Comments: ECUSA news and opinions

Here is the Falls Church's report:

Posted by DGus at Monday, 4 December 2006 at 2:15pm GMT

The Falls Church rpt is interesting, and to quite some extent, fairly representative of the definitional/presuppositional false witness that is so effortlessly born against the rest of who are presumptively 'outside the fold of true followers of Jesus.'

It is a long report and so deserves attention and space, more than a blog entry can sustain.

One glaring definitional/presuppositional error continues to be: (1) the fatal and closed confusion of Jesus' gospel message with closed penal frames for atonement as the core if not the whole of the good news. Sadly, there is little self-critical or open-ended intellectual residence inside this exclusively penal frame by the authors. After telling us they have no biblical or traditional authority to make final judgments about other people, the essay's authors proceed to go on and do just that, under the guise of lodging many different penal accusations against what other people believe who do not think in conformity with the authors' views. Therefore the essay has no ability to speak in anything but ultimatums to people outside some sort of penal framework.

The message is naturally consistent with a certain exclusively penal reading of what God is telling us in Jesus: Get right with God now, or suffer eternal damnation. Full Stop. This is hardly good news, let alone the entire good news, let alone the only possible good news. For any and all followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

This penal frame as the frame leaves us with a familiar Bible Belt USA emphasis on personalized, holiness morality - do not lie, steal, cheat, or have the wrong sorts of orgasms - but for some reason cannot avoid bearing false witness against its queer, liberal, or alternative thinking neighbors. Nor is this framework very good at valuing service, social justice, and walking humbly with one's best practice (but still possibly fallible or at least unfinished) understandings and discernments across all human realms.

Alternatively, as a believer I read the OT prophets (for example) as helping to reveal that service and social justice - to all, without holding privileges back only for oneself - is very close, very close indeed, to the heart of Yahweh.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 4 December 2006 at 5:02pm GMT

AB Venables speaks to S. Joaquin.


Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 4:45pm GMT

"I lament the actions of the Bishop and Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin to repudiate their membership in the Episcopal Church."

The diocese is the basic unit of the Anglican church, and that's the democratic decision of that diocese, taken at its Convention.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 11:59pm GMT

The Diocese is not the basic unit of the Anglican Church (any more than a parishioner is the basic unit of a parish). The "basic unit" in Anglicanism is the Province or "national" church. Alan is confusing sacramental theology (in which a diocese gathered around its bishop embodies the sacramental fullness of the church in all its orders of ministry) and polity, or church government, which describes how these various elements interact under canon law.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 5:11pm GMT

I'm rather surprised no one had commented on this line from Rowan Cantuar:

"This conclusion is sufficiently widespread to give some ground for thinking that the Quadrilateral may need some glossing or expansion."

This is *extremely* disturbing. As far as I'm concerned, The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral IS Anglicanism (or else the whole project ain't worth a d*mn).

"Glossing or expansion"?

Here, I think St. John had something pithy to say about it: "if anyone adds to them, God will add to him ... plagues" >;-/

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 1:36am GMT

Tobias is entirely correct -- the WWAC comprises "provinces" not dioceses.

JC --
I understand that it is quite common in Central Africa to use animal crackers & tea at the Holy Communion -- maybe ++Rowan is suggesting that the Quadrilateral be glossed so as not to exclude this Africans who are not using "the elements ordained by him." (Of the course the usefulness of the Quadrilateral is that it does not define things -- the more you define, the more you exclude).

Posted by Prior Aelred at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 3:45pm GMT

I hadn't known of the use of tea and crackers. I do like the idea of of this kind of exploration-in-action; and cultural contextualisation. One of these days lgbt groups will be invited to share their explorations of worship and discoveries from their own cultural milieux.

Posted by laurence at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 7:31pm GMT

I rather think sacramental theology trumps canon law when the chips are down, as they clearly are here, and no amount of posturing by a national convention meeting every three years can override the express wishes of a diocese, still less override the stated concerns of the Anglican Communion. Unless you are saying that ECUSA is a business rather than a church?

Posted by Alan Marsh at Friday, 8 December 2006 at 12:04am GMT

Contextual crackers:

One of the reasons for the great Schism in 1054 was a big discussion in the 1st Millennium between the East and West over the bread used in the Eucharist: leaven or unleaven (Maze).

Rome also demanded the use of white candles made from bees-wax (from Bougie in present Algeria), but Northerners -with or without "permission" from Rome - used candles made of brownish wax, or even lamps filled with local oils.

In the North Atlantic islands, the very fat young birds of certain species were burnt alive for candles.

Also in parts of the North where wine was not available, beer and ale was used instead.

However, in the 1560ies Swedish Calvinists substituted beer for wine, pointing to the high cost of imports made difficult by the first Nordic War. But as this was not a question of what we call contextuality or even need, but a way to introduce Calvinist supper through the back door, they failed.

Also as you know, the Roman church in the Middle Ages did not use red wine, but white. The official pretext nowadays for this is to avoid stains on the Chalice, but red wine does not cause stains, if and when the inside of the Chalice is gilt.

So we used and still use red wine for the Eucharist.

The idea behind all this "white" nonsense; white bread, white candles, white wine & c., is of course that white was "pure"... The preference for bees wax being that according to Indo European Philosophy, bees are sex-less ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 9 December 2006 at 6:18pm GMT

The conclusion being, that Indo European Philosphy - like it or not - trumps "the elements ordained by him": the Bread of Life becoming, not a living bread but a dead one; subject to Heathen Ideas on chastity and sex-lessness, but that finally, the Context of God's Good Creation trumps everything ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 9 December 2006 at 6:28pm GMT

An interesting theory, Goran, that Jesus wrote the canons for ECUSA! It might explain the extraordinary way in which ECUSA exalts its canons...

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 10 December 2006 at 12:17am GMT

May I suggest a pair of Goggles?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 10 December 2006 at 8:22pm GMT
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