I was reading in the Guardian UK about recent happenings at the “Global Anglican Futures Conference” (GAFCON) in Jerusalem. GAFCON is the “alternative” Lambeth that many of the anti-gay-inclusion Anglicans are having so that they don’t have to be around all the other Anglicans that don’t think like they do.
This particular article focuses on statements made by Canon Vinay Samuel, a member of the GAFCON leadership team, concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Anglican Churches of the West. From the Guardian article, he is quoted as saying such things as:
– “‘We know a little more than he gives us a credit for… The church is such a mess and unable to understand the post-colonial reality,’ Samuel said.”
– “Rowan Williams did not adequately appreciate the intellectual subtlety and depth of the developing world.”
– “Race gets entrenched on religious institutions and it takes longer to get rid of. Williams has to really trust the leadership of non-western primates.”
– “Rowan Williams is too much of a relic of the old left ideology which is not pragmatic enough.”
– “‘I would dismantle Canterbury and Lambeth, they have little influence and do not reflect the reality of the world,’ Samuel said.”
The accusation that those of the West cannot escape a colonial mindset or are beset with racist tendencies seems to me to be more about the West’s refusal to agree with and acquiesce to the demands of the Southern archbishops/primates and their beliefs rather than about actual incidents involving racist or colonialist attitudes or actions. My perception is that they feel slighted, ignored, sidelined, maligned basically because Williams and others in the West simply do not do as they say. They take upon themselves the role of defenders of the true faith and if others disagree with them, well, those others must not really love Jesus but rather their heathen culture. To disagree with the “Third-World,” “Southern Hemisphere,” “African/Asian” “conservative-orthodox” interpretation of Scripture, their understanding of correct social mores, et.al., means that they are not respected and that those in the West who disagree with them are beset by attitudes of racism and colonialism. I really doubt that Williams does not understand them or the geo-political and cultural realities. He, and others, simply disagree. To allow for disagreement IS Anglican.
While reading the Guardian article, I came across an organization I have never heard of before, Anglican Spread, which seems to be an organization bent on the furtherance of a Reformed (Calvinist) form of Anglicanism. In an article on their website, they reference a speach giving by the Archbishop of Canterbury to seminary students in Toronto in 2007 concerning this miss understanding and use of Romes 1 by those determined to reject and condemn of forms of same-sex relationships.
For some reason I missed this! The news report of the speech from Reuters is entitled, “Anglican head Williams says anti-gays misread Bible.” The article states:
“The spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans has said conservative Christians who cite the Bible to condemn homosexuality are misreading a key passage written by Saint Paul almost 2,000 years ago.
“Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams… said an oft-quoted passage in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans meant to warn Christians not to be self-righteous when they see others fall into sin.”
“Many current ways of reading miss the actual direction of the passage,” Williams said…
“Paul is making a primary point not about homosexuality but about the delusions of the supposedly law-abiding.”
Speaking of the portion of Scripture and its use, Williams is quoted as saying:
“It would not help pro-gay liberals, he said, because Paul and his readers clearly agreed that homosexuality was “as obviously immoral as idol worship or disobedience to parents.”
“This reading would also upset anti-gay conservatives, who have been ‘up to this point happily identifying with Paul’s castigation of someone else,’ and challenge them to ask whether they were right to judge others, he added.?
“‘This does nothing to settle the exegetical questions fiercely debated at the moment,’ Williams said.”