Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jesus never, ever intended this to happen!

UPDATED UPDATE: I won't keep copying material from elsewhere on to this post and thus lengthening. But I refer you again to the Liturgy post and further illuminating discussion there as it develops (even if what is being illuminated is the confusion and/or complexity of the situation as well as possibilities for a way forward).

UPDATE: Bosco Peters has also commented here, in turn generating a robust thread of comments.

My contribution to that thread I also print here:

"The following are my questions in the light of the post and thread of comments above. In parentheses I have placed what my current answers are, pending confirmation/de-confirmation, by Bosco and/or Brian Dawson:

1. Has the lectionary (i.e. as printed by our church annually) set down readings for Sea Sunday? (My answer: yes).

2. Are those readings 'authorised readings via proper Synodical process'? (My answer on the basis of above, "No, they are just recommended readings".)

3. As set out in the lectionary, might liturgy preparers assume that one may choose which readings to use for the day (i.e. RCL or Sea Sunday readings)? (My answer: yes).

4. (More generally, with a particular point of comparison, Sunday 2 June, 2013, Te Pouhere Sunday) does the current manner of setting out Sea Sunday (RCL first, Sea Sunday second) not imply it is a. Optional b. transferable to suit local custom without going 'twice round'? (My answer: Yes.)

(Additional observation: Also, compared to Te Pouhere Sunday, where Te Pouhere is first printed and RCL second, and thus it seems that Te Pouhere DOES take precedence over RCL, it seems plain that by comparison, Sea Sunday is a 'lesser' matter and thus not worthy of "twice round" re some alteration. A simple italicised direction within the lectionary, such as, "or on another Sunday to suit local custom, providing it does not displace a major feast" should do the trick!)"

Then, further comment here on ADU:

In the Calendar, as printed in our prayer book, p.13, Section 6 Other Special Days (iii) the instruction is,

"Those Sundays designated by resolution of General Synod from time to time may be observed.

Aotearoa Sunday - Sunday before Advent
Sea Sunday - Second Sunday in July
Social Services Sunday - Fourth Sunday in July."

Herein, I suggest, lies the origin of current debate over the GS motion now going the twice round process.

My observations: (1) the effect of the word "may" in the cited words above means the three Sundays then described are examples only. (2) They are examples of what General Synod may "resolve". As such they carry no weight from the perspective of our formularies. What General Synod may resolve it may unresolve or it may vary by resolution. (3) Such variation does not require a change to the Calendar, it only requires the editor of the annual lectionary to publish an additional direction. (4) It is unfortunate that the current words in the Calendar (cited above) do not include a phrase such as 'For example' prior to mentioning three specific "resolved" Sundays. After all, what the formulary is laying down is that "resolved" Sundays may be observed. It is not laying down in a definitive manner the extent of the list of such resolved Sundays, not does the permission given require a list within the formulary itself. The list could be within the annual lectionary itself.

Bosco Peters' response on his thread is copied for you here:

"Thank you so much, Peter, for joining this discussion here (as well as providing perspective on your own site). My fundamental point remains that GSTHW needs to take our church’s confused situation seriously. The confusion is evident from seemingly-trivial to very serious.
I think it best to take each of your points and place my own response in italics.
1. Has the lectionary (i.e. as printed by our church annually) set down readings for Sea Sunday? (My answer: yes).
Agreed, there are readings printed in the annual NZ Lectionary 2013 booklet for Sea Sunday. These cannot be used in the Eucharist, as, for the Eucharist, we have an agreed formulary, RCL. And formulary trumps. I am trying to be clear in my distinction between the annual lectionary booklet publication and any other use of the word “lectionary”.
2. Are those readings ‘authorised readings via proper Synodical process’? (My answer on the basis of above, “No, they are just recommended readings”.)
Agreed that the readings printed in the lectionary booklet for Sea Sunday are not part of the Sea Sunday formulary. Page 5 of the booklet lists a full page of “Where does this material come from?” The editors source, internationally and ecumenically, material that, in their opinion, is useful and appropriate.
3. As set out in the lectionary, might liturgy preparers assume that one may choose which readings to use for the day (i.e. RCL or Sea Sunday readings)? (My answer: yes).

I think I have to accept your answer, Peter. I think that the majority of liturgy preparers would rely on the annual lectionary publication. Personally, I just tend to follow RCL, so that often means I might forget to even look in the booklet. I also understand myself as having committed myself in my vows to following RCL when celebrating Eucharist, so it would never cross my mind to replace what I have vowed to do with an interesting other resource. Also, there are occasions when the lectionary booklet, over many years, is clearly in error.
4. (More generally, with a particular point of comparison, Sunday 2 June, 2013, Te Pouhere Sunday) does the current manner of setting out Sea Sunday (RCL first, Sea Sunday second) not imply it is a. Optional b. transferable to suit local custom without going ‘twice round’? (My answer: Yes.)
(Additional observation: Also, compared to Te Pouhere Sunday, where Te Pouhere is first printed and RCL second, and thus it seems that Te Pouhere DOES take precedence over RCL, it seems plain that by comparison, Sea Sunday is a ‘lesser’ matter and thus not worthy of “twice round” re some alteration. A simple italicised direction within the lectionary, such as, “or on another Sunday to suit local custom, providing it does not displace a major feast” should do the trick!)
Thank you for pointing this out Peter. I think, in fact, if that is what the lectionary booklet implies then that is false, and the booklet is misinforming. I think this needs a full post of its own, not a simple comment at the end of a long thread. I now think, especially fromyour own further expansion on your site, that for Sea Sunday, being one of the Sundays “designated by resolution of General Synod from time” (NZPB p13), it is not appropriate for GSTHW to seek the twice round process. This would only be appropriate if GSTHW was seeking to have the possibility of readings replace the ones we have agreed to in RCL. There is nothing in the legislation as it has reached us that suggests that the agreed (RCL) Sunday readings may be replaced."

ORIGINAL POST HERE:

I do not go looking for Anglican absurdities, stupidities and nonsenses. They just come to my In Box.

The following arrived yesterday. Our diocesan synod is in a couple of weeks' time. In national head office it would appear that a detail of the General Synod in 2012 was overlooked until now, namely the following statute which requires the "twice round" procedure of approval (General Synod, then a majority of diocesan synods, then General Synod again). So, in haste it has been added to our and other diocesan synods' business before General Synod meets again in 2014. Read on ...

"Statute 699

The Calendar – Te Maramataka Amendment Statute 2012

Noting that:

(a)    The General Synod / te Hinota Whanui by Statute 456 in 1988 confirmed the adoption of The Calendar – Te Maramataka as a Formulary, and

(b)   The May 2011 Conference of the Oceania Council for Missions to Seafarers drew attention to the historical date for Sea Sunday on the Second Sunday of July being chosen to suit the, at the time, predominantly English Mission to Seafarers, and is thus in the height of a northern hemisphere summer, when weather permits more easily nautically festive activities, while July in this Church more often delivers weather not conducive to such outdoor nautical activities, and thus the Sunday is already being observed at different times in many places, and

(c)    That Conference requested that in addition to the 2nd Sunday of July, provision be made for Sea Sunday to be celebrated on another Sunday as  determined by local custom, and

(d)    The 2011 International Mission to Seafarers Consultative Forum held in London gave unreserved support to proposing such a change,

The General Synod / te Hinota Whanui enacts as follows:

1.       Title:  The title of this Statute shall be The Calendar – Te Maramataka Amendment Statute 2012.

2.       Purpose: To allow for Sea Sunday to be celebrated on an alternative date to the 2nd Sunday of July as determined by local custom.

3.       The Calendar – Te Maramataka (of A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa)  - is amended as follows:

                at the appropriate place on page 13, Section 6 (iii), in the Calendar, the words ‘or on a    Sunday as determined by local custom’, are inserted following the words ‘Sea Sunday –    Second Sunday in July’.

4.       Clause 3 of this Statute is the adoption of a specific proposal in terms of Part B, Clause 6(a) of the Constitution/ te Pouhere, and Section 4 (a) of the Church of England Empowering Act 1928, and shall be made known to Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, the Synod of the Diocese of Polynesia, and the several Diocesan Synods in New Zealand.

We certify that this Statute was passed by the General Synod/ te Hinota Whanui on 11 July 2012. As witnessed by our hands 14 August 2012.



WB Turei                                              DJ Moxon                                            W Halapua
Primate and Archbishop                               Primate and Archbishop               Primate and Archbishop  

 "
For those unfamiliar with these things, the "twice round procedure" is designed to slow the church's decision-making down, so that we only approve really important things with careful vetting and time for consideration. It is GOOD that we do this when, e.g. revising the prayer book, changing the doctrine of the Trinity (only kidding!), determining who should be celebrated as a worthy saint in the calendar. Such things relate to Jesus and the gospel because they express what we believe to be 'the doctrine of Christ' working its way out in the faith and practice of our church.

I suggest the "twice round" procedure should ONLY be used for such matters and not for others.

For the life of me, I cannot see how Sea Sunday and its place in our calendar has anything to do with the doctrine of Christ. I have even less ability to understand why this particular variation (to permit local custom to prevail) is deserving of the "twice round" procedure.

So, what is the problem? We have raised minor aspects of 'the Calendar' to the same status as the doctrine of the Trinity, the embedding of belief in the prayer book, and, dare I say it, with a view on other aspects of GS 2014, what we believe about marriage. This is absurd, stupid, and nonsensical.

What General Synod should be doing is revising what we believe about the Calendar, not what we believe about Sea Sunday and when it may be celebrated. 101 aspects of the Calendar should be determined by simple resolution. Leave the significant aspects - which saints, martyrs and VIPs - to twice round by all means (it would be terrible to place spiritual frauds on the Calendar). But let us, please, diminish the importance of many aspects of the Calendar.

Whatever Jesus came to do when he founded the church, he did not intend a situation in which the combined forces of scribalism and legalism bore down on the church to create unnecessary business for disciples of Christ intent on working in synod to foster his ministry and mission in the world.

Every so often the church (any church, every church) needs to stand back from its rules and ask, 'Does this have any foundation in the mission of Christ?'

I put it to my church that this proposal highlights a very silly place to which our church has traveled.

POSTSCRIPT: I have similar thoughts about many of the rubrics in A New Zealand Prayer Book. Most rubrics are a guide to practice. They are not as important as the words of the services themselves. One or two rubrics, arguably, express doctrine. Most do not. Yet we have elevated their status via embedding them in the prayer book to the same as the words of the services.

13 comments:

hogsters said...

Yes. And to make a point . Sometimes when we loose the point we focus more on the style and it takes precedence over substance.

blessings

Andrew Allan-Johns said...

Even if it is absurd (and it is) why has it taken the General Synod office this long to attend to this? Did it get lost in other paper work?

Father Ron Smith said...

So, the double jeopardy has now been in operation for the observance of Sea Sunday? Who really cares, when so much else needs to be done? I agree Peter. General Synod must be looking for more to do. Are you not a member?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I have not been a member since 2005!

Andrew Reid said...

Peter, may I direct your attention to that hopelessly un-Anglican group in Australia who elect bishops withouth the need for confirmation from the wider church? :)

Our General Synod has a procedure called a Special Bill, which has to do the same double round procedure as you mention in your post. However, this is only applied for matters relating to "ritual ceremonial or discipline of this Church", or if the Synod requests it by 3/4 majority. Other bills may pass in the normal way, without reference to the dioceses.

Peter Carrell said...

A true Anglican, Andrew, is a Christian who does what Christ intended!

Tobias Haller said...

We have similar strictures in my neck of the Anglican woods. Anything in the BCP requires two consecutive regular sessions of our triennial synod -- so any amendment to the Calendar or Table of Lessons, or even to correct an error in determining the Date of Easter would have to pass through this minimum six year process.

Perhaps it would be helpful to all concerned to consider clarifying what portions of our respective BCPs are "Gospel" and which are "Gloss" ?

All the best,
T

Peter Carrell said...

Heh, Tobias, that is a nice alliterative distinction, Gospel v. Gloss!

Kelvin Wright said...

Peter I agree completely. When this came across my desk I shrugged and dutifully put it on the agenda for our diocesan synod, recognising that we would devote as much debating time to it as it's worth.

But I have read Bosco's blog comment on this, and now yours, and wonder why we in Dunedin are helping perpetuate this kind of time wasting fatuousness.

liturgy said...

Greetings Peter

Thanks for your post.

For your readers who want to spend even more energy on this, I have written a post The emperor is naked!

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi +Kelvin and Bosco
Thanks for commenting and thanks, Bosco, for your post (and, now, I see, a singularly combative debate emerging in the comments!)

Steve Finnell said...

WHY DO MEN REJECT OR NOT UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH?

What are the reasons men reject, abandon, or do not understand the truth concerning God, His terms for pardon, or His commandments for living the Christian lifestyle?

THE REASONS!

John 12:42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;

Are there men today who do not confess Jesus as the Christ because they fear being ostracized or banished by their secular friends, antiChristian groups, or other religions?

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

Why will these men perish? 1. They were deceived by wickedness. 2. They did not love the truth. 3. They chose not to believe the truth. 4. They took pleasure in wickedness. NOTICE: God sent a deluding influence so they would believe what was false after they had rejected the truth.

Matthew 24:5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.
Matthew 24:11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

Many are and will be mislead away from the truth about Jesus.
No man has to be mislead. It is a choice.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Men who sincerely seek God will not be mislead.

Roman 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

Men cannot believe the truth about Jesus unless they have heard the truth preached.

2 Peter 3:16-17 as also in his letters, speaking in them of things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall your own steadfastness,

The reasons some men do not understand some difficult passages of Scripture and teach error, are, that they are untaught, unstable, and unprincipled.

WHAT ARE THE REASONS MEN DENY THE CLEAR MEANING OF ACTS 22:16?

Acts 22:12-16.... Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name!

What would be the reason that men say, Saul had had his sins forgiven on the road to Damascus three days prior?

What would be the reason why that men would say, Saul had had his sin forgiven because of "faith only" the moment he believed three days ago on the road to Damascus?

Why would men deny that even though Saul was confronted by Jesus on the road to Damascus, and repented three day prior to arriving at Damascus, that Saul was still in his sins until he was baptized in water calling on the name of the Lord? (Acts 9:1-19, Acts 22:1-16, Acts 26:12-18)

Saul's sins were not washed away until he was baptized in water calling on the name of the Lord. Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus.

WHY DO MEN REJECT OR NOT UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH?


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liturgy said...

Thank you, Peter, for sharpening up the issues. I think you are correct that GSTHW is using the twice round process inappropriately.

I think synods should not pass this legislation. It should not return to GSTHW.

I have responded to your four points on my site. It may help those here if you want to copy my replies here. Your call.

Thanks again for the helpful dialogue.

Blessings

Bosco