Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Paring down

UPDATE: Lost. In the house of laity, by just a few votes. No women bishops in CofE for time being.

Some wise words are here, from John Richardson. It does seem absurd that the C of E has not understood realpolitik. As John says, if it had, it might be in a position today where it would have women bishops within a short while. By refusing to engage in realpolitik it will not have women bishops for a while to come.

EARLIER: As I write the C of E is debating a measure before it which, if passed, would see women become bishops in the C of E while allowing parishes which do not wish to receive the episcopal ministrations of a woman bishop some choice over having access to a man bishop.

I am sure the measure will pass even as some supporters of women bishops view it as an unconscionable compromise and some non-supporters of women bishops view it as lacking the guarantees they seek.

Quite a lot of ink gets spilled on this matter across the Anglican globe. My tiny contribution here is to see how concisely one can put the case for women being ordained bishops.

There is no fixed scheme of church leadership in the New Testament.

That is what I call an 'apostolic' argument: just twelve words!

However most of us like meat on the bone rather than just the bone, so read more, including good thoughts from ++Williams and ++-elect Welby, here or here, with other reflections here and there.

Incidentally, yesterday +Victoria left our morning prayers to be interviewed by the BBC on the matter. The interview is here.



61 comments:

carl jacobs said...

Peter

... while allowing parishes which do not wish to receive the episcopal ministrations of a woman bishop some choice over having access to a man bishop.

That isn't what they wanted. They wanted some guarantee that complimentary theology would not be driven out of the leadership of the CoE. But of course it would have been. It was never about a bishop with a Y Chromosome. It was about the perpetual preservation of the theology behind the request.

Things will get ugly now. All that feigned respect and consideration will give way to the more visceral opinions that always lurked just below the surface. The smiles will now show teeth. It will become an open war of annihilation.

carl

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Yes! The Faith Lives!

Bryden Black said...

To my mind Carl, this is not the only way to perceive matters.

It’s my judgment that a good number who voted this Measure down have done so because they felt the how is as important as the what. That is, how to bring in a matter of principle vs. the principle itself. Your comment seems to suggest we may never defend any how - nuances intended. I don’t agree with that. While it may sadly be true when and where raw politics is allowed to run amok (as opposed to realpolitik), one would hope that in the Church both good politics and mercy would come together (Ps 85:10 famously). True; many in TEC (ex TEC!) and USA would say “I’m dreamin!” Yet the political culture of CoE is different - viz this very vote, I suggest.

In sum: the CoE has been given a reprieve, so that in due time they might work more fulsomely upon their ‘how’. As Rosemary knows full well; we’ve blown it here in ACANZ&P ... sad to say ...

Simon said...

The Bishop of Southwell, Paul Butler, has blogged here:
http://bishoppaulbutler.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/women-bishops-vote/

Simon said...

That's not true at all, Carl - the complimentary theology is evident throughout the C of E - there is a significant number of traditionalist bishops, including at least three diocesans, who do not ordain women priests.
Your prediction of an 'open war of annihilation' appears overly negative and may not perhaps be based on much first-hand experience of how the C of E ministers in reality at a local level.
What will happen, I suspect, is that the election slates for membership of the House of Laity will have much longer lists of candidates than last time.

carl jacobs said...

Simon

[I am going to lift a large portion of a post I made at Fulcrum a few days back and expand a little in order to to answer you]

Two very fundamental changes are going to be locked into place the instant this measure is passed. It won't matter what the Code of Practice eventually says. These changes are independent of the Code. They are systemic and unavoidable.

Systemic Change 1. All new accessions of traditionalist clergy into the CoE will permanently cease. This may or may not be de jure. It will certainly be de facto. From the moment this measure is passed, no one who opposes WO will be received for ordination into the CoE. How could it be otherwise? You can't qualify the authority of an organization you seek to join. If you can't in good conscience submit yourself to the authority of a woman, you can't join the organization. This will extend upwards to bishops. Never again will there be a man who opposes WO appointed a bishop in the CoE. Again this is a matter of church order. How can a House of Bishops function when Bishop A denies the legitimacy of Bishop B? The organization can only have one principle in this matter. It must maintain a coherent view of authority.

Systemic Change 2: The supply of traditionalist clergy seeking entrance into the CoE will evaporate. The only choice offered them would be to maintain their rejection in theory while submitting in practice. Accepting this provision would be an act of crass hypocrisy and a violation of individual conscience. Thus even if the CoE was still willing to receive such men, they would on principle refuse to enter. As a result they will seek ministry opportunities elsewhere - and by elsewhere I mean outside the CoE. These men will form the beginings of a true ACNA in England.

The combination of Changes 1 & 2 reveal the most important immediate effect of passing this measure on Women Bishops. The Supply of traditionalist clergy in the CoE is immediately converted into a wasting asset. It cannot maintain. It cannot grow. It can only get old and die off. And that is the whole point. The provisions being offered are being offered for those men and those men only. They are being allowed to grow old and retire and die off without interference. No provision is being offered for the congregations they serve. They may receive the ministry of those with Y chromosomes. But those men will support WO.

So it doesn't matter how many bishops or priests currently support complementary theology. There won't be any more of them. And that is how it would be expunged. This measure was a poison pill - euthanasia for traditionalists by any other name. And, yes, I do believe this will now become an open war of annihilation. There won't be any provisions offered next time. Perhaps even an appeal to Deus Ex Parliament. Proponents feel they have been cheated of a rightful victory by sinister reactionary forces, and they are going to respond accordingly. There isn't going to be any reflection about what traditionalists want or need. Only a desire to impose their will at whatever cost, and see traditionalists marched in chains through the streets while the conquering general celebrates his triumph.

carl

Father Ron Smith said...

The Church of England House of Bishops have only themselves to blame for this debacle! If they had only left the original Draft Measure alone the women clergy of the Church may have accepted the inbuilt misogyny involved - with all that would have meant for the inhibition of a woman diocesan's authority to deal with the inequality problems.

As it is, the C.of E. now has to wait for a turnover of the Lay members of Synod, in order to vote for an uninhibited role for women as bishops equal to that of men. It has to come, the majority in the Church have already spoken their mind on the subject. It will just take a little longer.

The Ugley Vicar has his moment of triumph, but he needs to savour it. It won't last for ever. Even the Brits are not that dumb.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks for the link, Peter, with Bishop Victoria's interview with the BBC. I thuink all onlookers should see it - and hear what Bishop V. is actually saying: She respects the individual conscience of objectors, but obviously does not agree with anything other than the male bishops ministering together with a female diocesan bishop.

Now that the vote has been taken in the Church of England, there will be ample time for people to change their minds about the wisdom - or not - of the outcome.

Anonymous said...

I think Carl's analysis, unpalatable as it may be to many, is probably correct, and is borne out by these facts, which reflect the way political institutions work.

1. In the C of E, except for Chichester, not one opponent of WO has been made a diocesan bishop. They have been effectively declared persona non grata for such posts.

2. Not one conservative evangelical since Wallace Benn (now retired) has been made a 'flying bishop'. Are there no able conservative evangelicals around?

3. All Anglican churches which have accepted WO have become theologically and socially more liberal in their clerical leadership: because liberal women have entered, while catholic-minded men have left. Women bishops will only accelerate this trend.

4. All Anglican churches which have adopted women priests and bishops have declined numerically, and have become older and more female.

5. The creation of the Ordinariate, which made some apoplectic in England (and maybe in NZ as well), has further reduced the catholic traditional element in the C of E.

I suspect a few people in the House of Laity in England are aware of these stats and wanted to stave off the evil day.

Gary

Tim Chesterton said...

4. All Anglican churches which have adopted women priests and bishops have declined numerically, and have become older and more female.

Interesting but not entirely factual. Not long after Victoria Matthews became the Bishop of Edmonton the Diocese started to grow. It also became younger, as she put a lot of emphasis on youth ministry and spending time with youth herself. She also inspired some excellent young people to train for ordination, and they are some of the best clergy we have now. Oh yes, and theologically she was more conservative than her predecessor.

Generalisations tend to be misleading.

Peter Carrell said...

I concur with Tim re the non-connection between liberalism x decline and women bishops, as we also have +Victoria doing here what she did in Edmonton. (The one bit that does not bear comparison at this time is "numerical growth" as our numbers are battered about by the changes wrought by the earthquakes).

As a member of an Anglican church with women ordained to all orders, quite a bit of liberal theology, and areas of conservatism, I simply offer the observation that growth and decline has more to do with the personality, presence, passion and performance of the clergyperson(s) leading parishes and other ministry units than with the gender of the person.

In my church I have seen conservative churches both grow and decline.

Anonymous said...

One swallow doth not a spring make. Maybe I should say 'practically all'? It isn't just about women; it's about the concomitant pro-gay ideology that regularly goes with WO (because very similar arguments are made in support). Tec as a whole has declined catastrophically, as has the Anglican Church of Canada, which is no longer safe or welcoming in many places for evangelicals (New Westminster is rampantly heretical now). Dioceses across the Anglican world, from Dunedin to Sheffield, face closure. About a third of Tec dioceses won't be viable in 5 years' time. But I agree it isn't just about gender, it's also about faithfulness in a faithless world. If there was a real sense of the holiness of God, Tom Brown would have been deposed from the ministry.

Gary

Tim Chesterton said...

Sheffield - don't they have a male evangelical bishop?

Funny how mainline churches in the West seem to be in decline whether they have female leaders or not. Why might that be? Might it be because they still haven't got it through there heads that Christendom is over, and that if they want disciples of Jesus they have to learn how to engage, evangelize, and establish them?

And I've known a good many excellent female disciple-makers, and a good many men who didn't have a clue - even evangelicals, believe it or not.

MichaelA said...

"Sheffield - don't they have a male evangelical bishop?"

Not in the sense that Gary means. +Croft is "evangelical" in the same way that Father Ron describes himself as "anglo-catholic" - whilst they are entitled to take on any title they like, neither has anything in common with those who oppose women bishops in the Church of England.

The original point was well made - there are a large number of members of the Church of England who are opposed to the ministry of women bishops, both evangelical and anglo-catholic. The former in particular tend to have large successful congregations, whereas the latter tend to be small, but there are far more of them than the media realises. Both types pay their own way - they have enough giving parishioners to support their own clergy, which much of the rest of the CofE cannot do.

These people have been almost entirely disenfranchised within CofE processes. No bishops, and little representation in either diocesan or general Synods.

And yet, they are CofE's only real hope for the future - for the most part, these are the people who maintain their congregations, grow their congregations and establish new congregations. They don't accept women bishops, and they have been treated very shabbily by the trendy liberals in CofE for a long time. Very little attempt has been made by the bishops to conciliate them - not very smart.

Actions have consequences.

Anonymous said...

I think the bishop of Sheffield is pretty much a post-evangelical now, like the pro-gay bishop of Liverpool. Which is to say, they dress up high, cultivate a media-savvy image (or so they think, dropping pop culture references into their talks), think in sound bites, and have no real interest in Reformation theology at all - the sine qua non of an evangelical, I would have thought. It's a pretty regular pattern, because a convinced, theologically literate evangelical (of which there are many in large parishes in England) will never be made a bishop in the liberal Establishment. I agree there are excellent female disciple-makers - principally of other women. But men should be leading men and discipling men. That's the apostolic pattern.

Gary

Anonymous said...

I was confusing Sheffield with Bradford. The northern dioceses of England still face closure and amalgamation. Bradford has the additional distinction of having more Muslims than churchgoers. I don't know if the C of E is trying to evangelize them (which could be dangerous in that city), but when liberal theology takes root, evangelism is usually abandoned.

'There is no fixed scheme of church leadership in the New Testament.' - catholics and presbyterians would likely disagree. But even if this were so, why would you want to fix a 'scheme' now?

Gary

Peter Carrell said...

Was Priscilla's role, Gary, in discipling Apollos, just making the cups of tea while he sat at the feet of Aquila?

Father Ron Smith said...

Because of my background of liberal Anglo-catholicisim, it might be thought that I am disdainful of all Evangelicals. This simply is not true. I have personal friends in the Church - with whom I shared theological education, for instance, with whom I retain a good relationship, en Christo!

There are several Evangelical Bishops in the Church of England - my alma mater - for whom I have the utmost admiration!

Among them are +Justin of Dunelm (shortly to become ABC; The Bishop of Coventry (of which city I am a Freeman), and the erstwhile Bishop of Liverpool, +James Jones, who recently used the Motherhood of Mary as a paradigm for the nurturing ministry of Women. Now there's a 'rounded Evanglical'? I love 'em!

Anonymous said...

It was probably wine mixed with water, Peter.
But if you're saying husbands and wives should work together in ministry teams, you'll find the Diocese of Sydney agreeing with you, and well ahead of the game on this one. What you will not find in NT times (or for centuries after) is a woman on her own heading a mixed congregation. You will find abesses of nuns, of course, in later centuries.

Gary

Tim Chesterton said...

Perhaps the reason modern evangelicals are not obsessed with Reformation theology is that we are discipling 21st century people, not 16th century people. One of the mottos of the Reformation was 'Ecclesia Semper Reformanda'. I think our reformers would have been horrified to think that 500 years later we would be seeing their theology as an infallible fixed point. They would be encouraging us to go back to the Bible and test everything according to the teaching of Jesus and his apostles.

Tim Chesterton said...

What you will not find in NT times (or for centuries after) is a woman on her own heading a mixed congregation. You will find abesses of nuns, of course, in later centuries.

Actually, in the NT you won't find anyone on their own leading a mixed congregation. Leadership in NT times was always shared ('they appointed 'elders' in each church' etc. etc.).

Peter Carrell said...

It would be good to hear, Gary, what the reason is that women may not lead a mixed congregation, given that men are permitted to do so.

Are women intrinsically devious, seductive, or generally mischievous? What is it that they don't have which men do have which enables us to rationally inhibit them from leading mixed congregations?

Bryden Black said...

Re my much earlier comment above about the how vs. the principle itself: see now this good article by someone on the ground, who actually knows -

http://anglicanink.com/article/liberal-member-synod-explains-his-no-vote-women-bishops

Speaks for itself, I suggest.

Anonymous said...

The NT sees pastors as fathers of their congregations; that's how Paul saw his role to the churches he established. The NT also sees Christian husbands as providing a kind of spiritual covering to their wives and families. Things can be difficult when the husband isn't a Christian - think of that doughty woman Monica!
The NT (in the Pastoral Epistles) sees older women as having spiritual responsibility for younger women.
Men need to be very careful in pastoring women, because relationships can be very complex and open to abuse. In my experience, men are usually more devious, seductive and mischievous than women.
When a church is feminized, men vote with their feet.

Gary

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Gary

Paul clucked over his congregations like a mother hen as well!

That spiritual covering (e.g. 1 Corinthians 7) seems to extend from believing women to their unbelieving husbands.

Nothing you say prohibits the thought of a single women with neither husband nor father leading in the church!

I agree that the church needs to take care to become "feminized". My own experience of parish ministry is that some male ministers like to surround themselves with women in leadership and the parish can lurch in that feminized direction; and some women like to surround themselves with men in leadership and the parish has a masculine feel!

A recent point made here, that in the NT people led together not singly is important: a mixed gender staff/leadership team should cover the bases. There is no reason for the team leader to be drawn from one gender only.

MichaelA said...

Bryden Black, that is a good reference, to the article by a member of CofE General Synod who supports women bishops but nevertheless voted against the measure. Here is a link to it in its original publication in the UK Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/why-i-voted-no-to-women-bishops-8340833.html

Those who would like to see women bishops in CofE need to seriously think about this man's points, particularly about how they have largely contributed to their own defeat.

carl jacobs said...

Bryden Black

An interesting article. If the attitude of the author had predominated among the majority, then there wouldn't have been a conflict. But his article is the exception that proves the rule. His article is basically an argument justifying his vote to his own allies. And he admits it will not be well-received.

The CoE could have had women bishops already. All it needed to do was carve out a legal structure for traditionalists. But that idea was anathema. Why? Several reasons.

1. Because waaaay too many viable churches with viable finances would have ended up in the traditionalist structure. The majority wanted access to that money.

2. Because the majority feared the Traditionalist churches would flourish. All the talk about the inevitable decline of the traditionalist position is whistling past the graveyard. The majority actually fears it would grow. In a sense, this would become a Gamaliel test that could be neither denied or ignored.

3. Because the majority realized that parishes would require the ability to choose which side to join. The 'majority side' would have collected every liberal advocate for every liberal religious nostrum known to man. The constant doctrinal turmoil would have deprived it of gravity and seriousness. There would have been a constant outflow of laity to the traditionalist side with its stability and orthodoxy. Only the equivalent of a ecclessial "Berlin Wall" could have stooped it, and how could that have been implemented? The laity could just walk out the door to the church down the street.

4. Because a traditionalist structure would have seriously restricted the positions available for liberal clergy. Items 1-3 on my list all affect the long-term viability of liberal parishes. There is no lack of people who want to leaders in a liberal church. There is just a lack of people willing to pay them. The prospect of liberal parishes withering because of the traditionalist structure was too threatening to allow.

But mostly it was this.

5. The majority wanted to eliminate the existence of complementary theology within the CoE. They were not content to co-exist with a theology they hated. They wanted to eradicate it. They wanted to force traditionalists to submit or leave. If traditionalists submitted, then they would compromise their own position. If they departed, they were no longer an impediment to the agenda of establishing what the author called a "reformed liberal Anglicanism." It was this desire to force traditionalists to conform against their will and to see them conformed that drove the hard-line position.

carl

Bryden Black said...

Your thinking Carl does have a certain ring to it - and I follow it well enough. The only refinement however I’d make is this.

There is still sufficient desire I sense in CoE for a degree of genuine comprehensiveness. In other words, I do not reckon either Tom Sutcliffe or Susie Leafe are that exceptional in their own approach and thinking (see links above). Sure; westwards across the Atlantic things are different: there’s been far more attrition longer term, and the gloves came off years ago thanks to the politics of APA back in the mid 1970s, for example. So your diagnosis of TEC stands.

For all that, I agree we are witnessing something of a Gamaliel moment writ large. Liberal churches are dying on the branch; and I heard a Word back in 1980 that suggested the Lord himself would be the One breathing such hot dry wind upon it all, to sift his People (Isa 40!). The challenge is to still ask for blessings upon one’s ‘enemies’! After all, the Psalmists “enemies” were all of the same Covenant People back then! Curious business this ...

carl jacobs said...

Bryden Black

There is still sufficient desire I sense in CoE for a degree of genuine comprehensiveness.

Then why didn't the majority act on that desire? Why instead did they consistently demand a concept of 'provision' that guaranteed the death of the very thing they said they were providing for? This simple observation is the keystone of my whole argument. The majority consistently refused any proposal that would allow complementary theology to perpetuate itself in leadership. Wouldn't a widespread desire for comprehensiveness have led to the exact opposite outcome?

carl

Bryden Black said...

Once more Carl, I follow your suggestions - but there’s one thing you are probably not taking into account: the effect of this knock-back. It will force changes in the real provisions tabled in the future. At least, I suspect this might very well be the case.

Time will tell whether they play out your line, or indeed pull back and have to pursue the alternative. My money is on the latter - because it is not USA we are dealing with here.

Anonymous said...

Carl's analysis agrees very much with what I have heard from contacts over in England, including the diocese of Canterbury.
Essentially it comes down to the centralizing desire to control
(a) finances;
(b) appointments;
(c) training of clergy;
(d) theology.
If the movement for a Third Province had been allowed, there would have been women bishops ten years ago and more traditionalists would have stayed in the C of E.
However, in agreement with Carl's analysis:
1. The liberal structure wouldn't have had the money to subsidize about 2000 small parishes. Parish assessments keep rising, and the large parishes (usually evangelical) act as milch cows.
2. The liberal establishment - through bishops - tries to control appointments and to exclude traditionalists or to pressure them to accept women clergy 'or else ...'
3. A few years ago they proposed closing all the theological colleges in England and replacing them with two big places, teaching the Approved Theology. This was kiboshed as unfeasible but it does show you how they think.
4. The Borg-like desire to impose conformity for the new theology is certainly there: traditionalists are frozen out of very many diocesan posts because they lack ideological liberal purity.

Gary

Anonymous said...

"Paul clucked over his congregations like a mother hen as well!"

- I draw the line at the ordination of chickens. We have enough of these already.

"That spiritual covering (e.g. 1 Corinthians 7) seems to extend from believing women to their unbelieving husbands."

Indeed. And a 'bishop' (episcopos) should be the husband of but one wife.

"Nothing you say prohibits the thought of a single women with neither husband nor father leading in the church!"

Sharing in leadership? Of course. That's biblical. But be careful of getting legalistic, Peter, looking for loopholes. As somebody once said, you are not a lawyer nor the son of a lawyer!

Gary

Father Ron Smith said...

"You will find abesses of nuns, of course, in later centuries."

There was at least one Abbess (sic) who was actually in charge of both monks and nuns in a Double monastery at Whitby.

Hilda also helped the Church in England to agree a common calendar and liturgical use. Under Hilda's 'oversight' the monastery produced several (male) bishops. How's that for Godly 'oversight'?

What the Church needs is a modern-day Saint Hilda!

carl jacobs said...

Bryden Black

It will force changes in the real provisions tabled in the future. At least, I suspect this might very well be the case.

From what I can see, the reaction to the knock-back is proceeding along an entirely different path. Instead of asking "What do we need to change to make the traditionalists happy?" the majority is asking a completely different set of questions that will lead to very different provisions.

1. Elections. As in "How the hell did these people get elected in the first place?"

2. Representation. As in "How the hell did so many of these people get elected in the first place?"

3. Rules. As in "Why was the threshold for approval set so high?"

The traditionalists had one shot to delay this measure, and they used it for effect. But they will never get another chance. Power will be applied to prevent a repeat of this circumstance. Parliament is already involved. You can't get any more coercive than that.

Your argument assumes the majority believes this to be a legitimate outcome. They don't. They don't consider the traditionalist position to be legitimate. They consider it immoral. The traditionalists were only there to be defeated. They weren't supposed to actually win. In truth, the 'provision' on the table was offered more to demonstrate the magnanimity [sic] of the victors than to address the concerns of the vanquished. This reaction is going to get increasingly ugly. It could easily spin out of control, and shatter the CoE into shards of glass. The one thing I don't see happening is a reasoned considered compromise that makes everyone happy. The fangs are bared. The knives are out. Someone cried 'Havoc!' and the dogs have slipped the leash.

carl

Anonymous said...

The C of E is an Established Church. A Third Province Solution would never have got through Parliament.As it is, any legislation which creates a second class female episcopate will not get through parliament.Parishes after all are territorial units, they dont belong to congregations who can remove them from the national church. All the time the C of E is in the constitutional position it is..and that is unlikely to change...that is the way things are.
PB

MichaelA said...

Going back to Peter's original point about getting measures passed by a Synod:

I am still stunned, not by the result of the vote, but that supporters of women bishops for so long repeated the mantra “42 out of 44 dioceses passed the motion so we are going to win with an overwhelming majority”. I can’t remember a single liberal commentator who pointed out the obvious:

Diocesan synods work on a simple majority. General Synod requires a 2/3 majority for this measure. Even if results could be easily translated from one to the other (they can’t, but that’s another story), it should be obvious to everyone who has completed grade school that the measure could pass each of the 44 diocesan synods and yet easily fail at General Synod.

If you then consider that in two of the dioceses (including the largest) the measure didn’t even get 50% support, and that in 10 others the diocesan synod passed a “following motion” (i.e. a desired amendment), its difficult to understand why anyone thought this was a done deal.

Anonymous said...

"What the Church needs is a modern-day Saint Hilda!"

Ah yes, that'll be Hilda Bracket, no? Nothing like a Dame!

As for Hild (sic) of Whitby, some of us Celts and Quatrodecimanians haven't forgiven her for the Roman destruction of Celtic Christianity. Not a good role model at all! Anyway, she wasn't a priest, let alone a bishop. She was a nun. Why do hardly any Anglican women discover a vocation to be a nun today?

Gary

Peter Carrell said...

Note to commenters:

I have removed three comments which invoke/respond to a remark involving the word "nasty" about another person.

Whatever we feel about that person, and whether they may or may not have said something nasty themselves about other Christians, I need to aim high with standards here (and not be sued!!), so I have removed the comments.

I should not have allowed the initial remark through.

Shawn said...

Peter,

Could you please remove the extremely nasty and un-called for attack on my character by Ron in his last post, and could you please refrain from publishing such comments in the future? This is a public forum, and I am sick of my name dragged through the mud by him, especially when my right to defend my name and honor is always moderated out of existence, while his deliberate insults seem to pass moderation at an alarming rate.

I believe what I said about the election of Victoria and anyone who knows me knows I am no sycophant.

Shawn said...

I must have been publishing my comment while you were already taking action.

Thankyou, but please let Ron himself know that such comments are unacceptable

Shawn said...

Oh. I see you removed my comment.

I think this will be my last post.

Shawn said...

Any further public attacks on my character by Ron will result in legal action on my part, as well as an official complaint to the Bishop regarding the behavior of one of her priests.

My patience has run out.

Bryden Black said...

Thanks again Michael A for pointing out the details of the case in CoE, namely, your last paragraph. It is just such things as these “amendments” that tie in with my own English friends’ comments to me, including those when I was there last in April. And while the sorts of things Gary and Carl have been saying here chime in well with the current loudest voices (David Cameron’s “get with the programme” being amongst the best, surely?!), longer term I still have to suggest other forces are also at play ...

The “Gamaliel test” after all requires time for it to show itself. Meanwhile, we shall just have to be the sorts of Christians we are called upon to be - as innocent as doves and as shrewd as serpents! Including how to stack synodical governmental systems!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn and Ron,

Generally your posts here are fine. But often it is one or two words that let your comment down in respect of something said about someone else.

Might I ask you to doublecheck your comments?

Sometimes I have time to moderate and remove a word or two which I estimate to be likely to give offence. But today was not one of those occasions, hence the removal of three comments in toto.

Sometimes too, I recognise that in my own haste I do not read carefully enough what is written and allow things to be published which may be both robust and give offence.

Shawn said...

Hi Peter,

I am aware that my own posts have not always been helpful in raising the tone here and for that I apologize. I have been striving to moderate myself, not always with success. I have been engaged in political debate on other forums and am used to very robust debate, but I recognize that such fierce debate is not helpful here.

However, my fierceness was almost always towards ideas and groups, not personal attacks.

My comment regarding Colin Slee was about his calling evangelicals in the Church the "Anglican Taliban", which by any standards was nasty. But I did not word it in a way that perhaps made that clear.

There is however an order of magnitude in difference between my comments and the kind of very personal character attacks and insults that Ron has repeatedly engaged in. Calling me a sycophant for supporting Bishop Victoria was the last straw for me.

I live in this diocese, people know me. My wife lives and works in this diocese as an ordained minister. Personal attacks against me are attacks on her also, on the name we share. They are not acceptable.

I have contacted Ron and made it clear that any further such attacks on this or any other forum will without hesitation result in legal action on my part, whether through the Church or the Courts. I have not made that decision lightly.

Any further posts by me in the future will be very carefully moderated and double checked by me before I post them, but I cannot prevent others from taking offense at having their views or beliefs challenged.

Bryden Black said...

“Evangelicals need to wrest the issue of women’s ordination from Liberalism so that the cause is not hindered by association with a failed and heretical ideology.

The answer to extreme forms of feminist “theology” and liberal women priests is not an exclusively male leadership, but the raising up of Biblically obedient evangelical/orthodox women ministers.” - Shawn (an extract from his comment now removed, but still valid, 22 Nov 12:24 pm)

I could not agree more, Shawn, which is exactly my own position, adopted some 30 years ago having tried to work through what I saw and see the issues to be. The only change I sense in my own stance is towards those Evangelicals (not the Anglo-Catholics, whose premises are often different), who cannot subscribe to WO: what does it really mean to abide by the FIRST Eames Report? Though of course trad A-Cs are involved as well writ-large: viz only now ACNA. It is the unconscionable behaviour of some/many/most (delete the inapplicable according to whether you’re Gary/Carl/myself/et al) that has deservedly created the events in CoE’s GS this week.

carl jacobs said...

Bryden Black

The difference between us is that you are an starry-eyed optimist whereas I am a realist. You say the glass is half-full. I say the glass is half-empty, cracked, leaking, filled with shards of glass, and probably poisoned. We realists aren't often disappointed in our expectations.

carl ;)

Peter Carrell said...

There is a difference, Shawn, between describing a phrase as nasty and describing a person as nasty, so your latest comment is acceptable; and "Anglican Taliban" is not a kind phrase at all.

Bryden Black said...

Love it Carl! I have never, ever before in my life been called a starry eyed optimist ... Makes we wonder what/which/who moved ...?!

Father Ron Smith said...

Goodbye Shawn. I'm sorry you're leaving us.

Shawn said...

I'm not. Check my posts above. Please take my warning seriously. I am not joking.

Shawn said...

Peter,

What I did or did not say concerning Colin Slee is not the issue. The issue is why Ron's serious attacks on my character are getting through moderation, and what your going to do with regards to that. More importantly, what are you going to do about his behavior.

Your allowing a bully to run riot on your blog, attack and insult your guests, and repeated calls to do something about this have been ignored. I do not understand this, and I am frankly fed up with the situation. Asking him to stop has not worked. Moderation has not worked. Slapping his wrist with avert bus ticket will not work. He has demonstrated repeatedly that he has no intention of ceasing his personal attacks.

If someone cane into my hone and attacked my guests the way he has done I would not hesitate to throw such a person out.

This is your blog. You have a duty of care to ensure that your guests are safe to speak freely.

This time the issue cannot be swept under the carpet as has been done on the past.

Defamation of character is a serious issue with legal consequences.

Please take action to ensure Ron's behavior does not continue.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
It is not right that another Chrisitan is being offended by words you write. There is, all to often, a less than respectful (I.e. snide, sarcastic) tone in your responses to Shawn. Often it is just one sentence in a long paragraph which gives offence or one word in a short response.

Whether you intend to give offence or not, I want to take Shawn's comment above very seriously. From my part if I judge a comment to involve a personal response to Shawn rather than a sole focus on the substance of the comment he - or another - makes, I will delete without explanation.

Shawn said...

Thankyou Peter.

The sad irony is that the offending comment was directed at a post in which I was defending the ordination of women and their election to the episcopate, surely an issue that Ron and I are in happy agreement about.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, et al.

I shall deprive myself of the mixed joy and agony involved in reading and responding to sometimes hateful and sometimes helpful comments on A.D.U.

You can all breath a sight of relief when I tell you that I shall shortly be cruising between Tahiti and Auckland across the waters of the South Pacific - to try to restore my shattered nerves.

See y'all next year! Unless I'm banned in the meantime. Agape!

Peter Carrell said...

Happy cruising, Ron!

See you in the new year.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Martin,
Thanks for your comment which I partially publish here. (I take seriously what you say in the first part of your comment but do not think publishing it does anything for anyone. Suffice to say, if I have been lenient, that is my responsibility and my mistake. In my justification of some of the leniency (I have now, numerous times, admitted I have go it wrong as a moderator re other instances of leniency) I find it hard to distinguish between robust comments (from several commenters), a degree of personal response, and straightforward i-bullying). Mea culpa.

Here is your comment:

"Peter,
...
I (and maybe others) gave up on this blog because I (and maybe others) got heartily sick of Ron Smith's ... ad hominem attacks on sincere Christians. If you as blog editor had simply banned him a while back on the grounds that he has his own blog where he can freely expound his opinions, there would have been a much more constructive discussion and debate from an evangelical perspective - something otherwise lacking in NZ Anglican evangelical circles. But you let him muddy the waters constantly instead of dealing with the problem at source. This is a self-inflicted wound.

Martin
"

I will try to do better, once again, to moderate strongly and fearlessly.

I hope you and others might feel free to re-engage here.

Ron: if reading this before you depart on your cruise. NO ad hominem attacks. NONE whatsoever. or DELETE.

Anonymous said...

Peter, thank you for your gracious reply. If I spoke more forcefully than I should have, I apologise, since this is your blog and you have the absolute right to publish or refuse as you see fit.
Times are getting darker in the 'western' Anglican world, or maybe I should say that as some things get darker, others get brighter. Whatever one thinks of women bishops (or bishops 'full stop'), the more fundamental question is whether someone is a Christian and shares the same vision of the Gospel as another. It is faith and the calling of God that makes one a Christian, and having this 'pneumatic' understanding of the Church, it is not particularly important to me whether someone has been through the legal formularies of a denomination. This is something the Orthodox understand too! I have very little in common with the beliefs (as far as I can descry them) of a Katherine Schori or very many of the professed bishops of Tec, and I can only wish God speed to Mark Lawrence in South Carolina. We *knew things would come to this pass in 2003, and the complete failure of Rowan Williams to use his office to avert this disaster (but rather to subvert the Communion) has only deepened the pain. As Mark Lawrence himself has recognized, there is no point in wasting time and energy arguing these issues any longer.
Martin

kiwianglo said...

"Blessed are you, when people revile you - for My sake and the sake of the Gospel - for your is the kingdom of heaven" - Jesus, Redeemer and King.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks, Martin. No need to apologise for anything:robust comments are welcome here ... the trick, however, is for me to moderate in such a way that many feel free to comment rather than just the few!

MichaelA said...

Thank you kiwianglo, I do take great comfort from that verse.