21 September 2007

Catching up

As regular readers of this blog know, I place this writing -- which I enjoy doing -- on the back burner behind parish ministry. Not to sound self righteous, but I think we wouldn't be in this mess if more people placed local ministry ahead of internecine doctrinal squabbling.

In any case, I was about to hold forth on the presently happening HoB meeting, but my blogroll is full of bookmarks to things I meant to comment on. So, please indulge me as I clear the backlog so that I can soon be oh-so-current with blogospheria Anglicana in the New Orleans happenings.
  • In order to correct a desperate shortage of bishops, CANA has elected four more. OK, I know the irony is probably over the top. Numbers are hard to come by, but I really can't figure out why they need one bishop to every ten congregations. Someone on the right, please help me with an explanation other than the cynical take: a bunch of priests want to play dress-up in pointy hats. I can't keep track of this lot, but it's a big number of bishops for a small number of people.
  • Speaking of numbers, Simon Sarmiento has tried to get some firm numbers on how many people are really leaving ECUSA. Despite all the rantings of bloggers and sensational stories from media types, it turns out that the number of parishes who have left ECUSA is quite small. Quite, quite small. These conservative types love to cite numbers (majority of primates, number of Anglicans in Nigeria, etc.) when it's to their favor, but they seem reluctant to supply hard numbers when it makes their case look grim.
  • Bishop Iker is a piece of work. First he heads over to Africa to join in an episcopal consecration that violates the spirit of his ordination vows (to uphold the discipline of the church, not to mention the unity) and the letter of the Windsor Report. Then he expresses shock and outrage when the President of the House of Deputies appears in his diocese to speak. He issued a release stating that this was arranged without his knowledge. Then Fort Worth Via Media published their email to him inviting him to come, and his reply declining the invite. Oops. Better check next time. And, of course, as much as it must pain Bishop Iker, bishops do not control lay people, and this (woman -- gasp!) leader did not need his permission to speak within his diocese. Ironic, isn't it, that he subverts the order of the church when it looks good to him, but then doesn't like it when someone licitly criticizes him?
  • One Australian bishop gets it. Lambeth 2008 is critical to our common life, and everyone should come. ''All legitimate bishops in the Communion should attend the Lambeth Conference,'' Bishop Browning said. ''We need to be challenged by one another and to try to understand each other.'' (Hat tip to T19.)
  • I would be remiss to omit mention of Bishop Spong's letter to +Rowan Williams. Where to begin? This is another example, in my view, of the American hubris that is largely responsible for our Present Troubles. "Either you're with us, or your against us" is not appealing to me when it comes from the White House, or when it comes from Abuja, or when it comes from Jack Spong. Most of points have been made more articulately elsewhere, and I'm quite sure that Rowan is not likely to change his mind when he receives a public, patronizing letter. Frankly, Jack's letter is counter-productive, because Rowan is generally disposed to lean progressively anyway. Please spend your time writing more books, and less time meddling in the affairs of the church.
  • Speaking of bishops who should mind their manners, +Peter Akinola was up to his usual tricks. In an open letter, he had the audacity to complain that conservatives might not be "safe" at Lambeth. If I didn't know better, I'd think this was some kind of joke. This is a man to works to pass legislation that would imprison people for merely speaking up for GLBT rights, and a man who remains silent when LGBT Christians are killed for being who they are. And he's complaining about safety? Peter, there is a big difference between danger and unpleasantness. Your side continues to miss that distinction. Unlike many of the members of your own church who live in Nigeria, you will be perfectly safe at Lambeth, and you will only have to endure a few people speaking their mind to you. Sorry, but you don't get to silence the whole world. Oh, and I thought you were protesting the whole thing anyway? Why are you now worried about your travel arrangements?
  • Here's another one that won't make the right happy. Turns out that not every primate is in lock step with the Akinolites. "Two Archbishops are to speak at Manchester Cathedral, calling for the Church of England to be inclusive. The Archbishop of Mexico and the leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church are taking part in a conference Celebrating Anglican Diversity, which will celebrate the long tradition of a diverse Church that welcomes all people. It is being held on September 29." From here, with a hat tip to the Episcopal Cafe. More info here.
  • Why isn't the right howling about the news from Sydney? "The Sydney Anglican Church has revived its radical push to let church elders preside over Holy Communion despite strident opposition from Australian Anglicans and the worldwide church and at the risk of antagonising international churches it has courted to stop the consecration of gay bishops." That's a bigger deal, it would seem, than points of moral theology. As Bob Dole once said, "Where's the outrage?" (Thanks to Covenant Communion.)


Ginny said...

Thanks for the catch-up -- I've also been pondering this use of the word "safe" or "safety" by conservatives, as the Bishop of Mississippi also used it in that sense:

"It will also mean that this church must give dignity and safety to those who, through reason of conscience and conviction, cannot accept certain theological and ethical presuppositions of the majority of the church." -- via the Anglican Centrist

What is unsafe here? Why recoil visibly from an outstreched hand?

There was a well-publicised departure by a conservative/charismatic/evangelical parish in the Diocese of Chicago last week - they seem to be running away from something, too.

What is this fear and loathing? It bothers me no end.

Scott Gunn said...


I'm puzzled too. For some, the charges from the far left of homophobia might be accurate, though I think that doesn't account for many people or much energy? Is it power? Money? Change resistance?

Like you, I'm baffled.

Mostly, I'm tired of hearing the far right try to play the victim. There are, after all, actual victims in all this.