Wednesday, 26 December 2007

GAFCON

Boxing Day or Christmas Eve, depending on your source, was chosen by the organisers of this event as the day to issue a press release:

GLOBAL ANGLICAN FUTURE CONFERENCE IN HOLY LAND ANNOUNCED BY ORTHODOX PRIMATES

The press release (below the fold) is followed by:

Frequently asked Questions

1. Who is sponsoring the Conference?

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) is being called by those who took part in the Nairobi Consultation:

Archbishops Peter Akinola (Nigeria), Henry Orombi (Uganda), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya), Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania), Archbishop Peter Jensen (Sydney) Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria). Bishop Don Harvey (Canada) and Bishop Bill Atwood (Kenya) who also represented Archbishop Greg Venables (Southern Cone). Bishop Bob Duncan (Anglican Communion Network and Common Cause USA.), Bishop Martyn Minns (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), Canon Dr Vinay Samuel (India and England), Canon Dr Chris Sugden (England)
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali (Rochester, England) and Bishop Wallace Benn (Lewes, England) were consulted and also form part of the Leadership Team.

These bishops and their colleagues represent over 30 million Anglicans out of the 55 million active Anglicans. ( Nigeria 18m , Uganda 8m Kenya 2.5m Rwanda 1 m Tanzania 1.3 m plus Southern Cone, US, Sydney, England). The notional total of the Communion is 77m. The active membership is nearer 55 m, since of the 26m notional members in CofE 3.7m attend at Christmas Services)

2. Whom do you expect to come?
We will be inviting bishops and their wives, senior clergy, church planters, and lay people including the next generation of young leaders. We aim to make it a Global Anglican Conference with its eye on the future and future leadership.

3. Is this a Global South Initiative?
Not quite. Many of the Primates at the Nairobi Consultation are in the Global South, but it also included Anglican leaders from parts of the world beyond the geographic Global South.

4. Why a pilgrimage?
We are looking to the future of the Global Anglican Communion, which is itself a pilgrimage.

Those who want to hold on to the Biblical and Historical faith need to come together to renew their faith and develop a fresh vision for our common mission. The way we have chosen to do this is to undertake a pilgrimage to a land whose heritage we all share, the land where Jesus Christ was born, ministered, died, rose again, ascended into heaven and sent his Holy Spirit, and where the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out. We believe this will strengthen us for the difficult days ahead.

The conference will outline the mission imperatives for the next 25 years for orthodox Anglicans. It is important therefore to reconnect with our roots in the biblical story.

5. Is not Israel/Palestine a controversial venue?
Israel/Palestine has been a place of conflict for decades. That should not keep us from making pilgrimage to a land that is our common heritage. We want to bring fellowship and bear testimony to the Christian communities in Israel/Palestine. Those of us from Africa are no strangers to the pressure that Christian communities are put under from other religious groups and communities.

6. Why call it in June?
The pilgrimage is to strengthen bishops at a crucial time in the life of the Anglican Communion. Many bishops will not be able to accept the invitation to the Lambeth Conference as their consciences will not allow it. Some will attend both gatherings. The purpose of the consultation is to strengthen them all spiritually.

7. Is it not really an alternative to the Lambeth Conference?
No.

It is not at the same time or in the same region as the Lambeth Conference. So there will be some who will attend both conferences and thus be able to consult with the Archbishop of Canterbury and others there.

As Archbishop Gregory Venables has said: “While there are many calls for shared mission, it clearly must rise from common shared faith. Our pastoral responsibility to the people we lead is now to provide the opportunity to come together around the central and unchanging tenets of the central and unchanging historic Anglican faith. Rather than being subject to the continued chaos and compromise that have dramatically impeded Anglican mission, GAFCON will seek to clarify God’s call at this time and build a network of cooperation for Global mission.”

GAFCON is a call to vision and action for mission based firmly on the “faith once delivered to the saints” and revealed in Scripture, to reform the church and transform persons, communities and societies through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. African Bishops had this focus at their Lagos 2004 conference. The Episcopal church’s agenda has recently overshadowed it. We now need to develop this gospel agenda for all like-minded in the communion.

It is to outline the mission imperatives for the next 25 years and how to begin to respond to them.

It is a pilgrimage to the places of the Biblical story to renew our faith and commitment. It is to envision the Global Anglican Future.

The Lambeth Conference has a different agenda.

8. Is this all over a gay bishop?
No.

GAFCON is about churches being grouped by what they have in common. We’re for growth, we’re for being passionate about the truth. We want to look to the future. That’s what the conference is about - Global Anglican Future.

9. Aren’t you splitting the church?
No. Communion depends on having something in common. Churches in the Global South are growing. They’re passionate about the truth and their faith. We are building on this strength.

As the Anglican Communion develops, some of the old bonds are loosening, and some new bonds are being formed. That’s a good thing. These bonds involve churches which are growing, and which have something distinctive to say to the world. GAFCON is enthusiastic about mission. Its focus is the future.

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), June 15-22, 2008, The Holy Land

Issued by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), June 15-22, 2008, The Holy Land
Press Release
December 26, 2007

GLOBAL ANGLICAN FUTURE CONFERENCE IN HOLY LAND ANNOUNCED BY ORTHODOX PRIMATES

Orthodox Primates with other leading bishops from across the globe are to invite fellow Bishops, senior clergy and laity from every province of the Anglican Communion to a unique eight-day event, to be known as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) 2008.

The event, which was agreed at a meeting of Primates in Nairobi last week, will be in the form of a pilgrimage back to the roots of the Church’s faith. The Holy Land is the planned venue. From 15-22 June 2008, Anglicans from both the Evangelical and Anglo-catholic wings of the church will make pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where Christ was born, ministered, died, rose again, ascended into heaven, sent his Holy Spirit, and where the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out, to strengthen them for what they believe will be difficult days ahead.

At the meeting were Archbishops Peter Akinola (Nigeria), Henry Orombi (Uganda), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya), Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania), Peter Jensen (Sydney), Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria); Bishop Don Harvey (Canada), Bishop Bill Atwood (Kenya) representing Archbishop Greg Venables (Southern Cone) , Bishop Bob Duncan (Anglican Communion Network), Bishop Martyn Minns (Convocation of Anglicans in North America ), Canon Dr Vinay Samuel (India and England) and Canon Dr Chris Sugden (England). Bishops Michael Nazir-Ali (Rochester, England), Bishop Wallace Benn (Lewes, England) were consulted by telephone. These leaders represent over 30 million of the 55 million active Anglicans in the world.

Southern Cone Primate Gregory Venables said: “While there are many calls for shared mission, it clearly must rise from common shared faith. Our pastoral responsibility to the people that we lead is now to provide the opportunity to come together around the central and unchanging tenets of the central and unchanging historic Anglican faith. Rather than being subject to the continued chaos and compromise that have dramatically impeded Anglican mission, GAFCON will seek to clarify God’s call at this time and build a network of cooperation for Global mission.”

The gathering set in motion a Global Anglican Future Conference: A Gospel of Power and Transformation. The vision, according to Archbishop Nzimbi is to inform and inspire invited leaders “to seek transformation in our own lives and help impact communities and societies through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Bishops and their wives, clergy and laity, including the next generation of young leaders will attend GAFCON. The GAFCON website is http://www.gafcon.org.

Canon Chris Sugden added: “While this conference is not a specific challenge to the Lambeth Conference, it will provide opportunities for fellowship and care for those who have decided not to attend Lambeth. There was no other place to meet at this critical time for the future of the Church than in the Holy Land .”

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Comments

Chris Sugden and his camp followers really do have a hangup about this "Canon Dr" business, don't they? NP referred to him in this way. The topic came up on another blog (Preludium) a couple of weeks ago. On the matter of double-dipping titles and honorifics, one poster commented that the use of "any more [than one title] are considered incredibly gauche in both English and American academic circles", adding "Dr. Williams certainly manages. No one, ever, calls him Archbishop Doctor."

On the main topic of the thread, GAFCON - a new acronym to confuse - what, faced with one more massive, pious ego-eruption, can one say, beyond marveling at the drama-queen vulgarity of the choice of venue? Otherwise wait and see.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 12:30pm GMT

I think I'll call this the SCRUNTSK Conference. It is clearly being held in June to plan ahead of Lambeth 2008 and, placed in Israel/ Palestine it has all the features of a launch. Certain people seem not to be invited, for example the Archbishop of Canterbury. If this is not an alternative to the Lambeth Conference, it will lead to no need for an alternative Conference at the same time. It will declare a future, and some will then see the Lambeth Conference 2008 as entirely other, while others presumably go as some sort of ambassadors for preaching, "This is your last chance!" I'd say to the SCRUNTSKies, choose whichever future you want and the majority of Provinces may at last have the Anglicanism they know.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 2:45pm GMT

"Gaffe-Con"? Really?

This is all so confusing that I can't figure out whether it constitutes upping the Anglican schism ante or whether it constitutes backing down.

I really think that the puritans are (eventually) going to follow through on one of their periodic departures from historic Anglicanism because it allows people in who are unworthy (as Garrison Keillor said, "My parents came to this country because the Anglicans wouldn't allow them to persecute people.")

BTW -- I do appreciate seeing somewhat more realistic membership figures (even if they ignore the demographic reality behind the numbers).

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 3:02pm GMT

"On the main topic of the thread, GAFCON - a new acronym to confuse - what, faced with one more massive, pious ego-eruption, can one say, beyond marveling at the drama-queen vulgarity of the choice of venue?"

Well, one might additionally observe that GAFCON more appropriately seems to signify "Gaffe-prone Conservatives."

In any event, looking over GAFCON's leadership team, it's clear that the *global* replacement ecclesial structure (why stop at a mere province, a` la the Chapman Memo?) is now crystallizing into what I personally think of as the "Shadow Communion." (All entendres intended.)

Kyrie eleison; they know all too well what they do.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 3:30pm GMT

So, all the Donatists, Lollards and Docetists are going to gather in the Holy land and proclaim their orthodoxy. The irony is almost too rich for words.

Posted by: John Robison on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 4:49pm GMT

So helpful to have the frequently asked questions answered - in advance. These dissenting Primates and bishops anticipate a lot of interest in their destructive activities, but are not answering the questions I'd like to ask, such as:

Why are two Church of England bishops deliberately aligning themselves with a body that is claiming (in the CANA lawsuit) to have formed a second Anglican Communion based on Nigeria and whose leader is Archbishop Peter Akinola?

Are Bishops Michael Nazir Ali and Wallace Benn on the verge of resigning from the Church of England and taking themselves off to Nigeria?

How is the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops in England going to relate to these two dissenting bishops?

Do bishops Michael and Wallace (with Canon Chris Sugden) claim to represent members of the Church of England, and are these people who believe in the central and unchanging historic Anglican faith?

Do they think the rest of us and the remainder of the House of Bishops are amongst those who don’t believe in the central and unchanging historic Anglican faith but are aligned with those who they think are causing chaos and compromise?

Don’t they think what they are doing is causing or adding to the chaos?

Posted by: Colin Coward on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 5:41pm GMT

Given the CANA-nites' obsessive need to keep Primate Archbishop Dr. Akinola away from the media, perhaps it is more appropriate to call this "not the Lambeth" Conference by another name - GAFFE-Prone.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 5:50pm GMT

My take on the Conference, with picture of Archbishop Peter Jensen

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/12/scruntskie-conference.html

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 5:54pm GMT

The gaffcon.org domain is, of course, helpfully owned and run by Chris Sugden and Anglican Mainstream, and was registered on Dec 14th. Looks like Canon Sugden went to the Nairobi meeting confident of the outcome!

Posted by: MJ on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 6:31pm GMT

"Gaffe" is the word.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 6:35pm GMT

The main note struck in GAFCON is the sound of moving on, as if. Having claimed that they are the Real Anglican Communion, not including the rest of us, and it sometimes looks as if , NOT including Canterbury - GAFCON believers wish to say they no longer are preoccupied with gay bishops and other hot button issues. As if.

In that respect, they want to preach that they alone have claimed the holiness high ground in their holier than thou witness. As if.

Quite a few people do not follow Jesus because of the special holiness GAFCON insights that Canon Dr. S. and his confreres may readily bring to the diverse Anglican believer tables - and one wonders whether his efforts to define the rest of us out of Anglican Jesus Freak bounds will ever really succeed.

Meanwhile, Lambeth and this noodling business of a new covenant waits. With or without new Anglican police powers.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 7:06pm GMT

I posted this on Stand Firm but it may be relevant here too. In answer b.b.on Stand Firm: "Yes, where are the women and the lay people? And, equally true, where are the theologians? In the civil realm the organizers of this group would most likely be called lobbyists or politicians. It is important to remember that +Akinola’s earned degree from VTS is a MTS ...a master’s in theology and society and a curriculum heavily weighted to social and political concerns, not hermeneutics or exegesis.

The group, +Atwood, Anderson +Minns +Guernsey etc. is also co-terminus with the recipients of the Allison Barfoot Memo of 2004. They are self-nominated and elected by no one. They have been working to establish a critical mass of the “orthodox” for years and a communion based on orthodoxy, not relationship.

This conference is just one more step. They will invite those whom they have decided are orthodox...(will the line be set at homosexuality or women’s ordination?) and who will be discerning saints from sinners? CANA has already claimed in a US court that the “division” has taken place and Canterbury leads a branch of communion based on relationship and Nigeria, that of orthodoxy so it might be assumed that +Akinola and Nigeria (aka +Minns, +Anderson with help from Sugden) will be making the orthodoxy decision?

The agenda of the meeting? I believe: 1. to establish parallel instruments of communion for this “branch” as those of Canterbury. 2. To count heads to determine if Lambeth can be dominated
If Lambeth can be dominated: 3. To determine an agenda and strategy for its implementation. including a fast track implementation of the draft covenant transferring virtually all authority to the primates, the instrument of communion that the GS has the best chance to dominate. 4. If Lambeth can not be dominated, announce the formation of the new orthodox communion...as already argued as existant by the CANA attorneys.

The FAQ’s on the news do not address who is to be invited to this event or who is paying for it. Sugden+ and +Anderson both have funds from Ahmanson or Ahmanson related foundations. +Anderson’s budget is circa 500K? and he, in his recent fundraising letter seeking 150K from ordinary folks (not close to his budget) has promised that the AAC will be at all functions working for the orthodox or, if not invited, close by)

Posted by: EmilyH on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 8:15pm GMT

DNS info on gafcon.org is visible via, for example, http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools/whois.ch?ip=gafcon.org

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 8:24pm GMT

I think rather that "con" is the word: a con job, that these people are "Anglican"!

Lord have mercy.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 8:25pm GMT

Lapin, I am having trouble deciding whether I should address myself as Professor Doctor or Doctor Professor. Also, should my M.A. figure into this somehow? My B.A.? Do you have any suggestions?

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 9:51pm GMT

Whatever happened to Lambeth 1948--the "provisionality" of the Anglican Communion, its vocation to disappear as it shared the historic episcopate and liturgical order with others.......presumably the end result will be not a Church of England, but an "Anglican denomination " in England...perhaps more than one. You might even believe Tony Blair got out in time!!

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 10:20pm GMT

Pluralist,

One of the points on which there was some agreement here a few days ago was that there does need to be some definition of boundaries. It is apparent that without that we simply slide into further and deeper chaos.

You seem to think that finding little "clever" names amounts to reason or argument! You then go on to say that the Advent Letter is about "one way of reading the Bible only, strictly according to Lambeth 1998 1:10 ..." For that actually to be the case the Bible itself would have to be equated with Lambeth 98. Who does that? Certainly not RW or anyone I know. It is simply the word of the church in council the last time out - true or false? - therefore a reference point. Further, this manages simply to overlook the fact that covenant is a process - not "dictated" from anywhere - with the aim of hearing people on all sides and coming up with a way forward together (who is greasing the wheels of chaos here?)? Only those here I think who have little real interest in communication who keep spouting a line that denigrates and even more, misrepresents.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 10:30pm GMT

Malcolm+ writes, "...keep Primate Archbishop Dr. Akinola away from the media..." Did you see the extensive interview by Ruth Gledhill. Really wonderful. A gracious and godly man.

DrDanfee talks about "moving on." I would call it moving forward. After years of duplicitous delay, they have had enough of the dishonesty. The GS leaders are saying "We are moving forward, we are leading, you may (or may not) follow." I don't think that this aspect of their announcement should be criticized. It is simply integrity on their part.

Posted by: robroy on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 11:23pm GMT

Ben W on Lambeth 1998 1:10:

"It is simply the word of the church in council the last time out - true or false? - therefore a reference point."

Um, FALSE. The "word of the church in council"??? For that to be true, there would need to have been an actual church council, not just a meeting/conference -- and even +++RW and Akinola have heretofore conceded that Lambeth has no conciliar authority.

Nicaea, this was NOT.

Even in +++RW's argument for 1:10 as "the only reference point," he does not claim conciliar authority for the voice of Lambeth.

(Which only demonstrates His Grace's poor reasoning, alas. Merely because one has only one data point, does not mean one should go about drawing inferences from and building upon that sole data point. Statistically, it could be an outlier and unrepresentative; just because it's a datum does not good data make.)

And again: No Lambeth has *ever* been deemed equivalent to an actual church council; indeed, in the early days, such a nature for it was expressly disavowed. "The church in council"? Hardly.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 at 11:30pm GMT

Ben W. Permit me to have some fun on Boxing Day with initials to make a name. I'm bored with NURKS, and wanted something reasonably Anglo-Saxon as provided by the vowel limitation.

What boundaries did I agree to? I'd have to look. I can't remember. Perhaps someone else agreed. I read several boundaries here.

The Archbishop made it clear that invitations are on the basis of agreement with the Covenant process. He has said indeed that it does not pre-determine the outcome of a Covenant. However, he has stated his argument that there is but one way to read the Bible and that this is the expectation of Churches on other Churches, and thus each Church is trusted to have its geographical monopoly. He views the one reading based on Lambeth 1998 1:10, and his epistle was based around the centre, not individual Churches, making the decision that a local Church had failed. Thus he wants Instruments of Communion to be clarified by the Covenant for this task.

This surely is what he wrote. Of course he cannot impose this, and it all depends on how the agenda gets locked in or not. The agenda may not go through.

My point this time was that if GAFCOM goes ahead, and is the launch it must be for, then the agenda as set out by Rowan Williams won't happen, because the reason for it - leaning over in the SCRUNTSKies' direction - will have been superseded by events. Plus, people in the know say that there have been many private conversations and the Advent Letter cannot be taken on its own presentation. To which I say fine, but a rule is if you don't want something to happen, don't set out on that road.

The analogy I'd pursue is that of Mikhail Gorbachev swinging to the right to appease the resistance. I don't wish to get personal, however.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 12:37am GMT

Viriato,

The term council is difficult is it? central to the meaning of this word: 1) "an ssembly of church repesentatives which meet to decide matters of church dicipline or doctrine;" 2)"a meeting to discuss or decide something." I thought the dictionary might be of some help here!

There has been no meeting beyond 98.1.10 that represents the church as a whole, so in that sense since this was the last word it ought stand good. Amazing, RW does not think we should simply go back on our word!

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 1:25am GMT

So, do you suppose anyone would mind if some of us have a conference on how to be a faithful gay Christian? We could have invitation only meetings communion busting agendas all our own. Do we need to get some bishops involved or can we just throw something together?

Posted by: Curtis on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 1:40am GMT

>>>It is apparent that without that we simply slide into further and deeper chaos.

Or, of course, people could just mind their own damn business.

Posted by: JPM on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 2:01am GMT

Whether moving on is moving forward depends, depends on the particular map reference points we use to lay out the directions of the plotted course. Having mustered every vile connatation in the traditional lexicons to paint gay bishops as a sky falling in crisis, we now find that the orthodox wish to move foward. Okay, what about women? Those shoals are sharper, deeper, and bigger than the reefs connected with queer folks plus friends plus family.

In many cases, the two hot button domains overlap quite a bit. So we wait with expectant humor to see just what the new orthodox can make our of modernity after all, given their postures askance to what so many of the rest of us take to be provisional best practices in inquiry and discernment.

I am not waiting, however. I must continue to follow Jesus of Nazareth as Risen Lord, no matter what holier than thou archbishop might choose to convey against me in what sorts of half-true or even utterly false rumor-mongering. And that, dear friends, is indeed one of the privileges of my much-faulted modernity as a progressive believer occupied with so many others of various sorts, woven into an ecological fabric of overlapping global community. This great and precious treasure being offered me by nobody's will or grace in the Global South, just so, the GS probably cannot deprive me either. We are all rubbing shoulders now in the modern era. Thank goodness, thank God.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 2:18am GMT

"After years of duplicitous delay, they have had enough of the dishonesty. The GS leaders are saying "We are moving forward, we are leading, you may (or may not) follow."

Leading forward? Going back to a time when women and gays were considered unfit for polite company is going forward?


Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 2:19am GMT

robroy: The problem seems to be that "forward" to some means backwards to others. I don't believe the GS men are leading at all. In fact they are blocking. They preach Biblical opinions which only support their prejudices while ignoring what the Bible says Jesus taught. You may think that is "forward". I don't.

Posted by: PseudoPiskie on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 3:39am GMT

"A gracious and godly man"

You mean God also lobbies for gay people to remain criminalised, and for their supporters to risk 5 years in jail?

That wasn't the Christmas message preached in my church.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 7:31am GMT

Don't worry ...Bishops Nazir Ali and Benn will not resign. They have nothing to lose, and a free trip ( including their wives) is not to be turned down.

CESA STILL MISSING

When Sydney first mooted this idea, the Sydney Synod asked that the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) be included. CESA is a rival denomination ( about 100,000 adherents), Sydney have aided since the nineteen thirties).

However CESA practice lay celebration, have grape juice for Communion and have eradicated the word Catholic from the Creeds in their alternative prayer Book. they are very liberal on divorce, but " sound " on the gay issue. Read Presiding bishop Frank Retief's book on divorce, which was badly received by some evangelicals.

Obviously Sydney Diocese are not going to risk anything, by bringing their "love child" to Jeruaslem. prior to Lambeth is not the time to come out to lay presidnecy, at a meeting championing orthodoxy.So Minns can go, but Retief is not invited!It would reveal the true orthodoxy of GAFCON.

So CESA excluded from the lambeth Conference for generations are not at GAFCON.....nice one Sydney.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 7:40am GMT

Colin Coward asks: "Don't they think what they are doing is causing or adding to the chaos?"

lthey think they are Righteous, so it doesn't matter what they do.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 9:12am GMT

Ben W wrote both: “There has been no meeting beyond 98.1.10 that represents the church as a whole, so in that sense since this was the last word it ought stand good. Amazing, RW does not think we should simply go back on our word!”

and “For that actually to be the case the Bible itself would have to be equated with Lambeth 98. Who does that? Certainly not RW or anyone I know. It is simply the word of the church in council the last time out – true or false? – therefore a reference point. Further, this manages simply to overlook the fact that covenant is a process – not "dictated" from anywhere – with the aim of hearing people on all sides and coming up with a way forward together (who is greasing the wheels of chaos here?)? Only those here I think who have little real interest in communication who keep spouting a line that denigrates and even more, misrepresents.“

As far as I can see you all do it, unnecessarily and stupidly, each time you try (you know full well it will not work here) to put Lambeth 1998 above the Bible as a “council of the church” or whatever.

It doesn’t “stand”. It never was. It will not be. Ever.

Lambeth 1998 is a failure. Read it again: FAILURE. A shame on the leadership of Dr Carey and “a pox on both your Houses”, if ever there was one.

It needs to be wiped out and never ever mentioned again. A shame.

Now stop this nonsense Ben W. It is absolutely fantastic that you can claim yourself to be listening, when you don’t even hear your own gaffes!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 9:44am GMT

The Anglican Centrist has posted the Theological Statement of Common Cause, (http://anglicancentrist.blogspot.com/) which is almost certainly also the basis of GAFCON. You have to wonder how people connected with FiF can sign up to such a 16th century Puritan agenda, which demands a literal understanding of the 39 Articles. (Funny how Newman's reading still rankles with the neo-puritans after almost 170 years).

It also says that "the church has no authority to innovate" and is obliged continually to return to "the faith once delivered to the saints". I suppose we therefore have to expect that not only ecclesiastical (OT) rules on usury and slavery are reinstated, but that the Table of Kindred and Affinity is applied with the full weight of auto da fe.

Posted by: cryptogram on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 11:35am GMT

Is there something a little obsessive - monomaniac perhaps - in distilling the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its entirety to the formula "98.1.10"?

And if we're talking "conciliar", while we're about it, let's remember 98.V.13 for starters. Which, incidentally, reaffirms 88.72 - "it is deemed inappropriate behaviour for any bishop or priest of this Communion to exercise episcopal or pastoral ministry within another diocese without first obtaining the permission and invitation of the ecclesial authority thereof".

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 12:10pm GMT

"The term council is difficult is it?"

No, not difficult, incorrect. The Lambeth Conference has never had conciliar status. It is not intended to set doctrine. It is often said that we Anglicans have no formal way to set doctrine. Church councils are not simply gatherings in which a bunch of bishops get together and talk about stuff, which is what happens at Lambeth. Equating any lambeth conference with one of the great councils of the Church, and even they "may err" according to the Artilces, seems a bit desparate to me. Do you really mean that?

And as to equating Lambeth '98 with the Bible, I don't agree with others that you all do that, rather that you all take one specific statement of Lambeth '98, Section 1, Paragraph 10, and make it equivalent to Scripture. It is really funny how the entire statement from Lambeth '98 is referred to by conservatives as "Lambeth 1:10". It's done as a reflex, in the same way that "Christian" is used without a thought to mean "Evangelical Christian". It shows pretty clearly what these words mean for Consevos, and the fact that they can't see how transparent it is makes it really funny, to me at least.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 1:53pm GMT

One of the functions of the old broad Church was that it provided some in between the extremities of the Protestants and the revived Catholic. Without that broad Church element, GAFCOM is aiming to have only both dogmatic elements in the Anglican mix. This won't work, because there will just be two conflicting dogmatic elements who, in the longer run, would go their own way. Anglicanism was all about in built methods of compromises that GAFCOM seems to be rejecting.

I wouldn't be so pessimistic. Let the GAFCOM lot go their own way, because it is one route by which the rest of Anglicanism might recover a sense of breadth and compromise.

It cannot be for so long now that the Archbishop will keep leaning over in the Ben W direction, in that once GAFCOM is up and running the chances are that the whole point of that argument will be lost. Just as the Archbishop's (tactical?) approach will fall to pieces, so will the Fulcrum approach be left high and dry. The failure of this strategy must lead to the dumping of Lambeth 1998 1:10 and the edifice around it.

Another potential future is that the GAFCOM launch is not as successful as its promoters think and assume, if the Archbishop and his extreme leaning over has picked off the doubters and cold feet in their midst. The GAFCOM have to motivate their supporters at this end of the world for the launch into the unknown. Will, for example, Nazir-Ali and Benn get their salaries from elsewhere and find no way to move their dioceses across? Will congregations in Church of England properties join whatever body is created for the new Communion, which means dropping certain comforts on the assumption that these congregations are big enough to be self-supporting? Will they want to come under a Missionary Bishop of Nigeria?

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 2:38pm GMT

"The event, which was agreed at a meeting of Primates in Nairobi last week..."

Yeah, right. A conference that will be for hundreds(?) of bishops, 'wives' (guess that means no female bishops will be invited!), clergy, and laity? Decided with just six months prep time? Accomodation, conference facilities, transport, security, etc, etc. all just now to be arranged? Yeah right. Something tells me this has been planned, organised and booked long ago.

By the way. Since it's taking place within his jurisdiction, was +Dawani of Jerusalem informed of this event? Did he agree to it? Do the organisers even care what he thinks, given that he probably won't receive an invite as being 'orthodox' anyway, given his diocese's companion relationship with the Diocese of LA, and +Bruno's presence at his installation. For this +Dawani was 'excommunicated' this year by one of his own priests! - Matt Walter, a priest in Jordan jointly licenced by Jerusalem and (you guessed it) Pittburgh. His father is an AMiA priest.

Posted by: MJ on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 3:11pm GMT

“There has been no meeting beyond 98.1.10 that represents the church as a whole, so in that sense since this was the last word it ought stand good. Amazing, RW does not think we should simply go back on our word!” (sayeth Ben W)

Pshaw, Ben. Here again you err, repeating the ungrounded and unfounded assumption Lambeth '98 in any way was a meeting that represented "the church as a whole." It was NOT, and merely repeating the lie many times over does not make it any more true.

"The term council is difficult is it? central to the meaning of this word: 1) "an ssembly of church repesentatives which meet to decide matters of church dicipline or doctrine;" 2)"a meeting to discuss or decide something." I thought the dictionary might be of some help here!" (Ben W again)

How very silly. You know perfectly well (or ought to) that "council" is a term of art in this context, a bit of ecclesiological/theological/canon-legal jargon, from which certain very specific claims as to Authority inevitably flow. Running to a run of the mill dictionary strikes me as a tad disingenuous, when it is in the very jargon-consistent sense of the word, i.e., implying Authority, that you deployed "council" (and specifically, the "church in council").

Really now, I'm surprised you can type all that with a straight face. OTOH, we being on The Internets and all, perhaps you don't -- we can't really see, after all.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 3:28pm GMT

"The Internets"

Is this a reference to FARK.com? If so, you rise from your already high place in my estimation!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 3:52pm GMT

'GAFCON' Sounds like somebody put out rat poison and they're running off the ship drowning themselves in their own self-righteousness.

Speaking of ex-Anglican entities, I wonder if they are going to invite the Anglican Catholic Church of North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church to their little power pout-fest?

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 4:10pm GMT

"Is this a reference to FARK.com? If so, you rise from your already high place in my estimation!"

Alas, I fear I must sink, then. Had never heard of FARK.com -- but now that you've pointed me to it, it's on my favorites list. (Seems a tad busy/complicated, though. I'll save it for the weekends.)

No, I used the term in its Bushesque sense. See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internets

Yours truthily,
Viriato

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 4:20pm GMT

“There has been no meeting beyond 98.1.10 that represents the church as a whole, so in that sense since this was the last word it ought stand good. Amazing, RW does not think we should simply go back on our word!”

Just to be clear on something that seems to have escaped +Cantuar, not only is the Lambeth Conference not a "council," the Anglican Communion is not _a_ church. It is (as we seem to have to keep insisting) a voluntary association of sovereign national churches.

Posted by: 4 May 1535+ on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 4:29pm GMT

"'GAFCON' Sounds like somebody put out rat poison "

I thought it sounded like the name of a science fiction convention.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 5:28pm GMT

More thoughts by me, and a cartoon piccy of Wallace Benn.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/12/scruntskies-and-anglican-futures.html

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 5:52pm GMT

Will ABC invited, do you think?

Posted by: Jonathan Clark on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 6:40pm GMT

So the new structure will be Gafcon to compete with the joke that will be left behind - a/k/a Laffcon.

Posted by: Dan on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 7:48pm GMT

RobRoy: Yes, I've read Ruth Gledhill's interview. Godly wasn't exactly the word that came to my mind, but no matter.

Of course, back in the day, Primate Archbishop Dr. Akinola used to grant interviews to reliable conservative journalists. That is no longer his practice.

See: http://video1.washingtontimes.com/beliefblog/2007/12/chasing_archbishop_akinola.html

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 8:24pm GMT

Jonathan Clark --
I was just going to note that the ABC has NOT been invited -- the Telegraph prediction seems to be on target so far, but the right wing game of "yes it is but no it isn't" seems to be playing out here (like in San Joaquin) -- "No it isn't a schism, so we're still Episcopalians & can't be disciplined for abandoning the Communion of this church but Yes, there is a 'division' and we get the property in Virginia!" sounds like "The foreign nationals can be held by executive authority because there is a war on terror and this falls under the president's war powers, but the Geneva Conventions don't apply because it isn't really a war."

Sorry, but this is simply duplicitous (see the Chapman Memo on the planned guerrilla tactics) & any decent person would admit it.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 8:28pm GMT

Pluralist,

Thank you for your considered response.

I would like to hear how many here think the AC can go on without dealing seriously with some of these issues. We need some process, and I think covenant is on the table out of a consultative process that holds some possiblities. What is the alternative? The Archbishop stands with the Covenant process. That is a process open to people, in your words, "He has said indeed that it does not pre-determine the outcome of a Covenant."

The church in assembly affirmed Lambeth 1998 1:10. That can be reconsidered further down the way, but in 98 that was the church's discernment and affirmation in the light of scripture - you do not simply go back on this word (you speak of RW and "one way to read the Bible" - there is a difference between serious reading and subversion of scripture - but it is not simply closed).

As for a "swing to the right," I do not think that comparison holds up, RW seeks to include people but within a framework that sustains Christian identity. And that means taking account of Christian teaching and history in the light of scripture.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 9:45pm GMT

Viriato,

Me thinks he protests too much! Of course you will quibble over terms for purposes of diversion if you can. If the intent is not to get the mind of the church on certain matters at Lambeth what was it and what is it? Just a nice party? Because you do not agree is not a grown up reason to throw dust in the air and simply assert and proceed in denial.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 10:01pm GMT

"I thought it sounded like the name of a science fiction convention."

Ford Thank you. I was afraid I was the only here who had made that connection. As a life-long comics and SF fan, it's the first thing I think of with any acronym that ends in "con".

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 10:22pm GMT

"Me thinks he protests too much! Of course you will quibble over terms for purposes of diversion if you can ............. Because you do not agree is not a grown up reason to throw dust in the air and simply assert and proceed in denial."

Couldn't have stated it better myself, Ben - though "methinks" is not in my vocabulary. Ever. And I repeat, 98.V.13.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 1:58am GMT

My (probably minority) view is that since the worldwide communion isn't broken just because our Anglican views/discernments vary on several hot button issues, we would be well advised NOT to fix it, or even try to fix it.

If the con evos cannot abide historic leeway, then they will have to live simpler and narrower and more conformed lives - either inside the broader/deeper, more complicated Anglican frames, or possibly outside them if they cannot abide rubbing shoulders with all sorts.

I think the very, very, very last solution we should dare consider would involve any sort of Anglican police. And my axiomatic inference is that so far all talk of covenant is not so secret code for, policing. By that time, the meaning of Anglican has shifted so far to the totalitarian right that it is Orwellian Newspeak indeed.

The best leadership Canterbury could have provided or may yet provide would simply involve visiting everybody who was willing to entertain bonds of affection across all of our believer divides, and let God sort it all out by the typically reliable means of letting God be God in Jesus of Nazareth.

If we stand besides our queer brothers and sisters all around the planet, we will surely sooner or later be called every bad name in the traditional books. Easy to anticipate, even easier to predict. SO what? You can trash talk same sex pair bonding as nothing but icky con evo porneia, but that actually does not make the con evo name calling fair and honest and true.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 2:26am GMT

What an apt choice of name.

GAF is the acronym of General Aniline and Film Corp, whose only remains to my knowledge is quite a bit of industrially polluted soil where the company previously had its production facilities.

CON denotes a person or organization which by appealing to their trust, swindles people by deception as to its actual purpose.

Thus, GAFCON's motto would be "Let's pollute our spiritual environment by claiming truth and honesty of purpose."

Posted by: Howard Cornelsen on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 5:03am GMT

I've also been thinking about who will be invited to GAFCON and even, who would be allowed to attend? Will this be like the Primates meeting in Tanzania, except in the Holy Land it will be radicals and mainstream Anglicans (those committed to Canterbury) who will be lodged outside, trying to get news about what secrets are being discussed inside GAFCON?

If I applied to attend as Director of Changing Attitude England, would my registration be accepted?

This pushed me to think about how far GAFCON will address ANY of the issues that the Anglican Communion is committed to attend to. For example, will Lambeth 1.10 be on the agenda? Will the Listening Process be on the agenda? Will Canon Phil Groves, Facilitator for the Listening Process at the Anglican Communion Office, be formally invited to attend, report, listen and learn?

The commitment in Lambeth 1.10 is a mainstream Anglican commitment but one that I am assuming (and perhaps I am totally wrong) will not feature as part of the GAFCON event.

Both Lambeth and GAFCON will be focussed on mission and evangelism. That much they have in common. In that particular, GAFCON is not a rival to Lambeth. But the expectations of who is in and out at GAFCON, who is in and out of the Communion (and of communion) will be totally different.

Suppose a group of LGBT Anglicans arrived at GAFCON. Would they be listened to? Only if they have bought into the 'You can be healed by Jesus of your sexuality' myth, I suspect.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 8:24am GMT

drdandee,

I think even on this list some are going to ask in what fantasy world you are living if you say "the communion is not broken" and the solution is just ignore what has happened or is happening.

We will clearly think and act in SOME framework, for you that is a kind of minimalist theology and ethics. To a great extent it means let the culture set the agenda (go with the culture - I understand people doing that, the problem is it it begins in denial of the faith and ends as abandonment of it).

Talk about name calling, I have to say I have never been on a list where I met more of it than here! People in glass houses. . .

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 2:36pm GMT

"The church in assembly affirmed Lambeth 1998 1:10."

But this is exactly what did not happen. You might want to have a look at a 1998 essay by Edward Norman entitled "Authority in the Anglican Communion". It contains the following:

"What of the authority of Lambeth Conferences? As a source of doctrinal definition they can easily be eliminated from the quest, since they have disclaimed any such authority from the start. . . .At the start of the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 Archbishop Longley made it clear that the gathering was a conference and not a synod, and that its resolutions would be purely declaratory -- they would have only the influence of recommendations. That has remained the position to this day: the resolutions of Lambeth Conferences only have effect if enacted by synods in each constituent Church of the Communion."

Let's repeat that: "the resolutions of Lambeth Conferences only have effect if enacted by synods in each constituent Church of the Communion."

As it stands, Lambeth 1998 1.10 represents simply the advice of the majority of bishops present. Constituent churches, assembled in their synods and conventions, are free to enact that advice, to reject it, or to ignore it altogether. Unless and until Lambeth recommendations are so enacted, it is seriously misleading to insist that "The church in assembly" has spoken.

Posted by: tedm on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 3:47pm GMT

"To a great extent it means let the culture set the agenda (go with the culture - I understand people doing that, the problem is it it begins in denial of the faith and ends as abandonment of it)."

Yet you cannot see how conservative Christianity defends a culturally based understanding of the world, and has been doing it for 1700 years? Acceptance of war and judicial killing ain't exactly Gospel, but we've been doing it, even blessing it, for centuries. Usury was once sin, now why, I wonder, did we change our minds? Did it really have nothing to do with letting society set our agenda? What about our recent acceptance of remarriage after divorce? Come on, for that argument to have any value, you have to at least acknowledge that allowing society to set our agenda has been going on for 1700 years. you might also want to consider that denial and abandonment of the institutional Church is not the same as denial and abandonment of the faith.

"Talk about name calling, I have to say I have never been on a list where I met more of it than here!"

You've never been on a conservative blog, then? But then, you'd support them, so there'd be no need for name calling. There are several blogs that won't even allow people to post unless they toe the party line. Do you seriously feel you are met here with the degree of hositlity one is met with for speaking against the established positions of those sites? Try it. Go on a conservative blog and argue FOR any 'liberal' position, see how long it takes you to get blacklisted.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 3:50pm GMT

Ben
I assume you mean "our" denial of faith?
You see, all we see is your denial of our faith. We're not denying anything apart from your absolute certainties.

I don't know what drdanfee means by the communion not being broken. I know what I mean by it: All that is happening is that some rowdy toddlers are stomping into their playroom, slamming the door shut and shouting to their brothers and sisters outside that they're not their brothers and sisters anymore and that they won't play with them any longer. Ever. So there.

Well, it doesn't change anything, does it. We're all still here, all in the same house, still all worshipping the same parent.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 4:28pm GMT

Colin, I know you want 'The Communion' to continue in order to apparently reach people in hard to get places where provinces have to somehow obey the whole rule book and not part of it. But they've never obeyed the whole rule book - just as they are selective literalists so they choose the rules to follow and then claim they follow them (all).

Why not let them get on with it. We know there is a little bit of dishonesty around as to what this is, and they are cagey, but let them get on with it and then outreach via the Canterbury Communion, suitably refreshed, and via connections and modern media and more important state to state contacts.

The reality is that they have set this thing up, and if the engine starts it will have a journey of its own. I'd let them get on with it.

There will be plenty to do at the Canterbury end, such as reversing the disastrous policy it is in at present, and going on to dump Lambeth 1998 1:10 altogether and for good. No doubt there will be something like a Jerusalem 2008 1:10 for the others, and much narrower. Then the Canterbury Communion can openly oppose it.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 6:22pm GMT

Ben: No, you are mistaken if you think that we just follow "the culture." I am a very traditional, counter-cultural priest, who simply happens to think, on an intellectual and pastoral basis, that discriminating against people because of their gender or sexuality is wrong. I don't hug trees, or engage in any kind of weird non-liturgical shenanigans at all: I just think there is a Gospel imperative to end this bad ecclesiastical hypocrisy and exclusion, because I can see the harm it does to good people. It's that simple.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 6:37pm GMT

Pluralist
"Why not let them get on with it. "

Apart from my difficulty in understanding schism at a deep theological level, there is also the consideration that these hot button issues never last as long as people think.
Look at everything else that has divided churches in the past, it barely gets people's feelings up these days.

We are in danger of destroying something stable and worth having for the sake of a pretty short term crisis.

I'm not saying it can be prevented any longer but I am 100% certain that in 50 years time we'll look back at it from our different camps wondering what it had all been about.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 7:06pm GMT

"So, all the Donatists, Lollards and Docetists are going to gather in the Holy land and proclaim their orthodoxy. The irony is almost too rich for words."

...while the Gnostics and the pagans gather in England to talk about being prophetic. Now, that's irony!

Posted by: Joe on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 7:40pm GMT

Fr Mark
Ben would think that we're all just following the culture.
It's a given in any new awareness process that those supporting it are at first seen as counter cultural and dangerous.

Only once they have been given full equality and people get used to them being around do they realise that there are as many shades of opinion among them as there are among the traditionalists.

For many years it was accepted knowledge that women and blacks all voted Labour. It took proper integration into society before society noticed that women and blacks are not homogenous groups. LGBTs will have to go through the same process of acceptance.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 7:45pm GMT

Pluralist, it's not easy to be nuanced here or to write what I would really like to be saying.

I've learnt through my relationships with LGBT people in other Provinces that they will be the ones to suffer most if the conservatives push their threat to the limit and divide the Communion. I have learnt how comparatively privileged my position is in England, despite the inability of the CofE to have the guts to affirm publicly the presence and ministry of thousands of LGBT members.

I’m alarmed that the bishops of Rochester and Lewes have so little understanding of their Anglican heritage and such a willingness to engage in destructive action. Rochester shouldn’t surprise me now, he spent all his time at the last TEC General Convention with those who wish to split TEC - why would he have any constraint about doing the same in England?

If a split occurs along the lines the conservatives dream of, it will make reform of the continuing Anglican Communion easier. But a split is not what I am praying for. As a Christian gay man, I can find no reason why I should be working for a split in the Communion, or imagine that I might be in a better place post-split. It is to be prayed against and those who are plotting to split need to be prayed for.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Friday, 28 December 2007 at 8:00pm GMT

Ye merry GAFCON men bring tidings of comfort and joy by keeping the gay issue high-profile. In pro-gay UK with no media support whatsoever for their stance, anything which resembles or hardens Lambeth 1:10 at Lambeth 2008 will be trounced by the press. The C of E might yet be shamed into a pro-gay stance rather than face more Aunt Sally treatment. GAFCON will throw down the gauntlet to Lambeth to no avail.

The best we can do is continue highlighting injustices in countries with poor gay rights records, in the hope that justice prevails. This won't stop, even with a 'split'.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 1:06am GMT

Erika,

You make a point about me making a connection between ethics and culture ("Ben would think that we're all just following the culture").

Two simple points: bishop Spence for Niagara region in Canada made this precise argument a number of times, this is the way our culture is moving and we must recognize it. Of course he also followed later with arguments of homosexuals as victims and Jesus being for the oppressed. That can be brought in to justify almost anything. Secondly,is the campaign for gay marriage based on what the Christian Church has historically stood for or on modern individualism (in the culture)and reductionist theology and ethics?

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 2:01am GMT

Viriato,

So maybe you have not read Shakespeare? The precise words: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." - William Shakespeare (Hamlet) This quote comes from Hamlet, Act 3, scene 2, line 230

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 2:55am GMT

Ben
I was responding to Fr Mark who said to you that he was not "following the culture", as you appeared to believe, but simply supportive of gay equality in the church too because that's how he reads the Gospels.

There is a tendency in every new social awareness to believe that all those who follow it are a homogenous mass, liberal, dangerous, about to destroy the status quo. I believe that's partly why the prevailing culture fights to much against it.

It's only when equality has been achieved and people can all see that their worst fears have not been realised, that they are able to assess their former opponents with a little more balance. And find to their suprise that many of them are just like themselves.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 9:41am GMT

Ben: you throw in "Jesus being for the oppressed" as if this were a eccentric reading of a marginal aspect of Jesus' ministry!

Posted by: Fr Mark on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 10:27am GMT

Ben
"Secondly,is the campaign for gay marriage based on what the Christian Church has historically stood for or on modern individualism (in the culture)and reductionist theology and ethics?"

Did you listen to what we've been saying here to you for the last few months?
I'm astonished you can even ask the question.

You may not like what we want but to have spoken to me, Ford and Fr Mark, to name but a few, for many many weeks now and still not understand our motives is deeply sad.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 12:57pm GMT

Colin Coward writes:
'I'm alarmed that the Bishops of Rochester and Lewes have so little understanding of their Anglican heritage....'

-raises several questions:
(1) Don't they also have a Christian heritage?
(2) Is that Christian heritage something smaller or bigger than their 'Anglican heritage'?
(3) Is that Christian heritage something of which their 'Anglican heritage' is merely a subset? or, if not, what is the relationship between the two?
(4) Does one mindlessly and uncritically follow one's heritage anyway? If we Brits did, we would still be with the druids.
(5) Is there a danger of being more concerned to be anglican than to be Christian? Yet - how can one be anglican without *first* being Christian? This seems self-contradictory.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 1:03pm GMT

Erika,

I understand that one can claim the gospels to support homosexuality as within God's framework for the sexual relation. But Jesus in the gospels themselves affirms marriage as set out in the creation accounts (cf Matt 19) and when he refers to options for living this out there are two: 1)marriage; or 2)living as a eunuch. Jesus affirms marriage. People here say we have made a mess of it and that is a reason not to take it seriously. There is brokeness around, the culture is in great confusion about this. Jesus recognizes there will be brokeness and that the good purpose for this relationship will not always be realized. We take it into account and in his grace we try again without justifying our missing the mark or calling it good.

If you listen closely to those on this list it is clear some have abandoned historic Christian teaching. I hear you and Fr Mark affirming it more clearly then some. So I have been listening!

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 2:13pm GMT

Ben
well, thank you for that listening.

But then you will also know that what we are calling for is for those who are incapable of heterosexual marriage to be included in that great Christian way of living together for life in love.

Rather than abandoning what you hold so dear we want to share it.

Why should that be considered to be abandoning the faith?

Read some of drdanfee's recent posts again. Whatever you think of his "politics", you cannot possibly doubt that there is someone who tries to follow Christ with all his heart.
And I have learned more from Ford about what it is to follow Christ than from many many other people I've known.
Cheryl Clough may not write in a way accessible to everyone but can you doubt that she is most sincerely following Christ’s call?

We may come to conclusions you don't share. But please don't just glibly suggest that all those who want same sex marriage are just riding on a tide of individualism using Christianity as a vehicle.

Yes, we may have abandoned "historic" Christian teaching, whatever that may be, although you can only claim there is one single historic Christian teaching on everything if you ignore everything Göran says here, everything we know of the development of Christian thought and practice over the millennia, and if you believe the current conservative approach to the bible to be the only historic one. But even if that were true: It's been done often enough by the church. We're just reassessing the current hot button issue. That's not the same as saying we're abandoning all you hold dear.

I mean - did you ever ask yourself WHY we're going through all this? If it didn't mean anything to us, WHY would we tear ourselves apart to remain in this church that so clearly doesn't want us? What are all those priests in the closets – masochistic individualists who use the church for their own macabre games? Are they not as truly moved by God as you are?
If we didn't truly feel that Christ is worth it, that God is calling us just as he is calling you -WHY would we do it all?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 3:28pm GMT

Ben W., how is the LGBT community's (emphasize the word 'community') quest for inclusion into union or marriage rites "modern individualism?" And what does the term "modern individualism" mean in your context, other than what is probably a created buzzword for anti-Christianity?

And can't you consider that God's grace is evident in long-term monogamous relationship for those of this orientation? It is the best that they can probably do, and to deny them these relationships is definitely colluding to your prior argument of "modern individualism".

To ignore some tenets of our present culture is not engaging in the third stool leg of reason. To know the difference where the motivation, and heart in matters of modern culture requires discernment. Why do you not recognize this?

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 3:37pm GMT

Erika (in response to Ben W) observed
There is a tendency in every new social awareness to believe that all those who follow it are a homogenous mass, liberal, dangerous, about to destroy the status quo.

I'm not sure within ConsEv circles that's entirely where the argument's rooted. I've been looking at some writing on dispensationalism and the Prophecy movement as light reading since Christmas, and am struck by the opposition to social reform which comes more from a sense that any attempt to 'improve' the human lot (eg emancipation of slaves/women etc) is a refusal to conform to a basic belief that 'the world is waxing evil'.

If God's Plan is that things should deteriorate until the End of All Things, then any correction/attempt to undo ancient wrongs is falling in with dark forces. In such a context we see opposition to oecumenism, the UN, disarmament and the environment.

It's generally admitted to be a contradictory line to take, for all manner of reasons, but I wonder how much that Darbyite thinking has quietly infected evangelical Christianity, and to what degree it impacts on the current debate.

Apropos of nothing, one of my books included this snippet from a Christian professor at the Nigerian Univ of Ibadan visiting Yad Vashem in 1990 : "Surely when the Jews see how they've been persecuted, they must realise their mistake in not accepting Christ." Will Holocaust theology be on the menu at GAFCON?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 7:49pm GMT

Mynsterproest
thanks for that comment.
So if all evil is according to "God's plan", where does free will, freedom and responsibility before God come into it?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 29 December 2007 at 9:12pm GMT

Erika;
That's one of the places where the mud has to be stirred up, because the theology is fundamentally incoherent. Attempts to fudge the inconsistency are as legion as they are unsuccessful and unconvincing, often using appeals to things like 'Assyria, rod of my anger' quotations. I suspect an over-enthusiasm for eschatology distorts things......

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 12:48pm GMT

Erika,

You emphasize being able to live together in love for yourself. Of course that is important for all of us.

At the same time, I have seen different people who do that with grace and great fruitfulness as singles(identity and love are not simply to be equated with a "sexuality or the sexual relation"). As in the previous post the question is what is affirmed in the NT? In light of what Jesus says we all, whether homosexual or heterosexual, face some challenges in working out our life and relationships.

You recognize that there are differences, but you do not seem to recognize basic differences. The question is what is the reference or framework for Christian faith? Do we think of this simply as something we come up with or is it God's initiative (God in Christ comes to us!). I recognize there is real faith or piety on the part of various people; the gnostics were at least in some cases devout and spiritual. in their case we realize it becomes particularly important to ask about the reference for Christian faith.

The question of ethics has here been related to the problem of evil. That involves some deep issues of God and human free will etc. Now let me simply say W Wilberforce are a strong expression of evangelical response in the face of evil.

Ben W

.

Posted by: Ben W on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 2:15pm GMT

Ben,

I have spent months talking about what my love and my life is like. How my partner and I share the care for our 2 children, one of whom is very sick. About how we feel God in our lives, about how we try to follow Christ with our whole hearts.

About how others on this forum do that too.

And all you have to say to this is, in the totally abstract as though people here were only theories, that "Now let me simply say W Wilberforce are a strong expression of evangelical response in the face of evil."

Shame on you, Ben.

I now consider our conversation closed.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 3:29pm GMT

Ben W: I would rather not be compared with a Gnostic. It makes it sound as if gay Christians are libertines.

In a former parish, an old parishioner once told me about the vicar who was there when he was a young man. The parish received a new curate, and Fr So-and-so fell in love with him, and moved him into the vicarage straight away. Two years later, they moved on to another parish in another diocese as a couple, sharing the vicarage and their lives together until separated by death.

When did this true story happen? Well, the curate came to our parish in the early 1950s. Gay couples are nothing new in the C of E, and live faithful Christian lives just as much as anyone else.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 4:02pm GMT

Ben, I think you are completely wrong about what Christian faith is. It isn't about getting it right, it isn't about being obedient to teaching or commandments.

Being a Christian is about following the way, the way of Jesus, and the way is love, intimate love of the Father, intimate and inexhaustible love for us.

Your teaching blocks love for lesbian and gay people. It is negative and destructive for us. I reject your interpretation of Christianity.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 5:54pm GMT

Ben W: So what of the loving relationship matters to Christ if or if not having sex involved? Do you really think Christ gives a hoot?

Erika: So very sad to hear of one of your children. The fourth verse of "Irby", "Once in Royal David's City", reminds us all of a Christ that was delicate, small and very real. This too, I cannot get through without crying, as ultimately we are all still children.

I'll keep her/him in my prayers.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 6:58pm GMT

Choirboyfromhell,
thank you.
My older daughter is in her 2nd year of leukaemia treatment, and although she's going through a very difficult phase right now, her long term prognosis is fairly good.

But you know, when you go through something like that, when you spend so much of your time in hospital where there are so many desperately sick children and their parents, conversations like those with Ben take on an almost unreal quality.

I so wish we could make people like him understand what Christ is all about! But then I lean out too much, make myself too vulnerable and get too upset at the responses. Time someone else carried this particular one forward.

Once in Royal David's City - yes!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 7:51pm GMT

Pontificateth Ben W:

"Viriato,

So maybe you have not read Shakespeare? The precise words: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." - William Shakespeare (Hamlet) This quote comes from Hamlet, Act 3, scene 2, line 230"

Oh my, Ben. You have really cut me to the quick, averring that I do not recognize Shakespeare -- and how very erudite of you to throw in a Shaespearean allusion.

Okay, sarcasm off. But I wish Simon had posted a response to you which I had written yet do not seem to find posted in the thread.

No matter; in essence, it had said that no matter how often you repeat canards (and btw, these are canards that go to the heart of my own life and loves, so I'm afraid both the testimony and the ramifications are rather personal for me), it does not make them any truer.

And I'll now add further that it is quite disingenuous of you to keep throwing out canards -- and yes, what I would even characterize as lies -- and then stand back all aghast, as any response made to your repeated deliveries of drek gets characterized by you as "protest[ing] too much."

Rather like shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater and then pronouncing that those who react are too highstrung.

But no, we LGBTs won't be silenced or bullied through taunts -- not even those that oh-so-eruditely incorporate (trite, hackneyed, cliched) Shakespearean allusions.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 8:21pm GMT

To get back to the issue of GAFCON:

One only has to look at the people who are attending - that is, apart from the African Prelates led by Akinola, whose thrust for leadership is partly understandable, considering his perceived 'threat' from Islam :

Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney, who proposes to inaugurate Lay-presidency at the Eucharist; and has a vested interested in promoting the Evangelical Party agenda for Australia and the world;

Bishop Nazir-Ali, who missed out on being elected Archbishop of Canterbury (the Holy Spirit was no doubt at work there!);

The Bishop of Lewes (I've forgotten his name),

and Canon Doctor Sugden!

Oh, and is Winchester waiting in the wings?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 9:24pm GMT

Erika,

I certainly would not want in some abstract way to dismiss you or hurt you. I was trying to be very brief for lack of time this morning (I notice in that last paragraph I left out a word or two along with some typos) and was not speaking of you or of your life with your partner. I am glad to hear of the good prognosis for your daughter.

What I had in mind was the reference earlier to some evangelicals who have the idea that the sooner terrible things happen on earth the better. They will just sit back and wait. In contrast to that W Wilberforce acted with compassion and love for those in the most desperate plight. I hope that helps to clear things up.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Sunday, 30 December 2007 at 11:10pm GMT

"...and btw, these are canards that go to the heart of my own [our] life and loves,...-Viriato da Silva

Remember Ben W., when you decide to judge others for how they are made, and the decisions to navigate their way in their life journey, you are indeed getting personal, and ultimately, probably hurting them deeply.

Back pedaling ain't going to help now.

Erika-would like to hear from you personally out of this forum. I believe Simon has my e-mail address. Thanks.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 12:30am GMT

Fr Mark,

I will leave this for now, only to say that conversation here seems to be very difficult.

When did I compare you with gnostics? Whatever you make of the gnostics, it only serves as an example to make a point. The point as you can see was that people that may have things wrong can still be devout and haave faith (as you may recall, I said somesthing in appreciation of people in Mormonism who, even though they have some things wrong are still to be respected for other things they hold that are right).

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 12:49am GMT

Ben

(Simon, I promise this will be my last off topic post here)

I don't understand you.
Every time I tell you something about me you either don't comment because you claim not to know me (although I’ve just told you), or you say that your comments don't refer to me or my life.

But they do!

Don't you see that this simply is not a mere philosophical issue. What is tearing our church apart is a very real clash about the morality of my personal life and that of many others posting here.
It may not be personal to you, but it definitely is personal to us. How my church sees me and treats me has direct and real consequences for my daily life.

You cannot ignore the context in which conversations take place. It is not possible to sit back in your ivory tower and kindly invite me to consider, dispassionately, the ethics of my life in terms of parameters you alone determine are valid.

You seem to think I have never thought about my life, never sought God's guidance, never prayed. How else can you write so glibly:
"You recognize that there are differences, but you do not seem to recognize basic differences. The question is what is the reference or framework for Christian faith? Do we think of this simply as something we come up with or is it God's initiative (God in Christ comes to us!). "

Yes, I agree that may be the question, but I keep giving you my answer!
You never engage with my answer. You simply keep throwing the question back at me with the implication that YOU know the truth whereas I don’t.
Or that I may just have a faith, but it’s clearly the wrong one, like the Gnostics who were faithful but wrong.

And none of it is personal, of course!
What is it then, Ben, a nice little intellectual diversion?
When it is actually about the very core of my life?

Can you not see how deeply insulting this is?
Can you really wonder why people here get so very cross with your posts?


Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 9:54am GMT

Erika

Don't allow yourself to be discouraged by such souls. We watch, we observe, we contemplate and we choose.

For example, GLBTS provide one form of confoundment that is from God - if God is so "perfect" why do GLBTs keep popping up in each generation?

Another confoundment is the feminine. Sarah, who died as the alternative sacrifice to Isaiah. Sarah, who confounded the angels by proving that their espousing "law and order" was opportunistic as they were prepared to overturn the "law" of fertility to enable her to bear a child to Abraham (Isaac).

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 2:08pm GMT

Please excuse this intervention but I have to point out to Ben W that William Wilberforce was roundly opposed by his evengelical brethren for his stance over slavery. He was told that he was going against Biblical Authority to accord status to slaves, in much the same manner as you are telling those who advocate according status to single sex permanent faithful relationships.

Only with the benefit of hindsight has Wilberforce become a hero of the Evangelical Movement. May that same hindsight some day be as generous and kind to the men and women whom today it vilifies for recognising the godly qualities and possibilities of homosexual couples.

Posted by: Commentator on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 3:47pm GMT

Commentator: yes, what you point out about Wilberforce is interesting. The great principled driving force against slavery, of course, was the Quakers, who today take an equally principled stand against homophobia, but are distrusted by many Evangelicals.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 5:41pm GMT

Erika,

We are in different places and we clearly do see things differently.

If you have been following closely you recognize this is not abstract or simply "philosophical" for either of us! What I understand from the NT is not abstract or impersonal for me. We do see this issue of homosexuality differently and we, I think, need to leave it there for now.

Further, reading several posts from you does not let me know you, so that the most I can say is there are challenges to work out for all of us in the light of Jesus' teaching. Your response to my last post was "Every time I tell you something about me you either don't comment because you claim not to know me (although I’ve just told you), or you say that your comments don't refer to me or my life. But they do!"

On quite a few things I see where you are coming from and just accept it (there certainly have been times when I said something here when I felt that was just kind of side-stepped!). The last point in the earlier post about evangelical ethics was related to what another person had said to you. My point was simply that it represents what some may say but certainly not what I or many others hold. I thought it was in some ways denigrating of evangelicals as a whole and did not want to let that misrepresentation stand. If you want to take my effort to correct that personally there is nothing further I can say. That has nothing to do with back-pedaling it has to do with trying to clarify something. Perhaps that is as far as we can go now so lets leave it.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 31 December 2007 at 6:42pm GMT

Ok, Ben, one last question.
That you and I don't agree is clear. The question is how much does it matter.

I expect there are a number of other things we don't agree on. If we knew each other well we'd probably have a million of different views on all kinds of important religious issues.
But I would be surprised if any of these resulted in you asking for me to be thrown out of your church.

There is someone on this list who has extremely strong views on abortion. I don't share them.
But I accept that because of the consequence of abortion those views have far more real and damaging consequences than whether 2 people can live together in love or not. And yet, no-one is about to split the church over it.

What do you make of the fact that there are two different anti-gay movements in the church aligning themselves just because they don't like us. When they disagree on pretty much everything else that should be important to a Christian.

Is it really THAT important? Can you not just let me worship in your church, simply quietly disagreeing with my views? After all, I disagree with yours as strongly but it doesn't cause me to wish you out.

How important is this?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 12:59pm GMT

Erika,

There are important areas that have fallen into confusion and that we have not dealt with clearly.

For instance I believe the church as a people of reconciliation in the world is basic. But too often it has blessed the wars of society or state. In fact it got so aligned with culture or the state that it seemed impossible not to support them. The development of the "just war" criteria is the church struggling with its identity in Christ. Some churches have taken some important steps to correct this, but there is a long way to go.

I think this question of sexuality is also important, in the midst of great confusion how can the church represent God's way in this area of life? Not, I think by saying, does Jesus give a hoot about this (as one person here just did in response to me). It needs to be put in the context of caring for persons as a whole and showing the love of Christ to all. As it is, love to remain authentic exists within the framework of truth or the gospel (cf John 8:30-32; 17:13-19).

That will take great patience in dealing with people with all kinds of life issues but in accord with its own identity in Christ. That will mean it will not be in the business of blessing wars or abortions or other departures from God's way for humans.

So the point is not, as you put it, that the church is opposed "just because they don't like us." The question is how is the church to be true to what it is called to be in this and all areas of life. You ask, "Can you not just let me worship in your church?" I don't think that is the issue for many in the gay community - they want to have the church to bless this and to have a place to represent the "cause" (e.g. Gene Robinson). Yes, the church is called at the same time to welcome people of all backgrounds and encourage them in the life of discipleship, that is part of holding the gospel with integrity.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 4:51pm GMT

Ben: your latest comments are your most human so far, and help a lot.

It is odd, though, that the idea of "blessing" gay couples should be difficult for you. I remember seeing a press photo of Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, blessing a nuclear submarine for the Navy. It does seem very strange that doing that is allowable; as is blessing pets, houses, etc., which all of us clergy are asked to do from time to time. Yet the blessing of stable love is a problem?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 6:20pm GMT

Ben

I just fell foul of the 400 word limit, so I'll split this into two posts:


Thanks for your answer. I think it goes a little way, but it still doesn't quite help me to understand.

Of course we want the church to accept us fully and to bless our relationships. When I get married this year I will be fortunate to know a priest who has offered to bless our love.

What I don't understand is why that bothers you so much in whatever church you worship. Your church doesn't do it, I presume, and that could be the end of that.

There is a diocese in a church in America that has an openly partnered gay bishop. Why does that have to destroy our church here in another country?

Far more weighty issues have not destroyed the church. We see in the differences between the Anglo Catholics and the Sydney Protestants how far apart Christians can be without trying to shut the doors to each other.

I can understand that we feel very differently about some issues, and that we both feel very strongly about them.

I'm not sure where your answer places your own view. Is the split over this right? Will you align yourself with the Global South in order to feel pure? Is it THAT important?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 7:01pm GMT

continuation...

My deepest worry is that people like you will be betrayed. You belong to the genuine ones, those who are truly concerned with personal holiness and who have a very clear way of interpreting what that means.

Those who are forcing the split are after power. They don't care what compromise they have to make in order to get that power (did you read Pluralists outstanding analysis on this? He linked to it on a thread further up). And well meaning, faithful people like you are canon fodder in that power game. In the end, you will be the ones who are betrayed.
You will still be in a church full of LGBTs, albeit pushed into silence and secrecy again. It will not be a pure and holy church according to your own standards. Even if you could purge your church of us now, new members are born every minute. About 5% of the population, regardless of culture, society, religion. Some of those will always be within your church.

I hope that my church will find a way of recognising us as a reality. That it will see how we too live out Christ’s love in our lives. That it can be honest and open with us and hold us up to the same standard it holds all its members. It will be much healthier for it.

But most of all, I know that you will always be welcome in my church, however much it disagrees with you.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 7:02pm GMT

Ben W.:

Situation #1:
Two people, a husband and wife, who love one another grow old together and care for each other to the end. They are incapable of having a sexual relationship because of medical issues.

Situation #2:
Two men, a retired priest and a retired classics professor grow old together and due to age, no longer have sex. They care for each other until on of them pass on.

Despite what the church does or chooses to not do, I do not think that Christ gives a hoot about what goes on between these individuals in terms of a sexual relationship. That the longevity of the couplings probably indicates that they are blessed more than you or I could ever imagine by God.

So it comes back to your hang-ups about the sex (or lack thereof) involved. WHY IS THIS SUCH A PROBLEM WITH YOU???????

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 1:34am GMT

Erika,

What more is there to say? The point is not that this "bothers me so much." As in the case of abortion, I seek to reflect on this in terms of the whole person in the light of scripture; and I understand that sometimes people are in difficult situations, but that does not of itself make it a "good thing."

If you follow Biblical interpretation on this question, as for instance Dr. A.J. Levine who is a professor of NT at Vanderbilt (also the head of the Center for Sexuality Studies at that institution), the issue is becoming clear.

As Prof. Levine indicates, it is not really a matter of Biblical interpretation, it is a matter of how this is received and worked out in church and society. She understands the Bible certainly does speak against same sex sexual activity. And perhaps this is where some are here, she thinks this is no longer relevant today, in part because she does not see God definitvely revealed in the history with Israel and in Jesus, and therefore she does not receive the Bible as an expression of divine revelation from God in the way I and others do.

So here are quite different scholars like Dr. Levine who recognizes this is what scripture is saying on the matter, and people like Robin Scroggs who can admit he was wrong earlier in the way he interpreted the data - trying to make it more same sex friendly - and Dan O. Via who admits Biblical texts dealing with homosexual activity clearly speak againt it (as for some on this list what is primary for him is "loving intent"). Similarly, Marcus Borg agrees this is what scripture says. But as with some others he simply concludes "in our day we know better than did the Biblical writers"(the point at issue of sexual formation and identity is assumed); so I think it is time to recognize it is not really a matter of interpretation or the obscurity of scripture on this and recognize where the real issues lie.

Ben W


Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 4:48pm GMT

Ben
Yes, I know you think differently on this issue.

My question was where this is taking you personally. Out into a church that doesn't include me, or still in the same church? Will you join, or hope that your church joins, the Global South with all its faults?

You see, the real issue is whether what separates us is so enormous that it validates a split in our churches. Some clearly think so. I find that deeply sad because I am more than happy to worship with those I believe to be desperately wrong.

Are you?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 7:18pm GMT

Erika,

I want to receive anyone who comes in faith and wants to know and follow God's way. You do not begin by ruling people out. In any case and with all kinds of people we seek to understand and hear the gospel - we are all called to follow Christ.

In the long run that might mean separation in certain situations and that is sad. I think there has been deep alienation in the present case because in some respects people went their own way (walking away from what had been understood and accepted etc - loss of good will and patience on all sides).

Are we not already one with Christians in the Global South? I believe we have things to learn from them and hopefully we can also bring some things. I would not see us simply following in wider society what they work out in theirs (in the context of the church,as I have emphasized, we work with people with various life issues in patience and compassion that calls us all to wholeness and loyalty to Christ).

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 10:40pm GMT

Ben
you're like me - an idealist.
I also think that we're one with the Christians in the Global South. I know, and have repeatedly said here, that we're all brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever in the world we identify as Christians, however bad we may be at it.

But world and church politics are running away from that ideal, and you and I can believe all this, yet find that we will still have to make a choice where we want to belong.

It is because I am an idealist that I will never want to belong to a church that will only tolerate those who agree with it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 8:57am GMT

I'm not one with the Global South nor do I desire to dwell in the same place as them.

Neither I nor my children will be willingly found in any male's house that abuses and/or neglects us.

Such "perfect" males are welcome to be purely sufficient unto themselves and they can clean up their own mess.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 9:43am GMT

Yes, Cheryl, but we must be careful not to do what the other side are doing. I don't want to demonise all those who support the Global South.

Some truly believe that the theology is right, without being cruel themselves.
Some hate everything new, unthinkingly condemning it as following society.
Some are just naive.
Some don't understand the people they follow.
Some don't believe it will all be as bad as all that.

I will continue to try hard to take everyone at their own personal level. By that yardstick, and having listened to some of them here for a while now, there are a few who I could respect even if they chose the Global South.
Only a few, but still - a few.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 7:48pm GMT

Erika

Your analysis is valid.

Many will turn around for exactly the reasons you have cited, those who refuse have no desire for peace and will not manifest it no matter how submissively we behave.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 9:20am GMT

The sarcasm and hateful comments reveal the true prejudices and hateful attitudes of the "progressives". Read all of the above and ask yourself where arrogance really lies. In those humbly seeking God's guidance, or in their critics ready to cut them down before they begin? One wonders if they are just as mean spirited and narrow minded as they claim others to be. (take the mote out of your own eyes, brethren!)

Posted by: kim bowers on Sunday, 29 June 2008 at 7:27pm BST

The vicar who baptised me was sent to prison for allegedly sexually abusing choirboys.One of the accusers a few years ago,on his deathbed, admitted it was lies.I obviously have nothing to do with the C.of E.The politics,lying and obsession with gays from a load of primates dressed as women would put any sane person off.The thing that really gets me is Nazir Ali telling me about British values and the history of christianity.400 years ago two of my relatives were fined for not wearing a hat in church.British people have never all believed in it.You had to use force to get people to church.Just a load of shallow politicians.Fascists.

Posted by: David Rawson on Tuesday, 1 July 2008 at 8:12pm BST

It is the most pitiful senario for the Church to have Mugabe-types Primates who would never include their bishops, clergy and laity in the discernment process of making decisions that affect the whole Church, but hide behind meetings that have no legal and constitutional status. How different in their treatment of their fellow bishops, clergy and laity are those Gafcon Primate Council members to the Mugabe style that listens to no one and spits venomous threats to anyone who thinks differently?

As with Mugabe, they have nothing to lose. They will soon be with the glorious ancestors in the pit and will be remembered for their dictatorship and arrogant styles of leadership which are very different to the servant and humble style of leadership of the head of the Church, Jesus Christ. They will leave behind a mess of frightened and frustrated churches in their lands that will take centuries for the body of Christ to have peace, love and laughter again.

Posted by: Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 5:17am BST
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