Monday, June 11, 2012

Indaba: we met, we listened, we achieved nothing

There is a view beginning to do the rounds of some bloggers that the way forward for the unCovenanted Communion is Indaba, the process brought to the fore at Lambeth 2008, which I understand to mean, Meet, Talk, Listen, Talk, Listen, Talk ...

But Indaba is already here. I think some Communion commission is already fostering its greater and wider presence in the life of the Communion. It seems to have been part of a joint meeting of North American and African bishops whose communique has just been published.

You can read it here.

This is my summary of the communique: we met, we listened, we achieved nothing.

Listening is a vital centre to the communique. Here is its paragraph on mission:

"We affirm that mission is a meeting-place with God and with others. Mission isn’t something we do to another, but a way of being together in the presence of God as God transforms and reconciles the world to himself. To be in mission is to assume a listening stance – listening for how God is at work in the world, for how others are responding to and participating in that work, and for how we might offer ourselves and our gifts into partnership in that work."
This is all well and good as far as it goes. But it misses the (dare I use the word) biblical aspect of mission in which Christ calls us to proclaim (i.e. talk, speak, enunciate with audible words) the gospel.

The great question of mission in the 21st century is not whether the church is listening to God, the world, or the dawn chorus. It is whether anyone is listening to the church.

Thankfully in some places the world is listening.

But if Indaba is the future of the unCovenanted Communion, count me out. Not least because I couldn't sleep at night for knowing that the jet plane I travelled in to get to the place of Achieving Nothing had contributed to the warming of the world.

17 comments:

Rach Marszalek said...

Oh my goodness, wishing I could say more as someone who participated in the Continuing Indaba process and has been left with many more questions than answers, a multitude of concerns and a desire to rediscover again my Anglican roots...one day I will open up on this front but it's still too soon. You're right to wonder about the whole process.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rach,
V. interesting!
I shall press on with pointing out the lack of clothese on the emperor :)

Father Ron Smith said...

"This is my summary of the communique: we met, we listened, we achieved nothing." - Peter Carrell

Do I detect a cynic in the making, here?

Obviously you do not, Peter, appreciate the value of what some of us call 'convergence' - the joy of meetings that are evidence of God's unfailing Love at work among the Faithful.

Only accountants and cynics discount the benefits of the experience of being at one with significant others in the Body of Christ.

Just compare this with the game-playing at 'Spring Harvest' or, say, the 'ecumenical gathering' that you had access to recently. What actually was 'achieved' in those two encounters - apart from a lot of 'Hot Air'? However, that would be welcome in Christchurch at the moment. Do try to be positive!

Fr. Jonathan said...

I do believe that this is my favorite post you've ever written, Peter. Just the title alone puts a big smile on my face. I'm very happy to have participated in this listening experience with you. Let's all sing Kumbaya and roast marshmallows.

Shawn said...

"Just compare this with the game-playing at 'Spring Harvest' or, say, the 'ecumenical gathering' that you had access to recently. What actually was 'achieved' in those two encounters - apart from a lot of 'Hot Air'"

Game playing????

So basically Ron, your in favour of "convergence" so long as all those doing the "converging" are Liberals. But if they are not, then "convergence" is just playing games and hot air.

Could you please explain the special Gnostic spiritual intuition you use to determine when God is present and at work in a meeting of Christians?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
There is nothing cynical in questioning what is gained from the investment of time and money (airfares etc) in a meeting which exemplifies a possible new strategy for the future of the Communion.

I happily meet week by week with fellow believers around the Lord's Table with little to show for it, save (I hope) for incremental growth in personal and corporate maturity in Christ.

But if I am going to spend, or have my Diocese spend money on me travelling the world to meet with others, I think it uncynical to ask the simple question what such expenditure might achieve.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jonathan,
Roasting marshmellows would, of course, count as an achievement :)

Father Ron Smith said...

Shawn, in many of your comments I notice that you are forgetting the grammatical rule of 'you are' which may be written as 'you're' - but not 'your'. If you are hoping to write in learned theological journals in the future, your (sic) mentors will need to know you have access to the correct grammar.

Now, with basic grammar out of the way; let me address your question!

By virtue of their title, liberals are usually known to gather together with an aim to relate to one another in Love. Gafcon, on the other hand, seem to meet together - at greater expense than just a few bishops, as was the case in Canada - in order to plot the downfall or excommunication of someone or other who doesn't match up to their state of 'holiness'. That's not 'Indaba'
but, rather, indefensible.

Andrew Reid said...

"We met, we listened, we achieved nothing" We already have enough of those kind of meetings in the Communion! We don't need an initiative to help us do more of it, surely? Did anyone think it was such a success at Lambeth that it would be genuinely fruitful throughout the Communion? If you measure success by obfuscation, delay and confusion, perhaps.

Peter, thank you for drawing us back to the Biblical sense of "mission", a word so abused and re-defined it is barely recogniseable.

Father Ron Smith said...

"..thank you for drawing us back to the Biblical sense of "mission", a word so abused and re-defined it is barely recogniseable."

- Except, perhaps, to those who are doing 'mission' day by day - in recognition of Jesus' admonition: "They will know you're my disciples by your Love"
(not by your holiness).

The likes of Gafcon Meetings, which are meeting of the 'all-holy' like-minded, are not calculated to include those whom Jesus might prefer in His Church - Sinners, waiting for redemption,to be saved, not by their own holiness, but rather by God's grace, infinite love and mercy.

"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast - Not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth". Amen.

Lord, have mercy on me, a Sinner!

hogster said...

By virtue of their title, liberals are usually known to gather together with an aim to relate to one another in Love. Gafcon, on the other hand, seem to meet together - at greater expense than just a few bishops, as was the case in Canada - in order to plot the downfall or excommunication of someone or other who doesn't match up to their state of 'holiness'. That's not 'Indaba'
but, rather, indefensible.

I would really like to understand how you can qualify the above statement Ron.

Please give me some evidence.

thank you.

Blessings

Bryden Black said...

Peter, you are so right to conclude with observations re “mission”. For a good number of years I was a member of IAMS, which was/is a seriously motley collection of folk. Even Ron S would be impressed! The upshot of my participation in their conferences and extensive reading of their Journal is just this.

Missiology MUST be at the centre of any leadership training for the 21st C Church. And while there are some good resources for this in the western churches, by and large in God’s wisdom and timing by far the better ones are from the Two-Thirds Majority World. True; we still find also therein representatives of what some would consider ‘liberal schools of theology and praxis’. But they are not just a minority; they are insignificantly few ... And crucially, their very taxonomy of positions explodes our rather tired western lib vs. con / revisionist vs. reactionary!!

As for Lambeth 2008 and the Indaba stuff itself. If one knows anything of how Rowan Williams thinks and functions, a better understanding of the entire ‘thing’ and its aftermath is just this: the guiding philosophy was/is that of a Gillian Rose Seminar writ large. And that ain’t biblical mission at all at all!

PS Marshmallows rules OK!

Father Ron Smith said...

Bryden, I do find your remarks about Indaba, and Rowan, the Archbishop of Canterbury's part in its functioning in the Communion rather derogatory.

Did you find Rowan such a 'Gillian Rose' aficionado when you were, as you once told us: 'sitting at his feet' in studently-proper awe and wonder?

Peter Carrell said...

This comment has been moderated.

Ron,

How people write on blogs, especially when they are multitasking, and how one would write in a theological journal, or any other forum, are two different things.

"By virtue of their title, liberals are usually known to gather together with an aim to relate to one another in Love."

Rubbish.


"Gafcon, on the other hand, seem to meet together - at greater expense than just a few bishops, as was the case in Canada - in order to plot the downfall or excommunication of someone or other who doesn't match up to their state of 'holiness'."

Rubbish. Again. Gafcon meets not to "plot" against others, but to provide a forum for those Anglicans who do not believe they can or should surrender Biblical authority to the political fashions of a small unrepresentaive group of urban liberals.

"That's not 'Indaba'
but, rather, indefensible."

Then your own behaviour on this blog is indefensible as you have repeatedly attacked the integrity and holiness of anyone who does not agree with you.

You cannot claim that you represent the loving and tolerant wing of the Church when you do not show love and tolerance yourself.

Shawn

Note to Ron: You are likely to have comments rejected if you persist in your unfounded criticisms of GAFCON/FCA. I suggest you ring the vicars in our diocese who went to the most recent meeting and ask them what the content of the meeting was. If you are willing to trust me and not bother to make the phone calls then I can assure you that the meetings consisted of uplifting teaching focusing attendees attention on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, re your last paragraph - apropos what you see as my questioning of the motives of the recent GAFCON/FCA meeting in the U.K. - I accept that your point of view on the value of such meetings is different from mine, and if you want to ban me from commenting on ADU, that's OK with me.

I will not bother to ring the Christchurch Vicars who attended that Conference in the U.K. but do wonder if their attendance was self-funded - in view of the fact that ACANZP Vicars are not known generally for their devotion to the ethos of GAFCON/FCA.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I do not want to ban you or anyone from commenting here, but I may need from time to time to moderate comments which express an unfounded or unfair view about fellow Christians. The least a Christian can do is to be kind to fellow Christians. The least we can expect of our fellow Christians is that they might have regard for fellow members of the household of God!

I do not know how the clergy from NZ were funded to go to GAFCON/FCA save in one respect, contrary to a rumour in our Diocese, the Diocese did not pay for anyone to go to it.

Shawn said...

Ron,

"in view of the fact that ACANZP Vicars are not known generally for their devotion to the ethos of GAFCON/FCA."

You mean SOME ACANZP Vicars. You repeatedly seem to assume that ACANZP is a liberal institution in which a majority of the clergy and laity are liberals. This is simply not true. You also make rather disturbing suggestions, as you have done with my attendance at St John's, that anyone who is not a liberal must be "outed", questioned, and interrogated about their views, and in the case above, their finances.

I find this Macarthyist attitude towards ACANZP conservativs/evangelicals and GAFCON/FCA completely at odds with your claim to believe in inclusiveness and tolerance, or for that matter "unity in diversity".