Saturday, November 20, 2010

"No Covenant" Notable Quotables: My Top Ten & Then Some List!

Once I started thinking in terms of "No Covenant Quote of the Day" it became clear there were a lot of really good ones floating around out there. And since it's a cold, rainy evening not fit for going out and doing anything productive and since the football game we're watching has ceased to be interesting (24-3 in the 3rd quarter) here's what I've come up with for starters. Anybody got any more to add???
"The worst thing about the Covenant is that it will create a church of the lowest common denominator in which the only things we can embrace will be safe and uncontroversial. They will keep us locked into old established ways rather than allowing us to embrace the challenges of making Christ know in the ever changing culture in which we live." -- The Satirical Christian

"We need to find new ways to be united without forcing ourselves to be what we're not." -- Mr. Catolick

This process and the proposed Anglican Covenant are not building unity, they are turning disagreement into institutionalised disunity - even inventing mechanisms of exclusion to facilitate the process. -- The Anglican Resistance Movement

"Let me put it simply: We can’t even agree on what the Covenant means; so why should we imagine the Covenant will help us come to agreement on anything else?" -- Tobias Haller

"Surely we don’t have to sign a contract to be part of the family?" -- The Druidic Covenant

"We believe in an Anglicanism based on a shared heritage of worship, not on a set of doctrines to which all must subscribe. Our understanding of Anglicanism leads us to view the covenant as profoundly un-Anglican." -- the No Covenant Coalition

"The covenant is a waste of time and money." -- Simon Sarmiento

"What I dislike about the Anglican Covenant is not just that it is institutionalised homophobia, but that it ... is an attack on traditional Anglican pluralism. Its architects think it is pluralism that has got us into the mess we are in. If only we all thought roughly the same, they muse. What they do not see is that the cure is so much worse than the presenting problem." -- Giles Fraser

The problem with having disciplinary sanctions on churches which take "controversial actions" is that almost any new innovation will be controversial to start with. Therefore, this is tantamount to saying "Thou shalt never do anything for the first time". -- Jonathan West commenting in The Guardian

"For bonds of affection the Covenant substitutes bonds of law." -- Louie Crew

"Anglicans who made it through the challenge of being both catholic and protestant in the 16th century can meet the challenge to be both gay and straight in the 21st century without losing the charism of Anglican comprehensiveness. -- Me

"It seems that we need an Anglican Covenant because some of the Primates can’t bear to be in the same room as others – and because they disagree on theology. Is this really an example of loving one’s neighbour and do we want to institutionalise this behaviour?" -- Lesley Fellows


Malcolm+ said...

At the risk of being prideful, I was quite proud of:

Nothing limits autonomy, we are told. "Trust me."

Nicole Porter said...

What is unity to you Susan?


Not to be confused with uniformity.

JimB said...

My one line thought de jour:

A life sentence is a relational consequence for a murderer.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Susan, for your inspiring words and encouragement for the support of a comprehensive and inclusive Church.

God bless you.

Ann said...

From Ruth Gledhill:
‎"What a shocking waste of a Church, and what a disgraceful response to a glorious ministry," Gledhill writes in anticipating what happens if the Covenant is adopted.

Charlie Sutton said...

I am going to comment, as briefly as possible, as to why conservative Anglicans support the idea of an Anglican Covenant. My aim is not to persuade you of the rightness of the conservative viewpoint, but simply to say why, from my perspective (shared by many but not all conservatives) something like the covenant is needed.

It begins with a simple question: what is a Christian? There are a variety of answers to that question, and not all of them are able to be reconciled with one another. One “quote of the day” listed says, “We believe in an Anglicanism based on a shared heritage of worship, not on a set of doctrines to which all must subscribe. Our understanding of Anglicanism leads us to view the covenant as profoundly un-Anglican.” That may be the “progressive” view of what Anglicanism is, but to the conservatives within the Communion, one must be an orthodox Christian in order to be an Anglican. A common institutional “ancestor” and “a shared heritage of worship” are insufficient grounds. Whom are we worshipping? The divinity we conservatives see being worshiped by many “progressives” is not the God of the Bible, insofar as we can make sense of the various theologies extant among “progressives.” When clergy of the Episcopal Church can describe themselves as “both Muslim and Christian” or as “both Buddhist and Christian,” and find their claims met with wide approval, something is seriously wrong. A “shared heritage of worship” is insufficient; there must be an agreement about what is fundamentally true.

If a state Republican Party were to begin to advocate for the state ownership of the means of production and that material needs should be allocated according to the principle of “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need,” would you blame the national Republican Party for calling the state party to task? To conservative Anglicans, what you all have done is very similar.

Lesley Fellows speaks of “theological differences” as though they were merely differences in tastes in ice cream or favorite movies. To the conservative Anglican, the theological differences that currently exist in the Anglican Communion are such that we are in complete theological chaos. Theologies are not a matter of taste, but the very bedrock of choice, values, and action. Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics have differences of theology, but our core convictions are held in common – and they are antithetical to the core convictions of “progressives.”

Of course, you might protest and cite all manner of reasons why your convictions are within the bounds of the Christian faith. To you, such reasons might make sense, but to conservative Anglicans, those reasons are sophistry.

I could outline what conservative positions are, but I think that the Jerusalem Declaration has done a better job of that than I ever could. And I could give reasons why the conservative position is an intellectually supportable position, but there is only so much room on a blog comment. Tim Keller’s “The Reason for God” is one book, of many, that gives sound arguments for a conservative position.

The Anglican Covenant is an attempt to set coherent, enforceable boundaries for what Anglican Christianity is. People are free to believe whatever they want to believe, for whatever reasons they desire. But just as a Republican group cannot assert the principles of socialism and truly be a Republican group, so too an ecclesiastical group cannot deny the historic tenets of the Christian faith and still be called “Christian” in any meaningful sense.

Such, at any rate, is the position of conservative Anglicans, and the reason we want a Covenant.


Charlie ... thanks for taking time to write. And while I wish you and your ACNA colleagues all best blessings as you move forward into God's future, you lost me when you presume the entitlement to define what it is to be a Christian in your opening question.

The noble experiment of Anglican Comprehensiveness is dead. Long live the Anglican Covenant!

Like I said ... thanks for stopping by!

MarkBrunson said...

The only unity is through Christ, and that does not in any way depend upon that unity being recognized by human beings.

The little church lawyers keep confusing human beings with God.

Charlie Sutton said...

Thank you for allowing my comment, Susan. I do read your blog once or twice a week, in an effort to try to understand what you think and why. I have to admit I have found the second, and even the first, difficult at times. Our presuppositions are quite different.

As for defining what a Christian is, I did not appropriate that to myself all by myself. I am, as far as I can tell, simply using criteria laid down in the three great Creeds and in the principles of the English (and Continental) Reformers.

Either Jesus Christ is THE Way to the Father, or A way to God. It is logically impossible for both to be true, for each idea has a distinct difference about the human condition, the nature of our relationship to God, and how we come near to God and follow him.

The Lord alone knows those who are his. I expect to be surprised when the multitudes from every nation, language and tribe gather around the Throne.

In the meantime, the Church, being to some degree a human institution, must make the best decisions it can with the information available. Even the idea that unity is in Christ has to come from somewhere - and if it is from Scripture, why should that one idea from Scripture be upheld when others are denied?

uffda51 said...

So Jesus is THE way, even though no infant chooses the faith tradition in which he will be brought up? And only the Bronze Age understanding of human sexuality should be acceptable in the AC in the 21st century, even though no one chooses their sexual orientation? And conservatives want to believe in a God that condemns millions to hell at birth, and make any deviation from such belief “enforceable?” Maybe it’s just me but I find that the never ending game of “my tribe is better than your tribe” gets in the way of experiencing the transcendent and numinous, and hinders ministering to the sick, hungry, and outcast.

I couldn’t help but notice that in thirteen graphs putting forth the conservative position and placing the word progressive in quotes, Charlie never mentions the word gay. Nor does the Covenant itself, in more than 4800 words. Nor lesbian, nor LGBT, nor sex or sexual.

As Giles Fraser said, the Anglican Covenant is institutionalized homophobia. It could be shortened to “All LGBT persons must remain closeted – especially clergy.”

MarkBrunson said...

What does it mean to be THE Way - is it by mere idolatry, or by learning and changing.

What is the Christ? It's not Mr. Jesus' last name, you know.

Why does it frighten you that not all Scripture or Tradition may have been right? Do you have so little faith?

Charlie Sutton said...

My comments have occasioned some interesting responses. A larger conversation could perhaps follow these, but this blog is probably not the place to do so. I plan to give a summary of the conversation at my blog; perhaps we can continue there. It may be a few days, however, since I am engaged in some family business that will take some time.