The next step

When our leaders, and those who handle them, continually degrade discussion and debate, continually attempt to manipulate the truth for their own ends, and continue to cause all things to degrade into even more severe verbal violence, it isn’t long before we can descend no lower without taking up physical violence.
Read this:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2004/story?id=201736&page=1

they don’t get it

There is truth to the conservative Anglicans who say the liberals just don’t get it.
As much as I am critical of the self-righteousness and arogance of many conservatives right now, many liberals are no different (and probably more so).
It reminds me of the controversies between John Henry Newman and his cohorts (Mozley, say) and Tyndall and his (Powel, say).
The strains of difference between these theological and philosophical beliefs are still being played out today. There are those who believe that the Enlightenment, rationalism, and science, etcetera, are the basis for claims of truth and that our understanding of truths of God must be in line with science and rational thought, which ultimately are all of God. Then, there are those who believe that we begin with the truth claims of God as revealed in Scripture and Tradition, and our understanding of the world and humankind must first begin with God’s Truth. Or, something like that.
It is my experience that many more liberal people, and many progressives, do not understand the subjective experience people have with God – an honest relationship. It is also my experience that many conservatives are too willing to just make a belief claim without substantial and honest justifications/apologetics for those positions – many of their beliefs are very thin and sometimes just irrational and inconsistent.
I don’t know. I don’t want to be in an organization that is only one or the other. I’m afraid the Episcopal Church will end up being only one, like the denomination I left for Anglicanism.

Itching ears

When I was growing up in the Pentecostal/Evangelical side of God’s church, I heard all the time how liberals did nothing but: “…to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
I moved into Anglicanism because I recognized that a good many Evangelicals, especially with the politicalization of Evangelicalism in the U.S., who where doing the very same thing. The ability to engage with people with different opinions of Scriptural interpretation was becoming less and less possible. Now, everyone must believe the party-line without question else we are giving in to the cultural zeitgeist, forgoing any real concern for Scripture, or simply denying God all together.
Now, I am witnessing this same attitude engulfing Anglican-Evangelicalism. No one can read a history of Anglicanism and not recognize that there has always been an allowance for different Scriptural interpretations on all manner of things, along with different expressions of piety and worship style. It didnÂ’t always make people gleeful, but it allowed for staying-together. There have always been people who have said we can no longer abide by such an attitude. Puritans, Quakers, Presbyterians, and Methodists are only a few examples of groups of people who said Anglicanism was apostate in their time because the whole Church did not come over and agree with their particular understanding of things. Read all the controversies that were surrounding the Church during the Tractarian period during the 1800Â’s.
Now, so many religious conservatives or traditionalists or Evangelicals refuse to read about or honestly consider different views of Scriptural interpretation over many issues, especially homosexuality in this time. If it does not agree with pre-determined opinions or prescribed interpretational systems, then it is completely discounted, outright.
I am sad to see within Anglican-Evangelicalism that we have accepted the worst attitudes and methods of many American-Evangelicals. Fifteen years ago while working as a campus pastor with the Assemblies of God, we were heretics to most other Evangelical campus ministries because we were Arminian or worse yet because we were Pentecostal/Charismatic. Now, I am a heretic to many because I consider and listen to those who say our traditional Scriptural understanding concerning homosexuals and homosexual relationships have been incorrect – and think their exegesis is more reasonable, even after reading Gagnon, even not wanting to find loopholes, etc.
It is my humble opinion that 2 Timothy 4:3 can be applied to a good many people on both sides of the issue, and it is to these people that the Windsor Report is a failure, and it is to these people that the Windsor Report presents a call back to the Anglicanism of history and to listen, consider, and respect those with whom we differ.

From the Bishop of Bethlehem, PA.

This is Bishop Marshall’s response to the Windsor Report:
Insitution over inspiration?
Initial reflections on the Windsor Report from Bishop Paul
October 19th, 2004
Dear Colleagues,
In preparation for our November Bible study, please read the Windsor Report at http://windsor2004.anglicancommunion.org/index.cfm.
On our own website you should also read the gracious words of our own Primate and the Primate of Canada in response to the report. Two African archbishops have also expressed their appreciation for the work of the commission, and I’m sure that others will be reported on the Bethlehem of PA electronic list. Considering the dire threats and gloomy predictions that have been abroad about the content of the report, we can all rejoice in its overall moderation. Its constant emphasis on “bonds of affection” is a great blessing to me personally.
As you read the report and the early responses, however, I think there remain some hard questions to be asked of this document in the nine months or so during which it will be processed at various levels in the Anglican Communion. I offer some initial reflections to assist the discussion of the document in our November clergy Bible studies and in your parishes or study groups. A more detailed commentary and response will be the work of time and patience. I will join the bishops of the Province in responding on November 19.

Continue reading

Funny

Go to all the different Anglican sites to see responses to the Windsor Report. Titusonenine (as in Titus 1:9), Kendall Harmon’s weblog, is a good place to keep up.
This link, however, will not be found by most. It is a cartoon about the Windsor Report:
http://www.wibsite.com/features/windsorreport/
Oh what those in the world (especially Western Europe and North America) must think! I hope and pray that we will, in fact, and as the report mentions, be a witness to a polarized world to how disagreeable groups can handle their differences.

What we did wrong

From the Windsor Report, pp. 50-51 – this is what we did wrong:

The Commission regrets that without attaching sufficient importance to the
interests of the wider Communion:
– the Episcopal Church (USA) proceeded with the consecration of Gene
Robinson
– the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) declared that
æ–—ocal faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life
as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex
unions�
– the Diocese of New Westminster approved the use of public Rites for the
Blessing of same sex unions
– the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada issued a statement
affirming the integrity and sanctity of committed same sex relationships
80 General Convention 2003, Resolution C051 (see Appendix Three/9).
– a number of primates and other bishops have taken it upon themselves to
intervene in the affairs of other provinces of the Communion.
Our unanimous recommendations in relation to these matters are set out below.

I am surprised that they included the Anglican Church of Canada’s statement affirming same sex relationships!

What we did wrong

From the Windsor Report – this is what we did wrong:

50
The Commission regrets that without attaching sufficient importance to the
interests of the wider Communion:
– the Episcopal Church (USA) proceeded with the consecration of Gene
Robinson
– the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) declared that
æ–—ocal faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life
as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex
unions�80
– the Diocese of New Westminster approved the use of public Rites for the
Blessing of same sex unions
– the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada issued a statement
affirming the integrity and sanctity of committed same sex relationships
80 General Convention 2003, Resolution C051 (see Appendix Three/9).
– a number of primates and other bishops have taken it upon themselves to
intervene in the affairs of other provinces of the Communion.
Our unanimous recommendations in relation to these matters are set out below.

I am surprised that they included the Anglican Church of Canada’s statement affirming same sex relationships!

An honest Anglicanism

From William Countryman in Witness Magazine:

“Any proposal to create separate, overlapping jurisdictions based on differences of belief and practice will effectively dismantle the Anglican Communion, whatever good face may be put on it. There is no possible purpose for such jurisdictions other than the exclusion of those with whom one disagrees. And this is precisely what Anglican tradition has been so averse to doing.
“Some appear to desire an Anglicanism that is as dogmatically uniform as Roman Catholicism or the more conservative varieties of Presbyterianism. One can only ask why any one would think such a phenomenon could be called ‘Anglican.’ I do not mean to say that there are no limits to Anglican belief and practice. Of course there are! But we cannot rule out the possibility of new perspectives creating new questions in new or changed cultural contexts. This first happened, for us in the United States, when the American Revolution replaced the monarch with an array of elected governments and abolished all religious establishments. It happened again to us because our nation abolished slavery in the nineteenth century and again because our culture insisted that the equality of women be recognized in active and practical ways.
“It is happening again now because our culture no longer categorizes lesbians and gay men as evil monstrosities or even as psychological problem-cases. The Christian Right has responded by arguing that such categories should be reinstituted and enforced. Their failure to persuade the Senate to enact a constitutional amendment against gay marriage suggests that the country is rejecting that argument. The Episcopal Church, on the other hand, has begun to ask rather how gay men and lesbians whom God has called to faith can live lives that accord with it. We believe this is the faithful course in our context.
“If this is of God, the entire Anglican Communion will benefit by our pioneering efforts. If it is not, then we shall benefit by continuing to be part of the same Communion with those who disagree sharply with our decisions and urge us to reconsider them.”

The Rev. Dr. L. William Countryman is the Sherman E. Johnson Professor in Biblical Studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif.