Monday, July 10, 2006

Going round in circles

From Stephen Bates' Guardian piece on the recent CofE Synod meeting:

When I saw the Archbishop of Canterbury on Sunday, he asked me how I thought Saturday's debate had gone. He nodded in agreement when I said that it seemed all the arguments had been made before. I wish he would take a leaf out of the Archbishop of York's book and tell what he described as his "currently confused and struggling church" a little more bluntly how he feels. I asked him how he felt and he replied sadly: "You don't want to know."

Actually, I did. But deep gloom seems to be surrounding the senior staff that the covenant plan to save the Anglican communion is falling apart even before anyone's started discussing what might be in it. One senior figure admitted he did not think the communion could survive until the next scheduled meeting of all the world's Anglican bishops in 2008.

Katharine Jefferts Schori has been invited for an early meeting at Lambeth Palace within the next few weeks. They hope to integrate her more closely into the network of Anglican church leaders but this seems a vain prospect given that so many parts of the church's world still don't accept the idea of women in leadership, any more than gays.

Read it all here

16 comments:

gordon said...

I think our Presiding Bishop Elect will display a wonderful presence at the meeting. I'm happy that this has been scheduled so others may get to know her. It will be a good meeting.

Bruno said...

I particularly liked the last sentence in the article.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Preston Osborne, from Southern California sent this in. "Episcopalians have been on the slippery slope for a long time...This latest move (by General Convention) that rejects the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven is not surprising. I had two male cousins that were openly homosexual. One died a very painful death due to AIDS; recently the other one committed suicide. Their "priest" had told them that they were OK. That wasn't very "Christian" of "her" was it? What about the state of their souls?"

Lorian said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure I follow your point. Are you saying that the man died of AIDS because it was God's "punishment" for his "sin" of being gay? Or did he die of AIDS because it was God's punishment to him for attending a church pastored by a woman priest? And was the woman-priest's doctrine "incorrect," in your view, because she was female, and this lack of external genitalia caused her to be incapable of understanding theology, doctrine, scripture and the promptings of the Holy Spirit?

Your post seems convoluted to me. Can you clarify? Am I going to die of AIDS because I am gay and receive communion from a woman priest? And what about all the straight people in Africa who are dying of AIDS (and don't have women priests, incidentally)? They are being punished by God for... what? Having male priests? Being straight?

I'm confused, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Bless you, Lorian, but it appears 'anonymous' clearly noted that both young men suffered tragic deaths and departed this world with souls in jeopardy, as many of us see it. That may be different from your opinion as to the nature of God, but thank God it's a free country.

Nothing wrong with women here personally, but just like many of us with 'external' genetalia, they may suffer from poor judgement; the rush to ordain them in my area has led to some very questionable candidates in my view (again, personal of course).

From 'anonymous's' apparent view (and mine), thus suffered these men's priest. I helped hire a 'Godly' woman priest (defended her before many others) and soon found her hopelessly without compass by emotion among a small group of activists in our church... "One" example does not a significant statistic make, but unfortunately my one experience was poor.

God bless you.

Lorian said...

So, anonymous#2, what I hear you saying is that women are "too emotional" to be good priests, and think with their hearts, not their heads? And that, in "rushing" to ordain lots and lots of women priests in a hurry, bishops are failing to give female candidates due process in order to weed out the overly hysterical among them? Did I understand you correctly?

Additionally, you are stating that anonymous#1's point about the two young men and their woman priest is somehow validated by the second young man committing suicide in his grief over his partner's death? So God punished the first young man for being gay and/or listening to a hysterical woman priest by causing him to die of AIDS, and then God punished the second young man by causing him to fall into grief and depression and commit suicide?

Am I following?

Anonymous said...

No, you don't seem to be following well. I'll slow it down for the sake of dialogue over argument...

"THE woman" in MY case proved to be easily swayed by allowing "heart" (your word, I used "emotion") to overcome sound judgement, just as do some with "external genetalia" as I stated. Hysteria was not mentioned by me, nor did I find the nice lady "hysterical".

I did come to learn that she was a product of what I've come to regard as a rather careless process, as evidenced by the rapid ordination of other Scripturally-soft people in my area, including more women than men now that you mention it. It's something that's become quite observable to many here who happen to have the temerity to have a particular regard for Scriptural authority and obedience to God that differs somewhat from others. Some others seem most uncomfortable with our view, but it's a free country.

The latter point of "rush" was not an "absolute" statement, especially about "bishops" plural, but you make a good point. Perhaps it is the case that such a rush is more widespread now that you mention it, if I am "following". Since you brought it up for reflection, I'm not terribly impressed with much that I see out in the greater church after my first experience.

I said nothing about the second man's tragic death validating anything except that the poor man died under an apparent tragic circumstance whereby many of us would lament the guidance he'd received, including where his soul may be in "jeopardy"; I believe those things, not all do. His state of repentance wasn't mentioned and is between Him and God; but it is of concern to many of us that this beloved man understood that God wants that, not that he was just told things are "OK" when often they aren't.

I didn't read anything in the gentleperson's offering about suicice out of "grief" for the other, but perhaps he did so. If he did, what counseling was he receiving from his priest abut his grief, if any? Was she adequately prepared to recognize the edges of such a problem and help guide him to get professional help for it? I have no idea, but the previous counseling by his priest of being "OK" in his lifestyle (I gather by context) is a dangerous thing and may reasonably raise such a question. Many a "hetero" spouse has done tragically the same thing - ALL people deserve loving care and appropriate counsel, especially and profoundly in grief / potential suicide situations.

Nothing was said about God "punishing" the poor man for being gay either. Now that you mention it, we all suffer from bad choices, one way or another. But irresponsible teachings about dangerous lifestyles can provide false comfort that leads to horrible consequences for God's people. It's a virus that caused the poor man's death - how he contracted it may well have been through "sinful" behavior, that's implied, or some innocent means; which depends on the eye of the beholder to be sure.

It was not punishment for anything in God's eyes as I see Him. It was a terrible consequence of bad choices, given the context of the message, and that message is what we had before us to comment on.

I don't think I would ever say God imposes "punishment" on us directly at all, nor thank God the "justice" we all probably deserve in many ways. I thank Him for saving us from that by sending Christ - who took the nails for me and as I understand Him would like my loving obedience in return.

That he was told he was "OK" when it is apparent that a dangerous life-style was part of the man's existence was unsound advice, I believe. Perhaps perhaps he'd already quit such a lifestyle, "repented" if I may, and became ill later. But the gentleperson's message at least implies that his lifestyle was deemed "OK" by an authority he respected.

And no, I don't think God punishes people for listening in good faith to those they believe are teachng them faith and loving obedience to Him, including to a "hysterical" priest. I didn't realize she was "hysterical", but if you know that thanks for sharing it.

In sum, if helpful to the dialogue in interest of our gaining some mutual understanding, I will summon the temerity to say as clearly as I can:

"I believe the priesthood is a serious undertaking for those of steady, faithful heart and mind; one must have knowledge of our broken but real world and address real-world challenges on the basis of a thorough understanding of God's word, carefully administered to innocents who may be in harm's way in this world; that includes understanding the joys He intends for them, and that He wants a loving, not draconian, obedience - for the seeker's welfare, now and eternal, which is His reward and that of the seeker".

All of which is a huge reason we should be careful about what is taught and "believed".

I will add, to ensure you are "following" - "in my experience, limited yes, I'm not impressed with the rush to ordain many I see, including many women - one of which failed the steady-heart and mind and has emerged as part of a pattern before my very eyes".

Patience, seeking to understand those of strong opinion and their personally-hard experiences in these dialogues, not to mention abstaining from hysteria, can lead to quite honest discussion instead of tedious parsing and carping, don't you think?

Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of utmost charity, please understand after making the argument for thirty years, most Anglicans, even a significant number in TEC have a deep theological objection to the ordination of women. When a woman is "ordained" in this Church she must accept this as a reality. This will not change. Thus the Presididng Bishop elect becomes Presiding Lay person elect. Now, understanding this: Can we all agree to get along, respecting each other? Is it worth trying? JWM

Anonymous said...

quote from the article
"
But deep gloom seems to be surrounding the senior staff that the covenant plan to save the Anglican communion is falling apart even before anyone's started discussing what might be in it. One senior figure admitted he did not think the communion could survive until the next scheduled meeting of all the world's Anglican bishops in 2008."

So identity politics has brought us down to this after centuries of faith??? who let the dogs out?
The narcisists who like the smells and bells and colorfull robes.What an aftermath of a drag ball.
Clean The temple of these pagans now!! Presiding Bishop

Anonymous said...

The centuries of faith will be restored after a brief hiatus in which what is going on will be understood as destructive to the very people it is claiming to help. It's the false benevolence that will be understood more clearly.

Lorian said...

Anonymous, as I understand it, official church doctrine says that suicides are not considered to be damned on the basis of their suicidal act, as there is a presumption that someone who commits suicide is not, at that moment, sane, and therefore cannot be held responsible for his or her action. I have no idea of the state of this man's soul at his death (I certainly do not believe that his homosexuality, in and of itself, is cause for damnation), but I certainly don't think his suicide has anything to do with it. It is simply a very sad loss.

I take issue with your assertion that the church is "rushing" to ordain women and that in doing so, is ordaining unqualified candidates. I believe that bishops and nominating committees are carefully and thoughtfully selecting candidates who they feel best exemplify the theological views of the diocese. I don't believe there is anything "rushed" about it.

As to the priest in the first story being "not very Christian" because she affirmed the young men's sexual orientation rather than ordering them to attempt to "change," and therefore being responsible for their deaths, this is a ridiculous assertion.

First, the young man with AIDS did not die because he was gay. He died because he contracted a sexually transmitted disease, which does not differentiate between gay and straight, but attacks anyone who, through carelessness, ignorance or accident, is exposed to it. He could have contracted it from a female prostitute or from his own wife, had he been heterosexual and the women been HIV+. The priest had nothing to do with it.

Second, perhaps I misunderstood the story -- I believed the young men were a couple (now I see that they were both supposedly cousins of the poster). I don't know why the second young man committed suicide. But if it was in any way related to the fact that he was gay, statistically it most likely was due to pressure from people (like the poster, perhaps?) telling him that he was dirty, unacceptable, hated by God for being the person God made him to be. If anything, perhaps his priest may have helped prevent him from committing suicide sooner but was ultimately unable to overcome the messages of hate and rejection he was hearing from other sources.

In any case, to imply that she was responsible for the deaths of these two young men, or that she was "not Christian," is simply prejudice, and, to my way of thinking, exemplifies the very type of judgmental thinking that Jesus cautions us against in the Gospels.

Anonymous said...

Did someone here say suicide was a sin - I missed that. Mabye. It looked like the point was he was told he was OK. But should his minister have seen he had some terrible problms pushing him to such a bad choice. Was the priest really accused of causiing all this? It appeared more like concern for good pastoral care and not blaming an idividual. The poster said the man died of disease not sin. Not because of being gay. All can cathc AIDs and gays have been particularly hard hit. What is it that causes you to suggest the poster would treat people badlylike that? He sees some things different than you but did not sound like some one who would do that. That sounded like a judgment or it looked like that was what you said. Jesus did tell us to judge actions. I think he did when he ran the money changers out of the temple. But he did not tell us to judge people. the poster said it was betwen God and the man who died. Why are you so angry sounding. Thank you for the chance to comment.

Catherine + said...

"If we're going to baptize women and girls, we have the authority to ordain them.
And if we have the authority to ordain them, we have the authority to consecrate them bishops.
And if we have the authority to consecrate them bishops,
why by golly, there's no reason they can't be elected to a primate's position.
For those who oppose women's ordination: stop baptizing them.
Let your sacramental practice match your faulty theology."

--This feisty quote courtesy of The Psalmist, sacred music musician and blogger--

Psalmist speaks for me and Oh! so clearly.

Catherine+

Lorian said...

Anonymous (boy, it gets tiresome addressing anonymous after anonymous after anonymous -- I wish the "anonymouses" would at least log in under a creative pseudonym, so that one could address them as individuals):

Did someone here say suicide was a sin - I missed that. Mabye. It looked like the point was he was told he was OK. But should his minister have seen he had some terrible problms pushing him to such a bad choice. Was the priest really accused of causiing all this?

The implication, as I read it, is that the young men would likely not have died of AIDS or suicide had their (woman) priest not given them "bad" pastoral counseling and assured them that their sexual orientation was acceptable. The statement, "That wasn't very "Christian" of "her" was it?" seems to me to be a pretty clear allegation of responsibility on her part.

The poster said the man died of disease not sin. Not because of being gay. All can cathc AIDs and gays have been particularly hard hit. What is it that causes you to suggest the poster would treat people badlylike that?

The entire discussion is about gays in the church and women in the priesthood. The clear implication is that these two young gay men died as a result of their sexual orientation ("I had two male cousins that were openly homosexual. One died a very painful death due to AIDS; recently the other one committed suicide"). Additionally, the blame placed upon their priest is clear, and the quotation marks placed around the word "priest," "Christian," and "her" make it extremely obvious that the poster is being derisive in his(?) tone.

Jesus did tell us to judge actions. I think he did when he ran the money changers out of the temple. But he did not tell us to judge people.

Hm. How does one judge actions without judging the people who perform the actions? Clearly Jesus did judge when he threw the money-changers out of the Temple. Does that constitute a directive from Jesus to us to judge? Does it negate his specific directives that we not judge? I don't think so. No one has claimed that God does not have the right to judge. Of course God has the right to judge. That's the point, after all -- we are not to judge others because that job belongs to God. Jesus, being God, would seem to have that right, as well, would he not?

the poster said it was betwen God and the man who died.

The poster said nothing of the sort.

Why are you so angry sounding. Thank you for the chance to comment.

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

If you read it closer you can see the 'poster boy':) did say:

"His state of repentance wasn't mentioned and is between Him and God"

I'm not sure I'd want to be individually addressed by someone as angry as you appear to be, but sign me -

"Give the guy credit where due"

Anonymous said...

Thank you Catherine - that was lovingly put. Perhaps oddly to some, I don't really happen to disagree with the basis of what you said at all...

Lorian - Peace be to you and thank you for taking the time to read my reply.

Forgive me until I can take time to get "signed up", but until then -

"Poster boy"

May God bless you all.