Friday, July 18, 2008

More on Anglican Debates

I for one was most perplexed and stunned that a document commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury and written by the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission and given to delegates of the current Lambeth Conference made it apparent that bishops who have transgressed diocesan and provincial boundaries in search of "orthodox" primatial oversight are considered guilty of undermining collegiality. An even worse sin, it is suggested, was boycotting the Lambeth conference. Now I am a moderate evangelical and I am genuinely trying to empathize with the good Archbishop's plight caught as he is between a rock and a hard place, but that kind of stuff just really ticks me off. Who started the whole "jolly" thing? Who defied the corporate will of the communion by deliberately flouting Lambeth resolution 1.10? Are the structures of the Church more important than the Church's message? Can unity exist in the absence of a basic creedal unity? Why are the Americans at Lambeth but the Africans are not?

Fortunately my discontent was placated by reading: (1) The GAFCON primates' counter-response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's response to their Jerusalem conference; (2) Their response also to St. Andrews draft of the Anglican Communion Covenant.

I have to say that with Anglican politics who needs Soap Opera or even American Politics - this is far more interesting - so we can wait with optimism on the outcome of Lambeth and see if the dialogue and discussion really will bring a closer bond of unity between the provinces and promote confidence building measures. But with over 25% of the worldwide bishops absent from the global south it might be too little too late and only benefit those already converted to the Archbishop's side. More important is whether Rowan Williams is willing to extend an olive branch to the GAFCON primates which might be a better option for reconciliation and unity than Lambeth. I hope so!


Bob MacDonald said...

Dr. Bird. Everything I read from Lambeth seems to me to be filled with the potential for justice. There is no need to call anything bloody. We know the blood that was shed for us (even though the epithet is a reduction of By our Lady - a Catholic swear word). As a protestant should we be using Catholic swear words? Be glad your URL is not, a little presumptuous don't you think?

Dunc and Als said...

Michael is big and ugly enough to defend himself (will ugly enough anyway - how did he end up with such beautiful daughters), but I would like to stand up for him here and say that as an Australian the word "bloody" is barely a swear word.
Coming from a country that used another "b" word (with a far more unpleasant meaning) in a mainstream TV commercial we may occasionally forget our graces in comparison to much of the rest of the world. The problem is, with language being cultural we sometimes don't even realise!

Michael F. Bird said...

To reiterate what my Aussie friend Duncan said above, the "b" word in Australia does not carry connotations of profanity as it might do elsewhere. Just go see the crocodile dundee movies! Nonetheless, to avoid needlessly upsetting people who might not be aware of my cultural background, I shall remove the offending adjective.

I'm sure much good will come of Lambeth, but I hope it is good for all!

Bob MacDonald said...

I didn't hear the accent. I can scarcely translate English to English! We might agree on what is good eventually. That is the first Hebrew word that I teach to the Sunday School. All by itself it is a challenge - immediately raising the theodicy issue. I also hope that the good is for all.

Dunc and Als said...

Ha Ha! I just saw what you changed the offending word to! That's my solution as well and all my Australian friends laugh at me and think I've become a "jolly" Englishman!
And I wonder what it is hard to learn another language at times.