Monday, February 26, 2007

presiding bishop briefs 815 staff on the primates' meeting

From ENS here.

This is, to my mind, most remarkable. For all those of us who heard the Mother Jesus sermon after the PB's election and who have since despaired of any moderation in her hard-charging, MDG-espousing, let's-just-forget-the-theology-and-get-on-with-the-[progressive]-mission persona, this briefing represents a huge turnaround for PB Schori. She sounds meek, tired, submissive, especially in the MP3 version available here from ENS; convinced, as perhaps PB Griswold may have been before her (though we're still not quite sure) that communion with Canterbury may indeed trump her gospel of radical inclusion. She's on the brink of becoming a Rowan Williams, at least temporarily, willing to hide her ideals for the sake of Anglican unity. Here are the most significant statements:

She told the gathering that the Episcopal Church is called to ensure that the conversation about the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church continues in the Communion.
“It is part of our mission as a church,” she said. “This conversation that has been going on for at least 40 years is not going away. God keeps bringing it back to us.”
Jefferts Schori said that she understands that some people feel that the primates’ recommendations are a “hard and bitter pill for many of us to talk about swallowing.” But, she said, worldwide attitudes about the inclusion of gay and lesbian people are changing and “I don’t expect that to end.”
“We’re being asked to pause in the journey. We are not being asked to go back,” she said. “Time and history are with this Church.”

She wants us to stay at the table?! Knuckle under to the primates for now, and hope that the Lambeth 1.10 listening process will eventually enable TEC to convert the entire Communion to our way of thinking? The progressives won't be happy with this. Prophetic victory was in their grasp, and has their champion given up?

Jefferts Schori said “I ache for the pain that this communiqué is causing to people in our own church who see issues of justice as absolutely central, because I share that view. I also hunger for a vision of the world where people with vastly different opinions can sit at the same table and worship at the same table because I think that eventually that is how all of us are converted.”
She said that her understanding of the Body of Christ is that “none of us can say that we have no need of you.” She acknowledged that “we don’t always like the people God gives us.”

It sounds like conversion is more important to her than the prophetic stand of "those who see issues of justice as absolutely central." Even the rhetoric of placement of these two clauses belies her: traditionally the 'clincher' comes last -- that the 'issues of justice' would come before the sitting at the table with those we don't like shows that she holds the latter more closely. What happened in Tanzania to cause this about-face? Was she surprised at the vigor of opposition to TEC's innovations? Or did someone get to her with gentleness and personal acceptance? Has she herself been 'converted'?

“We have a very, very long way to go in raising awareness so that reason can become an equal partner in the discussion with scripture and tradition,” she said. “I think that that is one of the gifts that this church has to give to the world.”

Heh heh. Is THAT what Hooker meant when he wrote, “What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after these the voice of the Church succeedeth. That which the Church by her ecclesiastical authority shall probably think and define to be true or good, must in congruity of reason over-rule all other inferior judgments whatsoever” ( Laws, Book V, 8:2; Folger Edition 2:39,8-14)." (More here).

“The reality, I believe, is that the Archbishop of Canterbury will respect whatever the primates decide, whether or not that accurately reflects the polity of the Anglican Communion,” Jefferts Schori said.

I ask again, who's pulling the strings in the Communion these days? I'm beginning to think there was a major revolution in Tanzania. 'Course, it was a long time in coming.

“I don’t know if our church is ready to say to the rest of the Communion what’s been asked of us. I don’t know that,” she said. “I do know that if we’re removed from a place where we can speak to the rest of the Communion, we’re going to lose that advantage of being there at the table to challenge views like that.”


During a question-and-answer session following her statement, Jefferts Schori said that the primates’ plan for a primatial vicar is similar to one she and other bishops proposed last November—with the addition of an accompanying supervisory pastoral council. “What is different is a structure of accountability,” she said, but she called that structure “manageable,” noting that she would appoint some of the council’s members and must consent to the choice of the vicar. She said that a “saving grace” of the primatial vicar proposal is that it would eventually end the incursion of other primates into the Episcopal Church.

She rolled over much faster on this one than Griswold would have. It sounds like she's swallowed the Primates' plan whole hog, while her own will be forgotten. This is a new administration, folks.

She said that the House of Bishops can answer the requests made by the primates. . . . While the bishops can indeed agree to do those things, Jefferts Schori said, “whether they have the will to do that, I don’t know.” Very few of the bishops are interested in acting “unilaterally,” she added.

So let us hear no blogger vainly babble that the Primates have asked the HoB to do something it doesn't have the ability to do. Even our own PB has admitted it.

“I know where my heart lies and it’s in a divided place,” she said, explaining that she hungers to affirm the place of gays and lesbians in the church and she hungers to “see this body reconciled.”
“In my better moments, I firmly hope and pray that these things are not diametrically opposed.”

The PB we elected in June of 06 was not so conflicted. Something has happened. Something has changed in her heart and mind. She's now more tightly bound to the Anglican Communion than she seemed before, and less to the agenda of radical inclusion. Which will win out in the end? God only knows. But regardless, a wonder has been worked in Tanzania, a mountain moved.


mmbx said...

Maybe she got "saved." All we Whitewallians have prayed she would! Hopefully, next, she will say she knows what Jesus was about and that she understands the atonement and our need for it. Lord, let it be!

father wb said...

I imagine Williams sat her down and explained things patiently. There were reports (which many conservatives bewailed) that Schori and Williams were seen sitting together on the bus, and chatting at various points.

Another thing to consider is that Schori has perhaps come to see that the liberals / activists could lose the war precisely by winning the battle. She may have woken up to the possibility actually of converting the Communion to the New Religion if she applied the brakes slightly. That in itself would be a tactical victory for the orthodox, as we have truth on our side and a genuine "listening process" (assuming all isdes listen humbly) cannot help but go "our way".

In any event, I absolutely agree that this seems like a turnaround, or like Schori was somehow chastened at Dar es Salaam.

Adam said...


DDX on a "tare" said...

I wonder. Is The Church benefitted if "tares," once revealed, resume their wheat disguise in whole or in part?

"...Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to do evil. Therefore I will scatter them like drifting straw to the desert wind. This is your lot, the portion measured to you from Me declares the Lord, because you have forgotten Me and trusted in falsehood." (Jer 13:23ff)

I note that the Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian's that "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us" in a similar situation. Read it: "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are, in fact, unleavened. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us."

Doesn't this speak to our present situation?

Reading further: "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people (in the church). I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler.....for what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside God judges.
Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."

We could keep going and address the lawsuits: "Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?" Has anyone been doing that?

I'm not the least bit encouraged by any new camouflage. Sheep's clothing only renders the wolf more dangerous. Schori and her ilk might be, perhaps with a little disappointment, doing what will best help them to ultimately complete the hijacking.

Drifting away from Scripture and Orthodoxy, TEC is nowhere near the size it once was. But, it's still too large for Schori & Co. to make their 90 degree turn without a wreck, jumping the track entirely. Helping them slow down and stay connected to the train will provide them at least the opportunity to continue to further ride the drift, perhaps accelerate it a bit, and having learned a lesson, achieve their ends making thirty or so 3 degree turns.

I like Paul's approach: "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." Or Jeremiah's: "I will scatter them like drifting straw to the desert wind."

The primates should, in my view, (to borrow a political slogan) THROW THE BUMS OUT.

"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?