Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Harvesting Intolerance

The extremes of opinion over the gay debate are tearing the Anglican church apart, an archbishop has warned.
Stephen Bates

October 2, 2006

Yesterday, while many Church of England services were celebrating in time-honoured fashion the rituals of harvest festival, an altogether starker and more urgent message about the church's future was delivered from the pulpit of Southwark Cathedral by an African archbishop. It would do every practising Anglican good to hear it.

Admittedly Southwark may not be a place where there is a sizeable harvest to celebrate, apart perhaps from the diocese's most verdant and furthest reaches, beyond Tooting and Brixton, out towards the Surrey hills, but the sermon from Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane (which will be up in full on the Southwark diocese website, for those interested) spelled out the nature of the third largest Christian religious denomination today, where distrust and intolerance rule and ancient traditions are forgotten in the lust for a self-proclaimed and self-righteous conservative evangelical orthodoxy.

Archbishop Ndungane - Desmond Tutu's successor in Cape Town - warned that the extremes of conservatism and liberalism over the gay debate which is tearing Anglicanism apart are not the only options open to sensible church people to follow and that there does not need to be a split between the two sides of what was once a famously tolerant and open-hearted church.

Read the full article here


Anonymous Bill Carroll said...

Is it an extremest position to insist that the Episcopal Church acted wholly appropriately based on its discernment of what the Gospel required and that, while we will do everything we can to mend fences(consistent, that is, with our discernment, which has not changed) no apology is required.

The extremest opinion that will divide this Church is the view that Lambeth resolutions state the mind of the Communion from which no dissent is possible and that blessing love between two men or two women or ordaining clergy that live openly what many clergy have lived in secret with much less integrity is an unforgiveable betrayal of the apostolic tradition. Most liberals I know are more than willing to live under one tent with those who advocate a more traditionalist understanding of sexuality, however misguided this might be. We are not willing to abandon the corporate discernment of the Episcopal Church, which has been going on for more than thirty years and which has been done in careful conversation with Holy Scripture, tradition, and reason.

I'm not sure the Archbishop of Capetown would agree with the headline above his sermon. But we are not dealing with two opposite extremes in the middle of which is to be found reasonable moderation. We are dealing with one party, the liberals for lack of a better word, who are upholding normative Anglicanism's respect for autonomy of the churches within the Anglican Communion and the priority of God's inclusive Kingdom over the dicates of would be hierarchs and another party, which likes to name itself conservative but which is actually hell bent on destroying much that is worth conserving. The former party is destroying nothing. The latter may yet succeed in derailing the witness of the Church before a watching world.

10/04/2006 9:29 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home