Tuesday, January 18, 2022

2022: A mixed year already?

My 2022 is off to a very good beginning - we had a fabulous family wedding at the weekend (publications of pictures thereof reserved to the happy bride (our daughter) and groom, so none here from me) and currently I am very briefly in Auckland having made an unexpected, challenging but wonderful trip with my son to drive a caravan from Christchurch. (The challenge was in in learning to tow a caravan!)

En route we stayed in Waiouru and - of course - I took a photo of the majestic mountain, Ruapehu, which dwarfs the sky when facing west:

Ruapehu is an active volcano. Its capacity to cover the earth around it with rock and ash is readily observable in the landscape around the mountain, and very noticeable as we drove northwards up the Desert Road.

Our trip (as with all my trips around and through Waiouru through my lifetime) was benign. On this occasion, the sun shone, the rivers flowed crystal clear, and we had a magical lunch time on the shores of Lake Taupo (itself the result of  an unbelievably large volcanic eruption in the distant past).

Not far from our country, a little to the north of us, within the Kingdom of Tonga, an active undersea volcano erupted massively at the weekend, wrecking lives, livelihoods, so far killing two people (that I have seen news of) via the resultant tsunami, and sending a sound wave such distance that not only was the sound of the eruption heard in NZ, it was also heard in Alaska. Details about actual extent of damage this eruption has caused are sketchy - communications between the Kingdom and the outside world have been effected.

It is not the happiest of beginnings for 2022 for the people of Tonga. Much as I count my (and my family’s) blessings at the beginning of 2022 and give thanks to God for them, I must simultaneously ask God, 

What is going on? 

(Not the first time such question has been raised here).

I was going to begin this year’s posts with some vacational ruminations on the state of global Anglicanism (i.e. what is going on ecclesiologically, ecclesiastically but also theologically) but that sounds a little abstract when Christian brothers and sisters in Tonga (some of whom are Anglican) are in trouble and strife. Yet, the same question drives my as yet unposed Anglo-ruminations: 

Dear God, What is going on?

Let’s see what sense we can make of things in 2022 as the year progresses!


Unknown said...

Welcome back to the 'net, Peter 🙂

Theodicy is the observation that, if God is an Epicurean, then he is sometimes a sloppy Utilitarian. If one's Christianity is free of both influences, then one is never surprised by Behemoth and Leviathan. But one might still pray about them.


Father Ron said...

Well, Bishop Peter, there is something going on in the world of the C. of E., which is asking provincial Anglican Churches whether they are interested in helping to choose the next ABC! think the time is now past for such a question. In a post-colonial world, where ALL Anglican Churches are equal - not needing the authority of the ABC to ordain women bishops or bless S/S unions - I understood we had dropped the idea of imitating the understanding of papal/style authority. Why, even Pope Francis is counselling the ethos of 'dispersed authority' by virtue of raising up local synodical government to include the Faithful laity (something we in Aotearoa/NZ had cottoned on to, even before the C. of E.)

In fact, certain Anglican Churches around the world (mainly in Africa but not S.A.) have even set up their own group authority around the 'Jerusalem Statement of Faith' whose ethic virtually rejects the extant 'Lambeth Quadrilateral' and renouncing the rest of us by their self-proclamation of their preservation of sole 'Anglican Orthodoxy'. (Interestingly, its Presiding Bishop is an ex-TEC clergyperson, who recently ordained a GAFCON-authorised 'bishop' to head his own Church-organisation in Christchurch, N.Z.)

However, despite this rebellion on the part of GAFCON and its associated churches around the world, thank Goodness (God!) ACANZP has not exiled itself from koinonia fellowship with the ABC and Lambeth; still relishing our association with Canterbury and other provinces of the A.C. that seek to bring about peace and justice in the modern world in which we all live, move, and have our being! Nevertheless; considering the ABC's title of 'Primus inter Pares (meaning First among EQUALS) and our respect for that title; I hope our bishops in ACANZP will not insist on any supposed 'right' to a say in the appointment of the next ABC, if only to point out the FACT that Anglican Archbishops are normally locally elected, and not subject to the permission of overseas jurisdictions for validation.

I do feel though, that this might be a time for the ABC (in his role as P.i.P.) to convene Lambeth-friendly bishops in order to discuss the election of one among their number to be elected Chair of the Lambeth Conference - a role that could be voted on by said Lambeth-friendly bishops at intervals to be determined among themselves. This might help sort out the current confusion in the A.C. about the differing objectives of the GAFCON Group and the rest of us in the remaining Anglican Communion loyal to Lambeth.

(I have already sent my view on this matter (as a private opinion, to the appropriate authority in the U.K.) It would be nice to have clarification of this matter in 2022.