Comments: ECUSA report: press coverage

Why should it be surprising early this Saturday morning that neither the American Anglican Council nor the Anglican Communion Network has yet issued any press release in response to a report published late on Friday?

Is it not more suprising that press releases have already come from Integrity and from Oasis California? Unless they had prior knowledge of the paper, there was hardly time for more than a quick read through and two phone calls...

Posted by Thomas Renz at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 3:32pm BST

Well Thomas, in the past AAC (though not ACN) has often been most impressively quick off the mark with its press releases. I waited until Saturday morning before making that comment.

The report was of course published in the USA where the time varied (depending where you measure it) but was all during the business afternoon of Friday.

The delay between report issue and the press releases you mention was in fact about an hour and a quarter, according to my records.

Although the document is nominally 61 pages, in fact about half of it is copies of previous documents attached to the back of the main report.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 3:39pm BST

You are quite right, Simon, pointing out that about half the document copies previous documents. The new material is no more than thirty pages. Still, I expected that it would take more than a few hours to digest a report of this significance and come to an agreed response. But of course this depends, among other things, on the size and structure of the organizations mentioned. And you know more about this and have greater experience of the history (and politics) of such press releases than I have.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 4:16pm BST

Yes, Thomas. Take the Windsor Report itself as a prime example. The AAC/ACN press release came on the same day as the report itself. That report is over 100 pages of original material. Not a word of which had been leaked in advance, unlike in this case.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 5:28pm BST

The initial statements from both Integrity and Oasis are quite brief, and about what I would expect someone could do after very quickly reading the document [and skimming a lot of the BOMFOG verbiage as well as skipping the appended copies of previous documents]. Neither press release is a detailed, point by point analysis. I expect Integrity may produce such a document later. There's nothing sinister in two organizations whose members may be directly - and negatively - affected by the report wishing to respond quickly.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 6:10pm BST

If this report is just another step in our ongoing conversation, who cares how fast or how slow someone is among us to get their thoughts together? What matters is how clear the reponses are, and how much sense (or not) they make to everybody else who is talking things over.

I think Integrity and Oasis were probably paying more anticipatory attention, just because they were the potential subject of at least part of the nastiness invited by the conservative Anglican call to repent.

At minimum, the invited language would have repeated, Homosexual acts are incompatible with scripture - and maybe, We're so sorry we ever thought otherwise. And maybe, We were duped by the Homosexual Agenda and Secular Humanism.

Much more nastiness was invited however, up to and including all the narratives of fear and disgust that we hear voiced and implicitly connoted when Queer Stuff comes up for discussion.

Thus primed, a queer believer quickly reads the document, giving thanks that it avoids withdrawing the previous ACC report's good witness. How nice to quickly read how the document also avoids giving queer believers the bum's rush towards the nearest church doorway to the streets. How gracious is its restatement of repentance for past church mistreatments of queer folk in various western cultures.

Even on a first, quick reading, this report recommends that General Convention stand clear and firm in just several areas of witness where the conservative believers typically have been quite unwilling or unable to go, even under the considerable empowerments of following Jesus.

Don't expect the report to get a favorable reception among certain conservative camps - it leaves the ends of its Via Media too wide open for the two worldwide listening processes - one about sexuality and modern sciences, the other about the Lambet 1880's Quadrilateral and our search for a new Anglican Covenant.

Once engaged, neither listening process is likely to be exclusively dominated by conservative Anglican views. This presents those realigment camps with something of a brief dilemma. How much can they just say, outright, that they have no real interest in a listening process about either worldwide inquiry? How much can they decline to listen, while stating their views in such a way as to make all alternative thinkers look as inane as possible, and also if need be, to connote once again how filthy and dangerous queer folks are?

As the green lady in the castle in the Wizard of Oz tells Dorothy: These things must be done carefully, carefully, carefully. Or you ruin the spell.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 8:31pm BST


I love acronyms. Please tell me what BOMFOG expands to.


Posted by dmitri at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 10:08pm BST

FWIW I went directly to the resolutions, and formed an opinion relatively quickly. I am a deputy to the Convention, so knowing the actual text of the resolutions is important to me. I could have had comments on my blog within 15 minutes if I cared to. I'm more interested, now in particular as we enter into Holy Week, to pray and reflect. I'll read the full report and so on when the print copy arrives, along with all of the other 450+ pages of preparatory material for the upcoming Convention!

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 11:31pm BST

BOMFOG - It means Pious Filler or boilerplate.

This comes out of American politics a while back, when Nelson Rockefeller was actively running for President. Reporters who followed him developed this shorthand for the non-substantive pious filler in his standard speeches, in which he routinely, at the outset, in those pre-feminist days, invoked and affirmed the Brotherhood Of Man and the Fatherhood Of God. It's BOMFOG.

A lot of the lead in to the substance of any joint document in the church seems also to involve a lot of BOMFOG, updated to include the buzz words of the day.

I invite someone to craft a more up to date and less sexist equivalent for BOMFOG.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 12:35am BST

Loci communes?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 8:39am BST

Thanks for the explanation of BOMFOG. I cannot think of a more apt acronym for much that comes out in so many official statements. When you read them they are so often circular, concentric and eventually disappear. We used to describe sermons in this mode as about the "thisness of that."

Time for both substance and authenticity not fog.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 10:39am BST
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