Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ongoing turmoil in the Anglican Communion

Lots of things going on there and there's quite a pace to it all. I am only blogging about it here because some of it is very important and significant - other blogs give a more 'blow by blow' account.

Notably this excerpt as a resolution of The Episcopal Church (TEC - the American 'Anglicans'):

"We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God's truth. If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision."

This quote is very significant and it's well worth reading it out loud a few times to get its full impact. (I am indebted to a variety of sources notably Ruth Gledhill and Andrew Sullivan for drawing attention to this passage, plus I added emphasis to some bits).

The full text of the resolutions carried can be found here.

The main decision by the US bishops is to decline the 'gracious offer' of the Primates meeting at Dar es Salaam recently to set up a committee to jointly run the US Episcopal Church (in effect and I am simplifying here as this isn't a blog destined to church experts).

The Telegraph has an interesting blog which reacts to this by slamming the Archbishop of Canterbury here, concluding with:

"For almost his entire period in office, the treacle-voiced Welsh Primate with the Fu Manchu eyebrows has been bending over backwards to appease people whose views he privately abhors.

I thought Rowan Williams was going to be the finest Archbishop of Canterbury for decades. Instead, he has been a disappointment on every level – even in his own area of expertise, theology.

He does not put his foot in it as often as his predecessor, George Carey – but, then, you can’t commit a gaffe if nobody has a bloody clue what you’re talking about. He is obviously afraid that he will go down in history as the Archbishop on whose watch the Anglican Communion fell into schism.

But that’s not how I, and many other people, will remember him. For us, he will always be the Archbishop who laid down his friend for his life."

I might blog a more positive view of the Archbishop of Canterbury later - when I find someone who's prepared to go public with one.

For excellent ongoing coverage of the ins and outs of the slow Anglican schism your best bet is Thinking Anglicans which has frequent updates from both sides of the divide and some interesting comment threads.

For a view of the Conservative side of things I recommend taking a look at Titusonenine (T19) - but be warned its like entering a parrallel Conservative and not very friendly world.

For the UK there is always the commically named 'Anglican Mainstream' which is actually on the extremist fringes of debate (just take a moment to look through their 'related links' section). Anglican Mainstream is something we should all be aware of. Forget Christian Voice, The Christian Insitute, CARE or even the Evangelical Alliance (which I think is trying to be more moderate these days),it's Anglican Mainstream that is at the heart of the political religious right in the UK (along with the Lawyers Christian Fellowship of course - who organised the Prayer Vigil outside Parliament - though it seems that they got other groups to do the publicity for this).

Anglican Mainstream is also the main proponent in the UK of the largely discredited ex-gay movement. It's obvious that are using the ex-gay movement as a battering ram to oppose LGBT equality in the political sphere, though as I have pointed out elsewhere the idea that "innate and immutable" characteristics are the only reason or justification for civil rights protections is not sustainable - even for areas such as race where such a restriction appears to have actually been introduced from within the US debates over desegregation and the racism that was rife within the US at that time.

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