to, and to suggest that the Holy Spirit "was wrong" or ever "misled" is to me blasphemy also.

Catherine,
Again, it is NOT I, but those who claim that it is now permissible for members of the same sex to engage in sexual relationships who are the blasphemers. They say, “The Spirit is doing a new thing.” I trust that you have heard that expression. You may have even used it yourself.

Here is the reasoning:
1. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate author of Scripture.
2. The Scriptures forbid sexual activities between members of the same sex. (This prohibition can only be gotten around by novel interpretive methods. Have you read Robert Gagnon?)
3. If the Holy Spirit is now saying that sexual activity between members of the same sex is acceptable to God, a moral good, then
a. The Holy Spirit was ignorant (a dunderhead) in forbidding such activity in centuries past, or
b. The Holy Spirit lied to the human authors of the Bible, letting them write such prohibitions while knowing that same-sex sexual relationships were really morally acceptable.

I believe – and I cannot put this too strongly – that the Holy Spirit is utterly wise and utterly reliable. What he has taught in Scripture is what he still teaches. He does not lie, he does not make mistakes, he does not mislead. It is those who claim that it is now permissible to engage in sexual activities with members of one’s own sex who are claiming, indirectly, that the Holy Spirit has made mistakes, misled, or otherwise allowed humanity to make a mistake about something as important as human sexuality, until now.

God does not change, and his law does not change. He is utterly dependable, and he has revealed to us, in his Holy Word, what we need to know in order to know him and to grow in goodness, wisdom, and service. His Word is not always clear, for we are both creatures (and so limited) and sinners (and so disinclined to see things from God’s perspective), but if we respond to what is clear, we can, in time, grasp more fully those things that are less clear. The Triune God wants us to know him, and so he has spoken, in Scripture, and in his Son, whom we know through Scripture.