Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Another photo-op for the rank and file

Yes, we have another photo-op (complete with required communique) as we continue to rev up for the ACC meeting in May.

Of course, what makes this photo-op interesting is who is not there. Shall we also say that the theological views held by many of these "theological educators" (and what makes one a "theological educator" anyway - what was the criteria used to decide and while we're at it, who decided who should assemble for the photo-op anyway?) are diverse? Among the group we find the highly visible Esther Mombo and Jenny Te Pau leading the pack. This is certainly a select-group if there ever was one. I'm sorry to see Jane Williams (whom I listen to regularly on the podcast series Godpod - though I disagree with her views about the filioque clause - which I recall was suddenly and rather oddly missing from the Nicene Creed during the Closing Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference at Canterbury Cathedral last summer, left out completely, oh but never mind ...) lend her credibility to the gathering. I wish she would cross the Big Pond some time soon and see for herself what's going down.

It would be fun to talk about that filioque clause.

You can read their "communique" (how many more of these are we going to have to read before May, I wonder?) here. Now where did I put my copy of And I Turned to See the Voice?


Scott Gunn said...

What are the views of Jane Williams on the filioque? Why would she leave during the Nicene Creed?

On a related note, I do not believe the filioque was uttered once during the Lambeth Conference, though I am perfectly willing to be corrected. My service leaflets are in my office at church, but my recollection is that at both the Canterbury Cathedral services and the daily eucharists, the Creed was said sans filioque.


BabyBlue said...

The filioque clause itself (not Jane Williams - I better take a look at that sentence) was left out of the Nicene Creed in the Closing Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference.

It caught my attention because on Godpod (which originates from Holy Trinity Brompton in London) Dr. Jane Williams and the other theologically-minded host and guests were having a rather robust discussion on whether the filioque clause is indeed theologically sound - i.e., does the Holy Spirit really come from both the Father and the Son?. Jane Williams was of the opinion that the phrase could be dropped, because she took the Eastern Orthodox view that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father only (or at least she was ready to defend that view). Also, if the filioque clause was dropped, it may open doors for communion with the Eastern Orthodox and the Church of England, I think was another rationale. So that was both ecumenical and theological arguments presented (not sure what Rome would make of it - I'm not sure I recall John Paul II or the present Pope making comments about that theological point).

I have thought that the filioque clause is paramount to our understanding not only of who the Holy Spirit is in relationship with the Trinity (remember the "We" business in Genesis), but also that it again establishes that Jesus Christ is God and not separating "Christ" in the form that I understood the word "Christ" to mean when I was a Christian Scientist. By taking Jesus out of the picture regarding "the Father and the Son" diminishes him, reopening Gnostic view of Jesus. In fact, I am concerned it opens the door to reinventing the word Christ - as we are now seeing underway perhaps in Northern Michigan. That's my concern.

Gosh, wouldn't it be fun to discuss the filioque into the wee hours of the morning over shots and chips? That would be way more fun that the slings and arrows that we must deal with now. Sigh.


Scott Gunn said...


If I don't see you before, I'll be in Anaheim. I don't do shots, but I LOVE chips. Let's have a chat, and set aside the slings and arrows for a few minutes.


BabyBlue said...

You got a deal, Scott.


Jody+ said...

The absence of the filioque clause is not all that odd. It is often left out of celebrations at which there will be ecumenical representation, particularly the Orthodox. It was nearly left out of the 1979 BCP and, as I understand it, is now optional in the C of E (Common Worship includes a version without the filioque for ecumenical settings). The Roman Catholic Church has also left out the fioloque clause during services attended by the Orthodox, and I believe it was absent at Rowan Williams' enthronement as ABC.

Like it or not, ecumenical consensus is that the western Church did not have the authority to insert the filioque into an ecumenical creed, and because of that a sort of agreement seems to have been reached in which Western Churches will leave it as an option, but will not use it when celebrating a service with our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. For good or ill, it's not really all that new.

Jody+ said...

Also, I'm sure you're aware of the Orthodox theological argument that the filioque inadvertantly and inappropriately subordinates the Holy Spirit. I've had Eastern Orthodox priests argue that this is the reason behind the succesive charismatic movements in the Western Church, which have not (according to them anyway) been matched (or needed) in the Eastern Church--the claim is that we're always trying to put the Holy Spirit back in his rightful place.