Comments: the Church press gets in on the act - 2

The comments by Archbishop Akinola suggest that the real issue upsetting him is not sexuality but some post-colonial resentment directed at the western world. I suspect Archbishop Akinola is right in saying that the ECUSA did not sufficiently consider the reactions of the Anglican Communion at large. I guess the practise of polygamy in some areas of Africa has a sufficient Biblical basis not to be an item of concern for the Anglican Communion at large.

Posted by Jeffrey Gross at Friday, 22 October 2004 at 6:56pm BST

Re +Akinola:

"He also criticises the fact that the report was published without first being debated by the Primates."

Was this ever even at issue (that the Primates might get to debate the Report before its publication)? It's certainly true that its specific publication date was announced a month in advance (w/ no possible Primatial review before then).

Can there be any doubt that the Most. Revd. would not be criticizing lack of Primates' debate, had he completely loved it? This just sounds like, since he didn't *entirely* get his way (and I agree w/ him, BTW, re "equal treatment of unequal acts": since bishops invading other bishops' dioceses is far the greater sin against charity, it is *they* who should have been requested to stay away from AC functions, and not the other way around), he now resents that he didn't get the chance to veto it _first_.

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 23 October 2004 at 4:07am BST

Repentance is a part of Christianity. Repentance is not part of modern western society. If a call to repentance has no part in the report, is it Christianity or modern western society that is being considered more important?

Posted by Dr Christopher Shell at Saturday, 23 October 2004 at 1:51pm BST

I think it is important to be clear about what the Eames Commission was, and wasn't, required to do. The Report states very plainly:

"we have not been invited, and are not intending, to comment or make recommendations on the theological and ethical matters concerning the practice of same-sex relations"

And Tom Wright makes the same point in his interview:

"We must stress, and I think the report says this two or three times in italics, that we were not set up to talk about sex .. We were set up to talk about the issues of communion."

So I think it is unreasonable to complain that the report doesn't condemn homosexuality in sufficiently clear terms. That wasn't its job. The ethics of homosexuality did not fall within its remit.

Akinola's remarks about the 'economically privileged' are very interesting. I have felt for a long time that this is not just a conflict over sexual ethics, but a conflict over global inequality, for which the issue of sexual ethics serves as the flashpoint. (Tom Wright makes a similar point in his interview.)

And yet, reading Akinola's comments, I can't help being reminded of the way that Robert Mugabe has tried to repackage himself as an anti-colonial demagogue. Yes, African resentment at the historical legacy of colonialism needs to be taken seriously, but Akinola's attempt to tap into that vein of resentment strikes me as highly suspect. As with Mugabe, the real issue lies elsewhere.

Posted by Andrew Conway at Monday, 25 October 2004 at 2:09pm BST

The first comment by Mr. Gross implies that the only way ++Akinola's criticisms have any legitimacy is if African culture is sinless.

Western promulgation of easy divorce and homoerotic practise would then imply that Americans cannot say anything worthwhile on this matter, no?

The bottom line is that the African Church is already planting mission parishes here in the USA. That is a trend that will continue as Western Anglicansim morphs into Gnosticism, whether the ECUSA likes it or not.

Posted by Daniel Nathan Stoddart at Monday, 25 October 2004 at 6:55pm BST

For Tom Wright's comments in The Guardian, Radio 4 Sunday programme and a page with personal reflections on various responses to the Windsor Report, see:


For Christopher Seitz's comments on Windsor, Prof of OT at the University of St Andrew's, see


For two November conferences which will include discussions of the Windsor Report see:

(Dr Esther Mombo, member of the Lambeth Commission, is a speaker)

(Dr Rowan Williams is a speaker)

Posted by Graham Kings at Monday, 25 October 2004 at 7:32pm BST

Isn't avoidance of ethical issues the very thing that is at the root of the current unhealthiness in Anglicanism?

Posted by Dr Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 26 October 2004 at 9:55am BST

Tom Wright's comments on fulcrum website seem spot-on. He distinguishes between regret for one's own actions (e.g. ECUSA unbiblical unilateralism) and regret for unavoidable results of those actions (e.g. the responses of others to the aforesaid unbiblical unilateralism).

It is beside the point whether or not messrs Griswold and Robinson regret others' hurt and dismay; this hurt and dismay would never have arisen in the first place if they had not acted as they did.
They must know that this was not the kind of 'regret' that was sought from them. One has confidence in those who respond plainly, not in those who indulge in politician-like obfuscation.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 26 October 2004 at 1:29pm BST

The report seems to suggest the sin was horizontal - against the larger communion, involving a discourtesy of failing to appropriately collaborate. In fact the sin is vertical, against God - a contempt for his word and his Spirit. The Anglican communion's unwillingness to call a spade a spade is killing it.

Posted by Richard Ball at Wednesday, 27 October 2004 at 3:16am BST

I wonder if anyone who is in the slightest sympathetic to the unfaithfulness of the ECUSA can still feel sympathy in the light of this incredible idolatry:

Akinola is right: it is another religion. And what a disgrace that there should have ever been the slightest suggestion that it is the Africans who are primitive! :(

Posted by nb at Wednesday, 27 October 2004 at 3:47pm BST

"He distinguishes between regret for one’s own actions (e.g. ECUSA unbiblical unilateralism) and regret for unavoidable results of those actions (e.g. the responses of others to the aforesaid unbiblical unilateralism)."

. . . or, if I may translate in the language of the schoolyard: "You started it!" "No, you started it!" "No, you started it! "No . . . " {repeat _ad nauseum_}

It doesn't matter how it started, there's only one way it ends: *the cross*. Keeping our eyes on the cross of Christ, and taking up our own.

That the Two-Third's World has so much (righteous) anger at the First World, is the First World's cross, and we in that world---activating, not surrendering, our consciences--- *must bear it*.

Those in the Two-Third's world have their own crosses (and, IMHO, within the Two-Third's World, some have borne a far greater share of that cross's weight than have others).

Only by keeping our eyes on Christ's cross---his *victory* in and through it---do we have any hope of bearing our own.

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 31 October 2004 at 6:44am GMT

The trouble is that if no-one's allowed to say (sometimes quite correctly) 'You started it', then people will be able to 'start' anything and everything.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 15 November 2004 at 1:30pm GMT