Friday, February 28, 2014

The one that started it all

I am asked from time to time - Bob Dylan, why?  In the autumn of 2004 I came across this song. And that started it all.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Overseas Anglican Archbishops applaud Welby on marriage statement, but urge action on Episcopal Church

From George Conger at AnglicanInk here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury has met with overseas archbishops seeking ways to save the Anglican Communion from further schism and collapse. Meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo the Global South leaders applauded last week’s reaffirmation of Christian marriage and the sinfulness of homosexual activities made by the House of Bishops of the Church of England, whilst also warning the Most Rev. Justin Welby they would be willing to take the lead in reforming the global Anglican Communion if he were not able to do so.

On 14 February 2014 Archbishop Welby and the Rev. Canon David Porter, his Director for Reconciliation, met with the Steering Committee of the Global South Primates led by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis.
A spokesman for Archbishop Welby told Anglican Ink the archbishop had visited Cairo at the invitation of Dr. Anis to “hear from the Global South Steering Committee.”

“He is visiting all the Primates of the Anglican Communion to listen to their perspectives,” the Lambeth Palace spokesman said.

Details of the closed door meeting with Archbishop Welby have not been released, but in a statement released on 20 Feb 2014 the Global South group spoke of their appreciation of the “frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury's emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.”

However, the Global South primates were not going to wait upon the rest of the church and outlined a plan of action they consider essential for the survival of the Anglican Communion.

They asked Archbishop Welby to convene a primates meeting in 2015, but at this meeting they requested the agenda focus on the “deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion.”
The Anglican Communion was not working, they said, and was “currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional ‘instruments of unity’."

The 1998 Virginia Report defined four organizations as bearing a focus of unity for the Anglican Communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates Meeting and the Lambeth Conference. While the report has considerable moral authority within the Communion, it was never formally adopted by the instruments it cited.

The Global South primates further asked that the agenda be “discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.” Fifteen of the 38 primates skipped the 2011 Dublin Primates Meeting. The primates had no say in the agenda of that meeting.

Several primates stayed away in protest to what they saw as a manipulation of their offices by the London-based staff of the Anglican Consultative Council, which they accused of having a pro-American bias, whilst others said they saw no purpose in attending the Dublin meeting when the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ACC staff had declined to act on the recommendations made by previous gatherings.

“We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report,” the Global South leaders said.

They also offered a word of encouragement to Archbishop Welby and the House of Bishops of the Church of England for the Valentine’s Day statement on Pastoral Guidance for Same Sex Marriage. They applauded the document and noted the “faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.”

Read it all here.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3).
1. The Global South Primates Steering Committee met at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014. We were delighted to have The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, as guests joining this important meeting in which we discussed the way ahead for the Anglican Communion and other matters. The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, the Primate of Congo, apologized for not being able to attend.
2. We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”
4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:
a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the  agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.
b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.
c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.
5. We appreciate the costly decision of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, as well as the pastoral letter and pastoral guidance of The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Archbishop of York, in regard to the decision of the Westminster Parliament for same-gender marriage. The faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.
6. We stand in solidarity with The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul and the people of South Sudan and Sudan, calling for the cessation of fighting, an end to violence, and for a process for peace and reconciliation. We call upon the international community to give every help and support to those displaced as a result of fighting. We commit ourselves to pray for the people of Sudan.
7. We were encouraged to learn about the new constitution of Egypt and how the interim government is achieving the roadmap that was decided by its people on the 3 July 2013. We support the people of Egypt in their efforts to combat violence and terrorism.
8. We decided to activate the Task Forces established at the 4th Encounter of the Global South, which are: Economic Empowerment (coordinated by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala), Theological Resourcing (coordinated by Archbishop Bolly Lapok), Emerging Servant Leaders (coordinated by Archbishop Ian Ernest), and Inter-faith Relations (coordinated by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh).
9. We decided to hold the 5th Encounter of the Global South in 2015 and also organize a seminar for Global South leaders on “How Africa shaped Anglicanism”.
This statement is approved by:
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt and Chairman of Global South
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean and General Secretary of Global South The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, Primate of Myanmar
The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Primate of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of Burundi and the Chairman of CAPA
The Rt. Rev. John Chew, representing the Primate of South East Asia
The Rt. Rev. Francis Loyo, representing the Primate of All Sudan
This statement was abstained by:
The Most Rev. Nkechi Nwosu, representing the Primate of All Nigeria

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Gift of Fear

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby talked about fear in his Presidential Address at the Church of England Synod this week. "We all know that perfect love casts out fear," he said. "We know it although we don’t often apply it.  We mostly know that perfect fear casts out love."

But our problem isn't fear, it's trust.  Discarding fear does not produce trust.  In fact, it can be quite dangerous.  Fear keeps us from running out on the freeway.  Fear keeps us from walking down unlit streets.  Fear can keep us alive.

In The Gift of Fear we learn these things that should put us on our guard about where we place our trust:

  • Forced Teaming: This is someone implies that they have something in common with you, acting as if you have a shared predicament with them, when that isn't really true.
  • Charm and Niceness: This is someone is being polite and friendly to you in order to manipulate you by disarming your mistrust.
  • Loan Sharking: This when someone gives you unsolicited help so you will feel obliged to extend some reciprocal openness in return.
  • The Unsolicited Promise: This is when someone promises to do (or not do) something when no such promise is asked for: This usually means that such a promise will be broken. 
  • Discounting the Word "No." This is when someone refuses to accept rejection.

Fear can be discernment. What we need is wisdom.

Wisdom puts locks on our doors, but also installs the hinges. Wisdom helps us discern when to close the door and when to open it.  Wisdom is that brilliant light that shines in the darkness.  Wisdom can be trusted.

Our problem is not fear.  Our problem is trust.  If trust is impaired, if it is broken, what we need is wisdom.  Discarding the fear will not bring discernment.  Discarding the fear will not make us wise.

The question is, where do we place our trust?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
Psalm 111:10

That is the gift of fear.  

O car, wherefore art thou car?

Turns out "wherefore" means why, rather than where.
I suppose my twenty-two year old Toyota Turcel might
be asking that question about now.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

A day to pray for Iraq

Canon Andrew White has put out a plea for prayer.

As we pray, the soundtrack from this extraordinary film came to mind - when things looked so bleak and hopeless and desperate they did not give up. And while the Fellowship of the Ring fought with the sword and blade, we now pray by the sword of the Holy Spirit.  Come, Holy Spirit.  May God deliver that land and those whom He loves from terror.

Read more from Andrew here and about Andrew here. And please do pray.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Breaking News: Serious questions raised over authorship of Justin Welby Statement released today by Lambeth Palace

Peter Ould has the full scoop here.  Here is an excerpt:

I like Justin Welby. I know that may come as a surprise to some of you, but I like him, I really do. I think he’s a clever, witty, thoughtful, orthodox Archbishop who may yet be the best thing to happen to the Church of England in a long time.

I like Justin Welby.

So I was utterly flabbergasted to see this press release come out from Lambeth Palace today.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Katherine Jefferts-SchoriArchbishop Justin has welcomed news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford

Archbishop Justin said: “I am delighted by the news that the Most Revd Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori is to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the University of Oxford. This award, richly deserved, reaffirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ.

“Prior to becoming ordained, Bishop Katharine pursued a career in oceanography, and her enduring deep commitment to the environment has evolved into a profound dedication to stewardship of our planet and humankind, especially in relieving poverty and extending the love and hospitality of Christ to those on the edges of society. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said of Bishop Katharine, ‘In her version of reality, everything is sacred except sin.’

“It must be noted, too, that Bishop Katharine’s achievements serve – and will continue to serve – as a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church.”

Compassion? COMPASSION?

This is a woman who has spent $34 million of Episcopal Church funds on pursuing with litigious venom orthodox clergy who have felt that there was no space for them anymore in TEC. This is a woman who instigated a policy that empty church buildings should be sold to anyone BUT orthodox Anglicans who had left TEC. She is probably the single person most responsible for all the bitterness and pain currently experienced by Anglicans of both sides in North America.

Compassion? This word used in this way in this press release is like a red rag to the bull of GAFCON. It is a massive slap in the faces of the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, coming so soon after the joint open letter from Canterbury and York. And as for being an intellectual, that is fallacious nonsense – she has a standard ministry degree like many other priests and any doctorates in theology she has received since ordination are purely honourary. She makes basic exegetical errors when preaching and is singularly incapable of affirming basic Christological truths. For the Archbishop to describe her “gifts of intellect and compassion” is ludicrous.

Archbishop Welby with Archbishop Wabakula of Kenya.
Here’s the thing though. I don’t think Justin wrote this and I suspect he didn’t even see it. He’s just finished off a busy and important tour of Africa, and if he has returned already to London the press team at Lambeth have given us no indication of that fact.

But even beyond that there are three key clues that indicate that someone else wrote this and that Justin may not have even seen it before release. The first is simply the political incompetence of the statement coming so soon after the exchange of correspondence between Justin and the GAFCON Archbishops. Given that the Primates gave a clear and gentle signal that they were giving Justin a warning around the area of sexual ethics, to come back within the week with a press statement that to all intents and purposes sticks two fingers up in their face is just extraordinarily inept. That’s not Justin. The joint letter from York and Canterbury is subtle and gentle, this is a slap in the face in full public. That’s not Justin, it’s really not. Justin would have written a one liner congratulation KJS on the award of the DD and nothing else.

Secondly, the statement is full of stock liberal imagery – quoting Archbishop Tutu, “profound dedication to stewardship of our planet and humankind”, “extending love and hospitality”. That’s not Justin.

But third, and it’s the killer, the statement uses one word in particular that is not Justin’s style in the slightest. “Humankind”. That’s not a Justin word at all. Justin Welby refers to collective men and women as “humanity” or simple “human”. Need convincing? See here and here and here and here as brief examples. “Humankind”? Find me an example of Justin using that word and I’ll eat my hat. He certainly doesn’t use it in any of his speeches or statements on his website and trawling through the first ten pages of a Google search for “Justin Welby humankind” makes me pretty convinced he hasn’t used it anywhere before at all.

“Humankind” was written by someone else. Do you want to know where it came from?

Read it all here.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

There is nothing more American that America, and nothing more Dylan than Bob Dylan

From the mighty pen of Sean Wilentz:

Although the ad is dopey as all ads are, and even though it is plainly hawking Chrysler, Dylan never once hypes the virtues of Chrysler's product over that of any other automobile maker. This may be a cunningly subtle pitch to Dylan's baby boomer fan base, but it's also an abnormal nonspecific celebrity endorsement.

Instead, Dylan celebrates America as a car-loving country. The ad begins with a clunky, even insipid piece of ad copy -- "There's nothing more American than America" -- only barely redeemed by being spoken by Dylan's singular voice. But then comes a jumble of images out of Dylan's familiar Americana landscape -- old-fashioned diners, Route 66 in Missouri, bronco busters, carnivals, Marilyn Monroe -- evoking a particular nostalgic national mystique, rooted in the 1940s and 1950s and redolent of Jack Kerouac.

Footage of old Detroit follows -- "Yeah...," Dylan says, "Detroit made cars, and cars made America" -- and then a paean, in prose almost certainly written by Dylan himself, to "the American road and the creatures who live on it" and to how we Americans "believe in the zoom and the roar and the thrust."
The ad is saying that America is what its people make and make of it, cars above all, which makes sense -- and which also makes it a workingman's film: The ad doesn't single out Chrysler and its cars but the Americans who build those cars, and their conviction and pride -- "the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line," Dylan intones. "So let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, let Asia assemble your phone. We ... will build ... your car" -- the last sentence delivered in Dylan's cool halting cadence.

It's all, of course, a cleverly deceptive way to elide the fact that supposedly all-American Chrysler is now owned by Fiat. But the cars are still American-made -- and for Dylan, that's important.

Read it all here.  Here is the ad:

Tuesday, February 04, 2014