Saturday, January 27, 2007

Convocational Convenience

Not wanting to criticize an organization about which I had only bad feelings, on a friend’s advice I searched out the web site for the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA) at  and read through the Frequently Asked Questions. It is a remarkable document.

What I found interesting is the clever (read “disingenuous”) way CANA's official stances waffle on several Biblical and doctrinal issues while the origin of this secessionist group is its absolutist belief that there is only respectable understanding of Biblical authority and interpretation. They indicate that on several crucial moral and doctrinal issues there is only one way to understand Biblical authority and interpretation (thus their charge that The Episcopal Church, by abandoning the Bible, is apostate and deep in heresy), but on matters which might affect their ability to lure additional Episcopalians into their convocation, they indicate that you could look at Biblical evidence this way or you could look at it that way – it all depends. However, they indicate, when they eventually achieve a larger base of the disaffected they will clarify which stance will govern the faithful. There is a word for this. Unfortunately the word will not pass the Blog moral police.

First You Steal, Then You Ask for a Loan

Martyn Minns, the new missionary bishop to North America from Virginia/Nigeria, has charged Peter Lee, Bishop of Virginia with neglect for not being adequately pro-active in responding to the pastoral and personal needs of the clergy Minns has helped leave The Episcopal Church.

How can a reasonably reason person respond?  On the one hand, Martyn Minns is centrally involved in a movement which charges TEC with apostacy, teaching heresy, highjacking the Christian faith and other such demonic actions. On the other hand he expects TEC to respond to him and his charges with the faith which he says we have adulterated and distorted.
On the one hand, MM is countenancing the alienation of property from TEC while asking for forebearance in financial matters. Isn't that a little like committing identity theft on a friend and then telling the world he is a cheapskate because he won't give you a loan?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Whatever Happened to "Wise as Serpents?"

The Church Times has a report by Pat Ashworth covering the recently leaked letter from Rowan Williams to the primates, in which it was disclosed that Dr Williams invites Dr Jefferts Schori to Primates’ Meeting.
Today, in the Telegraph Jonathan Petre reports that Archbishop fears Church schism in gay row. This is based on an interview in an ITV documentary to be aired tomorrow in Britain (11 am, ITV1). According to the Telegraph:
The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that he fears losing control of the worldwide Anglican Church, which is on the brink of schism over homosexuality.
In a surprisingly frank assessment of the crisis, Dr Rowan Williams said that he feared anything that set Christians more deeply at odds with each other.
“And because I am an ordinary, sinful human being, I fear the situation slipping out of my control, such as it is,” he said…
“I fear schism, not because I think it’s the worst thing in the world but because, at this particular juncture, it’s going to be bad for us. It’s going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness.”
In a documentary on Canterbury Cathedral to be broadcast on ITV tomorrow, the archbishop added: “We can’t take it for granted that the Anglican Communion will go on as it always has been.
“Of course that’s unsettling, of course that’s painful for everybody, but there’s no way of moving on without asking the hard questions.”
My response:

In this country, the Presiding Bishop would hire Speed Leas or some other really good consultant to map out how to deal with the conflicts and maximize the chances for resolving it or dealing with it with positive results all around. I assume we would even consider a facilitator other than the presiding officer for a gathering like the Primates' next meeting.  Instead we have an academic with little real world savvy who has backed and filled on his own intellectual commitments chairing a Primates' meeting filled with enormous misunderstandings, even bigger egos, massive cultural differences and an agenda full of gender issues about which the Archbishop of Canterbury seems uniquely unsuited to understand, much less illuminate.
What was it that Jesus of Nazareth said? "Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves."