Comments: American items

While Anlgicans talk, 5 gay rights workers ahve been abducted by the Iraqi police, amid fears they may be been murdered by them.

My heart goes out to them. How I wish the Churches could be helping them and people like them.

Now t h a t would be witness.

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 3:35pm GMT

It should probably have gone without saying that the "coalition" of "Global South" primates would appeal for an independent Anglican Province in North America, made up of an assortment of non-continguous former dioceses and parishes and parishioners of the Episcopal Church. The question is, how likely is it that two-thirds of the whole body of Primates will approve such a plan, as required by the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council? As such a "plan" might open the way for division within their own provinces, I am not sure that this supermajority of Primates will be sanguine along these lines.

If the Primates then, do not approve this new concept, what will those who appear set upon it do? Will we see schism as the answer, or continued dialogue and discussion?

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 3:39pm GMT

Tobias: What we ought to be seeing is presentments made against bishops in rebellion against TEC, and dioceses being declared vacant with missionary bishops sent in to restore order. Why anyone continues to think you can do business with the likes of Duncan, Iker, and Schofield is beyond me. As Ross Perot use to say: "Time to clean out the barn."

Posted by Pete at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 6:58pm GMT

Father Estes seems to forget how Anglicanism was started. Two groups in England (the Catholics and the Protestants) were unified by a common prayer book. Their theological differences were not greater than the ones we have now. In fact, if it had not been for the development of Anglicanism, they literally would have ended up killing each other.

Posted by Wade at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 7:17pm GMT

I think Fr. Estes has provided the most gracious description of the differences that I have seen in recent days. I could wish we won't need to divide. I still continue to pray for it. I fear there are those determined to have "clarity" that will not allow continuing interaction.

I think the excerpt from Jenkins' book raises some interesting questions. For example, have we on all sides appreciated how relevant the stories of the Patriarchs might be in cultures where tribal structures are important in civil and cultural life? And, do we have any clue what how those cultures will change as they change over the next century?

And change they will. My professor of Systematics argued that Europe chose rediscovered Aristotelian physics over Platonic ideals because "Aristotle can build a better cannon." The impact of contemporary (I don't use the word "modern" here, because I don't want the philosophic baggage of the term) technologies of communication and manufacturing, along with demographic shifts, will bring changes, and in a few generations those tribal connections may not mean the same thing. And these are "Southern" issues, to follow Jenkins' use of the term, when considering the massive growth in India and China.

Understanding these dynamics won't, I imagine, change trajectories in the short term. They may help us come back to conversation later on.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 7:22pm GMT

I enjoyed reading the excerpt from Philip Jenkins new book. I laughed at the questions, "If I wear gloves, can I still play football" and "Is it okay to have a slave if they come from Canada?"

Different theologies will be formed, different theological colleges will develop different "suitable" reading lists.

In the meantime, the realities of the AIDS pandemic, global warming and institionalised poverty and corruption will continue to be played out.

The theologians who were unwilling to mitigate problems of the environment, colluded with sponsoring globalisation of poverty, and outbreaks of AIDS within their "safe" citizens will expose stupidity and hypocrisy of their theology.

Unless they decide to resort to dark ages witch/homophobic hunts and genocides; most humans will pragmatically move to shepherds who have real practical answers and not dogmatic self-justifying platitudes.

In the meantime, the rest of the world can get on with finding the best practical solutions as and where possible. Where these people get in the way and try to sabotage - expose them.

Souls will either be part of the solution or shunted to one side because they are part of the problem.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 9:11pm GMT

It is good that Philip Jenkins distinguishes between pentecostals and Fundamentalists. The irony of Fundamentalist-bashing is that it is the bashers who are the simple-minded ones (or among them, anyway) for failing to make distinctions between quite distinct groupings.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 12:23pm GMT

Like Marshall Scott, I found the opinion piece by Fr Estes very interesting, but am quite puzzled at his conviction that this split between "liberal Episcopalians" & "conservative Anglicans" is something new. Has he never read any Anglican church history? Things have been ever thus. Why do we have to have a schism NOW?

Posted by Prior Aelred at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 2:54pm GMT

Perhaps we are having "a schism NOW" because we don't have a world-wide monarchy to enforce a "settlement". The lessons and the value of the Elizabethan Settlement seem to have been forgotten.

Posted by Tom Downs at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 4:03pm GMT

“Like Marshall Scott, I found the opinion piece by Fr Estes very interesting, but am quite puzzled at his conviction that this split between "liberal Episcopalians" & "conservative Anglicans" is something new. Has he never read any Anglican church history? Things have been ever thus. Why do we have to have a schism NOW?”-- Prior Aelred

Good points. My thoughts, too. In the 18th century, for example, there were far more deists in Virginia than there are today. (In fact, “Low Church” and “deist” were practically the same thing about the time of the American Revolution). So why now?

Posted by Kurt at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 5:26pm GMT

Why now? Something I was reading the other day struck a chord with me. I'll quote it... from Stephen Toulmin, Return to Reason, it gets at the breakdown of the Peace of Westphalia: "The Peace introduced three novel elements: a new system of States, a policy for Church/State relations, and a concept of rational thought...[large space]... this alliance of Anglican Religion with Newtonian Mechanics and Constitutional Monarchy came in time to form a unitary Ideology, whose attractions only reinforced the sense of God-given superiority that seemed to justify the English in their imperial mission and provided a model for all other countries--a stance that would be taken over in the late twentieth century by the United States...[large space]... For three centuries, from 1650 on, the states of Europe lived in what has been called International Anarchy: each of them went its own way without fear of outside criticism. This was practicable... Still, after a time, these devices outgrew their initial efficacy; and now, at the end of the terrible twentieth century, they need to be replaced, as new institutions come on stage. Above all, the facts of global interdependence are no longer compatible with claims to entirely unfetterd Soverignty..."

The reasons for the schism now have to do with new ideas of the state, sovereignty, globalism and ideas of reason... as I read this. (in the essay, "Redressing the Balance") Worth thinking about?

Posted by Mark Diebel at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 10:45pm GMT
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