Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh well

Flicking through Thinking Anglicans, Preludium, and even Fulcrum, in respect of Communion matters, and in particular with the ACNA question coming before the C of E General Synod on Wednesday, it is not at all clear that much will emerge at this time which will build Communion. ACNA has many critics. But if the criticism is deserved, might there nevertheless be some grace shown to them by the "Communion" (i.e. by people called into being through forgiveness and mercy).

Oh, wait, I know from comments made to some things I have said that ACNA has not been particularly nice to Episcopalians, so why should anyone be nice to ACNA?

Yet Anglicanism was always about width, accommodation, tolerance, and latitude. But here's the thing - touched on recently by Archbishop Mouneer - Anglicanism is not very good at tolerating those it deems to be narrow, exclusive, intolerant, and puritanical. So one can find this kind of comment on an Anglican blog, "... fundamentalist evangelical. We hate them ...".

Is the key to a renewed Communion a new learning for Anglicans: how to tolerate the intolerant? Or is Anglicanism basically a club for "people like us" - the us, according to the West, being the liberal majority - so no new learning required, just persistent eradication of the ones not like us?

Despite all the justifications for excluding ACNA from a seat at the Anglican table, I am left wondering whether the wood is being missed for the trees. This is an opportunity for the Communion to show ACNA what a big, generous Anglican heart is all about.

It looks like the C of E will not be paving the way this week. TEC will not do so at this time.

Oh well.


Unknown said...

Dear Peter - Isn't the suggestion that Anglicans learn to tolerate the intolerant a Non sequitur? Does the ACNA really propose to have communion with the 'heretic' TEC? Is their membership of the Communion not contingent on the TEC being expelled? Am I missing the point?

Joshua Bovis said...

Interesting to see what happens. Have you read the AB of C's address?

ps. Being ordained on the 24th!!!!p.p.s Why is my blog not on your list of blogs?! :( I am a fellow Anglican! A fellow Antipodean! I know I am Australia, but I think the NZ anthem is better than ours, I even barrack for NZ in the cricket and the Soccer World Cup!!!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Juan
It may be a non sequitur! But there is a larger issue than Latin tags here: is the Communion as a whole going to "tolerate" TEC (left-leaning, liberal Anglicanism) at the expense of ACNA (right leaning, conservative Anglicanism), or work to include both? Yes, ACNA, according to certain statements wishes TEC not to be part of the Communion, but has the Communion clearly and carefully offered ACNA the opportunity of belonging alongside TEC? As far as I know, it has not. If it did ACNA would be faced with choosing its own Communion future, and doing so in the face of a generous offer.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Joshua
That omission has now been rectified. Only, of course, because your blog passes the high standard of excellence required to be included on the list :)

Best wishes for your ordination and ordained ministry!!

Kurt said...

Peter, by recognizing ACNA as a part of our Communion one opens the door to other disruptions throughout the world.

What about an “Episcopal Church in New South Wales”? The ECNSW, following your inclinations, would be composed of those liberal High Church parishes (and probably a number of Low, but theologically Broad parishes) who have no time for Jensenite Evangelicalism. They would, (as you have suggested time and time again here and elsewhere), takeover “their” church properties from the Diocese of Sydney. They would elect their own bishop---perhaps a lesbian in a committed relationship. And they would be just as much a part of the Anglican Communion as the Jensenites are now. How does that sound to you?

And, of course, let’s not forget the Diocese of Nelson. Maybe some liberals there think that the Rt. Rev. Jack Spong would be just right as the Bishop of the “Very Liberal Anglican Church of NZ” (VLACNZ). And, of course, they would want “their” properties turned over to them, too. How about that?

You see, once one starts down this road...

Kurt Hill
In blizzard-bound Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt
There may be more in common between TEC and Sydney than meets the eye! In both cases there are Anglicans roundabout (and from afar) who think that the official Anglican church thereabouts has wandered too far from Anglican Central. In the case of TEC a now significant group of Anglicans have expressed the desire to (a) no longer be part of the official local Anglican church, (b) remain Anglican, and (c) be part of the Anglican Communion (though some voices seem ambiguous about this third desire). This can be viewed as disruptive (especially because not everyone involved seems to have been polite to everyone else, and messy property questions have arisen), but it could also be viewed as a reasonable approach to take to working out what being Anglican means.

As far as I know those Anglicans in Sydney who are not happy with Jensenist leadership of the Diocese have not organised an alternative expression of Anglicanism there. But if that were to happen I would hope that a similar appreciation of the nature of local tensions, and of possible future directions would come from people such as myself, and from the wider Communion.

As for the Nelson Diocese, as far as I can tell it remains a happy diocese following my departure. But whether that is because the average quotient of conservatism or liberalism has improved, I cannot determine!!!

Anonymous said...

"As for the Nelson Diocese, as far as I can tell it remains a happy diocese following my departure. But whether that is because the average quotient of conservatism or liberalism has improved, I cannot determine!!!"

Careful, Peter - remember what Muldoon said about Kiwis emigrating to OZ!