September 2008 Archives

What would Jesus do?

A quote from Sojomail:

It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.

- Bono, rock star and anti-poverty activist. (Source: The American Prospect blog)

My question to the Religious Right and Neo-Conservatives: "What would Jesus do?"

Hum, I wonder...

Who leaves whom? What?

I read a lot of statements that go something like, "Let’s be clear. TEC has left Bishop Bob Duncan." Implying that those who are attempting to break away from The Episcopal Church are not at fault for trying to break away - it is really the fault of the other guys.

I want to touch on this. My sense is that in this kind of statement there is a misunderstanding of what it means to be Anglican (or a willful disregard for the Anglican Tradition). Priests, of which I am one, have done a terrible job over the last 40 years conveying the Tradition; to take seriously their teaching function with regard to the Cure of Souls and passing on the Tradition within both the Anglican-Evangelical and the Anglo-Catholic wings of this Church. I'm sorry if that offends some people, but it is the truth. For example, there has been historically a big difference between American-Evangelicals and Anglican-Evangelicals, but sadly the difference has been largely lost over the last few decades in the U.S. We are now acting like American-Evangelicals (the tradition of my early adult life).

One aspect of Anglican Tradition is a wide berth with regard to theological position and opinion even at the extreme ends, yet a remaining together ecclesiastically. Fight as we may, Anglicans still come together - and to know Anglican history is to know that those fights have been severe and the theological differences profound.

We are not like the Protestants that because of disagreements over piety or belief simply go off and start a new denomination (or at least we have not been like them in the past). We are also not like Roman Catholics that through their Magisterium dictate what will be believed by all (and in some quarters, we now want our own Magisterium). We are acting like we don't know our own Tradition, or else we are being co-opted by those within Anglicanism that are determined to make us either more Protestant or Roman.

What we have done over the last 40 years is allow the extremes to take control of the Church - either extreme "conservatives" or extreme "liberals" - rather than the vast majority in the middle tolerating the extremes on the edges of Anglicanism and allowing their perspectives to challenge us and keep the whole Church in balance. The middle has remained silent and capitulated, sadly, and as a result we are being pulled apart by the extremes.

We are very out of balance right now, and herein lies our need for a "loyal opposition" that will remain. In time, the "conservatives" will again hold the levers of governance and the "liberals" will have to be the "loyal opposition," unless of course we continue as we are by not acting like Anglicans and just shatter into pieces. We need to know our history and Tradition! There is no need to try to transform Anglicanism into being like other denominations - whether the Assemblies of God or the Unitarian Universalists.

Because of all this, saying that the current leadership of this Church "left Bishop Duncan" is not accurate in my opinion. Yes, of course the more liberal leadership has theological opinions that are definitely not in line with the theological opinions of the conservatives, and visa-versa. Again, this has always been the case within Anglicanism, although perhaps over different issues. The difference now is that some bishops and priests are determined to split away from the main body and form their own new and improved and purer denomination. This is very Protestant, very American-Evangelical, very Congregational, but not very Anglican.

Disposition of a Bishop

As most know by now, the recent Episcopal House of Bishops voted to support the judgment that the See of Pittsburgh, Bishop Robert Duncan, has given up his "communion with this Church." The Presiding Bishop signed his disposition and has removed him from his See after the vote of the House of Bishops.

Information from the Diocese of Pittsburgh's is found here. The diocesan Standing Committee is not(oops) now in charge of the diocese - here is a statement from the Committee. Of course, all this is in the game-plan. The leadership, bishop, clergy, and laity, of the diocese know that this would be the outcome when they started down the path. Nothing unexpected, IMHO, and they have their responses and plans all laid out. We shall see how it all plays out.

There is a link to "Statements of support for the bishop and the diocese are coming in from all over the world." Such support came from a group of leaders from renewal movements within North American Mainline Protestant denominations. For example:

(Press Release) More than twenty Executives and Leaders of renewal movements and ministries within the mainline denominations of the U.S. and Canada sent a letter of support today to Bishop Bob Duncan, Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh who was "deposed" Friday by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church at the insistence of Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori. In their letter they also issued a strong rebuke to The Episcopal leadership. Bishop Duncan has been a faithful advocate for Biblical Christianity in the Episcopal Church for over two decades.

The mainline renewal leaders wrote to Bishop Duncan, "We stand with you in solidarity as you endure this trial of your faith. Your patient, courageous, and steadfast witness has been an inspiration to all of us who desire to see our Lord Jesus Christ glorified in his church." They went on to say, "It grieves our hearts to see those entrusted with church leadership such as Bishop Schori and the Episcopal House of Bishops, engaged in such divisive and destructive behavior. Like other denominational officials in the North American mainline denominations, they have acted with callous disregard for the authority of scripture, the witness of the historic church, and the sanctity of human life, sexuality, and marriage. We are most deeply grieved for the millions of Christian believers who have been forced out of the churches of their childhood by those they trusted to lead."

Association for Church Renewal President, David Runnion-Bareford said, "This action is tragic for the whole ecumenical church. Katherine Schori and those who voted to depose Bishop Duncan are emerging as the new fundamentalists of the left. Their legalism and separatism appear to be birthed from much the same defensiveness that marked the fundamentalists on the right in a previous generation. Their disregard for faithful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of scripture, the unity of the church and holy living has divided and torn the church irreparably."

Signatories included church leaders from the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church USA, The United Church of Christ, The Church of the Brethren, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Disciples of Christ.
Hat-tip Titusonenine

This is all very sad, but seriously, all Bishop Duncan had to do is say (and mean) that he will not attempt to lead the diocese out of The Episcopal Church, whether he personally decides to stay and fight or resign his See due to the condition of this Church. There are those who try again and again to make this an act of Church’s leadership purging it of “conservatives” or Bible-believing-Christians. It isn’t. It is about a bishop who intends to end his relationship with the Church that ordained and consecrated him, but retain all the stuff of the diocese of that Church. I respect his theological position and his willingness to sacrifice for it, but I do not respect his attempts to act like a Congregationalist rather than an Anglican.

Of course, when it comes to the term “Bible-believing-Christian,” for certain groups within this Church - and the renewal groups within the other Mainline Protestant denominations mentioned - that term means agreement with particular interpretations of the Bible. If certain other people or groups do not agree with that specific interpretation of the Bible, then those other people are not considered “Bible-believing,” regardless of how those other people or groups claim to regard and handle Scripture. This is not the Anglican way, but the way of the American Culture Wars.

Summer of Harry Potter #2

So, the weekend of all 5 movies is over - the official end of my "Summer of Harry Potter." We all had a good time, and some who never read or saw anything pertaining to HP were sucked in.

For them:

Well, it is easy to become myopic when thinking about the pressing issues we are facing in The Episcopal Church USA and not recognize that we aren't the only "Episcopal" Church in the midst of chaos, infighting, splintering, and the like.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) has been going through all kinds of problems of late. Some of their parishes have even decided to join our own Episcopal Church (example). The CEC is part of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, which is part of the Common Cause Partnership, which is leading the way in forming yet another "Anglican" jurisdiction in the U.S. and Canada (without the recognition of Canterbury at this point). Update: I was wrong about the CEC being a member of the FACA!

Here is a website/blog for CECEXODUS. Here is another: CECHEALING.

Where are they going?

REVOLUTION by George Barna -- studies recent church trends and what the church of 2025 will probably look like. Published in 2005..

This description for a new book by Barna, who focus a lot on American Evangelicalism:

"World-renowned pollster George Barna has the numbers, and they indicate a revolution is already taking place within the Church--one that will impact every believer in America. Committed, born-again Christians are exiting the established church in massive numbers. Why are they leaving? Where are they going? And what does this mean for the future of the Church? Using years' worth of research data, and adhering to an unwavering biblical perspective, Barna predicts how this revolution will impact the organized church, how Christ's body of believers should react, and how individuals who are considering leaving (or those who have already left) can respond. For leaders working for positive change in the church and for believers struggling to find a spiritual community and worship experience that resonates, Revolution is here. Are you ready?"

I still contend that the exodus from American-Evangelical churches may well be because for over the last 20+ years the movement's leadership has tied the movement to Neo-Conservative politics. The way the Culture Wars have been thrust upon American society does play too well any longer, particularly among younger Evangelicals.

Just as people fled the Mainline Protestant denominations when they became too closely associated with liberal politics, so now the same is happening within Evangelical churches. When power, dominance, control within the larger society overwhelms Christian organizations or individuals, the Gospel suffers and eventually people leave.

Summer of Harry Potter

Well, I finished it! On the subway to work this morning, I finished book 7, the last book, of the Harry Potter series. My "Summer of Harry Potter" has ended... well, almost.

I've been saving for the last couple of years and finally bought a large screen TV this past July (Sony Bravia, 52" LCD-TV). I said that one reason I wanted to buy the TV was for the community aspect it could offer. Now, on a purely selfish level, the Olympics were fantastic in high definition - "just look at those water drops on the swimmers! Unbelievable!"

While reading through the last four books beginning last spring, when I knew that I was actually going to buy the TV, I said that when I finished the 5th book I would have a "Harry Potter Fest" and show all the current movies - all 5 of them - during one weekend. I put together the flyers, scheduled the movies, let the parish know, and this weekend is "Harry Potter Fest!" Three movies on Saturday, 2 movies on Sunday. (I bought the Blu-ray high definition DVD's for the first 5 movies.) After hours and hours of Harry Potter movies, I suspect that I will be done with it!

Then, really, my "Summer of Harry Potter" will be completely over! Its been a fun ride.

At lunch today, I felt this loss. I was a bit confounded about what to do. No more sitting in Bryant Park, eating lunch, and reading Harry Potter. Funny... I suspect I need to re-engage with the real world.

Oh, those Simpsons!

I'm an independent, so I'm not saying who I am or am not voting for, but I can't resist:


I post the following because I know, from long experience, the attitudes and certainties of this way of thinking - the "mind-set," as Rev. Howard Bess, the interviewee, states. From what I read and witness, this is the belief system of Gov. Sarah Palin.

By no means am I attempting to criticize her salvation (that is God's business) or the right of any Christian to seek public office or influence society. Under the Constitution, this is the privilege we all share as Americans. Yet, I will pause and add my voice to the warnings that the theological framework (or lack thereof) held by this group of Christians will inevitably influence or determine the adherents' estimation of current events or societal conditions and direct their responses to such things.

I have to also say, since I am not all-knowing (shocking, right?), that all of this may well be within God's will - the rise to power of Sarah Palin and those in league with her (and I don't mean Republicans). I doubt, however, if it is God's will that it is for the reasons her supporters believe it to be - mainly the triumph of good (them) over evil (those who disagree with them).

I spent a good part of my life - from around age 10 up through age 32 or so - in the Evangelical-Pentecostal realm of the American Christian faith. I spent 8 years in direct campus ministry with the Assemblies of God, Palin's long-time and now former church. This was before the overwhelming of the movement and it's organizations/churches by the American-Christian form of fundamentalism and the unrelenting drive of some of it's primary leaders to gain political power and social domination through the Culture Wars of the politicized Religious Right. I saw what was coming down the line, for it had already started. We are fully in the swarm of it all.

I'm very glad to have experienced much of the very positive and life-giving aspects of American-Evangelicalism and the strong faith and expectation of Pentecostalism. Perhaps because I worked in university ministry, the rampant dualism and extremism that are now hallmarks of the movement and its organizations/churches was not so apparent to me. I don't know. But I do know all too well how the system works and the mind-set or world-view now held by the movement's leaders and adherents.

For me, I think this is the takeaway quote from Rev. Bass: "Forget all this chatter about whether or not she knows what the Bush doctrine is. That's trivial. The real disturbing thing about Sarah is her mind-set. It's her underlying belief system that will influence how she responds..." (emphasis mine)

Here is first few paragraphs of the interview:

The pastor who clashed with Palin
By David Talbot

Sep. 16, 2008 | The Wasilla Assembly of God, the evangelical church where Sarah Palin came of age, was still charged with excitement on Sunday over Palin's sudden ascendance. Pastor Ed Kalnins warned his congregation not to talk with any journalists who might have been lurking in the pews -- and directly warned this reporter not to interview any of his flock. But Kalnins and other speakers at the service reveled in Palin's rise to global stardom.

It confirmed, they said, that God was making use of Wasilla. "She will take our message to the world!" rejoiced an Assembly of God youth ministry leader, as the church band rocked the high-vaulted wooden building with its electric gospel.

That is what scares the Rev. Howard Bess. A retired American Baptist minister who pastors a small congregation in nearby Palmer, Wasilla's twin town in Alaska's Matanuska Valley, Bess has been tangling with Palin and her fellow evangelical activists ever since she was a Wasilla City Council member in the 1990s. Recently, Bess again found himself in the spotlight with Palin, when it was reported that his 1995 book, "Pastor, I Am Gay," was among those Palin tried to have removed from the Wasilla Public Library when she was mayor.

"She scares me," said Bess. "She's Jerry Falwell with a pretty face.

"At this point, people in this country don't grasp what this person is all about. The key to understanding Sarah Palin is understanding her radical theology."

Read the entire enter interview here or below.

I'm flabbergasted

Well, I stumbled upon this today. A bit of background. Back in the mid-80's when I was working as a campus pastor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (my alma mater), we sponsored a "concert" on campus with Christian comedian Mike Warnke. Warnke was very funny and made all kinds of claims about being a former Satanist, etc. He was well known within American-Evangelicalism.

We had the concert in the University's basketball arena, and despite a bad snowstorm on show-night, we still attacked 5,000 or so people coming from as far away as Chicago. The University administration thought it was going to be a bust. After all, who in the world comes to see a "Christian" comedian.

Anyway, in the planning stages we were looking for an opening act. The pastor of the Assembly of God church that we worked through at the time had a very good friend from Indiana who was a struggling contemporary Christian musician that was just about ready to hang-it-up. Reluctantly, we agreed to invite him to be the opening act. His style of music didn't quite fit-in with our idea of what college students might want to hear. He performed before perhaps the biggest crowd in his life at the time, and he did well. There just so happened to be a Christian music record label person in the crowd. He introduced himself, and this musician's career took off. We had a little part in his terrific success.

So, on the Web today I came across an link to a story in the Washington Blade about this singer/songwriter who has sold more than 4.2 million albums. If you know about the Washington Blade, you will know that it is a newspaper focused on the GLBT community.

Well, Ray Boltz is gay. I'm flabbergasted. Here is his interview with the Blade.

The pastor of the A/G church in B.G. was one of the first people I admitted to that I struggled with this particular issue. Of course, at the time I still believed that there was no way that a Christian could reconcile his/her orientation with his/her faith. Through the incredible struggle, I simply believed that at some point I would be healed, married, all happy like in the image of the American dream. I just never married, had a family, or waited as long as Ray did to admit to myself that no matter how much counseling, prayer, struggle, faith, Bible reading, more therapy, and anguished nights that I wasn't changing.

I don't know whether the pastor of the A/G church continued his friendship with Ray or not. Ray became a big star, so who knows. But, if they did I wonder how the pastor is taking this news. They were very good friends at one point. If they still are, it is certainly a challenge to the tradition line on homosexuality that most A/G (most of Evangelicalism) take.

Ah, politics

So, if I'm not going off on religion, why not politics. Here is the SNL piece done recently. Tina Fey does an incredible job channeling Palin.

He's right

Considering the post before this one and my general attitude while trying to figure all this stuff out, my former seminary roommate commented, part of which is below. I've been thinking about this.

"...I think, and I say this with love, sometimes you are so focused on those extremes that you leave little space in your writing for those closer to your position that still are not in total agreement. (I write this knowing and confessing to my own blind spots as well, many of which over the years you have highlighted for me.) I think some attention to the blessings and grace that still do occur in our church would strengthen your writing even more."

God's Peace,

He is right.

The other thing I've been realizing is that as I continue to obsess over trying to find a way forward in salvaging this jewel of Anglicanism that I am still discovering (and I know I have almost no influence) from the forces that whether intentionally or by consequence seek to make this Church into their own image even if they destroy it (fundamentalism), I descend into a negativism that really does no one any good. But, that's what I do. I try to figure things out. If I were smart, I suspect it would be a lost easier.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength..." How easy it is to allow the affairs of the world, even within the Church, to rob us of joy - and the strength that comes through the freedom we have in Christ.

Common-ness, or something...

This is too long, but in my "thinking out loud," brevity isn't easy. I am very thankful that this Church makes a place for those who wrestle with doubt. I am very glad that those who find this Faith very difficult to manage are given a place to struggle. Our Tradition dictates that we make a way for those with whom we disagree, for those we may find it difficult to engage, and that we can find our strength and balance in having a wide theological and pietistic berth. It is a strength of our Anglican Tradition.

I love the fact that within this Church we have Charismatic Anglican-Evangelicals and Anglo-Papists, and all the theological and pietistic diversity that comes into play as a result. What a positive witness to the world of a way of being that is so peculiar within the prevailing worldly systems. Yet, our Tradition calls us to put aside all these differences and come to the Eucharist and receive the Bread and the Wine together, to common prayer and worship, from a unifying Book of Common Prayer. We are witnessing the reality that common worship and prayer and means of maintaining diversity are not possible when we all decide to do our own thing - province to province, diocese to diocese, parish to parish, and individual to individual.

As I've ruminated before, discipline is very important in this kind of environment, else we end up with chaos and disunity. Benevolent ecclesiastical discipline is a necessity, theological rigor is vital, honesty and good will must be maintained, else we fly apart, we demonize our opponents, we act very unchristian in front of a world that seeks something, someone, someplace that can offer hope beyond what they find with these world systems. We fail them and the cause of Christ when some of us in the aggregate insist on acting the way we have been in this Church and this Communion over the past 5 years specifically and really building over the last 20+ years, perhaps more. The fault and blame lie squarely at the feet of people who claim both conservatism and liberalism, but with the intent of imposing their own ideology on the rest of us. Social and political ideology have become more important than our unity. Looks just like our polarized civil government, doesn't it?

Over the years, I've noticed a shift in part of the ethos of this Church - perhaps only in the leadership (bishops, priests, theologians), perhaps within its very fiber - away from something that sounds like, "The Church teaches, even as I struggle to understand..." to something that sounds more like, "This is what I want to believe, regardless of what the Church teachers." We continue to move down the path of self and hyper-individualism in belief and action over the Common good - this is a weakness, a proclivity that has and continues to hinder us in our proclamation of the Cause of Christ in word and deed.

Is this Church more like the Unitarian Universalists, that believe that each person can cobble together their own belief system in good faith or is it more like the Southern Baptists that believe it is imperative that all must agree on every jot and tittle, else they be expelled from fellowship? After all, what does light have to do with darkness.

One group shouts, "Hurray! We are moving to the enlightened position of the Unitarian Universalists and we are remaking this Church just like we want it to be!" Even as we lose members and become irrelevant to the larger society. Another groups shouts, "We must stop this heresy and re-impose the faith that has been handed down unchanging since the time of Jesus, else we cannot ourselves believe." Even as we no longer provide a space for those who doubt or have a hard time believing or are looking for an example of a place where people can get along despite important differences. Most of all the rest of us just want to be Anglicans, as the Tradition reveals.

What have we done with "Doubt," the twin of faith and necessary for the Faith to be realized, IMHO? One side has elevated doubt into a virtue to be extolled and emulated. Another side has condemned it to be antithetical to a Christian life. Right now, the side that extols doubt to the point of virtue is on the ascendancy. Couple that with our rampant individualism and you have a recipe for chaos and disaster. This is where were we are living. It can't last. The world isn't seeking chaos, a place that has no real identity, or a people that have no clue what they believe in common. For the rest of us, we just want to be Anglicans, as the Tradition reveals.

This may be an exaggeration of the real condition of the parishes across the Church. Jason has reminded me that to get caught up in generalities can be problematic, and I tend to. I tend to look at trends - I don't see the forest for the trees, at times. Yet, I can't take a broad look across this Church and think that we are going in good direction on the whole. The statistics, and I have the statistics, show that we continue to decline - and that means our positive influence over the powers-that-be politically, socially, and financially for the good of all continues to decline. The path this Church has gone down and continues down - elevating doubt to a virtue, allowing hyper-individualism to overwhelm our Common experience, and putting aside our discipline - works counter to the very things the leadership has proclaimed it be important. We pass resolutions that no longer impact anyone.

As I've said before, the clergy take vows to maintain the discipline of this Church through which we received our Holy Orders and are licensed to fulfill our priestly office; we vow to maintain the Church's teaching in its Canons and the Book of Common Prayer as we act pastorally, prophetically, sacramentally. We are failing the people; we are failing the nation; we are failing Anglicanism, as the Tradition reveals - in the aggregate.

Kettle calling the ot black...

Oh, the shame! Oh the hypocrisy! Oh, the kettle calling the pot black..."

Happy electioneering, ya'll.

Prayer Book Anglican/Episcopalian

After vacation, after much conversation, after discussion of the expression of a new and unique kind of narrative, after continuing to watch the sickness of this Church and the unwillingness of the patient to recognize its need for medicine or even a need of healing, after seeing the Congregationalist chaos that has overwhelmed this Church - a rejection of the disciplined, Prayer Book tradition - I come to this conclusion:

We all need to be called back to the Prayer Book! We need to simply be "Prayer Book Anglicans" - whether Evangelical or Catholic or anywhere in between. We need to come together again in Common worship - province to province, diocese to diocese, parish to parish, individual to individual. Along with Canterbury, this is a defining mark of an Anglican. We are losing it.

No more violation of Ordination Vows by bishops and priests that ignore the Canons and the Rubrics. How in the world am I to have any respect for bishops that knowingly, willingly, and boastfully violate the Canons and the doctrine of this Church for their own notion of how things things should be done? Why should I obey such bishops, when their example is to blatantly disobey? Not good examples. "Local option" is great for Protestant Congregationalists, but is problematic for those claiming to be part of the Universal Church. (There is a difference in making pastoral provisions from time-to-time and in making pastoral provision the norm!)

We used to be a Church governed by law where we could propose, consistently and thoroughly vet, argue about, and then decide to make or not to make changes (however imperfectly it worked at times). We used to have a loyal opposition that would argue its case, but if it didn't win it remained and continued arguing - we all worshiped together, in common prayer, using the Prayer Book. We've moved too far from this Episcopal model because of the assertion of Identity-Politics and misplaced ideas of hyper-individualism and justice - and most likely lots of other stuff that I am unaware of. Now, we assert our individual - individual - rights without regard for the common good, law, process, discipline... This is chaos. This is what is making our Church so sick.

I want to yell loudly - "Be Prayer Book Anglicans!" Be Prayer Book Evangelicals! Be Prayer Book Catholics! Even be Prayer Book Progressives! How many parishes actually use the Prayer Book as it was intended without looking for loopholes in order to do their own eccentric thing? Do priests with such limited understanding, considering the vast amount of information there is to have, believe they know better than the 2,000 years of lived experience of Christians throughout the world? In our American hubris, yes we do.

Those of us on vacation, after a lot of discussion, well, what I got from it is the need to be a "Voice for the Voiceless." This time, the voiceless are those who advocate equality under law (abiding by Canons and rubrics), who advocate our catholicity and the need to be concerned with the whole Church and not just this little province (despite how much money we have right now, though quickly dwindling), and for those who wish to be Prayer Book Episcopalians! This isn't about issues of conservatism, liberalism, Evangelicalism, Anglo-Catholicism, homosexuality or the like - but how we conduct ourselves. Frankly, it is orthopraxis. Its about Lex orandi, lex credendi. It is the Prayer Book.

I've been on vacation, and a nice vacation it is. Tomorrow, I go home. I happen to be vacationing with three other priests and a couple lay people who are quite interested in churchy things, so we often talk about the state of the Church, our shared belief that there is little hope of salvaging traditional Anglicanism from the change-obsessed "reformers" (aka hyper "liberals") or the fundamentalist tendencies of the reactionaries who are ready to launch into schism (aka reactionary "conservatives").

One conversation got around to the our American cultural tendency to hyper-individualize everything, even if we do it in a group (thus our propensity to continually divide - Protestant denominationalism). So, whole groups of self-identified "Anglicans" gather together and declare that they, the individuals who have grouped together, can determine who is and who is not the true, real, honest-to-goodness, God-fearing Anglicans regardless of the realities of what makes one an Anglican. One is Anglican because one is in communion with the See of Canterbury! A Church is Anglican because the See of Canterbury recognizes that Church as being part of the Anglican Communion. You can't be Roman Catholic without Rome! We can't be Anglican without Canterbury. Your group may worship in the style of Anglican tradition, may use Anglican prayer books, or may say that it is in communion with Canterbury as far as your group is concerned - but it don't make ya an Anglican.

Now, I can also argue another perspective quite easily - if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, and if it sounds like a duck, then it is a duck...

Here is an example from the Anglican Catholic Church, a "Continuing Anglican" denomination, taken from the Affirmation of St. Louis:

The Continuation of Communion with Canterbury -
We affirm our continued relations of communion with the See of Canterbury and all faithful parts of the Anglican Communion. [Note: Because of the action of General Synod of the Church of England, Parliament, and the Royal Assent, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church is obliged no longer to count the See of Canterbury as a faithful part of the Anglican Communion.]

WHEREFORE, with a firm trust in Divine Providence, and before Almighty God and all the company of heaven, we solemnly affirm, covenant and declare that we, lawful and faithful members of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, shall now and hereafter continue and be the unified continuing Anglican Church in North America, in true and valid succession thereto.

They can declare all they want, but it doesn't make it so. They can affirm their "continued relations of communion," but Canterbury does not recognize them - it is a dysfunctional, deluded, one-way relationship. But then, they contrive a new way of being Anglican, declaring that the See of Canterbury is no longer to be considered part of the Anglican Communion. This is ridiculous. Under what authority do they make such declarations? Their own, and that's it - very American, very Protestant, very self-indulgent.

There you go - just make a declaration and it becomes true. "I'm a black, straight, woman and all of you must, must, must believe me so to be! If you don't, then I declare that you are no longer part of the human race."

I also recognize that a similar argument can be made by Rome concerning the whole of Anglicanism, but that is for another time and is far more complex.

Really, I think the salvaging of this Church won't happen until this present generation has retired. The salvaging of the Anglican Communion won't happen until this generation of leaders, generally and with exceptions, are gone. Recognize the good they did, but recognize also that the times have passed them by. As a 20-something, black, gay, fellow seminarian and Ohioan repeatedly said of this generation of leadership, "I wish they would all just retire so that we can get back to being the Church!" (I added all the personal descriptors because to those now in power who indulge in identity-politics, these kinds of personal characteristics - young, black, gay - add automatic legitimacy to anything he says and make all the difference - cynical I know, but I continue to find it to be the truth.)

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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