Friday, June 29, 2007

tec executive council fudges again

ok, so you've heard that that Executive Council has put 4 of the most conservative, Network dioceses on notice that they must renounce changes in their constitutions that distance them from certain decisions of General Convention. Here's the original June 14 write-up from ENS.

The Executive Council bases this decision on Article 5, section one of the Consitution, according to ENS. But here's the Constitution - read the section in question -- it applies specifically to new dioceses, not necessarily (as I read it) to existing dioceses or existing constitutions. The Constitution has in fact no provision about judging or altering existing diocesan constitutions if the diocese does something 815 doesn't like. This kind of provision is lacking for a very good reason - the framers of our Constitution, many of them the same people who framed the US Constitution, recognized that such a provision would amount to tyranny; indeed, it would be the very tyranny they had just fought a war of independence to escape. The analysis by Bp. Iker is correct: this is simply an opinion of the Executive Council, another attempt by the tolerant leaders of TEC to use exisiting canons as clubs to enforce acceptance of their heterodox policies. They're more interested in power and enforcing their agenda than in being traditionally Anglican or even being simply the Executive Council. It's a free-for-all power grab up there.

Bp. Iker brings up two other excellent points: 1, that the Executive Council has never been granted the authority of judicial review or the authority to change any diocese's constitution by fiat; and 2, that resolutions adopted by both the Council AND EVEN General Convention are non-binding to start with. Add to this the fact that they're misinterpreting the canon itself, and the conclusion is clear: "this resolution is nothing more than an opinion expressed by those individuals who issued the statement. It is itself “null and void" – unenforceable and of no effect. This action is another example of the heavy-handed tactics being used by those who do not have the right to interfere in the internal constitutional process of the dioceses."

Here's the most comprehensive ENS coverage of this, including the offending passages of the 4 constitutions in question.

dennis canon upheld by appellate court; suit continues

From VOL:

SANTA ANA, Calif. - July 26, 2007 - A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, today reversed the Orange County Superior Court's prior ruling that three former Episcopal churches which disaffiliated from the national denomination in 2004 did not forfeit their property. This division of the appellate court broke with nearly thirty years of California church property law, and instead ruled that hierarchical church denominations can take over local church property by simply passing an internal rule - even if the local church is separately incorporated, bought and maintained the property. . . .

Still at issue is whether the Episcopal Church validly passed an internal rule claiming to hold local church property in trust for itself, and whether that rule applied to the three local churches. St. James, All Saints' and St. David's, as the property owners, never agreed to relinquish their property to the Episcopal Church upon ending their affiliation. St. James, All Saints' and St. David's have maintained all along that they have the right to use and possess the property they have owned and maintained for decades. Legal spokesperson, Eric C. Sohlgren, said, "This decision puts one division of the appellate court in direct conflict with other California court of appeal decisions that for almost thirty years have rejected the idea that a court must automatically defer to a church denomination in church property disputes. Under this ruling, any big church which calls itself hierarchical could try to confiscate the property of a local congregation simply by passing an internal rule. That idea offends basic principles of fairness and property ownership. St. James, All Saints' and St. David's are seriously evaluating an appeal to the California Supreme Court."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

this IS interesting

The Archbishop supports the decision of the Province of Kenya to provide resident Episcopal oversight for the clergy and congregations in the United States who placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Kenya after they had arrived at the conclusion that the Episcopal Church no longer offered them the assurance of continuity with “The faith once delivered to the saints.” The provision of adequate pastoral care and episcopate oversight constitutes a deliberate and intentional effort to provide stability in an environment in which Anglicanism is being severely tested and challenged.

Read it all here.

The support of Archbishop Drexel Gomez, of the West Indies, is a very telling development. He has been largely silent hitherto about the ongoing realignment. He is an Anglo-Catholic. He is a member of the Covenant Design Group (the chairman?), tasked by the Archbishop of Canterbury with presenting to the Communion a working instantiation of Anglican ecclesiology. And he has been a proponent of ACI-style Communion-mindedness (as contrasted with the more vociferously "orthodox" stance of, for example, Archbishop Akinola, et al.). The plot thickeneth.


There was a time when such people were called "Franciscans." Then Christians got lazy. Now non-Christians do it for the sake of.....? Cool? Philanthropy? A sense of moral responsibility? Probably some combination of all of these. Is anyone doing it for the sake of Christ? (I certainly am not.) Ought we to be?

Read it all here. (NY Times.)

Freegans are scavengers of the developed world, living off consumer waste in an effort to minimize their support of corporations and their impact on the planet, and to distance themselves from what they see as out-of-control consumerism. They forage through supermarket trash and eat the slightly bruised produce or just-expired canned goods that are routinely thrown out, and negotiate gifts of surplus food from sympathetic stores and restaurants.

"i am both christian and muslim."

What absolute twaddle. I can only imagine the depths of self-congratulation that must go into this "radical witness." Will she be disciplined for "abandoning the communion of this Church" by converting to Islam? Of course not. That particular charge is reserved for Anglicans who want to practice Christianity within the Episcopal Church. Read it all here.

Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.


Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting. Her announcement, first made through a story in her diocese's newspaper, hasn't caused much controversy yet, he said.

Some local Muslim leaders are perplexed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

the divine liturgy of saint james

Read the whole Divine Liturgy of St. James here. Experts tell me that this is one of, if not THE, oldest liturgy in use in Christendom. Some say it came from St. James the Just, the brother of the Lord. Most agree that it dates at least to the middle of the third century, and possibly rather earlier, though of course it has evolved in some ways down through the centuries. It was edited down, for example, by St. John Chrysostom. It already takes several hours to celebrate this liturgy. I wonder what it was like BEFORE its several redactions for the sake of brevity. The liturgy is used most widely among the Orthodox at Jerusalem, and is the principle liturgy of several Eastern Churches, including both the Syrian Orthodox Church, and the Syrian Catholic Church (in communion with Rome).  Here is an excerpt:

DEACON:  Let none remain of the catechumens, none of the unbaptized, none of those who are unable to join with us in prayer.  Look at one another.  The doors.   All erect; let us again pray to the Lord.

THE PRIEST SAYS THE PRAYER OF INCENSE:  Sovereign Almighty, King of Glory, who knowest all things before their creation, manifest Thyself to us calling upon Thee at this holy hour, and redeem us from the shame of our transgressions; cleanse our mind and our thoughts from impure desires, from worldly deceit, from all influence of the devil; and accept from the hands of us sinners this incense, as Thou didst accept the offering of abel, and Noah, and Aaron, and Samuel, and of all Thy saints, guarding us from everything evil, and preserving us for continually pleasing, and worshipping, and glorifying Thee, the father, and thy only-begotten Son, and thy all-holy spirit, now and always, and forever.

THE READERS BEGIN THE CHERUBIC HYMN:  Let all mortal flesh be silent, and stand with fear and trembling, and meditate nothing earthly within itself.  For the King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God, comes forward to be sacrificed, and to be given for food to the faithful.  And the bands of angels go before Him with every power and dominion, the many-eyed cherubim, and the six-winged seraphim, covering their faces and crying aloud the hymn, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

THE PRIEST, BRINGING IN THE HOLY GIFTS, SAYS THE PRAYER:  O God, our God, who didst send forth the heavenly bread, the food of the whole world, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be a Saviour, and Redeemer, and Benefactor, blessing and sanctifying us, do Thou Thyself bless this offering, and graciously receive it to Thy altar above the skies.  Remember in Thy goodness and love those who have brought it, and those for whom they have brought it, and preserve us without condemnation in the service of Thy divine mysteries:  for hallowed and glorified is Thy all-honored and great name, Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to all eternity.

PRIEST:  Peace be to all.

DEACON:  Sir, pronounce the blessing.

PRIEST:  Blessed be God, who blesseth and sanctifieth us all at the presentation of the divine and pure mysteries, and giveth rest to the blessed souls among the holy and just, now and always, and to all eternity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

check out the climate ark on mt. ararat

I went to GreenPeace's website for the previous post, and this story was just too good to pass up.

Judeo, Christian and Muslim religions all include the story of a great flood and Noah's Ark. It's said that as the flood subsided Noah released a dove, and the dove returned with an olive branch to show land had been found. To this day the Ark and the dove are symbols of hope.

On Mount Ararat, where some say Noah's Ark came to rest, 208 doves (one for each country) were released to dedicate the replica ark by greenpeace activists. These doves and replica come with a message called the 'Ararat Declaration'. The declaration demands that world leaders act to protect the basic human rights of life and health, both of which will be at risk for millions of people from the effects of climate change.

Read the rest. Apparently you can reserve a place for yourself and your loved ones on the Climate Ark. Or you can just send a picture. That will help keep global temperatures down, for sure. What a strong symbol for the governments of the world!

executive council prepares for communiqué response

From ENS. Read the whole thing.

[Episcopal News Service] The Executive Council, the Episcopal Church's governing body between General Conventions, began its four-day meeting June 11 in New Jersey learning that a draft of a response to the Anglican Communion Primates' latest communiqué was ready for their consideration.
After the Executive Council made TEC a founding member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (formerly the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights) expressly in violation of General Convention's centrist stance on abortion, I'm not sure I trust them to do anything worthwhile in responding to the Primates. Don't look for a ground-shaking change of direction here.

The Executive Council meeting, at the Sheraton hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey, began with three hours of committee meetings on the morning of June 11 and another two hours in the late afternoon with the plenary session in between. Council had dinner with representatives of the host Diocese of Newark.

When the Windsor bishops held meetings in Texas, I read all kinds of snide comments from Anglican leftists about how the location of the meeting pretty much told them what would be said. I don't hear much of the same about this meeting in Newark.

During her remarks to the plenary session, Jefferts Schori told Council that recently she has been contemplating how language can be used to allow for "true conversation" -- what she called "non-violent language" -- or how "violent language" is used instead for "leaping to judgment."
The church, Jefferts Schori said, must consider how it interacts with the world. "How do we keep the space open so that we can truly learn from each other?" she asked.

If she spent as much time contemplating, oh, I don't know, the book of Romans or something, maybe we'd get somewhere useful. Surely the proclamation of boundaries inherent in having a sovereign God who makes demands on our behavior constitutes some manner of 'violent speech', impinging upon our freedoms to do whatever-the-heck we please. PB Schori will doubtless discourage any talk of 'commandments' or 'moral imperatives', since these are so obviously so violent as to be un-Christian. But I'm glad she's spending time thinking about how to "keep the space open." Apparently that's becoming a bigger and bigger problem for liberal parishes and dioceses. Since PB Schori is so worried about climate change, maybe we can work out an arrangement to share our churches with, say, GreenPeace. I bet the Executive Council could arrange that . . . on a weekend . . . when no one's looking.

wrap-up of the albany diocesan convention

ENS basically has it right. There were attempts by Albany left-wingers to table the abortion resolution, and some heated floor discussion from the right-wingers as to which among the many good reasons to support that resolution ought to be THE reason. The motion to table was defeated by a count of about 110 to 170, and the resolution itself passed overwhelmingly by voice. So the Albany convention is pretty solidly pro-life. What it will mean practically to disassociate our diocese from the decision by the Executive Council to join the RCRC has yet to be decided - do we try to direct our diocesan contribution away from any support of the RCRC? 815 wouldn't swallow that, surely. So it may be a straw resolution, a way to get the diocese on record as being pro-life.

Monday, June 11, 2007

the general trouble with much protestantism in a nutshell

From O Ye Jigs and Juleps, by Episcopalian Virginia Cary Hudson; written in 1904 when she was 10 yrs. old.

Holton Street is where I have my worse [sic] trouble. That is another part of town. That is where the Campbellites live. They asked me to their old church party and my mother made me go. And I wore my hat and it was summer, and Alice Coleman laughed because I had on my hat. I said to her, I said, "You shouldn't go in church without your hat." And she said, "You should too." and I said, "You shouldn't," and she said, "You should," and I said "You shouldn't," and she said, "Who said so?" and I said , "St. Paul said so," and she said, "He didn't" and I said, "He did," and she said, "He didn't" and I said, "He did," and she said, "Fooie on St. Paul," and that is when I slapped her. Once for St. Paul, and I slapped her for the whole state of Christ's Church universal and then I pinched her for myself. That slapping was righteous indignation, but that pinch was my own and the devil's idea.

If we get to the point where we choose our own theologies above what the scripture actually says, we're saying "Fooie on St. Paul." May we then be slapped.

the latest from jordan hylden at 'first things'

Read it all here. An excellent overview of where we are, and where we might be heading. Pace folks like Father Matt Kennedy, who are apoplectic over the Lambeth Invitations, under the assumption that an invitation to Lambeth constitutes membership in the Communion, Mr. Hylden clearly lays out the thinking behind Archbishop Rowan's actions to date (if ArchBp. Rowan hasn't laid them out clearly enough himself hitherto), actions which are NOT merely placating of TEC and her heresies.

The idea all along is that the ratification of the forthcoming Covenant, once it has cleared Lambeth and the Anglican Consultative Council, will determine which Provinces will contitute the Anglican Communion from now on (not Lambeth Invitations; not some fiat from Cantuar or the Primates). What the most belicose of the conservatives fail to recognize is that TEC's actions hitherto HAVE, in point of fact, been within the bounds of our ecclesial life in the Anglican Communion. The most fundamental problem to date is how the bounds of our ecclesial life in the Anglican Communion have (and have not) been set -- not with TEC's actions per se. (TEC's actions ARE problematical, but only because the bounds of our ecclesial life have permitted those actions. Hence the bounds are the more fundamental problem.) The Covenant is meant to address this most fundamental problem.

If things fall apart before Lambeth and many the Belicose Conservatives (e.g. Nigeria) don't turn up, then the Covenant (and the future Communion) will be handed to the liberals on a silver platter. As Mr. Hylden writes:

In light of all this, one might think that orthodox Anglicans would by now have embraced the covenant process the way a drowning man grasps a life preserver—and indeed, many prominent conservatives, represented most ably by Archbishop Gomez and the theologians of the Anglican Communion Institute, have done so. But not everyone has. In fact, it may turn out to be the case that many Anglican conservatives will soon decide to abandon the Lambeth Conference and the covenant process altogether, tipping the vote count leftward and thereby allowing the liberals, quite improbably, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

via cnn

In answer to a question about religion and abortion, while Rudy Giuliani was trying to explain why he's in favor of legal abortion, lightening struck the building in which he was speaking, and shut off his microphone.


Read it all here.

kids and money

Watch this little series of interviews about teenagers and money in Los Angeles. Its from the NY Times. Our culture is messed up.

I think Lauren Greenfield (the director) is onto something. Check out her other projects here -- they all look pretty shrewed.

People (most recently Peter Kreeft) get onto me about liking Postmodern stuff. But Lauren Greenfield's work just goes to show how Christians can partner up with with Postmodern types. (I don't know Ms. Greenfield, but it wouldn't surprise me if she were an incredibly hip, Yale educated, ironical feminist.) But she clearly understands that there is something wrong about our culture -- something that is destructive of kids, and girls in particular (check out "Thin" at Ms. Greenfield's website). Christians are well positioned to see this; what's amazing is how few self-described Christians actually do.

Well done, Ms. Greenfield. Christians: learn from her.

a sign of the times

I looked at the most recent issue of the Living Church today. Under the title, where it had said "An independent weekly serving Episcopalians..." it now says "An independent weekly serving catholic Anglicans..."

Fascinating. I don't dislike it. But I kinda wish it said "...serving Anglican catholics..." Then they could be a subsidiary of this blog. But seriously: it makes more sense for the noun to be "catholic" and the adjective to be "Anglican". Anglicanism is accidental. Catholicism is essential.

But let's not quibble. Well done, Living Church.

Friday, June 08, 2007

bishop jecko has died

Bishop Jecko had struggled with cancer for the past year or so. Only in the last few days did it become apparent that his illness was very grave. I am grateful to God that the bishop was delivered from protracted suffering.

I knew Bishop Jecko only slightly. I sat next to him at a dinner several months ago. From all accounts, he was a godly man, and I know he was devoted to Jesus Christ, and to our Lady. The following is from the post at Stand Firm about his death.

I met Bishop Jecko only once, at Mere Anglicanism in Charleston this past January. He was seated next to Bishop Iker during lunch, where I found them talking quietly. He was a reader of this site, and has an account with us, the screen name for which was originally "Bishop Jecko," but which he later changed to "Heartbroken." I'll reluctantly close it now, so that no messages will arrive as though expecting him to be there.

I can only guess that the changing of his Stand Firm identity from "Bishop Jecko" to "Heartbroken" reflected his anguish over the state of things in our little corner of the Church. Perhaps therefore, in a small way, the bishop might be called a confessor and martyr.

"The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise."

Rejoice that Bishop Jecko not only proved a faithful shepherd of Christ's flock, but that he offered to God the acceptable sacrifice of a troubled spirit and a broken heart, that he was graced to weep with the Lord over Jerusalem (Luke 19.41).

Grant, O Lord, to your servant Stephen, the bishop, light and peace. Grant that whatever defilements he may have contracted during his earthly life being purged and done away, he may be presented pure and without spot before you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

the principle of arrogance

Though many will continue to deny it, the principles used to justify the ordination of women as priests and bishops, when watered and cultivated, grew into the justification for homosexual priests (and bishops) and for homosexual “marriage.” Those who cannot see the clear connection and progression are, I suspect, simply blinding themselves to the plain, glaring facts of history.

Read it all in the Living Church.

take. eat.

The sacrifice of the God-man, Jesus Christ, in its radical self-referentiality refuses to permit itself to be objectified in anything like a sense-empirical transaction, nor even in intellectualization. Instead it draws the independent subjectivity of the beholder into itself. As death, it kills those who witness it. The epistemological free agent is incapable of resisting its radical compulsion, and is thus incapable of remaining epistemologically free. The Cross transforms those who would circumscribe it in thought, word, or deed. All things pass away in the theanthropic sacrifice, and all things are made new in the theanthropic resurrection. What the Cross compels, therefore, is a participation in itself. The Cross is a calling to itself; it is the true and universal human vocation. (Pseudo) Dionysius the Areopagite speaks in the following way of God the Son, in his singular Gift: “Through an excess of loving goodness He transcends Himself, and descends to dwell in all things by virtue of the ecstatic power beyond all being that comes forth from Himself,” (The Divine Names, 4.13). It is therefore not in an awesome display of what we have come to call “power” that the glory of God is revealed. (Our conceptualizations themselves must be reconfigured, born again.) Just as the divine Gift is entirely gratuitous, though it cannot be withstood; so the Power and the Glory, though incapable of being resisted, are themselves manifested in their Bearer having been entirely overcome and emptied. The Greek Orthodox theologian Archimandrite Vasileios, abbot of the Athonite monastery Stavronikita, puts it this way: “…We see the glory of God, not in the form of the Pantokrator, but revealed as it appears in the act of the Father’s offering and sacrifice of the Son: in the ultimate humiliation of the Servant of God,” (Hymn of Entry, 58).

The radical nature of this Gift is further radicalized in that it is supratemporalized, manifest as such in the liturgical sacrifice of the Eucharist. That is, the Gift gives itself supratemporally on thousands of altars through the millennia, and around the world. In the catholic identification of the consecrated Eucharistic elements with the flesh of the God-man, that is with the very substantiality of the Gift, Christ is “offered to us, broken and poured out,” (Hymn of Entry, 59). The economics of sacrifice thereby become altogether one-sided. It isn’t just that Christ is given to us; it isn’t just that he is given to us broken and poured out. The sacrificial Gift of Christ is his own flesh as food, his own blood as drink. It is given as that which is taken, in the fullest possible sense; rather, that which is not merely taken, but taken and consumed. The Gift is radically appropriated by the recipient. It is internalized in the fullest sense, and in being internalized, it internalizes the recipient. Christ enters substantially into the communicant and thus brings him, in turn, into the divine economy, into the very heart of the paschal mystery. The compulsion of the sacrificial Gift manifests itself in being consumed, and in consuming the consumer. “Out of the eater came something to eat, out of the strong came something sweet,” (Judges 14.14). The experiential subject of the divine Sacrifice becomes its object, he is appropriated by the Sacrifice, and becomes the sacrificial victim in union with the Lamb, eternally offered before the throne of the Father.

It becomes clear in what sense the pure gift is beyond the horizon of expectation. The fetishized pure gift is only capable of being offered by a god. It only occurs in myth. In every case of thematized, temporal giving or sacrifice, the do ut des of paganism, the Derridean concern obtains. The gift is cancelled out by the expectation of reciprocity. It becomes, as soon as it is given and recognized, a market transaction, an exchange, and as such, a non-gift. But insofar as the pure gift only occurs in myth, insofar as it is only capable of being offered by the god, it does occur in the Christ myth. And because the holy sacrifice is God offering God, it is actual, and therefore possible. Because the sacrificial Gift is a gift of the theanthropic, of that which is very God and very man, it is capable of bridging the ontological, conceptual, and linguistic gap between the Giver and the receiver. It does so by bringing the recipient into the heart of the Gift, by transforming the receiver into that which is offered, into the Gift itself.

What is necessary is not so much a demythologizing of the event, but rather a mythologizing. It must be removed from the realm of the scientific, of the sociological. The mythologization occurs on two levels, both of which constitute instances of the signification of the Gift. First there is the pure gift itself, the sacrifice of the flesh of God which, as has been noted, is entirely self-referential. It is beyond the pale of predication and conceptual circumscription. The experiencing subject stands before the Gift on the Gift’s own terms. In terms of signifier and signified, the two are one. The signifier is that which it signifies. And the same instance of self-referentiality takes place again in the liturgical action of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the gift is disbursed. The Eucharistic elements serve as a prism, for the refraction of the divine ενέργεια. In the sacrifice, thanksgiving (ευχαριστία) is offered to God for the sacrifice itself and for the totality of divine Grace. Bread and wine are offered as symbols of our own categorical creative initiatives, as return-gifts. The offerers of the sacrifice are themselves offered in their totality, body and soul. And most fundamentally, the Eucharistic sacrifice is the Gift of God, the divine flesh offered in virtue of the sacerdotal grace of the officiant, acting in persona Christi. Therefore, it is the same Gift as that of which it is a signifier, and that which it signifies. By being at once signifier and signified, the sacrifice manifests its power of compulsion. As referend, it is beyond the horizon of expectation, utterly mythologized; yet as the term of reference, it draws itself into the economy of the same, is thematized in the realm of the categorical and becomes itself an object of experience.

Monday, June 04, 2007

good questions from the aci

From here.

Enhanced Responsibility: What Happened? Three Points and Four Questions in Our Present Season

Facing the possible fracture of the Anglican Communion, the Meeting of Primates met in Dar es Salaam and there issued a Communiqué intended to prevent fragmentation both of the Communion and of The Episcopal Church (TEC) and to "promote healing and reconciliation within the Body of Christ." In particular the Primates agreed to support a pastoral response that included both a temporary Pastoral Council and a Primatial Vicar whose roles would involve maintaining order, oversight, and engagement among various parties in conflict within TEC and North America. Specifically, they agreed that the Pastoral Council would be comprised of five members: two chosen by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop of TEC, and one by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Further, the Windsor Bishops were to nominate two people, one of whom would be appointed by the Pastoral Council as Primatial Vicar. This proposal and its details are well-known. It is important to note that the Presiding Bishop of TEC agreed to this scheme. As Archbishop Drexel Gomez has made clear, she did not agree only to present it for further consideration. When she presented the proposal to the House of Bishops of TEC, they rejected the proposal out of hand, and requested that the Standing Committee of TEC do the same. The vehemence of the reaction of the American Bishops has been followed by utter silence on the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop of TEC, the Primates, and the Windsor Bishops. No reason has been given for this silence, and no reason has been given for failure to follow through on the hard and painful work done by the Primates at Dar es Salaam. It is still the case that the Primates can make their appointments, as can the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of TEC. It also still the case that the Windsor Bishops can make their nominations to the Pastoral Council. No one with the authority to do so has rescinded these proposals. Further, in the face of silence, the fragmentation of both the Anglican Communion and TEC become increasingly likely possibilities.

From the void created by this silence has emerged the establishment of CANA, discouragement and disarray on the part of those who are committed to the sort of communion presented in the Windsor Report, and increasingly aggressive claims to autonomy on the part of those who hold the leavers of power within TEC.

Given this situation, we would make the following points and raise the following questions:

1. ACI has defended not only a collaborative understanding of the Instruments of Unity, but their integrity as well. The failure of the ABC publicly to state that the Dar es Salaam Communiqué is alive and well has been injurious to our common life. It has also been intimated in certain quarters that the adjudication of the Communiqué will be undertaken by a Joint Steering Committee of the Primates and the ACC. We trust that this rumor is mistaken. The Primates have worked hard and declared their intention, and their recommendations and requests are fully within their remit as an Instrument with enhanced responsibility, whose present character was requested by other Instruments of Communion. Lacking any clear understanding of the precise fate of the Communiqué has left the field open for manipulation and the multiplication of other initiatives, borne of fear, concern, power balancing and so on.

2. ACI has sought to work with the Windsor Report, the Covenant, and within the US, the Windsor Bishops. One can watch with curiosity and concern the proliferating of various groups within the conservative ranks, most recently, a Common Cause College of Bishops (as proposed), CANA, and others. The Anglican Communion Network would appear to have split into those bishops now headed toward the Common Cause College, and those who wish to continue on the Windsor path. But to the degree that the Windsor Bishops have no clarity about the future of the Primates' Tanzanian Communiqué, and hence a comprehensive, ordered response to their Communion life in troubled times, they will collapse altogether. Indeed, one wonders what role they might be expected to exercise in the light of such unclarity.

3. It is our understanding that the recent issuing of Lambeth invitations was done in the light of organizational concerns and the timing of the Archbishop of Canterbury's leave. The ways in which the Archbishop has reserved to himself all manner of options, discernment, and counsel regarding the ultimate character of invitations--which is his right to do--means that speculation about the character of the conference is bound to be only that. Still, it is speculation capable of generating unease and reaction that is not always constructive.

Given the fact that the Primates have been assigned "enhanced responsibility" by the Lambeth Conference itself, and given the fact that no one with the authority to do so has withdrawn their proposal to address the threat of fracture our Communion now faces, and given the fact that the claim made that these proposals do not accord with the Constitution and Canons of TEC remains no more than an unsupported assertion, we ask four questions:

1. The Primates still have warrant to make their appointments to the Pastoral Council. Why have they not done so?

2. The Archbishop of Canterbury still has the authority to make his appointment to the Pastoral
Council. Why has he not done so?

3. The Presiding Bishop of TEC still has authority to make her appointment to the Pastoral Council. Why has she not done so?

4. The Windsor Bishops still have warrant to make their nominations for Primatial Vicar. Why have they not done so?

We believe that the credibility of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Meeting of the Primates, the Presiding Bishop of TEC, and the Windsor Bishops depends upon a speedy answer to these four questions. Some may think us naïve for continuing to think these instruments of unity still have credibility. We have, however, considered the alternatives-all of which portend the end of Anglicanism as a communion of churches. We pray, therefore, that those in whose hands Providence has placed responsibility for the peace, faithfulness, and unity of the church will respond publicly and speedily to these questions that rest so heavily upon the minds and hearts of all who care about the future of the Anglican Communion.

Christopher Seitz
Philip Turner
Ephraim Radner

Officers of the Anglican Communion Institute

how does 'changing attitude' really want to change your attitude?

This is deeply disturbing. For those of you who don't know, Changing Attitude is an Anglican LGBT international advocacy group. It is supported by many Anglican bishops and hierarchs, both in the U.S. and abroad. Read an AAC article about CA's positions re: sex, here. Read Changing Attitude's "Sexual Ethics: A Report of the Lesbian and Gay Clergy Consultation Working Group" here (careful, its a PDF file).

Here are some excerpts from the Changing Attitude document:

This ideal [of monogamy and faithfulness in relationships] is in tension with our common inheritance of genetic predispositions and developmental damage that compromise our capacity for relating, and often make serial commitments, and serial faithfulness, a more realistic aspiration.

Then Changing Attitude interprets the Gospel's call to "forsake all" to be a call, in some instances, to forsake one's partner or spouse:

Here we encounter the ethical value of personal growth and creativity, the commitment to risk change in allowing one’s personal identity to expand and develop. This can lead to relational failure or conflict, where one partner grows beyond the capacity of the relationship to sustain further intimacy and growth. leave a failing relationship can be a creative move towards allowing oneself to discover in another relationship new experiences and a new phase of growth … is important to remain open to the possiblity [sic] that brief and loving sexual engagement between mature adults in special circumstances can be occasions of grace...

The exploration of our sexual selves can be something which benefits from involvement with more than one person.

I have often asked: if you jettison one of the circumscriptions of sacramental sex, namely that it be within the context of the gender difference that Christ says was instituted by God himself at the beginning of the World (cf. Matt. 19.4-5), then what's to stop you jettisoning other circumscriptions like monogamy or lifelong fidelity, or prohibitions on consanguinity, etc. etc.? I wonder what kind of "growth" and "creativity" will come next for Anglicanism's progressives.

As disturbing as this is, nevertheless its good to see this degree of honesty. Christ, they seem to think, is incapable of delivering those whom he loves from their "genetic predispositions and developmental damage." The kind of life they advocate seems hopeless to me. Still, this is helpful. I call on Changing Attitude and other advocacy groups on the "other side" to be even more vocal and up-front about the ways in which they are working to change the attitudes and lives of Christians.

Friday, June 01, 2007

yale philosopher alvin plantinga reviews dawkins 'god delusion'

[CORRECTION: And by "Yale Philosopher" of course I mean "Notre Dame Philosopher". Perhaps that was some kind of Freudian wish-fulfilment on my part. Reformed Epistemologists can sometimes run together in my head. No doubt I was thinking of Nicholas Wolterstorff.]

A choice excerpt:

His detailed arguments are all for the conclusion that it is biologically possible that these various organs and systems should have come to be by unguided Darwinian mechanisms (and some of what he says here is of considerable interest). What is truly remarkable, however, is the form of what seems to be the main argument. The premise he argues for is something like this:

1. We know of no irrefutable objections to its being biologically possible that all of life has come to be by way of unguided Darwinian processes;

and Dawkins supports that premise by trying to refute objections to its being biologically possible that life has come to be that way. His conclusion, however, is

2. All of life has come to be by way of unguided Darwinian processes.

It's worth meditating, if only for a moment, on the striking distance, here, between premise and conclusion. The premise tells us, substantially, that there are no irrefutable objections to its being possible that unguided evolution has produced all of the wonders of the living world; the conclusion is that it is true that unguided evolution has indeed produced all of those wonders. The argument form seems to be something like

We know of no irrefutable objections to its being possible that p;
p is true.

Philosophers sometimes propound invalid arguments (I've propounded a few myself); few of those arguments display the truly colossal distance between premise and conclusion sported by this one. I come into the departmental office and announce to the chairman that the dean has just authorized a $50,000 raise for me; naturally he wants to know why I think so. I tell him that we know of no irrefutable objections to its being possible that the dean has done that. My guess is he'd gently suggest that it is high time for me to retire.

Read the whole thing here.