Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's never too late to do the right thing

As reported yesterday, Five Petulant Primates have declared (again) their intention to boycott the upcoming Lambeth Conference. The foundation for their theological argument for removing themselves from the councils of the church and the communion of the faithful? "We could not feel at home."

Today, the Presiding Bishop's response to the "news" of the boycott:

"The gathering will be diminished by their absence, and I imagine that they themselves will miss a gift they might have otherwise received," the Presiding Bishop said. "None of us is called to 'feel at home' except in the full and immediate presence of God. It is our searching, especially with those we find most 'other,' that is likely to lead us into the fuller experience of the body of Christ. Fear of the other is an invitation to seek the face of God, not a threat to be avoided."

Brava! Well said! (I'd add "Alleluia" if it wasn't Lent.) Amen.

So now ...

If the Petulant Primates really aren't coming to Lambeth Conference, what on earth is the Archbishop of Canterbury hoping to gain by continuing to exclude the Bishop of New Hampshire? How great a witness could this church ... this communion ... make to the world if it would refuse to scapegoat the only honest gay bishop in the Communion and come together as bishops of the WHOLE church at Lambeth Conference to seek the face of God in "the other."

C'mon, +Rowan ... step up, buddy. It's never too late to do the right thing!


edav38 said...

Sorry Susan, but I do not believe he will "Do the right thing."
He keeps on "Doing the wrong thing..." in his home country, of which he is being told to step down for, by a good portion of the citizenry and Anglican worshipers. Having to constantly apologize for his "mis-statements" and for his gaffs.
It would be the right thing, even the Honorable thing to do, for him to relent and to invite Robinson, but I think his thinking is beyond that, either still hoping that the "5" will come anyway, or that the "problem" of Robinson, will simply "go away".
When a person is not willing to "Stand Up and Be Counted" for what they Believe, then they rarely relent to mis-steps they have made.
He is not willing to "Stand up" against the rising tide to inject Sharia Law into Great Britan, thus he will not have the ability to "Stand Up" to the Global South Archbishops, and stand for anything.

Rowen William's time has faded, he has been shown for what he is, a man who does not have the guts to stand against a rising tide of anti-homosexual positions.
It is Sad really,

JimB said...

Reading the petulant primates posturing, I thought of the idea that good preaching comforts the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. They cannot come because it might make them uncomfortable? Poor babies!

I wonder what Jesus would say to that idea, or for that matter, Paul? 2000 years of saints and martyrs has led us to a point where bishops can only converse if they are comfortable! What we really should be asking is how we have come to the selection of bigots and cowards (if there is a difference) as primates. I mean, there could be, by their count(!) 30 activists there!



Joan K said...

I don't think the ABC will change his mind. Words cannot express how angry I am that he is excluding a bishop validly elected and consecrated by the laws of the Episcopal Church of the US. I am a lesbian and an Episcopalian.

I am also angry that anyone from the Episcopal Church in the US is attending. If any of us is unwelcome all of us should boycott. How can we participate in and support such a discriminatory gathering? The idea is repulsive.

Jack Sprat said...

You know, I am amused and bemused by the statement about +Gene's presence "in one form or another." Which essentially means, the Primadonna Primates wouldn't even come to Lambeth if they suspected someone would simply be holding Bishop Robinson in their prayers.

Think about it. It's just silly. They're going to have to live a very restricted life if they're uncomfortable going places where they are worried about what people are THINKING.

Hoo boy.


joan ... Far from boycotting Lambeth we are working with allies from all around the Communion to have a strong, visible witness and presence AT Lambeth Conference. +Gene's participation is still "being negotiated" ... and what I can say about that is that no one is more supportive of the work we are doing in that regard than the Bishop of New Hampshire.

Will our words and witness fall on some deaf ears? Of course they will ... ever was it so. But I am utterly convinced that hearts and minds will be changed as well ... as we seek the face of Christ in those who are "other."

Jim Costich said...

The Archbishop of Canterbuy has made it plain and clear that he supports all manner of homophobia, sexism and all the bigotries and prejudices engendered by them. the only time he has taken exception was after the United Nations alert against the heinous and draconian law that Bishop Peter Akinola was a sponsor of in Nigeria that would have made something so simple as selling lunch to GLBT folk a prisonable offense. This he only did AFTER the United Nations outcry. Every action he has taken has spoken loudly and clearly. At this point he can't even imagine HOW the rightfull Bishop of New Hampshire could come to Lambeth. I guess representing the Episcopalians of New Hampshire isn't something that registers on his radar.

A person who will not stand for justice and peace will fall for anything. He has proven himself capable only of capitulation to any and every violent bully that comes along.

He is the best argument Britain could have to establish a true separation of Church and State like France and the U.S. He is an excellant warning to the U.S. of the horrors we might let ourselves into if we allow that separation to be eroded any further than it has in the last eight years.

Suzer said...

I agree with Joan in part, but ultimately believe it is best for our bishops to go and be a witness for TEC. I tend to see Bishop Robinson's exclusion as a kind of intentional suffering on his part, the kind that MKL, Jr. and Gandhi spoke about as being part of nonviolent change. Of course, I don't know if that's what is in Bishop Robinson's head at all, but when I frame it in that way, I can see that his less than full inclusion in the event, and his acceptance of that, might possibly create some positive change toward acceptance, as participants are able to view the unjust and exclusionary act for what it is - discrimination borne out of misread and misapplied reading of Scripture. I can only hope.

RonF said...

If the only reason that Abp. Williams decided to exclude Bp. Robinson was to mollify 5 particular Primates, then you're right; he should invite him.

But the last time the matter was considered at Lambeth, it seems that anywhere from 75% to 90% of the bishops present considered Bp. Robinson's sexual practices and his engaging in a union with another man as in contradiction to Scripture. And given that TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (do I have the title right?) have disproportionately more bishops than other churches, the actual margin would have been a lot higher if Lambeth was a democratic organization (not that there's any reason it should be).

It seems to me, then, that there are far more than 5 Primates involved here, or even just the Global South. A large amount of the Anglican church doesn't even view his ordination as valid. Now, it's quite true that Bp. Robinson was validly elected according to TEC's canons. But as the document that TEC was founded on states, church councils can err, and have no right to ordain anything that is contrary to Scripture. In the eyes of the rest of the world, TEC has done just that. You can hardly expect them to elevate TEC's canons over Scripture.

Oh, lilbearsings, "homophobia"? I have yet to see anything in any of Abp. Williams' remarks that show that he has any fear of homosexuals, never mind an unreasoning one.

RonF said...

edav38 said:

"a rising tide of anti-homosexual positions."

Is this what you see? That opposition to accepting homosexual practices as normal is rising?

Malcolm+ said...

Joan, an observation about pragmatism.

Despite the Fatuous Five's laundry list of excuses (and their well-documented cootie-pobia), the real reason they aren't coming is that they have lost. The only reason for a boycott is that they know they cannot win in the end.

Had the Episcopal Church boycotted, they would have been "blinking first," the Fatuous Five would be at Lambeth and the forces of hate would have trumped.

Instead, the Episcopal Church (and Gene Robinson in particular) acted with grace, and the Fatuous Five consistently overplayed their hand, alienating even those who agreed with them on the underlying issue.

Those of us who believe in an inclusive gospel have been blessed in our opponents. Even marginal competence on the part of the Global South leadership would likely have brought us to a different place.

trueanglican said...

Susan, you are just flat-out wrong when you describe Gene Robinson as "the only honest gay bishop in the [Anglican] Communion." You and everyone else continue to ignore Terry Brown, the bishop of Malaita, Solomon Islands, in the Church of Melanesia.

In his introduction to Other Voices, Other Worlds, Brown acknowledges that he is gay. While he notes that he currently is celibate, he reports without apology or regret that he was physically intimate with others earlier in life.

So far as I know he is invited to Lambeth 2008, as he was to Lambeth 1998. At that gathering he voted against the notorious Resolution 1.10. He said in 2002 that future Anglicans would look upon the resolution's adoption with "shame, distaste, sorrow and disbelief."

Why isn't the Right bellowing about Brown? I assume it's because Howard Ahmanson and his friends aren't pouring money into wrecking the Church of Melanesia. There's nothing there to steal.


trueanglican ... correction received. Gene Robinson is the only honest partnered bishop in the Communion.

uffda51 said...

Contrary to Scripture?

Or, contrary to one particularly narrow interpretation of Scripture, which does not take into account cultural, historical or linguistic context, not to mention a century of research into human sexuality.

If Gene Robinson were left handed, black, a woman, or an advocate that the earth orbits the sun, no one would dream of excluding him, but in centuries past he would have been excluded (or worse) for exactly these reasons, all based on Scripture. Orthodox positions once held by The Church are capable of changing 180 degrees, although the process can last for centuries. The current GLBT struggle for full inclusion marks another one of these tectonic shifts.

A chasm between two opposing points of view cannot be bridged by refusing to discuss the issue. It is Bishop Robinson, not the petulant priests, who received the death threats. If he is still willing to show up, but they are not, shame on them. And shame on the ABC as well.

RonF said...

trueanglican asks:

Why isn't the Right bellowing about Brown?

Actually, the fact that there is not a furor about Bp. Brown quite proves the point that the vast majority of the opponents of Bp. Robinson's ordination have made. The issue is not homosexuality; it is sexual practice against the clear direction of Scripture. The fact that Bp. Brown is celibate means that he is currently observing what Christ has called us to do. The issue with Bp. Robinson is not that he is homosexual; it's that he unrepentedly engages in practices that are condemned as sinful in Scripture and denies the authority of Scripture - not exactly what a Bishop is supposed to do.

So it is no wonder that Bp. Brown goes unremarked by both sides. Those who hold with the teachings of the church have no problem with him because he is not in violation of Scripture and as far as anyone knows is not teaching that people should do so. Those who hold with changing the teaching of the church find that he is not an example that they can use to further their agenda.

RonF said...

uffda51 says:

"It is Bishop Robinson, not the petulant priests, who received the death threats."

You know this for a fact? You think that the priests and bishops in these countries have not received death threats because of the faith they hold? I'd suggest you research that; I'll wager strongly you're mistaken.