Monday, August 14, 2006

Bill Coats Gets It Right

Regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury's apparent "blessing" of the upcoming meeting of "Windsor Compliant Bishops" at Camp Allen called by Texas Bishop Don Wimberly, Coats say:

We are now faced with the astonishing action of an English Bishop (Canterbury has no legal standing in this country or this church) trying to sabotage the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop is certainly entitled to his beliefs, and he may not like what our General Convention did; but this does not give him the right to meddle in our internal affairs with an eye to undermining or overthrowing our process.. We had thought the Archbishop was a neutral arbiter. This outrageous act now shows him to be aligned with those who seek to harm this church. We very much encourage the Archbishop prayerfully to consider what he is doing.

Read it all here: The Episcopal Majority



Ditto. I'm starting to hear language like "World Wide Episcopal Church" in conversation with from bishops who have been bending over backwards to keep the communion together.

At the end of the day it may just be that there really is no further to bend and the break the schismatics have been working toward for likely longer than we know is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand - again.

The Episcopal church make Gene Robinson a bishop and then expects the rest of the church to acknowledge his bishop status.

And now you say the rest of the church has no say over what the Episcopal church does?

Either you belong to the Anglican communion or you don't.


Dear anonymous,

The Episcopal Church has historically never needed the rest of the communion to "acknowledge the bishop status" of any of our bishops in order to "be in communion" with each other. In fact, any of our now thirteen women bishops can attest to the fact that their "bishop status" is NOT acknowledged in much of the communion.

What has changed is not that there are parts of the Anglican Communion with different opinions on who is qualified to be a bishop. What has changed is that there are those now committed to throwing the bathwater out with the bishop ... and willing to break up the Anglican Communion in the process.

That's what Bill Coats "gets right."

Toewalker said...

Did TEC get a say in the elevation of Akinola to the episcopate?

What's not to understand, anonymous?

Gawd, typical response. We don't like the result of how the game turned out when we played by the rules, so we're either going to change the rules or we're taking our crayons and going home.

Jeff, I'm with you and Susan+. I've been trying to do the dialogue thing, praying for some sort of reconciliation. And all I'm getting is angrier and angrier.

So enough already. Feel like walking apart? Go for it. Go with God, and may God truly bless you and may we get past this nonsense and all collectively and individually get on about the missions that we're called to.

Anonymous said...

Dear Susan

So pleased to hear that. I was worried that the bishops would be offended by not being invited to Lambeth -- but clearly they never expected to be considered. As I didn't want them hurt it is good to know.


Hmmm ... I think my point was lost somewhere. It is not a question of bishops "not expecting" to be invited to Lambeth ... eleven American bishops were present in 1998 in spite of the fact that their "bishop status" wasn't recognized by everyone present because of their gender. The problem is not diversity of practice in the communion ... the problem is the insistence by some that the exclusion of others is their requirement for participation. And the ABoC buying into that paradigm shift is a sad thing to see.

Anonymous said...

I find Coats’ piece to be nothing more than manufactured outrage, laced with the standard line that conservatives are entitled to their views, as long as they stay quiet and joyfully participate in an institution that acts in contravention to their beliefs.

It’s fairly easy to deconstruct the non-sequiturs in the posted excerpt alone:

“We are now faced with the astonishing action of an English Bishop (Canterbury has no legal standing in this country or this church) . . .” Who said Canterbury did? But, if you claim to be a part of the Anglican Communion, you can’t deny ++Rowan a voice.

“. . . but this does not give him the right to meddle in our internal affairs . . .” No, it certainly doesn’t, but it doesn’t mean he can’t meddle in our, “internal affairs,” either. He can do pretty much whatever he pleases, especially when his representatives are being freely invited to this meeting by ECUSA bishops.

“We had thought the Archbishop was a neutral arbiter.” Why does he have an obligation to be neutral?

On a thread below, Rev. Susan wrote in response to me, “What we are denying -- and resisting -- are their [conservatives’] efforts to circumvent the General Convention process that has not served their agenda by appealing to international Anglican bodies who have not jurisdiction in this Church.” Well, of course you are, but, again, if you want to be part of the Anglican Communion, intervention is what you get. If you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other. Canterbury may not have jurisdiction in ECUSA, but it certainly has moral authority, and it absolutely has the right to set the rules governing which bodies are in communion with it. It’s kind of like living in Mom and Dad’s house and moaning about having to be home by 10. If you don’t like it, move.

Sometimes life offers us difficult choices, but if Canterbury offends you so, ignore it. Pace Jeff and yourself, Rev. Susan, leave the Communion if you don’t want to play by its rules. But be gracious enough to allow those that wish to continue in communion with Canterbury to do so.


Ok, Phil ... so here's the deal: from our perspective it is not about refusing to "follow the rules" but about recognizing that the rules have been changed in the middle of the game. Changed by those with a now decades-old agenda of "returning the Episcopal Church to 'biblical orthodoxy'" never mind our Anglican history.

You're absolutely right that Canterbury has the right to decide who is "in communion" and who isn't. And if the powers that be want to throw us out for our commitment to follow where we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us then so be it.

What is disingenuous at best is the insistence that uniformity is anything other than a revision of classical Anglicanism. That is what Coats and others are working to preserve -- more power to them!

Anonymous said...

Rev. Susan, I truly find it sad that it has come to this in ECUSA, that the two sides see the world in completely opposite ways. When you say there is a decades-old agenda, for example, I agree, since that phrase would put us in the 1960s, but such an agenda certainly hasn’t been on the conservative side. If there has been one for that long, nobody ever told me, and, what’s more, it’s obviously been a complete failure.

Nobody that I know is arguing for blanket uniformity, but some things have to be held in common for membership in a single organization to be meaningful. Would it be wrong to insist on uniformity in Trinitarian belief? I don’t think so. Such uniformity fits well with classical Anglicanism.

No, where we disagree is on a set of moral teaching that conservatives feel has similarly always been held uniformly by Christians. By itself, that doesn’t support your accusation against us. As you know, there are serious disagreements within our side, roughly falling along evangelical and Anglo-Catholic lines – on sacramental theology and women’s ordination, for example. And so, our leaders are not insisting on uniformity of belief.

By the way: changing the rules in the middle of the game is a smart thing to do. I view it as a valid way of changing the strategic situation to one’s advantage. The liberal tactic of creating, “facts on the ground,” whether it be with Philadelphia in 1974, Gene Robinson’s ordination or open Communion also changes the rules of the game by ignoring the institutional regulations assumed by one side to have force.


Phil ... at least we can agree that it's sad.

"Decades long" is probably an overstatement ... the IRD "executive summary" I've seen dates to the early 90's ... but the point remains: there has been a strategic and apparently successful agenda to reinvent Anglicanism in order to exclude those who support the full inclusion of women and gays.

And, BTW, I'm totally down with the Trinity.

Anonymous said...

Phil - The only uniformity you all seem to insist on is homophobia....a communion proud to hate gays. Gee, and that banner gives you the hubris to tell us to leave the Communion? I think not. The Episcopal Majority owns this church and will not let it be hijacked by homophobes intent on justifying their homophobia as orthodoxy. It just won't fly!

Anonymous said...

Come on, Beyond Reconciliation, that is a ridiculous comment. I don’t see any basis for saying I (or we) want a communion, “proud to hate gays.” If you can’t back that up, and I know you can’t, you should retract it.

Toewalker said...

I'm sure Phil, et al, can find a more PC way of saying it, but the gist is the same.

Beyond Reconciliation has it nailed.

Anonymous said...

Fine, toewalker, I'll ask you the same thing - back up your accusations with facts.

Anonymous said...

It's not about hating gays. It's about one segment of society forcing an established organization to accept something that the majority do not want. It's like joining the Rotary Club but then working behind the scenes until you made it more like the Lions Club because the Lions Club would not accept you. No one likes to have anything crammed down their throat. So to speak.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I respectfully disagree. In the first place, if you read my last paragraph, it plainly shows the accusation of wanting to impose “uniformity” to be false. I cited differences among conservatives over women’s ordination and sacramental theology. That is not uniformity, by definition, so we can dispense with that. On the moral teaching in question, there is no, “may,” about it – the position of the Church has been consistent for nearly 2,000 years and across all of our sad divisions. That meets the definition of both, “traditional,” and, “Traditional” (the latter in the sense of the Church Catholic).

What’s more, I did not write, “proudly profess,” so I’m not sure why you placed it within quotes. The phrase is yours.

Jesus, in addition to love and compassion, also taught standards of behavior, as did the Apostles, as has the Church. I hope that isn’t in dispute.

It is very clear – and, again, I don’t think disputable – that the Apostles and the early Church practiced discipline against Christians that did not meet these standards of behavior and were unrepentant. Sometimes that discipline included not just expulsion from the leadership of the Church, but expulsion from the Church community altogether until repentance was shown and sufficient penance had been done. So, if we can ignore particular notions of what comprises sin for a moment, your position that, “this is new,” is wrong. Moral teaching and consequences for those that unrepentantly ignore that teaching dates to the birth of the Church. Again, Jeff, I am leaving particular sins aside, and so what I have written in this paragraph is entirely uncontroversial.

Yes, the Church has made mistakes; it has also not made mistakes. It is a circular argument without getting into the particulars of the mistake you allege.


anonymous ... funny, I might use the same analogy to describe what some conservatives are trying to do to the Episcopal Church: working behind the scenes to turn it into the kind of club that will keep out the folks they don't want "in"

Anonymous said...


I’m sorry, I think I misunderstood. I thought you were saying that having a moral teaching concerning right and wrong behavior was new. It looks like you were saying that:

The moral teaching that we profess is love. Jesus taught love. Jesus taught compassion. Jesus did not teach judgement.

is a new aspect of God that we have learned. Am I doing a better job of reading?

Actually, I think that is a pretty traditional understanding of what Jesus taught, also, although Jesus did teach that He would judge. Do you mean that we should not judge each other?

Anonymous said...

Same ol', same ol'.

Jesus said a lot about divorce. How many divorced Bishops are conservatives, Phil? If you're going to hang your hat(e) on sexual conservatism, you'd best be consistent.

Let's see: which one do you think is more moral, a faithful, monogamous and committed GLBT parishoner, or a multiply divorced Bishop?

I'm not Episcopalian, but I'm just asking....


Anonymous said...

anonymous, you’ll get no argument from me on divorced bishops. Have I written something that made you think you would? Nor do you have any basis for accusing me of hate.