For those who aren’t following the players, The Episcopal Church has asked for a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury (to “dialogue”, I suppose) regarding the potential expulsion of TEC from the Anglican Communion.
+++Williams has indicated that he is on vacation through the rest of the summer. Sources say that he may actually be in America part of the time, but he is still unavailable to meet with the American bishops.
The Top Ten Things Rowan Williams Would Rather Do Than Meet With TEC’s Hapless Bench During His Sabbatical
10. Use a fiberglass suppository.
9. Read Forcefielder’s Choice: The Very Best of Frank Griswold.
8. Audition for American Idol by singing “My Humps,” with Simon as the only judge.
7. Become The Official Archbishop of the Detroit Lions.
6. Attend a Yoko Ono concert.
5. Be interviewed by Don Imus.
4. Headbutt a wasp’s nest.
3. Slow-dance with Courtney Love.
2. Appear on Celebrity Jeopardy: NHL Trivia Edition.
And the number one thing Archbishop Williams would rather do than meet with TEC’s Paladins of Polity:
1. Three words: Live organ transplants.
Myself, I think every time he hears his secretary says “It’s the Americans on the phone again, Rowan, what shall I do?” he simply closes his eyes and thinks of … asparagus.
(separated at birth?)
Some days, I hate being right. I was pretty sure this would be the press spin:
Philosophical differences over the role of gay priests in the Episcopal Church has divided St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Livonia.
Fueled by the resignation of the church’s former rector, the Rev. Allen Kannapell, some 200 members of the congregation left the church on Hubbard near Six Mile. The dissident congregation was to gather today, Jan. 15, for the second time at the Holiday Inn at Laurel Park Place for a service led by Kannapell.
Ed Sulick, a Livonia resident who has been a member of St. Andrew’s for 35 years, was among those who left the church.
“The Episcopal Church elected a gay bishop out east and are installing gay priests throughout Detroit,” Sulick said. “People are very concerned about the Church ignoring parts of the Bible.”
“It’s been tough for all of us.”
Despite the departure of some 200 members, services proceeded as normal last weekend at St. Andrew’s under the Rev. John Henry, who was appointed temporary priest in charge. Some 80 people attended last weekend’s three services.
“That was nothing out of the ordinary,” said Karen Bota, spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, which serves 96 churches and university chaplaincies in southeastern Michigan from Detroit to Hillsdale.
“The church still has members who are committed to staying.”
Disagreements between the Rev. Wendell Gibbs Jr., bishop of the Michigan Diocese, and Kannapell have reportedly brewed for about a year. Kannapell asked the bishop to place St. Andrew’s under the jurisdiction of a more conservative bishop. Sulick said they wanted to be tied to an Anglican community, but Bota said that could not be done according to the canons of the Episcopal Church.
Kannapell, Bota said, refused oversight by any bishop of the Episcopal Church so Gibbs ordered Kannapell and his 11-member vestry, or church council, to leave St. Andrew earlier this month.
“We tried to give them a bishop with a theological view closer to theirs,” Bota said. “It was an amicable parting of ways.”
Let me be as clear as I possibly can: the vestry of St. Andrew’s was unanimous that the difficulty was not any particular bishop. Rather, it was ECUSA‘s transformation into a Scripture-optional, Jesus-optional “Church of What’s Happening Now!” which precipitated this split.
“Would the resignation or presentment of V. Gene +Robinson have any effect on our decisions?” was explictly asked. And answered — “no”.
It’s Not About Gene™.
Minor quibble: the numbers for attendance are off. I know we didn’t quite have 200 at either service so far of the Anglican Church of Livonia. And reports I had from those attending the St. Andrew’s services say that the numbers were closer to 50 than 80. But I suppose this is all within the margin of newsprint.
Major guffaw: “That was nothing out of the ordinary,” said Karen Bota. Oh my. This is priceless. A priest inhibited and charged with abandonment of communion, the entire vestry dismissed, and depending on whose numbers you use, 70-80% of the parish following to found a new Anglican church — all within 48 hours and this is “nothing out of the ordinary”? Things must be more exciting at the Diocesan Center on Woodward than I knew.
I am archiving a history of issues and correspondance regarding St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Livonia, Michigan (and its relationship with the Diocese of Michigan, ECUSA and the greater Anglican world) here.
Just so it doesn’t disappear down the memory hole.
More on this developing story soon …
God is good!
From Richard Kew:
It has for a long time been my conviction that one of the points on the ethical downward spiral of North American Anglicanism was the Episcopal Church’s weakening of the marriage canons in 1973. I fully agree with my revisionist friends who say that those who claim orthodoxy cannot have it both ways when it comes to the sexuality issues that divide us. Unlike them, I do not believe this justifies changing our values to suit the climate, rather I would prefer to see us recovering what we have lost.
I am increasingly convinced that one of the primary building blocks for putting the Christian faith in the West back together is to not only reassert the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, as counter-cultural as such a fundamental idea is becoming, but also to do all in our power to enable marriages that have been contracted to survive and prosper.
Amen. Read the whole thing.
I wish I’d thought of this:
A splendid example of “dialogue” with “fraternal correction” in the style of “muscular Christianity”.
For those of you who are offended at this, may I remind you that even Santa Claus loses his temper with heretics? That’s right, St. Nicholas, after hearing Arius speak at the Council of Nicea, responded by punching him in the nose.
St. Nicholas of Myra, pray for us!
Sometimes, you can learn as much about the Episcopal Church from what it doesn’t say as what it does.
Today’s glaring omission is from the daily lectionary (Advent Week 1, Year 2). This week, the New Testament readings are from 2 Peter. Well, most of it, anyway. The entire second chapter is skipped.
Here, then, is what the Episcopal Church considers to be of insufficient value for the Daily Office:
1: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2: And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.
3: And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.
4: For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;
5: if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6: if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor’rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly;
7: and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked
8: (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds),
9: then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
10: and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,
11: whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.
12: But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them,
13: suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you.
14: They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
15: Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be’or, who loved gain from wrongdoing,
16: but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17: These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved.
18: For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.
19: They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.
20: For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
21: For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
22: It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
I was tempted to tart this up with bold and italics and snarky hyperlinks to various offenders — but (a) that would take more time and energy than would be wise, (b) too much of that energy would be negative, and finally (c) if you can’t see the application yourself, you either haven’t been paying attention, or you’re part of the problem.
God have mercy.
Via Dale Price (thanks, Dale!), here is Diogenes dissecting the Looking Glass world of Episcopalian ‘dialogue’:
We see this ruse all too often in the culture wars. Traditional practices are assailed, not directly, but by non-stop pleas for dialogue. The engines of dialogue are designed to favor the innovator — no one, after all, says “I think we should begin a conversation about why things should stay as they are” — whence dialogue begets diversity begets innovation, and presto! the need for dialogue vanishes. “I wish we could stop talking about this.”
Remember the push for women’s ordination — first priestly, then episcopal — within ECUSA? In the years preceding the capitulations the cant phrase was “Can we talk?” Dialogue was essential. Waverers were assured that the questions were not going away and to decline the debate was simply to put off the day of reckoning. Well, the innovators got what they wanted. Do you hear any of them today asking the Church to re-visit the question, to continue the dialogue about whether the restriction of the priesthood to men is not, after all, the will of God? Of course not. The change has been effected, the pawl has clicked in, there’s no going back, and therefore — as Bishop Gene would insist — nothing to talk about.
Read the whole thing. The rachet effect is real.
I’m going to rant a bit. Diogenes quotes V. Gene +Robinson in a Times interview:
“I wish we could stop talking about this and start talking about the gospel again. My diocese may be the only diocese in the Anglican Communion that is not obsessed with sex. We spend almost no time on it. There is this amazing disconnection between my diocese and the rest of the world. We talk about Anglicanism and witness to the rest of the world.”
If you’re so not obsessed with sex, why are you in England talking about it?
Bishop Robinson recently visited Britain as a guest of Changing Attitude, a group trying to raise awareness about gays in the Church.
And, either +Robinson is (a) entirely ignorant of those he slanders, or (b) a bald-faced liar when he trashes ++Akinola and other Anglican leaders for ignoring the Gospel by being obsessed about sex. Or perhaps (c) is looking at the world through lavender-colored glasses, through which he sees that Everyone Else Is Obessed About Sex. (Can we say “projection,” anyone?)
In fact, I’ll offer this as a followup to Zach’s Iron Law of Dialogue (Dialogue means ‘you talk, we’ll act.’). Zach’s Iron Law of Root Causes (Any and all theological dialogue can and will be dismissed as “you’re just obsessed with gay sex, get over it.”)
Why am I so torqued at +Robinson’s slander (yes, it is slander)? Because we just had a number of people from my parish attend the Hope and a Future conference in Pittsburgh. The report (borne out in how energized the attendees are regarding this) is that the focus was precisely on proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus, Good News to a broken world. We will be renewing and expanding our efforts to evangelize and to help the poor.
It’s not all about gay sex. No matter what the non-sex-obsessed, I-don’t-want-to-be-known-as-the-gay-bishop “look at me, I’m a gay bishop!” says. If he wants “justice” so badly, he can start speaking justly regarding those he opposes. Look in the mirror, Gene. On second thought, maybe you should stop looking so much into the mirror. It’s Not All About You.
I was meditating a bit upon Lepanto, and fell into a moderate case of Catholic envy.
I’m pretty sure as Episcopalians, our corresponding feasts are of Jesus the Really Nice Rabbi and Our Lady of Perpetual Dialogue.
Now that I’m envious and depressed, I think I’ll go read The Ballad of the White Horse as an antidote (“hair of the dog”, perhaps?). At least we haven’t taken Alfred the Great off of the list of feasts yet.
Time for some question-and-answer about the general state of the Episcopal Church:
A: So am I.
Q: Isn’t this a lot of trouble to go to over one bishop?
A: If it were only one! Unfortunately, the problems in ECUSA run far deeper than V. Gene Robinson, and would still be there if Bishop Robinson were to resign or even to be deposed as a bishop.
Q: Like what?
A: “Minor” things like denial of the authority of the Bible, denial of the resurrection of Jesus, and denial of His Lordship and uniqueness, and even worhip of other gods.
Q: Those are pretty negative things to say. Shouldn’t you be staying positive?
A: OK, I’m positive that the bishops of ECUSA have, as a whole, shown themselves to be party to all of the above.
Q: You’re just bitter about Gene Robinson’s appointment at GC2003.
A: Actually, Robinson’s approval as bishop (bad enough as that was) wasn’t the worst thing to come out of that general convention. Resolution B001 was.
Q: Resolution what?
A: Resolution B001. It called for reaffirming that the ECUSA holds that Scripture is still authoritative (as stated in the Articles of Religion) and that the statements in the Book of Common Prayer outlining what we believe as Episcopalians to be fundamental to the Faith (“the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886, 1888”) are still held to be true.
Q: That sounds like it ought to be non-controversial. What’s your problem with that?
A: It was voted down, by a majority of bishops (66-84, 8 abstensions, to be exact).
Q: Oh. So what exactly does ECUSA believe now?
A: Good question. I would guess it depends on a working majority of General Convention votes, but it’s hard to tell.
Q: But isn’t the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion big enough to contain these differences?
A: No Church is big enough to be both Christian and non-Christian.
Q: Whoa! Who are you to judge anyone else’s faith?
A: Who do I have to be? Look, it’s a simple matter of truth in labelling: someone can be a very nice person, but if their religion doesn’t believe the Bible is authoritative, revealed Scripture, that Jesus died for our sins and is raised from the dead, or hold to the historic Creeds of the Church, I don’t see how it can in any honest sense be called “Christian.” Maybe “Deist” or “Unitarian Universalist” or “Pagan”, but not “Christian.”
Q: Yeah, right. You say to-MAY-to, I say ta-MAH-to — this is really because you hate and fear gay people, right?
A: You’re one of those people who uses the words “listening” and “dialogue” a lot, aren’t you?