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November 03, 2008

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Andrew

In her Lambeth blog, the author of the AJ article you cite above had this to say one day:

"Sitting at a press conference day in and out for 16 days now has made me feel like some paid hack. We are fed what they want to feed us and we’re supposed to be thankful for it. Yes, we can go around aimlessly searching for bishops who we can interview to supplement what is given to us and we have done this. Sometimes we do get lucky when in between catching his or her breath as he or she runs off to another session, a bishop stops and says yes to our request. We also use the official channels of putting in written requests for an interview - but out of four requests made, I’ve had one answered.

All this reminds me of narrowcasting — you only get to see a part not the whole, leaving you bereft of perspective and yes, the oft-abused word: context."

Sounds like the same sort of experience from the HoB! Maybe the bishops, as a group, are just pusillanimous! While I have some sympathy for Ms. Sison, sometimes I think the AJ is little more than a house organ. You would never get this kind of lame coverage for a "secular" issue like capital punishment or free trade. Journalists would just hunt down the bishops and find out what's on their minds.

Kate

The AJ is just a house organ. They never get the details right in their stories about ANiC, and their "mistakes" are slanted to make ANiC look bad.

On moratoria - Clarke can make them hold, if he wants to. He is the boss. If he exercises his authority and says "No more same sex blessings" and then disciplines the people who disobey him, the moratorium would hold. Besides, it is pretty dishonest for the Canadian house of bishops to even bring the subject up - Same sex blessings never did stop in New West. +Ingham seems to think that the parishes that were doing them before the moratoria had a grandfather clause. The whole concept has become meaningless.

Andy

Hey Kate:

I am not arguing about SSB here. For what it's worth I support them. My problem is the absence of "reporting" on the topic and (with deference to Ms. Sison) the difficulty of reporting given what I have labelled the pusillanimous nature of the bishops as a group.

If you mean the whole concept of a moratorium or moratoria has become meaningless, I'm not sure I agree. I think it is essential (so to speak!). Again, my problem is that the HoB hasn't really addressed it. This kind of leaves Bishops Clarke, Chapman et.al. swinging in the wind. It will be interesting to see what they do. It can't be easy for them.

By the way, I am beginning to think that "indaba" is really an African word for "obfuscation": maybe our African brothers and sisters are pulling our collective legs!

Malcolm+

The moratoria were dead before the Lambeth closing service was begun, with declarations from the usual suspects that it doesn't matter what happens in North Anerica, the incursions will continue.

I am not aware of a same sex union being blessed in Qu'Appelle, nor do I see any likelihood of our bishop authorizing such, neither has there been any resolution presented to, let alone passed by, our diocesan synod. Yet we have the dubious pleasure of playing unwilling host to two schismatical congregations. I'm not aware that the blessing of same sex unions is even on the radar in Brandon, yet we have a Network congregation there.

Frankly, we could expel every gay Anglican from our churches and stone them to death on the steps, it would not be enough for Akinola, Venables et al.

Leslie

>>and stone them to death on the steps, it would not be enough for Akinola, Venables et al.

Quite a statement.

Kate

Excuse me, Malcolm? I'm suprised at you, that was an incredibly uncharitable comment. Same sex blessings are only the presenting issue. The deep underlying issue is that we have bishops in this country who are following the culture instead of following Jesus. That is why ANiC exists.

Malcolm+

The fact remains that the moratoria are dead - and that it was Global South Primates who killed them.

There may still be merit in the North American Provinces observing them. There will be pain and distress whether they do or do not.

There is no reasonable basis on which to argue that the Bishop of Qu'Appelle (to offer up one example) is "following the culture instead of Jesus." Yet here we have two incursive congregations, purporting to be part of the Church of Nigeria.

Kate

There is plenty of evidence for it in the institution as a whole, though. It was in fact Bishop Ingham who killed the whole idea of moratorium, by not stopping same sex blessings in his diocese; don't blame the Global South for that one.

joseph

Andy - thanks for adding Sison's comments from her Lambeth experience. When only 1 out of 4 bishops responds to a request for comments from our Canadian Anglican paper, it's rather hard to write a completely balanced story. That, and perhaps most bishops (like folks in many other vocations) are simply a bit nervous when someone comes along and puts a mic in front of them, or wants a specific quote.

I wonder, though, that communicating effectively isn't just a basic part of the package for church leadership; and that includes communicating effectively with and to the media. I'm sure it's not something you learn in "bishop school".

Andy

I have more to say to each of you! But, I was at a Financial Advisory Committee at church tonight and Obama is about to speak and it's almost midnight! Tomorrow ...

Peter

Joseph, I think that the Bishops quoted in the Journal have the correct persepctive, unlike those other bishops who are tiresomely behind the times.

Malcolm, quote "Yet we have the dubious pleasure of playing unwilling host to two schismatical congregations" I don't think you are playing any type of host to those congregations, they really don't have anything to do with you. Why would you think you are?

Malcolm+

I'm glad to see irony isn't lost on anyone.

There are two schismatic congregations within the boundaries of this diocese which purport to be Anglican but are not part of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Peter

A heinous crime indeed ;-)

Kate

I wonder why you seem to be so threatened by that, Malcolm? As Peter said, it really doesn't affect your congregation or your ministry much at all.

Andy

OK, now that I have some time ...

Kate: When you speak of "bishops in this country who are following the culture instead of following Jesus", you have to also consider African bishops who are doing precisely that especially with respect to polygamy. I might also argue that bishops in this country are responding to social justice issues, not just culture.

Malcolm: You have to wonder why parishes in dioceses that haven't come close to affirming SSBs chose to adhere to the Coneheads (sorry, cynicism here). Maybe it's just in case! Then you have to wonder about the whole diocese of Athabasca ... And, the irony isn't totally lost!

Joseph: I'm not sure what they "teach" in Bishop School. But you would think that communication might be a good start. Our leaders should not only be advocating their positions (Bishop Clarke seems to be doing that very effectively), but willing and able to respond to questions and challenges from the press, AJ and others. They seem to be hiding.

All: This getting away from my initial response about press coverage, but what the hell. As far as SSBs are concerned, we here in Toronto officially have no real stance other than let's wait and try again. However, some parishes have a very sweet ability to celebrate same sex civil marriages within a liturgical context (separate from the civil ceremony) that does indeed celebrate the marriage without really blessing it. Kind of clever, I would say.

Malcolm+

Except that it does affect my congregation and my ministry that a group just two blocks from our parish are holding themselves out as the Anglican Church.

I suspect that if I opened up a hamburger shop and called it McDonald's, a certain famous chain might think they were affected somehow.

Leslie

Wherever Jesus is preached...

Kate

Andy, I wouldn't call that sweet at all, I would call it dishonest. As far as the polygamy accusation is concerned, which African bishops are celebrating polygamy as a good thing, and allowing their priests to marry men to more than one woman?

scott

"I might also argue that bishops in this country are responding to social justice issues, not just culture."

I'm not sure that you can make a clear distinction. To what extent is the push for social justice/human rights a cultural motion? What is it fueled by? Is it primarily a response to the culture, or a response to the Biblical charge to care for the widow and the orphan?

The same charitable action can bear entirely different fruit depending on the motivation behind it. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It's easy to attribute motivation where actions diverge; where actions co-incide it becomes somewhat less clear.

Andy

I am done on this subject.

Kate: You are just toxic here. We won't ever agree. I love an argument, but not when you already have an agenda.

Scott: You are too obtuse. Widows and orphans? Give me a break, please.

"Glory to God, whose power working in in us ..." Let's give it a chance.

Blessings, all.

Kate

And you don't have an agenda? I asked you a question - Please answer it. Do you in fact know of any African bishops who are praising polygamy, and allowing men to marry more than one woman? Are there any African bishops who are following the culture by praising polygamy? If not, then your point is moot.

Leslie

I'm no Anglican, but I would think that if indeed there was an African bishop doing as you suggest Andy, it might give Kate something to think about...might not hurt to put a little effort into finding an answer.

But then we Lutherans put the protest in Protestant. :D

joseph

scott - from what I understand of the history of that particular issue, it was (to borrow terminology from North America) seen as a "pastoral issue" (economic care for women etc). My understanding is that the practice of polygamy is forbidden for leaders in the church, but I will try to get a reference of some kind to clarify what the actual (as opposed to the rumoured) policy/teaching is in the African church.

I hold to Mark Twain's advice against polygamy: "After all, the bible says no man can serve two masters".

Leslie

In college I shared a house with 5 girls. During that time one of our old bible school friends found himself more or less homeless so we found him a space somewhere for a month or so until he found his own place to live.

When he left he proclaimed he would never again subject himself to that kind of torture.

Malcolm+

There have been constant reports that one or more African bishops are living in polygamous relationships. I am not aware that any proof has ever been offered.

The more appropriate application of polygamy to this issue has to do with the resolution of a previous Lambeth (78? 88?) that aupported the intention of some African bishops to allow polyganists to retain their additional wives after baptism. In large part, this was a justice issue - abandoned wives and their children were severely disadvantaged and victimized. The conditions attached to the African bishops' proposed policy were that a polygamist could not take further wives until and unless all of their present wives were deceased, and that no polygamist could serve in any leadership role in the church until and unless all but one of the previous wives was deceased.

Really, as much as I am on the liberal side of this debate, polygamy is mostly a red herring except to support the argument that the Church has the capacity to amend its discipline. However, the concession to polygamists does not imply any approval of polygamy, so even on that score, it's a long bow.

joseph

Malcolm, I tend to agree: when the two issues are placed side by side, it seems to move to a schoolyard kind of tit-for-tat. "You get away with this, so we should get away with this".

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  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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