Monday, August 11, 2008

From the UK papers

From The Guardian , putting it all in perspective.
....All too often in schools and workplaces, temples and churches worldwide, people learn to hate or despise lesbians and gays. To Christians, this is tragic, not just for the victims: those who do not love their neighbour are spiritually dead. Yet talk among Anglican Communion leaders about homosexuality seemed oddly disconnected from the world in which most of us live, and the challenge to make it more just and loving.
      Every decade or so, the Lambeth conference has urged bishops to champion human rights for all and enter into dialogue with the gay and lesbian community. But this has been widely ignored: blessing same-sex couples is apparently a far greater offence than allying with repressive governments to hunt them down. ....
      ...[A]t the Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for a "covenant of faith" that would "promise to our fellow human beings the generosity God has shown us", and suggested "a Pastoral Forum to support minorities". But to him, those needing greater generosity and pastoral care were mainly Christians with strong objections to same-sex partnerships. While he is a humane man, his priorities seem strange. If Anglicans are to remain relevant, and a force for good, bishops need to listen more carefully to people like Michael Causer's family.
Michael Causer was the victim of a homophobic attack in Liverpool and died on Sunday. It's this kind of thing, and the deafening silence of the Lambeth response to it, that make the church (any church) seem irrelevant. Hop over to Fr Terry's site if you want to discuss how to make it relevant despite this.

Then, there's a piece in Eastbourne today about the Rector of Pevensey, who sounds very sensible (don't ask how I find these things, I just do):
Following the end of the Lambeth Conference on Monday, Dr Anthony Christian aired his views about the issues in the monthly St Nicolas Church newsletter. Dr Christian writes, "I don't know what is happening to the Church of England nowadays.
      "It is not surprising that the two issues of homosexuality and women's ministry divide the international Church, the so-called Anglican Communion. Should these issues divide the Church of England which has inherited, historically, a sophisticated human culture? I doubt it. We used to be a tolerant church, embracing Catholics and Protestants, people whose faith was rooted in reason, others whose belief was based on emotion and others whose way of life was a combination of the two. The church looked after those who were certain about their beliefs and those too who doubted.
      "Am I alone in thinking it a shame to see our Church of England taken over by a conspiracy of fundamentalist bigotry of various ideological complexions, which do not really speak for those nurtured in the English church?"
It seems to me that the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot take for granted the stability of his own church. If the Americans split, then so may the Brits. And I suspect that the Establishment is more favorable to the liberal viewpoint.

But the complaint of the Rector of Pevesney is relevant to the liberals as well, because you have to "allow" the gays (or the women), or not. And if you are vehemently opposed to one or both, how can you "condone" their presence? No one really has figured out how to grapple with the two completely incompatible viewpoints in one church. frankly, I don't think you can. You have to "buy" one or the other.


James said...

IT, the link about Michael Causer's family doesn't work.

Thanks for posting this and your thoughs. You're so correct.

IT said...

Thanks, James. Link now fixed.


Lynn said...

IT - thank you. You addressed some of my own thoughts in a much more delicate way than I have been able to muster. The Western churches, generally, have different concerns. It's not snobbery, or "colonialism," it's reality.

IT said...

Thanks, Lynn. This gets at a point not just for churches but for broader society, asking how much a tolerant institution can/should/has to tolerate the intolerant? At what point does "toleration" become "enabling"?


Leonardo Ricardo said...

The Church, The ABC, in his 3rd Presidential address, covered many forms of abuse...that speech didn't include the abuse and hate-crimes generated against LGBT Anglicans/Christians/others...more purposeful ignoring on the part of the ABC when just accross the island, at Liverpool, Michael Causer died as Rowan went on-and-on to wherever it is he thinks he needs to go...a journey best made without the rest of us.

Thank God for Bishop James Jones of Liverpool.

Lord have mercy on ALL of the ABUSED worldwide.

Ann said...

The Big Question - here also check - sold into Egypt. Ragsdale asks about sacrifice - especially sacrificing others for yourself -- ala RW et al

Cany said...

While I do not know what the No. American churches will DO (re covenant etc.) I am personally of the belief it is already over... except in name.

Being kind about difference is one thing. But IF the NAmer. churches somehow go down the path asked of them it will be shocking (to me) and will likely cause even more people to leave in addition to those leaving on the other side of the fence.

I don't see a way out of this other than parting because unless the GAFCON folks stay (which they won't unless the covenant is stricter, with disciplinary measures, and unless they get their "requirements" adopted (which they won't... TEC is no way going back to the 1662 PBook). What other Global South folks will choose to do, ultimately, is probably going to be diverse, some will go with GAFCON, some will not.

Then there is the matter of either replacing the ABC and/or giving him a So. Cone buddy, which isn't going to happen anytime soon, imho, given the change cannot be done quickly or even may never be done given England's issues and history etc. related to the ABC.


We ARE, imho, breaking apart. It may be a piecemeal break, and people may come and go, but we will not look anything like we do now in the near future, imho.

Марко said...

"Am I alone in thinking it a shame to see our Church of England taken over by a conspiracy of fundamentalist bigotry of various ideological complexions?"

I feel like the fundamentalist element is ascendant in the Anglican Communion (and within many Christian churches/denominations within the USA thanks to the work of the IRD). One of the reasons I left the USA was because of neocon fundamentalists in American gov't. Ten years ago a gay friend of mine was murdered in a hate crime in the USA. I could not find one clergy person in my TEC diocese who would speak publicly against this crime or who would minister to a very traumatized glbtq community. No one cared. This made me realize exactly where I stood in the Church as a gay man. There are homophobes here in Sofia, but I feel much safer here than I did in the USA.

JCF said...

the Rector of Pevensey, who sounds very sensible

Recently back through the Wardrobe, w/ the Narnian perspective? ;-)


On a serious note: it's appalling that some (too many!) CofE bishops are posturing as "Global South" and spouting "fundamentalist bigotry of various ideological complexions", while at the same time, Michael Causer in being killed in good ol' Blighty. Shame! >:-(