The Chicago Consultation Responds to the ACI Bishops Statement

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Our Anglican tradition is blessed by the ability to share common prayer and sacraments while holding different interpretations of scripture and different opinions and practices. Our diversity reflects God’s creation and allows us to proclaim the Gospel in many forms to people in many settings.

“We are especially dismayed that this attempt to undermine the Church’s governance involves leaders who have held positions on the Communion-wide body that produced the proposed Anglican Covenant. The various drafts of the Covenant have each created impediments to the full inclusion of all baptized Christians in the Communion and thereby undermine God’s gift of unity. Regrettably, we must now question the full intent of these documents.

“We pray that our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion Institute will return to embrace our common tradition and polity and recognize the reconciling power of the Spirit to make all things new.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantAnglican IdentityEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

30 Comments
Posted April 25, 2009 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Choir Stall wrote:

Interpretation:
We’re scared that we’ve gone too far so back your responses to our impetuousness down a notch.

April 25, 11:39 am | [comment link]
2. Timothy Fountain wrote:

They believe that people who disagree with them are “cretins” and they dismiss the Bishop of RI as “an honorary man.”  This is “the reconciling power of the Spirit?”

Bonds of affection don’t work with people who dehumanize others.  Bonds of affection break when zealots rip them apart.  Bonds of affection exist in a complex web and aren’t made for single-constituency activists (we know what “full inclusion of all baptized Christians” means - LGBT ordination and relationship blessings).  Bonds of affection are not formed when you only “consult” with those who already agree with you.

Wasting my words here.  The bonds of affection are long gone and some gracious action that recognizes that would be an offering to Christ.  Be we will play “win/lose” to honor ourselves, because that’s who we’ve become.

One of this morning’s readings was I John 3:11-18,

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

A significant number of our people, including many leaders, just can’t say “Christ died for us.”  And as John shows here, this leads inevitably to an inability to love one another in any meaningful way.  “We love because he first loved us,” and this love is revealed as “God gave his only begotten Son.”  A group that rejects the sacrifice of Christ as the revelation of God’s love is not going to lead us into any kind of new, loving church. 

But then a new, loving church is not the goal.  The goal is the empowerment and entitlement of a special caste, with little to do but live off of a pile of resources.  They have no use for the rest of us “cretins.”  We are simply an inconvenience.

April 25, 11:50 am | [comment link]
3. Jill Woodliff wrote:

I pray that our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Consultation will return to, embrace our common tradition and polity, and recognize the reconciling power of the Spirit to make all things new.

April 25, 11:53 am | [comment link]
4. Bill Cavanaugh wrote:

Here are some semi-hopeful words from our Presiding Bishop at the recent Executive Council:

“There are some hopeful signs of movement around the communion,” Jefferts Schori said. “I think our challenge is going to be how to encourage our own members to recognize that we’re interested in having a diversity of opinion in this church and that there is room for those who dissent with decisions of General Convention and those who feel pushed to one end of the spectrum.

“One of our biggest challenges is the fact that conservative members of this church now feel that they are on the extreme right end where they used to be closer to the middle. That’s a perception, but it’s a real perception [that] causes significant amount of distress and reactivity.
Is the Consultation and its supportors seriously “interested in having a diversity of opinion in this church and that there is room for those who dissent”?  Is it the marginalized conservatives who are showing “reactivity”?
Instead of vigorous and civil debate, which is what the ACI seems vainly to engage in, we are called ‘cretins’, our agruments ‘tawdry’, and those who disagree dismiss the Bishop of RI as “an honorary man.”
This is a very sad week for the Church.  I would like to see the ‘hopeful signs’ that the PB is referring to…

April 25, 12:12 pm | [comment link]
5. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Funny that the statement fails to enunciate why or how exactly the ACI statement undermines the polity other than in nebulous terms.

April 25, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

Funny how those who have such a ‘high view’ of baptism then in effect throw out the Baptismal covenant!

They seem to ignore this part for some reason:

Celebrant   Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People   I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant   Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.
People   I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant   Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People   I will, with God’s help.

and only focus on this part:

Celebrant   Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People   I will, with God’s help.

Why does this take precedence over the rest of the vows and covenant????

Question asked by:
Jim Elliott
N. Fla.

Edited by elf to eliminate excessive length.

April 25, 1:04 pm | [comment link]
7. TheOldHundredth wrote:

library jim said, Funny how those who have such a ‘high view’ of baptism then in effect throw out the Baptismal covenant!

Maybe they are using the “baptismal” service of Kevin G. Thew Cranmer—I mean, Forrester—instead. I don’t know.

Isn’t it funny that when faced with the ACI Statement, the moral revisionists are suddenly very concerned about tradition, authority, and polity? Whose ox is being gored and all that.

April 25, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
8. Randy Muller wrote:

Regrettably, we must now question the full intent of these documents.

How disingenuous.  I think the “consultation” questioned these documents from the beginning.

April 25, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
9. Sarah1 wrote:

Heh.

I always enjoy reading the statements of the TEC progressive activists, after they’ve managed to tamp down their rage and exert a modicum of self-control again after a few, er, rhetorical slips into expressing what they really feel.

The problem is that the resulting statements are almost always a strained and artificial string of words written in water from people who are desperate to sound reasonable and remotely spiritually coherent.

As with: “We <strike>assert</strike> pray that <strike>those cretins—how dare they resist our rule and point out publicly that our polity claims are a bullying and blustering farce!</strike> our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion Institute will <strike>be forced to accept the power of our ally, the Dear Leader Presiding Bishop</strike> return to embrace <strike>our latest and most modern theories on who gets to boss those disagreeable rebel bishops and dioceses around</strike> common tradition and polity and recognize <strike>that we progressive activists are in charge now and cease all resistance to us, thus making the next 10 years a whole lot easier on us all</strike> the reconciling power of <strike>lawsuits and depositions</strike> the Spirit to make <strike>our particular and special sexual attractions acceptable now</strike> all things new.”

April 25, 2:29 pm | [comment link]
10. youngadult wrote:

#9—
wow.  how did you manage to take the statement “we pray that our brothers and sisters in the anglican communion institute will return to embrace common tradition and polity and recognize the reconciling power of the spirit to make all things new” and manage to read in to it assertions of power, bullying farces, the idea that the presiding bishop is “dear leader,” name calling, a call for an end to resistance, lawsuits, and demands about sexuality?  because when i read that statement, it sounds like a call to tradition and reconciliation through the holy spirit.

but i guess that could just be my conspiratorial liberal power trip speaking, huh?

April 25, 2:51 pm | [comment link]
11. libraryjim wrote:

YA,
the short answer is “Yep, what you said last.”

The longer answer is: We’ve seen responses like this followed up with increased legal action, renewed depositions, etc. in order to keep the ‘schismatics’ in line. And we’ve read the ‘leaked’ memos and emails that say just what Sarah crossed out. So, to make it short, again, “by comparing their actions to their very politically crafted words”.

April 25, 2:57 pm | [comment link]
12. Sherri2 wrote:

“return to embrace our common polity”??? It isn’t ACI who abandoned our “common” polity. As for common tradition, I would like to hear what they consider that to be.

April 25, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
13. BillS wrote:

“The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives that will rid the church of this sin.”

Recognizing that there is no answer, I will plunge ahead and ask the question anyway.

Where in the Bible is same sex marriage recognized as a holy union, to be celebrated equally with heterosexual marriage?

What is the theological basis for same sex marriage?

April 25, 5:42 pm | [comment link]
14. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “how did you manage to take the statement . . . “

Oh, so, so, so easily, after experiencing the past five years of such farcical statements from the same bunch.

And of course the people who have departed from “common tradition and polity” is this latest re-named group of the same old same old revisionists.

April 25, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
15. Ephraim Radner wrote:

“We are especially dismayed that this attempt to undermine the Church’s governance involves leaders who have held positions on the Communion-wide body that produced the proposed Anglican Covenant. The various drafts of the Covenant have each created impediments to the full inclusion of all baptized Christians in the Communion and thereby undermine God’s gift of unity. Regrettably, we must now question the full intent of these documents.”

Since I am the only person indicated by this statement (despite the use of the plural “leader(s)”, let me respond briefly, in hopes that someone from the Consultation is reading.  The Consultation’s statement is, taken as a whole, completely disingenuous. Since I have been long and ublicly committed to the view that partenered homosexuals should not, on Scriptural, traditional, and moral reasons, be ordained or have their partnerships affirmed by the Christian Church, my commitments have always been, in the Consultation’s view, “sinful”.  This is not news to the Constulation members, and brings no revelatory instruments to bear in their reading of the CP Bishops’ statement.  But it really has nothing to do with the Anglican Covenant.  This is logical hooey, and at best an indirect form of ad hominem diversion.  The various drafts of the Covenant have had nothing to do with the issues of sexuality (much to the chagrin of some), and the Consultors know it.  If the “full intent of the documents” is based not on their content, however, but on the people involved in drafting them, then the the Consultors are rather slow in figuring out what is going on.  After all, about half of the Covenant Design Group shares my “sinful” perspective and has shared it long before the Covenant was even a gleam in Canterbury’s eye. 

If that were to disqualify them from membership on the Design Group or taint the product of their work by definition, of course, that would mean that more than half of the Communion would not or should not be representated in the drafting of the Covenant.  I assume that is simply what the Consultors would prefer.  But they should just say so, and stop claiming “dismay” at having to articulate their condemnation of most of their Anglican “brothers and sisters”, let alone adopting the aura of being the great “reconcilers” in comparison to whom everybody with a strong, though different, theological and ecclesial commitment they are willing to argue is automatically deemed divisive.  This is not persuasive in the least.

There is a legitimate context in which to debate whether ACI’s views regarding the Constitution of TEC are accurate, historically or legally, let alone whether their theological implications are valuable.  The Consultation does not, by a long shot, even begin to enter that context.  I wish they would, however;  it would elevate a discussion that, until this point, remains mired in bigotry.

April 25, 8:14 pm | [comment link]
16. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I wish they would, however . . . “

Dr. Radner realizes, I suppose, that such a response would be the canonical equivalent of the incoherently irrational document “To Set Our Hope On Christ.”

Seriously, this current response is the best response that they can offer, albeit with the deficiencies you have named above, and more. 

To attempt to do more would merely be providing further demonstration that you are engaging in a battle of wits—namely a knowledge of church history, theology, canons, and logical consistency—with unarmed people.

April 25, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
17. youngadult wrote:

#12—hi english teacher,
i don’t think that the goal of the chicago consultation’s statement was to do a point-for-point refutation or try to dismantle the argument presented (while i admit, i do think that is more than possible to do); my impression was that more focused on was the bishop’s statement conveniently omitted.
where is a discussion of property lawsuits?  as parishes/dioceses are held in trust by the bishop/presiding bishop, who can be personally liable for losses, they are obligated to protect the church’s fiduciary responsibility, hence, the lawsuits.  it is not out of spite, or a burn-everything-in-your-path logic.  where was the bishops’ directions telling parishes or dioceses to stop wasting time and money that could be used for mission?  if you want to leave, go for it, but don’t intentionally tie up assets in court, as memos have indicated departing congregations/dioceses should do.
why does the bishops’ statement so adamantly attempt to say that canons do not bind dioceses to the national (international, i suppose) church, when anyone who has read one of the many, many court decisions that have gone in favor of the episcopal church sees that the courts have already established that they are mistaken?  they cannot up and leave; that’s what the court have shown over and over.
in all the bishops’ talk of their vows, why is the barely any mention that it is in the sacraments, the gifts instituted and given to us by god, that are the outward signs of the inward grace of our unity in christ?
what does it say that leaders who worked on the anglican covenant design group are again vocally siding and signing with a conservative group seeking to split the episcopal church into individual diocese that can do what they will?  what does that say to liberal, or even moderate, episcopalians about the plans for the covenant?
finally, prof. meyers reminded us that the chicago consultation, like most of the rest of us, want the church to be both transformed by the power of the spirit and brought to unity in christ.  hey look, i’m liberal, and i said that (so maybe not all liberals are as bad as we sound).  ; - )
so in short, i think that we perhaps had at least different perspectives on the letter.  i think its intention was not to refute, but to illuminate what had been forgotten.

April 25, 8:47 pm | [comment link]
18. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Young Adult:  You seemed to have missed a fundamental presupposition that defines who the CP bishops are who are making the argument you are wildly projecting outward into all kinds of unsubstantiated schismatic directions:  they are precisely the bishops (and we might add, the ACI members in this group) who are committed to STAYING in the Epsicopal Church, insofar as the Constitution is upheld.  The goal of their argument is to define what are the proper relationships that should obtain e.g. between dioceses and the General Convention and/or the Presiding Bishop.  Having defined these relationships, according to their argument, they also wish to assert their right to be bound to the Anglican Communion according to the means by which that Communion through its members chooses it order itself.  There was no “convenient” ommission of the realities concerning lawsuits, since these bishops are NOT engaged in lawsuits, since they have not left or threatened to leave.  The only people, in your set of participants in this debate, who are engaged in lawsuits costing money, is the Presiding Bishop and TEC Executive Council—they have spent, thus far, perhaps close to 5 million dollars.  The CP bishops have not done so.  Nor are they trying to assert a novel polity by which dioceses can “do what they will”, since they are quite clear as to what are the authorities and parameters, religiously and legally, that bind diocesan life.  Finally, they are not ignorant of the court decisions that have been made with regards to congregational property.  But these decisions have nothing to do with the question at hand, which is the nature of a diocese within the Episcopal Church and its shape vis a vis other Anglican dioceses.  As for the “plans for the covenant”, they are transparently open for all to see, since they lie in the text itself and its commentary, which is public.  Yes, I am a conservative and you are a liberal.  These facts need not wipe out the integrity of words, shared meanings, and above-board argument in favor of suspicions, innuendo, and unjustified bias.

April 25, 9:22 pm | [comment link]
19. Crypto Papist wrote:

The “Chicago Consultation” joins Susan Russell and La Schori in the League of Lady Conspiracists.

April 25, 10:54 pm | [comment link]
20. tomcornelius wrote:

Once again, thanks to Dr.Radner for clear, concise comments on the obtuse response of the Chicago morphing of Integrity. Too bad Fr. R. is no longer down here.

April 25, 11:24 pm | [comment link]
21. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

The Chicago Consultation needs to consult Scripture, Tradition, and the history books to correct their completely erroneous belief system.  Good luck with that.

April 25, 11:43 pm | [comment link]
22. Spiro wrote:

Dear dwstroudmd,
Scripture, Tradition, and history books? What’s that?

Please don’t let some inconvenient truth come between Chicago and Agenda.

We are talking some serious matter of NOT hurting the FEELINGS of the GLBTQ, and of the experiences of people finding their spirituality through the many ways and paths that lead to God, who is never to be put in a small box.

Why are you suggesting we consult some unenlightened ideas from some Scripture that was written by some uneducated peasants some thousands of years ago?
Why do we have to respect some Tradition that does not take into consideration our new knowledge of human sexuality? Don’t you understand that we now know that God really wants us to fully express and celebrate our sexuality without any reservations?

Talking of history books, what good are history books written by some dead White misogynistic men, written within in the context of some silly outmoded cultural mores? By the way, some of these men were likely battling with repressed sexual orientation, any way.

This is not your grandfather’s Christianity, if you haven’t noticed that yet.

This is the new thing, you know.

Fr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco
Arlington Texas

April 26, 12:30 am | [comment link]
23. A Floridian wrote:

Oh, how grand they have become, when fueled by their own purposes, vanities, agendas, desires and wishes, they shout and breath hot curses on the Truth, on Love, on Life, beneath the very Throne of the One who grants all three.

Oh, the gall they drink by remaking Him from God of Unchanging Law and Word into a pithy poet, a princess rather than King to whom we are all being laid low, humbled, submitted and find to our surprise, we love Him and His law better than gold, meat, life. 

Oh, the presumption of those clergy, lay and their journalist, who fancy they know more and can discern what is best for humanity, than God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, than the Son, who gave his life to redeem heaven and earth, than the Holy Spirit who has raised up a majority opposition and movements for decade upon decade, moved people and parishes and now dioceses away from their heresies and apostasies, who inspired the words and deeds of the ancient Fathers and innumerable saints and martyrs that counter their false witness and their ‘wont of conformity’ to the Holy Scriptures, to the Gospel and the Faith Once Delivered.

Oh the humor and pretense, to see they assume they know and understand more law, theology and history than Mark McCall, A.S.Haley, Radner, Turner, Seitz, and 15 seasoned orthodox Bishops. 

Oh, the irony that may find some in very small boxes indeed…of their own making by their own hands.

April 26, 7:47 am | [comment link]
24. A Floridian wrote:

And, not worse than standing against God Himself, by Whose Veracity all laws, physical and spiritual exist, they stand in opposition to all physical evidence in science, psychology and medicine and against the testimonies of seasoned psychologists and their clients, who pose as priests of God and as psychologists and counselors who follow empirical evidence and sound methods, who lead people to and keep people in bondage to sin and disease and death.

There should be some class action lawsuits agains school psychologists and school systems who foster the deception to young pre-teens and teens that their identities are determined by their feelings and yearnings and are set at that age and to lifestyles of dependence, decadence, disease and early death.
 
Here’s a good dose of truth, clinical evidence, science and reality from a real psychologist: 
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=9860

Dr. Nicolosi hit it out of the ballpark.

April 26, 8:30 am | [comment link]
25. First Family Virginian wrote:

I rather like the statement ... but I don’t think there is much to be of concern.

Ruth Gledhill was quite to the point in the title of her The Times Online blog piece of 24 April 2009 ... “Sorry Bishops, But a Diocese Is Not a Church.

Were we to accept the ACI approach to “church” ... Ms. Gledhill makes a good point ... “...we truly will not be a ‘proper church’, not even an ecclesial community, but just a rather drippy federation.”

Fortunately, the ACI has no official authority as far as the Anglican Communion is concerned.  But now that the ACI’s position is so very out in the open ... those who do have authority can—in time—put it to rest.

April 26, 7:37 pm | [comment link]
26. seitz wrote:

26—Dr Radner sits on the Covenant Design Group. He is not known for misrepresentation. The best way forward—beyond assertions like yours—would be to get another member of the CDG to say Dr Radner is misrepresenting things. The same may be suggested for Fr Harris and Fr Haller. Short of that, you only prolong the confusion by saying Ruth Gledhill is an expert in this matter. She is manifestly not. She is a reporter. Here’s what he writes:

Neither Mark Harris nor Ruth Gledhill have much idea, it seems, of what they are talking about.  Of course, nothing is writ in stone about all these things.  However: there are currently non-provincial jurisdictions in the Communion (I’m tired of pointing this out, and will let others look them up); they function in various ways.  Nothing prevents—in theory—further non-provincial jurisdictions arising, adopting the covenant for themselves, requesting recognition from this or that INstrument, and being recognized.  To be sure, they may not be recognized.  And there are all kinds of reasons why they might or might not.  Such non-provincial jurisdictions could arise from many origins, as I have said over and over—ecumenical partners, “continuing Anglicans”, formeraly estranged Anglicans, dioceses whose provinces are not wishing to covenant, and so on.  I am not claiming that this or that will happen, but only a.) what the CDG was deliberatly leaving open and b.) what could, under the terms of the covenant draft, happen.  If Harris and Gledhill think I am wrong about a.) and b.) let’s have some evidence rather than simple assertion and secret knowledge.  Finally, let it be stated yet again:  the ACC is simply one Instrument; they do not own the Covenant or its future.  Their views are important, but they are not exhaustive of the Communion’s.

April 26, 7:44 pm | [comment link]
27. Mike Watson wrote:

I believe further support for the idea that some provision should be made for dioceses to be able to adopt the covenant may be found in the remarks of the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, in the Church of England General Synod debate on the Covenant.  The Bishop specifically mentioned North America as a place where such a provision might be needed.

April 26, 8:16 pm | [comment link]
28. seitz wrote:

Thank you, Mike Watson.

Unless Gledhill (sad to say, a virtual tabloid writer now), Harris, Haller and others can indicate how they know what the CDG has actually intended, we are just seeing further efforts at obfuscation and cant. I am sure that AB Drexel Gomez is very willing to say what the CDG intended, and he is the Chair. Or, others could ask Kathy Grieb to speak up. Short of that, Haller, Harris et al are telling us, as outsiders, what they want to be the case, not what actually can be verified as the case. Can we move this discussion into a more factual realm? Can someone put the question to Fr Harris and seek hard answers, not hoped for opinions?

April 26, 11:04 pm | [comment link]
29. First Family Virginian wrote:

27—Dr. Radner has made significant contributions toward defining a position—or case.  By all appearances, he believes in and is committed to that position.  I do not suggest his position to be misrepresentation.  As for moving the discussion into a more “factual realm” ... this position will receive the attention you suggest ... but perhaps you expect too much of an Internet forum where anyone and everyone is allowed to express an opinion. 

As for Ms. Gledhill ... it is well known that she is a reporter ... not a scholar.  Certainly we all know the difference. But fortunately for Ruth, she does turn a nice phrase from time to time ... especially this time.  I will long remember “drippy federation” as it fit perfectly my reaction to the “ACI Bishops’ Statement.”

As for the writing of today’s reporters … it does often fall short of the standards of yesteryear. Factual errors, misprints, and misstatements abound … yet even so reporters continue to serve a critical function to civilization.  For that reason alone I would hesitate before referring to a journalist for The Times as a tabloid reporter.  Still, I understand your frustration.

April 28, 12:48 pm | [comment link]
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