Skip to comments.View from Fleet Street [Nottingham ACC meeting]
Posted on 06/17/2005 4:49:08 PM PDT by sionnsar
Nottingham is not, I regret to say, a city that I know at all well. In the manner of one of those old-time cinema travelogues, as far as I am concerned, it has always been the city of Robin Hood, Raleigh bikes and Players cigarettes a creaking cliche I offer gratis to David Virtue, the egregious American Episcopalian blogger who ineffably characterised the Dromantine meeting of primates earlier this year as taking place in the land of leprechauns and shamrocks.
In my ignorance of the shining city on the Trent I guess that I am not alone, but in the coming week it is certainly a name that will imprint itself on Anglicans around the world as yet another milestone on the way to the long slow breakdown of the global communion, together with New Westminster, New Hampshire and Minneapolis.
For as readers of this newspaper will undoubtedly be aware, it is in Nottingham next Tuesday afternoon that the emissaries of ECUSA and the Canadian Anglican Church will defend and explain themselves for their position on the gay furore before the cohorts of the Anglican Consultative Council, with a suitable break for afternoon tea in the middle. They were invited to do this by the primates following the February meeting and they will then withdraw on their long haul back across the Atlantic, the anathemas of outraged members of the ACC, such as Nigerias Archbishop Akinola, presumably ringing in their ears.
In truth, it is hard to see what purpose will be served by this charade. Positions on both sides of the gay row are much too deeply entrenched for that and indeed, at its deepest level, the dispute is as much about a political power struggle for control within American Episcopalianism as it is about what the Bible says about homosexuals.
It is clear that the North Americans are no more going to retreat from what they rightly in my opinion, for what it is worth perceive to be a more realistic, tolerant and Christian attitude towards gays in the clergy, than that the bishops of the Global South will be struck by a blinding revelation that homosexuality does not have to be the defining, now-or-never, communion-breaking issue for Anglicanism.
The best analogy Ive heard in all this has been that of Kendall Harmon, the South Carolina theologian, who says it is as if the two sides are playing tennis, but on separate courts, so that there is no one to bat the ball back from the other side of the net. As in any divorce, schism or civil war, it is when the two sides not only stop talking to each other but also cease listening a process which implies the possibility of change and even reconciliation that breakdown is inevitable. They may not openly admit it, but too many people in Anglicanism just want to bring that on.
Well, the time has come. It is surely evident that the strains of keeping together an international communion, traditionally based on mutual affection and respect for each others traditions and provincial autonomy, are just too great when stretched across societies of vastly different cultural, social and religious realities, particularly when it is evident that there is no mutual understanding and appreciation left to hold the show together.
And particularly when both sides but one side in particular is insisting on its own, exclusive, definition of orthodoxy. There is absolutely no sign that this is going to change in the next three years, so should we really wait for the Archbishop of Canterbury to make the invidious choice then of who is, and who is not, acceptable in his sight at the next Lambeth Conference in 2008? So far, this has been largely a phoney, or proxy, war, with plenty of threats and insults but few casualties or really hard choices, so perhaps it is time to face up to realities, cut through the hypocrisies, evasions and pieties, and work out a way to move apart with dignity and honour. It wont be a clean-cut break.
Some parishes in England and elsewhere may well prefer to side with the Americans rather than go with the self-proclaimed orthodox for instance. But it would have the merit that the coercion, the bluster and the politicking could stop and that everyone could start talking about other things, like God, for once.
Sadly however, there doesnt seem much time on next weeks agenda allocated for having a serious look at what to do next and then making hard decisions about the future, if any, of worldwide Anglicanism. And that will be a lost opportunity.
liberal rubbish. At lest the writer is correct about the need for a definitive split.
hmmmmm . . . . sounds like the liberals are running scared of what may develop in the very near future. Does the writer want to take his marbles and go home, lest worse befall him?
And particularly when both sides but one side in particular is insisting on its own, exclusive, definition of orthodoxy.
That homosexual activity is sinful has always been the orthodox Christian teaching. Talk about rewriting history.
Yes, perhaps I should have added a [Barf Alert].
This is a sick (and typical) liberal-modernist tactic. Play nice and "talk about God" while we totally gut every sacred thing you believe in. One hand out in friendship, the other drenched in the dung that they just finished spreading on the altar.
No, sorry, Mr. Bates, no more playing nice. It's time for some Mediterranean heat in the blood. It's time for the anathemas to be hurled, and the canons of Holy Mother Church to be ringing with declarations of the obvious: by their manifest heresy, the Spongs, the Robinsons have wilfully separated themselves from the holy Will of Christ and stand condemned. Either they repent, or they will perish in perdition.
Makes you wish for a good old fashioned interdict.
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