Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you look up "speaking truth to power" in the encyclopedia ....

... I think you'll find a picture of Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus as the illustration!



Bishop Marc Andrus has posted his response to yesterday's announcement from Canterbury. I was going to just link to it but it's too good not to post here in its entirety:
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The Most Noxious Point of the Windsor Report Becomes Reality
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When the Windsor Report came out I found myself in a very tiny minority. Certain forms of math are not my strong suit, but I kept counting the Windsor recommendations differently - No blessings; No consents; No border crossings; Listen to the lives of gay and lesbian people. Four fingers of one hand, so even the arithmetically challenged could manage. But I had to keep using my thumb, because I counted five.

Number five made me work to try and pay attention to not only its presence, but its great danger for who we are as a Communion, even as Christians. It was this: The Archbishop of Canterbury should exercise extreme caution in inviting Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, to Communion-related events. Now this has happened; the Archbishop has decided that Bishop Robinson will not be among the bishops invited to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

The tactic of exile and isolation has been among strongest tools of oppression against the human spirit. We were created to be in communion, and there is a deep-seated intuition on the part of those who wish to hem in human freedom that the best way to do this is to separate us, one from another.

The ground-breaking work of Rene Girard has revealed the mechanism of scapegoating. Girard teaches that Jesus and the Hebrew prophets began loosening the chains of scapegoating. This action of isolating Bishop Robinson is retrogressive, taking us backwards to a shadowy, scary place from which we have already been delivered by Christ and the Prophets.

The isolation and exile of Bishop Robinson has implications for the Communion too, within the larger framework of scapegoating. A former Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, once said that if you touch one bishop of the Anglican Communion, you touch them all. This refers to the idea that bishops represent the unity of the Church. The bishop as a symbol of unity is usually understood at the level of a diocese, but there is a larger horizon of meaning - when we look at one bishop our spiritual vision can see all bishops everywhere, for the unity represented is most importantly the unity of the Church throughout the earth.

The isolation and exile of Bishop Robinson rebukes the bright vision of the unity of the Church, and substitutes the mechanism of the diabolic, the shattering of communion and integrity. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to meet this action on our Archbishop's part with the weapons of the spirit. I will be praying that my response and our response will be in solidarity with Bishop Robinson, mindful of our relatedness worldwide, full of shalom, and creative, in the manner of Jesus Christ.

Let the people say "AMEN!" ... and let the bishops say "Who's next to step up and speak out?"

19 comments:

David Charles Walker said...

re: Let the people say "AMEN!"

Make mine a Seven-Fold!

Anonymous said...

The isolation and exile of Bishop Robinson has implications for the Communion too, within the larger framework of scapegoating.

It is Bp. Robinson who has isolated himself from the Christian community by refusing to hear and abide by the word of God. From Cain on down we see multiple examples in Scripture of people who end up isolating themselves from God and man by refusing to listen to God and follow His word.

Jesus told us that all of us have full access to God's love, regardless of our sins. Even a murderer can have God's love. But there's something we have to do; we have to accept God's love. And to do that, we have to accept God's word and put it above our own desires. Bp. Robinson has put his desires above those of the Lord, and this is what isolates him. Abp. Williams is following St. Paul's word, "do not even eat with such a one."

RonF

David Charles Walker said...

I guess it's important, Susan, to post the previous comment by PaulF just so the world can see the kind of point of view he represents. But I have to confess that reading it makes me come near to throwing up!

Kirstin said...

Amen, and I. Love. My. Bishop.

Susan Russell said...

david ... everything you said and ...


Having just issued a disclaimer that alternative perspectives respectfully offered are welcome on this site I really think it's important to hear from the "RonF"s of the world to recognize how many inches we have yet to reclaim til that planet grows green again!

Hang in there.

(And Pepto Bismol really does help with the nausea ... I'm thinking it should be part of the general issue tool kit for everyone at work in these particular fields of the Lord!)

Renee in Ohio said...

Is there a "Lambeth for Dummies" somewhere? I've been hearing talk of Lambeth invitations ever since General Convention, and I'm afraid I just don't *get it*.

By the way, on Monday night, Davis Mac-Iyalla spoke at my church. I wrote up a bit about that here for anyone who is interested.

Anonymous said...

Don't #4 (listen to LGBT folks) and #5 (treat +VGR as radioactive) contradict each other?

DOES__NOT__COMPUTE__LOGIC__OVERLOAD

NancyP

who would assign everyone involved the "everything important I learned in kindergarten" book on "how to play well with others". Just Work It Out, Don't Hide Head In Sand, ABC.

Trey said...

So I just wrote about Partial Orthodoxy on my blog. I don't get RonF's position. Either follow all of the rules on how to live that are in the Bible (no touching pig skin, no eating shellfish, no wearing cloths of mixed fabrics, no divorce) or explain to me why it's okay to follow SOME of them, but not others? Why is the one Leviticus passage in the bible used to beat up LBGT people, and the other Leviticus codes are ignored? I've yet to hear someone explain that to me in plain layman's terms without sounding like a homophobic bigot.

Trey said...

So I just wrote about Partial Orthodoxy on my blog. I don't get RonF's position. Either follow all of the rules on how to live that are in the Bible (no touching pig skin, no eating shellfish, no wearing cloths of mixed fabrics, no divorce) or explain to me why it's okay to follow SOME of them, but not others? Why is the one Leviticus passage in the bible used to beat up LBGT people, and the other Leviticus codes are ignored? I've yet to hear someone explain that to me in plain layman's terms without sounding like a homophobic bigot.

obadiahslope said...

trey,
let me try. All Christians (apart from "messianic" jews and some adventist groups) won't insist on keeping all of the OT laws. This places most of us in the category of keeping some but not all of the laws or moral principles of the OT.
So how do we work out which ones to keep?
By looking at how Jesus (and the apostles) responded to the various laws. Some like murder, jesus actually made tougher saying that thoughts of hatred made you liable for hell. Some like the sabbath law he did not endorse.
That's the general pronciple: each "law" needs to be looked at seperately.

Lauren Gough said...

Yeah, Obie, But the real issue is who gets to decide which ones you observe and which ones you don't. The General Convention for over 25 years has said that we as a church do not observe Lev 18:22. But the reasserters say that we don't have the right to do that.

This is why +Chane is right when he says that human sexuality is not the issue. The issue is POWER

Bateau Master said...

Did anyone really expect the ABC to invite +Robinson? I mean really, did anyone think that could happen after the Primates meeting of 2003, the reversal/couching of ++Griswold on the consecration, the lack of clear response to the Windsor Report by GC2006, and the slipperiness of ++Schori after the Primates 2007 meeting?

The HOB and many others need a reality check. You can push only so far at any one time.

Jon said...

Strictly speaking the non-invitation isn't about Bishop Robinson being sinful; it's about people being sufficiently scandalized by his life (or at least what they think is his life) that his presence would make it difficult to get any work done, even if the problem is with the scandalized people. Would it be better to remove the voices of large chunks of the third world, or to ask one American bishop keep at one remove?

Jon

Anonymous said...

Hah, Jon. Your explanation would mean the bishops think that (comparatively speaking) they are without sin. That What hubris. What gall. What arrogance. Hardly Christian, in fact. A gay man, the sinner uber allees.

IT

Anonymous said...

David, perhaps it might lead to a more intelligent discussion if you would tell me what you find in my statements that are contrary to the word of God rather than simply relating your emotional reaction.

Susan, I appreciate your tolerance in not deleting my post.

Trey, Lauren, I'm curious as to why you quote Leviticus when I didn't. A classic example of a "strawman" argument. It does you no credit.

However, since you seem to have a problem with how to deal withthe OT laws, I offer the guidance that the initiators of Anglicanism gave us. You can find it in your BCP on page 869:

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

The issues over things like shellfish and clothing are not and have never been viewed as moral commandments. There's never been confusion over this - trying to introduce any now is a bit absurd.

However, let's look at New Testament teachings. From Paul's first letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, verses 1 through 7:

The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil; moreover he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Bp. Robinson fails the above tests in some rather obvious ways.

Renee, the idea of Lambeth is that ever since 1888, the Archbishop of Canterbury has invited all the Bishops of the Anglican Communion to Lambeth Palace (his official residence) in London (I believe) for consulation, etc. Resolutions passed are not doctrine or commands, but they certainly express the mind of the group. It seems to me that in this instance, the ABC seems to understand that Bp. Robinson is not accepted as a Bishop by the great majority of the Anglican Communion and that his presence would be highly disruptive to getting any work done.

It's interesting to note that at the last Lambeth, a resolution was passed regarding what the bishops thought regarding homosexuals and homosexual behavior. You can read the complete text here. Note that while homosexuals are to be considered as children of God and Christ, as are we all, it does not mean that their sinful behavior should be approved any more than anyone else's sinful behavior should be. This resolution was passed by a very large margin, about 8 to 1 if I remember correctly; and it's also worth notice that the ratio of church members to bishops is much higher in U.S. than in most of the rest of the Communion, so if you calculated out the ratio of churchgoers that are in these bishops' dioceses it would be very much higher. So it's not hard to understand why the presence of Bp. Robinson at the very next Lambeth would be highly disruptive; it would be a figurative slap in the face to what the bishops had stated the last time they had gotten together.

RonF

Anonymous said...

How many divorced bishops will be attending, Ron?

IT

Anonymous said...

How many divorced bishops will be attending, Ron?

One would be too many. If TEC dumped all it's divorced bishops it wouldn't cause me to lose any sleep.

I would imagine that a TEC bishop who glorifies and celebrates divorce and denies that it is sinful would be especially disruptive. If you could give me the names of any such bishops I'll be glad to write the ABC myself to warn him.

RonF

Anonymous said...

I believe (OCICBW) that any divorced Bishop is technically living in adultery regardless of whether he repents. In fact, I believe he cannot repent if he is still living in a marital state with wife #2. I'm sure you will correct me if I'm wrong.

My point is that there are many divorced bishops, of course they regret their divorces, but you let them attend anyway. This is inconsistent with a more literal reading of the Bible. But different rules reply for some sins, eh?

IT

Anonymous said...

IT, perhaps you missed the point of my last paragraph. Divorced bishops and homosexually active bishops have both sinned. The question is who has repented, and who represents their sin as not being sinful.

Again; show me a divorced bishop that is holding up divorce as something not sinful and in fact something to be celebrated and I'll write the letter to the ABC myself.

RonF