Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wading back into the blogosphere ...

Having spent yesterday obsessing about downed helicopters and today recovering from the migraine that slammed me once I knew Jamie was OK I've ventured this afternoon back into blogland as Louise went off to see the Bourne Something-or-the-other movie which is a sequel to a bunch of other movies I didn't see either, the dogs are too lazy to even want to play or chase a ball and there isn't even a DODGER game on TV!

So ... over at THE CHURCH TIMES it seems that the recent "Agonizing Journey" missive ostensibly from Archbishop Akinola had somebody else's fingerprints all over it ... "Software suggests Minns rewrote Akinola’s letter" is the title of the article by Pat Ashworth leading to the conclusion: The Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Trevor Musonda Mwamba, has expressed reservations about the tone and style of pronouncements in the past, which have purportedly come from African bishops.

"Purportedly" seems to be the operative word!

“Up till now the loud voices in Africa have threatened the Anglican Communion with schism, insisting that some provinces be expelled from our worldwide fellowship. Yet such voices, because of the very diversity and strength of the Anglican Church in Africa, could be playing a reconciling role.” The voice of the majority of Africa’s 37 million Anglicans had been “eclipsed by the intensity of sounds on opposing sides of the debate”.

Thanks to Thinking Anglicans for the link to this illustration du jour:

"Come thou long expected Schism" indeed!

And then there's this comment just in from Episcopal Cafe: The significance of this development lies less in the fact that Akinola has a ghostwriter--The leaders of many organizations, ecclesial and secular have staff members who handle writing assignments for them -- than that what has long been portrayed as the authentic voice of African Anglicanism is, manifestly, not African, and perhaps never has been.

This revelation is likely to damage Akinola's
already sagging prestige in Nigeria, where he may now be perceived as a mouthpiece for wealthy Westerners. And it is likely to damage his credibility with his fellow Primates, who were already weary of his practice of interupting their meetings to take counsel from Minns and Sugden.


Happily, "in other news" as they say, the clever, faithful, odds-are-never-used-ghostwriter-in-her-life Marilyn McCord Adams offers "A SHAMELESS DEFENSE OF A LIBERAL CHURCH" which is WELL worth reading ... here's a taste:

Liberals refuse to let Scripture and/or tradition decide the issue in the face of reasoned experience of abuse and degradation. And it is precisely this sort of argument that liberals find telling, where issues of gender and sexuality are concerned. Taboos against homosexuals do psycho-spiritual violence to gay and lesbian persons. ‘Don’t ask/don’t tell’ represses creativity and fosters psycho-spiritual fragmentation. Church policy that uses gay and lesbian clergy while forcing closeting and all the while threatening career-breaking ‘outing’ at any time, is abusive.

Treating women as second class citizens, frustrating the expression of their gifts within the Church is likewise abusive. Demanding that women appear smaller than they are--gays and lesbians, otherwise than they are--so that others can feel as big or secure or comfortable as they feel they need to be--this is paradigm-case abusive. Liberals conclude it therefore has to stop, no matter what Scripture and tradition or any other ideology appear to say. Biblical homophobia and sexism--like child sacrifice and slavery--are easily dismissed as cultural blind-spots, unless one shares them. For faithful liberals who wrestle with God all the way through Scripture and tradition, that is the bottom line!


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The other day you asked, "How low will the schism-mongers go?"

Looks like we got an answer right quick.

And, we'll never know exactly HOW long they'll go - or have already gone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

I believe it is a sad part of all the division that people are now assuming that Bp. Akinola is not bright enough or intelligent enough to compose a letter.
The man has a wonderful education, graduated from an American theological seminary and is extremely articulate.
I have heard him speak and preach.
Disagree, even hate Bp. Akinola, but unless and until there is real evidence that the views are not his, it seems wrong to raise this particular red herring.
I don't assume that Bp. Schori completely writes all her own speeches or letters without some help from the communications staff at ENS. It is how business is done.
If Jan Nunley helps Schori save time by writing something and Schori signs off on it, is it not still Bp. Schori's?
It does smack a little of racism and paternalism all the denigration of the African bishops with whom liberals disagree.
The strident, sarcastic tone and the glee of both sides in victories over each other is a terrible witness to the unchurched world.
We evangelized them, I hope, not to be our dependent children, but in recognition of their rich culture and a desire they have the same salvation as we.
Somehow there seems to be a strong feeling that because we helped feed them and sent them money, they owe us some allegiance even when it flies in the face of something they strongly believe or disbelieve. That is as paternalistic and racist as the Old South.
One is not smart or dumb based on whether their views agree with yours. That is true for both sides.
For the most part I'm refraining from discussion on the present issues. Both sides talk in a circle and I believe are headed for schism. The sooner the better, the more amicable the better.
All the exterior issues that both sides are hung up on are simply white noise.
I try not to be preoccupied with that anymore and am concentrating on the mission as I am called to do it.
It does bother me when I see these attacks on a black man, a leader of millions of African Anglicans, a man who must face more dangers and threats in a week than any American cleric will face in a lifetime.
There seems to be no recognition of how difficult, and even dangerous, it is for people like Bp. Akinola and Bp. Orombi to speak the Gospel in a sometimes very hostile and violent environment. An environment they have spoken out against in firm ways and at great risk to their personal safety, by the way.
A little more respect on both sides might bring this to a quicker and more Christian solution.
So now I'll go back to enjoying your blog for the non-TEC items that you post.

A sinner saved by God's Grace.

Jim from Michigan


jim ... in a nutshell, it has NOTHING to do with being "smart" ... it has to do with being honest. It has to do with lifting the veil of the "men behind the curtain" who have spent the last ten (at least) years manipulating this schism into being.

RonF said...

Liberals refuse to let Scripture and/or tradition decide the issue in the face of reasoned experience of abuse and degradation.

The fact that the author views Scripture as abuse and degradation instead of the saving grace of God shows that she elevates the temporary culture of Man over the eternal truth of God and pretty much tells the tale here.

RonF said...

First, I'd like to hear from Bp. Akinola and Bp. Mimms themselves what they have to say before I make any judgements on this. Basing one's opinion on an unconfirmed assertion from one person (and just how did they get their hands on the original Word document, anyway?) is shaky grounds for making any assumptions.

Secondly, the quoted comments presume that Bp. Mimms (or other unnamed people) have a hand in Bp. Akinola's communications for some time. That's a rather large presumption for which absolutely no evidence is offered.

And finally, Jim is right; it is not unheard of for documents such as this to have many hands in them, and if an African bishop, sensitive to the differences in the two cultures and wanting to clearly communicate, has asked an American bishop to review and edit a letter intended for an American audience it's hardly world-shaking or dishonest.

RonF said...

The strident, sarcastic tone and the glee of both sides in victories over each other is a terrible witness to the unchurched world.

Both sides are guilty of such things, but this blog in particular seems to have a theme of using pictures of their ideological opponents in attempting to ridicule them (as opposed to the use of reason and discussion); the poster here and the early "Motley Crew" picture are two recent examples that come to mind.


ron ... It's Minns with an N ... not Mimms with an M.

Just FYI

As for "strident, sarcastic glee" not being the best witness to the unchurched world, I'll give you that. Give you that and see you bigotry, discrimination and sacramental apartheid being perpetuated against a percentage of the baptized by an institutional church supposedly committed to being the Body of Christ in the World.

Forgive us "Dorothys" our moment of glee at the rest of the world glimpsing for a moment the truth we've known for years: this "schism" has been designed, initiated and implemented by those committed to splitting apart the church they have been unsuccessful in recreating in their own image and Martyn Minns is among them.

RonF said...

Also, I don't understand the use of the term "Dorothys" either, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Also, I don't understand the use of the term "Dorothys" either, I'm afraid.

Well, I'm sorry, Ron. If there ever was any doubt about your being in touch with the real world, you have shown your hand now.

RonF said...

Well, David, that wasn't particularlly illuminating, was it?

Suzer said...

David, please don't be too hard on Ron! I didn't understand the term "friend of Dorothy" until I met and spent time with my gay male friends. They explained a lot of the slang to me, much of which I still don't know! Doesn't mean we don't live in the real world. Perhaps Ron's circle of acquaintances doesn't have many folks well acquainted with gay culture and slang. Ron and I disagree on much, but I would hope my ignorance of certain terminology would not brand me as living in some other reality. :)

(That said, I do have a tendency to feel like Luna Lovegood when I talk about stuff and no one else understands, so maybe I do live in an alternate reality!)


"Dorothy" issue addressed in this morning's post:

"For RonF"