A weblog of The Living Church Foundation

stacks_image_A362846E-76A3-41B3-812C-49F297B9397C
stacks_image_CC321DA1-89BB-4E00-9259-09F68287A8E5
stacks_image_BC12AA7D-5773-430D-8117-66ED447233EE
The Collect of the Week
A new Covenant
Covenant, founded in August 2007 as a weblog community of “evangelical and catholic” Christians, begins a new life today. Covenant has attracted about 40 editorial contributors, including bishops, cathedral deans, priests, and theologians. Covenant will expand its family of contributors in the months ahead.

This page will be an archive of content from August 2007 to January 2012. Please visit Covenant’s thoroughly redesigned home at covenant.livingchurch.org and join the conversation.
See liturgical notes.

Covenant, founded in August 2007 as a weblog community of “evangelical and catholic” Christians, begins a new life today. Covenant has attracted about 40 editorial contributors, including bishops, cathedral deans, priests, and theologians. Covenant will expand its family of contributors in the months ahead.

This page will be an archive of content from August 2007 to January 2012. Please visit Covenant’s thoroughly redesigned home at covenant.livingchurch.org and join the conversation.


A new Covenant
 
James Wirrel
Paul Avis on the Covenant
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The history of the Church suggests that the multiplication of schism will continue. If we cannot marshal the will *now* to uphold a Communion that values Catholic understandings of things like ecclesiology, it is hard to imagine that the will will exist in the future.

Yeah, can’t argue with this, but this is the very reason why we need to focus on building relationships now.

The Catholic component in the rest of the world might be strong (but then why have they “throw[n] up their hands and walk[ed] away in all but name”?).

Well, let’s be clear on what they “have walked away from” and what they HAVEN’T “walked away from.”  Herein lies some hope still.  They HAVE walked away from continued marginalization, corruption, power grabs, deception, double dealing, and heresy.  They have NOT walked away from that organization which we call “The Anglican Communion”.  I see some Catholic hope there.  What if during the worst excesses of the Renaissance papacy, part of the Roman Catholic Church could have said “we separate ourselves from the corruption coming out of Rome, but we will remain a formal part of the Church and bide our time until we can reform the Church from within”.

I see the Global South response as being similar to that of the Diocese of South Carolina, and to my mind, it is the best - and dare I say only - available course of action that holds out hope for the future catholicity of the Anglican Communion.  Thus I think the catholic hope is this - that the Global South provinces can covenant amongst each other and begin to build the something that - in time - can lead to the nucleus for a renewed Anglican Communion (and I don’t mean covenant to create some sort of replacement…

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Paul Avis on the Covenant
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 11:48 pm

The Evangelical Anglican in me could live in this time of waiting for the dust to settle. It won’t be long (10-20 years) before TEC is a shell that Evangelicals will be able to rehabilitate. I posted about Bishop Budde’s program for growth in a different thread. That plan is unsustainable in the long term - it has no spiritual resources to draw on. This is one side of the “What’s next” question.

The Catholic Anglican in me sees the breaking of the Communion as “The End.” There probably will be a new structure that will rise in the next (50?) years, but I can’t see how it will retain much Catholic-ness. The history of the Church suggests that the multiplication of schism will continue. If we cannot marshal the will *now* to uphold a Communion that values Catholic understandings of things like ecclesiology, it is hard to imagine that the will will exist in the future.

It may be that Global Anglicanism will ultimately resist the corrosive nature of Western radical autonomous individualism. The Catholic component in the rest of the world might be strong (but then why have they “throw[n] up their hands and walk[ed] away in all but name”?).

At the end of the day, your council of “bloom where we are planted for now” is wisdom, and the only reasonable and realistic course of action. And because my hope rests in a great God, and not in any structures, programs, plans or schemes, I can (mostly) wait (the active sort of waiting) and see what happens.

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
James Wirrel
Paul Avis on the Covenant
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Charlie:  I believe that, as sad and unfortunate as it is, the reality is that the Anglican Communion - as we know it - is breaking apart.  We have the politically most powerful, but numerically weakest, components acting in a way that makes continued communion impossible.  We have the numerically strongest, but politically weak, components throwing up their hands and walking away in all but name.  We have the top leadership of the Communion undermining the Instruments of Unity, and discrediting the only remaining Instrument of Unity.  The trajectory is clear.  I am not sure that God will keep united what man is so determined to tear asunder.

So the question of “what next” needs to be addressed, and I don’t think that the answer is nothing.  Mind you, I also believe that the there is no comprehensive solution out there.  The Communion is collapsing and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  Before we can answer the question of “what next” we need to realistically assess the situation and what can be done.  So first thing to accept is that the Communion is collapsing.  The second thing to accept is that the continuation of the collapse is to be expected, and that this collapse will have consequences.  The third thing is that we need to have all the broken down walls, beams, etc., collapse before we can begin to salvage what remains.  The fourth thing to realize is that while the Communion as a structure will collapse, and even many Provincial structures will also collapse, this doesn’t mean that all structures, Provinces and alliances will collapse.

So it seems to me that what we can do is work to preserving those healthy pockets of Anglicanism, and work towards health in those pockets that might be rehabilitated.  Sort…

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Paul Avis on the Covenant
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

If the Covenant is dead (and you a very likely correct), then for me as one who would like “to preserve the Anglican Communion in some way that preserves the best of a robust, orthodox, comprehensive, global Anglicanism,” the answer to the question, “What’s next” would most probably be “nothing.”

The disease that infected the Anglican Communion (a radical autonomous individualism) will kill off all further efforts to hold the Communion together.

I continue to believe that the Windsor report, and the subsequent Covenant ware a “God thing,” and that even if they humanly speaking come to naught, they will serve to lay bare the hearts and intentions of many.

And besides, _dead_ is never an obstacle for God. wink

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
James Wirrel
Paul Avis on the Covenant
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Whatever one might think about the worthiness of the current Covenant, I would take issue with the following statement in that I don’t think it is based in the reality of what is actually going on:

First, the Covenant is the only realistic option on the table….The Covenant is the only credible proposal that I am aware of to help hold this family of churches together.

Again, I am not intending to criticize advocacy of the Covenant here, but it seems to me that it is exceedingly unrealistic to think that the current Covenant, which has been, or most certainly will be, rejected by the liberal western provinces and either ignored by or adopted with significant reservations and conditions by the influential Global South provinces (including the “moderate” ones) has any chance of success.  How is this a “realistic” option?  How is this a “credible” proposal?  Maybe it was a couple of years ago, but surely not anymore.

The alternative to the Covenant is to allow the present sharp tensions to be worked out in the formal separation of some Churches of the Communion from others — and that means schism and the fracture and possible break up of the Anglican Communion.

And this is what is actually happening on the ground.  So for those of us who would like to preserve the Anglican Communion in some way that preserves the best of a robust, orthodox, comprehensive, global Anglicanism, I think we need to admit that the Covenant is dead.  It isn’t going to happen.  That’s just reality.  So instead of trying to revive a dead horse, we need to move on.  What’s next?

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Paul Avis on the Covenant
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

It seems that the number of us who care about the fate of the Covenant has been reduced to a very small number. I am glad that people like Rev Dr Avis are out there, making a good case.

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Rev. David Langille
New data on TEC membership
Monday, November 07, 2011 at 2:19 pm

This is sad on so many levels, but not unexpected. The move away from the old truly comprehensive Anglican church in America “brand” (which I guess no one really liked all that much, held together as it was by old ideas like duty, honour and obedience) to an all out—take no prisoners party war, with only one side claiming—prophetic triumph “brand” hasn’t worked out so well. I for one want to uphold the actual Anglican “brand” as best I can: Common Prayer, Common Altar, Common Cup, where ALL are invited to relationship with God through Jesus Christ, no exceptions.
  One of the great challenges in holding the actual Anglican brand together voluntarily, in our North American context, is that our church’s wonderful diversity can be, and has been, used by some “parties” dialectically. Dialogue between different parties is difficult to trust when one party intends the studied dialectical transformation of its opposition. (And, thus, to have no opposition left!) Providing ecclesial protection and support for vibrant Evangelical, and Anglo-Catholic, and Charismatic, and Traditional, and even Progressive local parishes to co-exist in a Diocese, seems a road so few want to travel. True Anglican Comprehensiveness is a pearl of great price, that allows a broad diversity of people to be in community even in the same parish. Pity that in an increasingly polarized culture, the thing our culture most needs from the Episcopal Church—a generously orthodox comprehensiveness—is the thing we seem to have forgotten, and need to be called back to embrace.
  Outside of a remnant few Dioceses and individual parishes and priests, what are the odds of that?

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Council Releases Covenant-nixing Report
Friday, November 04, 2011 at 9:30 am

I wonder if someone might be willing to run some informal inquiries to Dioceses about their Anglican Covenant Review processes. On my way to the Diocese of MA’s Convention, I have seen that this process was entrusted to our General Convention delegates, who have yet to be elected. So, apparently, we’re reviewing the Covenant after the recommendation of the Executive Council. It seems there’s a little confusion about when this review was meant to be completed.

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Tony Clavier
Council Releases Covenant-nixing Report
Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

The thoroughly odd arguments appended to the Executive Council’s decision only underline the reactive spirit which now possesses those who run TEC, as they fear losing that which they have fought to gain. This sort of spirit typically possesses groups in their second generation, who reduce their philosophy to easily chanted slogans to be repeated over and over again.

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Edwin Tait
Council Releases Covenant-nixing Report
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I considered proposing a resolution supporting the Covenant at our diocesan convention this year, but never actually did so. I suppose I was hoping someone else would (I’m just one layperson and relatively new to the diocese, and didn’t see myself as the best person to spearhead such an effort).

We did have a diocesan learning day in January, so folks are fairly well acquainted with the issues.

Edwin

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Council Releases Covenant-nixing Report
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Frankly, it’s the lack of response from the Dioceses that is disheartening to me. But I’ve frequently found Episcopalians completely unaware of what the Covenant is. Even when I have raised the issue as a major concern among Episcopalians at Harvard Divinity School(indeed, hosting a theology conference on ecclesiology in the same place, partly as a means to raise awareness), many of the participants have confessed to me, months later, that they haven’t even read the Covenant, though they’ve made statements about what the Episcopal Church ought to do.

I think many simply don’t see how it matters, or, as soon as they do, they resolve not to engage it in order not to have to consider changing course *merely* for the demands of Christian unity.

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Ephraim Radner
Council Releases Covenant-nixing Report
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I am not surprised by the decision of Executive Council to recommend “not to adopt” the Covenant.  Their arguments are not particularly concrete, however, so it is hard quite to know what the problem is as they see it. 

For instance, the council expresses concern that the ministry of the laity is not sufficiently profiled, even slighted.  Yet there are numerous references in the Covenant to the “people” of the Church, the “whole people” of the church or of God and so on, all in the context of ministry, and, of course, this “people” is the “laos” of the “laity”.  So one wishes to know more specifically. 

Again, there are “constitutional” concerns, such that one might worry whether adoption of the Covenant would somehow subvert the laws of the TEC.  One wonders what these are.  The Council’s report contains an appendix with an earlier set of opinions from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons;  but if the items noted here are the basis for the Council’s worries, I am indeed perplexed.  For instance, the Commission’s report writes:  “Paragraph 1 of the Introduction speaks of the biblical treatment of the ‘communion in Jesus Christ.’ It includes the ‘Communion of the life of the Church,’ as the basis for the existence and ‘ordering of the Church. A fair interpretation of this text is that our “Communion in Jesus Christ” coexists with our Communion as constituent members of the Anglican Communion.”  The Commission thinks this is odd, as if communion in Christ ought perhaps NOT to “coexist” with being in communion as Anglicans!  For, as they go on, such “coexisting” communion seems to “imply” that the Communion’s order might take precedence over TEC’s Constitution.  Indeed, it would if it were truly “coexisting” with “communion in Jesus”.  But, the Commission says,…

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Council Releases Covenant-nixing Report
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I am not too surprised by this development.  I disagree that the Covenant requires changes in our constitution, or that any canonical changes would be significant, if any are truly needed.  But some scapegoat to keep the status quo was necessary, otherwise it would seem like mere sour grapes.  I am disheartened by the report that none of the diocese that affirmed the Covenant submitted anyhing to the Covenant Task Force by way of support.  I do agree section 4 is not the best of all possible worlds, but it is faithful enough to the theological groundwork of the first 3 sections, the quirky ad hoc nature of the Instruments of the Communion, and the tensions of those who want more teeth versus those who prefer the squishy Communion we’ve inherited to at least give things a run.  But if we’re going to be the crybaby in the room, at least we’re being relatively honest about it.  That’s a significant change from the way things were being done before.

 Forum Replies [7]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Global South Primates Raise Urgent Questions
Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I’d love to see the Global South bishops join together in council and call the rest of the Anglican Communion to join them - a sort of Anglican version of Vatican II.

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
James Wirrel
Greeting the Saints
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

While I have always liked Bishop Victoria Matthews, I must say that if this is the best argument that the proponents of the current Anglican Covenant can make, it is no surprise that that document now appears DOA as far as having any significant impact on the Anglican Communion.

What would happen if the provinces of the Communion were equally dedicated to being in relationship one with another, no matter what?

What does “being in relationship one with another” mean?  And how can you be in a REAL relationship with another “no matter what”?  Assume a husband and wife.  The husband is cheating but the wife says “I will stay in this marriage no matter what”.  The husband leaves the house to live with his girlfriend, but the wife says “No matter, I am staying in this marriage no matter what.”  The husband sends no spousal support, changes beneficiaries, etc., but the wife says “No matter, I am staying in this marriage no matter what.”  At what point can you say that there is no longer any real “relationship” there anymore?  Relationships don’t just exist “no matter what”, they require some level of commitment from both parties.  The level of commitment from the parties determines the quality of the relationship.  In the Anglican Communion right now, the level of commitment is very low, thus the quality of the Communion as a “communion” is very low.  Making facile statements won’t change that.

Archbishop Rowan commended this to the bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference’s opening retreat. The Indaba Group of the Lambeth Conference also attempted to foster it.

And yet a huge portion of the Communion’s bishops either boycotted 2008 Lambeth because they didn’t feel that the ABC was listening to them, or attended, yet later complained that the ABC wasn’t…

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Liberation Theology Revisited
Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

A thoughtful post. I’m glad to see the good bishop up and blogging more regularly. Two thoughts for now, though more could certainly come.

1. The ‘retro’ feel of liberation theology is something that has always struck me, particularly before I entered mainline circiles. Yet, I’m amazed how it is often presented at my own Divinity School (Harvard) as the most living and viable theological option for Christian thought today. Just an observation.

2. I think this quote is absolutely crucial, and I myself welcome this ‘shift’ in liberation theology, if it were true:

“I was heartened to hear our presenters use the language of “eschatological reserve.” This notion, as I understand it, and as I would be wont to interpret it generously and irenically, takes seriously the reality that ministry to and among the poor and marginalized, in addition to providing obvious tangible benefits, i[s] important semiotically—for its sign value. It is a sign to all that God has not abandoned them (whether or not he has a “preferential option” in their direction, which I think is a debatable idea), and that there will, in the eschaton, be a completely happy ending to their suffering.”

The lack of eschatology (or the vehement denial of it by some of my colleagues) is what has always struck regarding liberation theology, along with what strikes me as too great a confidence in the ability for human ‘justice’ efforts of various sorts to reach any complete fulfillment. Where’s the recognition that our efforts to often fail? Can such a theology be considered fully Christian without any ‘eschatological reserve’?

More to come, perhaps on Bp Martins’s blog.

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
Richard Kew
John Stott
Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 5:51 am

I am sitting in the early autumn English sunshine not more 100 feet from the room where John Stott lived and studied when preparing for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. John was not particularly happy here, although given the fact that he was here when the hostilities of World War Two were being fought, the place was bitterly cold and uncomfortable, there was only a rump of faculty and student body, it would have been difficult to get really excited about the place! What troubled him the most was that his biblical faith was disparaged by many, both in the University and the seminary. Yet instead of rejecting his opponents out of hand he thought his way through their objections and became stronger because of it. His was a faith grounded in Scripture, shaped by the Book of Common Prayer, and inquisitive to the very end.

I did know John Stott and I will be thankful for his ministry, his leadership, his prayers, his advice until that day when we meet again among the saints triumphant. He was one of the great Christian men of our age, but I am going to disagree just a little bit with my friend, Tony Clavier. Yes, his faith was that of Newton, Wilberforce, Shaftesbury and the like, but par excellence it was the faith of Charles Simeon, and Stott deliberately used Simeon as a model.

Charles Simeon was a young man from a wealthy, worldly background who came to Cambridge and discovered that three times a year he had to receive communion. It was on Easter Day 1779, while taking the sacrament that he came to full assurance of faith, ultimately became Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, and the most influential Anglican priest of his generation. He was involved in the…

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Tony Hunt
Holy Women, Holy Men Revisited
Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I hope to reply more fully to this soon, but in the mean time this excellent post reminded me of another one by Derek Olsen. It’s worth checking out. http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/saints/sanctity.php

He’s got a lot more material intelligently critical of HW,HM all around his blog and the Cafe’.

 Forum Replies [5]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Holy Women, Holy Men Revisited
Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm

First, I greatly appreciate the humility and sobriety of this article, and I agree with its conclusions. I think, to be honest, that there are a number of people both in the Baby Boomer generation, and especially among their children, who ask, ‘Who did these people think they were?’ I don’t think that the question can be confined to either the left or the right, either. It’s a good critique to have for every generation, I reckon, but perhaps especially today.

I think there might be another question that should be asked about this so-called calendar. First, what is a calendar of saints for? Obviously, it is for those who will use it; at the very least, it should chart how a given church understands its own history - by which I mean, how it understands the history of God’s providential workings within its own tradition. In this, it is a witness to the wider world, including the wider Church, but also serves as a catechetical and pedagogical aid for those within the church in question. Out of this, then, is the second matter: it is a witness. On the one hand, it holds up certain men and women as icons of Christian virtue. It holds up their accomplishments, in living and in dying, in writing and in service, as gifts that the world should partake of on the way to God. On the other hand, a calendar of saints is also a witness to the wider Church: it says not just ‘this is who we are’, but ‘this is who we give to you’. A calendar of saints is profoundly ecumenical only insofar as it is profoundly particular. Church unity means nothing if it means amnesia. It means quite a lot if it involves gathering the fragments of particular…

 Forum Replies [5]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Holy Women, Holy Men Revisited
Thursday, September 08, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Yeah, but evangelicals don’t recognize such days, and anglo-catholics will only celebrate the “real” saints.  It’s an exercise in futility.

 Forum Replies [5]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Holy Women, Holy Men Revisited
Thursday, September 08, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Alas, this post won’t get the attention it deserves.

There are some deep cultural (an incisive critique of baby-boomers) and theological (the watering down of the meaning of holiness) ideas here that should be discussed!

Not to mention the hopeful, longer time-horizon perspective contained in

History has taught me that a future generation, perhaps not very long from now, will simply look at our actions in this matter and ask, “Who did these people think they were?”

 Forum Replies [5]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
John Stott
Friday, July 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Thanks for this post.

I never got to meet John Stott in person, but his personality is stamped on many of my friends and colleagues in Intervarsity.

I remember taking a class on Ephesians, and being blown away by Stott’s commentary. The church has lost a first rank scholar and ‘churchman.’

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Scribal Wisdom
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for what is esentially a pro-scholarship article.

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Two Patron Bishops for No Anglican Covenant Coalition
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Looks like Progressive objections to the Covenant. Not suprised.

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Sunday, July 03, 2011 at 1:18 pm

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Tony Clavier
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Friday, July 01, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Makes TEC’s action against the Bishop of Pennsylvania seem hypocritical.

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
SCCC Critiques the Anglican Covenant
Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm

***sigh*** My goodness what a hissy some of us make as we fuss over our presumed precious “autonomy.”

 Forum Replies [2]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

The Bishop of Bethlehem, (Pennsylvania), the Rt. Rev. Paul Marshall, was not surprised by the church’s response.  When lawyers for the national church “threaten and cajole diocesan bishops not to reveal multiple sex-abuse cover-ups at the highest level lest former leaders be embarrassed, what can we expect?” he wrote on the Episcopal Café website.

“On paper, we are a one-strike church, but in reality, too many people are walked. [The national church] refused comment on this story with principled-sounding obfuscation, which essentially tells it all, doesn’t it?” Bishop Marshall said.

Marshall’s statement is rather stunning. Though, to be honest, I first started wondering about what was going on in our church regarding sexual abuse as soon as I saw the section of coverage in our diocesan insurance policy which is for litigation related to sexual abuse. It’s massive.

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

And now the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is quite rightly involved:

http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/lawsuit-charges-us-presiding-bishop-knowingly-ordained-a-paedophile-the-church-of-england-newspaper-june-29-2011/

The headline is incorrect to this article: she received, but did not ordain, Fr. Parry.  The interesting bits from the article are:

On June 23, members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, held a rally outside of All Saints Church to demand the Episcopal Church “come clean about why they hired [Parry] despite clear ‘red flags’ in his past,” and to “aggressively seek out others he hurt and prod them to call police and prosecutors.”

“The reason that this is so horrific is that the Episcopal Church authorities knew about Father Parry’s history, and yet they still allowed him to come and work here,” SNAP president Barbara Blaine told reporters.

Joelle Casteix, the western regional director of SNAP asked church officials not to “split hairs, make excuses, and be silent.”

“Shepherds have a duty to protect [their] flock, help law enforcement, warn unsuspecting families and work hard to find and help others who’ve been wounded,” she said.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a spokesman for the Presiding Bishop told The Church of England Newspaper, “We do not comment on lawsuits or allegations” and referred questions to the Diocese of Nevada.  The Diocese of Nevada did not respond to questions as of our going to press.

In comments on the initial press accounts of the lawsuit printed on the liberal church blog, Episcopal Café, hitherto stalwart supporters of the Presiding Bishop urged her to explain her actions.

The Bishop of Bethlehem, (Pennsylvania), the Rt. Rev. Paul Marshall, was not surprised by the church’s response.  When lawyers for the national church “threaten and cajole diocesan bishops not to reveal multiple sex-abuse cover-ups at the highest level lest former leaders be embarrassed,…

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

The hope for the Church resides in the secular law courts, which do not tolerate illegal and destructive behavior to the extent that the Church does, and in the secular classroom, which has a far higher (if imperfect) level of academic integrity.

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

p. 3: “Fr. Parry was a known serial child predator who had sexually abused numerous students before Fr. Parry sexually abused the Plaintiff.”

p. 4 - 5: “In 2000, Fr. Parry underwent psychological testing relating to the possibility of entering another monastery. The results of this testing revealed that Fr. Pany was a sexual abuser who had the proclivity to reoffend with minors. The results of this testing were provided to the Abbey, the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas and the Episcopal Bishop for the Diocese of Nevada.”

p. 5: “From 2000 through 2011, Fr. Parry has been and continues to be employed by All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.”

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

The actual petition for the trial in Missouri provides a fuller list of relevant accusations. http://andersonadvocates.com/Files/497/Petition-John-Doe-181-V-Conception-Abbey-INCpdf

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

I guess one of my points, which I didn’t clarify totally, is that Parry’s *is* technically right when he says we don’t have a “one strike” policy. However, that point is a little misleading.

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

If it happened while he was a clergyman in the Episcopal Church, it would fall under a number of Title IV, Canon 1, Section 1’s list of potential offences, such as crime, immorality, violation of Ordination vows, etc. Parry would have undergone an ecclesiastical trial or received disciplinary measures.  Canon 2, involving the voluntary submission of the offender to ecclesiastical discipline, allows the Bishop to make a sentence of their own sentence.

I think the main issue falls elsewhere, though. Parry’s situation doesn’t fall under the disciplinary canons because it was an offense in the past, under another authority, in which case it would probably fall under Title III, Canon 10 “On Reception of Clergy from other Churches.” And here’s where the rub is with Parry. He would run aground on nearly every part of the canon, which requires: a background check, a current medical and psychological examination, evidence of training regarding the prevention of sexual misconduct and training about civil requirements for reporting abuse, the certification by the Bishop of the Diocese (i.e. KJS) that the person has exhibited a “moral and godly character”, certification by two Presbyters that the person did not leave their previous communion because of “any circumstance unfavorable to moral and religious character,” and so on. 

I think the thing to note is this: what was done wasn’t necessarily in violation of the canons since the evaluation of all of these documents and processes is left to the discretion of the Bishop and, perhaps, a Commission on Ministry (I’d have to check Nevada’s canons for more details). Essentially, all of this evidence would eventually have to have been evaluated, or swept under the rug, by KJS herself.

And I’d be interested to hear the reasoning behind it.

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

Talking to the Kansas City Star isn’t so strange as, well, all things Kansas are great.

However, I do find it a bit odd that he claims that “The Episcopal Church doesn’t have a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy,” as my experience doing youth ministry was one in which “one strike and you’re out” was very much stressed (along with the necessary, ensuing legal consequences) - and rightfully so, I should add!

This sort of appointment is a flagrant violation of pastoral trust.  Are there really no canons that address this sort of thing?

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Fulcrum Statement on the Anglican Mission in England
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

Other than my (indeed) prior commitment to order, I have to say that I’m disappointed by this move, particularly in conjunction with “irregular ordinations.” I’m certainly aware of the difficulties of being ordained in the current environment, having had my own setbacks in the ordination process, but what was striking was how it doesn’t seem as if the irregular ordinations of the three individuals involved happened because the diocesan bishop refused to be ordained by them. Instead, *they* refused to be ordained by the diocesan because of his position on “homosexual practice.” Again, I realize the difficulties of conscience which such situations can place on a person, but that sort of action simply seems unwarranted to me. And, really, it seems like the same logic which has put the Anglican Communion in its current state. It always starts with irregular ordinations.

Of course, in this group, I’d be interested in someone giving a coherent and biblical justification for stepping outside the current order. I’m also interested in what we do after some time has passed. At what point does a group stop being considered “schismatic,” particularly if they do make some attempt or claim to work within the bounds of the Anglican Communion?

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 9:23 am

It does seem rather odd also that Parry told the *Kansas City Star* that there were multiple incidents, while he told KJS that there was only one.

I agree that there would be outrage if, say, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, were revealed to have engaged in this sort of behavior. But it has always seemed to me that there is unequal treatment concerning news of sexual abuse, depending on which denomination it happened in. Frankly, it often seems as if the RCC takes the flak for everyone else, while you rarely hear about such cases in the Protestant churches, despite the fact that there is a higher percentage of child abuse among Protestant clergy (I’ll have to look up the study which showed this one).

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Lawsuit Prompts Priest’s Resignation
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm

If Schori were a Roman Catholic bishop, there would be outrage.  Are progressive bishops beyond judgment simply because they are progressive?  I do not understand how anyone, let alone a bishop, can knowingly install someone who is a known child molester, not least when their psychological profile states that they have ‘the proclivity to reoffend with minors’.

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Fulcrum Statement on the Anglican Mission in England
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

{quote]We affirm…the fundamental vision of working “within the Church of England dedicated to the conversion of England and biblical church planting”. But we believe that the latter must be conducted with a biblically based respect for order and hence proper regard to the authority of Church of England structures

As many Covenant-Communion observers will have noticed in many discussions here, there remains a difference of opinion over the place of order in matter before the Anglican world. Those who see order as a secondary matter will not agree that “biblically based respect for order” is a critical factor in the current crisis. Without the prior commintment to order, there is no reson not to go down the path of structures like AmiE.

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Peggy Thomson
The Covenant: What Is it All About?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 12:52 am

Dr Turner,

I appreciate your thought provoking essay, particularly your description of the difference between the ongoing work recognition facilitated by a covenant and subscription to a confessional document that is anchored in a fixed point in time.  The work of peacemaking by maintaining a covenant between members of the communion can be blessed work.

Following the beatitudes, among the first steps in peacemaking is mourning.  I would like to mourn the trust lost in recent months through the choices of the Lambeth leadership: appointing Janet Trisk to ARCIC, inviting full participation by the primates of TECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada in Dublin then unilaterally diminishing the role of the primates’ meetings.  This systematic betrayal of trust cannot be described as procedural inadequacy but as disobedience.  This intentional disobedience has lead many to abandon the procedures of the Communion, just as our Lord taught us to treat an unrepentant brother as a Gentile or tax collector…

Perhaps the Jerusalem Declaration can be a starting point that can lead to development of a covenant relationship.  The importance of of this confession lies in its potential to rebuild the trust needed for the work of recognition.  I trust that the meek, who wait on God’s provision, will be blessed by inheriting renewed communion.  I will be praying for the bishops of ACNA as they meet this week (June 20 - 24) to build and renew.

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Tony Clavier
Abp. of Canterbury guest-edits The New Statesman
Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Delicious defense of the Archbishop athttp://www.victoriacoren.com/main/blog/archive/bashing_the_bishop

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Charles Wingate
Abp. of Canterbury guest-edits The New Statesman
Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Steven Glover, ‘Rowan Williams is a profoundly divisive Leftie’, The Daily Mail, 10 June 2011

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Dean Slee's memo about the behind-the-scenes behavior of Archbishop Williams
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 4:38 pm

If Rowan got mad, he got mad.  If it’s overblown, it’s overblown.  We are all human beings, and even the holiest of us can still fall prey to anger, lust, and misrepresentation.  It don’t think it hinders Rowan’s credibility or authority one iota.

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Tony Clavier
Dean Slee's memo about the behind-the-scenes behavior of Archbishop Williams
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 8:31 am

We have no way of finding out whether Dean Slee’s account was overblown or not. As one of the candidates it is alleged was blacklisted is now Bishop of Salisbury, on wonders. I can’t imagine +Rowan losing his temper or shouting. He is a quiet and gentle man. He was of course perfectly right to take legal advice. I see no connection between this story, based on a leaked document of a deceased cleric who was hardly neutral in all this, and the fate of the Covenant.

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Bob Kaynor
Dean Slee's memo about the behind-the-scenes behavior of Archbishop Williams
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 7:27 am

There is a part of me that feels like I gave away my posessions in anticipation of the rapture on 5/21, only to hear that it’s been rescheduled to 10/21 because of a little math error.  I suppose that’s why I keep wondering if there isn’t more to the story.  Nevertheless, if true as portrayed, it would only seem to accelerate the divisive momentum and undercut the Covenant.  Is there now a strategy for holding the middle way which has any political traction?  We certainly see the results of tying to put the politics ahead of “...walking humbly with thy God.”

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I think we have similar thoughts running through our minds here. Wright has been very influential for me on this point as well, though I always feel like I’m still sorting out just what I think it all means. I think the person you’re referring to with regards to the building of a temple in Genesis 1 is John Walton, of Wheaton. He makes the point in a few publications; I came across it in his *Ancient Near Eastern Thought*. NT Wright has also quoted Walton on this point in a couple lectures which are posted on his website.

I’ve also always been influenced by Wright’s view that if we are to say that something is fundamentally wrong about same-sex marriage or any other LGBT-related questions, then it must somehow tie into what we think is most beneficial or harmful to the human person, what expresses the “wise image of God” best. Wright ties it to a number of places, but one major point which first started me going along this train was his discussion of the differences between Rom. 1 and 4. In one, a lack of recognition and thankfulness leads to abuse of the person through sexual acts which “against nature.” In the other, proper worship and recognition of God leads to fertility for Abraham and Sarah. Wright always seem to think there was something rather important about those two distinctions. That small suggestion has had me trying to work theological anthropology into the current debates ever since.
[of course, I think this point runs aground on certain other issues, but that’s for another time]

Anyway, I’ll need to run some of this through my mind a bit more before replying in full or developing any more thought, but I think we’re zeroing in on…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm

ta panta “all things”!
NT Wright has been very influential for me on this point!

I can’t remember where I heard this, but the speaker made the point that in its original cultural context, one of the things a hearer would have heard in Gen 1-2 is the building of a temple, where the last thing placed in the temple is the image of the Deity - humanity is the “image of the Deity placed in the temple of Creation.”

We could no longer fulfill out cultic role because of our rebellion - now Jesus is the New Humanity placed in the New Temple - New Creation.

Which makes me think of 2 Cor 5 - “If anyone is in Christ—New Creation!”

Which takes us back to Gal 3:28. No longer slave/free, male/female, Jew/Gentile are all the result of being “in Christ.”

Which brings me back to this passage in one of your posts:

“The division of humanity into male and female had a particular creational role for the purposes of bearing children. However, when Jesus Christ assumed human nature and renewed it in the resurrection, his perfected humanity was neither male nor female. It had no sexual difference and stood in radical discontinuity with the original creation. This lack of sexual difference is a characteristic of all resurrection bodies and will be that of our own when we become ‘equal to the angels.’ One participates in this resurrection body even today through baptism into Christ. By undoing the signs of sexual difference amongst ourselves, we may participate in the resurrection and in Christ more and more. Since such participation is clearly a good thing, we not only have the option of undoing sexual difference, but the imperative to do so at an ever exceeding rate.”{/quote]

- Is…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm

CC- I really agree with you that some greater account needs to be taken of the Fall. That is, regardless of whatever the theology of Creation/New Creation might be, we have to first understand what the situation is that the New Creation might be breaking into. I was just spending a good deal of time in Colossians this afternoon, and I was truly struck (as I am each time) by the fact that human beings are not the only ones spoken of as being “estranged” and “hostile” and only reconciled “in the body of his flesh” (Col. 1:21). Rather, that point is actually an addendum or development of the original discussion in the letter: the Son of God is the one through whom and for whom all things were made, both in heaven and earth (1:13, 16). And, equally, all things were reconciled through him and for him, now by the cross:

“All things were created through him and for [or ‘unto’] him. And he is the head of the body, the Church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become pre-eminent in all things, since all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him and, through him, to reconcile all things unto him, making peace through the blood of his cross, whether things on earth or things in the heavens.”
(1:16c-1:20; my translation, taking “unto him” eis auton of v. 20 as a reference to the Son, rather than the Father, since, presumably, it would be neuter if the Father were being spoken of in this verse, as the Father is described with a neuter nominative “all the fullness” pan to pleroma. Again, my interpretation.)

Just how this is the case needs to be examined more thoroughly. Some of the Greek Fathers,…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

You are spot on in identifying the theological differences in how we understand creation.  However, to talk intelligently on the matter, we also need to unearth the differences in how Scripture is used and understood. 

A particular theological template is read into the liberal approach to Scripture before one draws out supporting exegesis.  I am well aware we all have theological lenses, but I find the liberal/progressive lens less responsive to Scripture as an authority over the reader, but more of a conversation partner from which good stuff may be gleaned, discarded, or reinterpreted according to a personally-based set of axioms.  That, to me, is clearly contrary to what Scripture says about itself and how Scripture has been regarded throughout vast swath of Tradition.

That invariably impacts our reading of the creation/new creation narratives.  As one who still is comfortable identifying himself as an Evangelical within the Episcopal Church, we need to lay out (even more, understand) our own foundational assumptions before engaging the task of elucidating a theology of creation.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I really like raising the issue of Creation - New Creation. “where are we headed” is an important question (doesn’t Aristotle smile down on us?).

It will mean that we must carfully answer the question, “How do we deal with where we are now.” What of the original Creation is lost, and will be recovered in New Creation? What that is gone will actually be transended? Or put another way (Wright is strong here): what are the continuities and discontinuities between Original and New Creation?

For example, there seems to be good reason to think that “languages, tribes and nations” will continue to ‘exist.’

The Matt 22:30 passage is very interesting (we should hear clearly the warning that we know neither the scriptures nor the power of God!). Seems like it is “marriage” that goes away. But what does it mean to be like the angels?

The Evangelical in me says that a central question involves asking and answering the question about the Fall - are not both we and the whole Creation broken? I believe that the power of the Resurrection is at work in me, but that is not nearly finished! The more I ponder the idea that God loves me to the very depths of my darkness (and brings the Cross to those places), the more I am left speachless.

So in this time between times, we live both under the Cross and in the power of the Resurrection. This is a point that I think critical. Is there a sharp discontinuity between Old and New? Is our sexuality broken and needs to be remade or is it progressivly getting better (as we ‘understand’ it better)?

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Ah, so much to comment on here. Trust me when I say that I’m limiting my comments to one major topic here, simply to keep from sitting at my computer and writing for a couple hours, not because what I leave unaddressed is unimportant.

I think we need to examine this crucial point which continues to crop up: creation. Particularly, I hope we could not only consider the givenness of the material order, in light of Genesis, which many of us (including myself) and many traditionalists or conservatives writing on the topic of sexual difference, gender roles, and marriage (from JP II to the authors of the conservative paper to the HoB), believe is a crucial point in addressing these topics. What I want to ask is whether could we also give ourselves to the task of trying to consider a stronger version of the sort of theology of creation that might rest behind progressive discussions of these same topics?

I say this because I remain unconvinced that it is entirely a kind of Gnosticism, though it certainly resembles it at times, and I take the argument from the First Things article quite seriously. In some cases, I think it is quite correct. Some progressives are Gnostic on these issues (or agnostic about them, really). But, among the more theologically articulate progressive voices I have encountered, Gnosticism is not the whole story. Both Rogers, and a number of progressives I encounter in the Diocese of MA and in school, would point to a rather different understanding of creation, which is not simply identifiable as Gnostic and which is worth our consideration here. It is somewhat similar to what I have been speaking about before, which is no accident. What they might be concerned with is how we understand…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

LA,

I agree, but point out that Rogers (in the original post) seems to say what is really important is the immaterial/soul, thus leaving us free to do what ever we want with the material (not quite either type). That is why I pointed to the First Things article.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 11:10 am

Historically, gnosticism produces two equal but opposite responses: body=evil, therefore 1) indulge the body since it will be destroyed anyway, or 2) do all you can to suppress the body since it is evil.  I don’t doubt there may be progressives of the first type, but most progressives with whom I am familiar seem to argue “body=all good, therefore can only produce good (denial of sin, evil, corruptibility).”  A balanced Christian response is “body=good but corrupted, therefore embrace the good through faith in Christ (new creation), while mortify the sinful nature and train the body for eternity (spiritual disciplines).”  As Benjamin did earlier, we’ll leave monergist/synergist distinctions for another day.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Lenny,

I would have said that it was exactly the progressives who have gone the gnostic route to avoid the implications of embodiness/Creation.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Same-sex complementarity
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I have to admit that while I am quite wary of the fleshly direction of progressive theologians, I am also concerned about the potentiality of an overly ascetic/spiritualized version of how love, desire, and aspiration for the divine intersect.  It can smack of a baptized gnosticism if we’re not careful.

As far as foreheads are concerned, I fear mine is not quite so elevated as my fellows who have already ascended to planes higher than I could hope to dream of, much less see.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
James Wirrel
The Covenant: What Is it All About?
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Dr. Turner:

Thank you for your excellent essay.  I had a few thoughts in response.  First, I wonder if the primary problem with the Covenant is in its timing.  The example that comes to my mind is that of pushing a healthy eating plan to a person in hospice care who has only days to live.  The healthy eating plan in and of itself may be a sound nutritional plan, however the problem is that it is neither very helpful nor useful in the specific situation.  So it is with the Covenant.  The Covenant is a good document - for the purposes that you outline; but it is not particularly helpful nor useful for the situation currently facing the Communion.

Second, I think that a very real question exists as to just what the “Anglican Communion” is in reality.  Not what we think it should be, or would like it to be, but what is it really?  You write

Anglicans throughout the Communion would be wise to pause and think on these matters. The Anglican Communion is not simply a federation of churches joined (voluntarily) in a common task. It is a communion of belief and worship as well as mission. Conversely, the Anglican Communion is not a confessional body that can be identified by common subscription to a series of assertions. It is a body bound in the communion of Christ by mutual “recognition” — recognition by each in the other of fidelity to the witness of Holy Scripture as mediated through the traditions of the church.

Is the Anglican Communion right now anything more than “simply a federation of churches”?  Is it really “a body bound in the communion of Christ by mutual ‘recognition’?  Do member churches really recognize in each other “fidelity to the witness of Holy Scripture…

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Ben,

I too hope that someone will be able to answer the question about how long ago that prayer was said.

Smith wouldn’t talk about appetites, but with an Augustinian flavor, speak about desire as those things we love. “Aspiring to wisdom” would be exactly the kinds of desire he would say characterize the desires the Kingdom of God.

I did not say that Rogers was relying on a theology of Creation - quite the contrary, he seems to flee from any such thing!

As an aside, I have pondered the story of the Fall, and have often wondered why nakedness suddenly becomes an issue. Was it a matter of modesty? Likewise, in the story of Noah’s son Canaan seeing his nakedness, and being cursed, what’s the big deal? I don’t think either story is about sexuality - it is about Creation. In the Fall, our own createdness becomes a problem, and we cannot abide it. So we cover it up. Our “creatureliness” is a constant reminder that we are broken, and our relationship with God especially is fractured. So it is not surprising that those, as Zack have pointed out, who want to eliminate the Logos, don’t deal well with Creation or have a very well made theology of Creation.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Same-sex complementarity
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Charlie -

The reference to the berakhot is very interesting; I wonder if it or a version like it was prayed in the first century?  Your reference is precisely the sort of thing that we ought to pay attention to when looking at historical context - and what a historical context!  If reading Paul against this background, would not Gal. 3:28 be a reference to the universal redemption of the Messiah and the ingathering of all nations?  Thank you for drawing our attention to it.

I haven’t read Smith’s volume, so I can’t say much at all on point.  My only concern is the reduction of homo sapiens to homo desirans.  No longer are we seen as beings who might aspire to wisdom; we are instead reduced wholly to, and defined wholly by, our own appetites.  I reject this.

The question of a theology of creation is a good one, but I also fail to see how someone like Rogers can be said to rely on a theology of creation when he raises no question at all about transsexuality - which is not a matter of creation, but can only be thought in the wake of a certain kind of technological advance.  The language of creation might be important, but a theology of creation which comprehends Scripture, the Church’s historic understanding(s), and the current state of inquiry into the Book of Nature - such a theology seems lacking, to me, at least in my perusal of Rogers.  Indeed, his conflation of sex and gender indicates to me that creation is not at all important in his exegesis of the NT.

Just a few thoughts.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I can’t resist chimeing in regarding the question of eros/desire. James K. A. Smith at Calvin College has written a very interesting book _Desiring the Kingdom_ in which he argues we are at heart _desiring_ creatures (he has harsh things to say about older spiritual anthropologies). The key question is what _kingdom_ does our desires need to be aimed at.

So Queer theologies needs the question, “How are we to know what disires are allowed?”

And back to my original point (and Smith is really good here), our desires are wrapped up in our embodiedness. This makes Ben’s point about the importance of sex over against gender that much more important.

The place of a theology of Creation (and by implication, anthropology) is the great divide between progressive and conservative views on human sexuality.


BTW, what do you think of the idea that Gal 3:28 is a deliberate (anti-)echo of the daily Jewish prayer:

“Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile.
Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave.
Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman.”

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Same-sex complementarity
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I am glad that Zack has made explicit what I assumed would be well known - that there are ideas about eros within Patristic writings which assume, via Platonic metaphysics, that there is in some ways a pull, as it were, that God exerts (almost gravitationally) upon human beings.  However, as Zack also mentions, “Current queer appropriations of this sort of material are particularly odd because they seem to fall into the precise pit which Origen and Dionysius warned against.”  I think that is the real issue.  Within Platonic thought (and even that of other ancient philosophical schools; see Pierre Hadot on this), exitus/reditus is not about sexual desire or even physical appetites, but about re-orienting oneself toward death - as Socrates notes, philosophy is itself preparation for death - and, depending upon the metaphysic, this is also preparation for the One beyond death.  Within Christian thought, all of the above holds but there is a twofold narrative of being oriented (note the passive construction) by God and also orienting oneself through askesis - but the latter is always preceded by the former, whether one is a synergist or a monergist (to impose, anachronistically, later theological terms).

As for the constructive reading of Gal. 3:28, perhaps this is where I become uneasy.  It is a question of method, though, rather than a question of opposition to constructive theology.  I fear that the constructive theologian suffers all too often from a nervous tick - an almost compulsive need to read and re-read every text to make sure that every possible meaning and application is being squeezed from it.  I’m not sure that this is healthy.  It seems to me that methodologically, we must first look at the plain, intended sense; second, we must consider whether or not any new application either…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Same-sex complementarity
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Good point, Zack. That’s funny!

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

And may I note that all of the contributors to this passage have wonderfully bare foreheads. Just an observation on strange congruences. Perhaps Lenny has broken the chain?

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
What are Devotional Societies For?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Briefly, on the run: I don’t think it’s first a moral question so much as a historico-ontological question, if you will (not therefore of a methodological but primary and practical or applied sort), namely, what is the form of history? “Form” is a big word for Radner, and I think he gets it from Paul, among others—the form of Christ. Isn’t history itself formed not only by Christ but in and through him—first as creative Word, and then as incarnated and resurrected, thence via his “body” on earth, in which he continues to dwell mystically, etc.? In this case, Christians, and perhaps especially Christian historians, have a historical-descriptive task it seems, namely, to describe this Christ-formed history, the divine body of time, as it were, as the most real reality of all: the Church as the incarnated, visible and invisible form/pattern/content/center of history and time, shaped by and conformed to Christ’s own flesh. Yes, in some ways it is inscrutable; but I’m not talking—nor would the Catholic tradition—about “divining” the mind of God, as it were. Rather, we have the roadmap of the holy Scriptures, read literally. They are the primary historical description to which we go, on which we rely, and to which we defer for the best summary description of the way things are and have been. That said… again, we are not talking about some kind of static “form” of Christ, but rather a dynamic of history as it unfolds, again organized around a center which is Christ himself, suffering (patiens) the world within and through himself, always and still; bringing it to birth. The ongoing life of the resurrected (and still cruciform) Jesus as himself history, perhaps.

I realize I am speaking unapologetically theologically. It seems to me, though, that a major task for Christian historians…

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Ben,

What I think you point to here, particularly in your first paragraph, is the way that progressive accounts want to sound more theoretically precise, in tune with current developments in theory, and adventurous. Yet they are also relatively inconsistent in their approach as they attempt to make applications from Scripture or Christian tradition. They attempt to look historically careful and aware of changes in conceptions of gender, for instance, yet end up being unconsciously anachronistic as they attempt to leap the historical gap.

I think your second paragraph is crucial also, and I’d like to address it, particularly the statement:

“It is my own observation - and I welcome correction on this! - that queer theology takes concupiscence, defined literally as desire and not merely as sexual desire, as thesine qua non of human being.  It is a libidinal anthropology, not a Christian one.”

I think the situation is complicated because there actually are Christian anthropologies which are, in some sense, “libidinal,” and which make countering some emerging queer theologies slightly more difficult. Queer theologies are tricky because they often tap into genuinely Christian accounts of desire or eros as the constitutive element of both God and humanity, a move which gives queer anthropologies a veneer of Christian orthodoxy, particularly if one simply views their citations without following up on them. The key difference, though, is that they twist such accounts of eros into contemporary discussions of sexual desire, something which those who created libidinal or erotic accounts of anthropology would vehemently deny. Take Origen and (Pseudo-) Dionysius the Areopagite, both of whom were profoundly influential in Christian discussions on eros: Origen through his commentary on the Song of Songs, and Dionysius through sections 4.11-18 in his treatise *The Divine Names.*

Both Origen and Dionysius are…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
What are Devotional Societies For?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Christopher -

Thank you so much for your response.  You ask a good question that I am only beginning to wrestle with.  The problem with theologies of history and historical methodology is that they have different teloi.  While I would like for them to map one another in a way - as Benjamin’s theology of historical catastrophe maps Butterfield’s anti-Whig method - I have not yet worked this out.  Of course, I don’t think that this is necessarily a bad thing; I am highly skeptical of the claim of theologians that theology is queen of the sciences (not least because this implies that all sciences have the same end, a point which I am not convinced of).  I think it gives theologians a libido dominandi - a very dangerous thing for anyone to have.

I will however venture to say that a theology of providence can only be a tentative thing.  Here a theology of providence, if one wishes to offer it, can map historical methodology as the latter must know itself to always be provisional.  Theologically, it is best I think to say that providence is inscrutable and will be revealed only in the end.  We can’t have God’s view on anything, let alone historical events.  I am deeply drawn to Benjamin’s discussion of the messiah entering into and disturbing the order of things - a different view than that of the messiah coming as the culmination of historical progress.  The latter is the Whig and Hegelian view and, I believe, the view of liberation theology as well - at least as defined by the vulgar theologians who are our bishops and believe that we are called to create the kingdom of God on earth.  Such a view has no place for tragedy or human futility; more simply stated,…

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Same-sex complementarity
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm

First, and as a mere addendum to my post yesterday, I noted that Rogers identified gender as a linguistic construct and that the body in the medieval era was typologically gendered.  It now occurs to me that if both of these claims are correct, then Rogers further errs by claiming both that “Christ, as human, assumes humanity, not maleness” and that “Because Christ can be the bridegroom to a male believer, he resembles the same-sex spouse. Gender does not limit Christ, because he is its Lord.”  On the one hand, we see here again the same problem: the conflation of gender with physical sex.  Yet there is a further problem because if gender is culturally constructed, then same-gender union (which is a linguistic union, and thus not the same as same-sex union) could only have existed in a shared cultural context between the human Jesus and his male disciples.  Yet this is no longer a possibility for any of us as our own cultural construction(s) of gender are not shared between ourselves and whatever the cultural construction(s) of gender were for Jesus of Nazareth and his day.  Ergo, even if I speak of Christ as male and myself as male, I cannot assume that these typologically signify same-sex relationships because existing in different cultural contexts, Jesus and I also exist in different linguistic contexts and therefore have different genders.  Same-sex union and same-gender unions are fundamentally different.  This brings us then to the work of someone like Alan Bray, whose book The Friend points to the existence of liturgical blessings of friendship - same-gender unions, certainly - but as Bray notes, these were not conceived of as same-sex or homoerotic unions.  So, on the one hand, there is no same-gender union between male and female believers with the bodies natural…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
What are Devotional Societies For?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

Hi Ben,

Thanks for this. I enjoyed your essay and found it stimulating.

I wonder, though, where divine providence is in your view of history? It seems to me that this “doctrine” is the fundament of a theological view of time—that is, a view from God’s perspective, that takes God as its subject—rather than what you suggest as a “translation into theological terms” of Butterfield’s conclusion, viz. that “we find that our ability to understand the full truth of history can only be an eschatological event.” Yes, the notion of a final end to history is a theological doctrine; but your statement of the point is more properly an anthropological one, i.e. from our perspective. And indeed, your approach throughout the piece, with ref. to the problem of relating moral and historical claims, basically revolves around human epistemological questions—what we ourselves can and cannot know. I might expect this to be the presenting problem for an historian! And I don’t want to take away the proper tasks of your discipline. I am simply wondering, however, what a fully theological view of history would, and should, look like?

I don’t know if you’ve looked at Aquinas’s commentary on Job, but it is a classic locus for his own development of a doctrine of providence; and his placement of the question on providence near the front of the Summa is also massively important for the order and pedagogy of the whole.

Closer to our own day (as it were!), I think of Radner’s deploying of the doctrine of providence, which he places as an orienting pivot for all his work. See for instance the important and programmatic ch. 3 in Hope among the Fragments, “The Peace of the Church and the Providence of God,” including the final sub-section: “The Providential Form of…

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Same-sex complementarity
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

Gentlemen, thank you for wonderful reflections, that we have been allowed to overhear, as it were. I am learning a lot. Kudos to you both for contemplating all of this as carefully as you have. Please continue!

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Drop in and introduce yourself!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 8:09 am

Yes indeed, welcome Zack! Good to have you here.

 Forum Replies [53]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Thanks to Benjamin for bringing in the necessary point on sex and gender. I apologize because this next post will only address yours indirectly, as I’m still thinking through these issues as I go.

To add another layer to the discussion (and lay a few of my cards on the table in the process), I actually do often wonder about the Gal 3:28 passage. It has been the favored verse for liberal/progressive discussions, at least since the debates on women’s ordination. At least in Rogers’s use, it is taken up as an example of the dissolution of sexual difference in the human person. Although this interpretation has often been vehemently argued against by certain sectors of historical-critical scholarship, I am somewhat conflicted on this point for several reasons.

First, it is by no means a simple task to actually figure out exactly what Paul means in this verse, in its full ramifications. In the context of the first part of the letter, he is talking about shared table-fellowship among Jewish and Greek Christians. It seems clear how there is “neither Jew nor Greek” in Christ. But, how then do we apply the talk about “neither slave nor free, no male and female,” particularly when the latter seems to be an oblique reference to the creation narrative? What sort of divisions are overcome and in what way? Second, the use of this phrase in patristic exegesis is inconsistent. Some take it to men that sexual difference was at some point “cosmically” overcome in the body of Jesus as he reconciled the whole universe (Maximus the Confessor in Ambiguum 41) or that the original human being had no sex and neither will post-resurrection humans (Gregory of Nyssa in On the making of humanity). But others, namely Augustine in his commentary…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Same-sex complementarity
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This is a fascinating and necessary conversation which I am enjoying reading up on.  I am especially glad to see the comments by Zack Guiliano, who raises many good points.  I would like to add a few reflections of my own.

I am curious whether or not one can gloss Gal. 3:28 - “In Christ there is no male and female” - to read, “In Christ, there are neither bodies nor ends for them to attain.”  Rogers seems to argue that typology means negating the sign rather than recognizing its participation in and relation to the thing signified.  Hence his theological use of Judith Butler, which he sums up as, “Christian traditions still have surprising things to teach us about how to expand the terms male and female — how to displace them from contexts in which they confine the realities of Christ and the church.”  If this is the case, perhaps we ought to “displace” all language and all words “from contexts in which they confine the realities of Christ and the church.”  Whether intentionally or not, Butler’s normative project has become Rogers’s project as well, the only difference being that the latter is interested in how it might interface with theology.  Rogers’s work is therefore driven by an explicitly anti-theological agenda, as Butler is quite blunt about her intent to undermine all notions of Logos in the opening pages of Gender Trouble.  The effacement of the typological signifier does not therefore liberate the signified, but deprives it of all meaning because in following Butler, Rogers tacitly agrees to deny the Logos.  The Christology advocated is not Chalcedonian, however much it may pretend to be.  It is at best Arian.

Related to this, Rogers claims that in the medieval era, the body was typologically gendered.  He does not claim…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Drop in and introduce yourself!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

Welcome, brother!

 Forum Replies [53]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

As another salvo, Rogers also wants to make the marital relationship primarily about being an icon of love and a “moral matter”, involving the ascetic discipline of “love for the neighbor.” He focuses on this language in Ephesians 5:

“He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of one body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself.”

What Rogers rather crucially does not say, though, is that his choice to focus on this particular passage of Scripture presents him with peculiar difficulties. After all, the marital relationship in this passage is not only about love but about submission and obedience. Yes, the man is to love the woman as Christ loves the church, but the woman is also called in this passage to do something iconic: “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.”

Rogers never brings up this aspect of the passage. If he really wanted to make his argument complete, that same-sex couples can potentially represent the relationship of Christ and the Church, then he would have to incorporate a discussion of more than marital love, but also…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Same-sex complementarity
Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm

[sorry this is so long; I find the Rogers’s article both interesting and flawed]

Generally, I find this article a little unfortunate simply because the train of its argument is a little difficult to follow. A friend and I are actually going to sit down and discuss it soon, partly because it assumes a number of important issues without mentioning them. Its argument really needs to be reconstructed, and I’ll try to do so briefly before bringing up some problems I think I see.

What is interesting about the article, at least to me, is how it attempts to say that sexual difference and/or complementarity became a major concern in both the conservative and liberal papers on same-sex marriage presented to the HOB last year. Further, it attempts to address this issue by arguing a few points that it thinks are crucial: 1) In marriage, any human sexual pair can signify the relationship of “Christ and the Church,” primarily because 2) Christ somehow transcends gender, due to his divine nature, and is both male and female in many descriptions of him, and 3) the personal gender of those in Christ was interpreted theologically in a rather fluid way in previous ages and is definitely effaced in Gal 3:28.

[There might be other ways of construing or elaborating Rogers’s argument; it’s a little convoluted, and I admit I’m leaving out certain points.]

Clearly, 2 and 3 bear the primary weight of the argument in the article and are the points which ought to be addressed. I’ll simply be addressing the points I find most troublesome. 2, for instance, “the maleness of Christ is a curious thing,” seems somewhat unclear to me, at least as Rogers presents it. Take the following quotation:

“As for Christ, orthodox theology makes him fully…

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Zack Guiliano
Drop in and introduce yourself!
Monday, May 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Hi All,

My name is Zack Guiliano. I’m an MDiv student at the end of my middler year at Harvard Divinity School, where I am the President of the Episcopal/Anglican Fellowship. I’m also the Kellogg Fellow for the Episcopal Chaplaincy at Harvard (read: 2010-2012 intern) and an erstwhile Episcopal seminarian. 

I’ve been a long-time Covenant lurker and have simply been a little hesitant to sign-up for discussion until this point due to concerns about leaving my theological thoughts scattered about the Internet, particularly in this time of division. But, at the same time, I’ve been seeking a place to talk with others throughout the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion for some time as I implement my version of the “stay put” position in our troubled church, and Covenant has always helped me keep my sanity.

I’m Anglo-Catholic and currently study patristic and medieval theology, though I have a background in Pentecostalism and my BA was in biblical studies at an Assemblies of God university in the Midwest.

Looking forward to talking with everyone, even though I hear the site’s about to undergo some changes and activity might be light.

 Forum Replies [53]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Ian Montgomery
Irish Church ‘Subscribes’ to Anglican Covenant
Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Thanks Christopher - I have thought about it but not put it into the budget.  Will rethink when back in Vermont next week.
Do check my blogs if you want to take the time - http://amigosdelperu.wordpress.com/  and my personal one that will be updated this afternoon. http://missionmeanderings.wordpress.com/
Blessings - Ian

 Forum Replies [6]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Irish Church ‘Subscribes’ to Anglican Covenant
Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

We do have online subscriptions, fyi. See here: http://www.livingchurch.org/store/online-subscriptions

Blessings on your continued missionary labor!

 Forum Replies [6]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Ian Montgomery
Irish Church ‘Subscribes’ to Anglican Covenant
Friday, May 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Thanks Christopher.  Sadly TLC is not easily available as I am taking a season as a missionary following my retirement.  We are in Peru.  Indeed I have just returned from a five day stint in the high Andes at one of our remote missions (12,000 feet altitude on the rim of the Colca Canyon).  Little or no internet!  Even in Lima we get little mail as it is unreliable and not to be trusted.  I received one of our Christmas cards last month!  Thus I depend upon good sites such as this one, and I love the free parts online.  Thanks and blessings - Ian

Cheers, Ian. We are working toward a rebuilt, reorganized site, which has taken some time to pull off. We are making good progress now, however. Hopefully by September we will have a new Covenant site alongside a new TLC site.

Meanwhile… I hope you’re reading The Living Church! (and not just the free parts posted online). We’ve had great energy lately, which I expect in time will spill back onto this site as well. smile

 Forum Replies [6]    Share on Facebook
Lenny Anderson
Same-sex complementarity
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm

What strikes me in the Christian Century post is how quickly a turn to one aspect of tradition (example the Cistercian “mother Jesus”) is adopted rather uncritically as a proper lens for interpretation of Scripture.  Tradition, like Scripture, isn’t a buffet where you sample your favorite voices, but must be consulted as a whole.  And then the whole “neither male nor female” is imported from one Scriptural context to another in same fashion as Harold Camping’s “a day unto the Lord is 1000 years” and his May 21st doomsday prediction.  Classic prooftexting!

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

It was Robert P. George in the Aug/Sept 2009 issue. Here is the first paragraph:

Everyone agrees that marriage, whatever else it is or does, is a relationship in which persons are united. But what are persons? And how is it possible for two or more of them to unite? The view typically (if often unconsciously) held by advocates of liberal positions on issues of sexuality and marriage is that the person is the conscious and desiring aspect of the self. The person inhabits (or is somehow associated with) a body, certainly, but the body is regarded (if often only implicitly) as a subpersonal reality, rather than a part of the personal reality of the human being whose body it is. The body is viewed as an instrument by which the individual produces or otherwise participates in satisfactions and other desirable experiences and realizes various goals.

The whole article is here:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/07/what-marriage-is-and-what-it-isnt

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Irish Church ‘Subscribes’ to Anglican Covenant
Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

Cheers, Ian. We are working toward a rebuilt, reorganized site, which has taken some time to pull off. We are making good progress now, however. Hopefully by September we will have a new Covenant site alongside a new TLC site.

Meanwhile… I hope you’re reading The Living Church! (and not just the free parts posted online). We’ve had great energy lately, which I expect in time will spill back onto this site as well. smile

 Forum Replies [6]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Same-sex complementarity
Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

Well put, Charlie; thank you. Are you thinking of a piece by Gilbert Meilander in FT, per chance?

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Ian Montgomery
Irish Church ‘Subscribes’ to Anglican Covenant
Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 8:23 am

Good - very commonsensicle

PS. Nice to see this site is not dead - I was worried!

 Forum Replies [6]    Share on Facebook
Charlie Clauss
Same-sex complementarity
Friday, May 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Even if you grant the premise of “Ephesians does not require heterosexual complementarity, even if it uses gendered language,” you still must find grounds for the contention that _marriage_ does not require “heterosexual complementarity.” Instead, Rogers has assumed that physical reality (ie Creation) does not clearly imply heterosexual complementarity (or at least waved his hands firmly at the notion).

There was a great article in *First Things* that pointed out the inherent gnosticism in much liberal argument in favor of same-sex unions. This is another example. Rodger’s argument is that what is really important is the _symbolism_ of two people’s union representing god, rather than the true full union (becoming one flesh) of two _embodied_ people pointing us toward the mystery of Christ and the Church.

Non-material sacramentals are not sacramental at all.

 Forum Replies [28]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
ARC-USA Meets in Berkeley
Thursday, April 07, 2011 at 11:36 pm

We were however warmly welcomed by our hosts at CDSP, and spent an enjoyable evening in conversation with members of the community, both faculty and students.

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
ARC-USA Meets in Berkeley
Thursday, April 07, 2011 at 11:34 pm

No.

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Jonathan Mitchican
Anglican theology of marriage
Thursday, April 07, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Thank you for this advice. I think that sending a note to Dr. Spinks may be the best idea. I will look at Stevenson too. I’ve seen some of his essays in The Oxford Guide to the BCP, although he doesn’t write on matrimony. I appreciate all the feedback. This is an exciting topic, and I find myself continually amazed at how rich the theology that we have inherited truly is.

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Chris Arnold
ARC-USA Meets in Berkeley
Wednesday, April 06, 2011 at 9:02 am

Was anybody from CDSP involved in this discussion?

 Forum Replies [4]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Ian Montgomery
Catholicity Outweighs Autonomy
Tuesday, April 05, 2011 at 8:03 am

I agree - this is a splendid piece and free of the claptrap/twaddle that so often seems to be emitted by the contras.  This sentence sums it up

“Autonomy” cannot be the first thing that we have to say about ourselves as Anglican churches. I think the attributes of the Church of Christ in the Creed come much higher up: unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity.

Sadly the debate has not been on the basis of unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity, but rather about control. 

Also fascinating is the way in which TEC, in touting its so called autonomy, has created for itself a system with a “metropolitan” who seeks to control its previously autonomous dioceses.  I cannot remember when I last heard the TEC leadership speak coherently of anything to do with unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity.  Except perhaps to suggest unity under the control of the new metropolitana!  And that is an appeal to Humpty Dumpty and the meaning of words.

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Tony Clavier
Catholicity Outweighs Autonomy
Monday, April 04, 2011 at 7:57 pm

A splendidly clear paper. Contrast it with the “Mandarin” spoken by most of those opposing, with its jargon spiced warnings and emotive twaddle and one sees a contrast in what is best in Anglican discourse and what is worst.  Anglican theologians were once noted not simply for profundity but clarity. They spoke to enlighten and teach and not to join in a conversation with adepts.

 Forum Replies [3]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Anglican theology of marriage
Saturday, April 02, 2011 at 8:04 pm

That’s right. Thank you, Ben. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Anglican theology of marriage
Saturday, April 02, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Regrettably, +Stevenson passed away 12 Jan. of this year after a long battle with Leukemia.  Among other websites, there is an obituary at the Guardian by +John Gladwin, which provides a fine overview of +Stevenson’s career, and a pair of obituaries/reflections by Peter Townley and Bryan D. Spinks at the Independent.

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Christopher Wells
Anglican theology of marriage
Saturday, April 02, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Check out Kenneth Stevenson’s scholarly work, esp. _To Join Together: The Rite of Marriage_ (Pueblo, 1987), and his essay in Spinks and Torrance ed., _To Glorify God: Essays on Modern Reformed Liturgy_ (Eerdmans, 1999). You might consider dropping Bp. Stevenson a line, and also Professor Spinks, who teaches at Yale. They’d have the sources and scholarly studies at their fingertips.

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Benjamin Guyer
Anglican theology of marriage
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Fr. Mitchican -

It’s nice to make your acquaintance.  I read your post on the Anglican Covenant, ‘A Choice Between Love and Fear’, and appreciated it immensely.  Thank you for it.

Like you, it seems, I too am interested in the Anglican tradition and what it has to say about a number of matters.  It seems to me that the issue of Anglicans and marriage is a bit understudied, regrettably.  Fr. Cover is right that Jeremy Taylor has a sermon entitled ‘The Marriage Ring’ - two sermons in fact.  The first, which is by far the more theologically interesting of the two, is largely excerpted in Thomas Carroll, Jeremy Taylor: Selected Writings (Paulist Press, 1990).  It is part of the Classics of Western Spirituality series.  I have a forthcoming reader on the Caroline Divines, but it is in preparation and will likely not be out until late next year.  It will have a chapter on the life cycle in 17th c. Anglicanism and will therefore include some material on marriage.  The place to look for Anglican thought on point is to the poets and liturgical commentators.  For the latter, obviously, Hooker’s fifth book of the Laws is a primary place to start.  You might also try looking for the work of Anthony Sparrow and, after him, Robert Nelson.  Sparrow was immensely popular in the 17th century, and Nelson was his veritable successor and a Non-Juror.  In terms of poets, Robert Herrick has some fairly sexy poetry, actually, and there is a whole host of material on what might be called the Cult of the Royal Family - specifically, Charles I’s family.  Again, Herrick is important here but so is Henry Vaughan.  Of course, there is John Donne as well.

A big secondary source that might be especially helpful here is…

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Michael Cover
Anglican theology of marriage
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Ah yes…the “wee bookies.”

I’m afraid I can’t be of much help re: resources for understanding the journey toward 1979. There is one wee book on my shelf (who knows how it got there) called Eucharistic Celebration 1789-1979 by B. D. Stuhlman, which looks to trace major liturgical developments in the HE. But others here could offer better starting places or more comprehensive treatments. Then again, 1979 is relatively recent as far as liturgies go . . . so there may not be much out there.

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Fr. Jonathan Mitchican
Anglican theology of marriage
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

It’s so good to hear from you, Fr. Michael! It seems like just yesterday we were together in Dr. Spinks’ Prayer Book class, suffering through the “wee bookies.”

Thank you for the feedback and the book suggestions. I am awaiting their return at the local Roman Catholic seminary library. I also intend to look at what Taylor says.

What I’m really wanting to find at the moment is a book that would explain the rationale for why the American Church cut certain things out of the service. I’ve read Hatchett, but all he does is say that the cuts were made. Do you know of any books that talk about the process by which the 1789 American prayer book was compiled?

 Forum Replies [9]    Share on Facebook
Phil Snyder
Sin, Creed, Gospel
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm

So, should we give a pass on all sins because we are all guilty of sins?  Should we ordain practicing adulterers, pedophiles, alcholoics?  Or is the alternataive to not have any ordained leadership?

The Sins of the Flesh are dangerous, but it not the sin of Lust that is destroying the Church.  It is the sin of Pride - that I (or my group) knows more than the rest of the Church and knows more than the Holy Scriptures when it comes to what is sin and what is not sin.  It is not that we ordain people who are homosexual in their orientation.  That has been going on for centuries.

The problem is that we are ordaining them when they refuse to acknowledge that homosexual sex is a sin, but say that it is, instead, a blessing by God.  They have crossed the line from a carnal sin (lust) to a spiritual one (pride).

While a person who is a glutton my not acknowledge that he is one, he will, at least, acknowledge that gluttony is a sin.  For some of us (myself included) it is a besetting sin.  Likewise the alcoholic may not acknowledge his drinkning problem but will say that alcoholism is bad.  But if you are having sex outside of Christian Marriage, then you pretty well know it.  I have met very few people who were not aware that the person they were having sex with was not their spouse or was not of the same gender.  It is rather hard to be in denial of sexual acts.

So, it is not the sexual act itself that is the bar to ordination, it is the refusal to see that as sinful and the pride of putting yourself in the place of judging what is and is…

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Everett Lees
Sin, Creed, Gospel
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Phil,

To be clear I fall into the camp that teaches and upholds the traditional teachings of marriage.  But I am concerned that the church seems to be solely focused on the issues of human sexuality instead of the larger issues of what does the cruciform life look like.  I wold argue that someone who continues to overindulge in food or drink is asking for it to be blessed.  I say this as someone who has struggled with my weight my entire life.  I kind of agree with Dorthy Sayers who says (paraphrasing) that while the sins of lust may make for the best headlines there are other sins out there.  So why all the energy about human sexuality? 

If I read correctly the various studies on clergy wellness it demonstrates that we are over-indulge in food and we are not good stewards of our bodies.  So, if gluttony is a sin, should we require people to have healthy eating habits before they are ordained?  (like we would require unmarried people to a life of chasity)  Why focus on one sin over the plethora sins out there?

Grace and Peace,
Everett+

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Phil Snyder
Sin, Creed, Gospel
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm

If I ask to have my gluttony blessed or I refuse to see my gluttony as a sin, but instead see it as a blessing by God, then I should be barred from ordination.

Likewise to Greed, Pride, Sloth, Envy, and Anger.  When we start calling our sins “blessed states, ordained by God” then we should not be ordained and, if we are already ordained, we should willing step down from that position.

When every clergyperson is ordained, they are asked if they will be loyal to the “Doctrine, Discpline, and Worship of Christ as this church has received them” - not the “Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of Christ as you may want them to be.”

If you are not willing to teach what the Church teaches, then why do you want to take part in leading Her?

Teaching other than what the Church teaches and being in leadership in the Church would be akin to working for IBM and promoting Apple as a better computer or working for AT&T and asking people to choose Verizon for the mobile phone needs.

Likewise, leading the Church of God and promoting the values and outlook of the world is wrong.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook
Everett Lees
Sin, Creed, Gospel
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Phil,

You say that the excessive eating of ice cream is a sin.  We know that gluttony is one of the big ones, so should we hold people to the same standard about the over-consumption of food as sexual ethics?  In other words should the over-consumption of food disqualify someone from ordination?  Scripture is clear that over consumption of food while others are starving is a no no.  I am curious where we draw the line.  And is the singular, myopic focus on sexual ethics making us blind to other, and potentially larger issues about how we live and how we treat our bodies?

Grace and Peace,
Everett+

 Forum Replies [13]    Share on Facebook