Friday, January 8, 2016

And ... it's Anglican Communion Quiz Time (last questions before the Primates' Meeting begins)

... continuing from the post below ... (I encourage you, late Saturday 9 January, to read the dialogue in the comments below between Bryden Black and Bowman Walton) ...

8. Friday 8 January Am I feeling overwhelmed by the number of posts across the Angliglobe today?

Answer: Yes, but please read on!!

If there is one and only one post you (and, I hope, also ++Justin, ++Peter Jensen, Dean Martyn Percy and all the ++Primates) read before Monday then it is:

High Stakes, Three Facts by Bowman Walton.

There are some very, very good (= thoughtful and/or important statements of position) other posts to consider:

Why the Primates Meeting is Important by Mark Harris

A Letter from Archbishop Stanley Ntagali to his Anglican Church in Uganda, headed up "Uganda will walk out of Primates Meeting, if "godly" order not restored" on Anglican Ink. I don't think this is posturing because ++Ntagali states clearly that he is bound by decisions of his church in terms of what he can and cannot agree to.

On beyond Primates by Jesse Zink. I don't agree with all Jesse says (e.g. about the relative unimportance of the Primates' Meetings) but he puts his finger on something extremely important: beyond primates, bishops, and such, Anglicans are very good at personally relating to one another even in disagreement. Can we take the "personal" virtue of Anglicanism and somehow embed it in the "institutional" (which, in this case of the PM, would be about finding ways to be a "communion" even when there are different "canonicities"). If those last few words do not make sense, go back to Bowman Walton's article linked above!

Pope Gregory and #Primates2016 - diversity, sex, and church order by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes. Ecclesial Groundhog Day?

9. Saturday 9 January Did you realise that James Bond is working behind the scenes of the Primates' Meeting?

Answer: Neither did I, until I saw this headline, "Spectre of walkout ..."

Actually, something important must be at stake because the Church Times, bless it, has not put the James Bond article behind its paywall!

10. Sunday 10 January* Is David Ould predictably right?

Answer: We will know in a few days time! I think his prognostication is a fair one on the basis of what we all know (and on the basis of some further knowledge David knows). If he is proved wrong, then it could be through a "moment/movement of the Spirit" which no one has seen coming; or it could be that human politicking all gets rather more complicated than we think (e.g. some kind of postponement of a decision).

I am posting this question Saturday evening NZ time ... I have rather a busy morning at church tomorrow!

11. Monday 11 January Will this letter make any difference?

Answer: We may never know. Brother Ivo gives a reasoned explanation for his signing of the letter. He rightly draws attention to something said to the recent CofE General Synod by Fr. Raniero:

"We should never allow a moral issue like that of sexuality divide us more than love for Jesus Christ unites us."

Postscript to Monday: a few other posts I think are worthy of note. (Absent posts might mean I am not that caring about what is in them!)


Psephizo, and I later note, another Psephizo post, making a response to another Martyn Percy article. (For what it is worth, since I was quite critical of the first Martyn Percy article, a few weeks back here on ADU, I both agree with Ian Paul's theological analysis of the weakness of Percy's thinking re (alleged) (semi-) Pelagianism and I support Percy reminding us of two things: we are talking about people, not only principles, people who are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, best friends and recent acquaintances, many of whom are being turned off God by the way these matters are being handled; secondly, it is discrimination to harp on about one group of Christians imperilling their salvation. My best understanding of myself is that daily (make that hourly and minute by minute) I am a continuing sinner in danger of losing my salvation. We all need a blast from Scripture about living in the Spirit and walking according to the law of Christ!)

In a Godward Direction

Anglican Curmudgeon

The last word for now is appropriately from The Living Church.


Bryden Black said...

Sure Peter; BW makes some interesting points. Yet for all that, please consider:

1. Is it disagreement per se that is at stake - or rather, disagreement over certain matters; and if the latter, then how might they be weighted? Already BW makes a distinction when he cites “canonicity”, aka “governance or discipline” - as if SSM were just that. Already we have the St Michael Report (2005) clearly showing the matter to be more than adiaphora, even if, in their eyes, not exactly creedal (yet I would demure: it is creedal because it touches upon a core feature of Christian anthropology after Imago Dei, itself a reflection of the triune God and so the Creed). And so we return not only to “shared canonicity” but also to “shared confession” via that very Symbol of the Faith which truly unites us in the Body of Christ. To try to separate the two in the end is a false chimera.

2. Actually; one does not have to be at all Liberal to care (love?) those who deem themselves to be homosexual in orientation. Nor does that “love” have to equate to a quiet affirmation of any/every ‘lifestyle’ - although of course many liberals would precisely equate such a ‘state’ with whatsoever is ‘desired’ (reflecting a true form of human liberality and so autonomy), while others would demure, seeking ‘monogamy’ for example. I’d simply demure from either, upholding traditional Christian marriage to be between a man and a woman - period/full-stop!

Thereafter: “if one truly believes that unchosen homosexuality is a global phenomenon that science will eventually explain, then one has a duty to keep the global Communion together and play the long global game to help others to understand this.” What hubris! And in addition, it fails to see that science is never value-free. What if - hypothetically - such “orientation” (following such a premise for the moment, which is itself debatable) is but a reflection of the Fall, of human nature that is broken and bent, and so something that requires precisely redemption? For example, tumours are often found along genetically predisposed pathways, even if they are triggered epigenetically. And we sure don’t suffer them too well ...!

3. I wonder how that principle would play out with semi-Arians, and/or semi-Pelagians? But then again, it is only viable as a stance alongside #1. Refute that initial premise, and #3 holds far less water and so weight. Indeed; the entire logic of “sharing Scripture” with Arians or Pelagians falls away when we consider the actual debates of the 4th & 5th C and their upshot, notably re the sorts of ‘reading habits’ which Nicene theologians actually created (cf. Lewis Ayres et al). I.e. at root, it’s not about Scripture per se nor its “sharing”; but rather, the crux concerns those habits of heart and mind with which we approach our reading and our praxis.

Anonymous said...

Bryden, I hope that your holidays were blessed?

Yes, unless the primates induce perfect agreement between TEC and GAFCON in one week, it is certain that the Communion will continue with disagreements about sex, or not at all. If you think that Christ prayed "that they may be one, even as you and I are one, unless they disagree about sex, in which case..." then we are not on the same page and cannot get there.

If we are on the same page, then the question is: what threatens communion and how might those threats be removed? There are two threats: (a) GAFCON believes that hypothetically communion should entail discipline but the Communion has no recognised structure for administering this; (b) The TEC General Convention actually defies the collaborative spirit of the Communion and actually is beyond discipline. These concerns are about canonicity, not communion. We can meet them by (a) agreeing with GAFCON on the principle that churches should have ordered discipline, and (b) allowing GAFCON and others to dissociate themselves from collaborating with the General Convention. With these steps, the actual threats would again be hypothetical threats. And that is as good as it gets.

It is possible that the Lord's return will leave the hypothetical threats dangling for all eternity. It is possible that the appointment of an avowed atheist as ABC or some other disaster could make the hypothetical actual again. We can only pray that the Communion will always be helped through any crises it may meet. For the pilgrim Church has no security of her own. The Holy Spirit does not belong to her, but she to the Holy Spirit.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
I may be misunderstanding you but my sense reading your comment is that we are in a room of students who are disagreeing over something, but as onlooking teachers we are convinced that there would be no disagreement if only one group of students would wake up to what they do not know and clarify what they understand imperfectly (which we understand, from our teacher's position, and about which we are glad that the other students have listened to us and they also understand).

But I understand that analogy (if it be fair to the framing of your comment) to be a misconception of the reality of Communion life at present. (Even if it is a true conception of what disagreement about godly things constitutes).

In the reality of Communion life as it is, Bowman is correct both to call on those with a certain view of the science of homosexuality to hang into the Communion for the long haul (it may be worthwhile for them to do so, if only we could all see 50 years ahead), as well as to chart a way forward via the distinction between "communion" and "canonicity."

We are in a disagreement which is not (yet) yielding to either eyes being opened, threats of discipline or even threats of division. Is there a way to live with this disagreement in the Communion for the time being? That is, until at least such time as we do resolve the disagreement (e.g. when a new generation sees things differently), or we find new agreements (e.g. when all Christian churches merge in the face of 22nd century persecution).

A final thought: running away to Rome seems a less attractive option these days (if it is attractive because they have "ways and means" of resolving differences, and commitments to never changing "the truth.") I say that because it seems as though similar faultlines are opening up there over the same matter!

Anonymous said...

“If one truly believes that unchosen homosexuality is a global phenomenon that science will eventually explain, then one has a duty to keep the global Communion together and play the long global game to help others to understand this.”

Bryden, Peter is right that I am appealing to liberals to recognise that their own convictions warrant both a longterm commitment to the Communion and some prudent forbearance with conservatives who cannot see things their way. This is not a far-fetched argument; some Thinking Anglicans have espoused a similar view that nothing is gained by pushing for SSM in provinces where homosexuals are being prosecuted or killed. What might be news to them is that some of us who do not agree with their theology of marriage do share their concern about the suffering of homosexuals.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

"What hubris!"

Personally, Bryden, I have always agreed with C. S. Peirce that the patient wait for the evidence and analysis that brings genuine clarity approaches the heights of humility. Where do you see hubris?

"And in addition, it fails to see that science is never value-free."

Yes, of course, just as well-applied theology is not altogether knowledge-free. The fact/value distinction has never been logically coherent anyway. But in this particular controversy, our understanding of causation in the *creation* has an unusual salience. Of several reasons, here are three--

(a) As you know, St Paul's extended allusion in Romans 1 is our one apostolic discussion of ancient homosexuality. It is verbally and otherwise linked to the observational sapience of the Wisdom of Solomon. Speculation about the regularity of human behaviour and its origin are inherent to the topic. If we all normally reached sexual maturity with no orientation at all, and had to read books, take lessons, etc to acquire one, this would be a very different discussion in a very different world. Israel's worship of the Creator and critique of idolatry is the heuristic for discerning the meaning of the natural pattern, but it presupposes some good faith attempt to see what that pattern is.

(b) For many evangelicals, the paramount concern is that the authority of scripture in the Church be maintained. Where Christians believe that about 3% of human beings fall outside the usual pattern, this is not in itself a rejection of scripture as the framework for making sense of this. But because Romans 1 and other passages caution against conforming one's thinking to the world, there is a valid concern-- especially among GAFCON primates-- that Anglicans in the global north do not have *moral certainty* for a belief that suggests toleration of behaviour condemned in antiquity. To achieve moral certainty about this matter, data must be collected and analysed, mechanisms sorted out, etc. That may happen in the next year or in the next century. In the meantime, it would surely be far less divisive for Anglicans to agree that the scriptures are indeed criterial, and that varying assessments of the evidence to which we apply them account for our practical disagreements about sex.

(c) There are those on both of the usual sides for whom *conscience clauses* are a sort of universal solvent for all disagreements. Not being one of them, it is important to me to distinguish cases of *evangelical liberty* for which *provision* is appropriate from cases of *antinomianism* for which it is not. One liberal argument sounds prima facie like a valid claim of evangelical liberty: *some people may have been born outside of the usual pattern, and if so, their efforts to cope are not rebellion against that pattern, and may be necessary to the proper gratitude to the Creator that is the proper end of every human existence.* In contrast, insofar as generalised suspicion of the scriptures is antinomianism (or Marcionism), it is rejection of the first article of the creeds and does not merit provision. Thus without engaging both the sciences and the scriptural heuristics for understanding the creation, behaviour, and sexuality, we cannot rightly distinguish between a claim possibly integral to the gospel and a claim certainly incompatible with it.

So, yes Bryden, I agree with you that science is not value-free, but infer from this that our task is, not to avoid observation and analysis, but to do both well and in a way informed by undoubted knowledge and our first-order dogmatic commitments. Because the fact/value distinction is itself logically invalid (cf Hilary Putnam, The Collapse of the Fact/Value Distinction), we cannot take refuge in a fact-free zone of pure value, for it does not exist.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

"What if - hypothetically - such *orientation* (following such a premise for the moment, which is itself debatable) is but a reflection of the Fall, of human nature that is broken and bent, and so something that requires precisely redemption? For example, tumours are often found along genetically predisposed pathways, even if they are triggered epigenetically. And we sure don’t suffer them too well ...!"

Then it would be like the blindness that will be mended in the age to come. In the meantime, blind men get around, read things, etc in ways that are not the ways that seeing men do it. If there were a law against swinging canes about in public, and a blind man were hauled into court for breaking it, it would certainly matter to a judge that the person doing it was no rebellious scofflaw but simply could not get around otherwise.

But *orientation* models only one of our interrelated concerns. Also important are sexual differentiation, orientation to procreation in marriage, and orientation to the kingdom in celibacy.

Bowman Walton

Bryden Black said...

I fear you do rather misunderstand me Peter. Your analogy is frighteningly akin to the Prince entertaining himself with four blind beggars touching an elephant, each on a different part of its body, each claiming their part as the whole.

No-one, as it were, knows better here (perhaps); unlike the Prince, there’s no God’s eye view immediately available.

Rather, my clear and valid differentiation between canonicity and communion is asking us especially about the nature of historical and/or geographical serendipity. Are these features of equivalent weight to “sanctification in the truth” (also Jn 17; more of that in a moment re BW's reply), or lesser, or what? What does, and what should hold Christians together? Not necessarily the same thing(s) at all. And finally, what might forms of Communion look like? That was why I for one was so allied to the idea of a Covenant.

BW has notably attempted to assemble three principles he considers determinative and/or helpful in the present circumstances of a Church which has emerged by historical contingency as much as by constructed design. Where one might place Lambeth 2008 crucially - as our last institutionalized expression of Communion - on such a scale almost defeats me, so constructed was it by means of its openendedness, a pseudo contingency ... But that only speaks of its Presidential love of Gillian Rose and such like (e.g. Bakhtin). It’s especially from within such an indeterminate legacy that we are now faced with the current ABC’s invitation.

Back to the beginning. I had a rude awakening in the 1980s to (some of) my Protestant presumptions: we are too easily fond of speaking of “faith and order”, as if we may hang loose to the latter more readily than the former (well; hopefully more strongly to the former!). Yet my interlocutor pointed out that in his RCC there was only faith, since matters of order were simultaneously matters of faith. True; as the recent Synod(s) in Rome has/ve also revealed, our Roman brothers, in wrestling with seemingly similar matters as ourselves, aspire to a “hierarchy of truths”, where there is ‘disagreement’ around precisely what that hierarchy (order?!) might be ... Yet their perspective shows us there must be a direct link between matters of faith and matters of order - of canonicity and so confession. And so, to merely assume SSM is a question of ‘discipline’ is already to foreclose on other options - and more basic options at that! And while we are still to address - try to address - certain key institutional concerns in what remains of the AC, the historical nature of both our human condition and the AC would suggest a real parting of the ways already upstream, over which we’ve no real control any more. Such that ‘damage control’ is our only option - well; political option. Yet that attitude/stance, to my mind, deliberately forsakes the very Gospel as our means of ‘salvation’, reverting back to Law. This to my mind is our biggest temptation at this hour.

Bryden Black said...

Many thanks Bowman for your fulsome replies on various fronts. I’m afraid I shall not be able to give the time to suitably address all of them; apologies.

Firstly, Jn 17's unity. Being in an ecumenical marriage of nearly 40 years, such texts and aspirations are foremost in my life. Yet textually at least I cannot divorce such concern for unity from either its immediate context of the whole Prayer, ch.17, or its wider context of the Upper Room Discourses, with (ala Frank Moloney) the Vine section as the chiastic centre. That is to say, re our own issues, Communion and unity may not be separated from either “sanctification in the truth” (17:17, and NB v.11 as well in relation to vv.20-1) or “remaining in the Vine”, and notably the matter of “pruning/cleansing”. This is not to indulge in some Puritan or Anabaptist take on Anglicanism; but it is to insist once more that matters of governance and matters of the Faith coinhere. And so lastly, I do sincerely agree with Ephraim Radner’s summation in The End of the Church, 339: “Christian division gives necessary rise to penitence because the Church derives its form from Christ’s incarnate body and remains bound to this body in time, and hence cannot escape, even in its sin, the controlling love of God” (emphasis original). In that setting therefore, I move onto ...

Agreed; two wrongs do not make a right. And it would assist greatly if Thinking Anglicans were to appreciate some of us more traditionally inclined are equally horrified by certain (political) stances against those who happen to deem themselves gay. But that does not thereby imply agreement with other ‘prescriptive programmes’! One still aspires to far more nuance from Church members ...!

As you will no doubt be aware, facts never speak for themselves. Everything depends upon the very questions we ask, and upon the way we frame them, as we seek to address what we deem to be the data before us to be assessed. And since this is the case, I have had to conclude, especially in the realm of psychology, much depends upon our prior appreciation of the human. I recall notably a w/e seminar with Carl Rogers, where I had to conclude two key things: it would have been impossible for him to have reached his own conclusions if he had not derived great benefit from his native western culture; yet secondly, he had also deliberately severed those fruits from the root itself, from the Person of Jesus and his Gospel, whose Name was nowhere acknowledged - indeed, could not be acknowledged!

And so, whatever “patterns” and/or paradigms might be construed to have emerged depends not only upon “patience” but also upon essential faith premises. Now; I do not understand wilful human blindness (aka ‘sin’), neither its aetiology nor its consequences - especially as I too await that Judge’s verdict (1 Cor 4:1-5). Yet in the very next sections (chs 5-11), devoted greatly to sexual matters initially, Paul establishes an “evangelical freedom” based not on knowledge but on “antinomian” “love” for the other derived from a form of “authority” that “imitates” our Crucified Lord. It is such a ‘performance of the truth’ (patterned in 2 Cor especially) that I recommend myself in these vexed matters. BUT THAT implies a Way which eschews the penultimate dispensation of Law and embraces an intimacy of divine triune Presence hardly tasted in our post Christian, neo pagan, super spiritual-cum-super materialistic consumer world, riven by a narcissistic drivenness. And it is this from which we westerners mostly need to “repent” (Radner again). All sides might benefit from such “penitence” ...

Bryden Black said...


QED: “But *orientation* models only one of our interrelated concerns. Also important are sexual differentiation, orientation to procreation in marriage, and orientation to the kingdom in celibacy.” Right on brother - with one key alteration: “For essential” versus “Also important”. That way we may reframe that other claim to ‘orientation’ from within a more fulsome paradigm of creation/Fall/redemption/eschatological fulfilment - within which another form of ‘patience’ is indeed paradigmatic, in faith, hope and love (Rom 5:1-5, 8:17-end, 11:32, 12:1-2. For this is Paul’s antidote to Rom 1:18ff, with its Wisdom 13f and Gen 1 exegetical background, and idolatry).

Anonymous said...

Bryden, you must be celebrating old calendar Christmas with Andrei, for you are still giving away huge presents ;-) Just to keep our feet on the ground-- for a moment anyway-- two and half notes on my Fulcrum article's distinction between communion and canonicity.

(a) If Anglicans had all participated in just one conversation about the disputed questions, that conversation would have gone very differently. Empathy would have been easier to achieve. A need to weigh words more carefully would have left some bad words unsaid. Polarisation, and so misrepresentations and evasions, would have been impossible. Taking the points of disagreement in a different order would have resulted in different divisions and options. In such ways as those, unity has its own episteme in God. Hence, it seems incoherent to me to think that a communion can splinter into zealous factions with partial perceptions then reunite in a crisis to put the perceptions together as One Big Truth. "All the king's horses and all the king's men..."

(b) The conflict of canonicities in the Communion-- one bottom up, one top down-- is more real than many realise. TEC is 99+1 de facto churches whose conventions make their own rules, elect their own bishops, and rein them in with elected standing committees that make policy. CoE is a synod lightly constraining two archbishops in council who preside over their respective provincial hierarchies of bishops. The former was designed to reflect its society; the latter evolved to maintain the continuity of tradition; both have performed as expected.

Because of their contrasting polities, the two churches have different senses of legitimacy. The idea of a moratorium to give archbishops time to sort something out is incomprehensible to TEC General Conventions that vote on baptism every three years. But to Anglicans accustomed to more vertical governance that sort of deference is a common sense obligation, and they are shocked-- shocked, I tell you! (grasping left lapel, pounding lectern for emphasis)-- to hear that elected delegates listened to those who elected them and voted accordingly. And indeed-- not a few Episcopalians say earnestly that TEC must be even more responsive to the people in the pews-- is this possible?-- whilst ABCs who keep saying "we have no pope" just irritate people who see no point in a hierarchy that does not occasionally burn some heretics and put their heads on pikes outside Lambeth Palace. Or at least say definitively that somebody, somewhere is wrong about religion.

So Father Ron has been right to bang a drum for unity in communion, unity in communion, and also, unity in communion. From the moment GAFCON needlessly made a target of Canterbury, the dissensus in the Communion has been nearly irreversible. I am reminded of the knights who signed up for a crusade to free Jerusalem for the Pope, but ended up sacking Constantinople for the Venetians instead. And with at least two different polities embedding different senses of legitimacy among people and clergy of the Communion's churches, only a rather numinous faith in unity could make conversation even possible. If to you that unity can never be more than a Platonic divine lie, so be it. Credo in unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam.

Bowman Walton

Bryden Black said...

Yes indeed Bowman! I am well aware of the divide re polities (as well as the interpretations of polities). But you omit dear old ACANZ&P! Now there's a polity (polities in tandem as well parallel) worth highlighting ... Which makes for a very curious kind of legitimacy. And no doubt May's GS will reveal all ... not ... So pray for Fr RS's own local goatskin please ...

Anonymous said...

Bryden, I am still opening these big boxes you have left, but a few quick replies to what I see peering down into them.

The imperative right now is simply to pray for the primates and for unity in communion. As noted in September, I have not had high expectations for the meeting itself, but suspect that it marks a shift from efforts to conserve (or disrupt) the old conventions of unity to discernment of a new understanding of unity, perhaps with some different participants. The aftermath probably matters at least as much as the meeting.

Your comments on Carl Rogers remind me of Charles Taylor's premise in A Secular Age-- what makes our time different from times past is that there is a plausible humanism outside the Church. Like anything cultural, it has roots in what preceded it, but it is practised without reference to those origins. Although southern pessimism about the north is at the centre of the present quarrel, neither side has come to terms with the best analysis of what has changed.

When SSM was first being discussed in TEC in the 1970s, the tenor of the argument was that the usual pattern (Genesis 1:28, 2:18) was God's will, but that some who were prevented from participating in all of it should be enabled to live as much of it as they could. The Six Texts then seemed able to support an interpretation that did not altogether proscribe gay sex, the emphatic rejection of Humanae Vitae seemed to have buried the moral connection between marriage and procreation, and mapping gender roles onto a same sex couple seemed silly in a unisex moment. To support SSM, one then needed to be very liberal on social questions, but could be fairly conservative in theological matters. For those of that time and its assumptions, acceptance of SSM has gotten easier and easier with time.

What has polarised opinion over the decades since then is the coincidence that, on one hand, a conservative defense of masculinity from the deepening radicalism of cultural feminism has made differentiation much more important to the understanding of marriage, and on the other hand confirmation of the traditional reading of the Six Texts has made them the logical place to put the barricades. In all of this, SSM has become, not just a minor social reform to relieve some suffering, but a referendum on the radical feminist critique of Christendom.

More anon.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you both, Bowman and Bryden, for intelligent, erudite, and, in the best sense, provocative thinking.
I take all you say on board, including the following:
The importance of prayer for the meeting,
The importance of clear thinking and accurate historical understanding of what the presenting and presuppositional issues are,
The importance of common ground underpinning communion even as we engage with the grounds which differentiate us, both in terms of possible diverse canonicities, and in terms of varied engagement with local contexts,
Refusal to separate order from faith and vice versa.
Right, I am off to take an authorised service and preach on the lectionary readings while wearing my rubrically required robes!

Anonymous said...

For reference, the Default Scenario, the one that most observers have expected for years, approximately as described by David Oulds--

(1) GAFCON Primates will demand that TEC and ACC repent.
(2) So will Non-GAFCON Global South (GS) Primates.
(3) The ABC will invite TEC and the ACC to consider their position, acting as mediator not enforcer.
(4) TEC/ACC will ask for more time.
(5) The ABC will try to broker an agreement.
(6) GAFCON/GS partners will leave the meeting.

The strong argument for the Default Scenario is that it is the trap that has been set for the ABC by some key players playing the long game for several years. The strong argument against the Default Scenario is that the ABC who called the meeting knows about the trap. Prediction is less timely than prayer, but it may help even that to list some ways in which the Holy Spirit might enable something else to happen--

(1') The agenda puts sex last rather than first, enabling consideration of a range of issues important to Primates, and containing GAFCON drama at least until the end of a real meeting.
(2') Non-GAFCON Global South (GS) Primates express tentative support for the ABC's looser, more missional Communion.
(3') Turning to sex, the ABC invites TEC and the ACC to recognise ACNA to satisfy the Primates' previous demand for alternative oversight, removing all doubt about ACNA's canonical status.
(4') TEC acknowledges that it cannot constitutionally comply with all the accumulated Communion demands, and requests or accepts an associate status in the new Communion. ACC proposes joint Communion discernment of the proper response to civil laws enabling SSM. A commission for this purpose is established under the chairmanship of the Church of England's ABY.
(5') The ABC offers the Primates the choice of retaining TEC as an equal in a diluted Communion, or building stronger ties by accepting TEC's associate status. GS Primates note that they have already recognised ACNA and attenuated ties to TEC. They choose the latter.
(6') Foiled again, GAFCON leaders leave the meeting; intrigued GS Primates, both in and out of GAFCON, stay for the gathering.

Again, (1'-6') are not a prediction; they are simply an indication that there are lively alternatives to (1-6).

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, "Peace I give to
you; my own peace I leave with you:" Regard not our sins,
but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and
unity of that heavenly City, where with the Father and the
Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion
prayed for his disciples that they might be one, even as thou
and he are one: Grant that thy Church, being bound together
in love and obedience to thee, may be united in one body by
the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom thou
didst send, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who
liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, who hast made of one blood all the peoples of the
earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to those
who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people
everywhere may seek after thee and find thee, bring the
nations into thy fold, pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh, and
hasten the coming of thy kingdom; through the same thy
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

~ The Book of Common Prayer (1979) USA

Bowman Walton

Bryden Black said...

Amine to all four prayers Bowman. Yet they lack one vital dimension: Eph 6:10ff. And without a direct engagement there, I sense inevitable failure in the end ...

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you for the prayers, Bowman, and the analysis!