Comments: Pittsburgh conference videos

I saw the recent video from the conference was posted on

Posted by ctviewer at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 12:18am GMT

Just on a reading of the transcript (videos won't load here), it all looks a bit surreal. Maybe they should get on with their realigning and bother someone else. Problem is, they'll most likely end up like the Primitive Presbyterians (remember them? They're the ones who schismed over the introduction of organs into congregational meeting places) within a generation or two - a century down the track they'll look very queer indeed.

Posted by k1eranc at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 1:57am GMT

Is there anything more transparently about the "opinions of men" than the continuing state of apoplexy about homosexuality in the Christian Church? And is there anything in the world more culturally-driven than hatred of homosexuals and homosexuality?

I'm so incredibly tired of listening to the nastiness and the insults from these people; do they never tire of slandering good and faithful people?

I hope the divorce comes very, very soon.

Posted by bls at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 2:57am GMT

Oh, please. This is a real cassock-ripper, isn't it? When do they burn the crosses?

"Leni Riefenstahl, thou should'st be living at this hour: Bob Duncan hath need of thee..."

Posted by unbelievable at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 3:59pm GMT

Commenting on the Notes of the Church in the Nicene Creed, Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson, a former Benedictine monk and the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament at the Chandler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA [in his readable book, The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters (2003)] has something very interesting to say about groups like the Pittsburgh Anglican Network crowd:

"Some groups within Christianity have remarkably clear boundaries. They know exactly who they are, how they are different from others, and what they demand of their members. They insist on the 'literal' meaning of Scripture and on 'classic Christian teaching'. Even though they are often as individualistic in their piety as other forms of Christianity, they expect conformity to the group in matters of doctrine and behavior... Unfortunately, these Christian groups tend to confuse the accidental with the essential. They tend to make some single element of belief or of morals the litmus test of membership and indeed of true Christianity. For some it is the literal inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture; for others, baptism in the Spirit; for others, recognition of papal authority; for many the condemnation of homosexuality and the canonization of the nuclear family; for many, it is politics that calls itself conservative but is often reactionary. Failure to agree means exclusion... They are also fundamentally sectarian, because they define themselves as much as by what they oppose as what they affirm. They exemplify the classical definition of heresy as the elevation of one truth to the distortion of other truths. What each one opposes in one way or another is the entire world shaped by Moderenity. The Enlightenment is the great enemy... The classic example is their public opposition to sexual immorality accompanied by their blindness toward economic injustice. And because they set their boundaries by what is non-essential rather than what is essential, they repel those outside (and some of those within)who despair at their consistent habit of straining the gnat while swallowing the camel" (pp.298-299).

Posted by John Henry at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 6:49pm GMT

For all those wanting to speed a divorce in ECUSA, I think the best way to do so is by encouraging all (i.e., both liberal and conservative) Bishops to facilitate it by doing everything they can do to make it easy for dissenting parishes in their diocese to retain their church property and to realign under a neighboring (or at least proximate) diocese that is more in keeping with their (liberal or conservative) theological viewpoint. Decisions about properties that are held in common for the benefit of the whole diocese will also have to be made, as will decisions about denominational assets, pension funds, etc. However, I think that momentum for fairness and equity will have to be built from the gound up, starting with the local church.


Posted by steven at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 9:20pm GMT

I have, over the last few weeks, led an adult Christian Ed class in a viewing and discussion of the remakable video "Bonhoeffer". What stands out in this video is his absolute humility before God and scripture. I wish we could all (partisans on both sides) find that humility rather than the hubris which seems to prevail in these transcripts and other sorts of diatribe.

Posted by David at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 9:38pm GMT

Dear bls, approving homosexual sex by appointing a Bishop who is in a homo-sexual relationship was just the presenting issue that pushed most of the rest of the Communion into finally reacting to ECUSA's reinventing of Christian morality and faith..

If it were the only issue, and ECUSA was otherwise full of orthodox Christians, they might have been a bit humbler and sought a more acceptable way forward for us all. Even the advice of ECUSA's own theological committee was ignored by GC2003 and the 'consecrating' Bishops!

I am not at all surprised that orthodox Christians no longer want to submit to ECUSA's heirarchy and GC. ECUSA is controlled by people who seem intent on inventing a new religion, maybe retaining some residual Anglican trappings.

Posted by Dave at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 11:43pm GMT

Dear k1eranc, unbelievable and John Henry, you may have noticed that it is not just the [ABofC recognised] NACDAP alone that has rejected ECUSA's revised faith and morality.

NACDAP are, for some reason that seems to elude the comprehension of ECUSA, receiving support from both within the Anglican Communion, and from other churches both traditional and evangelical.. Last year's meeting in Plano, Texas received a letter of greeting from the Vatican, and this year's meeting had contributions from eminent American evangelical leaders. There is a good reason for this...

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 12:02am GMT

"I am not at all surprised that orthodox Christians no longer want to submit to ECUSA's hierarchy and GC. ECUSA is controlled by people who seem intent on inventing a new religion, maybe retaining some residual Anglican trappings." - Dave

The writer just doesn't seem to understand anything that doesn't fit his own very narrow definition of "truth."

It seems hopeless to try to reason with his exclusionary approach, so let it suffice to say that Dave, and a distinct minority of ECUSA bishops/priests/laity, belong to the wing that denies an evolution of the understanding of Scripture. That is, by itself, his right to frame his personal beliefs with that minority view.

For Dave, however, to call what is an evolving understanding, by ECUSA, "a new religion," is beyond arrogant.

I had no problem, for many years, with a Church that accommodated a breadth of personal understandings of Scripture, within and without each Province, whether on the conservative or liberal spectrums. A broad Church, indeed, is healthy.

But, I have no use for those who seek to distill the Anglican Communion into something that it never was, nor will I accept attempts to convert Provinces, whether in England or Ireland or USA or elsewhere, into a new fundamentalist sect.

Just tell me, my friend, the year in history at which it was no longer permissible to develop new understandings of Scripture and our collective faith.

Posted by Gerard Hannon at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 12:33am GMT

As I said, Dave, I hope the divorce comes very, very soon. Can't happen soon enough, in fact.

Posted by bls at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 1:01am GMT

I'm hearing more and more references to the Ugandan Martyrs.

The two references in the 'Choose This Day' and 'Uganda's Martyrdom' films, appear to be distortions - wicked attempts to equate homosexuality with paedophilia in the viewers mind. Even if they were not distortions. The story is irrelevent.

I'm amazed people are taken in by them still. Very dodgy way of furthering your cause. Even if I was a conservative, I wouldn't trust a word they said now.

If anyone has any reputable links that give authoratitive information on these martyrdoms, I'd gratefully receive them and make any corrections and retractions on my blog that may be necessary.


Posted by Augustus Meriwether at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 11:39am GMT

Yes, Dave. Schism.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 11:44am GMT


Apparently there is a limit to the amount of "diversity" that can exist in a religous organization without disrupting cohesiveness. At some point, the center cannot hold. Liberals don't want to be in a communion where the opinions and beliefs of dem mean ol' theological conservatives are given any real weight (ask Merseymike). The same is true for conservatives vis-a-vis a communion dominated by theological liberals (e.g., Spong and his kin). At this point the two sides are too polarized for compromise.

The "center" in Anglican theology has been its classical via media, which has always seemed capable of holding all but the most radical reformed and anglo-catholic elements together and united with center-of-the-road Anglicans living under the theological formularies and discipline of Anglicanism. However, Anglicanism's via media has proved inadequate for the task of holding the advocates of liberal theology together with all three (if you are theologically conservative), or with the more conservative evangelical and anglo-catholic fringe (if you are theologically liberal).

Anyhow, it's too late to change this and no one can suggest a compromise that both sides could agree to. So, better to seek to part fairly, amicably, and with a minimum of bitterness.


Posted by steven at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 4:39pm GMT

Dave: I would be careful about noting that ++Rowan has "recognized" the NACDAP and AAC. After all, there has been great discussion about that word in the General Convention 2003 resolution on clergy informally blessing non-marital unions. It can mean either "acknowledged awareness of" or "approved of." As most leaders and members of NACDAP have not officially left ECUSA, they continue to be Anglican in Communion with the See of Canterbury through the ECUSA (regardless of any other connections through which they consider themselves Anglican). ++Rowan has certainly "acknowledged awareness of" NACDAP. Whether he has "approved of" them remains to be seen.

Posted by Marshall at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 7:06pm GMT

Having reviewed the transcript of "Choose This Day," it seems to reflect confusion among lay persons about how bishops and deputies to General Convention become so. Everything in ECUSA happens by vote. Vestries are elected by members of congregations in annual parish meetings. Delegates to diocesan conventions are elected by vestry members. Bishops (as required) and Deputies to General Covention (each three years) are elected by diocesan conventions. As the result of that process, presumably they really do reflect the majority of active Episcopalians - those able, and also suffieciently commited, to attend parish meetings.

Nor do we do this simply because "it's the American way." Episcopalians had this system before the Constitution of the United States was in place. We do this trusting in the Priesthood of All Believers, and trusting that the Holy Spirit, received in Baptism, continues to be living and active in each Christian. We do this humbly, trusting that no one of us can have the clearest understanding, and so we need the voices of all to have a clearer understanding of how God in Christ, brought to us in Scripture, is living and active in our world and lives.

There is no cabal that has snatched away General Convention. Arguably, it really does reflect where most Episcopalians are. Can it err? Yes; but believing that God continues to speak and to form us, this is the way we seek God's will. And clearly if those who are in the minority leave us, we will be diminished.

Posted by Marshall at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 7:43pm GMT


Although I will agree that there are some "liberals" who may wish for a split, I would disagree that it is ultimately what we all wish for. Talking to the liberals around me, the support for a split is there if we are forced to choose between denying what we have come to belief is God's will for humanity (and contrary to popular "conservative" opinion we are very biblically based in our beliefs and nothing riles me more than to hear that because I support same-sex relationships I have abandoned the authority of scripture, which is patently untrue.) and living out in our lives what we believe is the Gospel of Christ. Surely you would think worse of us if we abandoned our postions just for the sake of fitting in or being a member rather than holding to what we believe God is calling us to. Most of us are quite willing to live in a diverse communion and accept and respect the vast majority of interpretations and understandings.

I also believe that is how the majority of those holding more "conservative" postions feel this way as well - witness the two groups in both the Network and Essentials. The majority of us are being pulled willy-nilly toward something we do not wish by those in more extreme positions. I personally believe that the Anglican Communion - if a split occurs - will be much the poorer because it will not have the diversity that makes it home to so many. I believe we have much to learn from each other and much to gain from the presence of all positions on the spectrum. I have a lot of respect and love for a number of the more "conservative" people in my diocese (which is a fairly conservative diocese) even though I may not always agree with them. They challenge my understandings so that I know why I believe what I do and don't come to any of my understandings without a lot of thought and discernment (which includes reading the scriptures and prayer). I have certainly found my life and faith a lot richer because of them.

Posted by AnnMarie at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 8:48pm GMT

"Liberals don't want to be in a communion where the opinions and beliefs of dem mean ol' theological conservatives are given any real weight (ask Merseymike). The same is true for conservatives vis-a-vis a communion dominated by theological liberals (e.g., Spong and his kin). At this point the two sides are too polarized for compromise." - Steven

Steven, I don't disagree with your basic analysis that the gap between the poles of the Anglican Communion may ultimately require some kind of separation. But, I don't believe that we will end up with homogenized groups of Christians, so there will still be a breadth of views in whatever groups may come out of this process.

I do strongly reject, however, your identification of ECUSA's retired Bishop Spong - who is not even close to the mainstream of ECUSA bishops/clergy/laity - as one of your identified "liberals." I do not know anyone who feels that Bishop Spong "has it right," even though I might respect his sincerity.

Perhaps you have a dart board in your home with the names and faces of extremists, whom you can readily identify with what you call the "liberal" wing of the Church, but I do not have the "conservative" wing parallel. And it is not worth my time, to do the research, to identify someone, on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, who would be an equivalent monster in the eyes of good Anglicans.

I would even recognize that the Primate of Nigeria, whom I consider a hateful and un-Christlike person (and I am not referring to his homophobia, for heavens sake, so don't go there), is not indicative of the broad group of Anglicans on that end of the spectrum.

Indeed, I would not call Akinola the leader of "conservative" Anglicans, and I would appreciate it if you would refrain from characterizing the "liberal" group of Anglicans as related in any way to the retired Spong.

It is far more complicated than that.

Posted by Gerard Hannon at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 9:08pm GMT

Dear Gerrard and Göran, I'm still believing and practicing [almost exactly] the same faith and morality as taught by Jesus and the Apostles (or at least trying to). It is you who have moved away from me!

Personally, I can't see that I could claim to be a Christian if I didn't try to follow Christ: His way and His teachings, and those of His Apostles. I can't simply rationalise away those that don't, in my judgement, seem "just", "fair" or "humane". Such rationalisations just lead you to end up redefining what you will believe and what you will obey based on YOUR OWN perceptions.

As the old saying goes: "You follow Him your way and I'll follow Him His way!"

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 10:10pm GMT

Augustus Meriwether wrote:
"If anyone has any reputable links that give authoratitive information on these martyrdoms, I'd gratefully receive them and make any corrections and retractions on my blog that may be necessary."

I suggest doing a Google search for "Charles Lwanga". This will lead to reliable Roman Catholic sources on the martyrdom of S. Charles and his companions. I would have to say in fairness that those sources will not be particularly helpful to anyone arguing that King Mwanga's vice was paedophilia, since the targets of his lust included men aged up to about 30.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 11:31pm GMT

I do not doubt the faith or existence of St. Charles, I do doubt using this instance to suggest that rape=homosexuality. This is a specious argument.

Forcing rape is not the same thing as homosexuality. If that were the issue, then heterosexuals had best be celibate given the vast majority of rapes throughout history by potentates and not have been of men raping women. And of course, given the many virgin female martyrs who went to their death instead of being raped or married off should give us all pause just as much as St. Charles.

Like Lots daughters though women don't seem to count much when it comes to rape.

Posted by *Christopher at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 3:02am GMT

"As the old saying goes: "You follow Him your way and I'll follow Him His way!" - Dave

This seems a typical dismissive response, Dave, and I could say the very same thing, and it would mean no more than your use of that phrase.

I am, indeed, as loyal to the message of Christ, and to the presence of Christ in my life, as any man or woman, but I am also as flawed as any man or woman. Not only am I not worthy, I can never be worthy; it took me a while to appreciate that.

Therefore, I'm afraid that you don't have a monopoly on following Jesus, but it is nice to see you think, for your sake, that you do. However, my friend, I suspect that you have a faith which accepts some (most?) of the changes in understanding in the Church Universal since its earliest days, but have chosen - at some point - to opt out of further, and future, changes in understanding.

Indeed, through the millennia, people of good will, and good faith, have disagreed on understandings of what Jesus intended. And such disputes will, no doubt, continue after both of us are long gone.

Posted by Gerard Hannon at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 3:29am GMT

TO Dave:

It is better to save your breath. Many have tried before you, but it is a losing battle.

TO AnnMarie:

Someone will have the upper hand in terms of votes and power--either conservatives or liberals. Some things will either be allowed or forbidden denominationally. As the old adage goes, in the essentials unity, in the non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity. I appreciate your efforts at charity, but believe that you have failed to recognize that we have passed beyond the point of "non-essentials" where "liberty" of choice is possible. For liberals and conservatives the current situation pertains to ESSENTIALS. It can only be resolved your way or our way. There is no unity or possibility of unity in anything but capitulation by one side or the other. Neither side will do this. Thus, we are left only with the option of exercising charity in the only way that we can--by parting amicably, fairly, and if possible--lovingly.

TO: Gerard

Spong was and is an apostate and a heretic. (I would add damnable, but that is God's decision--not mine). He was, throughout his reign, an exemplar of theological liberalism taken to its logical conclusion (and is seen by conservatives as the ultimate destination of theological liberalism absent conservative restraint). You may disagree. That's fine with me. However, I will be surprised if ECUSA absent its conservatives does not end as a tiny, thoroughly Spongian sect within a generation. You may also disagree with this--fine with me. Anyhow, its a bit late for liberals to seek to disown him now when they did not disown him during his reign.


Posted by steven at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 2:36pm GMT

Steven, what is "essential" to you or to me about the domestic arrangements of the Bishop of New Hampshire?

And of what temporality was John Spong monarch? And in what way and to what degree did you and your fellow conservatives "restrain" him prior to or after his retirement, or if you failed to do so what is your point?

Posted by Paul at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 4:41pm GMT

"To Dave: It is better to save your breath. Many have tried before you, but it is a losing battle."

Dear Steven, Maybe you are right, but I think that a conservative view needs expressing - or *others* get the impression that no-one disagrees with them!

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 6:24pm GMT

Gerrard wrote: "As the old saying goes: "You follow Him your way and I'll follow Him His way!" This seems a typical dismissive response, Dave, and I could say the very same thing, and it would mean no more than your use of that phrase. I am, indeed, as loyal to the message of Christ, and to the presence of Christ in my life, as any man or woman, but I am also as flawed as any man or woman. Not only am I not worthy, I can never be worthy; it took me a while to appreciate that."

Dear Gerard, I was not doubting that you are trying to follow Christ, nor wanting to give the impression that I am better than you are (I am acutely aware of God's grace.. having become aware of how sinful I am!). What I am saying is that you are trying to follow Christ *your way*, based on your own perceptions. But God has revealed Himself and His Will on many occasions, some of which are recorded in the Bible. We are able to understand most of what was meant by Christ and His Apostles; if we want to be Christians we have to follow Him in His way, not ours!

Liberal theology seems to me to be at best a reinterpretation of Christianity through current socio-cultural perceptions. Rather like looking at a view through a polaroid lens.... you only see the light that is orientated in a particular direction. The rest gets rejected.

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 6:46pm GMT


If the issues here are not essential to you then you will obviously have no objection to Robinson being deposed and replaced as Bishop, and with actions of this type being forbidden in the future. Please don't insult my intelligence. There is obviously something essential to liberals here, or they would not be supporting and holding the line on what ECUSA has done. People do not risk schism and continue on a path towards schism over trivia.

As to Spong--he's the theologically deformed offspring of liberalism. His heritage shows clearly, and if you find him distasteful, you should re-consider the nature and direction of theological liberalism. He may not be its ultimate outcome--I can envision even worse--but like someone in the final stages of leprousy, he is evidence of what precedes death from the disease. He is representative of what has always been opposed by traditionalists, it is ludicrous to try to make him anything but what he is: a liberal's liberal.


Posted by steven at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 8:50pm GMT

O no, Bishop Spong is the traditionalist's "liberal" ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 9:17pm GMT


Your comments to me, and later to Paul, about your defense of trying to demonize the "liberal" wing of the Anglican Communion by dragging the name of retired Bishop Spong into the discussion, is beyond belief.

I am not responsible for what the retired Bishop has said, nor is he responsible for what I believe; indeed, our views are very far apart, and Bishop Spong, and the few who may find his beliefs appropriate, is a minuscule minority in the Anglican Communion.

Spong is no more the result (nor the cause) of liberal Church thinking than any individual Bishop is the cause of liberal, or conservative, Church belief.

Furthermore, no individual Bishop with an extreme view is the "logical" result of a liberal or conservative movement in the Church; they are just that, individuals, who have beliefs that differ greatly from the middleground mainstream.

Undoubtedly there are conservative extremists who are Spong's parallel, but there is no value in following the approach that you are initiating.

If you want to play the demonization game, then you will unleash something very ugly, and distinctly un-Christian.

It is a game that will have no winners, and it is a decidedly dishonest tactic in what should be an honest dialogue among people, from both sides, who love the Church.

Let's keep to a higher plane.

Posted by Gerard Hannon at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 9:35pm GMT


While I will agree that it is entirely likely that in a number of cases either "side" will get the "upper hand", I also believe that there will be cases when both will co-exist in peace with neither "side" having to deny what they believe is right.

I disagree that it is impossible to co-exist and believe that I am not alone. My diocese is on the "conservative" side but I have no problem remaining within it provided it does not demand I abandon what I have come to believe is truly God's will. I believe that in both Essentials (the Canadian group) and the Network there are a number of people who would not work for schism but would rather prefer to work within the church to bring about what they believe is the true reflection of the Gospel as they understand. I believe it is possible as long as we do not force each other to adopt our stances. I bleieve the hope is still there providing we are willing to work for it. It's not about forcing as it appears the Global South would like to see happen, but by witnessing. Witnessing will bring about the truer conversion. I won't be forced from my stance but I am open to the possiblity that I might be convinced that I am wrong (although to be honest considering that it has taken over 15 years of study and prayer reach where I am, I am in doubt that it will happen - I am just open to the idea that I could be very wrong based on the undeniable fact that I am very human and thus very faliable.)

I am reminded of some of my stuff from conflict resolution classes. Often the most creative solution comes from the clash of the extremes squeezing a third, previously unseen, alternative from between them. Right at the moment we are very focused on either/or. I believe that there is another way or two if only we can back down enough to seriously look for. Calling each other names is not going to help. Most noticeably, telling the more liberal people that they are non-Christian, that they ignore the authority of scripture is not going to help and vice-versa.

I did respond with a knee jerk reaction to the video shown at Pittsburgh but have since calmed down enough to realize that retaliating with name calling is not going to help. I am reminded of a documentary on TV which included an insight about turning the other cheek. The point was that the slap was delivered in such a way that it was an insult - possibly a back handed one - the turning of the other cheek was a demand to be treated with respect. That is what I am going to do in the midst of this name calling - turning the other cheek - a sort of, "you may disagree with me, but at least respect that I truly believe that I am following God in the way that God has revealed what God actions God wishes me to take". That is how I view those who would disagree with me. In general I respect their position until they demand that I go against all I have come to believe to be revealed by God in the scriptures and through the ongoing work of the spirit.

My internship is an example of how we can work together while maintaining our personal integrity. My mentor/supervisor and I disagreed on many issues but we did agree to keep our focus on serving God and communicating God's love to all. It was rare that the sexuality issue came up although we didn't shy away from discussing it when it did. I respected her stance and did not actively seek to negate it in her congregation and she supported my speaking from my perspective should I be asked. Neither of us gave anything up nor did we compromise, we worked together to answer God's call. I have since entered into the same relationship of mutual service with other more conservative clergy in my diocese and with my more evangelical brothers and sisters in my ecumenical relationships. Believe me, it can and does work.

Posted by Ann Marie at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 10:15pm GMT


Shrug. We'll never agree on these matters--no point in trying.

Ann Marie:

I appreciate your thoughtful post. And yes, there is one possibility I could see working (maybe)--although it is so miniscule a possibility that I hesitate to mention it. Nor does it present some type of glorious resolution--it is merely (I think) slightly less painful and disruptive.

It was earlier suggested in passing by Rowan Williams when he mentioned moving to parallel non-geographic jurisdictions. (At least, if my memory serves me correctly, he said something of this type--I'm sure Simon or someone else will be able to clarify the statement). Anyhow, something of this type (whether RW mentioned it or not) would, to my mind, involve creating jurisdictions that were interpenetrating geographically, but with different hierarchies. (This is no great stretch, numerous denominations in the U.S. interpenetrate geographically and have completely different hierarchies). Thus, for example, in ECUSA it would involve the creation of two separate jurisdictional entities/denominations/provinces that would be separately in communion with Canterbury, much as any other two provinces are in communion with Canterbury.

In this way liberals could go their way and conservatives could go theirs and possibly also re-incorporate a host of continuing Anglican churches that have been largely ignored by the communion. The two branches might still hold in common and share a variety of assets and share and cooperate in common projects. However, their beliefs and practice could potentially be quite different and their lines of authority would be completely separate. Meanwhile, in this position, with neither feeling they were being held back in the way they were being directed by the spirit (liberals) or dragged into heresy (conservatives), I would hope that they could discuss their differences without the kind of animousity that currently infects all discourse between the two sides.

I'm sorry, that's the best that I can do--and someone is quite likely to shoot it down as impossible or undesirable (which it may be). However, you have encouraged me at least to try and think outside the box. Unfortunately, even outside the box, there is only so far that the facts can bend towards a solution. This is more like a legal separation than a divorce, but even that may be worth something.

Now, all you have to do is convince the powers that be that such a thing is desirable and possible. LOL


PS-my last statement assumes that you would even find such a solution desirable and tenable yourself, which you may not. /s

Posted by Steven at Friday, 18 November 2005 at 2:07am GMT

Rowan Williams contibuted an article 'The structures of unity' for New Directions September 03 which he wrote before the ECUSA convention of that year had been held. It was prescient.
Here is a key passage:
"At times, paradoxically, both sides lose sight of the supernatural nature of the Church. The `revisionist' may assume that the Church here and now determines its policies and limits and what it decides as a matter of current policy settles the question, so that a dissident from the new consensus becomes, ipso facto, not worth listening to. But the `traditionalist' can do just the same, assuming that the calling of Christ into his Body is simply annulled for some because of their adoption of flawed or heretical perspectives. What are the implications of believing that another person's membership in the Body may still be in some sense real even if they are stretching to breaking-point the recognisability of Christian language?

It is because of all this that I think it worth working at structures in Anglicanism that don't either commit us to a meaningless structural uniformity or leave us in mutual isolation. If you're not going to be a Roman Catholic, with clear universal visible tests for unity, you're going to be involved in some degree of structural complexity - and I'm assuming that as Anglicans we have enough theological reservations about the RC model of visible unity to make it worth our while exploring how `structural complexity' can witness to the supernatural character of the Church.

By the time you read this, you'll know what the General Convention has done and something of the reaction to it. I suspect that those who speak of new alignments and new patterns, of the weakening of territorial jurisdiction and the like, are seeing the situation pretty accurately. But what then becomes the danger to avoid is an entirely modem or post-modern map of church identity in which non-communicating and competing entities simply eradicate the very idea of a `communion' of churches."

Posted by Obadiahslope at Friday, 18 November 2005 at 12:07pm GMT

Thanks Obadiahslope. I fear we are heading for the latter by not seizing the initiative and creating the former. But that and a buck might get you a cup of coffee. Nothins gonna happen 'til the big bosses decide that the status quo ante cannot be maintained in the new situation, and that its worthwhile to make a big change.


Posted by steven at Friday, 18 November 2005 at 8:21pm GMT

There are sheep and goats, wheat and tares, wolves and lambs.

Since none of us is any judge of a person's heart, we sort of have to put up with everybody; and if we can't do that, move to where we >can< put up with everybody.

I just moved from Texas back to California because I was so uncomfortable with the Texas mind-set. Here in Northern California, the mindset is very "liberal," and I'm not that either.

"Your word is a lamp to my foot and a light to my roadway," even when I can't fathom what people around me are thinking.

Dissolution is never a blessing; having one idea or another is not the problem. The problem is, how do we act toward each other? My experience is, mostly indifferently. Sorry to say.

Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we change that, by getting down to what's true, sacred and holy, by keeping things in perspective.

Seems to me the fact that there are practically NO Christian intentional communities where a solitary woman can find sanctuary; or where a single mother can find sanctuary; or where an orphan can find peace -- is more important for keeping the family of God together than worrying about people pairing up inappropriately. Maybe that's why people pair up inappropriately, because there's no natural community to attach to.

I just wonder. I've been alone, cut loose for fifteen years now, a woman out of step. And all the tempest in a teacup over diverse partnerships leaves me wondering if anybody notices that the solitary person is even a person, at all.

I have lived and reared my children, who are all competent people; but now there is nowhere for me to go, or be. Where's the community of the faithful? They're busy : busy with garage sales and bake sales and holiday events, potlucks and meetings.

I'm still here alone. And so are how many other older women, bereft and left alone? While the tempest in the teacup rages on.

"The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world." James 1:27.

I wonder if that's ever going to happen.

Posted by Emily Cragg at Thursday, 15 December 2005 at 6:48am GMT
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