GAFCON attendees run smack dab into the Jerusalem Gay Pride march.
Ian Baster for the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement (UK)
BBC: Anglicans seeking tradition faced with Gay Pride

But to the evident consternation of the organisers of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) they had travelled all this way to the Christian Holy City only to find the streets taken over by Jerusalem Gay Pride.
…back at the conference hotel contingency plans were being laid to contend with any gay raiding party sent out to beard the traditionalists in their redoubt.

I’m sure they didn’t have anything to worry about from gay raiding parties. At least not in Jerusalem.

LOST and the timeline of Jesus

I heard it said a while ago that Gen X is the first generation to draw meaning from popular-culture. I believe it.
Dr. Andrew Root, professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and a LOST geek, has written an article about LOST, a theory that might explain what is actually going on, and God/Jesus and God’s work.
The article appears on the website, Next Wave: Church & Culture, a website that seems to cater to more Emergent types. The article is entitled, “The TV Show Lost and Eschatology.”

And, more from GAFCON & the Guardian (UK)

I listen to part of a press conference this afternoon/morning from GAFCON. Archbishops Venerables and Jensen were the “panel” to which questions from the media were directed. I hear and read a lot from Venerables and Jensen these days, but little from Akinola.
Riazat Butt, the religion writer from the Guardian (UK), writes a very interesting article entitled, “At Gafcon, who calls the shots?” asking why white, Westerners now seem to be the public face of GAFCON when this was supposed to have been Akinola’s and Africans’ day. I think this observation and her questions carry weight, primarily because Butt is a she, non-white, non-Christian (she is Muslim), and with difficulty can be dismissed as simply a “white, male, Westerner” being all “colonial” towards the “diminished” rest-of-the-world.
She writes:

It was Canon Vinay Samuel, from India, who accused Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury of not trusting the intelligence of developing churches. The situation is hardly any better at Gafcon, where white conservatives are slowly but surely calling the shots and squeezing their African brothers out of the picture.
The eight-day gathering… was set to be the Archbishop Peter Akinola show, until his unfortunate use of the word apostate had the more media savvy prelates cringing into their prayer books.
The explanation given was that Akinola came from a different cultural context and didn’t fully understand the impact of what he was saying. The same explanation was given for the African archbishops’ silence on acts of torture.
Akinola, previously described as a luminary of the conservative movement, has now been hidden away until Sunday afternoon…
Gafcon has not been the first time that western clergy have stepped in on behalf of the African primates. Where does interpretation stop and manipulation start? There are concerns over the way the African archbishops project themselves and such a guiding hand is, at best, good public relations and, at worse, patronising. If these men are held in such high regard then they should speak in their own words, without any help.”

I wonder the same thing. A situation arose where North American and British leaders of the Church who are absolutely opposed to homosexuality found in their brethren in parts of the Global South, which now has numeric superiority over the “West,” like-minded determination to forbid the entire Church from accommodating people in same-sex relationships in their midst. What they failed to realize, IMHO, and because particularly Americans fail to recognize from the beginning the significance of “culture,” is that while these non-Western bishops will fight with them, the non-Westerners have very different understandings of all manner of things that will rub Western sensibilities the wrong way.
Now, the apparent gulf of difference between Western and African culture and sensibilities are becoming more and more apparent. The white, male, Western anti-same-sex-relationship bishops and leadership are re-asserting themselves because the culturally-different, straight forward, and uncompromising statements by some of the Global South primates/bishops and leaders won’t really fly in the West, thus weakening the Westerners’ overall position in their home provinces.
She continues:

In the fateful press conference – regarding torture – Akinola said that what was permissible in one culture was not permissible in another, without realising that same-sex unions have become the norm in western society and should therefore be accommodated in the same way that discriminatory legislation and treatment of homosexuals are par for the course in some African countries.
If the white bishops can turn a blind eye to polygamy and persecution then surely the courtesy should be returned. Gafcon is heading for a clash of civilisations, with the northern and southern hemispheres each trying to assert their superiority. And that’s before you get to the rumour about Gafcon being a done deal months ago, with little or no Nigerian input, or the rivalries between the Nigerians and Ugandans, with them trying to out-do each other when praying.

Perhaps like-mindedness between Western “conservatives” and Africans regarding issues of morals and Scriptural interpretation, but certainly disparate understandings of how it is all applied within social and political contexts – very, very different social and political contexts.

More on GAFCON and the evil “West”

I had forwarded to me, by my friend Anthony, an article (commentary) by George Pitcher in the Telegraph (UK) concerning comments made by the good Canon I mentioned in a previous post. Pitcher was not pleased with the Canon’s estimation of the world and the Church.
Here are a couple examples from the article:

Meanwhile… Virtueonline… declares that it is “the height of western Anglican arrogance to perpetuate the myth that the West holds sway over the communion.
“That day is long gone along with the Elizabethan Settlement and the British Empire.
“A new global Anglican Communion day is dawning and its strength is coming from new global quarters.”
So this conference of Anglican dissenters is not about homosexuality at all… Nor is it really about Biblical authority…
It is simply about where the locus of Anglican authority should reside. And it is driven by a post-colonial political imperative; the West has used and abused the Global South and now it’s pay-back time.
In this worldview, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is a “relic” (Canon Samuel’s word) of old empire, who must be replaced, presumably by the likes of Archbishop Akinola…
This presumes that Dr Williams is a political leader to be overthrown by an official opposition. He is nothing of the sort… The Archbishop of Canterbury is primus inter pares in the worldwide Anglican Communion, holding together (or trying to) a loose federation of global churches, often at odds with one another but on a common journey.”

Well, yes. I left out some of the more “descriptive” impressions Pitcher detailed in describing Akinola and GAFCON participants because I think he goes too far. I will say again, a reason these kinds of groups use terminology like “post-colonial” or “relic” to describe the “old” Anglican Communion and Archbishop is because the “old” guard does not do what they want. They imagine that since they have more numbers at the moment that they should, can, and will dictate what everyone else must do and believe, and do because God told this group what we all should and should not do and believe. The sad thing for me is that I actually agree with some of the stuff they stress, but I will not simply believe anything because a group tells me to. Too many of the members of this kind of group or mindset do want to dictate rather than live in the messy world of process (and I’m NOT talking about Process Theology), wrestling with very difficult issues, and critically thinking which often lead to different opinions.
Difference in belief is not good, in this way of thinking. God has established one Truth that is discernible in all ways and for all times without question, and to question is to repudiate and doubt. Does history bare this out? Funny thing is, they want to hold onto the “old, tried, and true” systems of thinking, believing, and doing when it comes to issues of morality or theology or praxis, but want to jettison the “old, tried, and true” when it comes to issues of governance, authority, and relationships – even in the “old” idea that the validity of the Sacraments do not depend on the celebrant’s human condition. Is this another example of the shift in the way we deal with Truth seen between the Modernist and Post-Modernist systems?
If there is opposition to their dictates from the “West” (which includes provinces and bishops in Africa, Asia, South American, and other parts of the “Global South”) it is because of… what? heresy, apostasy, capitulation to the heathen, pagan culture, Satan’s deception, and on and on.
These are convenient charges that sound very politically correct. Isn’t that strange?
WELL, we go on fighting within the world’s third largest expression of the religion of Christianity. All the while, this comment posted to the article sums up what I imagine most people think (if they even know anything about what is going on):

Reading this reminded me of why I consider the CoE to be a complete irrelevance. I can just about “get” Roman Catholicism, although I am not a member of that Church…
At the moment, it happens to be divided by a bitter internal feud, and its members have fallen into the common error of thinking that if they feel strongly about their feud, it must represent important issues.
The fact is, however, that like a feuding family, it is only those inside the feud who think it important while the rest of us look on in bemusement, wondering what all the fuss is about.
What’s amazing to me is how many of your readers, on either side, seem to imagine that this feud has any significance at all in the wider world. The spats between my pet cats make more sense to me that this nonsense.
Posted by… on June 26, 2008 11:07 PM

The City #23

I ran down through Red Hook and into Brooklyn Heights yesterday to see the new art instillation of the “waterfalls” in the East River. In a rather stark part of the dock & warehouse areas of the Brooklyn Port Authority by the air-intake tower for the Battery tunnel, I was able to get an up-close-and-personal experience of one of the water falls. The wind was blowing and the spray from the waterfall (which fell from a superstructure of steel scaffolding) came back upon the ground and pavement.
I was hot from running (and because it was just hot and humid) so initially I thought the spray felt good, but then… Where was this water coming from? Well, it was being pumped out of the East River. Then, of course, I got as far from the spray as I could. Luckily, not much of the falling water got on me – after all, who wants water from the East River socking you to the bone? Not me! (At least it doesn’t stink any more!)
I did experience a glimpse of tourist hell – a mini-van full of a family from Florida quickly drove up to the air-intake tower and the very close waterfall, pulled out their little digital camera, took a shot, and sped off. Now, they can go home and tell their friends that they saw the famous waterfalls. I suppose it is too much to ask that they at least get out of the van – I mean, with the high cost of gasoline and all. I’m being a twit, I know.
Down close to the Brooklyn Bridge there is a small park (the beginnings of a much larger park that will run the perimeter of the Brooklyn-East River shoreline) where people can get a very good view of the falls. I was able to see for of the installations. I don’t think they have the same impact as did the Gates in Central Park, but they are kind of interesting. The next thing I need to do is take my camera so that I can get some pictures so that I can make a banner for my blog so that I can show my friends that I actually saw the famous falls. At least I will walk to the site of the photos. I’m being a twit, I just know it.