Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dispatch from the U.K.

Our English-born friend Nigel Taber-Hamilton [rector, St. Augustine's-in-the-Woods Episcopal Church, Diocese of Olympia] has recently begun his sabbatical, beginning with stops in the U.K. One goal of The Episcopal Majority is to "establish ties with national churches or groups abroad who are sympathetic to the Episcopal Church." We asked Nigel+, in the midst of his busy travels, to share some anecdotes about what he is hearing from other Anglicans about The Episcopal Church. These are his off-the-cuff remarks, as he moved from one WiFi site to the next.

As I journeyed on my sabbatical through England and Scotland I made a point of speaking with as many Anglicans as possible, always seeking to get a sense of how they understand what is going on in our Communion, their opinions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, of the Episcopal Church, and of the folk I call “neo-Puritans.”
>>>

I was very encouraged by what I heard. Of course, I wasn’t attending any rabidly evangelical parishes (which make Baptists look “High Church”!). Here are some of the responses.

In a small parish outside of Bristol (in the west of England) I found a sense of “I wish this would all go away.” When pressed, most folk really didn’t like what they saw as a sort of evangelical imperialism coming out of Africa. No one liked Archbishop Akinola, though not all had heard of him.

On Iona, one New Zealand priest (very active in her province) said “[the Episcopal Church and other progressive provinces] have lots of friends in New Zealand, but our bishops are essentially ‘keeping their heads down,’ having seen the way TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have been excoriated by Akinola and his cronies.”

A lay person from Kent was less willing to say she supported TEC, but was very clear that she found the conservative stance of the Global South and the English Evangelicals to be deeply offensive.

I stayed with a Scottish Episcopalian who is a member of St. Matthews Episcopal Church which worships at Rosslyn Chapel. (Her tales of the changes that have come as a result of The DaVinci Code were fascinating!)

She was as outspoken as the New Zealander – said it was typical of the English to want to gloss over differences and not confront the Global South – that it was appeasement without a plan. [At least Chamberlain used the time he gained from his agreement with Hitler to rebuild British armaments.] She said that former Primus (=Primate) Richard Holloway would have been even more outspoken than the current Primus, that the Scottish Episcopal Church stood firmly with The Episcopal Church, but, again, its bishops were trying to stay out of the line of fire. She thought (as the New Zealander also thought) that if push came to shove, the Scots would stand by us.

A retired priest at Lincoln had nothing good to say about the way the Archbishop of Canterbury was handling the situation.

I chose not to ask the Vice Dean of Canterbury, Clare Edwards, about the situation, since she is, after all, a prominent cleric at the Archbishop’s cathedral. But she did indicate her admiration for The Episcopal Church, especially with regard to our role in the process that led to the ordination of women and our continued ministry of inclusion.

No one had anything good to say about the Archbishop of Canterbury. The best that they could say can be summed up as “Damned with faint praise”! “Well, he was a great academic at Oxford,” and “He could be more outspoken when he was Archbishop of Wales.”

The more outspoken wished him gone, and felt that he was doing more harm than good – that he had “sold his soul to Archbishop Akinola,” in one memorable phrase.

No one seemed to think that “holding the Communion together” was a particularly high value if it was achieved at the sacrifice of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

I was actually quite surprised by the antipathy toward Archbishop Akinola. I think the best way to describe their perspective is that they viewed his actions as a sort of "imperialism-in-reverse."

As I noted at the beginning, none of the folk I spoke with came from the "evangelical" wing of the English Church. [I don’t think the Scots even have an “evangelical wing”!] I do know, however, that they have no love for the Archbishop of Canterbury because he comes from the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England. In addition, they believe he hasn’t gone far enough.

40 Comments:

Blogger Milton said...

Yes, you made a point of attending as many (revisionist) Anglican parishes as possible. No wonder they all agree with you! After all, who knows what people in those "rabid evangelical" parishes (foam, foam, drool) might have told you when asked. Why, they might even have tried to exorcise the spirit of total fabricator Dan Brown from you! You write:

"I stayed with a Scottish Episcopalian who is a member of St. Matthews Episcopal Church which worships at Rosslyn Chapel. (Her tales of the changes that have come as a result of The DaVinci Code were fascinating!)"

I point you to an essay by Eric Metaxes (not a rabid person, as far as I can tell) a la Screwtape Letters that puts DVC in proper perspective and is rather entertaining. Here's the link:

http://www.ericmetaxas.com/essay-screwtapedavinci.html

But in the meantime, continue to reassure yourself by whistling past the graveyard. Figuratively, of course!

9/01/2006 1:34 AM  
Blogger ... said...

Hey folks (especially you, Davis): The Episcopal Majority was mentioned in this month's Trinity Times

9/01/2006 5:12 AM  
Blogger ... said...

er... that was supposed to be "David", not "Davis". Oops.

9/01/2006 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Milton,

It's a pity your anger has got in the way of reality. By your definition most of the Anglican Communion is "revisionist."

I say that because of the "revisionist parishes" I visited, where many of the comments originated:
Canterbury Cathedral, St. Martin's Canterbury (the oldest parish in England), York Minster, Lincoln Cathedral, St. John's Scottish Episcopal Cathedral Oban, and a small country church outside of Bristol.

And, of course, the Iona Community, which is not Anglican.

I think these congregations would be surprised to be described as "revisionist".

All of the people I spoke with resonated with the description of conservatives in the USA and Global South as "Neo-Puritan" however.

I guess, if the shoe fits.....

Your comments about St. Matthews Scottish Episcopal Church at Rosslyn Chapel are bizarre. St. Matthew's pre-dates Dan Brown's fictional work. Their response has been how to cope with an invasion of tourists disrupting their liturgy. it has nothing to do with the content of the book.

I hope this has clarified my comments, and allowed you to see the error of your comments.

Blessings

Nigel Taber-Hamilton

9/01/2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger Milton said...

The clarification about St. Matthew's at Rosslyn Chapel because of DVC make sense now that you state that their beliefs had not changed, but that curious tourists disrupted the liturgy. Since so many people say that they now believe that Christianity was fabricated by Constantine after reading DVC, one could take it that is what you referred to as "changes".

I am amazed at how many reappraisers think that the only reason one could disagree with them is anger. Perhaps you took my tongue-in-cheek tone in the first paragraph as anger. Remember, though, that you called evangelical parishes "rabid" and made a point of avoiding them on your parish visiting. Perhaps some anger of your own peeks out?

My point still stands that you chose to visit only parishes of a certain mindset similar to yours and deliberately avoided any that might not agree with your picture of the mind of the Anglican Communion. And, wonder of wonders, they line up with you against ++Akinola and even against +++Williams and wish/think all the fuss would just go away. Hence my "whistling past the graveyard" remark. I take it you are familiar with that expression and know it is a figure of speech and not expressing anger.

9/01/2006 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get that neo-puritan stuff. Last time I checked the puritans founded a new world and gave us democratic-forms of government and some of the greatest American literature. Did I miss something?

Oh I see - when you say "puritan" you mean narrow-minded bigots who think sex is dirty and freedom frightening. Ah yes, those puritans.

Haven't read them.

9/01/2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger ... said...

'Oh I see - when you say "puritan" you mean narrow-minded bigots who think sex is dirty and freedom frightening. Ah yes, those puritans.'

As ever, if the buckled-shoe fits...

Yes, those narrow-minded (and let me add: misyogynistic, chauvanistic, racist, willfully-ignorant, psuedo-prudes [as in its not bad if I do it, only if you do it.) puritans.

9/01/2006 12:28 PM  
Blogger BabyBlue said...

toewalker writes; Yes, those narrow-minded (and let me add: misyogynistic, chauvanistic, racist, willfully-ignorant, psuedo-prudes [as in its not bad if I do it, only if you do it.) puritans.

You mean Anne Bradstreet, right?

http://www.annebradstreet.com/

9/01/2006 1:12 PM  
Anonymous David Huff said...

Sadly, I not surprised that the neo-conservatives have shown up over here to troll and flamebait in the comment section, just as they do on other mainstream & progressive blogs.

I mean really, what's the attraction ? I don't go over to Harmon's blog (or, God forbid, "Virtue" Online) just to be contrary in their comment sections. Do you guys just like to fight or what ? (RE: your "Loose" Canon David Anderson ?)

And no fair whining about how you have a "right" to expound your views any- & everywhere. You know darn well that isn't the point...

9/01/2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger Glynn Harper said...

Puritan may be ambiguous but surely "puritanical" isn't. I suggest a new coinage: "Puritanist" akin to Andrew Sullivan's coinage of "christianist" to describe a particular christianistic mindset that bears a similarity to real Christianity but is not the real thing. Like the swastica is a sort of a cross with the arms bent to the right.

9/01/2006 3:41 PM  
Blogger ... said...

I was thinking more along the lines of Duncan, Iker, Akinola, the folks over at Drells or Titus 1:9 or StandFirm.

If you want to add "rabid" and "possibly insane", then we can include ACN, VirtueOnline and MCJ.

But of course, that's only my opinion. YMMV

Stubborn, unyielding and unapologetic, I am:
Toe-Walker

9/01/2006 4:05 PM  
Blogger JayV said...

hey glynn, nice to see you here. we knew each other when I was at St Stephen's/Houston. I'm now in Burlington, VT, a member of the Cathedral Church of St Paul.

I like this site. It's better than that "Awake" one, which reminds me too much of Deutschland erwache!

9/01/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

David (& others), I am watching these threads closely. Yes, you are right: the bottom feeders have discovered our site. I think they are afraid that the vast majority of Episcopalians are finally finding a voice.

Milton stepped very close to the line in his initial post, and I thought about pulling it. But then I decided to be a literalist and fundamentalist about St. Paul's "by your fruits you shall know them." I'm going to "exercise restraint" in letting these AAC/ACN fruits hang themselves here.

And I am grateful for you and others who are willing to come in here and call them on their half-truths and willful misrepresentations (as in Milton's reference to Rosslyn Chapel).

Now ... can we get back to the substance of Nigel's post?

9/01/2006 10:17 PM  
Blogger Milton said...

Lisa, I'd appreciate you making more clear where the "line" is and how I stepped close to it in my first comment. As I acknowledged to Nigel, I misunderstood what effect he said DVC had on Rosslyn Chapel and I am glad he cleared that up for me.

I did address the substance of Nigel's post in pointing out that his sampling of opinion in his travels was, in his own words, admittedly one-sided. And to put the shoe on the other foot, how would you have felt if I had made a reference to, say, "rabid inclusionists"? Nigel used the word "rabid", I didn't. But I thank you for indulging me my comments all the same!

9/01/2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Milton, if you cannot see the dripping, antagonistic sarcasm in your first post here, I certainly cannot analyze it for you.

If I had posted a note like that at T19, StandFirm, VOL, etc, I would have been torn limb from limb.

And my request that we return to a focus on Nigel's post was directed at all of us -- not just you! This little spat got us off-point, and I'd like to see us get back on focus.

9/02/2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger Milton said...

Lisa, you are a fine one to complain about sarcasm, asking another commenter, "Did you have to work hard to miss the point? Or did it come naturally to you?" I was simply being tongue-in-cheek, and if you can't tell the difference between that and sarcasm or name-calling, neither of which are in my comments, then you are the one beyond hearing any analysis. If there is a spat, you are having it by yourself. But flame me to your heart's content if it makes you feel better. If no flames are forthcoming, then I thank you for your graciousness.

9/02/2006 12:42 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

No flames at all, Milton. Now ... do you want to talk about Nigel's piece?

And my comment you referenced? It was to a person who completely failed/refused to address the point of an article we had posted, and instead he went off on wild-goose chases with half-truths. I stand by my comment. And now I'm feeling it's deja-vu all over again.

Do you have any comment on Nigel's piece?

9/02/2006 1:08 AM  
Blogger Milton said...

Lisa, thank you for your kind tone. If you read my comments again, I think you will see that I did talk about Nigel's piece. The gist of my comments was that he used his observations to show that the majority of Anglicans agreed with ECUSA's actions of recent years, but that he stated himself that he had selectively avoided any churches ("rabid evangelical") that might offer views that differed from his own. So how can that be an accurate picture of the mind of the Anglican Communion? That was and is my point, plain and simple, and it is directly related to Nigel's post.

The point about your comment that I referred to was its sarcastic tone, not that you disagreed with the commenter. If we all agreed with each other, all blogs would die from lack of interest. "Iron sharpens iron" in content-related discussion or even spirited debate, but sarcasm has a chilling effect on people speaking their true mind.

9/02/2006 11:15 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

Hi, Lisa,

I've been visiting and reading all the comments. I think it's really great to establish and build relationships in Britain. The piece is very interesting. (It sounds like encouraging news.)

But, I'm thinking it would be very good to also work hard at visiting evangelical Anglican churches, and to build bridges, and look for conservative support as well. :) Is anyone doing something in this area with the Episcopal Majority? I'm curious to know.

I may be wrong, but I just think it would be a tremedous help and support for you to have some really visible conservative, evangelical people on board as well.

Thanks and God bless!

P.S. Lisa, I think you are a very courageous, godly woman. Your witness is a blessing to all of us!!

9/02/2006 11:26 AM  
Blogger Glynn Harper said...

I wish someone would come up with a definitive glossary of terms like evangelical, (whether rabid or not) moderate, progressive, liberal, conservative, etc. They all seem to be used as buzz words for points of view that merely set people off on tangents. I don't think "evangelical" is necessarily antithetical to progressive or "inclusive" either. I also don't have much use for "moderate" either. It's used to mean lots of things, but I suspect it usually means disinterested in the issues, or ill-informed, or undecided. What is a "moderate" opinion anyway. I propose that we say specifically what it is we approve of, want to encourage or want to object to: e.g. in favor of full inclusion of women in all parts of the life of a Christian community or opposed to women in the same. And, in favor of the full inclusion of homosexuals (or bisexuals or transgendered, etc.) In favor of taking modern science, psychology, and culture into the task of interpreting scripture or ignoring the same. That might save us the constant bickering over whether or not we visited any "rabid" communities of whatever persuasion.

9/02/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm getting rather exhausted here, but duty requires I continue.

Milton said: "I think you will see that I did talk about Nigel's piece. The gist of my comments was that he used his observations to show that the majority of Anglicans agreed with ECUSA's actions of recent years,..."

Milton, Nigel made the point -- and our prefatory comment made the point again -- that he did not try to conduct a scientific study. As he and we stressed, his comments were anecdotal. A-N-E-C-D-O-T-A-L.

They are not -- and were never intended to be -- a scientific sampling.

But his travels and interactions "give the lie" to what the AAC/ACN gang wants to claim -- i.e. that the entire Anglican Communion is allied against The Episcopal Church. It is not nearly that simple.

You want to critize him for not visiting the extreme right-wing parishes? OK. Let me ask: When you travel, do you visit parishes that will probably hate and reject you? Or do you visit the websites to find a parish that will suit your preferred style? I'll freely admit, I do the latter. I trust that our core beliefs are the same, then choose a parish where I am most likely to feel "at home."

As I read it, all Nigel did was visit the Anglican parishes that would be welcoming to him. Do you do something different when you are travelling away from home?

And I observe this has been -- until recently -- one of the riches of the Anglican Communion. We have had a variety of lilturgical styles. I fear that rich variety will disappear if the current, right-wing effort succeeds.

Personally, I thank God there is still (for now!) some variety in our Church.

9/02/2006 11:41 PM  
Blogger Milton said...

Lisa, I'd be the first to line up with you to reproach any parish, conservative, evangelical or otherwise that would hate or reject any visitor. Given human falleness, there no doubt are such parishes (I hope very few) and I also would avoid visiting one. Most conservative or evangelical parishes would no doubt disagree with Nigel's or your views on many issues, but we should at least agree to disagree in a civilized and gracious manner. Enjoy the long weekend!

9/02/2006 11:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Milton, I fear it is not that simple. I have had plenty of people over at T19 tell me -- directly and explicitly -- that they would not give me Communion because of our theological differences -- nor would they accept communion if our Presiding Bishop were the celebrant.

Is that disagreeing "in a civlized and gracious manner"? I think not.

But I do not think you could find a liberal/progressive bishop, priest, or Eucharistic Minister who would do likewise to the conservatives among us.

Of course, I could be wrong ...

9/03/2006 1:49 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Milton, I want to explore one more theme with you. You said: "The point about your comment that I referred to was its sarcastic tone . . . ."

I thank you for telling me about your concern about the sarcasm and tone of derision that has crept into some portions of the blogosphere. I've been pondering this for nearly 24 hours now.

Please visit the following sites, and let's talk about the tone of language they use:

http://kraalspace.blogspot.com/ -- especially my personal favorites --http://kraalspace.blogspot.com/2006/08/braxtons-lear.html and http://kraalspace.blogspot.com/2006/08/i-hurt-therefore-i-am.html
Breathe in the lovely fruits of the Spirit that you sense there.

Then go visit http://mcj.bloghorn.com/ and dance in the fruits of the Spirit that you sense there.

Want more? Go look at http://descant.classicalanglican.net/ The man is virtually orgasmic at the prospect of a "holy war" against The Episcopal Church. Relish what "fruits of the Spirit" you can feel there.

Then – you knew this was coming, right? – go to any thread at http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/index.php.

Then please come back here and tell me how they have welcomed your encouragement that we speak more kindly to one another. And try to tell me that our language is "over the top."

I've been talking with a friend today. And we've been trying to think of any liberal/progressive site that indulges in the kind of hate-mongering language that those sites use. I can't think of one. (But you may know of some I have missed. I'm truly open to that possibility. I'm just going to the conservative sites that regularly link to this one.)

Milton, how would you react if you regularly visited sites like those and heard the language they spew out day after day after day?

I do repent if my language is extreme from time to time. Places like that – which say they speak for the "conservatives" [whatever that means] – do indeed make me lose it sometimes.

For now, I think we will maintain our current tone here. I will do my best to avoid painting people with a broad and unfair brush.

But people also need to recognize that there are bottom-feeders and hate-mongers on "the right" whose only objective is to hate and harm Episcopalians. I will not quit calling them what they are: evil bottom feeders. Plain and simple.

But for the times when I may confuse them with you, Milton, I do apologize.

9/03/2006 2:11 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Grace, I am truly honored that you have popped over here! I've enjoyed your comments at Father Jake's place am delighted to welcome you here!

You have your own special ministry, which I appreciate.

Grace, as I think you've learned from our talks at Father Jake's, this "liberal" vs. "evangelical" divide is very complex here in the U.S.

As I understand it, in other nations the "evangelicals" tend to be on the left side. They tend to be for expansion of human rights.

Sadly, in the U.S., "evangelical" has come to be identified with the Republican right -- and thus for the death penalty, for Bush's war, against unions and worker rights, and so on.

I do not understand why the "evangelicals" in the U.S. are so diametrically opposed to the "evangelicals" in most other countries of the Anglican Communion.

Nor do I understand why or how the term "evangelical" has been captured by the right wing in the U.S. To me, it seems that if there's anyone in The Episcopal Church proclaiming freedom to the captive in the embracing and life-changing love of Christ, it's the people called "liberals." But the so-called "evangelicals" have claimed that label. I truly do not understand why that is.

9/03/2006 2:26 AM  
Blogger Phil S. said...

Speaking as an Anglican evangelical from Canada, might I weigh in?

First, a simple and useful definition of evangelical from Alister McGrath

The term is now used widely to refer to a transdenominational trend in theology and spirituality, which lays particular emphais upon the place of Scripture in the Christian life. Evangelicalism now centers upon a cluster of four assumptions:
1. The authority and sufficiency of Scripture.
2. The uniqueness of redemption through the death of Christ upon the cross.
3. THe need for personal conversion.
4. The necessity, propriety and urgency of evangelism.


Evangelical has also, in current usage, come to mean
a. More conservative than I am (Sorry, can't remember who coined this)
B. The Religious Right.

Personally, I'll stick to the formal definition, if that is alright.

Now, as far as the orignal article goes, I agree with Milton's point that this sample, accepting that it is anecdotal, doesn't tell the whole story, simply because it excludes evangelical voices (whether purposely or because these are the churches the writer just happened to visit). I do note that the writer concedes this right up front, so can't really be accused of trying to manipulate the results of his inquiries. Still, this is a skewed sample of opinion and should be judged according to its somewhat dubious merits as a result.

As for the language of 'rabid evangelical', I think that was a misjudgement on the part of the writer. I really do get that there is a lot of anger out there at conservatives because they are being perceived as breaking up the Communion. Yet, this site professes to be the expression of an Episcopal authority which favours a via media model of churchmanship. Further, it is affiliated with the Via Media movement which claims to express a moderate point of view. To be sure, I think this is the intention behind this article and this blog.

Yet, I really have to point out that I have found some of the language and tone in this entry and others on this blog to be rather insensitive to those moderate conservatives who come visiting, if not, sometimes, inflammatory. The term 'rabid evangelical' and not seeking evangelical voices (do we not count?) are examples of what I mean here.

I'm really not trying to start flame wars or to be a troll here. I get why many are feeling defensive and why there is widely held resentments of conservatives. Yet, as a moderate conservative, I have to say that your language does not always match your stated intentions. If it did, perhaps it would be easier for moderate conservatives to enter into a dialogue with you.

This, I'm sure, isn't what you may like to hear, but, in all humility, I think it is something you may need to think about as a group.

Peace,
Phil

9/03/2006 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the church-goers’ opinions matter? Measures of the Church of England General Synod are subject to approval by Parliament and the assent of the Queen. If the Anglican Communion splits, the government will decide the direction of the CoE. The government also controls church property. Its likely priorities are: 1. What choice will lose the fewest votes at the next election? 2. What choice will hurt the British economy the least? (What impact might there be on tourism? What impact might there be on foreign relations and trade?)

9/03/2006 6:30 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

Lisa,

Thanks for all your kind words. I feel the people at Jake's place minister to me so much more than the other way around. It's been a blessing!

I guess I pretty much would agree with Phil's definition of evangelical. I think in this country many evangelicals do identify with more conservative or moderate political views. Although this is not true across the board. The Mennonite and bretheran people are very involved in the peace movements. And, prominent evangelicals such as Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis are much more to the left in their political views.

My own political views are a mix. But, here's the confusing thing, Lisa, in the ELCA, there are many folks who hold to more liberal theologial views, but may be quite conservative politically. Is this also true in the Episcopal church?

I know at Jake's place most of the folks who post seem to be very liberal politically, even leaning toward socialism and would pretty much take a pacifist position. But, I wonder if this is true in the Episcopal church across the board.

Oh, the whole thing can get confusing. What happens if people have a mixture of views? I guess for me the bottom line is that our unity is in Christ, and not even based in agreement concerning so many of these other matters.

I am concerned that on some of the other blogs folks are representing the Episcopal Majority as just being this left wing organization

whose theology is represented by Jack Spong, and folks like Bishop Benisson of Pa. To me, this is a caricature. (And, it can be a way to dismiss and undermine everything you're about.) So many conservative people will not want to listen to anything the Episcopal Majority has to say if they feel it is just associated with "heresy."

I think I would want to go out and find some of the most orthodox, evangelical spokespeople possible to help counter this misrepresentation of your organization.

Well, that's my two cents. Thanks for listening, and God bless!

9/03/2006 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Allen said...

This article points out things I've thought for a while, if push comes to shove, we in TEC have a whole lot more friends than some would have us think.
And either now or later, some of those who have aligned themselves with the bogeyman Akinola will realize exactly what they've done and will want out.

9/03/2006 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>I do not understand why the "evangelicals" in the U.S. are so diametrically opposed to the "evangelicals" in most other countries of the Anglican Communion.

Because the *real* religion of the U.S. is capitalism. Everything else comes second and is shaped by that one fact. Therefore, the dominant strain of Christianity in America is capitalist first and Christian second, if at all. The ruling class likes it that way.

9/04/2006 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I agree that Milton was over the top, but I also agree that "rabid evangelical" is not helpful. Actually, the American evangelicals I have met at places like Fuller Seminary (not to mention the Sojourners crowd) are a lot more open-minded, civil, and intellectually aware than some Episcopalians--and certainly more than what I read on "re-asserter" blogs...There are also British evangelical Anglicans at Fulcrum with whom I may disagree on some issues but who state their case with reason and patience. We need to connect them as much as we can!

9/05/2006 12:27 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

Anonymous,

I can tell you that I am one evangelical who does not equate Christianity with capitalism or the "American way of life."

Personally, I would not want to live in a socialist state, and I feel that free markets are the best way to create wealth for the greatest number of people to actually lift them out of poverty. But, at the same time there are many excesses and abuse that needs to be corrected.

But, I know there are many fine Christian people who disagree and lean more toward socialism. I don't have a problem with that. My love and unity with other Christian believers is centered in Christ, not in total agreement concerning all these political and social views.

9/05/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace, have you ever noticed that the Religious Right's political agenda, where economic and environmental issues are concerned, sounds like it could have been written in a corporate boardroom?

The business about same-sex marriage and abortion is there just to lure in the faithful, who also end up voting for cutting the estate tax, deregulating industries, fighting very profitable wars, etc.

It's a great little scam.

9/05/2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

I don't know what to say anonymous.

What leads you to feel in this way?

I'm very pro-life, but also supportive of gay rights. I mean I don't agree with all of the conservative views. (It depends on the issue.) My own are more of a mix. But, I never felt they were just conducting a scam.

9/05/2006 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace, I'm talking about the leaders--Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, etc.--not the people in the pews.

9/05/2006 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One might argue that not seeking diverse voices and inserting what is a personal reflection into a public arena is a conscious act of divisiveness.

9/05/2006 11:39 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

I understand anonymous. I think these men are probably sincere, but I certainly don't agree with many of their views.

Oh, anonymous, I'm particularly grieved by James Dobson. I remember as a young mom really receiving some much needed advice in child rearing, and family related issues, which I think is really Dr. Dobson's speciality. And, I think Dr. Dobson is honestly a compassionate man.

But, it just seems in recent years, more and more of the ministry of "Focus on The Family," has been diverted to the political arena. His life goal right now seems to be the passage of the FMA.

Dr. Dobson's view currently seems to be that any advancement of gay rights is seen as an attack on marriage and the family. How sad! And, believe me, he is tremendously influential among many evangelicals. What a tremendous grief this must be to evangelical pro-gay leaders such as Mel White or Dr. Ralph Blair.

It's also upsetting to me beyond words that so much of the focus of the renewal movements within our mainline churches seems to be focused on an anti-gay agenda, deflecting them from their much needed influence.

The only thing I can say is that Satan is busy!! But, thank God, I know that in the long term, ultimately God will have His way in the church, and in our lives. We just need to trust Him, and focus on our own faithfulness.

Thanks again for sharing with me, anonymous, and God bless.

9/06/2006 8:22 AM  
Blogger BabyBlue said...

You don't think this esssay is a bit over the top? Once again it's tin foil hat time. Why does everything have to be blamed on some underground conspiracy? Looks like it's time for this - yet again!

http://eclectech.co.uk/mindcontrol.php

9/07/2006 1:43 PM  
Blogger ... said...

Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

9/09/2006 9:21 AM  
Anonymous pendennis88 said...

Nigel's original post does not seem terribly surprising. Many in the CofE agree with developments in ECUSA. There is also a strong though minority evangelical contingent in the CofE. Stronger, I think, than the one in ECUSA. There are many links between the evangelicals in the US and the UK. And they have many political differences, but neither is terribly focused on politics. Dobson and Falwell, et al, are not part of the current turmoil in ECUSA or the US-UK evangelical relationship. Stott, McGrath and Guiness are. None of this is recent.

Observations about the capitalist nature of Americans also have a lot more to do with protestant America generally. It certainly seems true that, compared to much of the rest of the world, Americans are far more likely to make a decision in favor of individual liberty if liberty and loyalty to the church conflict. It was thus at the American revolution, when the founders - despite revisionist views - showed themselves to be far more in agreement with the deism of freemasonry than the theology or polity of the Church of England, and it has remained so. (Someone once said that you should never ask an American to choose between liberty and God; they will always choose liberty assuming it to be a false choice.) One can argue that you can continue to see this American way of thinking in both sides of the current controversy in ECUSA.

9/11/2006 11:50 AM  

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