Down Under we see things differently. Nihil unquam memini me legere deterius, lectuque minus dignum!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Further Reports on Visit
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
25, 55, 500, 145
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Update Programme for Christchurch Visit
7pm Evensong at St Michael and All Angels (corner of Durham St and Oxford Terrace). Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach.
28th June, 2-3.30pm “In conversation with Bishop Katharine” - an informal gathering at the Bishop’s centre, Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu, 290 Ferry Road.
5.30pm for 6pm “Conversation and Language – violent and otherwise” Canterbury Women’s House, 190 Worcester Street (between Latimer Square and Barbadoes Street) Women and men are welcome to this event. Donation of $10. Please bring a plate of finger food for a shared tea for after the talk.
29th June, 5.30pm for 6pm C1 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury, ( near James Hight Library between Clyde and Ilam Roads), The address is titled: “Science and Religion – your context or mine?” Donation of $5
Saturday, June 26, 2010
NZ Leg of Down Under Visit Underway
Friday, June 25, 2010
Where Australia goes, we go too ... sort of
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Why wary of Schori?
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sneering secularism failing to permeate the outer suburbs
Among the inner-city types who frequent taxpayer subsidised literary festivals, what Michael Burleigh has called sneering secularism is all the rage. Witness the recent successful tours to Australia of such proselytising atheists as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
The teachings of Dawkins and Hitchens seem to have enthused secular flocks in Ultimo or Melbourne's Brunswick.
But not so much in the outer suburbs and regional centres where God is anything but dead.
News of the Day
Faith and Order: careful comparison
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
That interesting Dean of Southwark Cathedral
Monday, June 21, 2010
Faith and Order: supporting the Williams-Kearon line
Has TEC crossed a ‘Faith and Order’ line which deserves, if not demands that members of that church on Communion ecumenical bodies should be removed, and its member on the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) be restricted to consultancy status? Mark Harris at Preludium argues for a negative answer: such action is neither deserved nor demanded. In respect of the ecumenical bodies, Harris argues that ‘no requirement exists that there be a consistent Anglican voice at the ecumenical table’ and offers issues such as divorce and remarriage or the inerrancy of Scripture as issues on which it is unlikely that an Anglican body engaged in ecumenical discussions would have ‘one voice on the matter’.
With respect to IASCUFO Mark Harris cites the relevant Anglican Communion information about this body as offering nothing ‘to suggest that unanimity in viewpoint is a requirement for participation in the Commission.’
Harris also contrasts Kenneth Kearon’s point, relating to ‘the mind of the Communion’ that (on some matters at least) the Anglican Communion must speak with one voice with this point, ‘Surely it would be just as honest to come to the ecumenical table and say that Anglican churches are not of one mind on the matters concerning the vocation of gay and lesbian persons.’
A final point which Harris makes is, I suggest, easily dealt with. He asserts that when Kearon said to the TEC Executive Council, ‘not been to get at TEC, but to find room for others to remain as well as enabling as full a participation as possible for TEC’ this meant, ‘In other words to rid the Communion of those troublesome people.’ But that is not at all the plain meaning of either Kearon’s words, or the Archbishop of Canterbury’s actions. No one is being gotten rid of from the Communion.
Nevertheless action has been taken re two forms of Communion meetings, and Mark Harris is rightly keen to determine whether justification for this action is solid or ephemeral.
What might the solid ground or grounds of justification be? One ground is helpfully given in a comment in the post below: some bodies, such as another Christian church or a Muslim body either will not dialogue with Anglican bodies, or only dialogue with difficulty, while the Anglican Communion is deemed to be a body accepting the ordination of same sex partnered bishops. A sidelining or inhibition of TEC from certain Communion bodies is a signal that the Communion does not accept (or, does not yet accept) that which is inimical to such ecumenical dialogue.
Another ground involves ‘faith and order’ but in a different way to that given when reference is made to a World Council of Churches understanding of ‘Faith and Order’. It goes like this: the Anglican Communion is a body to which some churches want to belong to as members. Not all who wish to belong are permitted to belong, so some criterion or criterion of membership is involved in determining which churches may be member churches and which may not. Further, member churches appear to derive some benefit from belonging because there is normally a cost to membership, monetary or in time, energy and people resources. In short, there is shared faith and agreed order to Anglican life in the Anglican Communion. There are other Anglican churches in the world, but they do not share the faith and order of the Communion so they are not members of the Communion.
Further, varying interpretations of what constitutes that faith and order are likely to arise in a multi-member body, and in fact this is the case. Hence a further aspect to order in the Communion is the Communion collectively finding ways to address the question of handling these varying interpretations. Mostly the Communion is adept at living with varying interpretations, and on a number of matters has found that it can communicate to other bodies that it is itself a body with more than one view in its midst. One such example is the ordination of women.
However recently the Communion has found that living with varying interpretations about homosexuality is not something it is adept at. It may one day be in a different position, but right now it is not. Collectively the Communion has said it is not ready for the lead TEC has given, and is not any more agreeable to it now it has been confirmed than before. Part of that collective statement has been a series of clear indications that the Communion will no longer exist in its current form if no signal is given that TEC’s lead at this time is not acceptable.
Whether or not there is a past statement such as the Nicene Creed or the Lambeth Quadrilateral to be pointed to, or a common canon law or constitutional rule to be referenced, the Communion is saying two things at this time: ordaining same sex partnered bishops and authorising blessings of same sex partnerships is not part of Anglican faith and order as this Communion in its present composition understands faith and order AND these are not matters on which we formally wish to be seen speaking with multiple and different voices.
In other words, Mark Harris’ careful critique of the arguments proffered by Kenneth Kearon fails to recognise that we are not in normal Anglican mode on these matters. If we were, his argument would be solid ground for refuting Kearon’s line. But we are not in normal mode. These are exceptional times for the Communion and exception is being taken to the view that refusal to listen to the Communion means business as usual on bodies concerned with faith and order.
It is not clear to me how this message gets through into the collective mind of TEC’s leadership. It is bizarre that a church desperate to belong to the Communion will not listen to the Communion let alone accede to its wishes. It is beyond bizarre that there is seemingly little or no understanding that the Communion which it is so keen to belong to is at a turning point. If we make the wrong move at this crucial moment in history then the Communion could be lost for ever.
Addendum: The message does seem to be getting through to some such as this commenter on Preludium, who identifies himself as a gay priest serving in TEC. An excerpt: "We are getting a time-out because we acting arrogantly and self-servingly. We act as if we are not part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We act vaingloriously as if we are so incredibly wise, knowledgeable, and “prophetic” that we don’t need to listen to anyone else.
We are acting as a Church in the same why our State Department and Military leadership acted under George Bush. We can do whatever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want, unilaterally because we are Americans and that makes it right! We claim over and over that we "listen," but we still act like Bushy Americans. Are we so blind that we cannot see that as a Church we are acting like the “ugly Americans,” imperialists, paternalists thinking that we know so much better than all others, particularly those backward Africans? And to add insult to injury, we are actually claiming “colonial victimhood” because the English ABC is beginning to take action - fairly, I might add."
Faith and Order: careful critique
Which Inclusion Leads Communion?
Speaks for itself
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Creatively Anglican in being church
Friday, June 18, 2010
It's not the mitre, it's Canada you should be thinking about
Not so odd?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Conciliar Anglican Thoughts
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Authority, autonomy and Anglican
Facts on the Ground
Grace and Favour
But that does not alter the fact that the title of his book could not be more wrong if applied to the God and Father of Jesus Christ. The true and almighty God, who saves depraved mankind by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, is great."
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Presiding Bishop Schori Visits Anglicans Down Under
Monday, June 14, 2010
Two Episcopal Visitors Down Under
: The New Anglican Expressions of Church Mission
8-9 July (9.30am – 9pm Thursday, 9.30am – 5pm Friday)
- Fresh Expression: Theology and Practice
Saturday 10 July 9.30am – 4.30pm
At St Christopher’s Avonhead
At the end of June Christchurch will receive a visit from Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Scheduled to speak in
- 27th June, 3pm, Powhiri at Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu,
290 Ferry Road. Those attending are asked to gather outside the marae by 2.45pm.
- 7pm Evensong at St Michael and All Angels (corner of
Durham Stand Oxford Terrace). Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach.
- 28th June, 2-3.30pm “In conversation with Bishop Katharine” - an informal gathering at the Bishop’s centre, Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu,
290 Ferry Road.
- 5.30pm for 6pm “Conversation and Language – violent and otherwise” Canterbury Women’s House, 190
Street (between Worcester Latimer Squareand Barbadoes Street) Women and men are welcome to this event. Donation of $10. Please bring a plate of finger food for a shared tea for after the talk.
- 29th June, 5.30pm for 6pm C1 Lecture Theatre, University of
Canterbury, ( near James Hight Library between Clydeand Ilam Roads), The address is titled: “Science and Religion – your context or mine?” Donation of $5."
Chickification of the church Down Under?
The question is broader than whether women can be priests and exercise leadership over men, though that is usually how it is framed inside the church.
It concerns all the roles women play in the church and in the home, where the once-traditional idea that they should submit to their husbands is gaining fresh traction.
This is being re-examined in churches around Australia: Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and others.
Porter says the change in Melbourne and elsewhere is due to a rising number of hard-line young Melbourne ministers who are strongly influenced by resurgent conservatism in the United States.
She says they are "very masculine and horrified by what they call the 'chickification' of Christianity"."
I am very glad to report that a soon to come visitor to Christchurch, Peter Adam, Principal of Ridley College, is in favour of the ordination of women. From the same report:
"RIDLEY College principal Peter Adam, a complementarian, believes that Christians can hold either view with a clear conscience.
He concedes that the issue has become a source of tension among students, but so are other matters, such as infant baptism.
Nevertheless, he says, the women's issue is "very delicate. There are a number of political undercurrents going on in the diocese of Melbourne over this issue at the moment. There's a rumour going around that Ridley is lobbying the diocese to stop ordaining women, which has no truth at all."
Adam's policy is not to stifle debate.
"For the broader welfare of the church, I think it's better not to take sides in a way that precludes others or denies them their rights to participate in the diocese."
Ridley's written policy is to welcome and provide equal training for male and female students, and accept a variety of views on the roles of men and women in ministry and leadership — the same policy as the Melbourne diocese and, indeed, the Anglican Church of Australia."
Here is my take on the matter:
It is right and proper to be concerned about the gender and generation mix of the church. It is a worry to find mid-morning congregations (i.e. in Kiwiland, the main congregation of a parish) composed of elderly people. It is worrying because it raises the question when and how the next generation of that parish will arrive. It is also a concern to find that a congregation is mostly composed of one gender: at the least it raises the question whether the gospel is being presented in such a way as to engage with one half of humanity rather than both halves.
But the solution lies in the presentation of the gospel, not in the gender of the vicar. In my personal experience a healthy gender mix can be present under a female vicar; and an unhealthy gender mix can be present under a male vicar.
Preventing women from leading churches is not the key to healthy gender mix in congregations. The key lies in the gospel as an appeal of God to all humanity and the question we need to ask of any minister, tall or short, old or young, male or female, Kiwi or Aussie, is whether the gospel is being proclaimed through word and deed faithful to the revelation of the gospel in Scripture.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's Refreshing Approach
Even where there is much to affirm, we will generally want to do this through a recontextualisation within the perspectives of life in Christ. Or, to put this in the language of Scripture, we will want to ensure it is transferred from the dominion of darkness, to the kingdom of light (Col 1:13), and that it is understood from within that perspective of light and life. What I mean is that we must make clear that we uphold what is good and godly, for reasons that are good and godly. Often we may not want to affirm the assumptions and motives behind practices of contemporary societies, even though we may support the practices themselves.
This is the vital point – Jesus Christ is the standard for discerning the path between authentic cultural expression and flawed syncretism; between ensuring we do not quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19), and yet nonetheless properly testing what we believe may be the Spirit’s leading. As St John writes in his first letter, we recognise the Spirit in the confession of Jesus Christ incarnate (1 Jn 4:1-2). Orthodox Christology, orthodox life in the Spirit, and orthodox praxis, all go together, whatever the cultures we find ourselves in – and our ability to recognise this in one another is what holds us together in our different expressions of gospel truth.
It is well-known that within our Province, and within our Synod of Bishops itself, one can find pretty much the whole range of views on human sexuality that are found within the global Anglican family. This ranges from seeing Mary Glasspool’s longstanding lesbian relationship as no impediment to her suitability for consecration, through to membership of the Fellowship of Confession Anglicans.
This is a live issue within our Province also, since South Africa now allows for civil partnerships between people of the same gender. In response, and though we are by no means of a single mind, we continue to affirm that the marriage of Christians is between a man and a woman, and that clergy who are not married should be celibate; and we do not allow clergy to officiate at civil unions or to bless them.
We are also considering pastoral guidelines for the consequences and questions that civil partnerships raise for ministry within our parishes. Do we welcome people in such partnerships in our congregations? Should their children attend Sunday School? What if they seek baptism for their children? What if those children in their teens seek baptism and confirmation for themselves? And what do we say to the parents of those who enter civil unions, who may be overwhelmed by confusion and conflicting emotions?
These questions also prompt us to think more deeply about the essence of marriage. It is not solely the legitimating of genital acts, but sometimes our discussions of polygamy and of same sex relationships seem to reduce it to little more than this. Therefore all this is no light or easy matter to us.
This is the redemption that we seek for our Communion. Therefore we must go forward, unafraid to bear our pain honestly as we keep journeying with Christ, and seeking his mind for us at each step of the way. This is our experience in Southern Africa. Looking back, we see God’s grace in the painful struggle against apartheid, that not only threatened to divide the church, but was for many a life and death matter. Against those experiences we find it hard to understand how human sexuality has become such a touchstone of faith, and mark of fellowship or enmity within the Anglican Communion.
This is why our Synod of Bishops said last September ‘we remain committed to upholding the bonds of unity with one another, as we journey together through the difficult questions that confront the worldwide Anglican Communion. Differences of opinion are inevitable, schism is not.’ Therefore our heartfelt prayer is that the Anglican Communion will also find ways of continuing to journey, even in pain, together – sharing in both suffering and resurrection hope."
Responsibility for Introducing Indaba to the Communion
"Faced with all this, my reason for introducing the concept of Indaba into the Anglican Communion (and yes, I was the guilty party on the Lambeth Design Group!) was to help us reconnect with more gospel-shaped approaches, that better reflect theologies around the work of the Spirit, and the body of Christ. I believe it can powerfully enhance our traditional ways of doing business."
A Challenge to Certain Approaches to Current Issues
"In these circumstances, I find myself returning to the words of St Paul, when he warned the Corinthians that not everything that is lawful is necessarily helpful (1 Cor 6:12). St Paul writes that even when we believe our understandings, our actions, to be justifiable and correct, we can – and sometimes should – choose not to pursue them, while that is to the greater benefit of the whole body of Christ. Yet this runs so counter to so much of today’s culture, in which we are far more conscious of our so-called rights, and our freedom to exercise them to the full."
A model sermon
That woman who wanders into Simon’s house comes with her hair uncovered – “oh, scandal! She’s clearly a woman of the street!” And she starts to act in profoundly embarrassing ways, crying all over Jesus’ feet and cleaning up the tears with her hair. And, “oh Lord, now she’s covering him with perfume! We can’t have this in a proper house – what will people think? And I guess now we know just what sort of person this fellow is!”
The scorn that some are willing to heap on others because we think they’ve loved excessively or inappropriately is still pretty well known. Yet it is this woman’s loving response to Jesus that brings her pardon, and Jesus’ celebration of her right relationship with God. She doesn’t even have to ask. Jesus seems to say that evidence of her pardon has already been given – full measure, pressed down, and overflowing – just like her tears and hair and cask of nard.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Koinonia or ekklesia?
If the Spirit is at work in the Communion
Friday, June 11, 2010
Can't you read mate?!
This is the Communion Speaking. Are You Listening?
There are times when it seems that your Province, or some within it, despite voicing concern for the rest of us, can nonetheless act in ways that communicate a measure of uncaring at the consequent difficulties for us. And such apparent lack of care for us increases the distress we feel. Much as we understand that you are in all sincerity attempting to discern the best way forward within your own mission context, we ask you to be sensitive to the rest of us.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The Windsor Report said they were not morally equivalent and the Windsor Continuation Group Report in 2009 agreed but said they were equally damaging."
The Windsor Report said they were not morally equivalent and the Windsor Continuation Group Report in 2009 agreed but said they were equally damaging."
These were three of the paradoxes recognized when members of General Synod broke up into “discernment circles” on June 7 to figure out what the Anglican Church of Canada should do about the issue of human sexuality. The report was read to delegates by Canon Robert Falby, General Synod prolocutor.
In spite of these contradictions, however, “overall, there is a growing sense of discernment,” said the report, copies of which were distributed to members. “People found the community building helpful and are discerning a deeper sense of dialogue guiding us rather than a battle to win a position,” it continued. “There is a strong sense of relief that these conversations are respectful, allowing members to both speak and be heard together. Members experience this as very positive and hopeful compared to the last General Synod.”