Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So what really happened with the CofE today?

The Church of England General Synod has been meeting and today passed a resolution regarding ACNA (The Anglican Church in North America.) Dave Walker can tell you what it actually said. Differences of opinion abound, of course, on what it actually means.

Mark Harris says "CofE Synod steps back from the edge":
It is hard to know just what ACNA is proposing these days. It wants in, it wants out. The Synod motion gives them a bit more of an in, but what they want something quite different - a new Anglican community connected to only the pure parts of the current Anglican Communion ...

The Synod has moved carefully back from recognition, but has stepped into the muck and is tramping though the house.
Then there's Episcopal Cafe's take:
The debate made it clear that ACNA is not part of the Anglican Communion. If ACNA wishes to be part of the Anglican Communion there are procedures for that. Procedures that ACNA is not interested in following.
Meanwhile, going straight to the horse's ... mouth, here's what the ACNA is saying:
Today, the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, meeting in London February 8-12, affirmed the Anglican Church in North America’s desire “to remain within the Anglican family.”
OK. So deep breath.

This is not breaking news. Nobody didn't already know this.

The problem isn't that they want to stay at the Anglican Family Dinner Table. The problem is they want to sit in another family member's chair. And they want that family member not at the table, in the dining room, in the HOUSE if they can get away with it. (And, while they're at it, they want the other family member's silver, china, linens and the deed to their property.)

And so far they haven't. Gotten away with it. For all the drama and demands and resolves and amendments and jumping up and down and holding-breath-until-turning-blue what they've gotten from the CofE is a recognition that their desire to stay in the family is affirmed.

As my kids would say, "Whatever."

At the end of the day, where we are is where we were at the beginning of the day. The schismatics are madly spinning the story to claim a victory that isn't there while simultaneously painting themselves as the victims of the schism they orchestrated. And it's not working.

No one's excluding the self-described "traditionalists" from the family. Rather, they are the ones making their criterion for inclusion the exclusion of other family members.

Once again: Choosing not to show up for the family dinner because you don't like the guest list and then looking for sympathy because you've been "excluded" is like killing your parents and then looking for sympathy because you're an orphan. .
It is long past time to call the question on the blatant manipulation by those whose ends are served by holding the mission and ministry of the Gospel hostage to their own agenda of exclusion -- by insisting that the differences that challenge us have to be divisions that separate us.

And it is time to call a halt to women and the LGBT baptized once again hearing their vocations and relationships used as bargaining chips in a game of global Anglican politics.

If we're gong to talk about "unity" let's talk about the unity of the Body of Christ -- a body that isn't whole unless ALL God's beloved are fully included. And that's a unity that trumps the false unity of an institutional "communion" that is increasingly tied together not by bonds of affection but by shackles of dysfunction.

The creation groaning in travail for the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven calls us to better than that. And if the Anglican Communion can't get it together and figure that out then maybe it is time it went the way of the British Empire -- something we've been muddling along quite well without for lo these many years now.


Martin T. said...

No one kicked homosexuals out of the Church. What you want isn't inclusion, what you really want is for your way of life to be accepted and endorsed by the whole Church as "Godly". You pushed the envelope too far this time. The reason the Anglican Communion is in this state of crisis is because of your vain quest of this. Hard leftists divided our communion and made it what it is today. Our Lord said something about houses that are divided...

"Knowing their thoughts,he said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand." Matthew 12:25

Thanks Rev.Russel and those of the like, you made this passage come true today. Congratulations.


#1 - Two "L" s in Russell.

#2 - Spin all you want, my dear, but at the end of the day the ones accountable for the split are those who've threatened to leave ... not the ones who've only threat has been to stay.

Martin T. said...

#1-My mistake Rev.RUSSELL...

#2-Call it spin all you want, but those accountable is as clear as day. I stand by what I said. My only regret is that those that make up ACNA left instead of stayed to fight D025 and the rest of the left's agenda. No one kicked homosexuals out of the Church so stop with the "inclusion" nonsense.

#3-I believe it's supposed to be "who's" not "who've in your last sentence there.

MarkBrunson said...

Exactly, Susan.

Stop throwing a tantrum, Martin. You hate gays, we get it. We don't care. But, if you want to leave, then get out without pretending you were "thrown out." The hysterics convince no one.

The "house" was divided as soon as there was Paul for the Gentiles and Peter for the Jews, so your reading is false.


Note, out of consideration for you that I have curbed my anger at this self-righteous creature's complete lack of anything regarding either knowledge or human empathy about what it means to be gay and Christian.

I do that only for your sensibilities.

uffda51 said...

Should we require left-handed bishops to write with their right hand? Should red-haired bishops dye their hair black? Should African-American bishops be required to not "act" African American? Who would be in charge of enforcement of celibacy for gay bishops? The verger? The members of the vestry? How would any of this create "unity?" Why should the cost of unity be paid only by the LGBT community? Sexual orientation is morally neutral. Period. Full stop.

RonF said...

I've taken a look at the resolution, both as passed and as proposed. As proposed it asked the CoE to recognize ACNA as part of the Anglican Communion. As passed it seems to say "We recognize the ACNA members as Anglicans, but let's give recognition of the ACNA as part of the AC another year."

I don't see anywhere where the ACNA asked to replace TEC in the AC. They've asked for another place to be set at the table. They haven't asked to take TEC's place.

Now, what happens down the line I can't say. After all, when homosexuals first asked for rights the major spokespeople pooh-poohed as alarmist any concept that it would lead to anything as extreme as "gay marriage". So, things can change.

But as far as what is actually happening - as opposed to what you may anticipate - the ACNA has NOT done what you represent that it has.

RonF said...

Actually, Martin, I'd take issue with blaming Rev. Russell for the current state of TEC. Jesus Himself told us He'd be followed by false prophets. It was up to us in general and especially those ordained to do their jobs and hold true to the Gospel. They failed, valuing collegiality and the approbation of man to the Word of God. That's how we got to where we are now.

IT said...

For the truth of the matter, see this post from Mark Harris:

The Rev. Brian Lewis, member of General Synod from the Diocese of Clemsford and member of the Executive Committee of Inclusive Church, UK, has written the following report on the General Synod's decision to reject the call to "express a desire to be in Communion with ACNA," and to pass a motion that does quite another thing.

I want to thank Brian for his report and for clearing up many matters. Here is his report:

I was alarmed but (bearing in mind Oscar's witticism) should not have been surprised to hear that some in TEC and ACoC might misunderstand the full significance of the Church of England's General Synod's decision to reject the call to "express a desire to be in Communion with ACNA".

But let us be clear it did just that, not once, but twice or perhaps even three times....

I recognise there are big issues at stake for the Communion generally - I would just reiterate, I see little cause for concern for TEC or ACoC in the outcome of this particular debate, and to be frank it is beyond disingenuous or bizarre for anybody connected with ACNA to pretend this is in anyway an affirmation of ACNA.


Interesting. And for comments from another "interested party" here's what a colleague sent me this morning from Matt Kennedy of Stand Firm Fame:

Five quick notes prefaced by some requests:

Requests: Please Read The Resolution. Do exegesis; not isogesis. Please resist the temptation to read your wishes and desires into the text.

1. The motion does not "affirm" the ACNA.

2. The motion does not "affirm" that the ACNA is part of the Anglican Communion.

3. The motion "affirms" a "desire" . Translation: Ohhh, how sweet that you want to be my boyfriend. I "affirm" your desire.

4. The motion does not refer to the ACNA as a whole but to the desire of "those who formed" the ACNA.

5. The motion does not affirm the desire of "those who formed the ACNA" to remain in "the Anglican Communion", but rather, it affirms their desire to remain a part of the Anglican "family". Arguably, anyone who prays with a prayerbook and wears a robe of some kind could be considered a member of the "Anglican Family"

uffda51 said...

When was it that “homosexuals first asked for rights,” including the “extreme” right to marry the one they love? Wasn’t it when “Will & Grace” went on the air? How dare they? This has forced conservatives to work late, drafting and revising resolutions, statements, canons, initiatives, etc., so that the LGBT community remains marginalized. We have to be so careful in our wording, to obscure the fact that we’re talking about diminishing the lives of our fellow human beings. It’s so inconvenient. (BTW, I never even got the memo which declared conservatives to be the grantors of rights. Well done!) If the LGBT community doesn’t have the decency to go back in the closet, we’ll have to work on that imprisonment thing. I thank God that He made me a white heterosexual American male, like Adam and Jesus, so that I might be spared having to ask for rights. Thank God for unexamined privilege.

Martin T. said...

Mark, it's clear that your wish for me and others that share my reasoning is to leave, but we're not. Those that wanted to leave have already done it. I believe that there are still enough of those that want our Church to get back on the right track and we will. I don't hate anyone, I just disagree with your point of view and I still see no reason why it couldn't be accepted that homosexual clergy should be celibate. Ron, I see your reasoning, but I'm not leaving this Church because I know that there are still Godly men and women that are leaders in this Church and it's time that they rise up and take this Church back from leftist lobbyists. By the way, it's very telling that no one will answer my question about bishops being "bishops of the who Church". Are they or not?


"Rise up and take back the church from leftist lobbyists."


Which ones? The ones that desegregated the church in the 60's? Or worked for the ordination of women in the 70's? Or just the ones who think respecting the dignity of every human being extends to gay human beings?

As for the bishop for the whole church question, frankly it has the ring of questions like, "Which is the greatest commandment?" -- you know ... the ones Jesus kept running into that weren't designed to actually elicit information but to trap him.

So here's an answer: Yes, a bishop is elected a bishop for the whole church.

Now a couple of questions for you:

1 - If the WWAC gets to weigh in on who TEC elects as bishop, should be get to weigh in on who gets appointed in other provinces? Why shouldn't it go both ways?

2 - If the criterion for "broken communion" is that some in the wider communion don't accept some of our bishops because they're gay, then isn't it true that communion has been broken since Barbara Harris was conscrated in 1989 ... since she -- and all the rest of the women bishops in the WWAC -- are not accepted as having valid orders by some in the wider communion.

3 - Finally -- on the celibacy issue -- Do you believe that celibacy is a spiritual gift? If so, then who died and made you in charge of deciding who has that gift? And if not, I suggest you do some reading ... and start with Bishop Tom Shaw ... who has the vocations of celibacy AND the episcopate -- and is really quite eloquent on how insulting it is to those called to celibacy to see their vocation used as a blunt instrument.

Martin T. said...

Thank you for finally answering my question Rev.Russell, I'm sorry you feel like my question was a trap. Now, time to return the favor:

1. Absolutely we should have a say! Those bishops in Africa that support the imprisonment and murder of homosexuals have no place in leadership of the Church. As Christians we should speak out against violence of any kind against anyone, and if as a Christian leader you are unable to do so, you should be sacked, plain and simple.

2.Not entirely so. Doesn't the Archbishop of Canterbury recognize our Presiding Bishop? The fact is, is that our Church isn't the only Church that ordains women. That has slowly grown into acceptance throughout some if not most Protestant circles, and tons of Roman Catholics support having female priests in their own circles. The fact is Rev.Russell, is that the majority of the Christian community still holds homosexuality as immoral (not being a non-Caucasian or female). Please stop comparing the movement of race and gender equality to homosexual equality. You can't compare the two, and it's part of the reason why some people are hesitant to support you as far as civil causes go.

3.No one died and made me in charge of anything. I simply stated that those homosexuals that throw their collar into the ring to be in the episcopate should be celibate. So how is it being used as a "blunt instrument" as you call it? No one has a "right" to ordination. The ordained should be an example of how to live a Christian life. They represent Christ at His altar. How is it can an ordained bishop, who is indeed a bishop of the whole church, not just of his or her respective diocese, represent authority, unity, and holiness when the majority of the Christian community as a whole views that person as living deeply in sin? How then can that individual exercise authority when most believe that she is not in a position to hold it? No one forced +Gene or Mary+ to discern the episcopate. They knew the consequences, even though in Mary+'s interviews she pretended that she was shocked that people were holding against her the fact that she's a cohabiting lesbian. I was waiting to hear her say "Well, +Gene's a bishop why can't I be one"...yes, and we all know what happened after that now don't we? You know what is most troubling to me? The fact that after the election, she had a prepared speech, as if she KNEW she would be elected. You don't find anything wrong with that picture at all?

MarkBrunson said...

You're fooling no one but yourself, Martin. You have nothing but hatred for us. We see it. So does God.

And it's HIS church, not yours.

But, you're right. I do want you to leave. I and those like me have been pushing for some time to have agitators and right-wing propagandists like you excommunicated, as we don't believe you can even properly be called Christian.

You owe your continued presence to people like Susan Russell, who, either more saintly or more gullible, believe there's worth in allowing you to stay.

MarkBrunson said...

I'll be more impressed with the celibacy argument when I see it as rigorously applied to heterosexuals - not married before priesthood, can't marry after. NO MARRIED BISHOPS. At least the Orthodox and the RCC are consistently fearful of sex.

MarkBrunson said...

Bishops of the whole church?

So, do they tell Southern Baptists what to do?

Can they participate in the Vatican's little promotion packages?

I really like the way Orthodox deacons chant - so can our bishop supply one?

Can I get them to send us some of the pledges from the local Megaplex Nondenominational-but-firmly-Anti-Gay Superchurch?

If not, please explain which of those isn't part of The Church? Do you even know what The Church is?

Your question has been answered, it's just that you never understood the question. *Yawn*

Just Me said...

I don't understand the problem with ACNA being "recognized". If the "Anglican way" is really about everyone being at the table, then why wouldn't ACNA be included in the "everyone"?


Because what they are attempting to create is a revision of historic Anglican polity that would invent "branches" of Anglicanism based on differences -- replacing what has been one of the unique characteristics of the Anglican ethos throughout the centuries: the ability to hold together in tension diversity of perspectives in service of a common Gospel.

It's been a noble experiment and I for one hope it survives the current efforts of the absolutists to "purify" the church of women bishops, gay folk and anybody who disagrees with you about how Jesus Saves.

As far as ACNA goes, it all goes back to what -- up until now -- has been what it actually means to be Anglican. The irony is, they want to redefine that -- all the while calling those of us would welcome everyone equally "the revisionists."


Martin ... I've got roses to prune today, so this'll be brief:

1 - If we'd wanted that kind of central authority to dictate how we live out the gospel in our diverse contexts we'd have stuck with the Vatican. What you're suggesting is a wholesale abandonment of historic Anglican polity.

2 - I can and will continue to point out issues of interlocking oppression -- as sexism, racism and heterosexism (AKA "homophobia") are all tools for oppression and marginalization that I believe grieve the heart of God and keep the church from being the Body of Christ it is called to be. (And you might brush up on your church history about how women bishops have been received throughout the communion. There are will Primates who will not receive communion when +Katharine is at the table ... )

3 - If you don't want a gay bishop, don't elect one. We elected Mary. She's going to be a great pastor for this diocese and a great addition to the House of Bishops. And I'm going to start deleting personal slams and attacks at her starting about now.

As for the crack about having a post-election speech ready, she'd led in every one of the seven ballots so her election wasn't exactly a shocker. And if she'd gotten up there unprepared, she'd have taken hits for BEING unprepared.

So no -- I don't find ANYTHING "wrong with that picture." I expect my bishops to be prepared to represent Christ and His Church ably, faithfully and passionately -- and that's what Bishop-elect Mary Glasspool is doing ... and going to do as a Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

And now I'm wondering where we left those pruning shears.

Martin T. said...

Mark: I don't owe my continued existence in the Church to anyone earth bound. If you want the excommunication clause then I suggest you consider the RCC or the EOC. Think of me any way you wish. Funny how disagreement equals hate to you, but it is so much simpler isn't it? Requires no THOUGHT at all.

Susan+: Have it your way. What I wonder is have you actually set down with those of a more conservative mindset and talk to them or did you write them off as "homophobic"? I didn't come here to bash or change anyone's mind, I only came to share a different point of view. But it that first bit there, you seem to disagree that bishops and other Christian leaders that advocate for the imprisonment and/or death of homosexuals should still have their place in the table. Why? There are conflicting things to what actually happened at the convention in December, but I'm not even going to take it there, I'll leave that to others in the diocese. She doesn't have all of her consents yet, so there is still hope for us orthodox as of now. We'll still be the thorn in your side, we're not going anywhere.


Since you seem to be new to the discourse on this blog, perhaps you'd appreciate a little "back story" ... so to that end I'm re-posting the "Story Time" piece that revisits some of the work along the way that's brought us to this particular juncture.

I hope it will answer your question about whether or not I've ever "sat down with those with a conservative mindset."

In fact, I know it will. Answer the question. If you read it.