Daily Account from the House of Bishops for Saturday, March 8

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following lunch, the Rev. Canon Brian Cox of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Hon. Joanne O'Donnell of the Diocese of Los Angeles led a presentation on faith-based reconciliation.

O'Donnell said the goal was not to reach reconciliation but to lead a reconciling life. She was not advocating for agreement, but for a transformation of attitude toward persons whose ideas may differ from your own.

Cox presented eight core values for religious and faith-based reconciliation: pluralism; inclusion; peacemaking; social justice; forgiveness; healing; sovereignty; and atonement.

This was followed by small group discussions on the question presented by Cox: How do my world view, core values and collective identity influence my perception of the conflict in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion?

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops

34 Comments
Posted March 9, 2008 at 5:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

What a silly-but-predictable list of the favorite animals in post-modern liberal petting zoos. How about as a more realistic, and more biblical approach something like the following:

a) maintain a biblical perspective on life
b) keep Christ at the centre of our own lives
c) evaluate the situation rationally
d) speak the truth, in love when possible
e) be willing to settle without recourse to law
f) have a logical, direct discussion
g) seek wise counsel, especially from church elders
h) be willing to walk apart (e.g. Barnabas)

March 9, 7:43 am | [comment link]
2. APB wrote:

TEC has effectively substituted the MDGs for the Decalogue.  Cox+ seems to have his own replacements.  They seem designed to prevent decisions and actions, even when desperately needed.

March 9, 8:17 am | [comment link]
3. NancyNH wrote:

The only “reconciliation” I see from Fr. Cox is his own reconciliation to false teaching. What a disappointment he is. His core values start with “pluralism.” Either has values have changed, or a few years ago he kept them to himself while representing himself as a Bible believing priest.

March 9, 8:19 am | [comment link]
4. D. C. Toedt wrote:

I saw the squib of Kendall’s posting in Google Reader. I clicked to read the whole posting. I wasn’t especially interested in what the HoB speaker had to say.  I was, however, curious about how many comments it take for people to start castigating the speaker for not hewing to their idea of what the bishops should have heard. I wasn’t terribly surprised to see that the acidic Monday-morning quarterbacking had begun with the very first comment.

March 9, 8:37 am | [comment link]
5. Cole wrote:

Castigating the speaker?  I personally think that this kind of world view is a threat to our Constitutional rights to religious freedom and conscience.  If Religion’s influence is of this nature on our culture, we will no longer live in the “promised land”.

March 9, 8:46 am | [comment link]
6. Milton wrote:

Brian Cox+ may mean well, but we must not cry “‘peace, peace’, when there is no (true) peace”.  Thank the Lord’s providence that he was not elected Bishop in DioTN.

March 9, 8:47 am | [comment link]
7. Adam 12 wrote:

“pluralism; inclusion; peacemaking; social justice; forgiveness; healing; sovereignty; and atonement” ... sounds like the “club” model of the church to me…

March 9, 9:31 am | [comment link]
8. John316 wrote:

From Cox’s rector’s bio at Christ the King Episcopal Church(an ACN and ACA parish):

“A cradle Episcopalian, his relationship with Jesus Christ has been profoundly affected by involvement in such renewal movements as Cursillo, Faith Alive, Marriage Encounter, SOMA, and Kairos. The three most important things to know about him are his love for Jesus Christ, his heart as a pastor and his passion for Christ’s work of reconciliation.”

March 9, 10:01 am | [comment link]
9. Cennydd wrote:

What, no preaching and teaching Christ’s Gospel?  How typical of them!

March 9, 11:29 am | [comment link]
10. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I was, however, curious about how many comments it take for people to start castigating the speaker for not hewing to their idea of what the bishops should have heard.”

Yeh—it must be quite a shock to realize that the same things people objected to four years ago are still the same things.

And what a shock— the same objections that DC had to so many of the beliefs expressed on this blog four years ago are still the same things he currently objects to.

I’m just amazed that nobody has changed their gospel to the opposing one yet!  ; > )

March 9, 11:34 am | [comment link]
11. John Wilkins wrote:

I do hope it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to note that pluralism; inclusion; peacemaking; social justice; forgiveness; healing; sovereignty; and atonement are all biblical. 

Bart, why do you assume that: they think they aren’t being biblical or keeping Christ at the center, or being rational, or speaking the truth?  As far as deciding to “walk apart” like Barnabas, why is Barnabas the appropriate archetype?  Why not Romans 2:1?  Why do we say we have no need of one another?  Charity assumes differently.  And charity… is biblical.

March 9, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
12. Daniel wrote:

Hey, if this attempt at thought control by the HOB does not work, I recommend they go over to the United Methodist Church and pick up their “holy conferencing” double speak as another way to muzzle the orthodox (anyone who doesn’t believe what they do) into obedience.

I have to laugh at all the tactics employed by mainstream denominations to keep the dissenters in line.  It’s beginning to sound like the ecclesiastical version of the corporate world’s management program of the month.  After the latest Pew religious survey chronicling the further decline of mainstream denominations was released, the UMC web site had an op-ed that blamed the people in the pews for treating their choice of church like a personal choice to suit their individual faith needs, and said they really just need to be docile sheep and put their money in the UMC offering plate and let the Methodist bureaucrats tell them what to do.

The current day leaders of the mainstream denominations sound like they would have been happier in the Roman church of the Middle Ages where they could have happily sold indulgences and gotten guaranteed payments from the offering plate to keep their positions secure.

March 9, 1:32 pm | [comment link]
13. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Sarah sweetheart [#10], since I seem to have been too subtle in #4, let me be blunt:  The church isn’t the China of Cultural Revolution days, in which speakers who wanted to stay free, or alive, found it prudent to quote extensively from the Little Red Book.  (And since you’re probably too young to remember those days, Sarah, I’m referring to Quotations from Chairman Mao.) Not every public utterance in a church forum is required to include ritual obeisance to the scripturalists’ notions of orthodoxy; not every speaker at every TEC event must tailor his [or her] presentation to kowtow to the T19 / SF crowd’s notion of how he ought to be doing his job.

March 9, 1:42 pm | [comment link]
14. John316 wrote:

Cennydd,
Note the first item of the day:

The Saturday, March 8 session started with Morning Prayer and small group Bible study .

March 9, 2:11 pm | [comment link]
15. Br. Michael wrote:

I note DC’s contempt for Scripture.  But then he himself does not claim to be a creedal Christian.

March 9, 2:17 pm | [comment link]
16. Todd Granger wrote:

I do hope it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to note that pluralism; inclusion; peacemaking; social justice; forgiveness; healing; sovereignty; and atonement are all biblical.

Inclusion - yes, in the sense of the good news of God in Jesus Christ being offered to all people, of Christ’s dying for the sins of the whole world, of God’s will for all to be saved, of the whole creation’s being transformed with the fulfillment of the kingdom of God.  Inclusion with a strong note of transformation through inclusion in Christ.

Peacemaking - yes, through him whose blood is our peace with God, and under his lordship, Who is the Prince of Peace.

Social justice - as a sign of the kingdom of God, come in bodily form in Jesus Christ and among us now through the Holy Spirit, given in earnest to all believers to carry on God’s reconciling work in the world in anticipation of the consummation of the kingdom of God.

Forgiveness - through the reconciling death of Jesus Christ.

Healing - again, through Jesus Christ and him alone.

Sovereignty - I admit to being somewhat at a loss here, not having enough information.  If political sovereignty be meant, I don’t think the Scriptures have anything to say about that.  If personal sovereignty, and that in the post-Enlightenment sense, I don’t think the Scriptures, with a more communitarian and non-rights-based anthropology, can be called as witnesses.  If, on the other hand, one means the sovereignty of God, then I would say that this is the only sovereignty of which the Scriptures speak.

Atonement - yes, again, through Jesus Christ and through him alone, beginning to end.  The Church decided centuries ago that Pelagius was wrong:  we can do nothing to commend ourselves to God, to reconcile ourselves to God, to atone for our sins.  Even such “atonement” as we make one to another is only in and through God’s reconciling grace and love in Jesus.

But pluralism?  This non-rocket scientist is completely at sea there.  The Shema and Paul’s radical rewriting of the Jewish confession in 1 Corinthians 8.6 fairly completely exclude what is commonly meant by pluralism, at least in a religious sense.  But given Mr Cox’s history, and the core values of his parish, surely he does not mean (theological) pluralism - in the Church - in the commonly understood sense of the word.

March 9, 2:46 pm | [comment link]
17. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Sarah sweetheart . . . not every speaker at every TEC event must tailor his [or her] presentation to kowtow to the T19 / SF crowd’s notion of how he ought to be doing his job.”

DC, Shugah . . . ; > )

Of course not—that’s why we’ll only point out just a few of the speakers whose presentations are lacking.  There are many many thousands more that we will never get to . . . but God willing, we’ll be doing this four years hence too!

But the real issue is . . . DC is still hanging out here on this blog four years later saying these sorts of things and being all “curious” about what we’ll disagree with.

I confess—after a few hundred of DC-comments I experienced no further curiosity about what he would say.  I always knew that his comments would adhere to his oft-stated gospel.

March 9, 3:30 pm | [comment link]
18. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Bart, why do you assume that: ... they aren’t being biblical or keeping Christ at the center, or being rational, or speaking the truth?

Emphasis, my man, emphasis. People tend—especially when making lists—to put first those things they consider most important, and the first four items on +Cox’s list are primary mantras of the American secular left, which seems to no small degree to be the man’s intellectual touchstone, no matter how much it might get gussied up in God-language for a church audience.

March 9, 4:03 pm | [comment link]
19. Jill Woodliff wrote:

Curious.  In many ways, TEC uses a corporate model.  For example, most searches for priests/bishops resemble a administrator search rather than travailing prayer crying out for God’s guidance. 
But then, regarding the top echelon of TEC bureaucracy, it doesn’t resemble a corporate model because the board would have fired the CEO or the stockholders would have sued the board by now.  Remember when someone in Browning’s administration embezzled money?  Even then, the CEO was secure.

March 9, 4:05 pm | [comment link]
20. Br. Michael wrote:

If you don’t accept that Scripture is the revealed word of God why would you even want to argue Scripture with one who does?  You might want to discuss it on an academic level, but not in the context of a basis for decision.  You are talking past each other even before you start.

March 9, 4:09 pm | [comment link]
21. Jill Woodliff wrote:

‘Truth’ is not listed as a core value for faith-based reconciliation.  This is pluriform truth dressed in camoflauge.

March 9, 4:20 pm | [comment link]
22. Eutychus wrote:

These are 8 core values of whose religion? Which faith is Cox referring to?
What is the point of a “reconciling life” that does not “reach reconciliation?

Jesus had hard words for that kind of religion in the 23rd Chapter of Matthew:

“13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. [4] 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell [5] as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, [6] whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”

March 9, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
23. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Sarah [#17], so far as I know, Kendall hasn’t decreed that only those professing correct theology are allowed to comment here at T19.  From my perspective, 1) overall, Kendall is far and away the best source of interesting news about what’s happening in the church.  His generosity in sharing the fruits of his info-trawling has created a valuable ministry, reaching who knows how many people.  2) I’ve found that participating in the discussions here is a great way for me to learn. Not the least of the ways I’ve learned is by looking up stuff to challenge a point that someone else has made. On more than one occasion my own views have evolved, either because of something someone has said, or from composing a response to what someone has said.

March 9, 5:07 pm | [comment link]
24. The_Elves wrote:

Let’s return to a discussion on the post rather than that of individuals.

March 9, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
25. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Sarah [#17], so far as I know, Kendall hasn’t decreed that only those professing correct theology are allowed to comment here at T19.”

Very true. 

What that particularly has to do with anything I don’t know.

But you are certainly correct.

Maybe another four years will pass, and you’ll just know, intuitively, that when TEC speakers are featured on T19 . . . there will be a shocking array of commenters who believe a different gospel noting their disagreements.

March 9, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
26. Sarah1 wrote:

Sorry elves—I posted while you were posting I guess; I did not see your warning.

March 9, 5:16 pm | [comment link]
27. Revamundo wrote:

Is Iker attending the HOB meeting?

March 9, 6:01 pm | [comment link]
28. Newbie Anglican wrote:

#27, If memory serves me right, +Iker said he was most definitely not going.

March 9, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
29. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#23 D.C.

I’ve found that participating in the discussions here is a great way for me to learn

Me also.  Dr. Harmon’s blog allows access to some thoughtful and in some cases eminent bloggers both within Anglicanism and outside.
I have learnt and continue to learn from the fruits of his ministry and occasionally to have some fun as well along the way.
Galatians 3:28

March 9, 6:50 pm | [comment link]
30. TLDillon wrote:

{blockquote]Cox presented eight core values for religious and faith-based reconciliation: pluralism; inclusion; peacemaking; social justice; forgiveness; healing; sovereignty; and atonement.

Pluralism and social justice are NOT FAITH BASED! The one and only thing that truly matters in reconciliation he left out and I’m not surprised!
The love of Jesus Christ in each individual to be able to reconcile one with another and the belief in his Scriptures. That should be first and foremost.

March 9, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
31. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

SO GLAD the goal was NOT to reach RECONCILIATION but to wage a reconciling life, I mean, lead a reconciliation assault, I mean, a reconciliation incursion, or would that be police action?  The nuance, I fear, has escaped the building.

But it is PRECISELY what I would have predicted.  I hope the taskers and the tasked all feel SWELL now they have had the propaganda meeting.

March 9, 8:59 pm | [comment link]
32. 0hKay wrote:

Atonement: Brian Cox, from what I read about him, probably has a biblical concept of atonement. Problem is, the TECsters will take the word and turn it into something like the recent movie, where the Redgrave character achieves atonement only in her fiction for the people she has ruined. In real life, they die tragically.

March 9, 10:03 pm | [comment link]
33. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Although I don’t know Fr. Brian Cox personally, I know that he was once on staff at the charismatic stronghold, Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, Virginia, which departed TEC over a year ago and is now affiliated with CANA.  I confess that I have no idea what happened to him.  He does indeed have a track record of active participation in orthodox, renewal ministries in TEC, and the fact that his parish is AAC and ACN affiliated is signfiicant.  But it’s also true that a ministry focused on “reconciliation” has been his passion for some time now, as his degree in it from Pepperdine also shows.

But authentic, lasting reconciliation takes two, and TEC shows not the slightest real interest in genuine peace, only in avoiding open conflict while wearing the conservative minority down.  The simple fact is that true reconciliation is only possible if the leaders of TEC repent and reverse course. 

Oil and water just don’t mix.  Never have.  Never will.  A house divided against itself can not and will not stand, as our Master noted long ago (Mark 3).  I firmly believe that pursuing “reconciliation” is premature and only plays into the hands of the corrupt, heretical leadership of TEC. 

According to the famous text of Eccesiastes 3, “There is a time for everything.”  And this is NOT a time for attempting reconciliation.  Instead, I firmly believe it is a time for waging relentless theological warfare in the name of the Prince of Peace.  When our liberal foes have been forced into unconditional surrender, then and only then, will there be peace.  On terms dictated by the victorious orthodox side, of course.  Then it will be time for reconciliation.  Not before.

David Handy+

March 9, 10:44 pm | [comment link]
34. scott+ wrote:

Reference Fr Cox; Albeit, I have not said but about 15 words with him at Plano, in the last 15 years, I have no reason to believe he has changed.  He has stayed the course in the face of a diocese who has lost the message of Christ.  His was the only place in the Santa Barbara area within ECUSA where the message was still of the gospel. 

He is a true believer in the ministry of reconciliation and from an outsider view point would seem to have been successful at times.  He does seem willing to bring that message into places where it is truly needed but unlikely to be received. 

The question to me is what is the mission of Fr Cox’s being at the HOB meeting.  As I understand it the ministry is to those who should or must work together it seems to me.  Is it too late at this time when it comes to the HOB? 

Is it reconciliation to go from a nasty to a civil divorce?  If Fr Cox can help that happen it is a ministry work undertaking.

March 11, 6:28 am | [comment link]
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