Thursday, February 3, 2011

We Need Leadership

++Fred Hiltz, the Primate of Canada, speaking about the recent Primates' Meeting, is candid. Good. But I cannot find one sign in this interview of actual leadership by the primates on the matter of the absentee primates. They were missed, they will be talked with, but not one whit of resolution comes from the meeting, neither formally in the published statements, nor informally in ++Fred's insights into the meeting, which attempts to lead the Communion beyond the impasse. No leadership. Nothing will change. Do not expect better attendance at the next meeting.

The Communion is not in good shape and the primates, effectively, have done nothing about that. If the primates, in collusion with ABC, are so willing to skew the purposes of their meeting around to doing nothing save for reviewing what their meeting is all about, that leaves, oh, the ACO, the Standing Committee, and the ACC to do something about securing 100% attendance at the next Lambeth Conference. Yeah, right. Rome is burning and they have decided their job is to fiddle not to fight the fire.

In their eagerness to get back to first principles concerning what they are not meant to do, they seem to have overlooked the fact that no one else is going to fight the fire. 

Speaking of primates, our three archbishops have published a statement about recent sad events in Uganda. Thankfully Hilary Rodham Clinton has shown some leadership on this issue which the archbishops have been able to incorporate into their statement. I cannot recall which of our three tikanga she belongs to ...

Of course if it turned out that some statements in this world can be both true and helpful from beyond our tikanga, there is a good argument for the Anglican Covenant to be adopted by our church as a true and helpful statement beyond our three tikanga.

Speaking of the Covenant, that is another thing the primates did not speak of.

43 comments:

Kurt said...

You are, Peter, (from your perspective) correct to be concerned about the Dublin meeting. No, Fr. Carrell, Rome is not burning—it’s more like Geneva smouldering, or rather, the GAFCON part of it anyway. You see, regardless of how the individual primates attending felt about each other, the TEC, ACofC actions, etc., etc. they understood that they have much, much more in common. They discussed matters of mutual concern, they condemned murderous bigotry, they prayed and studied together, and—for me, most importantly—they ALL shared Table Fellowship. This was accomplished without the disrupters of past primate meetings being present. The new direction is obvious; no longer will a minority of the primates (and their con evo American and British handlers) be permitted to dominate the proceedings. The majority of Anglican primates do want to include the seven alienated primates, but they will not permit them to dictate the agenda. And if this means they must absent themselves, so be it. Unlike you, Peter, I believe these developments augur well for the continued existence of the Anglican Communion. The Dublin Primates’ Meeting of 2011 is some of the best Communion news that I have had in some time! A very good way to begin the New Year!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt,
The Dublin was very good news indeed for the future Anglican Minority Communion in which the 'Anglican Communion' has shrunk in size to fit those espousing various shared values.

Funnily enough one of those values is 'inclusiveness' but this meeting could not even talk about whether there is any way at all to include the majority of the Communion!

Bryden Black said...

Thanks Kurt for one more indication of the clarity of the chasm that Sarah has also so clearly indicated on this blog recently.

The money sentence: “The new direction is obvious; no longer will a minority of the primates (and their con evo American and British handlers) be permitted to dominate the proceedings.”

Peter picks up on this with suitable and typical irony. I wish to go further - hearing it once more with more African ears than my skin tone might suggest.

Years ago the late Kenneth Latourette wrote at length about the Expansion of Christianity. One thing he clearly identified was the historical ebb and flow of the Church’s geographical movements - a function of multiple causes. My own concern now is the amazing blindness of those western Anglicans, who are not merely a “minority” among their own western Christians, but also a massive minority among the global AC. And just because they happen to have positioned themselves into places of ‘leadership’ for the moment (that is, their holding the present levers of power), they seem almost oblivious to the deeper currents of the Spirit among global Christianity. And far from our ‘waiting’ for these dear Christians of the Majority World to ‘catch up’ with apparent ‘western values’, what we shall be witnessing IMHO is this “new direction” becoming stranded by a billabong of stagnant and smelly water in the most imminent future ... from the historical perspective.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

You are getting a bit shrill there Chicken Little!

Anonymous said...

I have a slightly different take.

RE: "But I cannot find one sign in this interview of actual leadership by the primates on the matter of the absentee primates. They were missed, they will be talked with, but not one whit of resolution comes from the meeting, neither formally in the published statements, nor informally in ++Fred's insights into the meeting, which attempts to lead the Communion beyond the impasse."

I'm not certain what the attending Primates should have said about the 13 missing Primates [the ones, you know, that even the Anglican Left privately recognizes chose not to attend the meeting but cannot bear to admit publicly].

One can only hope -- from my side -- that that number grows to around 20 or so. I expect it will, eventually. Certainly the 13 were "a good start," so to speak, and a far cry from what I had expected; my original thought was the Gafcon Primates only. But they are now actually the *minority percentage* of the non-attenders -- a great blessing, in my opinion.

But at the end of the day, I don't see what the attending Primates should be saying about the non-attending Primates. There's nothing, really, that can be said. Anything they did say would have been odd, ineffective, shambling, and hand-wringing.

The two sides will -- steadily and inevitably -- move apart into their own meetings and discussions and carrying out their visions, values, and respective gospels. I don't see that either side should be doing a whole lot of pronouncing, other than occasional formal statements when the other side blatantly violates the respective gospels of the other.

But I look for renewed peace in all of this. With the chasm growing wider, and deeper, and [hopefully] the Provinces that believe and promote the Gospel increasingly allied in mission and ministry [and the others, of course, allied in their own mission and ministry to suit their differing goals and vision], I see only good things to come in the way of the Fruit of the Spirit. There's no need to shout across the chasm at one another. Why not set out and explore the vistas of the lovely terrain each side deems that they have?

I'm waiting with interest and hope the announcements of the GS Primates Meeting and other larger GS meetings. Those are the lovely vistas I see. Naturally the revisionist activists see antithetical [but lovely for them] vistas of their own.

It seems to me that certain Anglican thinkers and clergy [ahem] are scrabbling about waiting for "something more" or some kind of "problem solving," saying things like "is that all there is?" But this has been the natural and long-predicted end-point for years and years now. It's true that if you're stuck in a province currently ruled by revisionist activist leaders then certainly things will be rather painful in the coming decade. But I just believe that those things will eventually die out [their ideas are by nature not builders/creators/developers but rather in need of already developed hosts] and when the host dies, there's really nothing left.

Perhaps that is what you are wrestling with, Anglican Down Under. Perhaps [and I'm only speculating] your real issue is "good grief -- we're in a mess here in New Zealand." But I don't think that anything international was ever going to address that anyway, no matter the pronouncements internationally.

The question for a person of traditional Anglican/Christian theology in New Zealand seems to me to be "how should I behave in a province that is led currently by revisionist activist leaders and what proactive work should I be about?" But there -- that's only an outside perspective and could be wrong anyway.

Sarah

Kurt said...

“Funnily enough one of those values is 'inclusiveness' but this meeting could not even talk about whether there is any way at all to include the majority of the Communion!”—
Fr. Carrell

Actually, Peter, that is not at all clear. Perhaps there was no formal session devoted to discussing “the missing seven,” but that does not mean that the attendees were unmindful of them. It certainly does not mean that they were not concerned to do what they can to in the coming period to include every Anglican Communion primate in future meetings.

Bryden, your apparent insensibility to the underlying socio-economic reasons for the “rapid growth” of Global South religions is staggering! You do know, don’t you, that fundamentalist Islam is expanding just as fast—in some Global South countries even faster—than Christianity? And that Mormonism is one of the “fastest growing” religions in the Global South? Is the rapid growth of Islam, Mormonism, etc. also part of the “deeper currents of the Spirit”?

There are other factors at work that promote the growth of ALL religious currents in the Global South. Where governments are dysfunctional in terms of servicing the needs of their people, voluntary associations, centered in churches, mosques and temples, etc. fill the gap. By comparison even the tattered “social safety net” of the USA supplies more aid to the needy than do the corrupt and dysfunctional governments of the Global South!

Every intelligence projection that I have read in the past period verifies that the Global South will remain the most vulnerable to economic disruption, population stresses, civil conflict, and political instability. Despite increased global demand for commodities for which many of these Global South countries will be major suppliers, local populations are unlikely to experience significant economic gain from the globalization of trade.
Windfall profits arising from increases in commodity prices will only further entrench corrupt and dysfunctional governments in Global South countries, diminishing the prospects for socio-economic justice. Tribal, ethnic and religious conflict will soar.

Asia, Africa, and Latin America will account for virtually all world population growth over the next 20 years; less than 3 percent of the growth will occur in the West. Population growth, Bryden, means not only the growth of religious organizations—Islam, Mormonism, etc. as well as Christianity. It also means more population conflict over food and water for people, livestock and crops. Global warming will exacerbate these conflicts. “…billabong of stagnant and smelly water”? Wait until you see the Global South over the next 20 years!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt,
Yes, there were signs that the primates were mindful of the absentees: candles were lit etc.

No, there is no sign that any meaningful discussion occurred of how the Communion in the future might enjoy news of full attendance at PMs or Lambeths.

I am intrigued by your socio-economic explanation of religious growth and decline. Are we believing a gospel that owes everything to (mis)fortunes of Israel under Greek and Roman imperialism? Does revelation of truth from God play any part in the development of Christianity?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sarah,
When some marriages break up, initially separation seems like a good idea. Less tension, less immediate damage and hurt to the children, etc. But as time goes by life is not all sweet. Complications may come as children play off one parent against the other. New partnerships may be entered into. Finances cause new grief. So, yes, I see advantages to the current Communionr realities, but am sanguine about whether we will all be happier in the long run!

No, I do not think you have 'got' our scene down here in ACANZP. We have some very good leaders who absolutely NOT are 'revisionist activists'. Our situation will probably remain much the same whatever is happening in the wider Communion.

Speaking personally, my commitment to Communion matters stems from believing that the principles of Anglicanism are the best form of Christianity (bishops but no pope, liturgy with flexibility, doctrine which can account for change in the world and is not frozen to the first seven councils, etc). If we are the 'true church' then I would like to see lots of adherents; and if we think we know the truth then I would like to see those adherents as united as humanly possible.

Kurt said...

“I am intrigued by your socio-economic explanation of religious growth and decline. Are we believing a gospel that owes everything to (mis)fortunes of Israel under Greek and Roman imperialism?”—Fr. Carrell

No, Peter, I wouldn’t go quite that far. But I think that, historically, it is undeniable that much of the popularity of Christianity in ancient times was due to its socialistic nature, and its ethos of mutual aid, concern and love for others—love even for those perceived as sinners. Quite a contrast to what one finds in some churches today (Uganda, for example). The fruit of the Spirit is love, not necessarily numbers.

“Does revelation of truth from God play any part in the development of Christianity?”—Fr. Carrell

Certainly. This is what we in TEC, ACofC, etc. are arguing. Surely you don’t believe that revelation of truth from God ended in ancient times?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Bryden Black said...

Hi Kurt; no I am not impervious to some of the aspects of the socio-economic demography you mention. But, as usual, I also do not wish to be reductionist either! For I am neither a Marxist nor a Platonist. So a welcome reminder, Peter!

As for so-called intelligence: I do suggest you look to recent USA facts and figures too, from the claims of many Economists to have finally solved the levers of the markets and monetary supply and fiscal matters in 2007 - pace thereafter the GFC!!! - and now your staggering projected debt, which is not least locked into China’s own “facts and figures”!

Lastly: yes; I have witnessed US aid - and the multiple strings with which it mostly comes attached ..!!

Anonymous said...

RE: "No, I do not think you have 'got' our scene down here in ACANZP. We have some very good leaders who absolutely NOT are 'revisionist activists'."

Well, having "some very good leaders" who are not "revisionist activists" would apply to TEC as well, so I'm not certain what having "some very good leaders" in the mix will get you when they make up around 10% of the HOB -- you see where we are.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of our national leaders -- diocesan bishops, deputies to General Convention, and seminaries [thankfully most of which are augering into the ground] are either revisionist activists or simply revisionists.

I'm quite confident that New Zealand is not incoherently revisionist at the national level like TECusa -- but I've seen nothing at the national level that would lead me to believe that it's not led by revisionists *at least in majority* at the national level [ie, Primates/bishops/seminary].

Your blog is, for instance, one of the few shining lights. Could you point me to the one or two of the three Primates/Archbishops who are *not* revisionist?

It looks as if you have at least 8 "diocesan bishops" and I'm not certain if your leaders of the hui amorangi are also bishops but that would mean 13 total if so, I guess.

So from your perspective, at least a majority of the 13 aren't revisionists, I'm guessing.

That's certainly not what I've heard from others, but I'm game to think differently.

I'm not trying to insult your Province -- just trying to understand more.



Sarah

Andy S said...

Hi Kurt
Surely you don’t believe that revelation of truth from God ended in ancient times?

I guess a new revelation of truth since ancient times has overturned this

1 Corinthians 6:7
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

Sarah said, “I'm not certain what the attending Primates should have said about the 13 missing Primates [the ones, you know, that even the Anglican Left privately recognizes chose not to attend the meeting but cannot bear to admit publicly].”

Yes – shocking isn’t it that there are 6 Anglican Primates who “cannot bear to admit publicly” why they are not attending a meeting. It is no wonder the Communion is in such a bad shape with such weakness in significant positions of leadership.

Sarah’s analysis, is once more spot on: “your real issue is "good grief -- we're in a mess here in New Zealand." But I don't think that anything international was ever going to address that anyway, no matter the pronouncements internationally.”

Peter’s constant, desperate attacks on TEC, and his fantasy that the Anglican Covenant will somehow fix things, really reflect the situation that Sarah so well describes. Fixing TEC won’t fix your own problems, as Sarah discerns, “ie, Primates/bishops/seminary”. Nor will an Anglican Covenant. Even if ACANZP signs the Covenant it will make not the slightest bit of difference.

As others have suggested, ACANZP needs to put its house at least reasonably into order (perfection is certainly not required) and then you can give some appropriate advice to others. Until then, NB - no one is really listening. You would do better by expending your energy at home.

Peter you wanted a free hubris meter to put on your site. Here it is: https://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=185117782624

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
I am sure there has been too much hubris on this blog, especially in regard to my campaign to save the Communion from itself which is, indeed, all but now finished, for the damage is irreparable in our lifetime. Thus the campaign can be marked as a complete failure.

Certainly we are beyond the Covenant saving the Communion situation, though we may not be beyond the Covenant laying the groundwork for a future restored Communion. Some ideas are ahead of their time.

I think our church is in good enough shape for some of us to ask questions about what is going on in the Communion. As a member church are we not entitled to a voice in Communion affairs? Some think TEC bears zilch responsibility for the situation the Communion is in. I am not one of those, so I have spoken up. To no avail as you and Sarah are rightly pointing out.

Incidentally, am I the only sufferer of hubris in these matters?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sarah,
I am quite sure that if our bishops (sixteen at present, 8 Pakeha, 5 Maori, 3 Polynesian) stood in a line according to placement on a theological spectrum, there would be a range rather than sixteen standing one on top of the other on one spot on the spectrum!

My claim is that even those standing in that part of the spectrum described as 'revisionist' (or similar terms, I am not one for that term normally) are not particularly 'activist': pushing their line, trying to use whatever power they have to force clergy in their licensed care into line, etc. Such 'activism' is generally not the way of our bishops.

I would also claim, but will not comment here or later re individuals, that the theological balance of the sixteen bishops is towards 'traditionalism' rather than 'revisionism.' That claim arises from a myriad of things I know, some of which are public domain addresses, posts and sermons, much of which is anecdotal, some of which is from personal conversations between bishops and me.

(PS I am happy to publish comments about our bishops collectively, or specific comments about published documents for which links are provided. But I am unlikely to publish comments discussing individual bishops.)

Kurt said...

“As for so-called intelligence: I do suggest you look to recent USA facts and figures too, from the claims of many Economists to have finally solved the levers of the markets and monetary supply and fiscal matters in 2007 - pace thereafter the GFC!!! - and now your staggering projected debt, which is not least locked into China’s own ‘facts and figures’!”—Bryden Black

Well said, Bryden; I share your suspicious of the American plutocracy’s rationalizations for the causes of the current Great Recession, and their “happy-talk” projections about the “present recovery.” Unemployment is “officially” at about 10 percent here, and in some places “officially” double that. The real rate is about 16 percent overall. And now these capitalist clowns are calling for “austerity” (for the “lower orders,” of course, and not for themselves!) By next summer you may see what is happening in North Africa translate into America’s rustbelt cities.

No, Bryden, the intelligence I’m talking about is the type sifted through and refined by professional analysts (not field officers’ reports). If you truly are “not impervious” to such analysis, then your (and Peter’s and a few other’s) views of the potential of Global South Anglicanism should be tempered with a big grain of grim foreboding. You are far more optimistic about their future than I. Mere numbers do not a “powerhouse of the Communion” make.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

RE: "Yes – shocking isn’t it that there are 6 Anglican Primates who “cannot bear to admit publicly” why they are not attending a meeting."

Um, well actually -- three of those six put it *in public writing* back in late 2010, and all 13 [of 14, one of whom attended] apparently put it in writing privately to RW.

So, yeh . . . the only thing "shocking" is the frank and boldfaced *lie* told by the ACO in a desperate attempt to try to hold back knowledge of the truth once they realized that a total of 15 -- rather than the usual 3-4 -- Primates would not be at the meeting. [We know this because at two of the last Primates Meetings prior to Dublin the number and provinces were *named* who did not attend.] So we've gone from 3-4 Primates not being able to attend in prior Primates Meetings to 15.

But actually, at this point, we're not "shocked" at all by the brass-faced attempts of the ACO to save face for RW.


Sarah

Anonymous said...

RE: "there would be a range rather than sixteen standing one on top of the other on one spot on the spectrum!"

Well, I *was* going to ask "and how many would be to the left of whatever center line you have" but you seem to have answered that with this: "I would also claim, but will not comment here or later re individuals, that the theological balance of the sixteen bishops is towards 'traditionalism' rather than 'revisionism.'"

Well, then, I withdraw from my tentative thesis in disarray and confusion. From that I am left with "at least 9ish bishops in New Zealand would be vaguely traditional in theology" and I can only accept your word for it. I suspect that since you haven't addressed the three Archbishop/Primates, that two of three would be left of center, so I'm not entirely bereft of some shred of suspicion.



Sarah

Anonymous said...

I'll quibble over one secondary thing, which appears to be that we are defining "activist" in slightly different ways.

RE: "". . . even those standing in that part of the spectrum described as 'revisionist' (or similar terms, I am not one for that term normally) are not particularly 'activist': pushing their line, trying to use whatever power they have to force clergy in their licensed care into line, etc. Such 'activism' is generally not the way of our bishops."

I'm not claiming, when I say "revisionist activists" that such are all lock-changing, deposing, bullying buffoons who force clergy out of their dioceses [although we have a goodly share in TECusa just like that] and laugh at their traditional parishioners, demanding gold in order for them to support Integrity eucharists at the diocesan behest. By "revisionist activist" I mean "revisionists who are bent on trending and/or forcing their diocese, province, and parishes towards their own ideology."

I don't think that it is possible for a revisionist to rise to the power of being a bishop without in some way also desiring quite urgently to influence and bend the ideological shape of at least his own territory.

In that way, of course, any conservative bishop is a "conservative activist" although of course here in TECusa he would be a *failed* conservative activist!

I first began tacking on the word "activist" in order to distinguish your everyday, average pew-sitting "revisionists" from those who are, er . . . "acting, influencing and shaping." Many of the former are simply incredibly poorly educated and are responding to such "arguments" as "shouldn't we be nice to all? And wouldn't it be nice to let everyone have what they wish?" The barest rudiments of defining of terms and simple Gospel theology reveals all with them. Others, after the barest rudiments and simple Gospel theology, sometimes reveal that no, they really don't accept the concepts of the "fallen nature of humans" or "sin" or "the need for redemption" or "the need for God to step down and take our place since we are unable to help ourselves" and then one realizes that they aren't really even believers in the Christian gospel and are merely attending church simply from a cultural or social need, or perhaps the barest spark of a desire for "something more."

At any rate, *those* pewsitters aren't remotely "activist" -- they're not shoving other laypeople out of the way to become GC deputies, or even vestry members -- they couldn't care less.

It's the entering of the political system that makes someone intrinsically "an activist." And even blogging is "entering the political system" because it is an influencing tool.

So those who show up and comment in cyberspace are a very rare and small percentage of Anglitania on the lay side [as opposed to those who 1) don't know what a blog is or 2) sit in the back dark area of the room, quietly reading but never commenting -- and boy there are thousands of those] and by their nature they are "activists."

So -- any left of center bishops in NZ meet my definition of "activist" [as do any right of center bishops] and in my experience the left of center bishops anywhere at all are vastly superior in political skill and use of the system than the right of center bishops. So good luck, even if you do not currently acknowledge their use of the political system to shape, change, and influence.

Finally . . .

RE: "Incidentally, am I the only sufferer of hubris in these matters?"

I think all of us may find unity in a common accord that you are indeed the only sufferer of hubris in these matters.

[toss head]


Sarah

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sarah,
Speaking of our three archbishops and their theology(s) against the charge of 'revisionism' is tricky in this sense: each represents a tikanga, and each tikanga may, at any given point, be likely to wrestle with 'contextual' issues and thus the theologising going on is better questioned in respect of the virtues and vices of 'contextual theology' than 'revising (or not) orthodox theology'.


(I am not trying to be naive here about contextualization v. revisionism: they may in some situations amount to the same thing. But if the Primate of Nigeria made a pronouncement on a matter and the Primate of Myanmah made a pronouncement on the same matter and I (Western European Down Under Anglican) thought I disagreed with both, the first thing I would check is the character of the contextualisation going on, rather than reach for my 'revisionism' plumb-line.)

In general terms I would not expect our three archbishops together to speak a line which was incoherent relative to their brother and sister bishops in our church.

Perhaps most important here is to think about trajectory: where is the trajectory of TEC episcopal leadership taking TEC and where is the trajectory in our church going? My thesis is that while some statements of our bishops look like TECian statements, our trajectory is not taking us to the same place as TEC's.

Rosemary said...

Peter/Sarah,

I absolutely love the [toss head] .. so immensely evocative and precise in it’s picture. Sarah is quite correct Peter, and the world knows it, even if you deny it. They are not as ignorant of the outcomes here in New Zealand as you appear. Peter IS sleight of hand wordy Sarah, but in his defence, he’s a very nice guy who doesn’t [who does] like to be disliked, so hasn’t had to face the opprobrium that some of us have. One of the difficulties he has faced is that he has given no support to those of us who are not comfortable with women being put in charge of mixed congregations, neither has the wider Anglican church in New Zealand. Far from it, they made it a rule not to accept for ordination, those who believe as we do, thereby making what should be just a matter of church order, into a first order issue. Now, faced with similar decisions on other matters, they don’t have the solid ground to stand on that they would wish to have.

How we extricate ourselves from this pickle is much more problematic. The most obvious answer is to bury ourselves in our own local parishes and do what He has called us to do, ignoring the other local church communities around us. That does indeed bring blessing from God and raises up the next generation .. but will they find a place within the Anglican communion? So far, the sheer excellence of our candidates has ensured that they have, but when they become numerous, they become more of a threat. I suspect that humility is a large part of the answer, but what do I know!!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
I think you are touching on some things better suited to conversation over coffee than over the internet!

As for me: I am confused as to whether I like to be liked or not!

Best wishes,
Peter

Rosemary said...

This is not the first time you have suggested I keep quiet Peter .. sigh .. denial doesn't change things however!!

Tim Harris said...

Interesting comments - not exactly 'on topic', but one of the things I appreciate about Peter's blog is that with occasional 'editorial mandates', there is some latitude in allowing comments to generate issues of their own.

Observations about the orthodoxy or otherwise of bishops is notoriously subjective, and complicated by public statements or comment in diverse contexts that reflect as much the different audiences as private convictions.Without going into individual reference, I think Peter's comment about 'trajectories' is a helpful one, but it has its limitations. In the past couple of years the elections in Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland have all moved things in a decidedly more orthodox direction (in broad terms from 'revisionist- sympahetic' to something more akin to a more Catholic version of 'open evangelical'). Whether this is a trajectory or a swing of the pendulum remains to be seen.

In terms of the national profile, much will depend on the outcome of any other episcopal elections in the coming couple of years...

More significantly, I think the reality in the ACANZP is that there will be little or no will to exercise any semblance of collegial discipline among the bishops, other that private words of reproach. Since Dublin, any notion of moratoria is over (interesting to see if that is true for cross jurisdiction incursions as well!). I believe the more 'revisionist activist' bishops (in ACANZP) will press on with this agenda, essentially unchecked.

In my view, the focus will be less on the sphere of church politics (although the hermeneutical hui will inevitably move in that direction), and involve more the relationship of significant evangelical churches with diocesan leadership with whom they have issues of conscience or poor working relationships, and especially ministry transitions in dioceses that are more revisionist.

Tim Harris said...

Rosemary, I think the issues you raise are relevant and 'on topic', even if discussed at a more general level. My response is not addressed to any particular scenario, but more generally to the question of diocesan leadership and differing beliefs around women in leadership.

Now as you know, my view is supportive of women in ministry and leadership, for biblical reasons. That is not the point of my comment.

However, I do hear your cry about lack of support and feeling abandoned by fellow evangelicals (if I hear you correctly). This type of scenario is far from uncommon, and if the 'trajectory' in the CoE is anything to go by, it is something we would be foolish to underestimate.

While my own convictions accept (encourage!) women in ministry and leadership, I also believe that 'safe' space needs to be found for those who believe otherwise, with respect for conscientious differences. Stronger leadership is needed here if the rhetoric of 'living with differences' is to cut both ways!

However, I would urge a couple of things:

1. that we ALL keep an open mind to what we may yet learn from scripture and its application in our context. It is when we hear the weight of alternative views that constructive dialogue takes place. Please don't assume that 'unilateral male hierarchical leadership' is established beyond question...

2. that if a 'safe place' is to be found, some compromise will be needed on all sides. Issues of conscience for your views needs to be recognised.

On the other hand, some recognition that others, with just as much consideration of Scripture and conscience before God (I am talking of fellow evangelicals and more theologically orthodox leaders - not revisionists) come to differing views also need due respect (and not dismissed as on some 'liberal slide').

I believe we need to learn from the CoE experiences and find a will on all sides to avoid such scenarios. In the end, there will need to be some balancing between 'conscientious objection' and recognition that others in good conscience feel led/called to explore ministry and leadership by females - ie something along the lines of "I'm not personally convinced about women in leadership, but recognise others are and accept that".

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
Let me try to be clear lest you have completely the wrong impression of me!

It is up to you to say what you wish and in which forum you wish anout any issue whether or not it is in accord with our general ACANZP canons, constitution or resolutions, ditto Diocese of Christchurch. You are not beholden by the terms of any licence to to constrain your speech.

My point about talking over some of these matters over coffee is about constraining myself!! As you know I am in a position (i.e. a diocesan one) in which I need to be careful what I say in print because (a) I may say things which reveal more than appropriate for someone with my 'level of access' to the bishop and councils of our diocese; (b) I may give an unhelpful wrong impression (one way or t'other) on a matter by saying anything in public ... better to say nothing at all on a range of issues about the place!

But over coffee one might be able to explore certain issues with a greater freedom than in print in public. so, later this year I would look forward to that coffee ... in the meantime please do not understand me to have attempted to quieten you.

Best wishes
Peter

Bryden Black said...

Tim/Rosemary/Peter,

Thanks for the way you have set it up Tim, re both mutual consideration (even accountability) and maintaining degrees of openness still. R knows my own stance and also I trust remembers my own approach ...! Greetings! BTW ...

And finally, I guess the real issue is to have genuine conversations that respect and challenge and build each other up, with patience and truth-telling. But then perhaps I live on the wrong planet for that, and need a CS Lewis-style space trip to find such!

Anonymous said...

Tim,

A plea for clarity:

Rosemary referred to "those of us who are not comfortable with women being put in charge of mixed congregations"

You contrasted this with your own position: "my own convictions accept (encourage!) women in ministry and leadership"

Thus implying that Rosemary's position does not encourage women in ministry and leadership.

Perhaps this was an unintentional misrepresentation.

But it seems to be a common tactic used to sideline any position which differentiates the kinds of ministry and leadership which may be appropriate for women and men.

Surely constructive dialogue involves representing people's views fairly.

Scott

Tim Harris said...

Hi Scott.

My apologies if I was less than clear - it certainly was not intended. If I have heard Rosemary correctly in the past, I understand her concern is with women exercising leadership in contexts where this may also include adult men. I respect where that view is coming from, even if I don't agree.

In stating my own convictions (based on my understanding of scripture), I do not believe there is any 'in principle' objection to women exercising leadership in contexts that may include adult men. I do not wish to imply from this that Rosemary does not encourage women in ministry (I know to the contrary - there has been genuine and significant encouragement), nor leadership - in particular contexts.

I am not trying to argue the case in this context, but in response to Rosemary's comment above to urge-upon all 'sides'- an openness to learning more, the possibility of changing our views, and respect for those who in good conscience and after diligent study may come to different conclusions.

Rosemary said...

Thank you all for your responses, I am indeed grateful to those who have given an indication that some are indeed beginning to respect that other views have validity! As Bryden knows, I have never requested agreement, just the dignity of being allowed to express a very old interpretation without danger.

Tim, I would like to point out .. although no doubt it is petty of me .. that we have worked with and for a church that has your views locked in, with I hope, both respect and duty. That church has never been in danger from us, I wish I could say the reverse is true. Indeed, I would go further and suggest that we have accorded our present Bishop more respect than most.

However, the title of this particular post by Peter is our joint need for a leader. That I would suggest is both urgent and completely beyond my powers of forseeing. I believe the Lord is testing His people. Not others .. but us .. our faith and trust in Him.

Rosemary

Anonymous said...

Rosemary makes significant points and I can understand why what she says is so quickly swept aside. Rosemary’s consistent position challenges TEC with integrity but her consistent position also threatens the very foundations of the attack against TEC here.

It is Rosemary who actually follows the clear sense of the Bible. It is Rosemary who is in line with 2,000 years of church tradition and that historical interpretation of the Bible. It is Rosemary who is in line with the majority of Christians today.

It is often said here that TEC is departing from the accepted marriage doctrine. ACANZP departed from that accepted doctrine decades ago.

No amount of saying you are “biblical” actually makes one so. Those who agree with TEC do so with the language of “…my own convictions (based on my understanding of scripture), I do not believe there is any 'in principle' objection to…”

There is a lot of talk here about the direction that TEC is going, and a pattern of their approach. What Rosemary does is point to the naked king and say that TEC is little more than the natural progression of abandoning the majority Christian traditional interpretation of the Bible in the areas of gender and sexuality as ACANZP has already done both in marriage and leadership, an abandonment that Peter and Tim support. [Which position regular-contributor Bryden supports I, and clearly other readers here, cannot work out].

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
I suggest that it is a challenge to be consistent whether one is 'biblical' or 'catholic' or 'liberal' or (so to speak) the 'mixed economy' of Tim Harris and myself.

Even TEC can seem quite "illiberal" at times in the way it treats those it disputes.

It is always possible (speaking only for myself, not for Tim) that I am more inconsistent than any other Christian!

My general question about the specific engagements with human living and loving we are talking about are whether the conclusions we are drawing are consistent with Scripture. I think that (e.g.) abolition of slavery, women leading churches, and marriage being constrained to male/female couples is consistent with Scripture. Rosemary thinks differently on the second of these examples; likewise the Pope, but for different reasons. Some Anglicans in North America and in Aotearoa New Zealand think differently to Rosemary, the Pope and me on the third example.

In the end I may be judged a poor theologian on the grounds you proffer (overall inconsistency) but I defend myself by saying there is consistency to what I am saying. Nevertheless the questions I may, in time, be proved wrong on, is my adhering to a traditional understanding of marriage and to an understanding of women in leadership which is non-traditional.

Anonymous said...

You conveniently side-stepped the change in the traditional doctrine of marriage that ACANZP made decades ago by allowing divorce and remarriage, including of bishops, on conditions not found in the Bible.

You say, “I defend myself by saying there is consistency to what I am saying” – the point is your “consistency”, consistently followed through, actually leads to TEC’s position – not to the Pope’s or Rosemary’s, or to the majority of Christians throughout the ages.

It is at least positive that you can recognise that some of your positions are traditional and some of them are not. It is following the logic of how you got to abandon the tradition in some areas that may help you and others see how to move forward in other areas, and how and why other people have done so before you.

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,

My own response to divorce and remarriage as an issue is an ongoing review of what we have decided, what we are practising, and what we might yet do. I see much unhappiness and difficulty in some remarriages, and I wonder if we should not be working harder as a church on saving first marriages. As we move away from Scripture on marriage and divorce we are not necessarily in a brave new world where all is well. Nor are we in a world where people such as myself stop wishing for a better world in which married people stay married.

I think these thoughts are some way from the line TEC seems to be taking and which (apparently) I should be following if I had intellectual integrity.

If I understand you correctly because I have some openness to remarriage of divorcees I should also be open to abortion as an option for responding to pregnancy (something TEC is supportive of). Well, I think I would rather be accused of intellectual dishonesty than support abortion.

The fact is, we have no idea what TEC's logic might next take its interest (polyamory?). There will be plenty of people in future years who will follow TEC and then draw the line and stop following. Are they also going to be accused of inconsistency?

Anonymous said...

Let’s take your point about abortion first. New Zealand has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, with even some of your judiciary stating that many abortions in your country are illegal. Are you suggesting your taxes are not supporting abortions? Please give me a single quote of any currently acting bishop in ACANZP making a statement indicating s/he is against abortion, or any motion passed at your General Synod, or even moved but failing to pass at your GS. At least things are openly discussed in TEC. Show me where 1 Tim 3:2 has been formally discussed in ACANZP. Try and bring some consistency from your attacks against TEC to ACANZP.

As to your question on polyamory – let’s clarify first: do you support the polyamory in the Bible? Or are you going to abandon the Biblical teaching on that as well?!

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,

If I understand your line here, I should say nothing about TEC and therefore nothing about some of the reasons why TEC is presenting reasons for division in the Communion taking place. Thus I should passively observe the Communion breaking up, saying nothing about it.

I wonder if you are misunderstanding my general aim when speaking about TEC on this blog - no doubt because I am not communicating clearly.

If we were not bound in Communion what TEC did would be only of passing interest to me (as, for example, are the doings of the Presbyterian and Lutheran churches of the USA, some of which have more or less exactly the same stances as TEC on a variety of issues). But we are bound in Communion and I would like to see if I can do something, however insignificant, to uphold and enhance the Communion.

If our church is doing something which is a presenting cause of division in the Communion you will hear me speak about it.

For those who say that previously our three tikanga arrangements have caused concern in the Communion, I simply say that I am not satisfied that our three tikanga arrangements represent a sound ecclesiology.

You mention various matters I won't take up in discussion - I have not been gifted with eternal time this side of glory!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
In the last paragraph of my comment to you above I am giving an impression of dismissing some of your challenges. What I would prefer to convey is that your challenges are considerable and to respond to them properly would require time which I do not have immediately available to me. But perhaps over time, with some posts, I could take them up.

Anonymous said...

Peter

There is a little circle that you go round and round:

1. “I’m not obsessed with homosexuality and TEC and the Presiding Bishop – it’s all about deeper things and so includes Sydney’s lay administration of Holy Communion – I’m looking at the causes not the effects…”

2. So what about those deeper things in your own province?

3. “Show me where those things in my own province are dividing the communion”.

And back we go to 1…

“If our church is doing something which is a presenting cause of division in the Communion you will hear me speak about it.”

So it’s not whether it’s right or wrong (deeper things) but whether it causes division (effect)…

“You mention various matters I won't take up in discussion - I have not been gifted with eternal time this side of glory!”

Actually, each of my points was initially raised by you. You appear to have time aplenty in relation to TEC – but a simple question about any ACANZP statement against abortion (in response to your contention that TEC is pro-abortion) and you “won't take [it] up in discussion”

So, next post, back we go to 1.

Alison

ps. your placing Sydney's lay-administration in with TEC is a distraction. You don't seriously think Primates would stay away from the PM because of it. Plainly 1 is false - at least for the absenting primates.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
I don't actually want to talk about abortion and I regret bringing it up as a 'for instance.' Your point (at that point in conversation) was about logical entailments from a starting point. On that matter I simply say that do not agree that if ACANZP and its supporters agree with TEC on some things it is bound to agree with TEC on all things. Issues may be decided on a case by case basis.

As for your circle: no. I am not going to be drawn into any agreement with you on that. My obsession is with the life of the Communion, what is deepening it and what is dividing it. If you think I am tackling an issue which has nothing to do with the life of the Communion by all means point it out.

Lay presidency is not a distraction. It is a genuine conviction on the part of the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney which is held to be consistent with Anglican order. I am arguing it is not. I also argue that it is as much a challenge to the life of the Communion as 'gay marriage' in this sense: if we do not have a common mind about ordering life and ministry then it is arguable that we are a federation not a communion.

Conversely I suggest that a Diocese open to lay presidency should be open to 'gay marriage' and vice versa!

Whether the primates would stay away from a Primates Meeting because of lay presidency is neither here nor there in terms of my reflection on the theology of communion.

Anonymous said...

“Issues may be decided on a case by case basis.”

Except for TEC. It seems to me that when you write about TEC you do the opposite of looking at things case by case, but present everything as an outworking of something that is rotten at the core. You write as if it is not accepting homosexuals fully that is the issue – this is merely a presenting result of an underlying “false gospel” which manifests itself in everything from Spong to abortion to the Presiding Bishop’s Christology and Soteriology.

My point, which you are unwilling to concede, is that in fact the same underlying approach (rotten or not) undergirds your own province’s decisions – the example I used was on divorce, but I’m willing to extend it, following your suggestion, to its deafening silence on abortion in a country where that is very significant by Western standards.

“My obsession is with the life of the Communion, what is deepening it and what is dividing it. If you think I am tackling an issue which has nothing to do with the life of the Communion by all means point it out.

Lay presidency is not a distraction. It is a genuine conviction on the part of the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney which is held to be consistent with Anglican order. I am arguing it is not.”

I agree with you that lay presidency is as much of a departure from the tradition as accepting homosexuals fully. I disagree that it is “dividing the Communion” in the same way. The reason is that those who are reacting against accepting homosexuals fully are neo-puritans who are often sympathetic to the abandonment of the tradition of who presides. The abandonment of this tradition happens in Africa and elsewhere without comment (don’t tell me it has never happened in ACANZP); not a motion at Lambeth to be seen.

So there is nothing and no one supporting you in your argument “that it is as much a challenge to the life of the Communion as 'gay marriage' in this sense: if we do not have a common mind about ordering life and ministry then it is arguable that we are a federation not a communion.”

“Conversely I suggest that a Diocese open to lay presidency should be open to 'gay marriage' and vice versa!”

Tell that to Sydney Diocese, and the Sydney sympathisers in your diocese!

And what a fascinating abandonment of “case by case basis” that sentence is!

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,

I think there are two concerns in TEC AND in other Western Anglican churches. (1) a core theology working its way out in the life of each church, in some churches gaining a dominant hold, in which a number of things are at least questionable if not rotten at the core. Lest I foster this notion that I am obsessed with just one church: why were theologians such as Cupitt tolerated for so long in the C of E? how come in our ACANZP we permitted St John's College to reach the point of vacuousness in its theological rigour and academic seriousness in the 1980s? (2) specific issues ('case by case'), often growing on the fertile soil of the underlying dominant core theology but challengeable because their being raised shows a blindness as to how removed from othodoxy the underlying theology has come: the issue contradicts Scripture or the distinctive tradition of the Anglican church. 'Lay presidency' in Sydney is an example of this: there is a blindness as to how far removed from (Anglican) orthodoxy is the particular form of 'biblical theology' underlying the matter which contradicts the distinctive tradition of the Anglican church which also happens to be the distinctive tradition of the main branches of the once undivided church.

I do not think being 'open' to a new possibility or to a change is the same as agreeing to it. Cheekily I suggest that Sydney being open to lay presidency should also be open to same sex blessings. Were there such dual openness I would imagine that Sydney would decided one way on one issue and another on the other.

Since lay presidency has not (as far as I know) been adopted formally by any member church of the Communion (recalling that Sydney is a diocese not a member church), it is difficult to know why it would have featured at (say) Lambeth or the Primates' Meeting. Should it be so adopted, and feature at such a meeting, there is no telling as far as I can see who might stay away from such meetings.

Anonymous said...

“Lest I foster this notion that I am obsessed with just one church: why were theologians such as Cupitt tolerated for so long in the C of E?”

I am struggling to understand or be convinced of your point, Peter. You mentioned Cupitt’s name only once on your blog in the last twelve months – and then only in a list in passing, hardly a good example to draw on to illustrate your breadth of interest. As to St John's College’s theological vacuousness, where exactly have you written about that?

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
I write a lot about TEC because it features in a lot of stories about current Communion angst. I do not deny that. If that is obsessive then that is your judgement of the matter. I claim my obsession is with the Communion and its life.

I have not said much about Cupitt or SJC because they have not featured much in recent years about the changing shape and size of the Communion. However I mention them here to make a small point that there are and have been things happening in Anglican churches far and near which are of interest and concern to me. But my blog is not, currently, focused on any and every concern in each and every Anglican church.

You might as you read through the blog notice that there are quite a few things I do not comment on, some of them good news Anglican stories, some of them not, including some which I could or should report on if this were a blog of wide-ranging interests (e.g. the recent floods in Queensland); some of them of great interest to me, but not leading me to choose to write about them.