Saturday, July 01, 2006

Response to +Rowan

1 July 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Integrity receives the Archbishop of Canterbury's reflection titled "The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today" as part of an ongoing conversation. Integrity President Susan Russell said, "Within Archbishop Williams' suggestions of possible ways forward, there is the hope that in loosening some of the ties that
bind us, we can as a Communion find a way to strengthen rather than
institutionalize the bonds of affection that have historically united us as Anglicans."

Integrity is committed to being part of that discernment process and committed to continuing to call the Anglican Communion to account for 30 years of failure to implement an authentic listening process. In Archbishop Williams' words, "It is true that, in spite of resolutions and declarations of intent, the process of 'listening to the experience' of homosexual people hasn't advanced very far in most of our churches..."

Integrity rejects the premise that the Episcopal Church-having engaged in the hard work of dialogue, debate, and discernment during the past three decades-has now acted precipitously
in opening the episcopacy to qualified lesbian and gay persons.

Responding to Archbishop William's statement that "we now face some choices about what kind of Church we as Anglicans are or want to be," Russell said, "The most important choice we face now is whether we will spend the next three years focusing on Mother Church or-in the words of our Presiding Bishop-elect-on Mother Jesus. We cannot live up to our call to be the Body of Christ in the world if we're spending all our time, energy, and resources arguing about how to be the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion."

(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
president@integrityusa.org
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2741 (office)

Doug Ball, Executive Secretary
info@integrityusa.org
800-462-9498

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The most important choice we face now is whether we will spend the next three years focusing on Mother Church or-in the words of our Presiding Bishop-elect-on Mother Jesus."

Nice.

DF in Massachusetts said...

Excellent.

Would have been really cool if the release date had been "4 July 2006".

;-)

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Amen, sister, preach it.

I couldn't get past the first page of Rowan's letter.

It was too sad.

I get that he thinks it is his role to hold the church together, but what he has clearly done internally is forgotten that holding his church together means holding ALL of his church together.

That doesn't mean making a trade-off decision like the conservatives want.

It can be both/and.

It has to be both/and.

We have to keep everybody at the table; that is what the Gospel requires of us.

j

BabyBlue said...

We can stick our head in the stand and call it "getting on with mission," (or make rather interesting comments that it's a struggle between "Mother Church" and "Mother Jesus") but here's a very interesting story in today's London Telegraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/02/ngay02.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/07/02/ixuknews.html

Anonymous said...

Why not seperate?

Renee in Ohio said...

Good response.

I liked when KJS+ mentioned that, historically, we know that women had leaderhip positions in the early church, so, in a sense, we are just "getting back to our roots" when we move forward with ordaining women at all levels.

On a related note, one of those ubiquitous church marquis signs inspired some patriotic ponderings in me yesterday. Time for America to be "born again"?

Anonymous said...

I have asked this question several times on different blogs and no one has ever answered. I ask it sincerely, with a real desire to know what people think. Please help me out here.

What is this listening process? What will it look like and how will it be done? Who will talk and who will listen? At what level will it happen, the local parish or the Diocese, or what? What goals need to be met to declare the listening process finished?

Lots of questions, I know. But I have never seen these questions addressed. Any takers?

Thanks,
another anonymous

The Pilgrim said...

Jeff Martinhauk stated:

"We have to keep everybody at the table; that is what the Gospel requires of us."

I would need to see citations for that assertion. There's just as much of the gospel - if not more - that says run away from unbelievers, yoke not yoursef to them, and shake the dust of their city from your feet; especially when there is nothing more to discuss. So why should the members of two completely different religions sit and talk? The conservative Episcopalians are moving in with the Romans and the Orthodox, and the liberals are sidling up to the UCC and the Unitarian Universalists. There is no common ground.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Pilgrim -

Because Jesus died for All. Not for the conservative, not for the progressive.

Jesus died for all.

Jesus didn't die so we could entrench ourselves in our own points of view and cast off the other. Jesus died that the whole world might be bound together in community. That is the new covenant. That we might see our interdependence and come to embrace it.

There isn't enough space in a short blog to develop this theology fully but I believe it is the same theology which calls us to inclusion. Inclusion calls us to be fully inclusive. It isn't one parable, nor is it one verse. It is the overarching theme of the Gospel.

j

Milton said...

Jeff, a plain reading of the Gospels reveals that in Jesus' own words, He did not die to bind us all in community. He died to be the one sufficient sacrifice to pay for our sins. It was our sin, from Adam on, that estranged us from the Father, with whom Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the day before their sin and rebellion corrupted their nature, and hence our nature as their descendants. Their sin "broke the mold" as it were, and we are all born mishapen in some way, spiritually and sometimes also physically, since the Fall. We did not individually choose our brokeness, and in our brokeness (original sin) we cannot but choose to sin until God's grace intervenes and we receive it by confessing our choosing our own self-will over God's will and then surrendering our will to God.

Throughout OT, Gospels and NT the idea is reaffirmed, "the soul that sins must die", "there is no remission of sin without shedding of blood". Simply to bind us in community would only require a good counselor or mediator between human beings. But our sin estranged us from God and so necessarily also from each other. There could have been no community with each other unless we were first made right with God by the sacrifice that only Jesus could offer, Himself, at one and the same time true God and true man in one and the same person.

inked said...

What part of no is hard? The "n" or the "o"?

There has not been a failure of listening for 30 years. There is an answer. It is "no".

There is no conversation or listening process to continue on the issue. The answer is "no".

No, even to postmodernists, is a negative, nay, THE negative. The opposite of yes.

Walk apart as you have chosen or take the "no" and respond to it with obedience.

John Gibson said...

Anyone still think these creeps are interested in reconciliation?

jkl said...

I commend to you this press release from the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria to +Rowan's reflections. TEC, it appears, is a cancer that needs to be "excised."

http://www.anglican-nig.org/response_abc_june06.htm

Although I heed both PB and PB-elects' call to remain in conversation (and communion), I shudder at the use of this metaphor. It is this very term that is often used to justify, among other things, genocide (physical and otherwise).

I do not know where God is at this moment. Psalm 40 comes to mind.

I do not know how to respond to the mean-spiritedness that Church of Nigeria clearly has for TEC. +Gene's injunction to "love them anyway" comes to mind. I'm just having a hard time. It's hard when Lambeth Palace seems unable or unwilling to speak truth to power, or at least truth to abuse.

R said...

jkl,

I just read the statement. It left me almost utterly speechless - a rare thing.

I reckon it one thing for this to come from an individual. Quite another from a whole community of bishops.

I am praying with you.

The Pilgrim said...

r stated . . . .

"I just read the statement. It left me almost utterly speechless - a rare thing.

I reckon it one thing for this to come from an individual. Quite another from a whole community of bishops."

That's probably what Arius said, when he read the final verdict from Nicea.

Lorian said...

So, Pilgrim, let me make sure I understand you:

You believe that ++Akinola and his group of conservative Bishops in Africa and the "global South," are the equivalent of the Nicean Council? And all the other Bishops of the Church, including the majority of Bishops in North America, are... what? Non-existent? Worthless? Unimportant? Disregardable?

The Pilgrim said...

In a previous post, Lorian asked...

You believe that ++Akinola and his group of conservative Bishops in Africa and the "global South," are the equivalent of the Nicean Council? And all the other Bishops of the Church, including the majority of Bishops in North America, are... what? Non-existent? Worthless? Unimportant? Disregardable?

No, but I do believe that the Anglican Bishops have met in toto at Lambeth, and the majority of them voted against the current movement in the ECUSA. In terms of the Church, the Episcopal Bishops are a distinct minority.

I also believe that the current agenda of the ECUSA is every bit as insidious an heresy as Arianism ever was.

John Gibson said...

I don't believe anyone in his or her right mind would WANT to be associated with someone as vicious as Akinola. In communion with someone like that? Not a chance!

Two Hundred Thirty years ago tomorrow, the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia published the Declaration of Independence. At its foot, it contained the names of the delegates who had voted for it. This was an act of considerable courage. When they pledged "their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor", that is EXACTLY what was at risk for each and every one of them. Great Britain was one of the world's super powers and the penalty for treason was well-know and well-settled. But it had become apparent to those delegates that they simply could not continue to live in a colonial relationship with Great Britain and they decided, whatever the risk, that they had to live apart, if at all.

We have reached that point with the Peter Akinolas of this world and, sadly, with a Church of England headed by a despicable coward. We may have reached it in 1998. We should take our stand and if they wish to walk apart, let them.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Milton -

Orthodox folks tend to focus on Jesus' death.

I focus on Jesus life. That is the primary message of the Gospel that I believe calls us to community.

The "sameness" of the tax collectors, prostitutes, marginalized, poor, sick, and whatever- the outcasts- that Jesus hung out with. The sameness of those folks with the "regular" folks. That is a huge message of the Gospel, of Jesus' life. That is the one of the core pieces of inclusionary theology, and we can't exclude others in the process- even those whom it would be convenient for us to exclude. Even if they aren't interested in being at the table with us.

That was my point.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Has the Archbishop responded to Akinola's consecration of the person in Virginia yet as a bishop?

That seemingly violates just about everything that he writes about in his letter- violation of due process for making decisions that are controversial, etc. Yet for all that Akinola has done, there is no reference to it in the ABC's 14 page letter.

I could care less about Nigeria's statement-- we already know where they stand and that they have dug in deep for the long haul.

What saddens me is the ABC's lack of resolve for creative solutions, at least for equal application of his "solution" to the "problem" of decision-making and the lack of mention of Akinola/Nigeria/Uganda within the letter.

Come to think of it, since I only read the first page, I could be wrong. Somebody can correct me if I am.

j

Milton said...

Jeff, in your reply to Pilgrim, you talked only of Jesus' death and the reason for it, which is why I commented as I did. But to miss or be silent on what Jesus Himself said several times was the reason for His death is to distort and misstate the Gospel, whether unwittingly or intentionally.

Jesus' earthly life before the crucifixion teaches us how to live. His crucifixion and death teaches us the utter revulsion the holy, holy, holy God has for sin and the terrbile cost of washing it away in His righteousness. His resurrection gives us the hope of eternal life when we are raised with Him.

So, like you, and like St. Paul ("if Jesus is not raised then your faith is in vain"), I also focus on Jesus' life, both His earthly life as a model of obedience and submission to the Father and His eternal life to which He will raise those who put their trust in Him.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Milton, I simply read the Gospel differently.

I read Jesus as embracing all. I read Jesus as giving all of himself, no matter how unworthy we are to receive it.

The parable of the unequal payments was the Gospel in the daily office a few days ago, and I wrote about it here. It is a great example of how abundant God's love is.

And I believe you have missed the point of the crucifiction entirely if you believe that God has "revulsion" for sin. God has compassion for it. God understands our humanity. Jesus came to live in solidarity with our imperfection, to be a part of the human family, and to suffer as we suffer at our own hands. He did this because he loves us that much.

He forgave even as he died. That isn't an act of revulsion, Milton, that is an act of love.

It is clear that we have different points of view based on our experience. I submit that it is the collective experience of multiple points of view that allow us to grow and learn about the living Christ.

Being open is a part of that, but what I have found in the orthodox is that openness does not exist. Dialogue cannot be found because there is only willingness to talk, and no willingness to listen. No willingness to move from an entrenched position, only a willingness to draw hard lines around pre-established points of view. It certainly exists on my side of the fence as well, but I have seen more room at least for dialogue and receptiveness for multiple truths on the left than on the right.

That close-mindedness of the "right", to me, leaves little room for community, for the Spirit to do her work. And it just isn't the way Jesus worked. Jesus taught the religious authorities that the "law and the prophets" always had to be interpreted through the lens of love. He said as much in "clear text," as you say (Matt 22:40).

J.C. Fisher said...

I also believe that the current agenda of the ECUSA is every bit as insidious an heresy as Arianism ever was.

Talk about an ironic accusation: Arianism reduced Christ from (fully man/fully) God to man . . . but at least he was the best man, EVER.

Whereas the so-called Anglican "orthodox" (with the so-called "plain reading" of the Bible---just another way of saying "See it My Way/OBEY it My Way, or Else!") reduces Christ to the very worst man: a man who justifies every hateful prejudice of his worshippers (i.e. those who invented him in their own image---and then call their invention their god*).

Lord have mercy!

* I'm prepared for the accusation that TEC "invented Christ in our own image" hurled back at us. But *IF* the choice were between which human-invented Jesus (let's concede that we both CLAIM a Jesus springing directly from Scripture, Tradition and Reason)? Then it's really no contest, is it? I'll take All-Welcoming, All-Loving, All-Saving Jesus (the Real One, the True One, the One proclaimed by the Faith once delivered to the saints) EVERY time! Alleluia! :-D

Basil said...

This is very interesting series of comments. I do hope however, that you do not drive your cars the way you interpret scripture. Some of you would drive on the right, some on the left, some in the middle, and some on the sidewalk!

Since many others have written on this let me add my viewpoint; I confess there is not an original thought in the rest of this paragraph. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to earth to heal us from the illness of sin; He did this by destroying death through His Resurrection. He also came to reveal to us as much about God as we could grasp and, thereby, to give us a path upon which to follow Him. Corporately, the Church began to do so beginning at the first Pentecost, 33 AD, or thereabouts.

The question is not whether or not God loves us; He does. He loves each and every one of us more deeply and profoundly than we can ever imagine. The question is whether or not we love Him. It has been said that in the next life we will each experience the uncreated light of God. If we are prepared through repentance and humility, we will receive this light as light. If we are not so prepared, we will receive it as heat.

A man who chooses to have sexual relations with a woman other than his wife has sinned. He has given in to his passions and placed his passions above God. A woman who chooses to have sexual relations with a man other than her husband has sinned. She has given in to her passions and placed her passions above God. A man (or woman) who chooses to have sexual relations with someone of their own gender has done the same thing – sinned in having placed his (or her) passions above God.

That is it in a nutshell.

It has nothing to do with the Love of God. He loves us unconditionally. We do not deserve it. We certainly have done nothing merit it, yet He loves us nonetheless. It has nothing to do with inclusion or inclusiveness. These words are just an attempt to play upon your emotions by creating a false impression of bigotry, elitism, or injustice. It is about loving yourself more than God. It is in giving in to our passions and elevating them above our love for God that we sin.

Are they unforgivable sins? Of course not! But in order to repent, seek forgiveness, and walk in true humility a denomination cannot lie to the individual and say,”It’s okay; that’s really not a sin. Go on and don’t worry, because God loves you anyway.” Yes, He does -- but do you love something else more than Him?

For the Episcopal Church the question comes down to this: Do you knowingly want a priest or a bishop leading your parish or diocese who has placed his passions above his love for God?

John Gibson said...

I know this much Basil. I don't want to worship with bigots.

The Pilgrim said...

In the previous post, John Gibson said:

"I know this much Basil. I don't want to worship with bigots."

And therein lies a great deal of the problem. I read and reread Basil's post, and there is not a single word of homophobic gay-bashing in the entire eight paragraphs. he never resorts to epithets such as queer or fag, and he keeps his post centered on solid theological point of modern life: the sad reality that all of us are quick to elevate something in our lives over our love of God. And how is his post responded to? He is immediately labelled a bigot.

If someone on the right expresses the slightest reservations about gay bishops, they are homophobic. If they express any doubts about women priests they are a misogynistic oppressive white male. If a reasserter upholds a literal interpretation of scripture they are a knuckle dragging, mouth breathing "fundie."

Earlier in this thread, a conservative reiterated that there was no any point of conversation. He was immediately labelled a "creep." It is the only other pejorative in this thread, and it too was posted by a liberal.

And then you wonder why most of the conservatives have given up on dialogue.

John Gibson said...

"there is not a single word of homophobic gay-bashing in the entire eight paragraphs. "

You lot have gotten clever about that sort of thing. I'll hand you that much.

"And then you wonder why most of the conservatives have given up on dialogue."

Actually, I don't. I never believed you were interested in dialogue from the beginning. I said some months ago on the Integrity website, the two sides have irreconcilable differences and should part ways. I don't want anything to do with you. You have never wanted anything to do with gay people, at least with honest gay people.

So do us all a favor and go over to the AAC website or Virtue's virtual sewer and post there. People there may be interested in what you have to say.

Laura said...

This makes me so very sad...Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Thanks to basil and pilgram et al for their thoughtful posts- regardless of the nastiness in which they were recieved.

To use the words of our Savior at His most difficult hour- "It is finished". The talking/listening has stopped. You will never concede on your end, and the conservatives will not concede on theirs. It is two different religions. Let us hope and pray that the split can be done in the kindest way possible. Maybe we should take a look at our own devorce counseling guidelines, and do our best for the sake of the others.

Lorian said...

Pilgrim says: "If someone on the right expresses the slightest reservations about gay bishops, they are homophobic. If they express any doubts about women priests they are a misogynistic oppressive white male. If a reasserter upholds a literal interpretation of scripture they are a knuckle dragging, mouth breathing "fundie."

Pilgrim, if someone on the right expresses the slightest reservations about the propriety of the church allowing blacks to marry whites, are they automatically considered a racist? I would hope so.