In case you missed it, Beloved, here is the Rev. Dcn. Thorpus's comment from the post below re: ++Peter Akinola's late agitation. To clarify my own position: when I said "this is awful", I was refering specifically to the apparently increasing likelihood that the Communion as we have come to know it is not long for this world. That saddens me enormously. I don't want to have to take sides. I want ECUSA (and Canada and the C of E) to be faithful. What is awful is to be forced to face the prospect of choosing between being an Episcopalian and being an Anglican, or to be faced with the prospect (given ++Akinola's talk) of being neither, of being out of communion with Canterbury and Salisbury and the historical sees of my fathers.
What is also awful is that ++Akinola may cause fissures in an already tennuous alliance. Being out of communion with ++Griswold is one thing; being out of communion with ++Canterbury is something else altogether. Will everyone in the Network be willing to go there? I doubt it.
Finally, and as I said before, I don't think that the C of E went too far, at least superficially. What they have said is that homosexuals can be "partnered" in terms of civil law, but must nonetheless live chastely. And they don't seem to me to be tampering with the notion of "chastity" either. If homosexuals want to live together as celibates and let one another have power of attorney and inheritance and what not, frankly, I don't have a problem with that -- and neither, so far as I can tell, does the Bible or the Tradition. Is the C of E rejecting some tenet of Christian doctrine with this? If they are, I don't understand what it is... provided, of course, that they stick to what they've said, that they're not being disingenuous. I therefore can't see what set ++Akinola off. Can it be something that the C of E said? And my commodiousness in this regard is seemingly buttressed by the distemper of, e.g., Affirming Catholicism ("Scripture, Reason, and Catholic Vestments in the Modern World"):
The Bishops have missed a terrific opportunity – the statement reflects the Church’s own politics instead of the good news of the Gospel. This was a chance to reach out to lesbian and gay people in a way which would reflect Jesus’ care and affirmation. Instead their advice falls short of genuine pastoral care and reflects the contradictions at the heart of the Church’s current position. Something better is called for.
But the main point, Dcn. Thorpus's comment:
I'd like to speak on behalf of Akinola. What are we condemning here? Tone? Rhetoric? These are superficialities and entirely understandable given the history of condescension from the Western Provinces. When all this conflict started, the Western liberals' response was to call for listening and tolerance. The African Anglicans have listened and listened and now it is time they were listened to, and if it takes inflammatory rhetoric and a 'tone' to get through our thick, jaded ears, can't WE be tolerant for once? can't WE listen for a change? This man is speaking only Catholic orthodoxy, and he is married more to that than to Anglicanism (which concept itself becomes nonsensical without Catholic orthodoxy). Do you think the Apostles would have applauded the C of E? Would St. Cyprian or St. Augustine have been more concerned about being politic than being Apostolic? This is the Faith we're talking about here; the stakes are very, very high. I think Akinola is quite correct that the C of E's policy is just as bad as Robinson's election and New Westminster's policy; worse perhaps because here the ABC himself is part of the betrayal. This is Braveheart's Robert the Bruce, Judas with a very politic kiss and a band of armed guards. This action of Williams' is not that of a primate of the entire communion, nor calculated to increase the unity of which he's supposed to be a symbol. Can you blame the Global South for being fed up with the Western church's games, our stall and waffle and stall and waffle tactics while all the while we allow the slow creep of ideologies that undermine the Faith? I wish WE had never had to put up with it, so I certainly can't blame Akinola for wanting some real leadership out of the ABC or for his willingness to step up and provide leadership for the Communion when the ABC decides he can't.
Akinola is not mad. He's not a freak or a weirdo. He IS angry, and he has a right to be. He IS fighting for the soul of his church, as we are. He IS living up to his responsibility as a primate and a bishop in God's church.
Today's gospel from the BCP Daily Office lectionary (mark 8:34-9:1): "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Surely Jesus ranks with Mad Akinola as the most inflammatory of religious leaders. We should not blame Akinola for being extreme, because it is a fact that the Gospel sometimes demands extremity. We could only blame him if 1. he were lukewarm; or 2. he were wrong. The former is his own complaint against the West, Williams being a poster-child. Akinola may be hot, or he may be cold, but he is correct in not being lukewarm. It is only the latter that we should be discussing, whether he's actually standing up for Catholic orthodoxy (in which case he deserves our support despite his tone) or for some other, mistaken theology.
And let us have no hogwash about carrying on the conversation peaceably. That has been done and Akinola has received only condescension for his efforts, only betrayal and a watering down of his 'tone' to the Western ears (as in the Primates' communique). If he is too inflammatory, why can't we be the responsible post-colonialists and say it's at least partially our fault as well? Have we listened when he played nice? Let's be honest. We like to hear Africans talk about AIDS or poverty, but when they talk theology or ecclesiology have we treated them like equals? Only now, when the phenomenal growth of his churches threatens the power of our own, do we turn a cynical ear. Let me be postmodern for a bit: are we really competant to judge whether his tone is justified? In our view, of course it seems inflammatory. We've been dancing with this stuff in the West for a century and having a fine time. But he has people literally dying because of who is consecrated bishop in New Hampshire. Who are we in the insulated West to say his language is too extreme?
Sorry for the soapbox, but this really rankles me. Jesus never said we wouldn't sound extreme. We should never condemn a Christian for sounding extreme, as in the gospel for today. It's not the extreme prophet of whom Jesus promises to be ashamed at the last day; it's the disciple who thinks his worldly status is worth more than the gospel, who thinks there are mitigating factors and he can afford to sweep his faith under the rug. "Of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."