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MCJ: Mirages

Thursday, August 2, 2007 • 11:21 pm

I should apologize in advance to readers and to Dr. Radner for the brevity of my following comments given the serious matters at issue here. I hope to have time to elaborate on them later.

Dr. Radner has without a doubt taken stands for orthodox Anglicanism that can be described as nothing if not courageous and visionary. No matter what the outcome of this larger crisis in Anglicanism, and no matter what becomes of your diocese or your parish, we all owe Dr. Radner our gratitude.

But it’s also true - in my opinion, at least - that his resignation from the ACN was done clumsily, perhaps as a result of haste combined with indignation and more than a little frustration. I also believe that Dr. Radner has overlooked more than one critical sub-plot, and about one of them, CJ has a point - quite a good one, if you ask me:

When Dr. Radner states that, “To say that this is all ‘over’ and ‘lost’ and that it is time to invent some new and better means to pursue this…is…not only a mark of uncalled-for desperation, but an arrow into the heart of the calling God has in fact given us,” he completely misreads the situation.  Gene Robinson is only a symptom; he is not the disease.  Does Dr. Radner not recall James Pike?  John Spong?  Walter Righter?  Does he not recall that none of these men paid any sort of penalty for their heresies and apostasies?

To suggest, as Dr. Radner does here, that Bishop Duncan’s recent statements imperil Anglican unity is a bizarre statement to make.  Not to put too fine a point on it but Anglican unity went on life support in 1998 and was killed off in 2003.  Neither Bob Duncan nor anybody else can possibly say anything that can cause any more harm to the Communion’s unity than ECUSA’s actions have caused it over the last thirty to forty years.

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Christopher Johnson scores more touchdowns with these gems:

o Things are desperate, Doctor, the one thing conservative Anglicans no longer have the luxury of is time and to suggest that people should hang in there while something, no one is sure quite what, gets done behind the scenes is wildly unrealistic.

o If Dr. Radner means that we should avoid rhetoric that our opponents might consider mean-spirited, he is suggesting that we on the Right shouldn’t say or write anything at all.

o   Because honesty sometimes tends to anger people.  Which is why when some of us declare our view that homosexual activity is a sin, we get called bigots and Nazis.  As for “offering a true alternative in spirit and in Christ,” I know of no instance in the Scriptures where Our Lord withheld a hard truth because it might have angered a Pharisee, say, but perhaps Dr. Radner can enlighten me.

o Come September, if ECUSA officially reacts the way everyone expects it to, the Windsor bishops may have to do something they don’t much like.  Stick their necks out.  Take a risk.  Fortunately, there is a group of Episcopalians in place ready to help them do just that.

It’s called the Anglican Communion Network.

[1] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-02-2007 at 11:53 PM • top

To say that Ephraim Radner’s resignation was done clumsily is too generous.  His “resignation” was nothing less than an unwarranted public attack on Bishop Robert Duncan.  Radner acts as if the direction the Network is taking is due to Bishop Duncan alone.  Bishop Duncan is not a Pied Piper leading naive children.  The members of the Network Council who met this past week are bishops and elected representatives of the several dioceses that comprise the Network, along with representatives of regional convocations composed of several thousand Episcopalians and other Anglicans in parishes that are not in Network dioceses.  These elected leaders are members of diocesan councils and standing committees, deputies to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention—delegates with many years of experience at all levels of the Episcopal Church.  These bishops and diocesan leaders re-elected Bishop Duncan as Moderator of the Network by acclamation.  Dr. Radner, on the other hand, was elected by no one and speaks for no one other than himself and possibly the other scholars of the Anglican Communion Institute. 

I agree with Greg Griffith in my appreciation for Dr. Radner and the ACI’s courageous and visionary efforts in the past.  If I were to fault them for anything it would be this:  I fear that these gentlemen live in their heads so much that they cannot appreciate the anger and frustration of many grass roots Episcopalians who have grown weary of endless meetings, faithless leaders, and “dialogue” designed to keep conservatives occupied while liberals consolidate their gains.

Dr. Radner criticizes Bishop Duncan for saying the See of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference are lost.  It is worth reading what he actually said, in context, here.

When Rowan Williams opened the Dar Es Salaam meeting by presenting a ridiculous report suggesting that TEC had done enough to comply with the request of the Primates, it was the last straw for many conservatives.  It was also at that moment that several of the Primates determined there was no hope in Canterbury and that they should go home and do what they have since done in designating new bishops to be consecrated for work in North America.  Can Dr. Radner read that report, and look at the aftermath of Dar Es Salaam, and not see that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost his way? 

Many of the Global South Primates and a growing number of bishops in Rowan’s own province have come to the conclusion that the Lambeth Conference may be lost as well.  And if it is ultimately lost, it will be for no other reason than the ineffectual leadership of the present Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Dr. Radner and the members of the ACI may want us to believe there is some hope in waiting until September 30.  If so, they are expecting us to trust in a process and in leadership that have thus far proven themselves unworthy.  They should not be surprised that there are those of us who think their optimism is just as unwarranted as their criticism of the Network leadership. 

(The Very Rev. Dr.) Robert S. Munday+

[2] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 08-03-2007 at 02:57 AM • top

Captain Yips has a particularly well written bill of particulars regarding just who is responsible for the destruction of the Anglican Communion.

[3] Posted by Judith L on 08-03-2007 at 01:21 PM • top

“to suggest that people should hang in there while something, no one is sure quite what, gets done behind the scenes”

I appreciate greatly what others do behind the scenes, but their work is not my work.  Each of us, all over the country, needs to witness and to serve, too.  It is not right for us to sit on our hands with our mouths shut while waiting for their successes to be revealed to the public.  The Gospel is our work, too.  What we need now is an organization to structure our daily work.  I do appreciate that they did not split in 2000, before many of us knew what else was happening behind the scenes then.  There are some who still don’t know, but they might not be reachable until there is such a siesmic split that every channel carries the story and interviews.

[4] Posted by Marcia on 08-03-2007 at 04:01 PM • top

It is not right for us to sit on our hands with our mouths shut while waiting for their successes to be revealed to the public.  The Gospel is our work, too.

Marcia, from your heart and mind to your keyboard to all Christians reading this blog thread.

Well articulated sister!  Amen!!!

[5] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-03-2007 at 04:10 PM • top

I’d not want to think that ACN is merely reacting to TEC, but unless my memory is wrong, at some point in early 2006 or late 2005, an idea was floated about communion tiers for ECUSA and that coming from either Canterbury or some closely credible group. In mid-2006, TEC was officially formed/announced/renamed-from-ecusa with flags flying at the GenCon of its members. So one could wonder why one tier can have a plan in the ready if necessary and seemingly operational but the other tier is, I don’t know, being unfair or unkind or pushing the wrong buttons, so to speak it if has a plan in the ready just in case.

This is all serious stuff. If the brains all stay with TEC because it’s unfair to plan an alternative in case of final meltdown, in a huff, and the other brains all leave the AC basically because it is not recognized by the archbishop of Canterbury in another form than TEC, then all of the well meaning of allies over all of my years in ecusa will have been a bizarre exercise.

I haven’t seen anything from any of the sides suggesting that people want to leave and I haven’t seen anything from life that suggests that as one hopes for better days and prays one needn’t prepare for possible outcomes.

[6] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 08-03-2007 at 07:26 PM • top

A certain preacher once said that the Church is in the world like a ship is in the water, but God help the ship if the water is on the inside!  That ship that was ECUSA is damaged badly, and the Officers’ Mess seems to be dividing their time between looting the holds and sending out radio messages, “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here!”  I think most here would recognise that.  The ship has a lot of souls onboard, and God is, “not willing that any should perish.”  For some of us that will mean it is time to hit the lifeboats.  For others, to man the rails or even go down into the ship as a rescue effort.  For some it may even mean to stay onboard to comfort those who through infirmity cannot make it to the rails, and provide them a safe haven within the ship even while it sinks.  Is this the ideal?  Of course not, but we have to deal with realities as they are, which may be why Jesus spoke about the tares and the what being rooted together.  Each has his calling, and each shall be rewarded according to his faithfulness.  Peace.

[7] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-04-2007 at 09:12 PM • top

Brother Sod, now I’m not advocating folks just stay put, and I know there’s a real temptation for folks to want to for fleshly reasons, but to call for an unconditional,  mass, exodus, condemns all who do stay back to a pretty bleak future.  You mentioned Jeremiah- After prophesying to folks to leave and go off to Babylon with God’s blessing, he stayed back in the condemned City, and warned people against leaving for Egypt.  Whatever we do, stay in ECUSA, go with Common Cause, or for that matter join the Assemblies of God, we all need to know we’re hearing from the Lord, and not just doing what makes the best sense to us at the time.  So far, I’m worshiping with an African church.  Next year I could be living in Kenya or Canada.  You never know.  One favorite preacher of mine says, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans!”

Stop my my blog- You might see something enjoyable! SanctiFusion

[8] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-04-2007 at 10:57 PM • top

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