Monday, July 26, 2010

Day Two of Anglican Communion "Standing Committee" meetings in London

The appeal to naivete is overwhelming - is anyone fooled?  Nope.

One hopes that someone, somewhere understands that "dialogue" and "conversation" are actually strategic methods of wearing down opposition.

The leadership of the Episcopal Church, practiced by decades of political activism, are experts at it and it just never ceases to amaze me how easily manipulated the so-called "structures" of the Anglican Communion are to this type of strategic maneuvering.  We recall that after the Presiding Bishop returned from the Primates Meeting in Tanzania a few years ago, she spelled it out quite plainly to her staff (which was recorded and later removed from the TEC website) exactly what the strategy would be.  TEC would keep dialoguing until all the opposition had either retired or thrown up their hands and gone home. 

Hearing today's news from the so-called "Standing Committee" meeting in London - not apparently accountable to anyone (and hence why so many people have resigned from it!) - that the Episcopal Church will continue to dominate the structures (it's been years now since the primates have actually met) with no discipline what-so-ever and the reason given is so that "dialogue" will continue.  It's such a joke - there is no such thing as dialogue (that would mean there is an openness to the distinct possibility that TEC has careened off the rails and is running ripshod over the landscape, intending to take everyone with them) - "dialogue" is a METHOD for wearing down opposition.

Here's the scoop from today's "meeting" in London:
  • Committee decides separation would inhibit dialogue.
  • UN Anglican Observer: "Our Anglican witness is becoming visible."
  • ACC "proper body" to consider Primates' request for eight Standing Committee members 
The "report" goes on:
ACC consultant Robert Fordham and ACO Director for Finance and Administration Andrew Franklin introduced the Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2009. The Committee subsequently agreed to adopt the report.
Yikes - they don't even "report" what the "report" said - and it does make one wonder. Since the meetings are "closed" who has any clue what they are doing? They might as well just order pizza and catch the cab to Heathrow.

But wait, there's more! Patterson - the man who WON'T GO AWAY is now BACK!
Canon Kearon then reported that during his visit to New Zealand earlier this year he had met with an informal group about the planning of ACC-15. Bishop John Paterson has been selected to Chair an official planning group and the venue has been selected as Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland. The group also identified the strong mission theme of ACC-14 as something they would like to continue.
Note that he met with an "informal" group (what did he do, ring up a few mates to meet for beer and chips?) that went on to plan the entire next meeting of the ACC?  Who is writing this stuff?

Naturally, the one province that is as progressive - at least if not more - as TEC (have you seen their prayer book??) will host the next ACC meeting.  And while they're at it, as they reach for more chips and dip and scribble notes on the napkins, let's be sure it's as far away as possible, say - not only a different time zone, but a completely different date zone.  Yes!  And how much is this all going to cost?  Oh, who knows - because there's no public report on the finances.  Can it get any worse?

Even Kenneth Kearon is seeing the writing on the wall, "noting that the credibility of the Primates' Meeting and the ACC was being openly questioned by some and this criticism was increasingly focused on the Standing Committee itself."  But guess what the rest of the "committee" says?  Tough Doo Doo, folks, with Elizabeth Paver defending their sinking ratings by saying "the Committee needed to respond to criticisms positively and robustly," and then pointed out the flak that has just been hired to carry the shovel.

Rowan Williams gets two thumbs up for trying.  He is reported to have warned, excuse me "questioned" the "committee" by asking (a nice rhetorical method) "whether the ACC's committee structure was appropriate for this new century?"  Bingo, your Grace!  You are absolutely right.  But guess what - the Standing Committee responded by putting together a little self-appointed insiders group of their own members to type up "a strategic review and planning process relating to ACC membership and meetings and Standing Committee structure and operation."  Who's on this little inside group?  Who knows?  Pass the pizza!

Read the "report" for yourself. In the meantime, the cafe is offering a little musical interlude for your listening pleasure:

UPDATE: Anglican Curmudgeon has weighed in his opinions here, particularly on some of the "legal" decisions. If communications are truly an issue, this will be a good place to begin to disipher why confidence is waning in this particular group:
Who is really running this show? There is no question that the Primates are gradually bringing their weight to bear against the structure of the ACC, using as a lever the change in its status from a public charity to a private limited company, as detailed in this post. Nevertheless, to understand what is really going on, one has to go a little behind the scenes. For it must be said: both the "Standing Committee" and its legal adviser, the (honorary) Canon John Rees, have lost a good deal of their credibility as a result of the seating of the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas as one of its members.

At Jamaica in May 2009, it was Canon Rees and the (then) Joint Standing Committee who, meeting a day in advance of the start of ACC-14 itself, declared that they had ruled that the Rev. J. Philip Ashey was not "qualified" to serve as an alternate representative of the Province of Uganda, because although canonically resident in Uganda, he was physically resident in the United States, and thus was violating the moratorium against border-crossing. Sources informed us at the time that the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori argued vehemently against allowing him to be seated, and her views prevailed in the Committee.

After one of the sessions at ACC-14, Canon Rees participated in a press conference, where he gave some background to the impending constitutional changes for the ACC, and answered questions from the floor. There is an .mp3 file of the session which may be listened to or downloaded from this page. The first question addressed to Canon Rees had to do with the interpretation which the JSC had given to the word "qualified" so as to refuse to seat the Rev. Ashey, and he was asked whether anything would be different under the new constitutional structure.

If you listen to his response (beginning at about 07:30), you will hear Canon Rees first point out that the same language about a "qualified" representative appears in the new articles. He goes on to say that nothing in the new provisions should cause any change in the interpretation of the word "qualified":

The Joint Standing Committee, meeting and making that decision, if it were faced with the same decision again, I would imagine would approach it on the same sort of basis: and the basis, the underlying basis, must be that . . . as charity trustees, they have an overriding duty to see that the overall purposes of the charity are sustained, and so if a decision is being made which appeared to be undermining the arrangements for the charity generally, then I would expect them to approach it the same way on another occasion.

Except that, this time, in the case of Bishop Douglas, who is in continuing violation of the moratorium against allowing same-sex blessings in his diocese, Canon Rees advised the Committee that it could seat him, nonetheless. One sees clearly by this decision who controls the "Standing Committee", and just whom Canon Rees is really serving with his "advice."

To claim that seating a representative who was engaged in "border-crossing" would undermine "the arrangements for the [ACC] generally," thereby triggering the duty of the Trustee-Members to take action to prevent it, while now seating, as one of the very Trustee-Members of the ACC, a representative who sanctions the blessing of same-sex unions by the clergy under his pastoral directions, is another of those hypocritical acts which is the hallmark of those who lean to the left. In their mind, there is no hypocrisy. For in the first instance, the Committee acted to block a representative who was inimical to the views of its majority, while in the second instance, it upheld the status of one who espouses those views.

Costly flaks aren't going to fix this.  Read it all here.


Daniel Weir said...

So, "let us reason together" no longer matters? And blogging as well?
Let's all stop talking to anyone who hasn't already subscribed to our position - like at Plano? - and let our thinking calcify. It's interesting that the word is "listen".

TJ McMahon said...

Obviously not, Daniel. If reasoning together mattered to TEC, it would not unilaterally violate all its mutual agreements in the Communion. Nor would it have deposed a dozen bishops and 500 priests. TEC has no desire to reason together, TEC clearly acts unilaterally, and with disdain or outright violence for the opposing position.

Anonymous said...

NZ -

They could do it in St. Matthew's "THOSE OTHER CHURCHES BELIEVE IN DIVINE SPERM SO COME JOIN US INSTEAD" Auckland, that could be fun maybe. They could invite some Ecumenical Partners and all have fun spitting on them! And maybe they could be creative and think of some other things to convince their adherents to come over. Like:


I bet that would go well on a billboard and the press would love it, too. Scientists could be queried for quotes, "It is completely irrational to believe that the sky is full of invisible flying pigs. How come those Pentecostalists believe it, anyways? And what does the Pope have to say about reasons for believing in this?"

It's so fun to be an Anglican ! We are SOOOO clever, and those other knuckle dragging churches are just so boorish with their divine sperm and invisible flying pigs! And we get to be SO DIFFERENT and lovely and open minded and smart!

Anonymous said...

"Vice Chair Canon Elizabeth Paver said the Committee needed to respond to criticisms "positively and robustly", welcomed the appointment of the ACO's new Director for Communications and said that improved communication and openness would promote trust and better understanding of the work of the Instruments."

Canon Elizabeth Paver sounds interesting, this was her take at the New Orleans JSC debacle:

Unknown said...

Canon Paver is interesting, I remember the debacle after the HOB meeting in New Orleans - but pointing out that the issue is communication is naive. These committee meetings are CLOSED because they do not want to communicate (hello?) - hiring flaks to handle PR disasters is not going to solve the deeper issues that least Rowan Williams diplomatically raised. But it might mean pissing off the Big Money, and who wants to do that?

Otherwise the next meeting of the ACC might be in JoJo's Scones and Pickles in Picadilly.


Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, it was frustrating when the big kids unilaterally changed the rules as the game went along.

Having grown up, I now understand that I no longer have to play with those who make up the rules to suit their agenda.

"The road to salvation does not go through Canterbury!"


Pageantmaster said...

"they don't even "report" what the "report" said"

The reality is they are financially bust BB - read the prior years accounts on the Charity Commission website. They pay a pepercorn rent to some nuns for St Andrew's House, and they spent the money meant for the last Lambeth Conference refurbishing it. Only the US and CofE pay significantly followed by Oz, Canada etc. The Anglican UN observer's office is provided kindly by TEC.

After this charade, I can't see anyone else supporting the ACO/ACC with their contributions, and perhaps that is as it should be.

As Bishop Duncan said, only 20% of the Communion is represented on the Standing Committee, and I consider that a very generous figure. I would put it closer to 5-7%. The dog's tail is nevertheless wagging for all it is worth.

Pageantmaster said...

Perhaps the monkey man will give them some money to develop same sex liturgies or something.

Andy said...

When being used seemingly as a tool to simply further an agenda, dialogue becomes monologue and conversation becomes talking points. In fact, in some way it almost becomes like the child, while boxing their ears, says "la-la-la-la... I can't hear you". Its in this end state that no meaningful communication takes place.

Unknown said...

Sorry, MF - but Hagrid has just tossed you out the door along with your hat. One is free to disagree with our progressive friends at the cafe (and our conservative ones too), but throwing cream pies - nope.


Andy said...

Thanks Mary. It was a bit uncomfortable to see that level of hectoring in the Cafe.

Anonymous said...

Love the photo. That's an incident at Gare Montparnasse that occurred in the mid-19th century. The locomotive lost braking power and crashed through the wall. Ruined the whole day for the engineer.


Observer said...

an inch at a time..........

When will we pay attention to 1 Cor 5-7? Never while "an inch at a time" is the strategy....

Daniel Weir said...

"Obviously not, Daniel. If reasoning together mattered to TEC, it would not unilaterally violate all its mutual agreements in the Communion. Nor would it have deposed a dozen bishops and 500 priests. TEC has no desire to reason together, TEC clearly acts unilaterally, and with disdain or outright violence for the opposing position."

It is hard to respond to claims like this for TJ McMahon, but I will ask a few questions:

1. Please tell me which mutual agreements were violated. If you simply mean 1998 Lambeth I.10, I would point out that Lambeth resolutions are only advisory - even the language indicates that - unless a member church formally agrees to them.

2. Please provide a list of the bishops and priests that were deposed. I know that there were many, but your numbers seem a bit high.

All of which is to say that exaggeration doesn't work to convince, as Sen. Joseph McCarthy discovered to his shame.

Anonymous said...

If reasoning together were so important, why weren't the (then CANA) bishops from other provinces invited to the last Lambeth? If dialogue is so important, why has TEC sued the CANA departures rather than negotiate an amicable separation with them including property that in most cases TEC can't even use, and as was done before (e.g., Plano, Highland Park)?

By the way, in the paper submmitted by Ashworth to the Synod, it was 12 bishops and 404 clergy in TEC and 6 bishops and 69 clergy in Canada:

One can quibble over some of them, and some did ( - which makes the argument that because 9 of the bishops were "deemed" to have renounced the ordained ministry, it wasn't the same as a deposition, which, oh, you see, is all the difference in the world, so now go away) but in any event the answer is "a lot". I think it is the last poster who is being misleading by suggesting it is a small number. Also, the standard TEC response to being confronted with the numbers is "it is not persecution because they deserved it".

Unknown said...

Thanks for the numbers, Anon. The numbers are staggering and your points well stated. The numbers of bishops and clergy deposed or removed for their conscience illustrate plainly that this is a major issue facing the Communion - as is the recent resignations by Standing Committee members who represent a significant majority of the Communion members.

It does make this idea that TEC is not being disciplined for its Communion-breaking activities (even the Supreme Court of Virginia found that the Episcopal Church is in schism) with the rationale for more "dialogue" absurd.

Next question - will Rowan call for a Primates meeting for January as has been assumed?


Anonymous said...

We as a Communion seem to have a very short term memory. This makes me think of the bulletin inserts intended as a sort of mass propoganda effort sponsored by the ENS regarding the "origin of the Lambeth conference" where Bihsop Colenso was noted as having "stuck to his guns." Note the nod of approval in favor of a very militaristic stance. The Anglican Curmudgeon did an excellent job at exposing the enormity of the "revisioning" going on here - how the ENS was engaging in something more akin to old-school Marxist advocacy journalism in an attempt to mold opinion that the Episcopal Church should militantly hold its course in defying the explicit needs of the rest of the Communion, and that any opposition to such a ploy should be considered as a form of ancient, bigoted "fundamentalism."

Here, we are forgetting the explicit warnings sent to TEC by the Communion long before the Robinson consecration, the warning on the eve of which Archbishop Griswold assented to (before taking part in the consecration in his very person), the agreements reached with the Windsor Report, at Dar Es Salaam, at Dromantine - all of which included agreement of the head of TEC.

Someone should probably keep a dossier on the ACC - including the problematic nature of the forced "agreement" (link above to T19) in New Orleans with the JSC - the debacle at Kingston, Jamaica with the motions agreed upon, retracted, then voted on again - the confusion (with very likely some very gentle explicit manipulation, though I don't believe that everything here was intended), including KJS's boycott of the seating of one of the members - and then this latest, irregular seating of the TEC members.

At the very least, the ACC should investigate what went wrong at New Orleans and Kingston, and how it came to past that members felt that what they were told was far different from what actually occurred - i.e., was the deception intentional? And if not, how did this occur, and how should it be avoided in the future? Are there any players who consistently show up in the various "problems" that have occurred that seem to slant things in favor of TEC?

This would be a very good task for the new person in charge of transparency, and hopefully that person would have enough authority to demand answers other than "I dunno" etc. etc..

Also relevant here is the question: are there any outstanding issues regarding a members' honesty which haven't been investigated or resolved within their own churches? For example - the false information provided General Convention 2006 for Katherine Jefferts Schori which helped her win the election - has an adequately transparent investigation been published regarding how this occurred?

It is possible that there is a repeating pattern of deception that could be addressed with some form of discipleship or discipline, or perhaps we have varying practices in interpreting things - e.g., it may be permissible within TEC to use the words "dean of a school of theology" for "most senior Sunday school teacher," whereas other churches might view this as unacceptable ambiguity. the question also arises: how should we interpret words, if even in official "secular" like processes we are likely to use words which would be misunderstood from a secular perspective?

A dossier on the SC and its members (perhaps also the ACC) - background checks on ALL (not just KJS, because that would not be fair) would be in order. There has just been way to much surreal screwy stuff happening there that looks like sham governmental process, which is an awful form of tyranny. We don't want the whole Communion to imitate TEC in allowing for such sham processes, as it seems happened with the 2006 Presiding Bishop election.

Daniel Weir said...

I will leave the discussion of bishops and priests who left the Episcopal Church with a few comments: when someone says or acts in a way that makes it absolutely clear that he is no longer a member of the Episcopal Church, it's appropriate to remove that person's name from the list of members - and the same goes for those in orders. Those of us in orders exercise ministry within the context of communities of faith and once we leave those communities of faith we are no longer authorized to exercise ministry unless and until some other community of faith authorizes that exercise of ministry. All that happened to the bishops and priests - however many - was formal recognition that they were no longer authorized to exercise ministry in the Episcopal Church. None of them ceased to be priests and bishops, and none of them, who were vested in the fund, will lose one penny of their pensions.

TJ McMahon said...

If what you say is true Daniel, then TEC never had power to ordain anyone in the first place, because what it removed, according to the letters sent to each priest, was the rights conferred upon them in their ordinations- that is, they were defrocked as priests or bishops. End of sentence.
And you do not explain the great number who were deposed without leaving TEC- for what were considered minor infractions only a few years ago. Many have since joined ACNA, but a great number intended to stay in TEC UNTIL they were deposed. This would include the 3 I know personally.
Meanwhile, your colleagues continue blatant canonical violations like communing unbaptised persons, and receive no discipline for such sacrilege. Preachers deny the Resurrection or the uniqueness of Christ, and there is no sanction for their blasphemy.
If TEC chose to revoke licenses of people who left, that would be perfectly reasonable, but the canons used removed people from ordained ministry, and the PBs fiction otherwise is just that, fiction. Of course, TEC's discipline is only recognized, today, within TEC and 5 other provinces. Their orders will soon be recognized in only those and a few more.
Good to know the pensions will be safe for those vested.

Daniel Weir said...

The language is "renunciation of the ordained Ministry of this Church." It seems clear that Arbp Duncan and Bps Iker and Schofield no longer considered themselves to be sharing in the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church. I have always thought that there should have been a better to deal with these departures, but, as far as I know,none of these bishops made a formal request to be transferred to another church and these three, at least, have attempted do something which I believe is impossible, i.e., removing the dioceses they served from the Episcopal Church. I have heard all the arguments for diocesan sovereignty, but I am convinced that secession is not possible without the consent of the General Convention.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it is that TEC believes that "the ordained ministry of this Church" includes, say, what Spong does, but does not include what Iker, Duncan et al do, is not evidence of TEC's integrity but ample evidence of the opposite.

However, rather than repeat the canonical arguments against this phony "renunciation" stuff, see here:

One can unconvincingly strain at explaining how the meaning of "renunciation" somehow includes not renouncing anything orally or in writing, but just committing a thought crime while serving an orthodox province. But the reality plainly seen through the obfuscation is that TEC is purposefully working to rid itself in various ways of orthodox Anglican priests and bishops and has done so in great number.

Lapinbizarre said...

Trust "Curmudgeon" will be adding "(honorary)" to "canon" in all appropriate cases - e.g. Chris Sugden's various prefixes - whenever, in future, he refers to such an individual, BB. Hate to think that his fine sensibility in making the distinction was a means of scoring sectarian points.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Weir, you stated: "So, "let us reason together" no longer matters? And blogging as well?
Let's all stop talking to anyone who hasn't already subscribed to our position - like at Plano? - and let our thinking calcify. It's interesting that the word is "listen"."

You must be joking. I'm curious as to how your rationalize away the actions of TEC. They haven't listened to a large chunk of "The Communion"...they have continued down their path of same-sex blessings, pro-abortion ministries, and a resounding rejection of anyone who is conservative (and Anglican). TEC would much rather bring a lawsuit against an orthodox Anglican than "listen". They would rather ignore African Primates...since Africa isn't as "enlightened" as our U.S. "christianity", than listen to them. Many conservative African Primates are mocked by the very people you serve with in TEC. Listening for your denomination means "we believe what we want, and if you disagree you just aren't as enlightened as we are. We'll tell you what you should think/believe/pray to.

When do we stop all this "indaba" garbage and call heresy...heresy?

Nara Dewar Duncan said...

Fr. Weir,
Never did Archbishop Duncan "cease to share his ordained ministry in theh Episcopal Church. That choice was never his to make. And for the record, it was the DIOCESE -that is-the lay representatives and the clergy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh- who voted to leave the Episcopal Church. Duncan didn't "take" his Diocese anywhere. He was deposed, in fact, even before that happened. So, no choices, no renunciation, no due process, we just get to read the opinions and rewriting of history by the bloggers.

Nara Dewar Duncan

TJ McMahon said...

Mr. Weir:
The ACTUAL words are not as you portray them, and it is quite apparent that this is intentional on your part. To quote, for example, from the letter of Dr. Schori to Bishop Henry Scriven:
“who is therefore removed from the Ordained Ministry of this Church and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations.”
(I used the Church Times, as this is the "liberal" of the major CoE sources)
In Bishop Scriven's case, his ordination to Bishop was at the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Schori's letter is quite clear- he is deprived of the right to exercise those gifts and spiritual authority conferred on him when made a priest and bishop of the Church of England.
The letters to many of the US bishops are LESS polite.

Unknown said...

Bob Duncan is one of the most courageous men I have ever known. I remember when I first met him - at the Denver General Convention in 2000. We had a team of young people who were attending the General Convention and I remember how Bishop Duncan spent time encouraging them in their walk with the Lord, listening to their stories. They in turn made it a point to come to the House of Bishops daily to pray for him, sitting in the front row of the public gallery and praying for him in a difficult moment in the life of the Episcopal Church. It was then I saw his servants heart and that he truly means what he preaches.

Yes, we may have disagreements here at the Cafe, but on the points testified to above the facts speak for themselves as Nara Duncan speaks to eloquently here in the comments - she had a front row seat, after all, she saw it all.


Anonymous said...

Look folks, I'm not in the inner circle of either camp, but I think the actions against priests and a small number of bishops in the Episcopal Church is readily explained by this phenomenon of clergy and vestry advocating departure and property claims from within the Church. There have been a significant number of priests and a few bishops who, instead of just leaving when their consciences told them they should go, stayed inside the church concocting stratagems not on how to leave (that's very easy and quick) but how to leave and do so in a way that effects a transfer of control of property to the new affiliation. It's not just about property, because a lot of parishioners, rightly or wrongly, rationally or irrationally, will just keep attending where they've always attended. In a perfect world where people always thought clearly about these things, there never would be any lawsuit and never any deposition of priests. But all of you know that there were a lot of clergy who spent significant time after they decided TEC was a lost cause trying to secure more adherents and more property. There really can't be any ambiguity about these situations. If a priest or vestryman or parishioner has decided to go, he/she really should go right that instant. If they don't, and are just hanging around working out odd things like Diocesan departures en masse, they really aren't honoring their commitments to the church that ordained them. Of they can't see their way clear to leave, the Church needs to terminate the ambiguity. I sincerely hope that no one was defenestrated (I guess that is not the correct liturgical term) who profoundly desired to remain in the ministry of The Episcopal Church. I have not heard of one instance where that was the case.


Anonymous said...

By the way, I think very highly of Archbishop and Mrs. Duncan. Absolutely splendid people. Having said that, appropo of Mrs. Duncan's comment, I do not understand how the Canons permit a diocese to remove itself in its entirety (including the real property). The visual image I get is of the house in "Up" lifting away with a zillion helium balloons. It's a great image, but I can't find the mechanics in the Canons of the Church. People can and should leave. But these efforts to take physical assets really have compromised profoundly the theological statement being made.


spicksandspecks said...

After all the resignations, perhaps it should be known as the "Last Man Standing Committee". ;)
Andrew Reid

Anonymous said...

10:44: Why not just give them letters dimissory, as used to be done for going to another province? Would that have been too nice?

And what canon is it that states that a diocese cannot disaffiliate?

Daniel Weir said...

I failed in my attempt to post an additional comment yesterday.

I did not intend to deceive in quoting the canon on the renunciation of ordained ministry in this church. Having read the quotes in TJ MacMahon's response, I would agree that the PB's choice of language was, at the very least, unfortunate. Respect for those with whom she disagreed, no matter how little respect some have shown her, would have been far better.

I still believe that the bishops in question had made it clear that they had no intention of continuing to exercise ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. I was sorry that Bp Duncan was deposed before the meeting of the diocesan convention, although it seemed clear to me that he was in favor of taking the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. After the convention it was clear that he was no longer exercising ministry as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, just as it was clear 150 years ago that Robert E. Lee was no longer acting as a general in the US Army.

I particularly regret the language that was quoted from the letter to Bp Scriven. As inappropriate as that language was, the fact is that he exercised ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church by permission and that once he returned to England that permission was appropriately withdrawn.

For nearly a year I was permitted to function as a deacon in the Diocese of Oxford. When I returned to the US, that permission was withdrawn and I was required to return my license to the Bishop of Oxford. When I move shortly to another diocese, I will have to apply for permission to exercise any ministry as a priest there and I'm not at all sure that the bishop is required to grant me a license.

Daniel Weir said...

Reasoning together doesn't always lead to agreement, but it can lead to mutual respect. Asserting that leaders in the Episcopal Church - and people like me - haven't listened to others in the Communion solely on the basis of our failure to agree is simply illogical. It reminds me of all those who accused my bishop of not listening because he voted to confirm the NH election. He did listen to conservatives and liberals and decided how he would vote.

I am reminded, somewhat unkindly, of an activist who couldn't accept that my disagreement could be an honest one - after all, how could anyone disagree with him? - and wrote to my bishop accusing me of being amoral.

I respect those who are convinced that same-sex intimacy is wrong and that blessing same-sex unions and ordaining non-celibate gay and lesbian persons is wrong. I would welcome the same respect from them, but I don't always receive it.

Anonymous said...

The canons do not appear to me to provide either the mechanics for extricating a diocese from the church or, more importantly, even the concept that it can be done. Father Weir made reference to Robert E Lee's situation in a recent comment. It is this kind of issue that makes me think that there is some kind of time loop that brings these issues back to the secession hysteria of 1860. (Where does the Constitution prohibit secession?).


Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Robert E. Lee was never a general in the Union Army. He was a colonel. He was offered the post of general but turned it down. Check your history.

Anonymous said...

Very, very important, anon 0538, particularly in the context of the discussion. But if we're splitting hairs on irrelevancies, the word in Fr. Weir's comment with which you are really taking issue is "no longer." Colonel (or, later, General) Lee was offered general officer rank by intermediaries from the President. Had he stayed in the service, he would have held the rank of Major General at the start of the war.

Always nice to get to the heart of things.


Daniel Weir said...

Thanks, Scout.

Anonymous said...

Well, since you are explaining why TEC acts like a nation and goes to war with people who disagree with it, I'd say you have got to the heart of it.

I wouldn't have thought a church should act that way, but clearly most of TEC thinks it is something to be quite proud of.

Daniel Weir said...

I find the "war" metaphor always a bit troubling, i.e., the war on drugs, and I don't see the canonical and legal disputes as warranting that label. First off its use tends to further inflame already difficult situations. Secondly it tends to trivialize the suffering in a real war. Nothing that has been suffered by people on either side compares to what is being suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan. "Anglicans at War with One Another" may be a snappy headline, but I think it's just plain silly.

Closing Down said...

Fr. Weir,

I'm confused on one hand, and yet not on another. Your first post conflicts with your last. What is your definition of "Listen" vs. "Let's all stop talking to anyone who hasn't already subscribed to our position..."

You've said:

1. I find the "war" metaphor always a bit troubling, i.e., the war on drugs, and I don't see the canonical and legal disputes as warranting that label.

2. ...but I think it's just plain silly.

3. It is hard to respond to claims like this for TJ McMahon, but I will ask a few questions...

4. "I have found the assertions about the PB's "denials" baseless. "

5. "...I am sure that whatever I might write has bee(n) written before on this and other blogs. I am not insane and thus will not repeat ad nauseum the arguments that have been unconvincing in the past hoping that there will be a different outcome this time."

Does this mean that you only listen to those who subscribe to your point of view since you diminish those who disagree with you? Talking to and talking with are two different things.

Daniel Weir said...

Lakeland Two-

You have taken some effort to assemble a number of quotes from my posts.

I have listened to those with whom I disagree and will continue to do so as best I can. There are a few bloggers who are so long-winded that I have trouble finding time to read everything they write, but when I can take the time I do read comments that challenge my position.

I have, however, generally refrained from repeating arguments that I have made before on a blog on the theory that others have heard them before and are either convinced or unconvinced.

I do challenge rhetoric that I think is unhelpful, e.g. the use of war language, but people are free to use rhetoric that I find unhelpful and I will simply ignore it and look for the substance of an argument.

I will also challenge sweeping statements that are made without supporting evidence. You may have notice that my question about which agreements the Episcopal Church has violated has not been answered. I have read the arguments about the PB's theology and I don't see them supporting the assertion that she has denied the resurrection of the divinity of Jesus. I did write two posts for my blog that dealt with what I see as problems with the way Christians understand the person of Jesus and, while you may not agree with my theology, I think it is within the mainstream of contemporary Protestant theology.

I find it interesting when some conservatives express the concerns that you have rightly raised about "taking with" and "talking to." Some of these folks were present at the famous meeting in Plano where signing a confession of faith was required for attendance or at the GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem where a member of the local bishop's staff was on a "do not admit" list.

Daniel Weir said...

One other comment: my "let's stop talking" comment was not an expression of my opinion but an admittedly caustic challenge to what I took - perhaps mistakenly - to be BB's position that dialog and conversation are a waste of time. Clearly the amount of time that I have spent writing comments here and elsewhere and writing posts for my blog is an indication that I still hope that dialog can be productive.

It is worth noting that one of the official networks of the Communion met in the past year or so and had a very productive in spite of the fact that members did not agree with one another on what has become, unfortunately, the focus of so much attention in the Communion, human sexuality. I think discussion of sexuality is important, but I am concerned that other important matters will be neglected, matters that are very important. Often forgotten is that one of the important resolutions at Lambeth 1998 addressed debt relief, an issue which was of great concern to many bishops from Africa. The commitment of the bishops to working for debt relief has contributed to the various successful efforts to eliminate millions of dollars of debt for some of the world's poorest nations. Sustainable development continues to be an important goal for many churches in the Communion.

Closing Down said...

Fr. Weir,

I spent very little time, just have a good memory on some days! But I've seen the pattern of diminishment from you for a while... these are just recent examples.

While I understand not wanting to repeat yourself ad nauseum, it's how you say it that I have taken issue with and is the point. How you say things to people you disagree with is uncharitable.

We also get tired of having to repost the facts that are tiresome for you and others to remember or choose to spin.

You can think that you are "within the mainstream of contemporary Protestant theology" but that doesn't make it so. But, just in case it truly is "mainstream", I'll not go off that cliff with you.

If you were talking with me instead of at me, you would understand the point I was making. Perhaps, when you disagree, you might tone down how you're saying it, if you really care about those to whom you are writing.

Closing Down said...

Fr. Weir,

If dialogue is only one way, it is a waste of time. Sometimes the answer is no. But some refuse to take no for an answer.

Your challenge being "caustic" - makes my point. It seems to be one way - OK for you, not for others.

I'm really trying to get you to understand. You do have some things that I agree with, but you lose your credibility in being caustic. Stops the dialogue. Frustrated I certainly understand. Peace be with you.

Closing Down said...
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Closing Down said...

Sorry, reposted the last comment by accident.

Daniel Weir said...
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Daniel Weir said...

I apologize for being caustic in my posts. Sometimes I write before I think. I am not sorry if my convictions offend others. I know that some people took offense at my anti-war convictions in the 1960s and my convictions about same-sex relations may be offensive to some. If the offense is in the way I express those convictions, I would be glad to consider less offensive ways of doing so. However if it is simply offensive to some that a priest should have these convictions, that is another matter altogether. I will continue to listen to those who want me to change my convictions. I accept, with sadness, the possibility that there may be no room in the Communion for people with my convictions.

I have, I hope gently, pointed out ways in which assumptions about me are unfounded and, although I haven't said so, offensive to me. Disrespect for others has been far too frequent in discussions such as these and has been as common for traditionalists as for revisionists.

Daniel Weir said...

Lakeland Two,

I agree with you that we have to honor the "no" answers that can come in dialog. While my assessment of the arguments about the PB's theology may have been poorly out, calling the charges baseless was harsh, the fact is that I have considered the arguments and my answer is "no," I don't agree that what she has said amounts to a denial of the resurrection or Jesus' divinity.

There is a temptation, when someone disagrees with a deeply held conviction, to assume that the other person is an idiot or evil. After all, only such a person would disagree with my perfect position. Resisting that temptation is often difficult, but we must resist. Those with whom I have argued here are beloved of God and I forget that at mt peril.

Closing Down said...

Fr. Weir,

I smiled at your comment that only an idiot would disagree with such a perfect position. Don't we all feel that way!

I understand that you feel the way you do about the PB's statements. It's obvious that others of us disagree. Without repeating what's been said on the other thread, it is the fact that what she said and/or even how she said it was offensive to us, and as she is representing all of us as our leader (between General Conventions), she has an obligation to represent all of us, not just a select group.

It is these differences that show the disparity - not diversity - between the two "ends" of so-called Anglicanism. The gulf has become so wide that the attempts to span the divide are harder when instead of grasping for the hands they are slapped away. It's my guess revisionists feel the same way. If there is no room for us, and apparently you're feeling the same, perhaps it is the time is to walk apart.

Whether it is time or not, I do recognize all revisionists as beloved of God (I like that praise). I know that Jesus gave His life for them as much as for me. I'm still awed that He did it for me!

Daniel Weir said...

Given the diversity within the Episcopal Church, it would be almost impossible for the PB to avoid offending someone in her answers to interviewers' questions or in her preaching. Rowan Williams has, I would suggest, simply put aside his own convictions about many issues and has seemingly offended people in most camps of the Communion.

Wilf said...

Perhaps one thing we can do is to act in such a way that we can be fairly sure that separation would NOT inhibit dialogue. Yes, it will inhibit dialogue at the "top level," but not at the grass roots level. It may even HELP things at the grass roots level.

I won't be pulling my hair out about KJS visiting my church. I will be more secure knowing that we have said a firm "NO" to Spong though I wish that TEC had done so, which would have likely meant a very different situation now. TEC folk will no longer need to hear my concerns about KJS being one of "our" primates. The pressure that comes from a Communion membership won't be there - but since our leaders are not chained to one another, and I no longer have to acknowledge Spong as a bishop of the Communion, I'm likely to be less irked with TEC people who don't seem very interested in changing their church.

And we might then speak together more fruitfully, and perhaps even work together on some things.

I believe that friendships have been made and I would like to see Anglican Communion people and TEC people praying together and working together - no matter what the "official" relationship.

Daniel Weir said...

I am aware that things have changed a great deal in the Anglican Communion in the past fifty years. One that is often overlooked, but is very significant, is the change in the ability of Anglicans to know about one another. Before the advent of the internet and other means of faster - but not necessarily better - communication, the views of someone like Bp Spong might not have created more than a ripple. As it is now, any statement of a leader in one of the member churches will likely be read/heard in other churches within a few days.

I have decide not to let statements by Primates in other churches to bother me enough for me to want to break communion with them. The statements of some Primates on same-sex relations offend me, but I refuse to see them as communion-breaking and trust God to bring us through these difficult times.