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Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm not sure why I'm posting this


Maybe it's the rain we're having here in the Northeast Corridor.

Maybe it's making me grumpy.

Watching the ACNA (Anglican Church North America) meeting in Assembly in Bedford, TX is a bit like watching distant relatives you never really liked behaving badly in public.

It's embarrassing. Really.

Even though you try hard to pretend it doesn't really matter.

The news media are on it, giving it just the right spin, from subtle like NPR to obvious, like USA Today.

The NPR headline read: "Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church."

"Rival". Says a lot, doesn't it?

Not 'real'. Rival.

Martin Minns, the hand on the sword behind Akinola's pen, has an interesting spin on that. The NPR article opens with these words.
Martyn Minns recalls the moment he knew he had to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was 2005. He was rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., and he was talking with a young family who told him they could no longer attend a church that accepted gay bishops or diverged from what they called Orthodox Christianity.

"As I looked at them, I realized that I had a decision to make," he says. "Either I moved with them into a rather uncertain future, or I lost the heart of the congregation. So for me it was a matter of, 'Do I want the church of the future, or the church of the past?' "

That's rich, considering the ACNA uses the 1549 BCP as its 'official' prayer book.

1549. Yup. It's 'back to the future' for these boys.

(UPDATE: I've been informed that it's actually 1662. Check the comments.)

The Quote of the Day Award goes to Susan Russell, the undisputed Queen of the Soundbite:
"It would be as if Sarah Palin were to take a small, but vocal, percentage of very conservative Republicans and decide that they were going to create a parallel United States without having the White House at the center," Russell says.

Brilliant. Gave me my first smile in all of this embarrassing mess.

The title from USA Today said it all:

"New U.S. Anglicans launch, to ban women, gays as bishops."

Yup. They got that right. They are united in negativity - and therein lie the seeds of their own destruction.

Oh, they would tell you that they are united in Christ Jesus. Or, as Moderator Duncan but soon-to-be Archbishop of the ACNA would put it, he
. . . looks forward to the new church attracting anyone who seeks "the reliability of Scripture, the Catholic tradition and Pentecostal power. The Anglican Church bridges all three … If you see the love of Jesus in us, you will join."

The question, however, is how can one see the 'love of Jesus' in exclusion?

How does one see the face of Jesus in the midst of judgment and condemnation?

How does one have the temerity, the arrogance - the incredible cheek - of claiming the name Anglican while rejecting everything that historic, traditional, classic Anglicanism has stood for:

Tolerance.

A Spirit of Gracious Accommodation.

The 'Via Media'.

The Big Tent of Anglicanism - or, in the words of C.S. Lewis: the 'roomiest room in all of Western Christendom'.

It's not that The Episcopal Church or Anglicanism doesn't welcome conservative views. It's that the so-called orthodox don't accept any views except their own.

One more quote from the article in NPR:
George Pitcher, an Anglican priest at St. Bride's Anglican Church in London and religion editor at the Daily Telegraph, agrees. He says the communion welcomes conservative views.

But, he says, "when they want to say this is the one true way, and we want to impose it on all Anglicans, then it's at that stage that the broadly tolerant Anglican Communion says, 'Well that's not the way we do things.'

Amen, my brother.

The cloudy, overcast, intermittent drizzly weather isn't helping, but if this is the "New Anglicanism," all of a sudden, I'm finding that I'm describing myself as a "Conservative Anglican".

I'm not sure why, but that makes me grumpier than the weather.

Oh, BTW, what's up with this video? Do you think they did that 'leaders coming out of the right of the screen' is intentional or is the formatting all wrong?

No, no, no. Don't even go there about Duncan's eyebrows. I mean it. It's a life style choice for him. He's allowed. Remember? He's the one who doesn't allow anyone else any choices. Not you.

Sheesh, I really am grumpy, aren't I?

23 comments:

Joie said...

Susan's analogy is right on.

Thanks for posting this. Maybe you are grumpy but this is a serious reality check that makes me feel better.

I visited with a woman connected to my parish who is actually a long-time member of the Falls Church....as in she will be 101 this August. She is mad as hell at what has been done to her church that she supported lo these many years. She was so animated I would like to release her on TFC (not the real Falls Church) clergy.

whiteycat4104 said...

Not only is Duncan coming out of the right side of the frame, but most of the time he is actually off the edge ... literally and figuratively.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Joie - I doubt that Minns or any of the ACNA crowd would hear her, and at 101, she ought not waste her breath on them.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whiteycat - you make a very interesting observation.

"Off the edge' indeed!

Paul Powers said...

"That's rich, considering the ACNA uses the 1549 BCP as its 'official' prayer book."

Well, no. Actually, it's the 1662 BCP, which as far as I know is still the official BCP for the C of E (although they also have an Alternative Service Book, which uses more contemporary language).

Besides, the proposed canons pretty much leave it to the bishop to decide which prayer book to use. +Iker's customary states that the 1979 BCP is "the" Prayer Book of the Diocese of Fort Worth. And since +Gulick has not requested parishes here to adopt a different prayer book, that's the prayer book that most congregations (both SC and TEC)are using.

So, while there will no doubt be other aspects of the ACNA that will continue to make you grumpy, you may take some consolation in the fact that next Sunday there won't be a bunch of congregations praying that the Lord "save and defende thy servaunt Edwarde our Kyng, that under hym we maye be Godly and quietly governed."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I stand corrected, Paul (and, thank you), but the 1662 BCP doesn't exactly make me jump up and down with happiness. Neither does the thought that the former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is using the 1979 BCP. In an odd sort of way, it makes me feel, I don't know, outraged!

What absolute cheek!

PseudoPiskie said...

"If you see the love of Jesus in us, you will join."

The "love" I see in them won't be attracting many people except other prejudiced folks looking for support.

Word is "reation" - no c there either.

Paul Powers said...

You're not happy with the idea of ACNA congregations using the 1549 BCP. Their use of the 1662 BCP (which, I believe is still the official BCP in the C of E) doesn't make you jump up and down with happiness, and their use of the 1979 BCP makes you feel "outraged."

I'm afraid that there's very little that the ACNA can say or do that will please you.

Word verification: "notsi"

It's a fine kettle of fish when even Google Blogger starts following Godwin's law.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No, just Jack Leo Iker's use of the 1979 BCP IS pretty outrageous. It's not his theology. He's just protecting his legal butt.

Actually, having had some time to consider it, I suppose the ACNA has got a few good things going for it.

1. It provides safe harbor for those who really believe this theology and yet love the liturgy and heritage of TEC.

2. Its creation has effectively shifted the political lines of TEC. Now the 'conservatives' are on the 'far right' and those in the 'middle' are really very 'movable'. General Convention will be fascinating to watch from this perspective alone.

3. Even some of the hard-core conservatives and 'orthodox' see them for what they are and stay away. It has really isolated the 'crazies' in the evangelical movement. Not a bad thing.

4. They can't hurt me or people like me anymore.

Can you tell the weather forecast calls for 'partly sunny' tomorrow?

Bill said...

Martyn Minns recalls: “ he was talking with a young family who told him they could no longer attend a church that accepted gay bishops or diverged from what they called Orthodox Christianity.”

"As I looked at them, I realized that I had a decision to make," he says. "Either I moved with them into a rather uncertain future, or I lost the heart of the congregation. “


How is it that he didn't realize after a statement like that, that “the heart of the congregation” was seriously damaged and rotting from within. They had obviously failed to see that Jesus was teaching us to be inclusive and not exclusive.

Lapinbizarre said...

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting piece as well. A nice quote from George Werner, retired dean of the Pittsburgh cathedral: "The only program he [Duncan] has kept to totally for the past 11 years has been developing this parallel universe and his position in it".

Liturgically, the 1549 book is far more conservative than the prayer books that followed it. Personally, I like it.

Марко Фризия said...

I heartily endorse religious freedom and self determination. If folks do wish to leave the Episcopal Church to set up anti-gay, misogynist, right-wing fundamentalist cults, I hope they understand that they cannot and will not be permitted to take church buildings and financial resources (which are the property of the Episcopal Church) with them when they depart. Fortunately, U.S. courts seem to be in agreement with me on this point.

Paul Powers said...

It also means that Katie Sherrod will be part of the Fort Worth deputation at GC. That alone should put a smile on your face.

Elaine C. said...

No, you aren't grumpy -- you are accurate. I live in IL, and had a Methodist from Quincy relay to me as fact all the stuff that has been taught and insisted upon as truth in that diocese (character assassination, lies and innuendo about the leadership of the Episcopal Church, especially the PB) and clearly this movement is off the edge and off the wall.

And those eyebrows are bizarre ...

Fred Schwartz said...

Sounds to me if Minns suffered a "failure to lead" when the moment arrived allowing the idea of numbers to get in the way. That quote alone would tell me ll I need to know about Minns.

Allie said...

How did that man ever get elected bishop?! (and where did my diocese go wrong in raising him?).

But really, I know they eyebrows are a lifestyle choice, and you say, but they are sooooo distracting. At least Andy Rooney BRUSHES them.

And Susan truly is the queen of the soundbite

Song in my Heart said...

A minor side-point, Paul, the C of E doesn't use the 1980 Alternative Service Book any more. It uses the 1662 BCP or the newer Common Worship. Technically I think the ASB isn't supposed to be used at all now. I've never seen one and don't know how it compares to BCP or CW in terms of content and style.

As far as I'm aware, every C of E church I've been to for a service has holds least some services that use the BCP, though most also use CW for some. Which doesn't mean a lot, statistically, as that's only about ten churches and I probably have some selection bias (haven't attended services at any of the Forward in Faith member churches, haven't been to any of the evangelicals--though I have a vague (and baseless) impression that the evangelical movement in the UK is perhaps more liberal than that in the US). But from what I've seen there does seem to be a place for both, even within individual parishes.

it's margaret said...

"Scripture, the Catholic tradition and Pentecostal power"

The ACNA three-legged stool?
pun intended.

KJ said...

Yes, interesting "peek-a-boo" from the right.

Did I hear someone say "no more church politics?" Oh, that would be swell!

Word verification: Blereac!

Jim said...

I do not pay a lot of attention to this but I think it is true that both REC and AMiA have their own books which are allegedly updated versions of one or another 16th or 17th century editions. In one sense I could almost feel sorry for Mr. Duncan. Keeping this bunch moving in any single direction will be a lot like herding cats. Cats are a lot more fun.

FWIW
jimB

the seccurity word is "messival."

Lindy said...

If it's so all-fired great why don't they look happy?

Марко Фризия said...

@Lindy

You said "why don't they look happy?"

People tend to look like their understanding of God. Former bishop Mr. Duncan looks very angry, frustrated, bitter, uncomfortable, constipated, and unhappy. In the video he presents himself as being judgmental, rigid, exacting, graceless, humorless, obsessed with homosexuality. What strikes me as very sad is that Mr. Duncan probably thinks God is just like that, too. This is a very harsh deity to serve.

By way of contrast, look at the sweet and serene faces of Susan Russell, Ed Bacon, Barbara Harris, Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew, Connie Ng Lam, Elizabeth Kaeton, PB Katherine Jefferts Schori, Sergio Carranza-Gomez, Desmond Tutu, Marc Andrus, Aidan Koh, Gene Robinson, and many others. If those folks look and behave like the God they serve, then I gather that they are serving a generous, loving, accepting, merciful, benevolent, welcoming, approachable God... a God (male-female, gay-heterosexual, of every race) who laughs, is inclined to celebrating, and a God who is concerned that no one is excluded, no one goes hungry, etc.

The other thing that strikes me about this whole deal is the folks of Anglican heritage opposed to TEC in the USA are so divided and fragmented. The only thing that really unites them is their loathing of gay people. They disagree about women in ministry, sacramental theology (some are Anglo-Catholics and others are fundamentalists in terms of their approach to the 39 Articles). Some of these folks want to become united to the RC Church, others the Southern Cone, others are attached to far flung groups in Africa and Asia. They accuse TEC of being inconsistent, but their own group is really something of a theological and ecclesiastical Tower of Babel.

I feel sorry for these folks because they are missing out on the real joy of being a Christian.

Geoff said...

The 1662 is quite atrocious, but I'm rather fond of 1549.