The Bishop of Minnesota offers some thoughts from Lambeth 2008

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would like to do a little reflecting on [what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said], to put it in our context and how I heard it. I think we will continue to hear more in it as we share it this week, but this is a near first-impression.

In our work on the “Windsor process” and the development of a possible covenant for the Anglican Communion, much of the attitudes and the work drafted thus far is very legal in its foundation and seems to be based in fear and formed by politics. Whether apologies from TEC have not been heard elsewhere, or whether they have been diminished by someone’s dismissively saying, “They did not really mean it,” or “That’s not enough” (both have been said repeatedly)—for whichever of those reasons, the reaction of a good many is still anger and sometimes hostility. It is understandable, given that we have really upset the Communion, some because our actions go against profound beliefs, and some because the response to those actions has severely impaired our ability to engage in mission partnerships around the world. I have sympathy for both of those reactions. But reactions are feelings and responses are actions and behaviors which, especially in a conflicted situation, need to be helpful for healing and reconciling the body, not causing more harm. The response of many is to want to punish us, to make sure that we have suffered “enough,” and that drives the wish to make a covenant for the Communion that will identify clear behaviors that are acceptable and others that are unacceptable, and clear consequences if anyone transgresses or deviates from the acceptable behaviors.

What I hear in Rabbi Sacks’ address is 1) a profound emphasis on unity based in the “faith covenant”—the many shared sufferings in our past and present; 2) the need to forgive each other in order to redeem the past; 3) the need to respect the dignity of each other so that we can come together to share, to be in relationship, to find our emerging identity in Christ, and to be transformed. On that basis, and only then, will we be able to build a “faith covenant,” full of shared dreams, aspirations and hope in order to make commitments for mission. This is where I come back to what I was writing the other day about a covenant which is about invitation, persistently inviting back to the table those who would isolate themselves or ostracize others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsLambeth 2008Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process

9 Comments
Posted July 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. libraryjim wrote:

whether they have been diminished by someone’s dismissively saying, “They did not really mean it,” or “That’s not enough”

That’s not really the problem—the problem is when (in this case IF) an apology has been issued, but they continue with the action that caused the problem in the first place, then we KNOW by those actions that “they did not really mean it”.  True repentance is accompanied by a resolve towards changing the actions/behaviors.

In this case, SS blessings continue with no discipline; orthodox priests are still under threat of inhibition; parishes are still being sued for property; vestries are dissolved; their agenda is still being pushed for at Lambeth; etc. 

That doesn’t sound to me as if “they really meant it”.

Just my thoughts.

Jim Elliott <><

July 30, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
2. Monksgate wrote:

“The response of many is to want to punish us, to make sure that we have suffered “enough,” and that drives the wish to make a covenant for the Communion…”

I have not seen anything punitive in the suggestion of, and movement towards, a covenant at all.  Does Bp. Jelinek misread the situation or do I?  And how many of his brother and sister U.S. bishops see this as punishment?

July 30, 3:38 pm | [comment link]
3. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

A covenant means mutual responsibility at a bare minimum and ECUSA/TEC/GCC/EO-PAC has clearly demonstrated that it cannot do or be or attempt that as it will interfere with polity and freedom.  No agreement signed by the last two Presiding Bishops with fellow Primates has been fit for other than the outhouse with the old Sears catalogs, corn cobs, and pine cones, has it?

And this bishop is sounding as though he would take a covenant seriously? 

This is a time warp and we are watching Rowan and Martin’s “LAUGH IN” aren’t we?

July 30, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
4. episcoanglican wrote:

“The response of many is to want to punish us, to make sure that we have suffered “enough,” and that drives the wish to make a covenant for the Communion…”

—I find the constant applying of sinful motives by the revisionists to the orthodox utterly stupefying. They just can’t get that it is first about faithfulness to Jesus Christ and second for their own salvific benefit.—They do not understand that you cannot toss God’s words behind your back,  call him “Lord, Lord” and expect a healthy relationship with Him.

July 30, 4:17 pm | [comment link]
5. episcoanglican wrote:

“He said even as the Roman Catholic Church prays that Anglicans will find ways to strengthen their communion the bishops must remember that what is at stake “is nothing other than our faithfulness to Christ himself.”

—Cardinal Casper
The Roman church gets it, why can’t TEC?

July 30, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
6. Harvey wrote:

#1 libraryjim Sir, you are on target dead center.  The TEC Bishop reminds me of something I read.  Did not the minister of propganda in Germany (early 1930’s) say that if you tell a lie big enough, and often enough people will believe it.

July 30, 7:17 pm | [comment link]
7. Larry Morse wrote:

These words appear to me to be so dishonest, that there is no sufficient words to characterize them.

Edited and mostly deleted.

July 30, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
8. Statmann wrote:

Bishop Jelinek: call your office. From 1996 to 2002 the diocese lost 11 percent of its members and from 2002 to 2006 lost another 11 percent. From 1996 to 2002 the diocese’s Plate & Pledge increased a robust 44 percent but from 2002 to 2006 Plate & Pledge increased a rather meager 12 percent. So it was no great surprise that at the November 2007 convention the bishop’s request for a Co-adjutor was denied. And yet, the diocese could afford his attendance at Lambeth. And all of this in one of the weathiest states in the USA.
Much work to be done at home.      Statmann

July 31, 2:44 am | [comment link]
9. evan miller wrote:

Empty words.

July 31, 9:53 am | [comment link]
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