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Feb 25, 2005

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Phil

When you say that it is the conservative churches demanding the schism, you are wrong. Consider a marriage. If the wife is having an affair and will not stop, then the wife is the cause of the divorce, not the husband - even if the husband brings the divorce suit. (I realise, that it is not always that easy.)

In the eyes of the conservatives / traditionalists, changing the moral teaching of the Church is tatamount to worshipping other gods. Haven't you been reading the passages from Jeremiah in the Daily Office Lectionary this week?

YBIC,
Phil

David Huff

"...changing the moral teaching of the Church..."

As I mentioned in another comment thread here earlier this week, to characterize the position of the "pro-GC2003" Episcopalians this way is just flat out fallacious. We aren't being perverse or wicked on purpose - as if we know you're "right" and we just want to be contrary. (oh, and BTW, the example of the adulterous wife was more than just a bad analogy, it was also rather offensive)

Please listen, this is important: good, thoughtful, faithful Christians disagree on this stuff. Now, if we can figure out what the best thing to do, and the best way to treat each other, is from that perspective - that'd be productive...

Phil

GC-2003, regardless of what you may think, attempted to change the moral teaching of the Church. Prior to that, the official stance of the ECUSA (as expressed in resolutions) and the Anglican Communion and the Church Catholic, is that homosexual sex is outside of God's desire for out lives. You may disagree with the moral teaching, but I challenge you to produce evidence that homosexual sex was considered morally neutral by the whole Church (or a relatively large portion of it) at any time prior to GC2003.

I fail to see how a biblical analogy (read the Book of Hosea) is offensive. The Church is the Bride of Christ. If she leaves her Lord for a different teaching, then she is committing spiritual adultery. She may not be aware of it, but it is happening all the same. It has happened in the past and will happen in the future.

I do not think that those who support changing the moral teaching are trying to destroy the Church. Just as those in Israel who tried to synchronize Baal and Yahweh were not trying to destroy the Faith, but were trying to live in peace with their neighbors and culture. I see the same happening today.

YBIC,
Phil

Phil

I agree that "good, thoughtful, faithful Christians disagree on this stuff." If disagreement were all that was at stake, we whould not be seeing the discipline of the ECUSA.

However, we are not at the disagreement stage. Here is another analogy. I am married. I want to buy an new car, however my wife does not want to. We disagree about buying a new car. If I came home tonight in a new car that I had purchased, to you think my wife would be happy with me? How about if I wanted to continue to discuss buying the new car?

The ECUSA has purchased a new car. The Rest of the Communion wants us to take it back to the dealer and to apologize for buying it without reaching concensus on buying a new car. What are we going to do?

YBIC,
Phil

bls

When one spouse refuses to discuss the purchase of the car, and this goes on for a quarter of a century, the other spouse must and will take action of some sort.

Discussions called for since 1978 might have produced some sort of evidence of the type you demand here. But these calls have not been heeded.

So here we are. Resolution at last; the new statement also calls for discussions. They will either happen or they won't.

Now, let's move on to something more productive.

bls

(Here, BTW, are the relevent Lambeth resolutions on the subject:

"While we reaffirm heterosexuality as the scriptural norm, we recognise the need for deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research. The Church, recognising the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual, encourages dialogue with them." From Resolution 10 of the 1978 Lambeth Conference

"This Conference: 1. Reaffirms the statement of the Lambeth Conference of 1978 on homosexuality, recognising the continuing need in the next decade for "deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research." 2. Urges such study and reflection to take account of biological, genetic and psychological research being undertaken by other agencies, and the socio-cultural factors that lead to the different attitudes in the provinces of our Communion. 3. Calls each province to reassess, in the light of such study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude towards persons of homosexual orientation" Resolution 64 of the 1988 Lambeth Conference

"We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ" 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10


Instead of "dialogue and study," we were simply informed we were sinners, were called names, and were told that homosexuals didn't exist in this place or that. The Archbishop of Nigeria said that "even among animals we don't hear of such things." [Which, BTW, is itself incorrect.]

So.)

Milton

Once again the lie about Akinola is repeated. Robert Mugabe actually said the infamous remark.

obadiahslope

bls,

so why didn't the pro-gay arguments get raised at the primats meetings or the ACC (the only communion wide events except for lambeth)?.

When i first read the line of argument that you (and integrity among others) raise, I thought at first it might have been due to a refuisal to listen. But recently I came across the following from Andrew Carey on a Ship of fools discussion which goes some way to explaining why the gay case has not been advanced in the councils of the communion.
"I think that people in ECUSA should be aware that the last two Presiding Bishops have never tabled the issue of homosexuality, human rights for homosexuals, and ECUSA's own policies and theologies at the Primates' Meeting and indeed any other meeting. In fact, ++Griswold in particular has made a point of reassuring the Primates that the policy of ECUSA is the same as their churches, that they have a few difficulties but there has been no official change of teaching. This to me is a massive failure of leadership and courage. ++Griswold could have started the discussion at any stage, despite the polarised nature of views, and found some way to say that consultation was needed because ECUSA was beginning to feel that its mission was being inhibited by the existing mainstream Christian prohibitions against sex outside marriage. He could also have said he was concerned about the human rights of homosexuals - neglected in many parts of the communion. From talking to a number of Primates it seems clear that when the subject of human sexuality came up, he didn't represent the views of your Church, until it was too late and he couldn't any longer pretend that nothing had changed."

bls

Once again the lie about Akinola is repeated. Robert Mugabe actually said the infamous remark.

Untrue. Mugabe said that homosexuals were "lower than dogs and pigs." Here's the Akinola quote, from "Thinking Anglicans," and originally published in The Economist.


The July 13, 2003, issue of The Economist, relying upon an account of synod in the Diocese of Abuja by the Nigerian press, quotes Archbishop Akinola: “I cannot think of how a man in his senses would be having a sexual relationship with another man. Even in the world of animals, dogs, cows, lions, we don’t hear of such things.”

But I'm glad you find it offensive. That's a start.

bls

obadiah, that would be funny if it weren't so sad. What you're saying now is that ++Griswold is at fault for not having "changed the church's teachings" - while Phil is arguing 2 posts above that that is exactly the problem: ++Griswold has changed the church's teachings.

We just can't win, no matter what we do.

And why don't Provinces elsewhere simply comply with Lambeth Resolutions? I mean, that's what you all seem to want ECUSA to do.

Here's another quote:


On 1 February 2001, the existence of Integrity/Uganda, a group founded by and for Ugandan Christians who are either homosexual in orientation or desire to help such persons to be fully included in the life of the Church was revealed.

The news broke when the House of Bishops of the Church of the Province of Uganda issued a press release, noting with concern that Integrity USA intended to open up an Integrity Chapter in Uganda and condemning Integrity-Uganda as an outlandish feature of the ECUSA and warning the Ugandan population to desist from joining it. They accused Integrity USA of wanting to establish a branch on the continent of Africa to be headquartered in Uganda.

The Ugandan House of Bishops called the group unbiblical and immoral, charged that its formation represents an attempt by U.S. GLBTs to establish an African base in Kampala, and urged the Ugandan government to deny official registration to the new chapter as an NGO for it is purely an outlandish feature of ECUSA, out to propagate and to promulgate inhuman acts of homosexuality.

What about the responsibilty of the Bishop of Uganda to "dialogue," as called for in 3 successive Lambeth Resolutions? Why do you seem to feel it's ++Griswold's responsibility alone? When Integrity is "accused" of "wanting to establish a branch on the continent of Africa to be headquartered in Uganda," what in the world is anyone supposed to say? That's its function: it's a support group for gay Anglicans. Instead, a bishop in Uganda was threatened with deposition for assisting Integrity in its mission and holding Eucharist for gay Christians.

And so what has stopped any other Province from bringing up the issue? We don't have these problems - they do. I agree it would have been good to have brought up the topic for discussion at one coucil or another, but given the hostility we continue to see, and the disregard for the Resolutions, is anyone really surprised that no discussions have taken place? Anyway, Integrity has called for discussions about this every year.

bls

More from Bishop Akinola (I added the bold):


Moreover, homosexuality is flagrant disobedience to God, which enables people to pervert God’s ordained sexual expression with the opposite sex. In this way, homosexuals have missed the mark; they have shown themselves to be trespassers of God’s divine laws.

Protagonists of homosexuality try to elevate this aberration, unknown even in animal relationships, beyond divine scrutiny, while church leaders, who are called to proclaim the undiluted word of God like the prophets of old, are unashamedly looking the other way.

The practice of homosexuality, in our understanding of scripture, is the enthronement of self-will and human weakness, and a rejection of God’s order and will. This cannot be treated with levity; otherwise the Church, and the God she preaches, will be badly deformed and diminished.

Homosexuality does violence to nature. As someone puts it: "It contradicts the very light and law of nature." Romans 1.26-27 says it this way: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

Why doesn't Peter Akinola comply with Lambeth Resolutions? Where's the "pastoral care"? Where's the listening to the voices of gays and lesbians, and where's the attention to science and research?

bls

In any case: it's too late. This is now over, and Bishop Akinola has gotten what he wanted: ECUSA is now to be an "observer church" within the Anglican Communion. Along with the ACC, I guess.

Or perhaps we are the first members of the new North American Anglican Communion. This is my preference; let's split the American Church, and the conservatives can join up with the Communion at large. The rest of us can strike out on our own; I am weary beyond words of this discussion. I will not spend another 40 years trying to justify my existence. If it looks like I have to, I'll simply leave the Church. I'm not going to do it any more.

No more. I want some personal peace, and I want to get back to the worship of God and whatever work I can to do in this world while I'm still here and alive to do it.

David Huff

I'm with bls. Either a "North American Anglican Communion" or bust. Phil, et. al. can have the AC for all I care. I'm sick unto death of us being called names and being the target of such animosity from my "Christian" brothers and sisters.

And if our church caves into this nonsense, there's always the UCC or the Unitarians...

bls,
I do not want to weary you with discussion. It was sensible for you to move onto other things on your own blog. When I read it via the web-ring, I admired that.
I think your suggestion to split the American church and let the conservatives go with the Communion is sensible and a good way forward.
To clear up two points: Here is how my province (Australia) is carrying out the Lambeth imperatives for discussion http://www.anglican.org.au/index.cfm?SID=4&MediaID=71
Secondly: i think the Carey material doesexplain why this issue was not discussed as much a it could have been in the "instruments of unity". If the strongest advocates for a course of action (whatever it might be) do not bring it forward it is hard to see how, humanly speaking, a matter will get on an agenda. However this point is academic. The Communion is certainly discussing this issue now, and have given the North American majorities a platform to put their case.
I look forward to reading it if it is made public.

bls

obadiah, I ask you to read the Lambeth Resolutions again and try to square them up with the actions and words of the Bishops of Uganda and Nigeria (and of others, some of which have been worse). In addition, the Resolutions call for each province to take certain actions that have not been taken; in fact the exact opposite course was pursued. So no one has much patience anymore, I'm afraid, for those who castigate ECUSA for "ignoring Lambeth Resolutions."

I did say I wouldn't talk about this anymore, you're right; I'd wanted to observe a peaceful and holy Lent. But since the Primates decided to take action during this time, action which effectively means the end of my Church, I feel it necessary to make an exception and talk it out. Hopefully, it won't be much longer.

bls,
I am probably- no certainly - not equipped to study what each of the 38 provinces has or has not done.
Most of the quotes you have supplied in an earlier posts call for study, dialogue etc but do not specify whether this is a provincial matter or something to be done at the communion level. If the latter (as I suspect given that it is unspecified) then the failure of ECUSA as the main province committed to change, and certainly the wealthiest, to pursue it at a communion level is glaring.
I could be wrong. Maybe there is further documentation which puts the responsibility on individual provinces, Lambeth motions are very verbose are they not?
It is worth noting that the 1979 (from memory) general convention of ECUSA passed a motion that ECUSA take the campaign for gay rights to the communion. This appears not to have been pursued with any vigour. If you have evidence to the contrary please correct me.
But it seems to me that there was an assumption that as an autonomous/independent province ECUSA was not under any pressure to bring these matters to the Communion, except to educate or "lead". The actions of ECUSA were described by many on the left as "prophetic", which hints at leading opinion by means of an action, rather than going through a communion process first. For some at least it was a deliberate strategy.

The exception in your list of motions "calls each province to reassess, in the light of such study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude towards persons of homosexual orientation".
Note the word "orientation" which avoids endorsing same-sex sex.
In any case it is not my intention to defend the record of any province (except my own) with regard to Lambeth.
Can I suggest that there is a logical flaw in your argument- or at least a point of irony? If as you suggest it is deplorable for a province to have ignored the Lambeth resolutions you cite, then the same applies (as you alluded) to ECUSA's response to THAT motion from Lambeth 98. Either lambeth motions matter or they do not.

I wonder if your point about "end of my Church" is an over-reaction? Perhaps an understandable one. The anglican communion can be understood as a church, but perhaps more accurately is a fragment of the church universal. In my view your parish is a church, church meaning "gathering".

I wish you a holy lent.

David Huff

I wonder if your point about "end of my Church" is an over-reaction? Perhaps an understandable one.

True. The AC is not "the church," and quite frankly I'm not terribly upset about us being thrown out (no matter how "politely" it was phrased). At worst, it's like being shown the door at the local country club because we're not in the "right" social class, race, or religion.

Besides, the face of the AC is not the likes of ++Williams anyway, it's +Akinola, +Gomez and +Venables. Not a country club I'd willingly belong to...

bls

I wish you a holy lent.

Thank you, Obadiah, and I wish the same for you.

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