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Portraits of Inaction: TEC Polity and the Windsor Bishops (Mark Harris, Chris Johnson, etc…)

Saturday, August 11, 2007 • 5:49 am


Here is a section from Mark Harris’ article on the Windsor Bishops’ gathering in Navasota:

...I gather that the bishops meeting at Camp Allen want greater clarity from the Archbishop concerning what they view as the crisis in the Communion brought about by The Episcopal Church. At the center of this matter of clarity continues to be the issue of invitations to Lambeth. They will likely demand that the deadline of September 30th be quickly followed by a response from the Archbishop in which he will withdraw Lambeth invitations to those of the US bishops who do not comply with the primates requests from Dar Es Salaam. It is thought that they will consider it catastrophic if the deadline is ignored.

It would appear then that the sacred date of September 30, 2007 becomes more and more a marker around which, for the moment, the “crisis” will form – the bishops from Sydney Australia want the need to reply to invitations pushed back later than September 30th, and the Windsor Bishops want the date held as a time certain for “compliance” by American bishops. The press is on for House of Bishops to step back from their understandings of last March and step forward into actions that can only be consummated by radically changing the way The Episcopal Church makes decisions.

...more

Of course, the Episcopal Church cannot “radically change” the way that she makes decisions because to do so would involve actually making decisions and if we have learned anything over the last four years we’ve learned that the sacred polity of the Episcopal Church is not designed to do that. The House of Bishops cannot set policies apart from General Convention because that would subvert the democratic process and we are, after all, a “democratic” church. But then again General Convention cannot establish any policies to be enacted in dioceses because, of course, that is for the bishops to do. And, finally, Executive Council cannot make any decisions apart from the House of Bishops or General Convention because, again, the Episcopal Church is a democratic church.

Anyway, here is Chris Johnson’s take on Mark Harris’ article:

The Windsor bishops may well “demand that the deadline of September 30th be quickly followed by a response from the Archbishop in which he will withdraw Lambeth invitations to those of the US bishops who do not comply with the primates requests from Dar Es Salaam” and they probably “will consider it catastrophic if the deadline is ignored.”

For the Windsor bishops, the nightmare scenario runs roughly as follows: what happens if TEC holds firm and Dr. Williams doesn’t give the Windsor bishops what they want after the September meeting?  Do they back down, go to Lambeth anyway and hope that TEC completely changes its mind next year? 

How TEC would be persuaded to do that is about as doubtful as it is possible for anything to be.  If the Windsor bishops do cave, their leverage is gone.  If TEC stiffs Dr. Williams in September and he still invites them to Lambeth, my gracious lord of Canterbury fatally undermines the position of the primates and for all intents and purposes, kills not only the Dar es Salaam Communiqué but the Windsor Report itself.

...more

Chris is absolutely correct which is why the Windsor Coalition is inconsequential. Only five or six bishops (Network bishops of course) in Navasota are willing to break with Canterbury. Canterbury knows this just as certainly as he knows the same about the supposed “22” orthodox primates. And because only a small minority of Windsor bishops are willing to express their dissent with something more than a vote or statement or “strongly worded letter”, there is no reason for Canterbury to do anything at all to meet their demands. As a group, the Windsor Bishops are devoted to Canterbury first and orthodox principles second and unless they re-prioritize and discover some willingness to act, their coalition meetings will remain utterly inconsequential. This has been true from the very beginning.


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Comments:

Granted, from the outside the Windsor Bishops as a group may seem inept, inconsequential, and in the end, useless.

But they met anyway.

In fact, they met with an impressive turnout. I don’t believe they all travelled that far just to enjoy the Texas sunshine. Hope springs eternal even in the heart of bishops.

The bishops of Sydney have spoken ever so softly, manifestly in an effort to put more pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury. May the Windsor bishops do likewise, to give additional guidance to our primus inter pares before he meets with the TEC HOB this September.

[1] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 08-11-2007 at 07:59 AM • top

I agree. They are “having a meeting” so I should probably revise this section:

“And because only a small minority of Windsor bishops are willing to express their dissent with something more than a vote or statement or ‘strongly worded letter’ there is no reason for Canterbury to do anything at all to meet their demands.”

to read:

And because only a small minority of Windsor bishops are willing to express their dissent with something more than a vote or statement or “strongly worded letter” or a meeting there is no reason for Canterbury to do anything at all to meet their demands…”

[2] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-11-2007 at 08:24 AM • top

It was encouraging to see an increased turnout by our + bishops though I am certain there are a couple of moles stuck in there. I hope a communique’ is coming. I hope they elect to hold the line. I pray for the consciences of the moderate bishops who are to timid to show their hand. I pray especially for those in our church who see this group as a nuisance to their cause of revisionism. Pray for the church.

Mtn gospel

[3] Posted by Mtn gospel on 08-11-2007 at 08:26 AM • top

Matt, I wish you wouldn’t use language like “impotent,” “inconsequential,” and “orthodox principles second” to describe my bishop (Michael Smith).  You know that he isn’t any of those things, and neither are many faithful Anglicans who agree with the Windsor approach.  At the least, please acknowledge that he does not place fidelity second.  You can criticize his mode of action all day long if you’d like; that’s legitimate, but I think we ought to be careful of accusing orthodox bishops of grave unfaithfulness to their vows.

[4] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 08-11-2007 at 09:02 AM • top

Jordan,

I am sure that he personally is not inconsequential. But as a group the Windsor Bishops have proven quite inconsequential and impotent.

As far as priorities go, I have no doubt that your bishop is faithful and did not suggest otherwise. But many (I believe the majority) of the bishops present at Camp Allen have indicated that their ties to Canterbury are primary in the sense that even an accomodation of TEC’s heresy will not cause them to break away. As I have written eslewhere, when I say that “orthodox principles” are secondary for these bishops, I do not mean that they personally do not hold to orthodoxy or that they do not personally put Christ first above all things. I mean, rather, that at the level of action, what drives them is a concern for ecclesial unity, to be in communion with Canterbury, more so than a concern for biblical or confessional orthodoxy. In fact, many are willing to stay in an institution shot through with heresy because they believe this sort of institutional commitment to be a gospel imperative.  My comments about primary and secondary, then, were more descriptive of political behavior of the group of Windsor bishops as a body than critical of personal faith commitments of any individuals and I stand by them.

[5] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-11-2007 at 09:19 AM • top

Does anyone know which Windsor Bishops actually attended this meeting? For those that didn’t then the question becomes do they still hold to the Windsor path? I’m not altogether sure if my Bishop John-David was actually there or not.

[6] Posted by TLDillon on 08-11-2007 at 10:43 AM • top

My concern is that on September 30, TEC is going to
1) come up with some emotional display and corresponding language that can be used to claim they have indicated “repentance”, and
2) based on this “repentance” insist their is no need for Alternative Primatial oversight.
We know they are very skilled at using language to mean new things. (See Reapppraisers Dictionary) I wouldn’t want to trust any “repentance” from TEC, because I agree with the Reappraisers Dictionary that they see repentance as requiring a belief in “sin” which they do not share. However, I do not put them above a show of “repentance” to further their aims. And then it would be ungracious (and “unhelpful”, possibly even “hurtful”) for a Christian to refuse this show of repentance (with such lovely language and such a powerful emotional display) from TEC.
What are the outward and visible signs of genuine repentance besides flowery language and tears? A true repentance would have to include a change in the “facts on the ground” and the litigation (not an agreement to form a committee to study same).
If that is not clearly thought through in advance, won’t this just be another case of kick the can?

[7] Posted by Deja Vu on 08-11-2007 at 10:57 AM • top

One Day Closer, see the above blog entry “OPEN THREAD: Do you know where your bishop is today?”

Since there is no hint in the title as to what that thread is about, I had not bothered to read it at first either. You will find your questions about the attendance at the Windsor Bishops meeting addressed there.

[8] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 08-11-2007 at 11:09 AM • top

Br_er Rabbit,
Actually I did check out that thread and although my bishop is listed as a Windosr Bishop I do not see anything there that states unequivocally that he was in attendance. I guess I shall find out tomorrow in church when I ask. On anthernote there was another question that I posed:

For those that didn’t then the question becomes do they still hold to the Windsor path?

[9] Posted by TLDillon on 08-11-2007 at 11:18 AM • top

Matt+,

You may be right.  On the other hand, the very threat to leave may, in fact, undermine wider support.  Which is better, a wide group working, however slowly, to reform the Church or a much smaller group trying to affect change through threatening to leave? 

What concerns me more than this, however, is that we’re talking in terms of “pressuring” and such like, which is much more along the lines of how the secular world works.  It would be interesting to consider the theology of pressuring!  Similarly, what would we say to someone who said, “Unless the American government changes its policy, I’m going to become a citizen elsewhere.”  I think it interesting that in terms of nationalism, we’re ready to stay in place and work to change, but in terms of the Church we’re quick to talk of splitting.

And as a life long Continuer, I can tell you where that kind of thinking ultimately leads…

In these matters, I like to think long term.  Say that there is a split, and a large non-Canterbury centered Anglican Communion is formed.  What happens when, down the road, it has its own theological squabble?  Does it split?  Not so far down the road, what happens if part of the new structure doesn’t like the direction of the whole, say on the matter of women’s ordination or charismatic initiatives?  Does it split?

The weight of tradition is enormously powerful.  All around the world we see the results of trying to establish democracies in areas that have no judicial or civil tradition.  Chaos ensues because there is no respect for the institutions.  Similarly, when you remove the institutions and traditions that give shape to Anglicanism, splintering and more splintering is what results. 

That is why, even as a Continuing Anglican from birth, I’m praying hard for the Windsor bishops.  Because if the result of the past 4 years is merely another break away, though writ large, then I think Anglicanism may well be dead.

[10] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-11-2007 at 11:18 AM • top

I grew up LCMS, discovered ECUSA at my SEC university and found it to be less focused on guilt, more focused on a wider ministry, and more connected to the rest of the Christian world, largely through the connections to Canterbury and the AC.  If we lose the ability as bibically orthodox Anglicans to maintain that community in North America, I guess I might as well go back to “the misery synod”.

[11] Posted by elanor on 08-11-2007 at 11:32 AM • top

For deja vu…  I think the language of Windsor was that the Americans express “regret”.  The term “repentance” was the one used in the CAPA Road to Lambeth document.

[12] Posted by EmilyH on 08-11-2007 at 11:40 AM • top

One Day, Sarah has been updating the post of that thread as the information rolls in. This morning it says:

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Diocese of San Joaquin
NOT PRESENT

see http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/4948/

[13] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 08-11-2007 at 11:50 AM • top

Thank you Br_er Rabbit,
as I suspected he wouldn’t be and I am quite sue for the very reasons that Fr. Matt has stated above. Knowing Bishop Schofield as limitedly as I do… I do know one thing for sure…..He will always put God & Scripture above all else. Thanks be to God for that!

[14] Posted by TLDillon on 08-11-2007 at 12:20 PM • top

ODC -

+Schofield also has health concerns.  I know he was at Common Cause.  I think he has to choose his travels carefully due to his health.  This from another Diocese of SJ member.

[15] Posted by usma87 on 08-11-2007 at 01:31 PM • top

“Which is better, a wide group working, however slowly, to reform the Church or a much smaller group trying to affect change through threatening to leave?”

Mark, in the essentials - like Biblical faithfulness and traditional doctrine (I think even our historical documents would attest) - we must be willing to firm.  So if it takes a seperation from ABoC, let’s continue to pray that it will not, we must be willing for the sake of souls.  And without discipline, there is serious doubt that the Communion is still a valid church.
And nationalism is hardly a Christian fellowship.  There is no comparison really.  Now some might make your comparison between nationalism and eccleisology.  I would not.
And EH - the WP died at GC’06.  We are now in the Dar process.

[16] Posted by Wilkie on 08-11-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

RE: “And because only a small minority of Windsor bishops are willing to express their dissent with something more than a vote or statement or “strongly worded letter”, there is no reason for Canterbury to do anything at all to meet their demands.”

Although I did not share [and do not] Matt’s originally expressed concerns about the Windsor Bishop, I agree that essentially they have done [as a group, again] very little.  [I can’t say strongly enough, though, that I do think that Windsor Bishops like Bishop MacPherson have not proven themselves personally to be “impotent” and “inconsequential.”]

For instance, they had an opportunity to step up at the HOB meeting earlier this year and express as a group their approval of the Dar Es Salaam plan.  They did not.

There are plenty of other things that they might do, if they were of a mind, which seemingly they are not.

I am curious about something, for Matt, though.  Matt, is it your opinion that the Windsor Bishops could only be, as a group, “impotent” and “inconsequential” unless they are willing to all leave the Communion, not necessarily for another alternate Anglican entity, but simply leave?  [Ie, I suppose some for Rome, etc.]

Or would you count them as “potent” and “consequential” if they were to take certain actions as a group, only those actions did not involve leaving the Communion?  If so, what actions might those be?

I can think of some, personally, but am not certain what your definition of actions would be that would render them non-impotent and non-inconsequential as a group.

It is an interesting and instructive line of analysis.

Is there anything that such a group of “Windsor Bishops” might do, short of announcing their intention of leaving the Communion [and by the way, I would not be at all surprised to hear of some that eventually do leave the Communion for another church], that would render the group potent and consequential?  If so, what?

[17] Posted by Sarah on 08-11-2007 at 01:59 PM • top

It may be true that only five dioceses are making plans to depart, but it is also true that numerous parishes are getting ready to bail,with or without their property.  This has been a long time in coming, but many of us have lost interest in who is and who is not invited to Lambeth.  Those invites will not change the direction of this denomination and only serve to keep people at the table a little longer in hopes a a Covenant later down the road.  BTW, I don’t think we’ll see a Covenat until 2012 and then it will be unenforced even if violated.  It is with a heavy heart and great reluctence that I see the handwriting on the wall and it says, “Now is the time, head for higher ground while you can.”

[18] Posted by Don Curran on 08-11-2007 at 02:03 PM • top

Sarah,

No, I don’t think they could be consequential at all short of at the very least an implied threat to leave. Why? Because the radical and institutional left are bent on transforming TEC, by any means necessary, into a vehicle for leftist political action. The only thing that has the possibility of stopping, at least the institutional left, is the prospect of institutional dissolution or financial ruin. So long as they are assured that these bishops will write letters, vote, make impassioned speeches, write “strongly worded letters” but continue to participate in the “process” and contribute to the institution, then there is no reason to listen to what they say or pay attention to their meetings.  A similar dynamic was in play at Tanzania…Canterbury realized that only 5-6 of the 22 orthodox primates were willing to break away if necessary and this knowledge has allowed him to act agressively without fear of wide-spread dissolution since that time.

[19] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-11-2007 at 02:10 PM • top

Hmmmm.

Thanks for the response, Matt.  I suppose it is consistent.  It appears that only those who hold with Federal Conservative principles, then, could be thought “potent” and “consequential” to Federal Conservatives!  ; > )

I must say, then, that it would not bother me if you called me “impotent” and “inconsequential” given that standard.  If that is all that can be thought of in order to be found “potent” or “consequential”, then to me it seems deficient in imagination.

I think that there are multitudinous things that such an enclave might do that would cause all sorts of gnashing of teeth and rending of hair and pouring of ashes by the revisionist leadership in ECUSA, and that would protect their own dioceses and laity, and cause great inconvenience to Canterbury and Jefferts-Schori, all without threatening to leave the AC and all within the Sacred Canons.

Plenty of laypeople and clergy have done some of these things, and I see no reason why bishops could not either.

But our disagreement is sadly useless anyway, as I think it is unlikely that such a group will do anything either that I think useful or that you think useful.  So we’re still in agreement that, as currently acting, the group as a whole is impotent and inconsequential.

[20] Posted by Sarah on 08-11-2007 at 02:37 PM • top

So if no effective action is likely by the WB group and TEC is not expected to repent on it’s own, the AC as a healthy church is back to relying on the Primates for discipline - assuming ABoC even feels the need to convene an official meeting.  With considerable and noted concerns that the ABoC will again try to delay and/or fudge the issues, someone should be considering ‘contingency planning’ - shouldn’t they?  And if these plans could be done in conjuction with many of the former TEC parishes that have felt convicted to leave, that would be blessed - wouldn’t it?  And if all this could be done under the guidance of strong & orthodox Primates, that would be awesome - wouldn’t it?  But which of our leaders would take such a risk (“leadership requires risk”, now where have I heard that recently?) - that would take a real strong group of committed Christian leaders - if only we could find some.

I’ll keep praying!

[21] Posted by Wilkie on 08-11-2007 at 03:04 PM • top

Confirmation of the “inconsequentiality” of the Windsor bishops.  The meeting has adjourned and no one knows who was there or what was discussed.  I don’t sense a lot of energy from that bunch.

[22] Posted by Nevin on 08-11-2007 at 03:09 PM • top

Re. Matt+: But should the church work with threats?  I mean, when do reasserters simply become the flip-side of the same coin as reappraisers?  If Anglicanism becomes a place where different groups threaten to leave then it will be have become a Continuing Church.  That’s how we operate! 

Willkie:  No, we are much firmer members of the Church than we are any nations.  I like to pose this question to people: “Suppose it were impossible to leave the church, what then would you do?”  I think it interesting that when liberals dislike the institute they’re part of, they work to change to it.  When the same happens to conservatives, the impulse is to leave and start anew.  I mean, Ecusa was a pretty conservative institution back in the 50s when the liberals began their campaign.

[23] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-11-2007 at 03:10 PM • top

MC:
You are correct on the nation -vs- church issue.  Thanks for noting that.
I think you have it backwards on the willingness to fight.  First, the Gospel of our worthy opponents seems to allow that politics trumps Doctrine and they need the Church’s reputation to legitamise (sp?) their lifestyle, so they see a takeover of the institution as the ultimate victory.  We see the Church as God’s and His doctrine as unchangeable.  The conservatives (including many Primates) are trying to save the Communion by disciplining a wayward Province or two and those wayward are fighting it tooth and nail (with some support from the ABoC so far) - see DeS communique which was unanimous.  For without discipline to secure some level of orthodoxy, it fails to be One, Holy or Apostolic.  If we wanted to leave the AC we would have already left - like you, aparently.  However, we are not so wed to the this ecclesial body (for a denomination is led by fallen men) that we are willing to take our families and friends down with it if it cannot return to Christianity.

You can rest assured that the fight is not over if and/or when more conservatives are convicted to leave.  The fight for the souls of all will go on and the prince of darkness will continue to invade wherever we are not vigilent and willing to take bold and decisive action - even if it forces us out of our comfortable relationships and buildings.

[24] Posted by Wilkie on 08-11-2007 at 03:40 PM • top

“Chris is absolutely correct which is why the Windsor Coalition is impotent as well…As a group, the Windsor Bishops are devoted to Canterbury first and orthodox principles second and unless they re-prioritize and discover some willingness to act, they are utterly inconsequential. This has been true from the very beginning.”

I understand Mr. Kennedy’s point here but I think I’d “shade” the truth a little…I think a lot of them are committed to orthodox principles, but possibly they feel that even if they attempt holding the AB of C’s feet to the fire it may not even be effective.  I agree that that should not be a deterrent to trying. 

The bottom line is, the vacuum is currently at the top and +++RW will need, soon, to act like an Archbishop and not like an Archditherer. 

Again, I pray he finds it within himself and his theology to do what’s called for here.  Otherwise the Communion will fracture even more that it already has.  Largely everything is at stake. 

Blessings,

TS

[25] Posted by Passing By on 08-11-2007 at 04:47 PM • top

And because only a small minority of Windsor bishops are willing to express their dissent with something more than a vote or statement or “strongly worded letter” or a meeting there is no reason for Canterbury to do anything at all to meet their demands…”

It may well be that the ABC is operating under the kind of purely Machiavellian principles you describe here—counting votes, hedging bets, etc. That would explain his actions in part. But it would run counter to much of what he has written on the subject of ecclesiology to do so. His actions are also entirely consistent with his own ideal of Communion and the catholic imperative to unity. I personally think he could and should have withheld the invitations until after the primates had responded to the deadline, and I think many aspects of his political leadership have been lacking. And I also agree that his endorsement of the sub-committee’s report at DES is a shocking disappointment, and maybe the most damaging action he has yet taken. But the FedCon reasoning seems to be following this line of thought: The ABC is counting votes and consequences, and having done so has determined that the political fallout for not disciplining TEC is worth it. Therefore we must apply more and more political pressure and threaten more consequences than he thinks he can endure. Thus we hear numerous calls for the ComCons to “unite” with the FedCons so as to bring maximum pressure.

Whatever personal political leadership qualities Williams lacks, I do not think he is operating under such calculated principles (his own ecclesiology is sufficient to explain his actions), nor do I think more “pressure” will alter his chosen course in the least. In fact I think such attempts are likely to have the opposite effect, for in ++Williams’ mind to accede to such pressure runs counter to his own catholic principles, and is no basis at all for a communion. The precedent it would set lays a modern, Hobbesian political foundation that he has opposed his entire career, and would never in good conscience allow to intrude into Church matters—in his mind it would be allowing Will to Power to overcome the kind of gentle Benedictine ideal he has always advocated.

So Matt, you may be right. He may be counting votes. That is one explanation of his actions. I personally find that his own ecclesiology is also a sufficient explanation. And it may be that what is needed is more political pressure to convince him to “side” with the orthodox for reasons of pure utility and convenience. But if I am right that he is acting out of his own ecclesial ideals, then I think it is also the case that the course chosen by the FedCons may actually have the opposite of the intended effect. In other words, to underestimate ++Williams’ commitment to his own stated ideals may very well be a disastrous miscalculation. I find this scenario every bit if not more plausible than the one you have been describing.

[26] Posted by Dave on 08-11-2007 at 05:02 PM • top

Wilkie,

Nah, I’m an anomaly.  I was born in 1970 and baptized a few months later in a parish of the Diocese of the Eastern United States of the American Episcopal Church, one of the first so-called splinter churches.  I was confirmed, deaconed, priested, and married within the same diocese (though the jurisdiction is now called the Anglican Province of America).  So, I’ve been a splitter since I was in diapers!

Now, here’s my radical thought for the night….stop fighting.  I’ve argued for years that what the “orthodox” should do is put their $$ and efforts not in fighting doctrinal battles or even political maneuvering.  Take that same expense of time, energy, and cash and use it to grow parishes, found missions, educate the laity, fund or found good seminaries, and (most importantly) all the many ordinary ways of building up the Kingdom of God, and leave the rest up to God.  If we stick to our primary duty of preaching the Word, administering the sacraments, and ministering to those in need, can we trust God to manage everything all right? 

In other words, how do we view our actions and the current state of things from the vantage of the crucifixion?

[27] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-11-2007 at 06:50 PM • top

Troops,
I know this is off thread but I just have to stick it in somewhere. And no, I am not trying to be obnoxious but this is my Diocese and I believe what is written: An interesting post-script to the WO issue borrowed from VOL: “A VOL reader, the Rev. Fred-Munro Ferguson, SSC made an interesting historical observation in the many discussions on the connection between the issue of the ORDINATION OF WOMEN and the promotion of the HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA in TEC. He said, “From 1974 to 1980 I served as personal secretary to the Right Rev. Wilbur E. Hogg, VI Bishop of Albany. When he returned from the General Convention (his first as a Bishop) which ‘approved’ the ordination of women, he told me of the tremendous pressure placed upon the House of Bishops to allow this innovation, pressure to which he did not yield. The pressure favoring the ordination of women came from three principal sources, Bishop Hogg stated. They were (1) NOW (National Organization of Women, (2) Integrity and Louis Crew and (3) various feminist groups within the Roman Catholic Church. In the conversations between NOW and Integrity, the women promised the homosexual group that, if they (Integrity) would actively and fully support the ordination of women, the women, in turn would actively and fully support Integrity’s agenda. We have lived to see the fulfillment of that promise. TEC is fulfilling a conspiracy now more than thirty years in the making.”

Thanks for the patience.
AP+

[28] Posted by Anglican Paplist on 08-11-2007 at 07:52 PM • top

AP+,
I keep asking mysself…..Why am I not surprised at your post? Noting would surprise me anymore. Selling ones souls effects the masses….

[29] Posted by TLDillon on 08-11-2007 at 07:57 PM • top

Dave, and others who say the ABC is “counting votes”: It’s sad fact that no leader can advance if he does not have the votes to support himself. He might take some kind of principled stand but if that stand doesn’t immediately attract support he will cause only a momentary stumble for his organization and discredit himself for future leadership.

So, if ABC doesn’t have the votes, he can’t oppose TEC even if he wants to. Likewise, if the GS do not have the votes, they can’t either. He, and they, HAVE to count votes.

But I think many of you have already concluded (prematurely?) that TEC is the one with the votes, and that her enemies are not potent. That may even be true but I’m not sure it’s wise to say so at this point because it could presuppose the outcome and handicap those who are still fighting against that outcome.

It’s getting kind of like a deathwatch. But the fat lady doesn’t sing until Sept 30. And re-read Mark Clacier’s post of 08-11-2007 at 05:50 PM. This is what needs to happen, win or lose.

In faith, Dave
Viva Texas

[30] Posted by dpeirce on 08-11-2007 at 10:32 PM • top

Folks, speaking of the ‘75 HOB (??) meeting, there was a document generated that said that PECUSA was, in effect, living in an age to which the ancient documents contained in the Bible were no longer applicable (and so would rely on “the Spirit,” etc.)  It seems to have been on an ECUSA website about 3 wks ago, but now I am not able to find it.  Does anyone know of that statement?  If so, please leave it on the “private message” here on the site, or else leave a note here

Thanks,
r.e.

[31] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-11-2007 at 10:41 PM • top

Dave, Only in politics is leadership tied to votes.  True leadership does what is right in spite of the consequences.  Our problem seems to be that TEC has too many politicians in purple and too few leaders. 

I wonder how the voting went when our Lord called out the Sanheidren or when Luther+ posted his thesis.

Our worthy oponents are counting votes and ABoC may be counting votes (although I think in his case it’s more of rationalizing his personal beliefs and counting the cash) but we cannot get dragged into that realm when it comes to defending the faith.  Votes or not, we have to do what is right.

And Mark+, look around at the facts on the ground in TEC - the lawsuits, the threats on clergy, the official doctrine of the national church - and you will see that there is no wonder our evangelizing is next to nil.  Who’s going to bring a friend into this mess even if you can keep them from knowing of the impending disaster.  And no amount of spending my efforts to “grow parishes, found missions, educate the laity, fund or found good seminaries, and (most importantly) all the many ordinary ways of building up the Kingdom of God” can overcome the direction our leadership is going.  It’s about souls, man.  And souls are not being tended to properly in this organization.  Besides, do you really think the above is going to get by the censors at 815?  Heck, we cannot even contingency plan without our Comcon friends and members of the ACI calling us the schismatics. 

By the way, how’s that going in APA?  Not counting the folks who bailed from TEC over the past 5 years.

[32] Posted by Wilkie on 08-11-2007 at 11:06 PM • top

Wilkie,

I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but isn’t that precisely the sort of environment in which the Church flourishes?  Can you imagine someone in the 3rd century say, “Look around look around at the facts on the ground in the Empire - the arrests, the feeding Christians to the lions, squabbles within the Church - and you will see that there is no wonder our evangelizing is next to nil.” 

As for the APA, well certainly during the past 4 years, the majority of our growth has come from Ecusa.  Frankly, this is a mixed blessing.  It has been good, especially for our churches that have, because of this become thriving.  OTOH, my own parishes (here in NC and before in MD) did just as well drawing the unchurched or the over-churched (as I call those tired of the mega-church scene!).  They still come, but now we’ve become so identified with the human sexuality struggles that we’re much more type-casted than before.  And getting former Episcopalians off the issues and refocused on the Gospel…well, it’s like trying to start a relationship with someone recently divorced!!

[33] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-12-2007 at 06:29 AM • top

Is there anything that such a group of “Windsor Bishops” might do, short of announcing their intention of leaving the Communion [and by the way, I would not be at all surprised to hear of some that eventually do leave the Communion for another church], that would render the group potent and consequential?  If so, what?

Sarah,

I will give an answer that Matt did not give.  There was one thing that the Windsor bishops could have and should have done after the HOB soundly rejected Dar Es Salaam.  They could have (and should have) stepped forward, and said:

Even if the American HOB has rejected the Primatial Vicar scheme, we have not.  We have selected the following bishop as our Primatial Vicar, and we ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to begin working with Bishop X immediately in that capacity.

That would have taken some courage, and it would have had some consequences.  Both RW and TEC would have been forced to respond.  But, unfortunately, the Windsor bishops did . . . nothing.

[34] Posted by William Witt on 08-12-2007 at 06:51 AM • top

These comments bring 9/30 even more sharply into focus. It is desperately important that all reasserters in North America be prepared to support +Duncan and his faithfull remnant in league with the GS primates. I know few Windsor Bishops will take a stand but those few who do will join with 2/3 of the Anglicans in the world. I think it not politically or economically feasable for +++ABC to go against this coalition. Those of us in Wobbly Windsor Dioceses must let our Bishops know, at ONCE, that they will no longer financially support the diocese if they do not follow the Network lead after 9/30. Sadly, money, place and buildings are what these men are into, not Christ. There must be an end game, and it is 9/30.

I remain optimistic about +++Rowan. He is not a political naif as some have said, but very accomplished indeed in trend sniffing. He will have to face some very angry very important people if he does other than give us a place to go. I just don’t see it.

Venite 9/30.

[35] Posted by teddy mak on 08-12-2007 at 08:21 AM • top

It is desperately important that all reasserters in North America be prepared to support +Duncan and his faithfull remnant in league with the GS primates.

Teddy Mak, I would hope that one can count Communion Conservatives as a subset of all reasserters.  I have passionately argued for such a unity in order that it may be eminently helpful in preserving and purifying the Anglican Communion.

[36] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 10:46 AM • top

Amen Teddy and TUaD.  We must step back just far enough to see that our common enemy is behind all this and we must unite for our Laod & Savior - and the souls of our family, friends and the lost.  If that can be done inside a whole AC through the likes of TEC, I amm all for it.  But if TEC or Lambeth cannot go that route, we must.

MarK+ - I think we’re on the same page except that you keep comparing secular, political entities with church.  Remember, all Christians are to be in the world but not of it.  We are always at odds with secular authorities and while we must give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s we must defend the faith.  But when the leadership of a church (and prerhaps even a majority of the membership) leaves the faith, trying to grow within it becomes fruitless unless we can cause a repentance.

You make my case in your second sentence with “but now we’ve become so identified with the human sexuality struggles that we’re much more type-casted than before.”  How do you think it effects us in the middle here?  Besides, we are certainly not being good stewards when we give our time, talent and treasure to enable this direction.  Now we are giving to Ceasar what is actually God’s - aren’t we?

[37] Posted by Wilkie on 08-12-2007 at 11:26 AM • top

Wilkie,

Thanks for your reply.

I think we differ on largely two points.  The first, is that on the one hand I’m not prepared to separate the secular and the sacred as neatly as post-Enlightenment thought would like us.  The render unto Caesar passage is a prime example of misapplication: ALL is God and nothing is Caesar’s is the point Christ is trying to make.  Similarly, His Kingdom is not FROM this world is a better translation than “of.”  OTOH, we should not, therefore, employ political mechinations, rhetoric, or assumptions in this current struggle.  I think both sides do that too often.

Second, I don’t believe that God needs to be defended.  Certainly, there are times when portions of his flock need looking after, but that has to be done in such a way as to still express sacrificial love and not to condemn others as lost or, more typically, the enemy. 

What I’d love to see more of, in terms of defending the Faith, are more reasserters reminding people that officially Ecusa remains (leaving aside WO) orthodox.  None of the formularies have been altered or dropped.  Thus, the Establishment is in violation of its own governance and foundational arguments.  People ought to be reminded of that over and over again.  But even that should be just a little more than background noise to the preaching of the Gospel and the building up of the Kingdom of God.

Otherwise, what will happen is something along these lines.  The reasserters will become a dwindling minority.  The smaller it becomes the louder the rhetoric of being a “faithful remnant” will become until, at last, no one pays them much attention. 

Departure from TEC may seem like an arrival at the Promised Land to those still within.  But it solves very little in the end.

[38] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-12-2007 at 12:42 PM • top

Wm. Witt,  The most likely reason I can find that the ‘Windsor’ bishops would not, could not move or act after the HOB rejected Dar E S, is that Windsor does not provide a favorable truthful spiritual position for taking a stand or doing battle.

Windsor is a bog or marshland, not a rock and a firm foundation.

As I have continually and frequently stated, (please forgive me for always tooting this one-note horn) Windsor is a compromise and an accession to the pansexual agenda in that it affirms and accepts the GBLT labels, concepts and idiom as though they were truth, either proven by science or Scripture. rather than invented for apologetic and propaganda purposes. 

Honest science cannot and will never refute Scripture and Scripture does not exempt, recognize a special orientation, or provide a special category of humanity or sin.  Scripture only recognizes two sexes, male and female, and only two states/orientations: sin/rebellion or repentance and agreement with, conformity to God’s Word/Design/Image.

Scripture does not give any evidence that God is incapable of healing certain sins, that God cannot restore anyone to holiness, to His image and design.  In fact, I Cor. 6:9-11 implies the opposite, that all the sin patterns listed are quite succeptible to the reversal and cleansing by the power of Christ’s Cross/Blood/Resurrection.

The Creeds say God is All-mighty.  The Scriptures declare Christ saves us to the uttermost, that His Grace is sufficient.

Only those who have not experienced the fearful, wonderful, amazing joy and relief of (finally) completely trusting and surrendering, of ‘falling into the hands of the living (redeeming, loving) God’  being born-again, regenerated, (John 3:3-21)could believe or think otherwise. 

Afterward, there is no argument or threat that can change one’s mind or position.  Afterward, nothing can compare with the feeling of a moment in God’s presence, the experience of His beauty, peace, real truth, joy, true pure love—- all other targets of human affection and desire and pale by comparison…the old life and ways, (sin, illicit sex, cravings, addictions, compulsions, power, greed) become unwanted, superfluous, unneeded, ‘swine husks’ ‘dung’ and ‘garbage’ once one has tasted, felt, known the exquisite indescribeable joy of God’s Holy Presence.

[39] Posted by Theodora on 08-12-2007 at 12:45 PM • top

Floridian,

I honestly do not think that the Windsor bishops failed to proceed with the Pastoral Vicar Scheme because they embraced perceived weaknesses in the Windsor Report’s assumptions about the scientific causes of homosexuality.

[40] Posted by William Witt on 08-12-2007 at 12:59 PM • top

Mark Clavier:

“Can you imagine someone in the 3rd century say, ‘Look around at the facts on the ground in the Empire - the arrests, the feeding Christians to the lions, squabbles within the Church - and you will see that there is no wonder our evangelizing is next to nil.’”

I have enjoyed reading your posts, perhaps this one most of all.  I am a lowly NonCom ComCon in TEC with no intention of leaving.  I don’t plan on going down with the ship, but will almost certainly remain in place until that last awful call goes out: “Every man for himself.”  In the meantime, the task of working below decks to keep the lights on as long as possible while waiting for . . . the ultimate outcome, whatever it is . . . suits me just fine.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful or uncharitable to those who say that they cannot imagine continuing to evangelize while still in TEC, and I’m certainly not trying to provoke an argument about the relative merits of leaving or staying.  But I simply cannot wrap my mind around this idea that the message of the gospel can’t be shared with those outside the Church by those who are still within.

“I belong to and worship in this Church—but I cannot recommend that you do the same.”

No, if I had to believe that I would be gone in a New York minute.  We are not evangelizing for some heretical agenda, or for the purpose of introducing people to the latest controversies, but for the “faith once delivered to the saints” which does, after all, still survive in our midst.  I know that the experience of many who have suffered direct persecution has been radically different, and they must respond in a manner that is appropriate to their situation.  But I must do likewise, and the evidence that people are still coming to Christ through the witness and ministry of orthodox Christians in TEC is right under my nose. 

“As for the APA, well certainly during the past 4 years, the majority of our growth has come from ECUSA.  Frankly, this is a mixed blessing. . . we’ve become so identified with the human sexuality struggles that we’re much more type-casted than before.  And getting former Episcopalians off the issues and refocused on the Gospel…well, it’s like trying to start a relationship with someone recently divorced!!”

There is an APA parish near where I live.  I have never visited it and have no plans for doing so.  After checking out their website, I don’t think I could point out a single area of disagreement with the theology and practice.  (I could probably say the same for CANA and AMIA.)  But your last sentence underscores an important part of the reasons why I avoid it and drive ten miles to my TEC parish.  We are involved in one big messy divorce, and it’s leaving a lot of casualties in its wake.  I don’t want to go from the frying pan into the fire.

Whichever way this turns out for all of us, we do need to get “off the issues and refocused on the Gospel,” not by ignoring those issues altogether, but by not allowing our own agenda to become a mirror image of the one we’re working against.  Anyway, I’ll look forward to reading more from you!

[41] Posted by episcopalienated on 08-12-2007 at 01:51 PM • top

FIRST - please all go to AnglicanTV.org and be refreshed by the preaching of ++Venables from the ACN event.

Mark+:
Post-Enlightenment?  Please.  I quoted from scripture.  Let’s not forget that the question being asked of our Lord was about paying taxes, not heresy in the Temple.  And the ‘enemy’ I spoke of is the Prince of Darkness and not our brothers and sisters being led astray.  In fact, it is their souls (and those of our families and friends) that make it imperative that we quit enabling this free-fall into apostacy. If you think this is the easy route that we are being called to, then you’ve never had to make this choice.
And there is always room for more ‘othodox’ clergy in TEC - if you’re willing to tow the line.  Come on over if you think it is a good career move.  I think you’ll find it is not.  And surely you are not serious when you claim that TEC is orthodox.  In the words of that brilliant 20th century philosopher, Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as Stupid does”.  Heck, we’ve pushed the 39 articles and quadrilateral into the Hisotrical Documents section of of BCP’79.  I know you’ve heard the PB’s preaching and seen the folly coming out of our last couple GCs.  How about the lawsuits and property seizures and clergy removals? 

When you’ve put up the good fight for as long as the orthodox in TEC have, you might have a different opinion.  Be careful preaching to those on the frontline from a point of independence and safety.


By the way, departure from TEC is no one’s desire if a return to Chrisitianity was a reasonable expectation.  I’d love to stay in my cozy little parish insulated from reality with all the folks I have grown to love and appreciate.  Alas, that would mean ignoring the cross in front of me.

[42] Posted by Wilkie on 08-12-2007 at 01:58 PM • top

Dr. Witt, 

I did not say the forgers of Windsor and Lambeth 1.10 perceived the weakness of these documents…many still do not. 

Both Windsor and Lambeth 1.10 are the products of the quaint Anglican custom of ‘dialogue’, ‘listening,’ of trying to reconcile good and evil, and these documents have compromised Scripture and truth, a fatal mistake, and thus the orthodox are teetering around on a spiritual miry bog.

Further, the latest Primates Communique has flaws and loopholes:

1. It perpetuates the Lambeth Res. 1.10 compromise with the PC agenda, recognizing the unscriptural idiomatic concepts and labels developed for their propaganda and apologetic: homosexual, lesbian, gay, orientation, identity, gender, etc.

2. It only forbids sexually sinful bishops, and does not hold the same standard for parishoners, priests and deacons.

3.  It leaves orthodox families and parishes still vulnerable to the strong-arm tactics exercised by TEC.

4. It continues congeniality and fellowship with TEC.
 
5. This (continued collegiality with heretics) is not the church governance mandated in the NT.

6.  It limits itself to TEC and does not comment upon and decry the same unscriptural practices in the other Western provinces.

7.  It does not mention or require the removal of offenders already in place, of false teachers and unbelievers.

As a whole, it is a compromise and an affront to the holiness of God the Father, to the truth of Scripture, to the Cross, Blood, and Name of Jesus Christ, to the power of God to save to the uttermost, to cleanse, deliver, heal, and to the Holy Spirit, Whose fervent desire is to lead us *OUT OF* sin and into the freedom (that was bought for us at such a great price) of the holy joyous abundant life and to transform us into the likeness of Christ.

The Communique pretty much says, ‘Some people prefer a mess of red pottage, we say they can have it and their birthright as well.’

[43] Posted by Theodora on 08-12-2007 at 02:00 PM • top

Mark+ and Episco:
Let me add Floridian’s comments - he (and ++Venables) said it much bette than I ...

[44] Posted by Wilkie on 08-12-2007 at 02:09 PM • top

Floridian,

I was not addressing the strengths or weaknesses of either the Windsor Report or the DES Communique.  I wrote a detailed response to Windsor right after it came out, in which I did just that.  I was addressing the question Sarah asked: Is there anything the Windsor bishops might do, short of threatening to leave, that would have consequence?

I provided a suggestion as to what they could have done. The WR and DES may have all kinds of flaws, or they may both be sterling examples of astute theological reasoning that, if embraced, would preserve the communion.  Furthermore, the Primatial Vicar scheme could have been the most hair-brained and useless scheme ever devised.

Still, the advantage of Windsor was that it set the bar incredibly low. The Primatial Vicar scheme was just DEPO writ large.  What does it say that TEC was not even willing to embrace Windsor, and the Windsor bishops could not even bring themselves to ask pretty please if the might have a Primatial Vicar anyway?

[45] Posted by William Witt on 08-12-2007 at 02:40 PM • top

Sarah,

I will give an answer that Matt did not give.  There was one thing that the Windsor bishops could have and should have done after the HOB soundly rejected Dar es Salaam.  They could have (and should have) stepped forward, and said:

Even if the American HOB has rejected the Primatial Vicar scheme, we have not.  We have selected the following bishop as our Primatial Vicar, and we ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to begin working with Bishop X immediately in that capacity.

That would have taken some courage, and it would have had some consequences.  Both RW and TEC would have been forced to respond.  But, unfortunately, the Windsor bishops did . . . nothing.

Given Dr. Witt’s proposal about what the Windsor bishops could have and should have done, it would be interesting to find out if:

(A)  Whether the idea of selecting their own Primatial Vicar even entered their thoughts at all, and thereby showing some leadership initiative.  OR…

(B)  They actually discussed the possibility, but it was collectively and ultimately rejected.

I wonder.

[46] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 05:02 PM • top

It is always striking to read how sure some people can be without any information. May God bless the work and common cause of these 17 bishops—network bishops, common cause bishops, and windsor bishops—and their colleagues. Grace and peace.

[47] Posted by zebra on 08-12-2007 at 05:06 PM • top

It is always striking to read how sure some people can be without any information.

Chris,

I should be clear that when I said the Windsor bishops had done nothing after the HOB meeting, I was specifically referring to the Primatial Vicar Proposal, and I was referring to specific public action taken immediately after the HOB meeting.  If I remember correctly, ACI requested immediate action about this right after the HOB meeting, and I was stunned at the absolute silence that followed.

I was not referring to any action taken at this week’s meeting, of which, of course, I do know nothing.  These bishops are indeed in my prayers. If something significant and of real effect has indeed taken place the last few days, I will be among the first to rejoice.

[48] Posted by William Witt on 08-12-2007 at 05:28 PM • top

What does it say that TEC was not even willing to embrace Windsor, and the Windsor bishops could not even bring themselves to ask pretty please if they might have a Primatial Vicar anyway?

This is an excellent rhetorical question.  Your point is well-taken Dr. Witt.  However, how sure are you given Dr. Seitz’s question which he offers in grace and peace:  “It is always striking to read how sure some people can be without any information.”?

[49] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 05:28 PM • top

Dr. Witt, we posted at the same time.  Please ignore my question above.

[50] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 05:33 PM • top

Wilkie,

I apologize if I caused offense as it wasn’t my intention.

Obviously, this isn’t the place for an exegesis.  So, let me direct you to Tom Wright’s excellent essay on on Caesar passage (and others) at http://www.ctinquiry.org/publications/wright.htm

As for the rest of your post.  Sure, I’ve never experienced first hand the pain some experience within their parishes (though I experienced a similar ostracism while a student at Duke).  Obviously, a blessing of growing up in the Continuing Church is that I was spared the turmoil of internal Episcopal problems.  On the other hand, I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by those who did undergo that painful experience and have spent the past dozen years ministering as a priest to, among others, those who were or are in the midst of that pain.  Indeed, that ministry entirely informs what I’ve been saying.  Certainly, if you are in a place where on Sundays you simply cannot worship, where your life within the Church is nothing but fighting, then perhaps it is time to look elsewhere.  After all, we were not redeemed in order to spend our lives fighting. 

On the other hand, if you can continue to worship and to serve others within your parish, then perhaps it is better to stay put.  Other Churches in other ages have been saved by a few refusing to budge, refusing to abandon ship.  Heck, if twelve lowly Jews of Palestine could turn the world upside-down and shakes the pillars of Rome, can we really say that any situation is hopeless?

Obviously, that is a question that you and your family will have to make in prayer.  All I pray is that your decision isn’t made solely on your own view of TEC’s apostasy or on the supposed faithfulness of other Churches.  Who knows what wonders God has in store.  And who knows, He may ultimately show us how we are all—reappraisers and reasserters—dead wrong.  That, in the end, is what I am praying for.

[51] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-12-2007 at 05:37 PM • top

episcopalienated,

Thanks for your kind remarks.

You might pop in to your local APA church some day just to pay a visit.  I don’t know where you live, but hopefully it is near a good one.  Four years on from GC 2003, most of our churches have been able to move beyond the type-casting.  Few places had it as hard as here where nearly 200 Episcopalians fled to my parish.  That made it a full time job for me just to keep us focused on the Gospel and not to get side-tracked by current debates within TEC, and become “that homophobic parish.”  Heck, we’re already “that woman-hating parish”!!! 

And I think your perspective is great!  Yes, stick with the Gospel.  It is far more powerful than any other force and, if we trust in it, will overcome all other cheap counterfeits.  As I said to Wilkie, if it could bring the mighty Roman Empire to its knees, it can more than handle the current crisis within the Episcopal Church.  But the trick is to keep preaching it.  The temptation is to become side tracked, to become self-appointed knights in shining armor out to save damsel God in distress! 

For ultimately, if we don’t preach the Gospel, how can we expect others to hold to the certain moral positions?  If we say that we’ve reached our convictions apart from the Gospel then we succumb to Pelagianism.  But, to paraphrase St. Paul, by God’s grace, we are what we are.  Let’s have confidence in that, roll up our sleeves, and head out in the harvest fields.

Here endeth the sermon wink

[52] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-12-2007 at 05:49 PM • top

Dr Witt—I did not single you out (and did not note your name). The general tenor (headlines re impotemce) and larger skein of comments—that was the subject of my brief comment. Thanks for your prayers. It is an important time. Grace and peace.

[53] Posted by zebra on 08-12-2007 at 05:59 PM • top

Truth,

Our replies crossed simltaneously, and, as I wrote to Chris Seitz, I was referring to a public response to the Primatial Vicar Proposal right after the HOB meeting.  I do not pretend to know what happened this week.  What I do know is that after I read Ephraim Radner’s heart-breaking statement to the effect that there was no room for conservatives in TEC any more, followed by Paul Zahl’s almost immediate statement that all was lost, I felt as if a door had closed for good.  I waited hopefully for some action, anything.  But there has been only silence from the Windsor bishops, even after Rowan Williams subverted DES by inviting non-Windsor bishops to Lambeth, even after ACI made a public statement asking for the bishops to act on the Primatial Vicar Proposal.  As I’ve said elsewhere, if anyone, it is the Windsor bishops who should feel most betrayed by the ABC’s actions.  Bishop Stanton had made it clear that the meeting of the Windsor bishops was a direct response to a request from RW for a “head count.”  So what’s the point of the “head count” if everyone gets a free pass to Lambeth, Windsor-compliant or not?

I do hope good things came out of this week’s meeting.  However, I no longer believe that Rowan Williams is an honest broker in this game. I am convinced that he has one game plan—to avoid a split in the Anglican Communion at all costs.  Strategically, that means never-ending delay and a refusal to discipline TEC at any costs.  If a Communion solution depends on RW, there will be no solution.  If a Communion solution depends on waiting for a Lambeth to which all TEC bishops are invited (but not bishops from Recife), and a Covenant, which may or may not be decisive in terms of Communion membership, and will take at least one more General Convention to endorse or not, followed by Primates meetings asking whether or not TEC did or did not endorse the Covenant at its 2009 General Convention, then, I fear, the Communion will die by gradual attrition, as orthodox (a word I use intentionally) parishes and parishioners leave one by one.

A practical illustration as to how this works out on the ground:  About eight years ago, I joined with several New England clergy and laity to form a local group called SEAD Northeast.  We were inspired by and received the blessing of what is now ACI.  Our hope was to provide a scholarly haven from and response to the the revisionist theology that permeates New England dioceses.  Our monthly meetings averaged 10 to 20 from as many as seven dioceses.

The group no longer exists.  Why?  Overt persecution from revisionist bishops?  No.  To a certain extent the group ran out of steam as its leadership moved on, but that’s just the point.  Its leadership found it necessary to move on. When we initially began meeting we had four parishes in two dioceses where we could meet.  Over a period of years, as clergy moved or retired from these four parishes, the bishops replaced them with revisionist clergy.  Eventually, we were reduced to one parish building where we could meet, and we kept that space through a rector, an interim, and another rector.  When the last rector and his wife finally left, we had nowhere else to meet.

Discipline that is not timely is not discipline.  As I wrote in the discussion on T19 about the recent Lutheran events, the turning point for ECUSA was not GC 2003, but GC 2000, at which TEC indicated clearly that it was willing to tolerate in its dioceses theology and actions that were directly contrary to the Communion teaching of the Lambeth Conference only two years previously.  If there had been immediate Communion discipline then, we would not now be discussing whether a non-Windsor compliant bishops would be coming to Lambeth ten years after the Communion decided this issue.

[54] Posted by William Witt on 08-12-2007 at 06:07 PM • top

Dr Witt—I did not single you out (and did not note your name).

Chris,  I hope I am still Bill to you, and not Dr. Witt.  I know that you did not single me out, but I realized that my statement could have been taken as a criticism of you (pl.) and your work, and I wanted to be clear that that was not what I intended.  This is an important time, and as Sept 30 draws near, frustration and impatience mounts.  We all need grace to remember that providence works in ways that is not likely according to any of our plans.

[55] Posted by William Witt on 08-12-2007 at 06:14 PM • top

Bill,

you said:

“If a Communion solution depends on RW, there will be no solution.  If a Communion solution depends on waiting for a Lambeth to which all TEC bishops are invited (but not bishops from Recife), and a Covenant, which may or may not be decisive in terms of Communion membership, and will take at least one more General Convention to endorse or not, followed by primates meetings asking whether or not TEC did or did not endorse the Covenant at its 2009 General Convention, then, I fear, the Communion will die by gradual attrition, as orthodox (a word I use intentionally) parishes and parishioners leave one by one.”

Amen. This is absolutely true. The untrustworthiness of Canterbury is the reason the Communion solution at least as it has been presented by various ACI proposals will not work.

But even should a trustworthy man occupy the office, the principle still holds a communion tied to and determined by invitations issued from a single office occupied by a single man will never be a solid one.

[56] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-12-2007 at 06:15 PM • top

Dr. Witt, much thanks for the in-depth response.  I’m not yet willing to give into despair about the ABC (I will always believe in the efficacy of prayer!), yet I offer no counter to yours and Matt’s skepticism, and of course, I confess to my own reluctant skepticism as well. 

I like this statement you wrote:  Discipline that is not timely is not discipline.  It brings to mind another aphorism:  Justice delayed is justice denied. 

Given Dr. Witt’s proposal about what the Windsor bishops could have and should have done, it would be interesting to find out if:

(A) Whether the idea of selecting their own Primatial Vicar even entered their thoughts at all, and thereby showing some leadership initiative.  OR…

(B) They actually discussed the possibility, but it was collectively and ultimately rejected.

I wonder.

Care to speculate?  grin

[57] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 06:22 PM • top

In Ephraim Radner’s essay “What Way Ahead?” , after the February HOB fiasco, Radner made the following statement:

In general, I would… encourage civil disobedience in cases where Christians choose to oppose the depredations of TEC leadership.

At the time I took it to mean that he was encouraging Windsor bishops as a group to proceed with the Pastoral Council/Primatial Vicar scheme despite the objections of the PB and HOB.  Chris Seitz at the time said:

ACI will work to see that this Council becomes a reality, within our ability… We hope the processes called for at Dar will unfold in a timely fashion and have no reason to think they won’t.

1. Is ACI disappointed in the “impotence” of the Windsor bishops today?
2. As the DAR communique has not “unfolded in a timely fashion”, but was in fact dead on arrival and completely ignored, what level of confidence does ACI have in the implementation of DAR at this time?

[58] Posted by Nevin on 08-12-2007 at 06:48 PM • top

As a reminder of the “untimely” implementation of DAR, March 16, 2007 was the date by which the nominations for the Pastoral Council were due to the ABC

[59] Posted by Nevin on 08-12-2007 at 06:55 PM • top

Mark Clavier’s scenario (08-12-2007 at 11:42 AM) may be unpleasant to contemplate but it’s realistic. If something good (Godly) doesn’t happen soon to gain reasserters some votes within TEC (and maybe even within the Communion as a whole), they will disappear with a whimper. I hate that, but I haven’t seen anyone present an alternative. And episcopalienated on 08-12-2007 at 12:51 PM speaks of the necessity of *gospel* evangelism in spite of TEC’s bad reputation. TEC itself should be the nearest and very best field for that evangelism. That would do more than anything else to foul up Satan’s attacks on Orthodoxy. There are yet alternatives and positive steps which can be taken.

Courage!! Don’t give up (yet) on +++Rowan, on the GS, on the Windsor/ACN/Whoever bishops, on Resolution 1.10, on discipline, or on the DeS process. Seven weeks until Sept 30. That’s been made the pregnant date… hang tight and see what the baby looks like.

In faith, Dave
Viva Texas

[60] Posted by dpeirce on 08-12-2007 at 07:15 PM • top

Mark Clavier:

Correction, Father Clavier. 

What a delight to meet you, even if only in cyber space.  You are my “anomalous event” for this day.

The absolute truth is, I have always avoided continuing churches like the plague.  They scare the daylights out of me.  Encountering a priest from their ranks who is as kind and gracious as you are is a wonderful thing.  Who knew?

I have carefully noted the charitable manner in which you’ve responded to one and all on this thread.  It definitely shines through.  I’m tempted to say it . . . I’m proud of you!

Yours is obviously a Christ centered faith, deeply rooted in the One who is ultimately in control.  We need a lot more of your kind of witness. 

My heart goes out to those who are so greatly exercised over our current troubles.  I do hope that they can move beyond their pain and anger, and I believe that they will have to if their new churches are to have any measure of real “success,” when that is measured in God’s terms, not ours.

And, yes, us diehard TECers will have to stop whistling past the graveyard eventually, trying to put off a day we hope will never come, but that we know almost certainly will.  We’ll see how that turns out.

But if we follow your good example, it may all work.

Since the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, please do remember all of us in yours.

And . . . thank you. 

Thank you very much. smile

[61] Posted by episcopalienated on 08-12-2007 at 09:01 PM • top

Mark+

If I recall correctly, those ‘twelve lowly Jews of Palestine’ were willing to leave the established religious authority of the day at great cost to themselves.  In fact, they were commanded to “shake off the dust”.  If and when the time comes, from your distant and safe harbor, please allow us the same courtesy (and as your demonination was allowed years ago).
And should that become neccessary (as it appears likely), the orthodox with a contingency plan will not whimper away, but in fact we will be establishing a formidable beachhead for our brothers and sisters fleeing from the sinking ship.  And many of those who have been forced to leave before us are finding a way home as well - thanks to Common Cause.  All under the auspices and care of the greater part of what is now the AC (or perhaps with the whole of the AC if the ABoC finally sees his way to some over-due pruning). 

And you need not worry Episco - we are well “beyond their pain and anger” and our denial as well.  For we will continue to be united with that part of the AC that has shown great success at evangelizing and preaching the Gospel you reference.  So when you do finally get called to ‘whistle past the cemetary’, dust-off your sandals and do not fear for we will be there waiting with open arms - you are welcome.

May I ask why APA has not joined this endeavor?

PS:  Did either of you get a chance to listen to ++Venables teachings at ACN’07?  You really should.

[62] Posted by Wilkie on 08-12-2007 at 09:43 PM • top

Mark+,

You wrote:

“What I’d love to see more of, in terms of defending the Faith, are more reasserters reminding people that officially ECUSA remains (leaving aside WO) orthodox.  None of the formularies have been altered or dropped.  Thus, the Establishment is in violation of its own governance and foundational arguments.”

This is simply not true. Two official actions undermine your assertion. First, the consecration of a bishop who both by his life and doctrine violates orthodox teaching and practice constitutes doctrinal change. A bishop is made bishop for the whole church. He is, in his person and works, proclaimed by those who approve and consecrate him, an exemplar of those aspects of Christian life and teaching that are normative. The special nature of episcopal office is why the elevation of Gene Robinson to the office of bishop represented an official crossing from orthodoxy into heresy in a way that the ordination of heretical and immoral priests did not and it is why the international outrage was so profound. The Episcopal Church ceased to be orthodox in her official teachings in November of 2003.

Secondly, GC2003 officially recognised that same sex blessings occur legitimately within the common life of the Episcopal Church. This recognition remained untouched in 2006 despite the WR requirements. This represents quite an interesting twist on the teaching of the Apostles “as this church recieves them.” Officially, the Episcopal Church has redefined the meaning and intent of the formularies in such a way that she does not need to dispatch them. She can affirm them wholly, but in a redefined manner. We are, in effect, dealing with an officially heretic Church that maintains the facade of orthodoxy. Now, increasingly, the facade itself is being discarded. But while it still remains, it remains only as a facade. To point to the facade and say “you must live up to this” misses, entirely, the techtonic shift in meaning and intent that has taken place in the last 30 years.

Finally, as to evangelism. Since TEC is a heretic church certainly evangelism of a sort must take place. But I think you are making several category errors. With false teachers, the bible is very clear. They must first be cast out of the fellowship. In fact, in 2nd John, we are told not even to play host or to offer hospitality to carriers of a false gospel. The reasons for this are myriad but certainly one (and this is made plain in 2nd John) is that we do not want to sow confusion in the church. To have fellowship with false teachers is a participation in their false teaching. Evangelism of false teachers, if there is to be any, is not done from the inside but from the outside. You cast them out and then you evangelise as you would a publican or prostitute…with love and gentleness and prayer…but not as to a fellow believer. The position you advocate seems to fly in the face of texts like 2nd John and 1 cor 5.

The process must be discipline and disfellowship first, then evangelization because unless there is some distinction made between those who are true to the gospel and those who subvert it, there will only be the scandal of the loss of our Christian witness.

[63] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-12-2007 at 09:49 PM • top

Mark+:

Are you related to the former APA Primus, +Clavier?

Visited the website and noted that in fact APA (AEC) has gone through some doctrinal divisions of your own over your 35 years.  I suppose you spoke against all of these as well?  Sorry, could not resist.  (smiley)

And also noted that yours is a founding member of FACA whose Patron Primate is the verry ++Venables who is more than supporting our ‘contingency planning’.  So, help me understand how you feel compelled to scold us for considering our next move in light of the drift TEC has taken over the 35 years since AEC felt compelled to run?  I would rather think that you would be one of our strongest cheerleaders.  Come home to an orthodox and worldwide AC, my friend.  We’d love to have you.

[64] Posted by Wilkie on 08-12-2007 at 10:07 PM • top

Okay.  So what if TEC splits now, and then the group that was the reasserters some where far down the road splits again?  I do not see the problem.  That is, I do not see the problem contained in a potential split some time in the future, as long as the “split” has to do with believers walking away from heresy.  No where in Scripture do I see a statement that we are to be unified with those who have turned their backs on Christ just because they call themselves “christians.”  I see the opposite.  Those we are to flee. 

With leaders such as the Presiding Bishop, I could no longer in good conscience seek to bring an unbeliever to the Lord, then bring them into an Episcopal church.  Too dangerous.

If I do not have spiritual fellowship with a Mormon neighbor, I am not being “schismatic.”  I am simply acceding that we do not follow the same God.

[65] Posted by Pat Kashtock on 08-12-2007 at 10:08 PM • top

The process must be discipline and disfellowship first, then evangelization because unless there is some distinction made between those who are true to the gospel and those who subvert it, there will only be the scandal of the loss of our Christian witness.

Matt, you also say that TEC is a heretic church. 

On a different thread, there was a discussion about the inter-relationship between missiology and ecclesiology.  One commenter stated that Missiology before Ecclesiology.  Others state that Missiology <==> Ecclesiology and that the two are arguably inseparable, and that to discuss one without the other is incoherent.  What are your thoughts?

[66] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 10:12 PM • top

Good night my brothers - sleep well.  I know that I will just knowing you are out their defending the faith.  Thank you ...

[67] Posted by Wilkie on 08-12-2007 at 10:13 PM • top

TUD,

I have not read the thread so I am not sure exactly what the issues were but my initial reaction is to say missiology preceeds, at least logically if not temporally, ecclesiology. The Church rests on the Word. The Word does not rest on the Church. God sent his Son to the World and through him God established the Church. It is that Word going out into the World turning hearts of stone to hearts of flesh that adds living stones to the Church that is, itself, built on the Word, the Apostles and Prophets.

[68] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-12-2007 at 10:18 PM • top

Thanks Matt, those are my thoughts as well. 

Wilkie, sleep well brother.  Tomorrow’s another day in fighting the good fight and standing firm in faith.

[69] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-12-2007 at 11:05 PM • top

“The untrustworthiness of Canterbury is the reason the Communion solution at least as it has been presented by various ACI proposals will not work”.

With 9/30 coming and probably many things in the works behind the scenes, I find this statement premature. 

That said, Matt is absolutely right about TEC’s doctrinal innovations.  They ratified VGR’s election and consecrated him.  They acknowledged the presence in the church of same-sex blessings, without addressing them theologically at all, unless you want to count TSOHOC, which was woefully inadequate. 

It is probably correct to say the doctrine has not changed in the C of E, despite whatever innovations are going on that clergy/bishops are not being disciplined for.  I have little respect for that as well, as it is nothing short of hypocrisy, but it is TEC who has thoroughly rubbed it in everyone else’s face, with ACC not too far behind it.  Their synod, though, has made effort to pull back from its innovations.  TEC’s actions on that score still remain to be seen—but, based on the recent past thumb-their-nose track record, I’m not betting the farm. 

And so, I wait…

[70] Posted by Passing By on 08-13-2007 at 12:06 AM • top

Matt said, attempting to defend and confirm his and Chris Johnson’s conclusions,
“In fact, many are willing to stay in an institution shot through with heresy because they believe this sort of institutional commitment to be a gospel imperative.  My comments about primary and secondary, then, were more descriptive of political behavior of the group of Windsor bishops as a body than critical of personal faith commitments of any individuals and I stand by them.”

Maybe I’m reading the intent wrong, so correct me.  But “Personal faith commitments”?  as separate from an “institutional commitment” as “gospel imperative”?  What is that?  British evangelical Episco-babble?
You have been very pejorative in your writings about any validity to a gospel imperative to “stay” when all others “go.”  So that has colored my reading of this.  But perhaps you are, conversely, commending those who DO see the gospel imperative.  That still is a bit steely; it would be good if you would recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit in those who see or who are called to see a gospel imperative (or whatever it might be that the Lord has in mind for them).

[71] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 08-13-2007 at 02:31 AM • top

episcopalienated,

That was an awfully kind email.  Terrible to be blushing at this time in the morning…

Let me just add, though, that you’ll find much the same among other clergy of the APA.  We’re a good natured bunch!

[72] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-13-2007 at 04:10 AM • top

Wilkie,

Yep, that’s me.  And, yes, the APA is a founding member of FACA and I had the good pleasure of meeting +Venables a few years ago.  We share a love for the old British skit, “Beyond the Fringe.”

As to my anomalous position…first, I had no intended to attack you or anyone else.  If I attacked you for leaving, then I’d be attacking 2/3rds of my congregation!  I know many do have no choice but to leave, and I do know what a painful experience that can be.

I suppose two ways of explaining my view are as follows 1.  The APA has never considered itself to be a replacement Church.  We’ve never used the language of apostasy (there are some Continuers who believe that TEC apostatized entirely in 1977) nor held ourselves up as the true Anglican Church in the US.  We’ve much preferred the language of “life-boat.”  We’re here for those who feel they can no longer stay in TEC but don’t want to let go of their heritage.

Second, I’ve lived my entire life “on the other side.”  I know what its like to try to be an Anglican Church outside of the official framework.  It ain’t fun!  The Continuing Church has been bedeviled by the ideology of “Church purity.”  Sure, if the reasserters were 100% individuals of fine, honorable disposition then all would be fine.  But when you begin to mix feeble human nature in with causes and movements, you end up with a mess.  And if that was true of us, who hold (in theory, at least) to a Catholic understanding of the Church, might it not be truer for those who hold to a more evangelical view of the Church?

Finally, I don’t want you to think that my views are representative of the APA.  My fellow clergy run the gamut of opinions on developments within TEC….which is one of the reasons why I love my jurisdiction!

[73] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-13-2007 at 04:25 AM • top

Matt+,

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t +Robinson really in violation of the Canons?  I mean, thus far there hasn’t really been any canonical amendments defining who may or may not be married.  Couldn’t someone, if he were masochistic enough, present +Robinson according to TEC canons for having an extra-marital relationship?!

Obviously, I agree that a bishop is a bishop to the whole church and that the election, ratification, and consecration of +Robinson was not the wisest decision.  But I don’t see how that, in and of itself, makes TEC any more heretical than any other church that has consecrated an immoral man bishop.  Is the Province of Zimbabwe in the same boat as TEC for having an archbishop who apparently has a hobby of bumping off rivals?  As my father said of the Common Cause statement regarding “godly historical episcopate”: he’s not sure he’s ever met a particularly godly bishop!

To my mind, the +Robinson consecration shows how much reform TEC needs, but doesn’t in and of itself make it inherently heretical.  Of course, when it comes to the nature of a church, my opinion doesn’t really matter…

I’d say much the same about the various resolutions passed by General Convention.  Makes it all the more obvious all the hard work that needs to be done.  But I don’t see how a resolution not altering the formularies of the Church affects the nature of that Church.  It simply is a bad decision that needs to be rectified.

Finally, I suspected that someone would bring up the matter of “false teachers.”  And, indeed, that is a good point.  That is certainly something the Communion as whole needs to confront and deal with properly.  But as this is a problem arguably a 100 years in the making it isn’t something that’s going to be solved overnight.  That’s why the 2 initiatives I’m watching most closely are the Covenant and the theological education commission headed up by +Venables himself.

[74] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-13-2007 at 04:38 AM • top

Rob+,

You are reading the intent wrong and putting a pejorative spin on my words yourself. As a body the Windsor bishops, I have argued, are ineffectual and impotent. I will be proven wrong if they do something…anything…at or before this next HOB meeting…but as of yet they have done nothing but hold meetings and write strongly worded letters.

I am not being pejorative at all. The Windsor coalition’s mission has little to do with orthodoxy. This is fact not opinion. They are not gathered at Camp Allen to promote orthodoxy. They have never claimed otherwise. What they have claimed instead is that they want to be faithful to the WR and in so doing remain in Communion with Canterbury. So, as a matter of fact (not pejorative opinion), corporately, the Windsor Group places communion with Canterbury as their primary purpose. This is not a judgment on the group. But I think it does explain their impotence and inability to do anything other than write strongly worded letters and meet.

As for your weird spin regarding “british evangelical episcobabble”, I would love to be grouped with British evangelicals. But I am an American evangelical. I do not, however, employ episcobabble however inarticulate I may sometimes seem. You seem to suggest that I think it is impossible for an orthodox bishop to be part of such a group or for bishops within the Windsor group to place biblical orthodoxy over communion with Canterbury. Of course it is not. Nor did I ever suggest that. But communion with Canterbury is the aim and goal of the group.

And, sadly, now that it seems Canterbury is willing to remain in Communion with just about anyone, the purpose of the group is lost

[75] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-13-2007 at 04:49 AM • top

Mark+,

It is not simply that an immoral man was elevated to the office of bishop. You are correct, many and worse, have been so elevated. The difference in this case is that this particular immoral man 1. was known to promote his immorality prior to his elevation 2. is a false teacher himself. What would it say about Rome, for example, should, without repentance or reconciliation with the Church, the Cardinals elect Archbishop Milingo, the adulterous Moonie, (who was not appointed while in this state but fell in office and is currently under discipline),  as the next pope. Or a woman. Even if the catechism did not change, it would be clear the Church had changed her teaching at an official level. Conservatives could wave the catechism aloft with all their might, but 1. In a church so eaten through with heresy the catechism would soon be changed and 2. the catechism would already have been so deconstructed by the point of Milingo’s election that, no doubt, the various Cardinals would be able to say that he was duly elected in accordance with teh teachings of the Church.

TEC has, essentially, done the same. We have knowingly consented to the election and then consecrated a man to the highest office in the Episcopal Church (the episcopal office), whose life and doctrine clearly represents a change in the way those things have been understood and applied. His consent at Gen Con shows that the Church, as an official body, has embraced this change. One could argue that the same is true with regard to KJS.

As for the canons of the Episcopal Church, correct me if I am wrong,  but I am not sure we would have a case since the canons do not define marriage…Let me look

[76] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-13-2007 at 05:10 AM • top

Sorry, Wilkie, I posted to you on the wrong thread. 

Also, please forgive if I misconstrued your post and position, but an orthodox world-wide AC is not a present reality - at least, not yet!  wink

[77] Posted by Theodora on 08-13-2007 at 06:04 AM • top

We have knowingly consented to the election and then consecrated a man to the highest office in the Episcopal Church (the episcopal office), whose life and doctrine clearly represents a change in the way those things have been understood and applied. His consent at Gen Con shows that the Church, as an official body, has embraced this change. One could argue that the same is true with regard to KJS.

And this is only half of the GC 2003 two-step.  The other shoe dropped when GC 2003 passed C051, which endorsed same-sex blessings: That we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.

This is a change in the theology of the Church, and, since the plain sense teaching of Scripture condemns homosexual activity, a repudiation of the Anglican principle of the “sufficiency of Scripture.”

[78] Posted by William Witt on 08-13-2007 at 06:51 AM • top

Floridian:

Actually, a world-wide AC is the reality - unless you believe that TEC trumps the AC.  Clearly the vast majority of Anglicans in the world - and even a majority in NA - are orthodox.  The only concern seems to be the ABoC and whether a decision by him personally to back the non-orthodox minority has the ability to nullify the AC.  I do not believe that he has that power (see both ++Orombi’s and Witt’s+ recent articles to that effect).  Add the Comon Cause players to the mix and I think things are looking darn good for a world-wide orthodox Anglican presence.
Even the CoE is showing promise.  Doesn’t the lack of RSVPs futher support this? 

Mark+:

Love you brother.  Have to ask - why is APA the only reasonable lifeboat allowed?  And you say you’ve met ++Venables yet you quote your father as having never met an hoonorable Bishop - ouch!  So, why would you want to keep negotiating back into TEC or be a part of FACA?  Seems you love your autonomy but crave the communion and respectability.  You say we should be willing to stay and fight (and we have been for many years now), yet AEC walked.  I am confused.

[79] Posted by Wilkie on 08-13-2007 at 10:45 AM • top

Dear Friends,

God hit me over the head this morning during my prayers and since then I’ve spent some of the morning reviewing this thread and some other threads and noticed that online exchanges between fedcons and comcons have become somewhat more strained and I realize that the title of this piece may offend some communion conservatives although, as I have said above, that was certainly not my intent.

I continue to disagree with the ecclesiology embraced and strategy promoted by the ACI and other communion conservatives will continue to vigorously express this disagreement. But I do not wish for this disagreement to be transformed into some sort of personalized public conflict between various “federal” commenters, myself included, and the ACI or communion conservatives.

I apologize for the personal affronts or insults I have given and I deeply regret my role in causing offense. I am going to change the headline and in the future, I will try to express my deep disagreement with the communion conservative position with more respect and deference.

[80] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-13-2007 at 12:01 PM • top

To offend is very easy, to apologize regrettably is much rarer.

I’m a Fedcon with Comcon sympathies, so don’t know if I count, but I think it good example you have set of all of us, Matt+, regardless of nature of the topic.

[81] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 08-13-2007 at 12:18 PM • top

Well Matt, your apology preempted my comment, which was going to take issue with this little gem, “As a group, the Windsor Bishops are devoted to Canterbury first and orthodox principles second and unless they re-prioritize and discover some willingness to act, their coalition meetings will remain utterly inconsequential.”

Peace, brother.

[82] Posted by Widening Gyre on 08-13-2007 at 12:32 PM • top

I continue to disagree with the ecclesiology embraced and strategy promoted by the ACI and other communion conservatives will continue to vigorously express this disagreement [with my disagreement].

If we keep a perspective of “iron-sharpening-iron”, and “as much as possible live peaceably with each other”, then honest, authentic, transparent, genuine disagreement that’s expressed truthfully and respectfully will benefit everyone. 

I honestly benefit more from disagreement, although I really do like affirmations better!

I apologize for the personal affronts or insults I have given…

  I honestly did not see any on this thread.  Although I did think you could have been a mite more gentle with Orthoducky and/or Orthoducky can’t read.  (Is that one person or two persons?  I never could figure it out.)

I will try to express my deep disagreement with the communion conservative position with more respect and deference.

Expressing deep disagreement whilst simultaneously expressing it with more respect and more deference is difficult.

(1)  Would it be possible to give grace to the disagreeing commenter by assuming a modicum of respect and deference from the disagreeing commenter?

(2)  My experience is that composing a post that expresses strong disagreement in a polite way lengthens the post tremendously.  Recall Rt. Rev. Allison’s essay to Dr. Radner expressing his disagreement with Radner’s speech.  It was long!  Because he felt he had to offer effusive praise and appreciation to soften the substance of his strong disagreement with Dr. Radner.

Of course, brevity cuts both ways.  Concise is good.  But sometimes, oftentimes, concise is interpreted as rudeness by being perceived as too short.

Maybe I will do what Dr. Seitz does.  He’ll say something.  Then he’ll close with “Grace and Peace” or something like that.  Will that suffice for showing sufficient respect and deference?

For example, I could write something like:  “The belief in unitive ecclessiology is idealistically romantic.  Grace and Peace to you.”

With sincerity, does this count as respectful and deferential?

[83] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-13-2007 at 12:42 PM • top

Well done Fr. Matt.  For a while there I’d thought Greg had borrowed your screen name. grin

[84] Posted by miserable sinner on 08-13-2007 at 12:43 PM • top

If you are not already praying for Rowan Williams daily, I encourage you to do so.  September 30 is a “hinge” moment in the history of the Communion.  His actions, or inactions, will open or close several paths forward.  He will be in New Orleans Sept 19-21.  Commencing today, there are 40 days through Sept 21.

[85] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 08-13-2007 at 12:44 PM • top

I echo Matt’s call for everybody to tone down the rhetoric. We are still six weeks from Sept. 30, and the strain will only rise as that date draws closer.

Here is a minor refinement to Dr. Witt’s answer to Sarah about what the “Windsor bishops” can do: nominate a Primatial Vicar (Bp. Duncan?) immediately after Sept. 30. Of course, it would have been better to nominate somebody last February, but what’s done can’t be undone. The timidity of the Windsor bishops has not inspired confidence so far.

Now I share the general loss of faith in the ABC to do the right thing. But if the Petrie article is correct (i.e that less than half, perhaps much less than half) of the Anglican bishops have RSVPd for Lambeth, then the ABC has a political problem that he cannot ignore. As Matt said on the thread about the Petrie article, such a weak response shows that more than 2 provinces are upholding the Dar communique.

What the inaction of the Windsor bishops and the seemingly bad faith of the ABC have in common is delay. There are negative explanations for that behavior, which I fear are accurate. But, could it be that the ABC really wants to give TEC the full time announced to repent, even knowing that TEC won’t? Would running the clock down to zero embolden any of the wobbly Windsor bishops to do the right thing?

[86] Posted by Publius on 08-13-2007 at 12:49 PM • top

Thank you, Stand Firm for removing and editing my unseemly posts today.  I am very sorry for posting in such a manner - without praying first (for charity, kindness, wisdom)  but I will do so from now on.
Please forgive.
Regretfully, FLoridian

[87] Posted by Theodora on 08-13-2007 at 02:45 PM • top

Perhaps this story, if accurate, tells us at least two things. The first is obvious. In this day of instant communication, Lambeth still relies on the postal service for replies and given the remote situation of many dioceses, “the letter is in the mail” is no untrue statement.

Secondly it indicates that the response of TEC and the reaction of the Primates Committee is the important matter and upon both may depend how many bishops will RSVP Canterbury. We shall see.

If the TEC HofB (hows that for abbreviation?) says that it cannot speak alone for TEC other than to point to the existing response from the last GC -deemed 2/3 adequate by Canterbury’s committee, and refers the matter to the next General Convention, and if the Primates don’t meet until next February to respond to such a non-response, we shall still be speculating for months to come. True some of the Global South leaders may take unilateral action which may or may not help the situation, but as people keep insisting, it’s the full Primates’ Committee which has been authorized to take action, and until that body meets formally, nothing “real” will happen. 

As I have no crystal ball, I am unable to speculate as to how the Achbishop of Canterbury will act or react to all this, and of course “all this” is merely my own speculation as a stare into a glass darkly.

[88] Posted by wvparson on 08-13-2007 at 03:28 PM • top

Obviously the decision to embrace AMiA and CANA, etc was a steep or impossible climb for many of the Network Bishops, and has caused tensions (including lawsuits; conservative dioceses in disputes; etc). The good news is that Bishops supporting this course of action have stayed in synch with the Network Bishops as a whole and with those Windsor Bishops still holding to Camp Allen principles. This makes for an important ‘Windsor coalition’ prepared to work together at the upcoming House of Bishops meeting. We should thank God for this spirit of cooperation at a difficult and decisive time.

Perhaps the same spirit could be manifested here as well, even given differences. We are now coming into the diffocult stretches leading up to New Orleans. Daily prayers for all involved—crucial. Grace and peace.

[89] Posted by zebra on 08-13-2007 at 04:04 PM • top

Wilkie,

Tongue was firmly in cheek when I remarked about godly bishops.  Actually, I enjoyed +Venables—he’s very personable—and will long treasure him, our bishops, and the REC bishops singing old gospel songs during our dinner.  It was hilarious…great fun.  Having said that, I don’t agree with all of hiss rhetoric, but much of that is a matter of the old Evangelical / Catholic divide. 

As for being confused…don’t worry about it.  I confuse myself sometimes.  I’ve simply be trying to get some of you FedComs to consider some of the problems that come with departure.  I believe I can offer a perspective on that, especially as it’s not the sort of language you’ll often hear from Continuers!  I’m an Anglican in diaspora warning those in the homeland about what that life can be like.  We Continuers may not be able to provide you all with a lot of constructive advice (we’ve botch this whole diaspora thing for 30 years) but we can offer a wealth of advice on what not to do.

Finally, I’m not at all convinced that the so-called war is over.  Ecclesiastical battles typically takes ages to finish and, historically speaking, the ultimate victor often is the one which earlier seemed lost.  But 9-30 through Lambeth of next year will answer many questions….thank God.

[90] Posted by Mark Clavier on 08-13-2007 at 06:39 PM • top

Father Kennedy:

“God hit me over the head this morning during my prayers and since then I’ve spent some of the morning reviewing this thread and some other threads and noticed that online exchanges between fedcons and comcons have become somewhat more strained and I realize that the title of this piece may offend some communion conservatives although, as I have said above, that was certainly not my intent.”

Hooray!  Now we have at least two priests on this thread we don’t have to be afraid of!  Isn’t getting whacked up side the head by the Holy Spirit a wonderful thing?  I ignored God through lunch today, and He spent the afternoon trying to get my attention.  He finally succeeded, and I spent the drive home weeping over the hardness of my own heart.  Sunglasses do come in handy!  Coming home to your post made my day, dear Reverend Father in God.  I thank you for the blessing it brings to all of us, and you’re in my prayers tonight in a special way.

Wilkie:

As one irascible old crank to another, when those who are disaffected with TEC tell me that they’ll be waiting to welcome me with open arms if I finally decide to leave, my response to that is usually a polite “thank you” while on the inside I’m really saying:  “Yeah, right!  Maybe in a million years.  How dumb do I look?”  But I have to admit that when I heard it from you, your words pierced my heart and my reaction was:  “Gee, he sounds like he really means it.  Imagine that!”  Well . . . keep that light on.  You never know!

Father Clavier:

“Ecclesiastical battles typically takes ages to finish and, historically speaking, the ultimate victor often is the one which earlier seemed lost.”

There you go again!  Reminding us that our God is a God of lost sinners and hopeless causes.  Do you know what I most long to hear?  Testimonies from former heretics who have been won to the gospel, and who have abandoned their sin and error for the fullness of truth.  I want the faithful witness of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church to be instrumental in bringing that about, in so far as it is God’s will.

Can we pray this night with burdened hearts for the Presiding Bishop . . . for Bishop Robinson and his partner . . . for Elizabeth Kaeton and hers . . . for all those who have become victims of such a great deception, lost to the cause of Christ through sin and error?  Not as enemies, but as dupes of our common Adversary, and captives that the Father heart of God longs to set free? 

Can we let our hearts break for all those who, in this dark night, will be looking for love in all the wrong places, because they somehow failed to find it in the right ones?  This long dark night in which the Light of Christ still shines, even in the worst of places, and even among the worst of sinners, sinners like us?

“Almighty and eternal God, Who has appointed Thine only begotten Son the Saviour of the world, and hast willed to be appeased with His blood, grant that we may so venerate this price of our salvation, and by its might be so defended upon earth from the evils of this present life, that in heaven we may rejoice in its everlasting fruit.  Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.  Amen.”

[91] Posted by episcopalienated on 08-13-2007 at 08:29 PM • top

any news yet from camp allen officially yet?  i mean it has been 3 days already, and not even a speculative post from someone for us to comment on with our own speculations of what the windsor bishops came up with.

[92] Posted by Zoomdaddy on 08-14-2007 at 09:26 AM • top

I really tire of people accusing conservatives of “threats” or “pressure” and framing these as non-Christian values.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  From the time of Abraham (Gen 12:1) man has been called to follow God above else.  Joshua clearly proclaimed his line in the sand (Joshua 24:15).  Jesus clearly recommends abandoning all for the sake of Christ. (Mark 10:28-30).  Martin Luther loudly proclaimed, “Here is stand, I can do no other”.

Today, orthodox Christians stand to be counted among the faithful, so they declare, I shall follow Christ and not man, and I will leave Canterbury if Canterbury abandons Christ, etc. All such statements are declarations of faith, of courage and honor.  Some consider this a “threat”.  No.  It is not a threat, it is a promise.  It is a declaration of faith in Christ and a commitment to follow Him and Him alone.  Anyone who is not willing to leave everything and stand for Christ is not worthy of Christ. (Matt 10:34-39

This isn’t rhetoric folks, it’s scripture!  (And yes I still consider myself a ComCon!)

My only hope is that as far as the “Windsor Bishops” are concerned is that they have used this latest meeting to draft a fully Windsor-Dromantine-Tanzania compliant resolution to present as a unified front to the HOB.  This would certainly be fitting with ComCon sympathies.  If so, it should be held in secret until the appointed time.  I hope that when that time comes that they will, as a body, take that moment to stand for Christ and declare, “Here I stand, I can do no other”.  When TEC rejects this resolution (as it certainly will), it will be clear to the primates and to the ABC which route TEC has chosen.  After this point, I think the path forward will be made clear.

Above Chris Seitz writes, “This makes for an important ‘Windsor coalition’ prepared to work together at the upcoming House of Bishops meeting.”.  If so, then perhaps my hope for the Windsor bishops will come to fruition.

[93] Posted by Spencer on 08-14-2007 at 09:27 AM • top

I’m coming back to this thread late, but still wanted to say:
Thank you, Matt, for your “Dear Friends” comment and apology.  As the comment I just left on the Rwanda post suggests, I don’t quite classify myself as simply CommCon.  And so I don’t like to jump into the Comm vs Fed arguments.  But still there can be a divine purpose in “staying”, and I was obviously bothered by the terms you used, which I took to deny any possibility of God could and can still do.
So I look forward to seeing how you will risk deep disagreement with more deference and respect.  And may I add, reverence? 
Your voracious thinking and writing (that’s a good thing) in this aspect may just frame “a new way” in a unified strategy for God’s Kingdom as revealed in Anglicanism.

[94] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 08-16-2007 at 04:40 AM • top

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