ACNA, Sacraments and Liturgy, TEC

Teach us to Pray – Trinity Sunday

I’ve begun writing a series on collects in the Anglican tradition over on the Logos Anglican blog. Hop on over and check out the first piece about the collect for Trinity Sunday here.

“The Fathers spoke of the Trinity as a dance—a divine dance. Perichoresis is the technical term. It is the interpenetration of the Godhead, one with another; all the while maintaining their distinct personhood. It is the glory of the eternal Trinity and the Unity which we are to adore. Our call, our petition to God is that we too might begin to see this divine mystery. Our cry is that we might be encompassed by the divine dance, being known and in turn knowing God more fully.”
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ACNA, Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, General Synod, TEC

ACNA PMM at CoE General Synod

Those that have been proclaiming victory for ACNA in regard to the PMM at General Synod are, in my estimation, at best too hopeful and at worst misguided. Read it carefully. In true English fashion, it does not state affirmation of ACNA but of ACNA’s desire. Moreover, it does not say that ACNA is an Anglican church, as some have asserted. Rather it simply notes that there have been divisions in the Anglican churches in Canada and US (this does not mean ACNA!). As much as this American priest in the CoE would like it to say something different, it sadly does not. Another wait and see tactic. Matt Kennedy over at Stand Firm puts it succinctly, whom I quote below.

Some requests and notes about the Synod vote
Thursday, February 11, 2010 • 9:13 am
Five quick notes prefaced by some requests:

Requests: Please Read The Resolution. Do exegesis; not isogesis. Please resist the temptation to read your wishes and desires into the text.

1. The motion does not “affirm” the ACNA.

2. The motion does not “affirm” that the ACNA is part of the Anglican Communion.

3. The motion “affirms” a “desire” . Translation: Ohhh, how sweet that you want to be my boyfriend. I “affirm” your desire.

4. The motion does not refer to the ACNA as a whole but to the desire of “those who formed” the ACNA.

5. The motion does not affirm the desire of “those who formed the ACNA” to remain in “the Anglican Communion”, but rather, it affirms their desire to remain a part of the Anglican “family”. Arguably, anyone who prays with a prayerbook and wears a robe of some kind could be considered a member of the “Anglican Family”

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Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesial issues, General Convention, Lambeth Conference, N.T. Wright, TEC, TEC Conflict, Uncategorized

Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, responds to ++Cantuar’s ‘reflection’.

I have just one question for Bishop Wright regarding the following:

and he warns against speaking ‘in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication’. He also speaks of the ‘twofold ecclesial reality’ as a ‘possibility’ in the ‘middle distance’. (ii) The Reality: But, as he himself has indicated, key decisions have been made (obviously not yet in terms of voting on the Covenant, but certainly in terms of taking stances which will lead directly to such votes); schism has already happened; and not just a twofold, but a confusing and pluriform ecclesial reality, is not just a middle-distance possibility but an on-the-ground and in-your-face fact. (emphasis mine)

Which of you is right? The ++ABC warns against speaking in terms of schism and excommunication’, but shortly after, you state that “schism has already happened…” It appears that the ++ABC is simply not willing to recognise the facts on the ground, no matter his assent to the destructive actions of GC. This is what some commentators have noted as ++Cantuar’s Hegelian dialectic. If ++Cantuar is unwilling to recognise the schism, in concept or otherwise, the quick action called for by +Durham will not come. Then where does that leave us? I’m afraid we’ll be, yet again, in the developing Anglican purgatory…

Read the whole thing here.

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Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, General Convention, TEC, TEC Conflict

Matt Kennedy’s take on the ABC’s Statement

Short, concise and clear. Definitely a contrast to the ABC’s statement. Read it all below.
(Hat tip: StandFirm)

My Take on the ABC’s Statement

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 • 5:53 am


Greg pointed out that I’m one of the only SF writers who has not yet published an analysis of the ABC‘s statement. I told him that I’d decided to let the little dogs yap around in the yard first before the big dog (that’s me) steps in. I think he understood.

So here it goes…

I know that many at SF are not pleased with the ABC‘s statement and compared to the kind of robust response to outright heresy you might expect from a functional Christian community, yeah, I agree, it’s sickly and weak. But hey, it’s the Anglican Communion — a messed-up family of 38 including at least four naked uncle Joes who routinely arrive at family dinners already toasted and end up naked in the corner wearing lampshades. If you want to keep people like that at the table without actually doing anything to help them, you gotta make some compromises. The Archbishop understands that.

That’s my take.

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Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, General Convention, Ruth Gledhill's Blog, TEC, TEC Conflict

ABC responds to GC09

The blogosphere is alive with the sound of typing… The ABC has finally put into words his response. If you haven’t read it all already, read it here.

What has really struck me, as I’ve been wading through the pages upon pages of responses to the ABC, is how the responses have fallen to one side or the other of the Atlantic. It appears that major responses on this side of the pond have ranged from hesitantly hopeful to overtly so. As one might expect, on the other side of the pond, blogs like StandFirm are less than pleased. (And I would tend to agree with them.)

However, I did truly appreciate the translation Peter Ould did of the ABC’s comments, though I believe he is too optimistic in response. There comes a time when words, however well crafted, are simply that – just words. I can sense the pleasure many commentators have gotten deciphering the intent and subtleties of Archbishop Williams’ words. But when will it end? Only God knows… But it appears that there is no impetus by the ABC or TEC to rush or push this forward. Moreover, I tend to agree with a commentor  on Ruth Gledhill’s blog about +Cantuar’s suggestion of a ‘two-tiered’ Communion.

I don’t get this at all. How is it a COMMUNION if there are two tiers? With all do respect, Archbishop Williams, you are a learned theologian and you know that two tiers do not make for one communion in any sense of Christian ecclesiology. You clasp onto TEC and try to keep them in the communion while TEC is delighted in a subdued fashion to see her conservative members leave and offer no such hand of pastoral affection. My Lord, this is not a paradox! This is a contradiction!

Posted by: Richard | 28 Jul 2009 06:06:19

In the end, for me (personally), I do not see how a Covenant or any other possibility short of expulsion from the Communion, will address the actions of TEC sufficiently. As a priest in the CofE who is American, I am bewildered at the lack of understanding on this side of the pond in regard to what is taking place in North America. I am all for reconcilliation and the gospel imperative of forgiveness. I too have read the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats, etc. But we are beyond these. We have a church which espouses a ‘doctrine’ which contravines Holy Scripture, and here I am not speaking about sexuality. When does a church cease to be a Christian church?

I had a conversation once with someone on this very issue. We were discussing the whole situation in North America. The argument arose that sexuality was a second order issue, but we could at least agree on the essentials. I responed by asking: ‘What were those essentials?’ The response came, Well, the creeds for instance. ‘But this is the problem.’, I said, ‘We have a church which no longer believes the Creeds as they have been handed down. So where does that leave us?’ And the response to this was: So why haven’t we done anything about this? All I could do was shake my head and say: ‘I don’t know.’

And I still don’t know why we won’t act. The time has come, and some would suggest, that it has gone. Because of this people have acted in their own capacities to address the issue. I am not suggesting one ‘strategy’ over another. I have friends who are in all ‘three camps‘, as Sarah Hey has noted. I am not advocating one over the other. We must all discern our own call and in the process not denegrate each other.

This being said, there comes a point where we must do something. Is this not the acusation leveled at the Christian church today, when people say that the Church is irrelevant to contemporary society? Moreover, is this not the internal critique made by neo-monastic communities/fresh expressions/emerging communities? Are they not trying to overcome this inactivity? By not acting, are we simply caught up in the Enlightenment understanding of propositional theology being the endall/beall of doctrinal significance?

There does come a time to act. And if now is not that time, then when? I have a tendency to agree with David Ould when he states:

…Canterbury is vitally important, evidenced not least by the profoundly negative impact that Williams’ inaction has had on the Communion. So a call now for Williams to go, in the light of his inactivity, is not to undermine Canterbury but, rather, to hold it in a very high place. For the sake of the reputation of his very high office he must vacate Augustine’s Chair.

I would be very hesitant to go as far as David Ould does, but what are the other options? A two-tiered Communion? As already noted, that is no Communion at all. It is a contradiction. I hope and pray that the Communion will come to some sort of conclusion. Yes we do live in tension, in a Kingdom of now but not yet. However, is this what that truly means? Heresy in tension with the gospel? I cannot agree with that assessment. I pray that the ABC is not left behind due to inactivity. It would be a truly sad day if that were to ever be the case. My concern is that the ABC will be left at the table with no one with which to talk. Both sides will have left and the ABC will be left alone sitting at the table. What a sad day that would be….

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Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, TEC, TEC Conflict, Uncategorized

C’est tout…. C’est fini!

To paraphrase Kenneth Wolstenholme, They think it’s all over…. it is now. (I know, I know….. I couldn’t resist.)

I don’t know how anyone could interpret the outcome of GC09 as anything but a decision to walk apart. KJS and Pres. Anderson can write what they want to the ABC (here). I don’t know, call me crazy, but I believe that the Wall Street Journal tends to get things right most of the time. Read their article here.

If you want to get a true sense of what the orthodox in TEC are feeling right now. Check out the press conference on StandFirm here. There’s no question how Bishop Love feels. You’ve got to feel for the guy. You can just see the heartache and sorrow. (You are in our prayers, Bishop Love and all the other orthodox bishops, clergy and laity.)

I don’t know what sort of response is going to come out of Lambeth. But wouldn’t it be refreshing to not have some sort of double-speak? To actually get a statement that means something and means what it says? I don’t know, may be just wishful thinking.

I read something someone said in one of the Houses during debate. They said something along these lines: You can say, ‘I can fly.’ Heck, you can even climb up to the top of your roof, start flapping your arms and jump off. But you’re still going to fall straight to the ground.

I’d add one thing to that… After you fall, don’t turn around to the media and say, See, look. I did fly; all the way from the rooftop to the ground.

No matter what the spin doctors try to do, the proverbial fat lady has sung. C’est tout…..C’est fini.

Keep flapping those arms, TEC. Keep flapping those arms…

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Anglican Communion, Lambeth Conference, TEC, TEC Conflict

This sums me up…

A great letter from the Bishop of Nelson (New Zealand) to his diocese. I think this pretty much sums up where I am at. I am more and more disenfranchised with the, to quote the Bishop, the ‘spinelessness of the communion.’

(Hat tip SFIF and T19)

I include the entire text below:

We are now in the last couple of days of Lambeth and I am feeling deeply sad.

I don’t know why at the moment – everything I came here hoping for looks set to be agreed to:
It is very likely that the Windsor continuation report will be approved – which means that a moratoria on gay bishops will continue etc….

And it seems likely that a covenant process will be endorsed and a draft agreed to.

All this seems good to me and yet I can’t help this overwhelming sadness.

Because I am more convinced than ever that none of this will help us. Those who have stayed away will not agree to it and will continue their ministry in the States. And TEC will continue to bleat that they won’t follow the moratoria while these Africans continue to ignore it.

I believe (at this stage – and there are still two days to go) that this has been the most expensive exercise in futility that I have every been to.

The Indaba groups have been a joke. I can’t believe that no zulu has stood up and taken us to account for our abuse of this process. ‘Indaba’ is supposed to be very similar to the process our Maori use when they go onto a marae to achieve a consensus. We, on the other hand, arrived in our indaba groups only to be divided off into even smaller groups with little tasks to do – little questions to answer.

It feels as though this is a process to divide and conquer

The Bible study groups have been very good in relationship building – I have met some very special people from within TEC and I hope to keep in touch with some of them. But I’m tired of every study being reduced to the buzz-word around here – ‘What does it say in your context. Every second sentence you hear seems to start with that phrase – well, in my context. This is an abuse of the hermeneutical process.

The draft statement that will be released is so full of generalizations it says absolutely nothing. I am deeply dismayed at the spinelessness of the communion.

So what is good.

I have appreciated networking with some pretty amazing people.
I am so full of respect for Bishops Bill Love and Mark Lawrence (from within TEC) who are not afraid to stand up and call sin, sin!
I have the deepest admiration from the Bishops from the Sudan who came to let their voice be heard and have been treated with the most disgusting abuse from a woman Bishop from New York who labeled them ‘wife-beaters!’

I am ready to come home – with little energy for pursuing the covenant – but will do so because this is my church!!!

But I will be actively building relationships with the Global South which looks as if it will expand and grow beyond this Lambeth to include evangelical Bishops from all around the world.

With much love

Richard

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