Sunday, December 16, 2007

Worth Repeating

We don't often pull comments up here onto the main page. This one struck me as being both simple and insightful, and not as predictable as most reactions from the "right" and "left" have been.

ruidh left this comment on our post, "Coats on the Archbishop's Letter":
You are all missing the conversation because you're only reading the words.

On one side we have certain Primates and schismatic Episcopalians telling us that TEC is apostate. That kind of talk doesn't even get a hearing with the ABC.

The Global South has called for a boycott of Lambeth if TEC is invited. Everyone concentrates on who is excluded. More of them are left without invitations than those of us. This is encouraging.

The ABC is not taking sides. But he is defining the debate as much as anyone else. Extremists on both sides criticize him for not taking their side.

I thank him for staking out the middle. The place where unity trumps posturing.
I haven't heard anyone else offer this perspective, but I think there's much wisdom in it. What say you all?


Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

You are all missing the conversation because you're only reading the words.

What are we supposed to read? The tea leaves? I'm tired of trying to tease out what the ABC really means.

Honestly, to me, the manner in which the ABC speaks of TEC is like of a verbally abusive spouse - or rather a verbally abusive parent.

I'd like to see it another way. I'd like to have the the same hope as Ruidh and others who see his words differently, but I don't. I can't.

12/16/2007 1:47 PM  
Blogger MikeF said...

As someone on the other side of the Atlantic who watches these events with something between horror and utter bemusement, ruidh seems to me to be a rare voice of hope and understanding. Our poor Archbishop, who is thank God a theologian and not a politician, seems to be in one of the least enviable places an ABC has been in for many years. Have we, enough of us, thought of praying for him, for strength and wisdom and grace - that he would know Christ's healing and his presence this Advent like never before?

12/16/2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Mikef, I do pray for him. I believe many of us who are disappointed in his words pray for him.

People whose opinions I respect are more hopeful than I, and I try to see it their way, but I cannot.

I do not see myself as an extremist, but perhaps others do.

12/16/2007 6:39 PM  
Blogger ruidh said...

You have to read the context. You have to read what isn't said as much as what is said.

Another important point is that the ABC is, himself, an Instrument of Unity. We should not be surprised that he puts unity and dialog above everything else -- it's the job he was appointed to do.

I have to say he's doing it marvelously.

12/16/2007 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mikef said... The ABC is a theologian not a politician. There is the trap we, on this side of the issue, have fallen into; We have allowed ourselves to be drawn into the political debate where we verbally slaughter those on the other side, who show such disdain for our liberal posture. We need to step out of that trap and return to responding to the Gospel as we receive it; and let the politics and rhetoric it creates be owned by, and describe those who insist on being political. Our job is in the middle where the work of Christ must be done. We need to get back to that work.

12/16/2007 9:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

MikeF, I can't speak for others. But, yes, I pray for him most fervently every single day. He's in this position at a very difficult time.

12/16/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

ruidh, I cannot by any stretch of the imagination agree with you that "he's doing it marvelously." "Marvelous" would involve speaking to and from scripture and not simply about it. I think he's being a weenie, but at least he's not being the worst imaginable weenie. That's merely my opinion. And, of course, I could be wrong.

12/16/2007 9:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Amen, GOM. I think you'll hear that's one of the key points in the article we published by Matthew.

12/16/2007 9:45 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Mimi, nobody in their right mind could call you an extremist. But I understand and share your grief. Personally, I wished for much, much more from the man who used to be Archbishop of Wales. But all we have is what we have. Alas.

12/16/2007 9:47 PM  
Blogger MikeF said...

Mimi and Lisa, I never meant to accuse anyone particularly of not praying; but there is a tendency when things get political for even the "best" Christian to get so caught up in the argument that they forget the dimension of love, the whole John 13.34 thing. I catch myself doing it. And it's love that drives prayer, or it isn't prayer at all...

Oh I know you all know this, some of you far better than I - but someone has to say it, sometimes.

12/17/2007 7:51 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Contra Bob Woodward, words matter quite a lot, as I note in my latest post. The ability of liberals to continue apologizing for this kind of thing reveals how deep is the bullying tendency and its toady, saying nothing, in Anglican piety. Archbishop Williams' behavior toward lgbt faithful is a form of indirect bullying and this letter is just the most recent in that trend. This may be the middle of Anglicanism, if so, that middle is quite far from the Mind of Christ no matter that it might be the Mind of the Communion.

12/17/2007 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Greenshield1 said...

I have read and re-read (not everything, I daresay) what our Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury have said or did not.

Is our comment therefore, in support of one and not the other? Because their stand are not compatible, you can not support both. We however, can pray to our Lord and Saviour to guide us now, nothing more, nothing less.

12/17/2007 12:36 PM  
Blogger Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

It is not whether you are an extremist or not, but what the Covenant is intended to do - and it intends international oversight and the Communion as arbiter of all. So there is one way to read the Bible, based on Lambeth 1998 1:10, that is the basis of expectations of local Churches on another local Church and how it can become failed, the decision about a failed local Church is for the Communion to decide, and this the Covenant will sharpen, and all attenders at Lambeth 2008 will first have to agree to a Covenant, as Covenant agreement and Windsor compliance are the measure of being Communion compliant.

Now I think this is too hight a price to pay; it is not middling but its own form of extremism.

12/17/2007 3:29 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Pluralist, the centralization of power and the rigidification [Yes, I just invented that word] of belief concern me deeply. But remember: What we've been told so far is that when (or if) a Covenant is approved by Lambeth or the Primates or whomever ... it then must go to each of the provinces (TEC, Nigeria, CoE, etc.) for an up or down vote. I cannot believe that a majority would vote on a Covenant that was so rigid it would kick out the U.S. and Canadian churches. If such a rigid Covenant were adopted by a majority (or plurality?) of provinces, then I could bid farewell to the Anglican Communion, for it would have ceased to resemble anything I could recognize as "Anglican."

12/17/2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Greenshield1, I have no problem at all praying for both +KJS and +Rowan. I believe they are both deeply spiritual people, seeking God's will. Fortunately -- and I think I hear this in your statement -- praying to God is not like crawling up in Santa's lap and telling him what I want; prayer is asking that God's will be done. I don't presume to tell God what to do.

MikeF, I didn't hear criticism from you. I concur that we do all have a tendency to hope "our side" will prevail. I do my best to stifle that partisan urge in my prayers.

12/17/2007 6:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Christopher, I don't exactly agree that the Archbishop is only bullying faithful LGBT Christians. It's worse: I think he's trying to bully us and all our allies -- that he's trying to bully the whole Episcopal Church to sit down and shut up. I think that's what he was doing to our bishops in New Orleans.

But I do agree with your larger point, with just that one quibble. I hope you'll see it as a "friendly amendment." :-)

12/17/2007 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous from San Joaquin said...

ruidh: well said. I posted the following at Thinking Anglicans, and have been saying it for years:

I don't think Rowan is one of the boyz. I think he is trying to be the mediator his role calls on him to be. The Windsor process, a classic conflict resolution process, modeled after Acts 15, is still in effect. Remember the 'listening' process? He is doing what he is supposed to be doing: Nudging both sides towards, oh yeah, Reconciliation. We seem to forget at times (most of the time) that the purpose of the Church is reconciliation - not separation. So, I say: keep up the good work, Rowan.
Peace, Anonymous from San Joaquin

12/18/2007 3:00 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

In many areas, it seems there is no listening process. If the Windsor process is still in effect, then it must be OK to pick and choose which of its parts will be implemented. A bishop can suspend ordination of partnered gays and lesbians, but it's acceptable not to listen to gay and lesbian members of the diocese.

12/18/2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger W. Huber said...

The ABC is certainly giving good lip service to the right path, the path of open and continued communication. I'm not sure how sincere he is, but at the very latest his attempt to find a peaceful resolution to this vocal violence has lasted longer than others' have.

I pray that he is successful. I don't want to have to choose between an ultraliberal church and an ultraconservative one: I'd much prefer to serve in a thinking church.


12/18/2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm with you 100% in that prayer, Warren.

12/18/2007 9:40 PM  

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