Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take out the Fiddles? Anglican Communion "Standing Committee" meets in London

Seeing the list of what the "Standing Committee" did yesterday, it's no wonder there have been so many resignations of primates and bishops from that group:
  • New ACC Articles of Association now replace the old unincorporated Constitution.
  • Canon Janet Trisk confirmed as the replacement to Ms Nomfundo Walaza.
  • Bp Ian Douglas continues to serve on Standing Committee
  • Representative elected to fill vacancy.
  • Committee agrees its official name is “The Standing Committee”.

We'll stay tuned to see if this is a Kick the Can Committee - sounds like they spent a lot of time on their name and no time - at least not yet - of addressing the fact that Communion is in crisis. But the meeting is not over yet.

58 comments:

Daniel Weir said...

It is no wonder. If as both BB and I surmise the resignations are responses to who is on the committee, the crisis is, IMV, a new thing. Anglicans have for centuries been willing to accommodate a fair amount of diversity on theological, ethical, and ecclesiological questions. Now there is an unwillingness to do so on some issues and a willingness to break communion. This is sad, chiefly because conservatives and liberals need one another, if for no other reason to remind us that we could be wrong.

Wilf said...

I think it's clear -

We're all wrong. We have a primate who denies the resurrection & the divinity of Christ. We as a communion should have unilaterally dropped all of our ecumenical relations, since we're not Trinitarian any more in practice. I sincerely hope we again come to the point where we are Trinitarian once again, but standing around pretending won't make that happen. We must all repent, and we are all responsible for this situation. Conservatives and Liberals Trinitarians have failed, and we continue to pretend we are Trinitarian even though we are largely run by non-Trinitarians. We can't blame the non-Trinitarians, either. I don't think that they really wanted this to happen.

Ed McNeill said...

So on Day 1 the ABC & Kenneth Kearon reiterate the reasons TEC's reps have been removed from ecumenical dialogues. A nice rehersal of an upcoming discussion regarding TEC's participation on the Standing Committee and Primates Meeting. It is further reported that the Standing Committee was satisfied with the explanation. This should be a most interesting weekend.

ettu said...

Wilf- Would you post a link to an unambiguous statement from KJS that clearly - in her own words - confirms your comment that "We have a primate who denies the resurrection & the divinity of Christ."

Wilf said...

sure, ettu

resurrection: link
divinity of Christ: link
analysis: link

Wilf said...

btw. ettu, any reason you assumed it was KJS?

ettu said...

Wilf- I assumed KJS due to the American nature of this blog - no more and no less. As to your links, I do not see any clear denial of either Divinity or Resurrection but rather a deep theological thought process that may lead some to growth in Faith - also, the analysis you link to has the following quote .."My conclusion here in both cases is: Schori most definitely never, at any time, denies these outright,..." Therefore I have to believe KJS has not denied either belief but may be trying to reach a deeper level than some are comfortable with - the real shame is that her thought process is either not understood or is used as a bludgeon to smear her when the real problem with her leadership lies elsewhere. If I could be shown clear denials by her of these beliefs I would feel deeply offended by them and pray and react appropriately. However, when there are no such clear denials my prayers and concern are directed toward her attackers. I believe that intellectual honesty demands unequivocal proof when one states .."We have a primate who denies the resurrection & the divinity of Christ." That is a very strong and provocative statement.

Daniel Weir said...

I have found the assertions about the PB's "denials" baseless. I have, however, been prompted by them to think about a more serious problem for North American Christians, our downplaying of the humanity of Jesus. Perhaps because of the dualism that sees spirit as good and matter as bad, we seem to want a Jesus who is hardly like us at all, who hovered over human life and hovered over the Cross,rather than a man who shared our life so fully and without reservation that he was willing to occupy the place of shame and humiliation out of love for us. The revelation of God in Christ was not of one who is powerful in the world's terms, but of one who suffers. In a culture that likes super-heroes, that revelation is clearly counter-cultural.

Wilf said...

ettu:

With the word "resurrection" I refer to the bodily resurrection of Christ - not merely some meaning we may formulate from an event whose actual occurrence is not important. I.e., I mean the event itself, and not the feeling that we can overcome our problems, or that there is new life in springtime, etc. etc.. This is also the common meaning of the word. In the analysis, I point out how re-defining the word in such a manner which discards the actual resurrection as an event implies denying the actual teaching of the church - that the event itself is not only important, but central to our faith and our understanding of Christ.

As to the divinity of Christ - stating that the divinity of Jesus means that Jesus was a good man implicitly denies that Jesus is God - as "God" is not the same as "man" and it is to say, "the divinity of Jesus does not mean that Jesus is God, but rather merely that Jesus was a very, very, very good man." The teaching of the church regarding the divinity of Christ is that divinity means "being God" and not "being a very very very good man," and this reformulation is actually even worse than a simple, outright denial.

I fail to see how either of these in any way "goes deeper." We can also reflect upon such things without making pronouncements as she does. She could have called on us to think about other possibilities, and then consider how these alternate possibilities help us understand better the actual event of the resurrection, or appreciate that Jesus is the Son of God, and not merely a very, very, very good man. So no, she never makes any "flat denials," but her words are in fact worse than such flat denials because unfortunately, they are more adept at misleading persons like yourself, and tempting you to discard your faith in a Risen Christ. There is, furthermore, nothing terribly new or deep in what she says - it's old-style 19th Century stuff which most churches put aside for good when Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and others pointed out the terrible inconsistencies and irrationalities inherent in such views. The view on the resurrection in particular clings to a very outdated notion of hermeneutics, interpretation, and meaning that is not rationally tenable.

I wish for you, if you don't wish to engage this topic further, to fully extricate yourself from it. You don't need to "fight" about Schori. Just leave it as it is and reflect on Christ. The Anglican Wars are creating terrible casualties, and you do not want your faith damaged by the tremendous mess situated at the very heart of the church. Your faith is more important to God than your views on the state of the church. So my advice is: don't bother trying to defend her; if your catechesis hasn't covered this ground, just turn to the gospels directly. Being wounded in the church is a terrible thing, and one feels more wounded by one's church leaders the more one tries to vouch for them, once one realizes the extent to which they have let one down - or denied Christ. I don't think any reputable theologians consider Schori to be a deep theological thinker, so you won't be missing out on anything, either.

Wilf said...

Fr. Weir,

I am much in agreement with your helpful remarks about some tendencies in Christianity and a disembodied Christ who does not share our humanity.

Unfortunately you don't give me much to respond to by simply assessing the assertions - with ample grounding - as "baseless." It would be more helpful if you found a flaw in the chain of argument.

Let me ask for further reflection: is not requesting us to exchange the actual event of the Resurrection with some construed "meaning about the Resurrection" also something which disembodies Christ, and makes His humanity less meaningful? Is not replacing an event with a meaning about an event a form of gnosticism, which distances us from the actual human body of Christ, and substitutes it with an ideal (whatever "meaning" it is that we then choose to associate with the Resurrection / which we substitute for the Resurrection)?

And therefore, if the actual event of the resurrection is unimportant, are we not guilty of denying a very essential aspect of Christ in which His humanity and divinity are clearly, and eternally, united?

Wilf said...

ettu -

In case you do wish nonetheless to engage this - I take it you haven't read the article in its entirety since you surely would have come across "expected rebuttal" number 7, "Only a flat denial should concern us," in which I outline how her rhetorical tactic is actually in practice worse than a flat denial. If you are interested in engaging the material, please read it, and then also especially #7, since you have rebutted with an expected rebuttal, and there is already an answer awaiting you there.

ettu said...

Wilf - I am too busy to analyze all of your statements at the moment - Just 2 points - thanks for your concern but I assure you my faith is not in the least threatened by engaging in this dialogue ( I only question how open it is - but that is an aside). I also still stand by my belief that one should only castigate a person by quoting exact words whereas I feel your disapproval is via analysis and indirectness - neither of which is what I was looking for in my original question - thanks for the links anyway - they just strengthened me and did not confuse at all -

ettu said...

Wilf - P.S., I find your opinion of my abilities and background to be mere surmise on your part implying my lack of either depth or interest.

Wilf said...

ok, thank you, Ettu.

It is difficult in discussing with Episcopalians "their faith" what this word means. With some I find later that with the word "God" they are not really sure if it is just a "meaning" and a kind of "metaphor" for other things, and are unsure if there is any reality to God outside of the language and constructs of the church.

I hope by using the word "faith" that you do mean that you believe that Christ rose from the dead - and that this also means His body, that the tomb was empty as we read in the gospels. I believe some aspects of the importance of this are outlined in the article, and that resurrection does not merely mean to you something akin to "I feel that I can ... " or that "I feel that all humanity should ..." etc. etc.. Actually, for all the discussion of "rationality" and "thinking" in the Episcopal Church, I find that many have not dared tread these paths, probably in a hope that they are somehow being "more thinking" in "leaving all possibilities open" with some misguided notion about the "dangers of fundamentalism" etc. etc.. Faith is something which encompasses the whole of our being - including our minds - and it is important for us to understand why "new life in the springtime" is not the same as the Resurrection, nor is "a very very good man" the same as God. If we have not come to grips with these to some basic extent with our minds - we have not yet acknowledged who Jesus Christ is - and this is clearly one of Christ's great concerns in the gospels, as he asks his disciples: "who do you think that I am?"

I don't think I am castigating or bludgeoning KJS, I am simply stating a "fact." I could go into detail as to precisely how she denies Christ, but as her statements do entail a denial of the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the resurrection, I simply sum these up this way, as both statements are true - unless we allow the word "resurrection" to mean "that lovely springtime feeling" or "my feeling of overcoming" etc. etc. - which is not what I refer to with the word "resurrection." And I'm eager to provide the link which explains that she does not deny them in simple language, but that her reformulations entail denials, and are much more dangerous than simple denials. There is no indirectness here, and the article quotes the exact words. You however are free to disagree. If you do, though, it helps to say why you disagree, and to uncover the flaw in the analysis.

She has surely known about the complaint regarding both of these quotes via a primate in an open letter to Rowan Williams, and to my knowledge, she has never rebutted, so I think it safe to say: it doesn't seem like she intends to make clear that she teaches either of things, and is satisfied to let her reformulations (and thus denials of the church teachings) stand.

The article has been posted for some time, and so far no one has found fit to provide a rebuttal.

You yourself would do well to be more honest in the content of the article and quote the entirety of the paragraph which points out that these are not simply flat denials:

her words can indeed be reasonably taken to deny the doctrines of the Church on both matters. And those who say that she denies the divinity of Christ or the resurrection, assumably, mean to assert that she denies the doctrines of the church on these matters, rather than making “flat” denials.

And if you read the article, I believe you will also conclude that we should be more concerned with this means of denying the doctrines of the church, rather than making statements like "The resurrection never happened."

Daniel Weir said...

I have two reflections on the question of the divinity of Jesus on my blog The Thin Tradition and won't repeat those here.

redleg82 said...

Anonymous, if you are judging what is unambiguous and clear I doubt anyone here will satisfy you.

It does bring up an interesting reason for TEC being removed from AC ecumenical discussions.

If you can't clearly and unambiguously explain "Anglicanism" (or your version) in a recognizable way within the Communion, TEC surely cannot be trusted to portray "Anglicanism" to other denominations.

Daniel Weir said...

redleg82-

The problem, as I see it, with your argument is that there has never been only one expression of Anglicanism. Even before the 18th century and the establishing of a separate church in the USA, there were some very real differences in theology within the CofE.

Daniel

ettu said...

Wilf _ Thanks for your attempts but nowhere do I see direct quotes that justify your statement about KJS's beliefs - you can and may analyze her statements and I respect that but I cannot take your thoughts as seriously as you intend when you make a flat statement that cannot be justified by quotes - I feel she deserves credit for starting a deep theological conversation and suspect that the Lord has raised her up as an instrument at this time - sorry you disagree - I will respect your faith as I expect you to respect mine - pax vobiscum

Anonymous said...

Wilf has expressed this before and I have taken mild issue with it. Most Epsicopalians (perhaps all) would either quit or make her quit if the Presiding Bishop denied the divinity of Christ. If it ever happens, I'm sure we can read about it on the front page of every major and minor newspaper in the world.

Scout

ettu said...

Scout -- Amen!

Wilf said...

Scout & ettu,

One can grant KJS an "out" if either:

a. one does not consider the resurrection to be important

or:

b. one does not consider the the importance of the resurrection to be part and parcel of the church's doctrine of the resurrection

or:

c. one is willing to redefine the resurrection as poetically real, but factually false; i.e., it describes my own attitudes and emotions, as well as those who use it as a metaphor; and it we may refer to it to provide metaphorical color to various good things we would like to persuade people to do as part of our church ethic.

It's clear that she denies the Trinitarian doctrine of the resurrection. But Episcopalians like to hold open the door to think differently about things like how God might be real, and how other things should be defined. They don't have to be Trinitarian Christians, though the church currently still holds itself out as Trinitarian.

If none of these three is the case, please re-read the article and consider what you personally wish to do to help your church in the area of Christology; it is beyond me how any Trinitarian Christian would hold out defending her on these specific points after having read the quotes and the analysis. The analysis is more for people who aren't particularly good at making theological connections. Those connections are there.

Secular journalists have better things to do with their time than read the PB's sermons, and none would want to go through all the maneuvers of connecting the dots for their readers in the way this article has. Furthermore, after Spong, no one really finds it newsworthy when an Episcopalian bishop denies anything. The secular news also didn't cover the fact that Schori's CV for the General Convention 2006 PB election was padded; TEC has become too wild a bird to cover in any significant way, except for events well understood within the value schemes of mainstream media.

One problem within TEC is precisely this: no one is willing to go out on a limb and say, "this is wrong" when something is wrong - somehow we all expect some "very official" type of whistleblower, like a big newspaper, to do this difficult work, and after it happens, we interpret that this has been "punishment" and as we have been "punished enough," we have no need to repent further. Good people, this is exactly why Spong "got away" with telling porkies about what people from other churches "really believe" tarring them as irrationalist, ethically reprehensible idiots; and why it wasn't until a lot of cain had been raised that action was finally taken against Bennison. We look at ourselves and our leaders as victims, as a kind of endangered species.

Good ole John Shelby Spong is still a bishop in good standing, still denying just about everything, and selling books that sell like hotcakes because of their heavy schadenfreude appeal, though the scholarship is so horrid they would probably not be publishable unless he could put on the cover, "Written By a Genuine Bona Fide Bishop!" Do you find that Spong denies the resurrection? You probably belong then with a, b, or c above with regards to your reaction to Schori, and hey - that is perfectly legal, and I thank God that the U.S. embraces freedom of religion. But in that case, you aren't a Trinitarian Christian, and it's simply a perspective of a different type of religion on a similar sort of signifier. Though the evangelist in me would long to say something to help you consider the Trinitarian fold.

Wilf said...

above sentence:
Do you find that Spong denies the resurrection?
needs after it: "If not, ...

ettu said...

Oh my! This started out as a simple request for links to the PB's words and has now morphed into a discussion that I find seems to have come out of left field - pun intended- anyway, this is becoming a tortured and seemingly pointless thread from my point of view -- thank you for all of your lengthy posts - I only regret that a simple request sparked so much and still did not provide the words I was expecting to read --- take care--goodbye

BabyBlue said...

Another round of Butterbeer - on the house! :)

bb

Wilf said...

That's ok, ettu.

Good Christology in the church is most certainly worth it, and you are most certainly worth it.

Anonymous said...

Wilf, I can't follow your lengthy comment. Rest assured that KJS has not denied the divinity of Christ. If she or the Pope or the President of the Mormon Church or any number of less prominent religious leaders did that, all this exegesis wouldn't be necessary. It would be front-page news in all the major press of the world.

I hope you feel better now.

Scout

Wilf said...

Scout,

I've responded above to this assertion that you made in your last comment.

The Lakeland Two said...

I disagree with Fr. Weir that North America downplays Jesus's humanity. I think in truth, it down plays His divinity. Jesus loves us, came and dwelt among us. He suffered a cruel and brutal death at the hands of humans - because He loves us. That death has been downplayed and diminished even in how it is handled in KJS's Easter sermons. Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. And He submitted to God fully even unto death.

To deny or diminish even a portion of Jesus's sacrifice is reprehensible and offensive to many of us. That many including Fr. Weir, Ettu and Scout don't grasp how horrific it is and can just wave their hands like it didn't happen diminishes their credibility.

You want a listening process? It's a two-way street, not one way. Listen to what I have written and process that thought. Have you contemplated how the words that were said DID wound those whom you are bandying words with - do you care how it hurts us? Instead of admitting that you can understand how the words can be hurtful, you diminish the posters by trying to spin what was said. As a leader of a Christian denomination, KJS's numerous comments are offensive to me, my spouse, and a whole group of Christians. Rather than attack us, how could you minister to your brothers and sisters? Should you not go to KJS and ask her what she was thinking in saying what she did in how she did it? How she might want to rethink so she was not hurtful? Or are we not worth the effort?

That Spong is still permitted to be a bishop unchallenged is offensive - and speaks volumes to us as to the character of leadership in TEC. If you don't believe in the basic tenents of the Faith, what the heck are you doing here?

Daniel Weir said...

Lakeland Two-

I have no influence at all with the PB, so don't expect me to go to her with your concerns about statements that you find offensive. If you are still an Episcopalian, write to her yourself.

The suggestion that I am unmoved by the love which Jesus showed me on Calvary is hardly supported by anything I have written here or elsewhere. There are certainly Christians who don't grasp the suffering of Jesus, but I am not one of them.

We can disagree about the emphasis that popular Christianity places on the humanity and divinity of Jesus. It is a complicated issue. However one story from my Greek professor hints at what I think is one part of the problem, i.e., a view of Jesus' humanity that is idealized that he seems to be nothing like us. The professor gave a talk in a parish and commented on the Greek sentence structure in Luke 19:4n which is usually read to mean that Zacchaeus was short. The Greek, however, could mean that Jesus was short. The professor suggestion that that was an acceptable way to read the Greek was responded to with something far less than acceptance. After all, how could Jesus have been short?

The Lakeland Two said...

Fr. Weir,

First, I did not make the "suggestion that I am unmoved by the love which Jesus showed me on Calvary is hardly supported by anything I have written here or elsewhere." I don't know where you got that, but I didn't imply it - or mean to.

While I'm still an Episcopalian (as much as it pains me to say it these days), there's no point for me to contact the PB again. She hasn't nor will listen to me. But she might to you (especially as a non-orthodox cleric) or a group of you, maybe. To understand that she is causing pain. But we orthodox aren't worth that effort, now, are we? Off with you, but leave everything behind.

My question/suggestion was sincere - how could you minister to the hurting orthodox. Your answer - I can't (won't) do anything, do it yourself.

What would Jesus have done? Quibble over words or gone and done something. My Jesus would go and share how her actions were hurtful. He might have said through clear words, parables or writing in the sand, but he would have done it.

Jesus said enough that we know who He was (and is) and what He was about. Quibbling here and there about this passage or that because it suits you - that's not Jesus.

You are entitled to your theology and viewpoint. Is He the Lord of your life or are you? I struggle with giving over every part of me and know well of what Paul says in Romans 7:14-25, yet I know Jesus did it all, He fought off every temptation - showing the way that we can. I am thankful that when I can't, I know that He died for me, that God required it for God's purposes. That's something some of TEC says that God would not do - child abuse. That is heresy. And it goes unaddressed just as KJS's comments do.

Daniel Weir said...

Lakeland Two,

Here is what you wrote: "To deny or diminish even a portion of Jesus's sacrifice is reprehensible and offensive to many of us. That many including Fr. Weir, Ettu and Scout don't grasp how horrific it is and can just wave their hands like it didn't happen diminishes their credibility."

I may have expressed myself poorly, but the plain sense of what you wrote is, IMV, that I - and Scout and Ettu - have missed the point of Jesus' sacrifice and the extent of his suffering.

I can minister to hurting orthodox in at least two ways, by listening with respect and being honest about my own convictions, and by urging, as I did on the Covenant site, all of us to learn and practice internet hospitality and respect for others. I will, if I find that I have the chance, follow your suggestion that some clergy who generally agree with the PB could urge her to consider how her words are perceived by those who call themselves orthodox. (I actually continue to see myself as orthodox and am at times bothered by the claiming of that word as the exclusive property of those who disagree with me on the hot button issues. I have accepted the title revisionist, even though it has been used as a pejorative, because I am glad to have played a very small part in some of the revisions that have been made in the Episcopal Church.)

I will not delve deeply into Atonement theology here, but will say that I do not subscribe to Anselm's theory, which has been the dominant one in western theology. I have written about the Atonement on my blog. Suffice it to say here, that on the Cross Jesus did for me what I could not do for myself and that he is lord in my life.

One final comment about respectful language. Although posts at the Cafe have generally been much more respectful than in some other places, there are times when even BB resorts to words that, IMV, are less than respectful towards sisters and brothers in Christ, e.g., suggesting that the Standing Committee might be "a Kick the Can Committee" seemed not at all respectful. Were she to have said those words directly to me, I might have picked up something from tone of voice or facial expression that would have changed my perception.

Wilf said...

A response for Lakeland Two, Fr. Weir, ettu, and Scout here.

Wilf said...

ettu -

I might add, it seems you want to discount my analysis simply on the fact that you find it deceitful for me to claim that the Presiding Bishop has denied the resurrection without providing simple and direct evidence. The answer is that the PB herself uses rather confusing language, which takes time to "clear up" if one isn't used to untwisting conceptually confusing language.

Given this fact though - the "charge" here is rather minimal, since I immediately provide you with the evidence and the analysis - why then are you willing to trust the PB, if you won't even read what I have to say?

You should know of the very likely election fraud occurring at the PB's election, and that the PB most definitely knew what had taken place and yet said nothing before voting began (as far as we know, but the evidence seems clear). If you are so scrupulously ethical in excluding from consideration materials provided by persons with some minimal reason to distrust, you most certainly would not want to trust the PB until a public inquiry is made around this very likely election fraud.

Wilf said...

another thought as well:

Don't you think that because of the awful consequences of these things that KJS has said, that the most charitable thing Episcopalians could do would be to convince her to take time off, to reflect, to discuss with others who do believe in a risen Christ?

Aren't we all complicit in her lack of faith by allowing her to go on without any indication that there is something wrong? Aren't we implicitly telling her, "you know, about the Resurrection not being important - well, we guess you're right about that - look, nobody's saying a word."

At any moments that she might be reconsidering - she will be tempted to think, "but look at all those bishops and clergy that just stood by - if it IS important, why did they just keep standing by like that without saying a word?"

Perhaps there are some that are trying to do something. Some positive signs: her statements in the last year and a half are not as problematic in doubting the reality of Christ as the earlier ones. I hear that the Canon to the PB, Chuck Robertson, is a good guy, he has been with her since June 2007 (i.e., after publication of the "divinity of Christ means a great figure" interview), but before the resurrection quote.

But wouldn't it help if faithful Episcopalians from all over pleaded with her to examine her Christology, in a loving but earnest manner? And if they do not, are they not doing her a terrible, terrible disservice?

Daniel Weir said...

I have responded to both of the posts for which Wilf has provided links. Due to other commitments, I am unlikely to comment further on either matter.

Daniel Weir said...

I read again Lakeland Two's statements and saw that I may have missed the point - as I sometimes do.

"To deny or diminish even a portion of Jesus's sacrifice is reprehensible and offensive to many of us. That many including Fr. Weir, Ettu and Scout don't grasp how horrific it is and can just wave their hands like it didn't happen diminishes their credibility."

If what is seen as "horrific" to Lakeland Two are the PB's statements, then I did miss the point. However, I don't see them as horrific. They are not statements that I would have made, but, as I have stated before, I don't see in them a denial of the faith. I am, in fact, not all that concerned about my credibility, and if my refusal to agree with assertions about the PB diminishes my credibility with some people, there is little that I can about that. I have some sympathy, having held minority convictions for most of my life, with those who find themselves to be in the minority within the Episcopal Church. My hope is that they will do what I have done, stay and witness to their convictions.

Wilf said...

Fr. Daniel,

I realize that you have been taken aback by the language here, in my assertions that the PB denies the resurrection etc., and I can understand this, though I also believe this to be a provably true statement.

Let's back off of that one for a moment though, Lakeland Two also said "diminish."

Thoughts and propositions are interconnected, and it is possible to make an assertion which, in a superficial way, "seems innocent enough," but upon analysis proves to be pointing to something which is not so innocent - or which will likely lead to such.

Let us take the example of the phrase, "gay people choose their behavior." I would take this statement to be misleading. On the surface, it looks innocent enough - doesn't it even imply that gay people are free, freedom being a good thing?

However, it can lead to people concluding that same-sex attractions are chosen, and that it is easy for anyone to comply with certain teachings about sexuality.

And this can lead to gay-bashing and unseemly behaviors in the church.

We could at least say that the first statement diminishes our understanding of gay people, and that it is in a way dangerous.

Likewise, a statement which encourages us to dissociate a "meaning" of the Resurrection from the actual event, and then to prioritize this meaning over the event itself - I think we can agree that at the very least, it diminishes our understanding of the Resurrection. And then in conjunction with the Resurrection primarily being associated with the green movement, it is all the more likely to lead some to conclude - consciously or not - that faith in Christ is all about a grand social program, and nothing more; or at least unconsciously stimulate such a belief to the point that it is difficult to get beyond this belief to actually appreciating Christ as one who Lives and is with us - in a way beyond, e.g., the way that environmentalism prevents our world from being polluted.

Surely if you can't follow the logic up to the actual denial, you can agree with this point regarding the diminishment of faith in the Resurrection, and why both Lakeland Two and I find it so ugly since it comes from the very Presiding Bishop.

Anonymous said...

I certainly can understand how any Christian would differ with statements denying the divinity of Christ, particularly coming from a member of the clergy.

I also can say that I have had reservations about the current Presiding Bishop's qualifications for the position at this time in the life of the Church. She strikes me as lacking in theological depth. I think we need considerably more heft in that position at this time.

However, given that I do not accept the allegation that she has denied either the divinity of Jesus or the significance of the resurrection, I just can't get too excited about the issues that Wilf and LL2 are hammering away on here, other than that I am sorry that they are distressed.

Scout

Daniel Weir said...

There is an oft-quoted definition of a puritan - someone who is afraid that somewhere someone may be having a good time. I would make a similar statement about some conservatives - perhaps Wilf would be included - someone who is afraid that somewhere there is an Anglican who has a different understanding of the faith. That may be harsh, but there is a trend towards a more confessional identity for the Communion and I have - not here but elsewhere - be considered to be not Anglican because I don't subscribe to Anselm's Atonement theory.

To address Wilf's comments: while it is possible to follow a stream of thought that begins with a statement form the PB to a denial of the faith, it is, as I have asserted elsewhere, just as possible to take her statements as consistent with the faith. Using the analogy that Wilf provides - it is not inevitable that the assertion of freedom LGBT persons to choose their behavior would lead to gay-bashing. I make that assertion frequently and have never been accused of gay-bashing. Statements of faith can be misunderstood and lead people to very wrong conclusions, but they need not. The PB is not a great theologian to be sure, but the assertions of denial of the faith aren't, IMV, supported by the evidence.

The Lakeland Two said...

Sorry to have been unavailable to respond - been offline.

Scout got the point. While you may disagree with what some of your brothers and sisters see as what the PB said, if you can recognize that those whom you disagree with are in pain because of it you come farther in dialogue than outright dismissing it.

While seen as hammering, maybe it needs to be.

Fr. Weir is not alone in his viewpoint that Anglicanism is broad to receive much diversity. I would agree that it should, but at some point there must be an edge, a boundary. Otherwise, we as a church become just another Unitarian entity. Perhaps that's just fine for Fr. Weir. It is not for those of us who understand that God's words provide boundaries that we ought not to cross.

While Fr. Weir chose to use accuse those understanding those boundaries as hating fun - it's not about fun. It's about respecting God. With our hearts, minds, souls and bodies. Are we perfect in that? No. Only Jesus was perfect. Tempted in every way and yet did not sin.

While some of you don't agree that the PB's statements aren't denials, to many of us they are because they are outside acceptible boundaries. The fact that some of you don't see or understand those boundaries is part of the problem. While you don't like to hear it because it is a reproach or challenge, you are blind because you have not been taught the truth. It might be explained this way: In our society, ignorance of the law is no excuse. You break the law, you're still guilty. You might not get caught, or if caught catch a break, but consequences remain. We can go through our government to change the law. But in God's kingdom, His law stands. Only He can change it. You can try to redefine it, but until He speaks, it stands - and He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

That's one of the differences I see in these discussions. I don't see Fr. Weir or those on the reappraiser side quoting Scripture - if he/they has/have I apologize. That's the difference to me. If the diversity is truly there, why is there no room for us? Why can't we believe what we do and be left alone? Why couldn't those who didn't believe in women's ordination be left alone? That diversity is a tricky thing, isn't it.

Daniel Weir said...

I am sorry if my Puritan was misunderstood - I don't for one minute think these disagreements aren't about how we honor God.

I agree that there are ultimately boundaries, but I think that only God knows for sure where they are. We can make very good discernment of the boundaries and we can even decide that we cannot be in communion with those who have crossed what we see as boundaries. But our discernment is not infallible and there will be honest disagreements among faithful people about what is out-of-bounds.

I accept that for some Episcopalians the PB's statements cause pain. I am sorry that that is true, but I remain unconvinced by the argument that she has denied the faith.

Wilf said...

You put things well, LL2 - I should be more conciliatory, I tend to be too caught up in "what's next," but I should have acknowledged Scout's agreements with us there.

And Fr. Weir, thanks also for your bit of agreement here. It's one of the things that makes discussion possible!

I am whole-hog, almost "Fundamentalistically" committed to the importance of a large Trinitarian Christian church that is non-confessional, and is very, very broad. I suppose in a lot of ways I'm a "classic broad-churcher." I believe that God wants us (I tend to be non-judgmental other churches on their particularisms where I don't find them destructive) to be this church that doesn't go pointing the finger at how we should exactly be doing baptisms, etc. etc.. But I also need to ask myself what this kind of commitment entails, and how we are to live such a mission out faithfully.

I also see very clearly: we will lose the lot if we do not take these creeds seriously, and insist on the authority of Scripture, even though we do not insist on uniform interpretations.

An inherent danger in our program is: those who want to teach in churches for some reason but have very little faith, or who are insistent in teaching something contrary to Trinitarian Christianity in churches, will nestle with us as the easiest place to do so, or the place where one is most likely to maintain a following.

We must, in kerygma matters, be very insistent upon good teaching. And this in TEC one is not.

We are becoming the church that everyone can point to and say:
"look, that's why we have our particularist teachings on baptism / atonement / eschatology etc. etc.. - we have a special task from God to hold fast to these things and if we don't, we shall lose our very core.
Hey, look at those Anglicans if you want to know what I'm talking about."

And we are largely proving them right. No other Trinitarian church leader at this level has ever gone so far in denying the resurrection and the divinity of Christ as our own KJS (a bishop belonging to the whole Communion, and a Primate). If any of you know of an example that contradicts this, you should let me know.

I would say of TEC: it should be a "no-brainer" that it should be trying now to uphold the most excellent Christological teachings which can be respected by all of its ecumenical partners, given the specific thing it is trying to accomplish. And we are virtually yelling out to the world that we really don't care much for all this Christ stuff, and that we somehow find insistence on good teaching to be petty and closed-minded.

Wilf said...

I am not doing this because I like the sound of my own voice, but because I see the damage that bad Christology brings along with it in people who have suffered bad Christological teachings. Many have a very difficult time mustering the kind of basic belief necessary to turn to God in prayer. Many see themselves as engaging in some sort of mystical act when following the liturgy. This is not how the liturgy was intended; it needs to engage the mind as well as the heart; and we need to have a basic knowledge of what these words mean, and what the church teachings are.

The amazing popularity of Spong in TEC shows just how poor our levels of thelogical and cultural education have gotten, and this Spong teaching is responsible for much spiritual death - many are blighted in their faith for years, with the require that people like myself work with them to remove the various silly intellectual obstacles to faith which Spong throws before them - none of them terribly sophisticated or scholarly responsible.

And I think we all know that this man would not be selling books if he were not a bishop.

This is another reason that I tend to fume at Schori. I would like to shake her and wake her up and say, "look, good teaching matters! You may want to bring people into the church that think it's all a load of ****. It may just not be the proper time for people to enter a church, who can't bear to hear the Trinitarian gospel preached; and we diminish everyone when things are taught in a manner which implies (I'll leave it to you to judge how directly) that the resurrection is unimportant.

Yes, we can "disagree on things." I also have understanding for clergy who may have doubts. But we must find a way of caring for them when they have such doubts! If their bishops simply tell them, "oh well no biggie," they will begin to doubt the church and their bishops, and recuperation of faith may become next to impossible.

I can not support a church which does not see a diminished teaching of Christ - e.g., a teaching that the resurrection is unimportant - simply as, "no biggie." I think that many of the responses we've heard here are exactly what people tend to say when it's their vicar who is saying odd things about the resurrection. "Oh, we don't want a witch trial here! Oh, it's not my business, it's the bishop's!" And the bishop will say, "I can't force anything, and anyways, this is the congregation's responsibility, they need to help him!"

All in all, we resist any thought of change with hysterical words like "witch hunt" and "Puritan" and "fundamentalist" etc., and are making ourselves prey for the belief that the very most minimalistic attachment of importance to a statement of belief - such as, e.g., "God is real" - that this also will be swept away as more faith is lost, and there is greater eagerness to shout down the "Puritans" who are insisting on such outdated, constrictive things such as that: the Resurrection is Important! What a shocker, didn't all these people leave the church a long time ago?

Wilf said...

This issue of good teaching in the faith is important at all levels. We need to be concerned when a curate, a deacon, a rector start teaching dodgy things about Christ, or admit to be struggling in such things (and yes, "where the boundaries are" here is an issue, I am not telling anyone here "where"). We would hope that there was someone such a clergyperson respects who can warmly and faithfully pray with them, and discuss with them their doubts.

When this rises to the level of bishop, we have a greater problem. It becomes clear that the bishop will not be able to take this role with clergy, and may even encourage such habits implicitly with his own example. Unity in the diocese is impaired.

When this rises to the level of presiding bishop, there is very little that we can do. In a way Fr. Weir is right to say, "I can't do anything about it." I suppose all we can do is point out the problem.

This is an issue of freedom. We need to use our freedom well. We as Anglicans had a great deal of freedom as non-confessional Christians. It is a pity even that we need to think about the Covenant.

But when freedom is too much abused, it is abridged; and law provides a different form of freedom under law. And we deserve, and even need, this very abridgement of freedom. And for us to point at those who would like to impose law as "Puritans" etc. simply shows all the more our need for such a law. Once we are more authentically reflective, and can prove ourselves as such ... we also show that we do not need such a law, and can be trusted without it.

Anonymous said...

Much as I hate to disagree on the subject of agreement, LL2 and Wilf, clarity requires that I make the point that my previous comment was one that expressed empathy for your sentiments, but disagreement with their substance. I do not believe for a moment that the Presiding Bishop has denied the divinity of Christ or the significance of the Resurrection in Christian doctrine.

Scout

Wilf said...

I have made note of that, Scout - do you not, however, believe that she has seriously diminished both?

For those still interested - I try to make clear part of the "why I am doing this" question and what it does not entail - On Anglicans and Apostasy - and I have found some interesting background regarding possible sources or affiliations for +KJS's words regarding the divinity of Christ: What is Jefferts Schori teaching? Some more puzzle pieces.

Daniel Weir said...

I wish Wilf well in his study of the PB's theology. I don't think anyone has ever paid such close attention to my sermons. :)

Wilf said...

thank you, Fr. Weir.
I assure you, the cause of good Christology in TEC is most certainly worth it. God most certainly wants you teaching good Christology as long as TEC claims to be Trinitarian as it still does.

It's looking more and more like Schori more or less follows Marcus Borg in Christology. I hope for her sake that she learns to look beyond Borg, and I do hope for the Communion that we draw some helpful conclusions which translate into fruitful, loving action - even if it only be a greater commitment to lovingly devote more time to clergy and bishops who have doubts about who Jesus is.

The Lakeland Two said...

Have to admit when I see "Borg" I tend to think the Star Trek version with cyborg parts. ;-D

Wilf, you've done a great job. I pray that others reading it comprehend the truths you have written.

Scout, understood you were being empathetic without agreeing.

Fr. Weir, I pray others do listen and dissect your sermons. To us L2, that's what sermons are supposed to do, provoke thought. We are charged in Scripture to hold everying up to the Light of God. Rest assured that as we sit and listen to sermons, we have an ear that's checking on the Scriptural balance.

We have had the displeasure of hearing the miraculous birth of Jesus dismissed as a myth on Christmas. Also have had another priest try to make the Cana miracle become a story about a gay wedding - here in the conservative island of Central Florida. So, we've seen error. It isn't just a slice of view or perspective. KJS's statemtents are a slide toward that.

Why wouldn't Fr. Weir or other TEC clergy not approach KJS or Spong and say what they are spouting off is offensive to others? Even knowing how much grief it's given to a lot of us conservatives. That's one of the points I was trying to make. OK, so you disagree with our perspective on KJS's statements. Get that. But it's more than evident that more than a few are insulted. Are we not worth concern?

So much has been done for those on the liberal side of the fence. What about the sheep on the conservative side? Where is the care for us sheep, your brothers and sisters in Christ? If there was care and concern, there would not be individuals leaving, nor churches and dioceses.

While Fr. Weir, Scout, etc., don't agree with what we see as egregious error, neither do they get the fact that it is that slide toward error that we see. That Spong is still allowed to speak as a bishop for the Episcopal church while tearing apart every fundamental principle of Christianity. It is the responsibility of every Christian to question and oppose challenges to the Faith. When error is left unchallenged, it harms the body.

Wilf said...

Thanks, LL2.

I guess I'd add that I don't really care so much whether "I" am offended or not, and that my feelings here don't matter a lot.

But what does matter is the effects of these teachings on the Church - on the flock at the lowest level, but also on the general tenor of Christology and how Christ is taught in the whole organization.

There are some simple kinds of questions here:
Do we find it acceptable to teach that Jesus most likely did not rise from the dead, and that this is all a kind of myth with some very deep meanings which are parables about our lives - ultimately about ethics & therapy?

My simple answer would be, if the answer to this question is "yes," we simply need to designate ourselves as non-Trinitarian Christians, and be bold in our statement. To make clear that Trinitarian Christians are welcome amongst us, just as we welcome Mormons, Jehovahs' Witnesses, etc., but without allowing them to determine our doctrine. Because if we do not, we are headed for a mammoth internecine conflict. Then we are certainly not lovers of peace.

Lovers of peace also recognize when communities do not need to share the same set of rules, the same doctrines, etc. etc.. We obviously don't want to "just let the Trinitarians get ordained, and carry out the discipline" - we don't really want to follow other churches in their practices of maintaining good Chritological teachings, and we really do want people to be teaching non-Trinitarian Christology as well - which is very simply, unacceptable to Trinitarians. They will demand that we find some way of dealing with the problem, and the non-Trinitarians will be deeply, deeply offended that there is even the notion "of a problem."

It leaves us in a very silly position as well. Here I am, wanting to talk about Christology - about how our beliefs come together, about what we can teach, about how we must affirm some kind of boundaries between kerygma and adiaphora - about how we must be open-minded but also understand limits, and willing to explore those limits.

I realize that these are difficult things, but I'd add: we have ENORMOUS bridges to build here. There is a real problem, and the split in the midst of this demonstrates this problem.

But: apparently we don't really even want to talk about this! I would suggest:

What we want to do, is talk about talking. But when it comes to the "real" talking ... suddenly we back away, and we're talking about talking again.

Now I am speaking as a philosopher, and not as a Trinitarian Christian here. I also hope that I haven't offended. But if we really are this insistent on different things, I would suggest: we are sort of staring at the elephant in the room without wanting to acknowledge it. Some are so confident in the importance of the Resurrection and its place in a living faith, that we want to do our utter best to insure that our priests are teaching this in a way such that will inspire faith, and not teaching people in such a manner that leaves them with the impression that it is unimportant. And others are so confident that reason does not compell us to accept this as Christians, and that allowing priests to teach their flocks that it is unimportant is either essential, or else that it is unavoidable in some kind of greater quest.

So we're at a real standstill.

It does seem to me that as long as we are in such a standstill, it is best to inform our ecumenical partners, and to allow them, for the time being, to engage ecumenically without us, until we have decided whether we are Trinitarian Christians or not.

This isn't me trying to be mean, this is me just trying to be logical about a situation fraught with more tension than we care to admit.

Wilf said...

I have another suggestion:

That we try to avoid speaking of feelings, "someone being offended," reputations, etc., but try to stick with issues. Getting to involved in the subjective feelings stemming from issues gets us nowhere. Let's try to talk more than talk about talking. There may be moments that we do need to re-evaluate our boundaries and modes of discourse, but at the moment, I feel that we are engaging too much in meta-meta-meta talk without wishing to ask ourselves: how do we approach Jesus in the church, and what kind of activity are we engaging in when we teach people about Jesus?

As a Trinitarian, there is no question in my mind that the Communion is involved in apostasy, as we have no practical means of dealing with a Primate who is teaching as she does - but I am trying to stay out of the "person" approach and make clear, we do not need to point at her, there is a whole dynamic at work. I suppose you could say: I am more pointing at her office. She is also a victim. But we need to find a way to help her. And helping her will be one of the most difficult things the church can do, given her rank.

Anyways, please: less of "sorry you are offended" etc. etc., more of: "how do we address the issue of this bifurcation between the actuality of the Resurrection and other meanings somehow associated with it?" or, "what concretely can the church do to promote healing here?"

I truly believe that if we want to save something of our credibility as Trinitarians, we would do best to drop these ecumenical relations for the time being. I think our ecumenical partners will respect this, as well. And to be clear: I have only been addressing +KJS - and it is entirely possible that other Primates have the same problem. If so, that of course also needs to be addressed - even if they may come from our "favorite" provinces. If this is a problem with +Duncan or +Orombi - or whatever province the "conservatives" like - we also need to deal with it. "Conservatives" are a part of this problem, being Anglicans. We all are.

The Lakeland Two said...

Wilf,

The division that exists is because of a lack of knowledge. I know you get that.

If we are to be successful in healing a breach, it will be because we try to find ways to express our needs in ways the other side can understand.

It's time we all step up to the plate and do what Christ would have us do. I would rather stand before Him knowing I did everything I could, even if I fail, than to stand knowing that I left the battle to others. There may be others better suited, better placed or better trained, but if they do little or nothing, we all fail. We, each of us, must to all that we can with our heart, soul, minds, and spirit for Christ.

The reason our church - God's church - is in tatters is because we as a whole waited for someone else to do the job: the bishops, the priests, the vestry, the laity. And we were not vocal enough when the right things were not done. It may be too late in a lot of respects, but God is in the business of miracles.

Anonymous said...

Wilf - I just noticed your 0958 comment. No, I don't think she has diminished in any respect the divinity of Christ or the significance of the Resurrection.

Scout

Wilf said...

I must say for +KJS -

I think that she must struggle a great deal, and that she has done remarkably well given that things are not worse than they are. For what is most important in her office is that she defend the faith - and not that she actually posses such faith. I think that what we have seen in the Parabola interview and her remarks on the resurrection are glimpses of what she believes, and key passages for understanding her - though these are really "minor events" and are not the words she has when she comes before audiences with prepared material for teaching - sermons and such.

My research so far is increasingly making clear that +KJS is probably more or less following Marcus Borg and the main lines of the Jesus Seminar in what she believes about Jesus. I.e., that He is not God (a "reinterpreted sense" of the word God can be used, but this is not what Trinitarians refer to with the word "God"), that He did not rise from the dead. Scout, you would do well to read the two links above, Anglicans & Apostasy, & Puzzle Pieces, to understand what I'm saying here.

There is some humility here. She is not "evangelistic" regarding these views. They do not come forth in her public appearances with any regularity. However, she seems to me also scrupulously honest in not confessing that which she does not believe in - as far as I know, never confessing to believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. When she says the creeds, she probably follows Spong in finding it acceptable to allow the referent "resurrection" to mean: something which happened that made a great impression upon the disciples, we know not what, but which was not (or perhaps in her case simply "probably not") the raising of the dead. In her Dallas talks about Christology, when asked if she believes in the bodliy resurrection, she responds: "well the disciples surely did" - this is consistent with the various "mass delusion" theories regarding the resurrection, but may also indicate some progress in faith on her part. Or not.

On the other hand, she probably realizes that if she were "evangelistic" regarding these views, TEC's departure from the Communion would be significantly hastened. So it may not be "true humility." I believe personally that it's a bit of both. I detect some honesty in her.

Wilf said...

On the other hand, I wonder if there is no connection between the mish-mash of reinterpretations and reinterpretations of reinterpretations which comes from Borg and Spong, and the alacrity with which she uses the words "Dean of a school of theology" to indicate "head of Sunday School programs." It reminds me of some things Umberto Eco has written about language losing its meaning when certain social practices become too ingrained.

I wish I could in charity be more reconciliatory. But love also compels me to state: the Resurrection is not a mystical uplifting of certain teaches associated with the man Jesus to a higher societal status and popularity amongst people - and the words "the divinity of Christ" do not connote merely our own acknowledgement of Jesus's teachings as preferred by us. I.e., the words "the divinity of Christ" are most significantly about Christ Himself - and not about us, or about the worthiness which we Christians somehow bestow upon Christ.

One may not believe that Christ rose from the dead. But this is not the belief we refer to with the word "resurrection"; nor the belief that Jesus became more significant and popular and thereby His teachings "empowered" and allowed many virtuous things to happen and change history etc. etc.. The resurrection is also not something which can be subsumed into categories which describe the merely human.

+KJS is, however, very evangelistic with regards to denying the uniqueness of Christ, even in the "inclusive," Rahnerian notion of the "anonymous Christian" which we sometimes use when describing this doctrine, and which has influenced the Vatican in its various statements about Christ such as Dominus Iesus, this is very much a recurrent theme. Perhaps she believes that this is something which TEC more broadly can accept, and that denying the divinity of Christ and the resurrection can come later.

Frankly, I would prefer if she would state something more like this:
"The church teaches that Jesus rose from the dead. I have not been able to come to believe this myself. However, it is what the church teaches, and I commend this belief to all of you." It would be more honest.

Instead, we have a very odd silence about this matter.

I do not know what Frank Griswold believes, but a sound and clear Christology is not characteristic of what I have read of him. However, I have never seen his vagueness come close to literally denying these doctrines' importance as Schori has on these two occasions. However, I believe that Schori fields more questions - and in both cases here, it was in fielding questions that she was perhaps "caught unawares." I also don't think she is as bright as Griswold, nor able to exercise the philosophical care necessary in making statements which effectively refrain from implications.

However we look at the matter however, the problem remains: these things have been said by the Presiding Bishop. And we have a Presiding Bishop and a Primate in the Anglican Communion who is far removed from a Trinitarian faith.

So we, together, are in a condition of apostasy; this is not a situation for which Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori is "to blame," this blame falls upon all of us collectively. In this I am in agreement with Jefferts-Schori, that faith is not an entirely individual matter.

(Re. Spong on the resurrection: do I detect here a kind of odd Marxist / materialist dialectic, or perhaps one somewhere between Hegel and Marx? Do these background ideas in our collective consciousnesses make us likely to accept such an odd interpretation?)

Wilf said...

I do not know if I am "a liberal" or "a conservative" when it comes to theology, to be honest. There are many ways that my theology is very "liberal" - though most of that you will not see here. It includes reflections and mediation through most of what I read, with honest struggles and assessments of what is coherent, what is grounded - it is a lot less "sentimental" than much of what we today tend to call "liberal," but frankly I find the pervasive sentimentality in much which we today describe as "liberal" as sadly shameful to free, liberal thinking at its best. There is certainly a place for ethics, but not for prejudice or arguments based primarily on "he thinks she thinks / you are together with those people we don't like" type logic. We want people to exercise their "hearts," but we also want to provide them with clear motivations, and not motivate them by fear of falling into a category of person which many find unacceptable.

My thought is mediated through the Enlightenment philosophes, David Hume, the German enlightenment, the Hegelians, the Marxists, Feuerbach and his very odd and anthropocentric "theology," the Marxist cultural critics, phenomenology, 19th and 20th century hermeneutics, and much of the "postmodern" scene. I find no warrant in any of this to do as Borg or Spong do in using the word "resurrection" to denote a merely human event, nor warrant for the proposal of teaching Trinitarian Christians that the bodily resurrection of Christ is unimportant. I must always come back to the whole of Christian doctrine and ask, "is this coherent, and how about this other proposed set of beliefs?" - and for many different reasons which I can't get into here: Borg is sadly lacking. Borg may believe what Borg believes; but that we would be commending this to belief, is horrid. We may help questioning Christians through the various mazes of possibilities of thought; but we need to provide them with a solid grounding regarding why we believe what we believe, and not blow smokescreens at them or tempt them with this stuff without providing cogently formulated reasons regarding why we believe what we believe.

Wilf said...

It seems to me that much of what we see in TEC is a definition of "Jesus" as:

"The guy who opposed those fundamentalist, puritanical pharisees"

and our obsession is largely with:

How can we best oppose those fundamentalist, puritanical pharisees?

I ask: how is having someone who espouses a Marcus Borg Christology helpful to the cause of combatting fundamentalism / puritanism?

My "liberal" side tells me:
This is utterly ridiculous. When this happens, we have given up our "stealth" and we are riding out into the open as who we are, mere enemies of fundamentalism and puritanism and little more than that. We admit to our enemies that we are their enemies, as we have separated ourselves from the Trinitarians completely, and there is little we wish to do besides undermine them.

If our focus were not so purely upon: "how can we oppose those awful fundamentalist puritan pharisees," we would not have acted so stupidly, nor act so stupidly now as to pretend that we are perfectly happy with this situation.

Because those fundamentalist / puritans will lock their doors to us, they will see us for who we are, and they will raise their protective walls even higher. They will engage more in those behaviors which we claim to find hurtful and damaging to society.

Unless, of course, we simply want to "polarize" the situation, by inducing them to become even more extreme in their fundamentalism. But I doubt that we have become THAT extreme yet, that is more like Al Quaeda type extremism.

Wilf said...

Somehow -

The response to this all is likely to be a "social" one. I.e., "Well what are we to do then with all the parishes with clergy who believe in more of a Borgian version of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ? They value their clergy and their teachings. What you says seems to imply that they are lesser than you are, or that they don't have a right to exist. What you are saying is Puritanical and Fundamentalist because you want to exclude all of these people, or to denigrate their faith, and you don't want to be in dialog with them, and you blindly write off their beliefs, and you don't want them to be helping enlighten your own flock."

I don't know what to do about this situation, and it is not my place to judge what happens to clergy or parishes whose beliefs are primarily Borgian.

The same would be the case if, e.g., we had a whole slew of Fred Phelpsian congregations (who weren't out and about protesting, just teaching this amongst themselves). We would also want to "do something," but not know what, and it's not for me to say what. I am not a bishop.

I think though that we can offer this minimalist proposition: that we are no longer Trinitarian in our practice; perhaps we think it a good thing that Borgians teach amongst us; perhaps we find this condition undesirable, but have no idea what to do about it, or think that it will go away by itself. Nonetheless, as a Communion, one of our Primates is non-Trinitarian in her Christology. I am not Episcopalian so I don't think everyone has to listen to me, or everyone has to listen to my church; and I don't think that other churches need to be listening to Anglicans if we are propounding drivel. Especially if it is dangerous drivel. I don't think we have a mission to enlighten and transform the other churches which necessarily implies that we are always right and they always have to listen.

Non-Trinitarian Christian churches simply don't work together with Trinitarian ones. We are different families of religion. We have different beliefs, we will fight. We need good boundaries.

If the Communion has ceased being Trinitarian in practice, we need to be honest about this; if the majority of us still is Trinitarian and believes that this is worth preserving, we should be concerned that our own problems do not flow over into other churches. I.e., we should unilaterally end ecumenical relations. We may be confident that at some point we will be honestly able to describe ourselves as Trinitarian in practice at some future date; but for the moment, until we deal with things, we need to step away.

This seems to me like a very straightforward conclusion likely to prevent much internecine conflict, and to prevent the manner of war common amongst us from spreading into our communion partners.