In other words, we should never prefer our own private judgment to the collective discernment of the Church. It is the Church that gets to define both the limits of belief and the “suitable means” for bringing people to belief. It is not up to individuals to decide who is heretical and who is not, or even what positions are heretical and what is not; those are matters for the Church to decide. If the Anglican Communion is, in fact, a communion and not a loose association, it is up to the Communion as a whole to determine its own doctrine and its own membership. That is not a decision to be made by individual people, congregations, dioceses, or even provinces.
If the time comes when we find it impossible to submit to our faith community’s teaching, our modern context of multiple denominations allows us to drop out of that community and join another that agrees with us. If we become convinced that the Church subsists in independent local congregations that elect people to membership based on their testimony of an adult conversion experience and immersion baptism, we can become Baptists. We cannot expect all Anglicans to adopt those views, any more than we can expect them all to become Unitarian Universalists.
1. Jeff Thimsen wrote:
Well put. The problem is, however, that the Anglican Communion lacks the vehicle to make the decision as to who has departed from orthodoxy, and how to deal with thoise who do. Unless that weakness is repaired the present state of affairs will continue.
November 28, 6:18 pm | [comment link]
2. Violent Papist wrote:
Very impressive, Dale.
November 28, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Connecticutian wrote:
It is very good, as are the comments following it. I agree with Tom Rightmyer’s observation (paraphrasing here) that if only TEC and its bishops had heeded this particular counsel, we might not be in this predicament. Of course, she didn’t, preferring to see herself as an independent Church unto herself. But for those of us who disagree, we are not relieved of the gospel imperatives for Godly living.
So we are stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, I suppose. Only the Church may rightly decide some things, but one of the things to be decided is whether there is anything to be decided, and the Church’s earthly structures (in this case) do not empower her to decide.
So if we can’t decide on who decides or what decisions need to be made, and yet we do have very clear guidance on what the Church has overwhelmingly decided on the specific points of disagreement, perhaps all we have left is personal discernment to submit to that teaching or not, and align with an earthly structure that is like-minded. Second-best, perhaps, not God’s ideal, but the best that we can do as a result of our collective sin?
November 28, 6:43 pm | [comment link]
4. Pageantmaster ن wrote:
Very good thoughtful contribution Dale.
November 28, 7:26 pm | [comment link]
5. William Tighe wrote:
So, then, is Dale Rye claiming, or insinuating, that the “Episcopal Church” or the “Anglican Communion” (or that fabled entity, the “Anglican Church”) is The Church, that is, The One (and only) Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that St. Ignatius of Loyola believed the (Roman) Catholic Church to be?
When St. Ignatius wrote about “submitting to the discernment of the Church” he really meant what he wrote, submitting to *the* Church—not to “my denomination” (one among many) or to “my branch of the Church” (one among several), believing as he did that “The Church” is one visible and indivisible entity that can speak with the fullness of apostolic authority. That is what Catholics and Orthodox believe, but how can either conscientious Protestants or “Branch Theory ‘Catholics’” advocate such a course of action? Even if they believe their “denomination” or “branch” to be the purest, the best, the most congenial, the most winsome, the most genteel, the most laid-back, or whatever, they can hardly be expected to surrender their private judgments or opinions to bodies making such modest claims for themselves, and with no obvious title to speak with any more authority about, say, SS, than, say, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or the Charismatic Episcopal Church or the Assemblies of God—or, for that matter, the Roman Catholic Church; and perhaps with a good deal less, given its Erastian track record and its persistent identification of the Holy Ghost with the Zeitgeist.
November 28, 8:03 pm | [comment link]
6. Dale Rye wrote:
Re #6: For any given Christian in these unhappy days of division, “the Church” is the particular body where God has placed him or her. It may be possible for a Roman Catholic to say “the Church” and mean a particular denomination (all other denominations being, at best, “ecclesial communities”). Indeed, anyone looking for a group that claims to be the “one visible and indivisible entity that can speak with the fullness of apostolic authority” has no choice other than to be a Roman Catholic.
Sorry, but I can’t go there for a variety of reasons, and neither can most of the Anglicans for whom I was writing. For us, and for most residents of the English-speaking world since about 1688, there are a variety of available options, with the Roman Catholic Church and our local province of the Anglican Communion being only two of those choices. We must choose between those options or choose to reject them all.
Many Anglicans inherited their church affiliation, but many like me did not. All of us know that we are free to leave at any time. Very, very few of us (unlike many Roman Catholics) believe that our eternal salvation will be in peril if we were to conscientiously leave Anglicanism for Lutheranism or the Charismatic Episcopal Church. A Roman Catholic who wishes to join a religious order is free to match his God-given gifts with the characteristic charisms of the Benedictines, Dominicans, Jesuits, or Opus Dei. Just so, a Protestant (and Anglicans are Protestants, among other things) is free to join a community with compatible charisms and leave one that seems incompatible with the way we find that we must live the Gospel life.
However, that does not free us from obedience to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the particular Christian body that we belong to, for so long as we belong to it. We are not free to call ourselves Anglicans while behaving like Baptists or Unitarians. A church (while it is the Body of Christ, the People of God, the Communion of the Faithful, and so much more) is also an ordered human society governed by agreed rules of conduct. Those who would regard themselves as part of that society must obey the rules or face the consequences—-which no longer feature burning at the stake, but do include possible expulsion from the society.
Having chosen Anglicanism because it has a particular way of being, a special God-given charism if you will, we are not free to remake it into something that it is not. If we want a church of the Assemblies of God or the Metropolitan Community Church or the Roman Rite, we can go join one; we should not be trying to change our local Anglican church into a mirror image of those quite different bodies.
If we see black when our church tells us to see white, we (unlike Roman Catholics who believe they are in the One True Church) are free to go join a black-seeing church. We are not free to put a blindfold on our present church so it will see black when we want it to. We are not free as individuals (or groups smaller than the whole) to expel others from the group because their behavior does not comply with our private judgement of how they should behave.
Moreover, if we leave, we leave as individuals (no matter how many like-minded individuals leave with us). We are not free to subvert the rules of the group we are leaving in order to take its assets with us (if the rules allow us to do so, that is another thing entirely, of course). The organization has its own corporate identity distinct from the individual wills of its membership. We are not free to impose our private judgment on how the group ought to handle dissenters; that is for the group itself to decide, consistent with its distinctive way of being the Church.
Obviously, none of this makes any sense from the perspective of someone who is convinced that he belongs to the church that has sole possession of the truth. I am not such a person. I am an Anglican.
November 28, 8:59 pm | [comment link]
7. Ross wrote:
#6 Dale Rye says:
Having chosen Anglicanism because it has a particular way of being, a special God-given charism if you will, we are not free to remake it into something that it is not. If we want a church of the Assemblies of God or the Metropolitan Community Church or the Roman Rite, we can go join one; we should not be trying to change our local Anglican church into a mirror image of those quite different bodies.
This would seem to imply that all churches must remain forever static and unchanging, since you deny the possibility—or at least the right—of ever changing the church into “something it is not.” Do you allow for the possibility of evolution of a church, and if so how would it happen? What fraction of the church must agree to a change before it becomes allowable?
We are not free as individuals (or groups smaller than the whole) to expel others from the group because their behavior does not comply with our private judgement of how they should behave.
But if the “whole” was in agreement, then there would be nobody to expel because nobody would be in disagreement. Does, say, 75% of the whole have the right to expel 25% of the whole if the 25% disagrees with the 75%? 90%/10%? 51%/49%?
November 28, 9:41 pm | [comment link]
8. Pageantmaster ن wrote:
Wow - its good to hear you speaking out, Dale. Powerful and articulate - you’ve given me food for thought. I haven’t decided whether I agree with all you say but will think about it. I hope to hear you more often; it’s a great piece you wrote.
November 28, 9:42 pm | [comment link]
9. Dale Rye wrote:
On reflection, I’d better clear up a possible confusion expressed above. I am not suggesting that anyone should (or indeed does) choose a denomination based on mere personal preference. Again, that would be to exalt private judgment and individualism above obedience to the mind of Christ. The choice should be based on an assessment of how closely the church fits our understanding of what a church should be in order to comply with the truth of the Good News revealed in Christ Jesus… an objective standard, not a subjective one.
However, the way we assess the truth-claims of the competing churches is going to prejudge the outcome. If one believes that essential marks of the church are belief in the Bible, the historic creeds, the sacraments, and the historic episcopate, and that one must measure the conformity of a particular church to that standard by applying the teaching of scripture as interpreted within a community of faith with the aid of tradition and the common sense of that community, one is quite likely to join the Anglicans. That choice is not based on our personal preference as such, but on our rational, prayerful deliberation about matters of ultimate truth. The same is true if our understanding of the essential marks of the Church happens to match John Calvin’s; we are quite likely to become Reformed.
That said, my main point stands—-that one either belongs to a church (in which case one must accept the responsibilities of membership, including obeying the rules) or one does not (in which case one cannot claim the benefits of membership). Either way, we are expected to be charitable towards those whose beliefs call them in other directions that we believe to be profoundly erroneous.
November 28, 9:54 pm | [comment link]
10. Br. Michael wrote:
Dale, what do you do when the majority fails to do as you advocate? What does the minority do when doctrine is changed and the majority breaks the canons they do not like with with impunity? What do you suggest when obeying the rules is only required of the minority?
November 28, 10:28 pm | [comment link]
You only offer only capatualtion or to just leave quietly and not let the door hit us on the way out.
11. Tom Roberts wrote:
When two wolves and one rabbit are gathered to vote on dinner, democracy results. This is the basis of how ecusa is politically ordered.
November 28, 10:31 pm | [comment link]
12. Sarah1 wrote:
Dale Rye, I am in the happy position of agreeing with nearly every word you say in comment #6. Thank you for saying it.
The usual disagreements—down through the years—apply. They are with these several statements:
1) “We are not free as individuals (or groups smaller than the whole) to expel others from the group because their behavior does not comply with our private judgement of how they should behave.”
Right—but then, the people departing in chunks and establishing their own entities are not “expelling” others from “the group,” they are merely beginning their own group complete with primatial and episcopal authority.
2) RE: “Moreover, if we leave, we leave as individuals (no matter how many like-minded individuals leave with us). We are not free to subvert the rules of the group we are leaving in order to take its assets with us (if the rules allow us to do so, that is another thing entirely, of course).”
Right—and thankfully, the secular courts will be adjudicating which “assets” are the corporation’s, and which the groups of individuals who are departing. Employees at McDonald’s franchises are not free to take the golden arches away—but then, the McDonalds franchise is not free to pass a rule saying “all your cars are belong to us, should they enter our parking lot.” And—as with any divorce—the courts will adjudicate which property is the franchise’s and which the departing.
3) RE: “If one believes that essential marks of the church are belief in the Bible, the historic creeds, the sacraments, and the historic episcopate, and that one must measure the conformity of a particular church to that standard by applying the teaching of scripture as interpreted within a community of faith with the aid of tradition and the common sense of that community, one is quite likely to join the Anglicans.”
But . . . sadly . . . as the particular franchise of the Anglican Communion in the US does not adhere to several of those marks—on record, through its leaders—I’m not certain what the hapless “Anglican” in the US is supposed to do.
November 28, 10:36 pm | [comment link]
13. rudydog wrote:
Not to dismiss the comments, but aren’t you just saying that if we don’t like the rules, theology or whatever of TEC, then we should just leave gracefully? That’s certainly simple enough to understand. I did, a lot should and more will.
November 28, 10:53 pm | [comment link]
14. Tom Roberts wrote:
#13 Taken down to essentials, that is the top level’s principal point.
What your post perceives, along with my cynical digression on lupine dinner politics, is that this political mandate is at sharp odds with the perception that most of the faithful have when attending one church or another: there is something here that transcends the building and congregation and specific clerics doing the liturgy. Or as C S Lewis pointed out, the essentials of a church are not the bad hymns or the funny man sitting next to you. It is this transcendant reality that Tighe is referring to in #5, which all manner of top level concern with collective discernment fails to illuminate. For we are not called to be faithful to “our faith community’s teaching”, but rather to the Faith once delivered.
November 28, 11:05 pm | [comment link]
15. Christopher Hathaway wrote:
It is not up to individuals to decide who is heretical and who is not, or even what positions are heretical and what is not; those are matters for the Church to decide.
Might I ask, “says who”? Are you not advocating a certain authority structure within a church? But since when are authority structures immutable? Can they not be changed? And how would change be effected if not by the continual work of those individuals who reject the current authority structure? Unless somehow the given structure and polity of a church descends from God on high such that no mere mortal has any right to change it then individuals do indeed have the right and power to attempt to transform the church into the image of their beliefs.
Of course, if you believe the structure and authority of the church does come from God Himself, that is another matter. But I don’t think you have made divine authority part of your ecclesiastical argument.
November 28, 11:07 pm | [comment link]
16. MarkTXK wrote:
Christopher #15 quite right. If he made such an argument, one would expect him to be quite the roman catholic.
November 28, 11:19 pm | [comment link]
17. Br. Michael wrote:
And of course TEC is claiming to be the only Anglican Franchise in North America. So if we leave, which Dale allows us to, we also have to leave the AC. But we say, the AC is world wide and another AC bishop will take us in, to which TEC, which is in volation of AC resolutions, says “tough” to which Dale says, “That’s the way it is. TEC gets to call the shots on its geographical turf”.
November 28, 11:53 pm | [comment link]
18. Larry Morse wrote:
How does “the church” decide what is heretical? Does it call a council and, at last, vote on the matter by some means? Or does it refer the issue to a Final Authority, someone infallible in faith and morals? This issue isn’t whether today’s heresy is tomorrow’s orthodoxy, although the “mutable church” people may so argue, but whether a heresy is somehow self evident, absent a pope, so that no vote need be taken when once the heresy is exposed. If that doesn’t determine the issue, how then is it resolved?
The trouble with most substantive heresies - that I can think of - is that they are not self evident at all, but the result of following a premise to a logical conclusion that the power structure does not agree with. Arianism is such a case, e.g. The trouble with Dale’s
November 28, 11:56 pm | [comment link]
essay is that it is too singleminded and does not allow for the fact that the church’s dogma may simply be wrong, e.g., the RC’s belief that Mary was bodily transported into Heaven. There isn’t a shred of scriptural evidence that any such thing happened, and yet, there’s the dogma, wholly in error. And Mary’s “perpetual virginity” ought to be heresy, but it isn’t. What then? Will you believe it still though it has not a shred of credible evidence and genuine evidence that it is wrong? The Creed says I should believe in the communion of saints, but there is no way this can be justified in scripture. What do I do then? Believe anyway? Larry
19. Daniel Muth wrote:
I suppose, given the unfortunate tenor of certain past exchanges with Mr. Rye, I should be desirous of avoiding disagreement in this case, particularly given that I strongly reject what I understand to be the basic thrust of his piece. Oddly enough, I just as strongly agree with the particulars of much of what he says. To wit: individuals are not free to define what is and isn’t heretical, there are many options open to modern Christians, individuals are not at liberty to try and re-define the nature and teachings of the Christian community to which they belong.
Yet I think I disagree with him - strongly. Some of this, while not insignificant, is not necessarily germane. For instance, I disagree that ours is, in a vital sense, a Protestant Church. As an Anglican with, I believe, a fair grasp of the history and theology of our Church, I have absolutely no qualms whatever about referring to myself as a good Catholic boy - precisely because I am an Anglican. I understand why others would come to the opposite conclusion and think the matter appropriate for discussion some other time. Apropos of what I think he is saying, I would note the following:
1. The homosexual movement has established absolutely no intellectual Christian bona fides whatever. It insists on using terms like “sexual orientation”, “gay”, “bisexual”, etc. as if they were meaningful, yet without ever having made the least attempt to demonstrate that, within the Christian worldview, they are. In general, there is no problem with the Church hearing and, within the constraints of her understanding and the limits of her conscience, speaking the world’s language. Yet when the terms used are reflective of philosophical understandings that are at odds with the Church’s theology and, as in this case, her resulting anthropology, the terms should be used at best advisedly. It would be better not to use them at all, or at least bracket them with quotation marks so as to set them off from genuinely Christian concepts.
2. He fails to address the point vital to the current discussion of the nature of the Church that she is Catholic rather then merely diverse or inclusive. That is, her membership extends across time as well as space and includes far more than merely those who happen to be capable of fogging a mirror at the moment. A Church that does not acknowledge this mystical fellowship may be something but that something is other than Anglican and certainly other than Catholic, which we Anglicans have always claimed to be.
3. It is true that it is the Church, under her Lord’s guidance, that defines heresy. Indeed she has done so and those movements among those who claim her fellowship that meet such definitions are therefore heretical. The current leadership of TEC has, multiple times and in several ways, embraced teachings, definitions, and propositions that meet the definition of what the Church has already determined to be heretical. The most telling example of this has been the thoroughgoing Montanism of “To Set Our Hope on Christ,” TEC’s official defense of her embrace of the homosexual movement’s ideology.
4. In light of the foregoing, it is not a cause of sadness that one should reject false teaching, and by implication, the spiritual leadership of the false teachers, but rather of joy. Rejecting falsehood is part and parcel of service of truth, indeed of the One who claims to be the Truth. Such service is joy itself. There is a note of sadness, not so much in the rejection of falsehood, as in the recognition of some level of human fellowship with those who have chosen falsehood and that one regrettably must not accept spiritual headship of those who have so chosen.
Note that none of the foregoing is in the least self-righteous. Nor does it turn on rejecting others based on subjective disagreements, but rather depends for its righteousness on proper understanding of the objective reality of revealed truth, given through and interpreted by scripture and the Church. Nor is there any claim of any “monopoly” on truth, merely that certain things, and surely not everything, have already been made clear and not subject to debate. With regard to the desirata of the homosexual movement, divine revelation is clear, the votes of the Church are in. The matter is not and has for quite some time never been a legitimate subject for Christian debate. There are circumstances wherein a good deal of what Mr. Rye has to say has merit. The present situation of TEC with regard to the homosexual movement - a circumstance to which he makes far more than passing reference - is not such a one. There is no legitimate Christian argument to be made on the movement’s defense, unless we are going to equate good intentions with Christian argument, which I think an obvious nonstarter.
That said, I do appreciate a good number of his points. I hope that the time will come when he can make them in a more worthy context.
November 29, 12:47 am | [comment link]
20. Robert A. wrote:
While I agree in principal with most of what Dale has written, I would have thought that he might be troubled by certain annoying historical realities:
“It is not up to individuals to decide who is heretical and who is not, or even what positions are heretical and what is not; those are matters for the Church to decide.”
Dale claims to be Anglican and therefore one presumes Protestant. Wasn’t the whole protestant church basically founded by individuals: Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, etc?
And regarding property issues:
“Moreover, if we leave, we leave as individuals (no matter how many like-minded individuals leave with us). We are not free to subvert the rules of the group we are leaving in order to take its assets with us”
Didn’t Henry simply take over all the Catholic properties when he left?
But perhaps I am nitpicking! Good work, Dale!
November 29, 3:25 am | [comment link]
21. Phil wrote:
I agree with Dale Rye that “we should never prefer our own private judgment to the collective discernment of the Church.” However, I must echo William Tighe that the Anglican Communion is not the “Church.” Dale Rye’s disagreement would make sense if we were discussing Presbyterianism, or Methodism, or the Assemblies of God, but, in the context of, at least, classical Anglicanism, it is entirely unpersuasive.
If we are still holding to the “branch theory,” and if Anglicanism still considers itself to be Catholic and Apostolic, then it is not given to even the Communion itself, let alone a trifling part of it that has functionally rejected apostolic order, to alter Catholic teaching on faith and morals. When there is a consensus among what Anglicanism presumes to be the “branches” of the Church Catholic, then teaching may be changed; not before.
Of course, many of us have come to believe the Anglican Communion carries no longer even a pretense of being Catholic, but I didn’t think Dale was one of them. Nevertheless, his essay is an extended argument for Protestant sectarianism, which he seems to have realized and tried to paper over (unsuccessfully, in my view) in comment #9.
November 29, 10:40 am | [comment link]
22. Mike Watson wrote:
Re #21: ” . . . it is not given to even the Communion itself, let alone a trifling part of it that has functionally rejected apostolic order, to alter Catholic teaching on faith and morals.”
It’s not clear that Dale Rye sees the issue as an alteration of Catholic teaching on faith and morals. In his post on the Covenant site he says, “It is up to the Church to decide how it will relate to gay and lesbian persons, and if we cannot accept that decision we are free to join a church that agrees with us.” This seems not the most accurate way to put the issue.
November 29, 12:08 pm | [comment link]
23. Phil wrote:
Mike #22: I think it’s accurate. As I said, Anglicanism has said it sees itself as a “branch” of the Church Catholic (along with the RCs and Orthodox). It is not, therefore, competent by itself to alter the faith and order of the big-C Church, but must only follow the shared consensus of the branches (so the theory goes).
As to Dale Rye not seeing the proposition of “marrying” a man and a man as a change to the unbroken moral teaching of the Church, you may well be right, but that position more or less speaks for itself.
November 29, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
24. Mike Watson wrote:
Re #23: Phil, I was speaking of Dale’s formulation, not yours, in saying this isn’t the most accurate way of putting the issue.
November 29, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
25. Phil wrote:
Sorry, Mike, I misunderstood.
November 29, 12:57 pm | [comment link]
26. Billy wrote:
The problem with Dale’s excellent well-written piece is not his call to civility and charity ... which we all know is much needed. It is the fundamental problem TEC faces as an institution and each of us faces individually: If “the Church” is the one to decide what is heresey, what is “the Church?” Dale would seem to say to us reasserters in TEC that “the Church,” for us reasserters, is TEC. But us reasserters are often saying that “the Church” is the Anglican Communion, and it should decide if what TEC has done is heretical, since TEC can’t decide if its own acts are heretical, since that would seem ludicrous - like giving the keys to the asylum to the inmates. And then there are people like Prof. Tighe who would say that “the Church” includes all churches who claim (or who have) apostolic succession. I have no problem with Prof. Tighe’s view and I actually have no problem with, at least a view of the entire Anglican Communion being “the Church” who decides. I don’t see how TEC, with its provincialism (or any other provincial church) can be called “the Church” for purposes of deciding such issues of our essentials of faith, as we are facing here. The cultural focus is just too narrow for any provincial church to make such decisions ...no matter whether it is TEC, Nigeria, CofE, or any other province. Thus, the need for a covenant, as the original Windsor proposal suggested.
November 29, 1:01 pm | [comment link]
Finally, I would argue with Dale that leaving TEC for a new Anglican Church within the purview of another Anglican episcopal entity is no different than leaving TEC and becoming a Baptist or Methodist. It is, in fact, to be preferred, one would logically think, as there are many things TEC and the rest of the AC do have in common. The fact that the particular church building where new worship occurs in the new Anglican Church was not used for that purpose or the group that newly worships there did not worship there before, as individuals, is no different than their joining another Protestant Church or crossing the Tiber. Thus, the lack of charity of the PB in attempting to restrict the sale of abandoned or closed TEC churches to any entity, other than another Anglican entity, is not only uncharitable, but shows TEC to have actually left the Anglican Communion by its own view of itself ... which is quite sad to me. And TEC, having left the AC in its own view, it would seem can no longer be called “the Church” or a part of “the Church,” that Dale seems to want to make all the decisions regarding what is heretical and what is adiaphora.
27. Veronique wrote:
As to this: “It is up to the Church to decide how it will relate to gay and lesbian persons, and if we cannot accept that decision we are free to join a church that agrees with us.”, the whole question of course becomes who/what is “the Church” ? The assumption in the comments is that TEC is the Church, but some of us were not informed when we joined it that TEC was its own denomination. We were sold the idea that is was the local franchise of the Anglican Communion, Anglicanism being one of the three major branches of Christianity. I gather from some comments that it’s not a popular idea, but bear with me for a moment.
When I read Mr. Rye’s article, I assumed he was saying that the Anglican “Church” should be able to formulate its doctrine, and should clarify amongst other things some issues of human sexuality. And of course on that point, it has, in Lambeth 1.10. So I am absolutely in agreement that if leaders in TEC are unable to agree with this, they should indeed go join a church that is more suited to their beliefs - some may wish to explore Unitarians, or something else, instead of trying to change the church to conform it to their individual desires.
A larger issue, of course, is the whole tier-system of beliefs, from Christian, to Anglican, to Episcopalian (perhaps I should have put catholic somewhere in there)... I believe TEC can decide on its own rules, as long as they are not contrary to the higher levels; this regardless of respect for its own polity. TEC cannot vote, for example, that Christ is not the Son of God and still call itself a Christian church. Whatever the issue is, there has to be some sort of final authority to determine whether something is heretical or not. Councils of the church have decided these types of questions since the beginning of Christianity. If Episcopalianism is not its own sect, we need to take counsel with a higher authority. We can argue about who that should be: the Primates, the Lambeth conference, a pope-like Archbishop of Canterbury, some other Anglican entity or, for larger issues, some sort of oecumenical council, but somewhere down the line, someone has to have the authority to say “You can’t go there”. We all like to think we rely on the Word of God, but matters of interpretation always have and always will need to be adjudicated. Part of the problem with the Anglican Communion is that there is no clear system of adjudication. It has simply worked on a gentlemen’s agreement. It is time for the new reformation.
November 29, 1:24 pm | [comment link]
28. Dale Rye wrote:
I think that this discussion of honest differences without invective is what we should all be seeking. To continue the dialogue (at far too much length):
Re #10: Obviously, the rules should bind the majority just as firmly as the minority. For some churches, of course, numbers don’t matter. The unilateral decision of a single individual (made with appropriate formality) can bind all of the members of the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In others, numbers are all that matter. A simple majority at a Baptist congregational meeting can determine the doctrine, discipline, worship, ministry, and even membership of that church. For episcopalians, presbyterians, and methodists, things are a bit more complicated as there are formal mechanisms for making decisions and enforcing them, and those mechanisms do not necessarily reflect majority wishes.
Again, someone who chooses to belong to any denomination should expect to comply with decisions that are made in accordance with its agreed procedures. If one does not agree with them, one is free to argue against them by any lawful means or to leave, but one is not free to disregard them without consequences. If the “powers that be” are the ones disregarding the rules, a member may have recourse to the courts, but the courts should not be substituting their notion of how the denomination should make decisions for the rules the denomination adopted for itself.
Re #12: It seems that Sarah and I are in the odd position of agreeing! (1) If I did not make myself clear, I do agree that those who leave are completely free to do whatever they want, and that should not matter to those who remain (except for their general Christian and human concern for the welfare of others). (2) Again, I may not have made myself clear. It may be unseemly, but both sides are welcome to go to court if they feel their legal rights have been infringed. However, I think that the courts should (and in most states do) apply the rules for conflict resolution adopted by the denomination, rather than substituting some other set of “neutral” principles that the government court prefers. (3) I share your bewilderment as to what a poor Anglican is to do when the Communion currently recognizes only one legitimate jurisdiction in any given area and the person cannot conscientiously remain within that jurisdiction.
Re #13: What I am actually saying is that if you don’t like the rules or conduct of TEC, you should fight like heck to change them, but you should recognize that the day may come when you are finally unsuccessful. On that day, you will have to choose whether you can find a way to live with yourself within the group, or you are going to have to leave. There is no third option of retaining all the benefits of membership with none of the costs. The same is true for Episcopalians who don’t like the rules or conduct of the Anglican Communion.
Re #14: The perception of the faithful that there is more to Christianity than its messy visible manifestations is right. Unfortunately, some human agency has to decide what is consistent with the Faith once delivered and what is not. No matter how much prayerful study of the bible and tradition may be involved, it will come down eventually to either an individual personal decision or to collective discernment.
Re #15: I agree that authority structures can be changed, but I think that revolution should be the last resort after all orderly means have been exhausted. I do not think that they have been in the present Anglican crisis.
Re ##19 & 21: Again, we seem to be finding it difficult to understand one another’s arguments. You are clearly not sectarian Protestants who think that each individual gets to decide what is false teaching, yet you then go on to declare that TEC is guilty of false teaching. That may well be, but on whose authority do you speak? Your own reading of what the Church teaches, or what the Church itself (though its duly authorized spokesmen) says it teaches? Who are those spokesmen to be, and how are they to be determined? The proximate issue is not the ultimate authority of Scripture (as interpreted by the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in the light of tradition and reason), but who gets to decide which interpretations of that authority are tolerable among the people who choose to belong to a particular church.
Re #20: The Act of Supremacy and the arguments among “learned divines” that were used to support it claimed that the Church of England already had the right to determine its own doctrine and control its own property, because each national church was inherently free to make those decisions. Oddly enough, the British crown courts agreed with this position; the Church of England had not “left” because it was never subject to the Church of Rome in the first place. I will admit that Anglicanism is a much less coherent theological system without national supremacy. If TEC or the C of E are to be subject to an outside international authority, why should that be a newfangled Primates’ Meeting rather than the Pope? If they should be subject to such an authority, how do we justify the Reformation in the first place?
Re ##23-25: I am not suggesting that a redefinition of marriage would not be a major change in the established teaching of the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and most Protestant churches on faith and morals. As a matter of my private judgment, I think it would be. To be honest, I am not privately convinced either way on the status of lifelong faithful gay non-marital relationships. However, my private judgment does not matter one little bit. The decision is for the collective discernment of the Church, and I will submit to that decision. The problem, as ##26 and 27 correctly point out, is that Anglicans currently have no agreed mechanism for making such decisions. If I am in a reappraiser parish in a reasserter diocese in a reappraiser province in a reasserter communion, whose guidance am I supposed to follow? Which of these entities is “the Church” for me?
Re #26: I think it is hard to make a case that the Anglican Communion, on an official level, has agreed that two Anglican entities can operate within the same area at the same time without the cooperation of both entities. The Communion is perfectly competent to change its existing rules on that, and I have suggested for years that it probably should. Until it does, though, TEC is operating within the existing Anglican rules when it refuses to recognize local parishes of another province that were established without its consent. It is not that TEC has “left the Anglican Communion by its own view of itself,” but that it is refusing to accept another province’s view that TEC has left. Expelling TEC from the Communion is up to the Communion, not the individual member churches.
Of course any individual province can break communion with any other as a bilateral matter, and then start church-planting in the other’s territory, but when it does so it is doing it as an individual church, not on behalf of the Anglican Communion. Refusing to recognize the new North American parishes as Anglican is a rejection of another province’s jurisdiction in America, not of the Communion or even of that province’s authority within the Communion while operating on its own territory.
November 29, 1:55 pm | [comment link]
29. Don R wrote:
Dale, your response re ##23-25 hit the nail on the head for me: What can the church (i.e., denomination) teach with respect to a controverted issue? Nothing? Anything? It’s why I, with my family, left the Episcopal church long before any of our children were old enough for instruction in the faith; it’s fine for grown-ups to fight for truth, but children end up learning more about fighting and less about truth.
In fact, I’m glad something is finally happening to resolve what TEC really stands for. No church can stand for long without some form of orthodoxy; false churches die, but lukewarm churches die even faster.
November 29, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
30. Billy wrote:
Dale, #28, I applaud your replies to all concerned. Just one thought regarding your last paragraph. Where are the rules about geographic locations being so confining for provincial churches? Certainly TEC has planted churches in Europe, while CofE has done the same, and they are co-existing. Certainly, the TEC has a diocese in Haiti, which would appear to be not in US provincial area, but in another province geographically. It seems to me that TEC wants to be able to plant and go where it will, but wants to restrict everyone else, when it comes to US geography. I realize there may be some history behind the origins of these TEC plants. But there is also current history being made behind the current African plants in the US, which I would bet is similar or has similar reasons for the plants. For instance, TEC European plants were allegedly for US citizens and expatriots living in Europe. So why is not CANA legitimate for Nigerians in US, which was the original reason for its beginning (and I do realize CANA is now more than just for Nigerian nationals - but so what? Anyone in the US can join any church)?
November 29, 4:18 pm | [comment link]
31. Robert A. wrote:
Veronique: A big reason why I awarded Dale an “A” on his excellent treatise was because I also gave him the benefit of the doubt in assuming he meant the larger “Anglican Church” in the paragraph you reference. As you say, others seem to think he meant TEC. I suspect he was formulating his reply to the other comments while you posted.
Dale: It might be helpful if you could also comment on this and what in fact you really meant.
Thank you for your reply to my lighthearted critique about the founding of the Anglican Church. I’m not sure, however, that you improve your original case much by your acknowledgment that ultimately the courts had to voice their opinion on this. Especially in the cases of parishes that joined their dioceses before the enactment of the Denis Canon (and in the absence of their written acceptance of it), Sarah’s analogy about MacDonald’s does not seem that unreasonable. The courts may well be the only way to decide this. As indeed, you acknowledge in your reply to her.
Thanks also for taking the time to reply so extensively to all the comments.
November 29, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
32. rudydog wrote:
Again, I do not intend to diminsh the profundity of Dale Rye’s observation that one should leave gracifully if TEC is not for them after (with due credit to Mr. Rye) one has fought like heck (or tilted at windmills) to change the theological or instiutional conditions that they find so troublesome. What I find most striking about this whole dialog is not so much Mr. Rye’s quite logical and simple premise is the notion that finding one’s place outside TEC or even the AC should be filled with such analytical intensity and even angst. Certainly one can have loyalties to all of their affiliations be they based on recent infatuation or generational history. The fact of the matter is that the TEC is only one expression of Christianity among many is hardly synonomous that one must stay with it under whatever circumstances. It is in this premise that Mr. Rye is right on target; the remaining stuff just seems like a lot of unecessary handwringing and obfuscation to me. It may be me, but it was just not that hard to leave TEC after 40 years membership given its present circumstances and trajectory.
November 29, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
33. Br. Michael wrote:
Of course as to private judgment, that was one reason the Church fought so long and so hard to prevent the Scriptures from being translated and executed many of the translators. The Church told people what to believe and that was that.
November 29, 5:51 pm | [comment link]
34. Dale Rye wrote:
Re #31 & 27: As William Tighe quite correctly pointed out ‘way up the thread, there is not currently any such thing as “the Anglican Church.” There are 38 autonomous provinces (and 6 additional self-governing jurisdictions under the notional oversight of Canterbury) that are recognized by the four Instruments of Communion as being officially Anglican. The extent to which this “Anglican Communion” is to be regarded as a voluntary association of independent churches or as a federal entity with authority over its members is near the core of the current debate. A number of provinces on both the reappraiser and reasserter ends of the spectrum have asserted their right to do whatever they think the Gospel requires without reference to any guidance from the Communion. Everyone seems to agree that the Communion should have moral influence over its members, but differ about whether that translates into the power to enforce its decisions.
The Windsor Report suggested that one way to answer the question would be to ask each of the churches to voluntarily sign a Covenant that would clarify the respective spheres of authority of the Communion and of the provinces. That hasn’t happened yet, and it looks increasingly as if it will not happen in time to provide much guidance for the unravelling of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, or to prevent their troubles from propagating much wider in the Communion.
In the meantime, those who regard themselves as Episcopalians are under the discipline of TEC and those who regard themselves as Anglicans in some other province are under the discipline of that province. The place of TEC and the border-crossing provinces within the Anglican Communion is up to the authorities of the Communion. Those of us who would like to be both Episcopalians and Anglicans are (expletive deleted).
Re #31: Rather than think of McDonalds, think of Citibank. Most of us are old enough to have credit cards that allowed us at one time to sue the card issuer if they cheated us. However, when we applied for those cards, we agreed to comply with the cardholder agreement, including a paragraph that allowed the issuer to amend the cardholder agreement at any time without prior consultation.
A few years back, all of us got a letter in the mail informing us that the agreement had been amended. If we disagreed with anything the issuer did to us, we could no longer drive to our local courthouse and file suit. Instead, we had to pay, in advance, an arbitrator (selected by the issuer and dependent on the bank for his livelihood) to hold a hearing in either Delaware or South Dakota, and we had no recourse to the courts when (not if) we lost. If we disagreed with that amendment, our only “recourse” was to pay off the card in full and cancel it. We would then enter a pure cash economy, since every other credit card on the market had the same compulsory binding arbitration requirement.
When each diocese or parish joined the Episcopal Church, even if it was before the adoption of the Dennis Canon, it agreed to obey the doctrine, discipline, and worship of TEC and adhere to its Constitution and Canons. Since both documents contain sections providing for their amendment, it was obvious that they would be amended—-perhaps substantially—-every three years when General Convention met. Equally obviously, the dioceses and parishes understood that they would be bound by duly adopted amendments to the Constitution and Canons as much as by the original text.
Unlike the Anglican Church of Australia, TEC is not set up to allow local nullification of national canons and never has been. It was not necessary for anyone (other than General Convention) to indicate their acceptance of the Dennis Canon in writing. If anyone didn’t like it, their only “recourse” was to settle their financial obligations with the national church, leave their existing TEC diocese or parish, and form an entirely new association under new management.
November 29, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
35. Billy wrote:
Dale, #34, “Those of us who would like to be both Episcopalians and Anglicans are (expletive deleted). ” Truer words have never been spoken. And everything you say may be legal (not agreeing that it is, but that it may be); but in the words of my grandfather, “it don’t make it right.” TEC appears to me to have become a political machine, rolling its opponents before it ...not a church, reaching out to its members and to the world. I’m sure the Lord is looking down on all of this with tears. While I don’t believe in the cheap grace of the revisionist theology, I sure hope He can find some mercy for us.
November 29, 8:00 pm | [comment link]
36. Br. Michael wrote:
“If anyone didn’t like it, their only “recourse” was to settle their financial obligations with the national church, leave their existing TEC diocese or parish, and form an entirely new association under new management.” And that is just what is going to happen.
November 29, 8:14 pm | [comment link]
Dale, you are a fine institutionalist. You argue your case well. And yet why is it I see Scripture and Jeusus being left in the dust? A Church is or should be of God and there are somethings that Churches have no authority under God to do. They may do them as a legal corporation of course as you have eloquently argued, but then they cease to be God’s Church.
37. Sarah1 wrote:
RE: “Those of us who would like to be both Episcopalians and Anglicans are (expletive deleted).”
Dale . . .not sure I get this. Why?
I’m Episcopalian. I’m Anglican. How am I [expletive deleted]?
Of course, I recognize that every golden three years the Episcopal church will continue to get far far far worse—through official, legal, national, public, formal acts of its GC, which is why nothing in the Anglican Communion will be getting any calmer. People keep acting as if we are at “stasis” and maybe the AC can “accept” ECUSA’s actions. But of course, the theology and ideology driving the GLBT stuff will also drive many more things as well.
So each three years that go by will be awaited with eager interest by those like me. ; > )
Plus . . . I also recognize that there will be fewer and fewer of those like me, and frankly even those like you, as people continue to leave.
But I don’t feel as you seem to do about it. It’s just the breaks of the game. The progressive activists own the levers of power at the national—and at much of the diocesan—level and they worked long and hard for it. Now the consequences of that will continue to play itself out over the coming decade.
Had, of course, Rowan Williams made the hard decisions during the Anglican Communion’s “Bishop Pike Moment” earlier . . . he would have found it much less difficult than now—or indeed five years from now.
But that also is the breaks of the game. Rowan chose not to act, and each month that goes by . . . the stakes grow higher and higher and higher.
I feel like the member of the radically dysfunctional family who will now—as objectively as I am able—observe the consequences of the rather weak and failed intervention that took place now play themselves out.
November 29, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
38. Dale Rye wrote:
Sarah, just for the record, Archbishop Williams was barely in his twenties when Bishop Pike died. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with you. I have had to live with conservative church decisions I didn’t like and liberal decisions I didn’t like (I use those labels because the actions in question seemed more like secular politics than the religious “reasserter/reappraiser” would suggest). I survived and I expect I will continue to do so until the Lord takes me home.
November 29, 8:55 pm | [comment link]
39. Sarah1 wrote:
Am not certain what the ABC’s age at the time of Bishop Pike has to do with his current decisions not to discipline, which will inexorably lead to 1) further distancing and moving apart from the Communion by myriads of provinces, dioceses, parishes, and individuals and 2) further bizarre heresies formally approved of in TEC.
After all . . . I was barely born when Bishop Pike died, and I am aware of the fiasco that that failure of discipline in part has led to.
It looks very likely that the Anglican Communion will fail at this as ECUSA did with Pike.
And the consequences of that failure will be historic.
November 29, 9:29 pm | [comment link]
40. Mike Watson wrote:
Re #36: Br. Michael, I have to disagree that on the point about property ownership, Dale Rye is arguing his case well or eloquently. His reasoning (#34) is close to specious. Arguments by analogy are only persuasive if the analogy is a good one in relation to the point being argued. Look at Dale’s credit card agreement analogy, and consider whether it would be effective for the bank to unilaterally amend the agreement to say that the outstanding unsecured credit card obligations would thereafter be secured by a mortgage on the cardholder’s residence. That would be a closer analogy and it utterly fails.
The point is that the amendments to the cardholder agreement by the bank are limited by what the law allows. The Dennis canon on its face is not so constrained because it purports to impose a trust without the necessity to comply with the applicable state law requirements for creation of a trust or transfer of an interest in real property. Dale’s theory wasn’t counted on by the ECUSA authorities at the time the Dennis canon was adopted, as evidenced by the fact that thereafter Hugh Jones went around testifying in various cases (incorrectly) that the Dennis canon didn’t purport to do anything new, but was only declaratory of already existing law. If Dale’s argument were right, the Dennis canon could do “a new thing” and it wouldn’t be necessary to strain to argue that it was only declaratory of existing law.
November 29, 11:11 pm | [comment link]
41. Veronique wrote:
Thank you Mike #40 for your mortgage amendment analogy, it is very relevant. I was thinking of offering “what if my banker/credit card issuer amends the credit card agreement so that for every $100 I owe I have to go to his house, clean it and make him dinner”... clearly ridiculous, right ? Because our agreement was about lending/borrowing money, not trading other services. The agreement may have said it could be modified at any time, but we all understand that to mean within the realm of this type of agreement, as allowed by the law.
When dioceses and bishops have joined or been consecrated in ECUSA, they agreed to obey the doctrine, discipline and worship of ECUSA and adhere to its Constitution and Canons, knowing that there could be amendments in the future. But they also knew that ECUSA was an expression of Christian faith in the Anglican heritage, that was supposed to uphold the catholic faith. So any amendments would necessarily keep the doctrine and discipline within that realm, as allowed by the “law”, in this case, the Word of God and the consensus of the Anglican Communion… Now unfortunately, the “judicial” system in the Anglican Communion is not really in existence right now, and it doesn’t look like the Covenant (certainly not the Irish version) would allocate any serious power to discipline anywhere. It truly is a wonder Anglicanism has survived thus far, only on a gentlemen’s agreement, and I do not see how it can survive, let alone thrive, in its current format, which is why I am eager for what some have called a “new reformation”.
Dale, in #34, you say both reappraisers and reasserters have acted without guidance from the Communion. I’m not sure which particular acts you have in mind, but certainly actions of reasserters to come under the oversight of other Primates are not without guidance from the Communion . The Primates have said TEC was breaking communion, they have said it needed to repent, and that boundary crossings would continue until it did so. TEC is not turning back, and I don’t think I can hold my breath much longer for +Cantuar to do anything. I’m about to pass out. It is unfortunate that we have waited until a major crisis, dare I say a division in the Communion, to scramble around for a decision process. It seems we should have written a pre-nup, to mix our metaphors…
November 30, 12:13 am | [comment link]
42. Robert A. wrote:
Re #34, #36, and #40: I was actually thinking of the credit card analogy when I posted my #31.
We frequently get amendments to our agreement and our only recourse is, as Dale states, to “settle our financial obligations” and terminate our relationship with the one changing the rules. But the clear difference in my opinion is that those amendments always come with an explicitly defined time period in which we must act to show our disagreement: 30 days, 60 days, whatever. Now, I am no lawyer, but I would assume that in so far as there is ANY legal standard about this, that the failure to specify a time limit would imply that option remains open indefinitely (or at least until I rescind that option in writing).
It would seem to me therefore, that if I have always have that option, and if I have always owned my property outright, owing not one penny to the diocese, then “settling my financial obligations with the national church” should mean that the property is mine.
Of course the diocese always has to option to sue me to get it back - which of course they have repeatedly tried to do. But, I’m sorry, Dale, under the circumstances I posited, I don’t see any moral high ground in them doing so. Legally, they may or may not have a case, but as Sarah says, that will be up to the courts to decide.
November 30, 12:37 am | [comment link]
43. Dale Rye wrote:
Re #41: The Primates have said TEC was breaking communion, they have said it needed to repent, and that boundary crossings would continue until it did so.
I may have missed something somewhere, but the only Primates I know of who have said that are the rather small minority who have actually participated in boundary crossings. Their private opinion on this is no more the “guidance of the Communion” than is my private opinion. The last statement “from the Communion” on this was a unanimous communique of the Primates to the effect that provinces should not initiate or encourage that practice. The Windsor Report says,
154. The Anglican Communion upholds the ancient norm of the Church that all the Christians in one place should be united in their prayer, worship and thecelebration of the sacraments. The Commission believes that all Anglicans should strive to live out this ideal. Whilst there are instances in the polity of Anglican churches that more than one jurisdiction exists in one place, this is something to be discouraged rather than propagated. We do not therefore favour the establishment of parallel jurisdictions.
The draft proposed Covenant attached to the Windsor Report includes the line,
Each church shall respect and maintain the autonomy of all churches in the Anglican Communion and shall not permit any authority or person within it to intervene in the internal affairs of another member church without its consent.
That position is entirely consistent with the way that the last two Archbishops of Canterbury have treated the AMiA and CANA, as well as more general policies from Lambeth Conferences back to 1867 and other church councils back to 325. It is also consistent with the recent report of the Joint Standing Committees of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (which is an official body of the Communion), which has been supported by about half the Primates who have responded to Canterbury.
The Anglican Communion is certainly free to abandon “the ancient norm of the church” on this matter. North Americans who have abandoned other ancient norms could hardly complain about that. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Communion has not yet done so. As of today’s writing, it officially opposes the formation of parallel jurisdictions without the consent of both parties.
November 30, 1:04 am | [comment link]
44. Br. Michael wrote:
43, Dale please explain your “Private Opinion”. A General makes a “private opinion” to attack. In the military we call this unity of command. Is this wrong in the fantasy construct that you are creating? In combat you need a decision right now; right, wrong or indifferent. And in combat violent execution can rectify a wrong decision.
November 30, 2:06 am | [comment link]
So are you saying that a Primate cannot make a decision? Is the ABC, who will not make a decision, the only one who can make a decision!
I fear that this thread is drifting off into a dream world.
45. Sarah1 wrote:
RE: “The last statement “from the Communion” on this was a unanimous communique of the Primates to the effect that provinces should not initiate or encourage that practice.”
Right. It was the Dromantine Communique which the Primates wrote after receiving the Windsor Report and modifying it—so your quotes from the Windsor Report about border crossing are modified by the line in the Dromantine Communique.
Further, the Dar communique from February of this year made it crystal clear (not that that was needed, but it certainly made the progressives gnash) that there was no “moral equivalence” between ECUSAs violation of Lambeth 1.10 and cross boundary interventions and further stated that once the structures for pastoral care were implemented—detailed in the schedule—cross boundary interventions would not be needed any longer.
And that was 10 long months ago. ; > )
November 30, 9:55 am | [comment link]
46. Veronique wrote:
Thank you Sarah. I understood the latest “guidance from the Communion”, the Dar Communique, to state that cross boundary interventions were not generally desirable, but that some intervention was necessary in the present case, because of TEC’s innovations. The recommended structures for “intervention” were the Pastoral Council and the sort-of-alternate-primate (I don’t remember what it was called), and the plan was that once that was set up the other structures that existed (Anglican entities in the US) should be folded into it. But we all know how quickly that scheme went down the drain.
As far as I know, no one is claiming that as a general rule geographical boundaries should be removed and bishops allowed to have jurisdiction wherever they want, henceforth and forevermore. Coming under the jurisdiction of another Province is a temporary measure, meant to provide a safe haven until either TEC is disciplined (unlikely) or refuses to sign the Covenant, or the Anglican Communion is officially split into two Communions, at which point each “brand” of Communion could have its own valid structure in any given location. I just don’t see reappraisers and reasserters agreeing on a Covenant that would satisfy everyone, at this point.
We’re just looking forward to the next guidance from the Communion… we certainly don’t have a consensus from the responses of the Primates to +Cantuar’s confusing questions about their assessment of some other assessment of TEC’s response. It’s looking more like the division will be official before we ever get to the Covenant. I just hope each “brand” of Communion does come up with some sort of covenant now rather than at the next crisis.
November 30, 11:46 am | [comment link]
47. Sarah1 wrote:
RE: “But we all know how quickly that scheme went down the drain.’
Yep. Don’t get me wrong, though—the Dar communique was also clear that the cross-boundary interventions were harmful and chaotic for the communion. But . . . there was not even close to a “moral equivalence.”
November 30, 12:37 pm | [comment link]