Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anglican Condescension of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia

What is our church made of? It would appear that missing from our make up is 'memory'. Two years ago at GS we thought that Sections 1-3 of the Anglican Covenant were fine. Now, according to the Taonga report of the amended motion which passed includes this clause,

"Is unable to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant due to concerns about aspects of Section 4, but subscribes to Sections 1, 2, and 3 as currently drafted as a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church."
So, now we have rethought what we once thought about Sections 1-3 and offer the view that they are 'a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.'

A useful starting point? Blood, sweat and tears have been spent by fine Anglican minds on those Sections. They have been commended to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But, don't worry, the greatness of the theological acumen of our General Synod has been expressed in the phrase 'a useful starting point'. With such condescension, are we being led by people with more understanding about Anglicanism than the ABC himself?

Perhaps.

But reading the Tweets on the #THW12 thread (which I am inclined not to go back to now that someone calling themselves f**k something has entered the dialogue), I am less than thrilled to find some of our younger leaders misunderstanding the parlous state theological education at St John's College had gotten itself into.

What is going on in Fiji?

To balance the books, clearly some wonderful experiences of life in Christ are taking place, as reported by +Kelvin Wright.

Back to the Covenant: I am pleased that ++David Moxon (according to the Taonga report) took an initiative to improve on the original motion brought against the Covenant. Yeah, we've rejected the Covenant and what great comfort that is bringing to the Covenant naysayers around the world, but we've managed some words which express our commitment to the Communion. But have we undone the good in the motion by refusing to endorse anything substantive about what it actually means to be an Anglican church?

Not, of course, that the state of the Anglican churches elsewhere conventioning and synodising is much improved on our machinations. In England the bishops have led a charge to postpone the motion on women bishops so they can remove the amendments they had introduced to the motion. One can just about imagine the Monty Python skit which would send up this state of affairs in which in the classic English way, sanity prevails at the expense of sensible people first acting like idiots. In America the bishops have found a neat mechanism for avoiding submitting a blessing of same sex unions to the usual kind of vote in case it got lost.

How sweetly Rome will be sleeping tonight!

The full text of the Covenant motion is here.

25 comments:

Bryden Black said...

I have posted this on Taonga site:

All this could be viewed, as does Ronnie Smith, as an exercise in “social justice and inclusion” and so as the means of not “compromising our integrity”. Or it could very well be viewed rather differently. It could be viewed as yet again a typical exercise in ‘drift’.

I have in mind just this. A key member of The Virginia Report (1997), Rt Rev Stephen Sykes, who edited as well an earlier collection, Authority in the Anglican Communion: Essays presented to Bishop John Howe (Anglican Book Centre, 1987), has since written, Power and Christian Theology (Continuum, 2006). He here quite correctly discusses the subtle but important links and differences between power and authority, both generally and specifically within the Church. In his final chapter, “Power in the Church”, he details, again correctly, that episcopal power, which serves the wider Church precisely as such when it “disciplines”. We are in cloud cuckoo land if we have no kind of section 4 in any Anglican Communion Covenant - especially one that lauds “the roles and responsibilities of the four Instruments of Communion as they currently operate”, especially those that flesh out the previous sections 1-3 (unless of course their operation continues their drift into total ineffectiveness) - that fails to offer serious “discipline”. The likes of Fitchett’s comments (as reported) just do not allow for those kinds of “differences” that duly warrant vital “discipline”. Or are we all now to be postmoderns, tolerating each and every quaint ‘story’, Hitler’s included? But how to rightly discriminate if we may not duly discipline?

I have repeated it here since I whole-heartedly agree with Peter that GS has seriously compromised the good work done in already defining what is our Anglican Church, and then totally failing to appreciate due authority and needed powers. So we drift on ...

kiwianglo said...

"So, now we have rethought what we once thought about Sections 1-3 and offer the view that they are 'a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.' "

- Dr.Peter Carrell -

One wonderful thing about the Church is its ability to think and re-think where necessary, its views about the changing nature of the Universe - and what is considered to be 'doing the right thing at the right time.

This has enabled the Church to re-think its strategies (and opinions) about the exigencies of slavery, usury, animal sacrifices, gender and sexual-identity discrimination.

It is the 'closed minds' attitude that can be the death-knell of Christianity and The Church.

This is something that has just been borne out in the Church of England General Synod's decision to ask their House of Bishops to 're-think' their policy of enshrined discrimination against women as Bishops in the Church.

The human brain is capable of great things, given the chance to work effectively and progressively (as God surely intended).

kiwianglo said...

" But have we undone the good in the motion by refusing to endorse anything substantive about what it actually means to be an Anglican church?" - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Peter, one does not have to be a theological educator, or even a clergy-person, to acknowledge that the Anglican way of being Church is not perfect. However, most of us who have been Anglicans for a long time do have some idea of what it is all about - and it isn't stasis.
And still we remain true to our baptismal heritage.

Shawn said...

And we will continue to drift so long as the corruption of cultural Marxism remains, Because when the liberals in positions of power in the Church define what it means to be Anglican it is not orthodox Christianity they are referencing, it is the disease of the Frankfurt School that is their reference point.

Shawn said...

Ron,

When did the Anglican Church engage in animal sacrifices?

How has the nature of the universe changed?

Since when is it good Christian practice to jump mindlessly on every fashionable Liberal bandwagon?

MichaelA said...

"And still we remain true to our baptismal heritage."

That is not an expression I am familiar with - what does it mean?

Michael, Sydney

Shawn said...

MichaelA,

It means nothing at all. It is simply a cover for those who want to replace orthodox Christianity with cultural Marxism, and pretend they are still advocating the Christian Faith.

Father Ron Smith said...

""And still we remain true to our baptismal heritage."

That is not an expression I am familiar with - what does it mean?

- MichaelA, Sydney -

Perhaps that's a real problem for some Sydney Anglicans.

The heritage I speak of is that which accrues to those baptized 'In Christ's Name' while believing in Him and His power to redeem.
Simple, really!

If you actually live in Sydney, Michael, I would strongly recommend that you go to worship at Christchurch Saint Laurence, Bridge St., or Saint James in the city. There you will find sound catholic teaching about the Christian faith and the joy of belonging to Christ.

Agape, Fr. Ron

Anonymous said...

I have to say when I read Shawn's posts about cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt school I wonder about the deficiencies of my 9 years in higher education in 6 universities and institutions of higher education.

Perry Butler Canterbury England

Bryden Black said...

Hi Perry! Slight - but only slight - tongue in cheek: I fancy your beloved ABC just around the corner might know a fair bit about "cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt school". He praises the likes of Gillian Rose enough ... Enjoy!

All of which might - just might - explain a thing or two!

Shawn said...

Peter Butler,

I am studying in a secular university myself. The theology department of Otago University is outstanding, and the lecturers of a very high calibr.

That said the influence of the Frankfurt School can still be discerned.

The problem in the modern West is that cultural Marxism has become so widespread and deeply rooted that we are literally swimming in it. The Matrix has us all! ;)

This is why I believe that it is important to expose it's presence in the Church, because so many are unaware of it's influence. Much of the so-called theology and "social justice" advocated by Liberals has nothing to do with the Bible, let alone a Biblical worldview, but is merely the Frankfurt School thinly disguised.

We will not be able to fight the spiritual war that is upon us if we do not understand the nature of the enemy.

Anonymous said...

"I have to say when I read Shawn's posts about cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt school I wonder about the deficiencies of my 9 years in higher education in 6 universities and institutions of higher education."

Ah, Perry - the fish never gives a thought to the water it's swimming in! :)

Martin the Antitroll
(& not a robot)

Anonymous said...

"I am studying in a secular university myself. The theology department of Otago University is outstanding, and the lecturers of a very high calibr."

I don't doubt it, with people like Paul Trebilco around. But I would feel a certain sadness as well, having known Greg Dawes some years ago. Theological study is never simply a matter of the mind. It takes prayer - and suffering - to make a theologian, as Martin Luther reminded us.
For myself, I find sites like Covenant Theological Seminary, reasonablefaith.org and Biblical Training sources of excellent (and free!) material.
On cultural Marxism, of which Perry of Canterbury seems a little unaware, good old rabble-rousers like paleo-Anglican Peter Hitchens and agnostic-but-open-to-theism Jew Melanie Phillips have plenty to say about the British scene. Phillips in particualr often invokes Gramsci ('the long march through the institutions") to understand the BBC and British education. Read and enjoy!
Martin the Antitroll

MichaelA said...

"The heritage I speak of is that which accrues to those baptized 'In Christ's Name' while believing in Him and His power to redeem. Simple, really!"

Umm no, its not that simple, Father Ron. I don't recall ever reading the expression "Baptismal Heritage" in the Early Church Fathers for instance, and I am pretty familiar with them (despite your preconceptions about Sydney Anglicans!) The ECF do use other terms to talk about baptism and its effects, but I don't recall that one. Perhaps you can elucidate?

"If you actually live in Sydney, Michael, I would strongly recommend that you go to worship at Christchurch Saint Laurence, Bridge St., or Saint James in the city. There you will find sound catholic teaching about the Christian faith and the joy of belonging to Christ."

Are you sure you have been to either church, Father Ron? At Christ Church St Laurence I agree I would have reasonable prospects of finding "sound catholic teaching" (despite a number of parishioners at that church who would like to take it in a liberal direction, away from true anglo-catholism).

However, my prospects of getting "sound catholic teaching" are much less so at St James King Street. There seems to be a real liberal spirit at the latter church which is inconsistent with other anglo-catholics around the world,

Why didn't you mention St John's Dee Why? As a member of Forward in Faith International, they are affiliated with anglo-catholic churches around the world, including their most respected bishops such as +Keith Ackerman and +Keith Iker in the USA.

Bryden Black said...

OK fellahs; you made me do it!!

When I teach my Theology and Culture course (for which I still use C Wright Mills as one of my resources!), near the start I have two maxims.

1. The last creature to ask questions of the water is the fish.
2. The first time the fish knows itself to be the creature it is is when it is caught and on dry land.

For humans ‘naturally and obviously’ swim in cultural ponds; it’s one of the things that makes us human! Yet when we have a cross cultural encounter - through trade, travel, migration, conquest, whatever - that’s when we begin to ‘notice’ the phenomenon of cultural skin/ponds.

QED: when we are taken out of Adam and baptized/immersed/put into/drenched with the Holy Spirit into Christ Jesus (countless NT texts)—that’s the biggest counter cultural encounter any humans can experience/undergo vis-à-vis ‘the world’. So that the entire Christian Life is a matter of Becoming in the Spirit Who we Are in Christ Jesus: no brainer! The problem however is the realization of this: of seeing-&-understanding (Eph 1:15ff) & of cashing-it-out/effecting it (Eph 3:14ff). Just so the necessary reference to Rom 12:1-2 again and again, which is the fulcrum of the entire Epistle.

QED2: the entire debates that thrash around endlessly such symptoms as ‘gay marriage’/Christ and Gaia/‘symbols of the divine’/Frankfurt School/Beyond Secular Reason/whatever trendy tune catches one’s ear, today, vs. tomorrow, and tomorrow—all these have their basis and solutions just here ... Well; IMHO ... For Jesus of Nazareth is “the sum of the Gospel” and Union with Him is the nub of the Gospel: all else follows ...

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; Amine, Amine!

Shawn said...

Hi Martin,

Good to know that your neitther a troll nor a robot:)

I'm a big fan of both Peter Hitchens and Melanie Phillips.

Also, on the British political scene is Paleo-Libertarian Sean Gabb, who has also written extensively on the influence of the Frankfurt School. He has written a short book which is available as a free PDF download called 'Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England And How To Get It Back.'

It is an extended version of a now famous article he wrote called 'The Enemy Class and how to Defeat It: A Manifesto for the Right' in which he talks about the nature of Cultural Marxism (with some very scary examples of what is happening in Briitain), and how it can be defeated through the total privatization of all media and cultural/educational institutions.

Well worth reading.

kiwianglo said...

Ah, Perry - the fish never gives a thought to the water it's swimming in! :) - Martin The troll -

I thought I'd heard that saying somewhere before. you must have been at the same theological institute as our brother, Doctor B.B.

And as for the 'Frankfurt School', that certainly tops first year liturgical studies with Knox. So much head knowledge it must hurt, surely?

I'm rather with Martin, solely on this statement of his, above:

"Theological study is never simply a matter of the mind. It takes prayer - and suffering - to make a theologian, as Martin Luther reminded us." - out of the mouths..

Anonymous said...

Well chaps all I can say is after a good ( and long ) theological education here and abroad and 32 years of parish ministry I will stick with what I've learned and assimilated so far..havent encountered much of this in my parochial experience...good old prayer book catholicism suits me and I'm old enough to have seen intellectual fashions come and go.Clearly the scene is very different in NZ..I suspect because you are a young country you have lots of people with a weak sense of history ( my main academic discipline),Had a Kiwi lodger at the rectory once...went to Hillsong...couldnt make any sense of it myself..Jesuolatry with loud music! Must visit NZ some day.....not sure what I will make of it scenary apart. Melanie Phillips?? Dont think I've met any intelligent person here who takes her seriously...a sort of right wing Polly Toynbee..and what a newspapae she writes for!

Perry Canterbury( where the life of the cathedral lifts my spirits every time I visit it!! Meeting up with Rowan on Sunday lunch time...will seek enlightenment ( or not) about these matters...not sure I'll get an answer, he is palpably de-mob happy!!!

Anonymous said...

Perry, you need to get out a bit, even in Canterbury of the Northern Antipodes, where you will discover the biggest church (by attendance - - 400+, many students) is a "house" church and the biggest Anglican church is evangelical (c. 300), with lots of loud music, along with biblical preaching - while most of the denizens of 'Mater Angliae' are never in church at all. Yes, nostalgia isn't what it used to be. Just who is getting the gospel out to people today? Not the aging, largely children-free Anglican churches which limp after the liberal consensus of post-Christian Britain.
Melanie Phillips is a provocative journalist. Her unforgivable sin in the eyes of the chattering classes aka the self-described intelligentsia is that she is an ex-Guardianista.
Martin the Antitroll (who has spies everywhere!)

kiwianglo said...

Well, Perry, having now been resident in the South Pacific (Australia, N.Z. and Fiji) since 1953, I can tell you that the Anglican brand has a pretty good provenance 'Down Under'.

Our common Anglo-Catholic heritage has been kept alive in parts of each of the countries I have had the pleasure of residing in during my time down here, and is still 'alive and kicking' - mostly in an inclusively liberal sense.

We at St. Michael's, Christchurch still keep up the Daily Mass - despite the quakes. We still teach The faith - based on experience of Christ in the sacramental life of the Church - while reaching out to the Poor and the disenfranchised. God IS ALL Good here in Aotearoa -New Zealand and Polynesia. We do still struggle to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the bonds of Peace.

I hope you enjoyed Rowan's company!
Pax et Bonum!

kiwianglo said...

"Or are we all now to be postmoderns, tolerating each and every quaint ‘story’, Hitler’s included? But how to rightly discriminate if we may not duly discipline?" - Bryden Black -

(I missed this remarkable statement posted earlier)

Interestingly, Hitler didn't like Gays either. I don't quite see the connection here.

Shawn said...

Ah, the standard liberal response. If you take Melanie Phillips seriously then your just not an intelligent person.

Personally I have great respect for her and the paper she writes for.

Shawn said...

Ron,

I am not studying at Knox, but at Otago.

I have been studying, informally, politics and economics for over a decade now.

Do you have a positive contribution to make to the discussion, or just more uninformed sneering?

Bryden Black said...

"... he [RDW] is palpably de-mob happy!!!" I fancy he might be: enjoy the food and wine, Perry, as well as the company.

Bryden Black said...

G’day Ron, Mmmmm ... I shall try to unpack this wee extract for you to make it more understandable. I hope!

First principle: put it back into context - those reported remarks of Fitchett’s (on the Taonga site) re “differences”; wider context - a bishop’s duty to “discipline”; wider context again - Sykes on power and authority in the Church specifically; wider context finally - Sykes as significant Anglican theologian, bishop and well trusted global individual, so trusted etc etc. All of which suggests that we should all evaluate his comments and works/books/words really rather seriously, taking them to heart. This is not mere opinion!

Content: “differences”. Well; just what do we mean by this wee word - nowadays especially. I threw in the example of “Hitler” to make a point; not just in a hyperbolic manner but to so stress the point that most would get it straight away, in particular those who know/knew their History of the first half of the 20th C well ... As well as other individuals, like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, I could have cited numerous other examples where seemingly different ‘differences’ were heaped together: parliament where we have MMP crowds, Westminster parliament itself, USA Congress, UN Gen Assembly - these all being political examples to make one series of points re differences. Then beyond the political to the moral and spiritual spheres as well: LGBT communities (NB the plural) coupled with the KKK, Southern Baptists coupled with Abp Marcel Lefebvre’s disciples, etc. All of whom/which we are to ‘tolerate’ and ‘accommodate’ according to the single and supposedly simple principle of ... yes; “difference”. Or at least, this is the postmodern ‘claim’.

For lastly Ron; this word has become a key catch-word of the postmodern era. I will not bore you as to how and why exactly, but such people as Umberto Eco, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, Stanley Fish, and many, many others are purveyors of its ethos. And you and I swim in this cultural ethos; we breathe this air. And what do we make of it? If we notice it at all, that is?! How should Christians both absorb its best intentions and disavow its corruptions? Answer: Christologically of course! In “continuity-and-discontinuity”, having ‘exegeted it as best and as deeply as we may ... One thing we may NOT do is merely use it, as if it were neutral, amoral - or indifferent!!!

So; Dr Fitchett, et al: just what do you really, truly, honestly mean?!