VERY IMPORTANT: Full Bishops Report

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Download it and read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: BishopsAnglican CovenantEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSept07 HoB MeetingTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons

63 Comments
Posted September 14, 2007 at 2:17 pm

To comment on this article: Go to Article View

The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/5919/



1. Mike Bertaut wrote:

This is scary stuff.

The North American Churches are told that the conflict is over misbehavior: that there is an attempt to change traditional Anglican doctrines regarding human sexuality and the authority of scripture, and that these Provinces are acting by themselves without appropriate consultation with and respect for the Communion, therefore forcing the majority of the Provinces to take preventive, even disciplinary action.  That is not, in our opinion, a clear or definitive identification of what is going on, or of what is at state.

And so the beginning of the dismissal of SSB as an issue begins, as will the excuses, reverse accusations, and name calling, anything but admit that we have harmed the rest of the Communion by our impudence and impertinent action. 

An instance of the fact that this party’s adherents (Traditionalists, or reasserters, my explanation…mrb) aim not at mere preservation, or conservation can be seen in their desire to undo the Anglican tradition regarding the use of reason in interpretation of scripture.

So, since we disagree with their interpretation, and think ours is more accurate, we are trying to “undo” the 3-legged stool of the church, because obviously if you take the tact through your own reason that Scripture actually means what it says, then you are not being reasonable.  Sigh.  And if no one particular interpretation is preferable, why are the rest of us being forced to accept SSB and same-sex relationships as normal and ordered, or Scripturally sound?

Thus this is change (acceptance of all baptized persons into all positions and sacraments of the Church without regard to anything else) and it is profound change, but it is not constitutional change.  That is, id does not change the identify and polity of the Anglican Church, and certainly not radically so.

On whose planet will a “Christian” church who is now going to accept homosexuality as ordered, normal, and functional going to maintain its former identity?  Polity has never indicated salvific to me, but identity certainly is bound up in our relationships with each other and Christ.  How can this change not change who we are, at the most fundamental levels? 

One movement (reasserters) unapologetically seeks the utter defeat of the other; and, in the process, would establish its vision of the church through new structures and agreements that finally will conform the Anglican Communion to that vision…...The other movement (reappraisers) wishes to leave Anglicanism the way it is.

So, let me get this straight….You ram through change that you wanted without so much as the slightest consideration of anyone but your own constituency, get your way, and then belittle anybody who is upset at what you’ve done or who would dare want to change it back, and then you have the NERVE to paint yourself as the picture of love and tolerance, AFTER the fact???  Look how reasonable we are, we just want the status quo, that’s all!

How about status quo ante?  Sorry, guys, I have to stop for a while, I’m getting REALLY angry at these word deleted-ed..  This is not even good political claptrap, it barely qualifies as claptrap at all…..I need a lower word than that.  Any suggestions?

KTF!!!! (tough when you’re reading this, be warned!)....mrb

Mike Bertaut
Time to Go

September 14, 2:47 pm | [comment link]
2. William P. Sulik wrote:

The six Bishops style this as


The Constitutional Crisis, 2007
A Statement to
The House of Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury, & Honored Visitors
By
Legally Trained Members of the House

I’d probably refer to it as the Tennis Statement, after the first named author Cabell Tennis (although it was undoubtedly written by Booth Beers).

When all is said and done, this is the gist of their argument:

But they [the orthodox Primates] are the ones separating themselves. They may choose to withdraw in any number of ways, but the Episcopal Church will not. We trust that our statement clarifies that under the existing articles of agreement, written and unwritten, member Provinces cannot be expelled or restricted from full participation.

- Page 12 (page 19 of the first .pdf section).

“Let the reader, where we are equally confident, stride on with me; where we are equally puzzled, pause to investigate with me; where he finds himself in error, come to my side; where he finds me erring, call me to his side. So that we may keep to the path, in love, as we fare on toward Him, ‘whose face is ever to be sought.’”

—Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity 1.5

September 14, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
3. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Where did this report come from? Was is commissioned by the HOB, or if not, who authorized it? What is its significance?

September 14, 2:52 pm | [comment link]
4. Rolling Eyes wrote:

#1, your frustration at these word deleted-ed. is well founded.  They could not be more clueless.  But, when you believe there are no absolutes outside your own mind, who needs clues, right?

Just sayin’...

September 14, 2:54 pm | [comment link]
5. William P. Sulik wrote:

Jeff, #3 - good questions.  Related—who is paying for it?—producing audio CDs of the full 90+ pages has got to be expensive.

“Let the reader, where we are equally confident, stride on with me; where we are equally puzzled, pause to investigate with me; where he finds himself in error, come to my side; where he finds me erring, call me to his side. So that we may keep to the path, in love, as we fare on toward Him, ‘whose face is ever to be sought.’”

—Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity 1.5

September 14, 2:55 pm | [comment link]
6. Br. Michael wrote:

Well, we may not like it, but I think they know exactly what they are doing.  They are highly skilled politicians and polished liars.  They know how to twist the facts so that they appear to be the ones imposed upon.

September 14, 3:10 pm | [comment link]
7. Susan Russell wrote:

Kendall, I guess I’m having trouble figuring out why a report sent to all the bishops in advance of the House of Bishops meeting which says absolutely nothing new and offers some of “the theology” we keep being told we need to do is “breaking news.”

Am I missing something?
Susan

September 14, 3:17 pm | [comment link]
8. Paul PA wrote:

I have not read this - only the comments (I will later)
However - I have found in business that it is always dangerous to tell someone that they cannot do something. When I have misread someone the results have not been pretty (Provinces cannot be expelled or restricted from full participation). It is amazing that this is said before the ABC even enters the room.
I am sure they hope they are right

September 14, 3:17 pm | [comment link]
9. Philip Snyder wrote:

If these bishops are so strong on the ministry of all the baptized and belive that baptism is the sole judge of who should be blessed and ordained, then I remind them that our first vow in baptism is to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship.”  This promise is first because all other promises flow from it.  Now, I challenge these bishops to show me, within the apostles’ teaching, where homosexual sex is spoken of as anything other than sinful.  Can they show me where rending “the fabric of the communion at its deepest level” is continuing in the apostles’ fellowship?  If you can’s show that your words or actions are within the apostles’ teaching and I can show you where they break the apostles’ fellowship, then I submit that you have broken your baptismal covenant and, hence, your ordination vows.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 14, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
10. jamesw wrote:

I have been able to read through this document, and I have to shake my head.

1. Why is this sort of rationale coming out at the eleventh hour leading up to the most critical time in the Anglican Communion’s history?  My guess is because there isn’t time for anyone to prepare a response.  I would think that had this tripe been presented even a month ago, the ACI or other scholars could and would have published a devastating rebuttal.  I think Susan, that this is breaking news because it represents a shockingly poor attempt by TEC liberal ideologues to rationalize their desctructive behaviour.  Why can’t TEC liberals say “heh, okay, we’ll hit the pause button, and let’s resolve the underlying issues first.”  But no, they act first, then come up with preposterous rationalizations.

2. This paper is an extremely poorly thought out, poorly argued, unsubstantiated bunch of blather dressed up in legalese to make the more impressionable moderate bishops think that TEC actually has a substantive argument to do what it wants to do.

3. I am shocked that these bishops expect this to be taken seriously once it is subjected to the light of day.  I work as a legal reference librarian, I have two law degrees, a theology degree and a librarian degree.  I know when I see fluff dressed up in legalese and this is fluff dressed up in legalese.  Very often, the more legal jargon that is used (“The Balance of Credible Contrarieties in terms of Costs and Benefits”, anyone?!?!?), the poorer the actual underlying argument.  I think that this paper is intended to look impressive by claiming credentialed authors, using a good deal of legal jargon that most ordinary bishops won’t have the ability or desire to understand, without having any substance to it.

4. Nowhere does this paper actually seriously address the current structure of the Anglican Communion in terms of the Instruments of Unity, and how precedent can lead to the development of an unwritten constitution.  In short, this paper isn’t dealing in reality.

5. This paper suggests that confessionalism is anti-Anglicanism, but if one looks at the purported Anglican “constitution” they suggest, it is simply THEIR kind of confessionalism.

6. It seems to me that one of the possible purposes of this paper is so that whenand if the Anglican Communion finally does discipline those TEC bishops and dioceses unwilling to live under the REAL Anglican Constitution, the handful of TEC liberal ideologues can comfort themselves by saying to each other, “well, we are the real Anglicans because everything that has been done to us is ultra-vires.”

7. The REAL unwritten Anglican constitution has always held the two basic principles of Anglicanism to be (1) interdependence and (2) provincial autonomy.  The first principle holds that important doctrinal and theological decisions must not be carried out unilaterally; and the second principle holds that national churches should organize the Christian and Anglican faith in the way that best suits their local situation.  In other words, essential doctrinal, theological and disciplinary issues were to be decided by the Communion as a whole; while secondary and adiaphora issues were to be decided upon by the national churches.

September 14, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
11. Philip Snyder wrote:

Jamesw (#10) - don’t hold back.  Tell us what you really think smile

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 14, 3:46 pm | [comment link]
12. John A. wrote:

OK they claim special insight because they are lawyers.  What about CEOs?  It is no accident that most well run companies are not led by lawyers and Jesus had more trouble with lawyers ...

Lawyers do not initiate business deals and if they are involved in the negotiating they must be kept on a short leash.  Organizations need lawyers to ensure clarity and ambiguity where required but business and church leaders must ensure that the legal language supports the objectives.  No scripture indicates that lawyers have a special gift for discerning the will of God.

When lawyers (or anyone for that matter) gets outside their area of expertise they just look foolish:

It was at the General Convention of 1970 that the Episcopal Church in the United States explicitly accepted the challenge to re-examine its baptismal theology in the light of what has been learned in the twentieth century about the early church.

It is that same baptismal theology that led just as inexorably to today’s crisis over the place of gay and lesbian persons in the Body of Christ.  The American Church could not ignore the challenge to include children, women, and gay and lesbian persons in the full life of the church due to its own theological logic.

Some discovery in the 70’s about the early church indicated that gays and lesbian persons held leadership positions in the church?

September 14, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
13. Janis wrote:

Br. Michael, #6 - But don’t they have to know what the truth is in order to be polished liars?  All the reappraisers I have ever talked to are 100% sincere in their beliefs (quite blind, in my opinion) with no real intention to deceive. They really do believe this stuff.

This IS scary stuff! (#1)

September 14, 3:53 pm | [comment link]
14. libraryjim wrote:

Some discovery in the 70’s about the early church indicated that gays and lesbian persons held leadership positions in the church?

And “Children”, John A, don’t forget—the article mentions ‘Children’ as well.-

The American Church could not ignore the challenge to include children, women, and gay and lesbian persons in the full life of the church due to its own theological logic.

“The world is a dangerous place to live — not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”—Albert Einstein

September 14, 3:55 pm | [comment link]
15. phil swain wrote:

Let’s see, do I have this right?  The “six legally trained” members of the HOB provide a legal(albeit flimsy) analysis of why they don’t want a juridical ecclesiology.

September 14, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
16. Mike Bertaut wrote:

Rev. Russell….It’s really ok to talk directly to us instead of just to Kendal….we don’t bite! (hard!)...

Seriously, this is news because there are legions of Episcopalians who have gone along blithely believing that their Church behaved in a particular fashion at the HOB level, completely content in their 1950-s era mindset, and while they weren’t looking, things changed drastically without them really getting engaged.  It’s almost like a worn out tire for them, they didn’t really notice the wear and tear until it actually went flat. 

This document shows, if nothing else, that these gentlemen think their creation is a truthful, legitimate, and meaningful argument for TEC to make to the rest of the Communion.  As we continue to debate these issues and expose these (I hate to use the word “wacky” but that was the first thing that came to mind) lines of thought to the average Episcopalian in the pew, the reactions are often disbelief and then anger.  They just didn’t know.

Now they are finding out, and it is creating a lot of turmoil in their lives.  We certainly could have just continued to gloss things over and let them live in blissful ignorance, but (I for one) follow the example that the best way to grow people spiritually is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  Those who step back and finally realize who is leading them (in our neck of the woods, at least) typically either get really angry and leave the church, or get really depressed and try to ignore it.  A new reaction I’m noticing is people who get really angry and STAY.  That would be me.  I’m not hatefully angry, I’m angrily dispappointed that such radical and unscientific thought is being shoved down the throat of the rest of the Communion, making us all guilty by association.

So, IMHO, that makes it news. 

KTF!...mrb

Mike Bertaut
Time to Go

September 14, 4:12 pm | [comment link]
17. jamesw wrote:

Phil Snyder:  Yeah, I am a bit steamed about this.  In late August I sent my response to “Communion Matters” to my local bishop (see it here: http://www.stlukesgalt.org/ResponsetoCommunionMatters.html.  In it, I address the question of whether there is an Anglican constitution.

Well, this morning I get a very nice acknowledgement from my bishop indicating that he will add it to his reading list in preparing for the New Orleans meeting.

And then THIS comes out!  ARGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

And, well, I have a natural GenXer aversion to folks putting on airs to cover up for a bad argument.

September 14, 4:17 pm | [comment link]
18. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Please can we not refer to bishops (in this instance) as “morons.” Getting frustrated is understandable; expressing this way is not.

September 14, 4:22 pm | [comment link]
19. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

It might be breaking because it carries an imprimatur or authority, though that may not in fact be the case, the HOB denying any authority.  Or it might be breaking in the sense that the HOB intends to break from the Anglican Communion in its persistence in these embraced errors.  Or it might be breaking wind.  It is however, breaking, in the sense that it is current-today-on-top-of-it reporting…like mainstream media types use it.  Just some thoughts, Susan+.  That it reflects the status quo of the ECUSA/TEC errors and says nothing new is a correct observation.  One may trust it provides a clear mindset of the HOB (however limited their ontological being as a house of government of the ECUSA/TEC) so that the arrogance, hubris, and imperialism of the General Convention Church is adequately displayed to the world in words as it has been in deeds.  Anglican?  Nay.  ECUSA/TECan? Singularly and provincially as well as Provincially.

September 14, 4:24 pm | [comment link]
20. Ian Montgomery wrote:

I was able to read it all but am now reeling.  I am amazed that so much can be written and yet say nothing that I regard as substantative, or that contributes anything serious to the debate.

I did read that +Dorsey Henderson is to be the possible Schori designated Primatial Vicar.  If this is true and with his name on this document there is no possible hope of anyone in the “dissenting minority” taking him seriously or trusting him.

This is verbiage and nonsensical codswallop (English term of derision!)

September 14, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
21. Ad Orientem wrote:

Wait!!!  I just read the executive summary (I don’t have the patience to read the whole report).  Did I read correctly that they are now including children in all levels of the church?  Is this a foreshadowing of some 10yr old bishop?  Someone please tell me that as bad as TEC has gotten it has not gone over to the dark side of the moon.

September 14, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
22. Christopher Johnson wrote:

They have GOT to be kidding.  I’ll give it this much.  This sets the Episcopal arrogance and mendacity bar awfully high.

September 14, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
23. nwlayman wrote:

It’s a little incredible (no, alot incredible) to see unbelievers quoting the late Fr. Alexander Schmemann to support their views.  Wow.  If one looks at the published diaries of Fr. Alexander, you’ll see he asked his name be withdrawn from association with St. John the Divine in NYC in the 70’s; things were getting too weird.  He was canon of honor or something.  In the last few years ECUSA has added people like C.S. lewis and even St. Tikhon, a martyr under communism in the Orthodox CHurch of Russia to their calendar.  Why do theological liberals find the need to include people they have nothing in common with, including communion, on their liturgical calendar?  It’s like having pictures of other people’s kids on the wall.  People you’ve never met, and in many cases who would have nothing to do with you.  This is not just desparation, it’s creepy.  And not rare.  Why not quote all the Anglican scholars of church history, liturgics, or….Oh, I forgot..There aren’t any….I guess you get Cabby Tennis, et al.  Bummer.

September 14, 4:35 pm | [comment link]
24. moheb wrote:

I read only Part 1 and lost interest in reading the rest.  I am told that there is no written or enforceable Anglican constitution, but it is analogous to the unwritten and unenforceable international constitution. 

Next, I am told that now that we have agreed on that, let us capitalize it for future reference as if we are referring to a document that actually exists: The Anglican Constitution.
I am told that any proposal for “amending or replacing [the unwritten and unenforceable constitution] should only be accepted after the most careful due deliberation and approval by an overwhelming majority.” I am no lawyer, but how do you go about that if the document does not exist? How does one replace [a document that does not exist] after careful due deliberation?

While International Constitution does not exist either, there is a body of International Law and that body is written and enforceable. Are the seven “articles” of the Anglican Constitution they list really articles in the common sense? They are not analogous to neither do they have the force of International Law. Would a Covenant [it would be written, signatories would agree to it and it would have force] be analogous to International Law? If yes, does not their analytical framework argue for the desirability of such Covenant? Or would they favor abolition of International Law?

I wish the six Lawyer-Bishops would tell me: in what sense is what they coin as Anglican Constitution a constitution and in what sense are what they coin as Articles of that constitution articles. Are unwritten constitutions and laws always superior to those written because they provide more autonomy and flexibility?

September 14, 4:38 pm | [comment link]
25. Grandmother wrote:

Re: #18

Actually KSH, “expressing it this way” is also “understandable”, its just not polite… 
Sorry, couldn’t resist. 

Gloria

September 14, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
26. Conchúr wrote:

In the last few years ECUSA has added people like C.S. lewis and even St. Tikhon, a martyr under communism in the Orthodox CHurch of Russia to their calendar.  Why do theological liberals find the need to include people they have nothing in common with, including communion, on their liturgical calendar?

Does anyone else find themselves being reminded of Mormons rebaptising dead people?

“The age of chivalry is gone.—That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever”
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

September 14, 4:54 pm | [comment link]
27. Ad Orientem wrote:

Conor,
What an apt observation.

September 14, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
28. BillH wrote:

JamesW,
I read your response to “Communion Matters” that you delivered to your bishop.  What an excellent, organized, well thought out piece of writing.  Well done!

September 14, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
29. Dave B wrote:

I haven’t read this document yet but it sounds like “Setting Our Hope On Christ”.  Theological verbage that is illogical and a waste of everybodies time.

September 14, 5:17 pm | [comment link]
30. Reason and Revelation wrote:

Part V is particularly absurd.  By its reasoning TEC could have a Mormon bishop.

September 14, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
31. Phil wrote:

R&R;- I think we do have one, in Utah.

September 14, 5:30 pm | [comment link]
32. Larry Morse wrote:

Mike Bertaut has made the one essential comment, that this is scary stuff. There are some things we should indeed be frightened of, and this report is one of them. The effect is as if , after the first sentence, it had drifted off into another language; there is something alien about this essay, and one asks, “Who are these people? I do not know them, not they me.” There wiwll be a mile of comments, some trenchant enough, but the one needful message is, “Be afraid.” Someone needed to have told these people that if they planned to sup with the devil, they need a long long spoon. LM

September 14, 5:37 pm | [comment link]
33. Philip Snyder wrote:

As regards to ultra vires, I submit that General Convention was never intended to produce a change in the doctrines of the Church nor was it designed nor given authority to change the moral teaching of the Church.  Thus the provision for blessing same sex unions or ordaining practicing homosexuals is ultra vires and null and void.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 14, 5:42 pm | [comment link]
34. Philip Snyder wrote:

BTW, the document keeps talking about the Anglican Communion’s “Constitution.”  I hope they can produce such a document because the only international body I am aware of that has a formal, written consitution is the Anglican Consultative Council (which is a different body from the Anglican Communion).  How can there be a breach of an unwritten document?  If there is no written document that outlines powers and procedures, then how can anyone act ultra vires?

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 14, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
35. rob k wrote:

I’d like some reappraising spokesman to tell us what was the discovery of the baptismal theology of the early church that, in itself, justified the changes noted by the writers of this document.  As I remember, one change was not so much the inclusion of children in communion, but the practice of open communion with members of all churches sans confirmation.  I also remember that in the early church confirmation by the bishop generally followed quickly after baptism.  There is much more to say later.  I will say right now that this document includes the conceit that the makeup of the Anglican Communion should serve as the paradigm of eventual Christian unity.  More later on this.

September 14, 5:49 pm | [comment link]
36. Larry Morse wrote:

When this document is spread among the broad run of Episcopalians, the MTRers, people who have hesitated both ways because of the tensions inplicit is both staying and leaving, when they read this, what willthey think? Will they not see this as smoke and mirrors, as we say? How can they not see through this into its essential intellectual vacancy? The True Believers will say Amen Bishops!, but the others, the great bulk of the Episcopalians?
Or could this have been produced FOR them, in the hopes that the legal jargon, the “soft” demagoguery,
the sheer length, will lay the ground work for the bishops’ defense when and if the ABC reads the riot act. 

  I must say I am baffled by this performance and would very much like to discover its provenance. LM

September 14, 5:50 pm | [comment link]
37. Barrdu wrote:

“Very important”  Why?

September 14, 6:04 pm | [comment link]
38. Susan Russell wrote:

Thanks, Barrdu. That was my question for Kendall.

September 14, 6:09 pm | [comment link]
39. Philip Snyder wrote:

I think that this is very important because the authors are trying to solve a relational problem with legal arguments.  That almost never works.  In my business experience, when one party of a contract (or even verbal contract) is so angry at the other party that they want to break the contract, they are not calmed by “well, our contract states….” arguments.  The problem in the communion is one of relationships broken because of the actions of TECUSA and ACofC.  It is not a “constitutional crisis” except that there is no formal constitution.  The unwritten constitution was “bonds of affection” whereby we took into account the impact of our actions on the other members of the communion.  In the most recent actions regarding human sexuality, we didn’t seem to care what they said or thought.  We ignored language such as “tear the fabric of the communion at its deepest level” and we went ahead.  That is a breach in the unwritten constitution and we are now facing discipline because of our unconstitutional actions.  Now we have these lawyer bishops saying that any discipline is unconstitutional because we don’t have a formal document.  When we bring up that we want a formal document, they say that a formal document isn’t constitutional either.  It seems to me to be a “heads I win, tales you lose” argument.
YBIC,
Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 14, 6:29 pm | [comment link]
40. hyacinth wrote:

Susan Russell stated:

“Kendall, I guess I’m having trouble figuring out why a report sent to all the bishops in advance of the House of Bishops meeting which says absolutely nothing new and offers some of “the theology” we keep being told we need to do is “breaking news.”
Am I missing something?”

I would suggest that she is missing several things.  First is the ability to clearly read Kendall’s posting.  As I review Kendall’s posting, I fail to see any reference on his part of this document being “breaking news”.  If others are so characterizing the document, perhaps the question would best be couched in those forums. 

Second, she is indeed missing something.  If the bishops’ statement said nothing new, does she really believe these savvy bishops with legal backgrounds would waste their time putting together such an erudite (cough, cough) and lengthy statement? 

Please, let’s stop the obfuscations Rev. Russell.  You and I know that the events at this meeting and many others are about strategy.  These bishops have graciously (dear me! Hacking Cough again!) used their skills to frame the discussion in a particular manner.  Its availability to the lay Episcopalian is “breaking news” as it helps us better understand the strategy used by TEC and her leadership (clergy and laypeople) in their effort to thwart and resist the effects of what’s coming down the pike. 

Paint it any way you wish, the facts remain that TEC took actions in 2003 with little regard for the consequences of its actions in direct opposition to the mind of the wider Anglican Communion, thereby jeopardizing its relationship with that communion.  Instead, it held more important its actions and message to the gay and lesbian community than those of their brethren in the Communion.  The time has come for TEC to accept the consequences of this decision. 

First TEC lawyers argued the facts.  Now they argue the law. Soon they will just argue although I don’t know with whom.

September 14, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
41. Alice Linsley wrote:

This document states: ““We believe the most accurate way to summarize the basis of this reform [by the reappraisers] is to say that the early church’s baptismal theology has been rediscovered…”
I can’t believe they would make such a verifiably false statement. These people have been mis-led by the 1979 prayer book!

A comparison of the 1979 baptismal rite with the rites of 1549 and 1928 reveals that the Standing Liturgical Committee was not fond of the term “spiritual regeneration.” This term is used four times in the 1549 rite and four times in the 1928 rite, but not once in the 1979 rite. Consider the following chart showing the frequency of terms in the three Books.

The terms “regeneration or “spiritual regeneration”
1549 - used 4 times
1929 - used 4 times
1979 - not used

The terms “born again” or “born anew”
1549 - used once
1928 - used 4 times
1979 - used once

The term “reborn”
1549 – not used
1928 – not used
1979 – used once

http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com

September 14, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
42. DonGander wrote:

It is too long.

Ecc 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words [there are] also [divers] vanities: but fear thou God.

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

DonGander

Please forgive my atrocious spelling.

September 14, 6:45 pm | [comment link]
43. orthodoxwill wrote:

Two quick points come to mind on my review of the Summary.

Point 1:  In the Summary (pg 3), the Bishops state “the Anglican Communion (AC) must not be reduced to a hierarchically controlled, monolithic, confessional structure”.  This implies that the AC does not currently have a “hierarchically controlled” structure.

Does this imply that, for these legally trained bishops, the court rulings that take TEC to be a hierarchical church are basing their rulings on a spurious argument?  Or do they hold TEC as hierarchical, yet the Communion, itself, as not?

Point 2:  On page 12, the bishops state that “requiring and enforcing doctrinal conformity” Communion-wide “without regard to cultural and experiential differences” forces the AC to be “a different church”.

Now that ALL dioceses within TEC are REQUIRED to consider the ordination of women “without regard to the cultural and experiential differences”, is TEC, today, a different church than it was only a decade ago?

September 14, 7:47 pm | [comment link]
44. Ken Peck wrote:

Jesus said, “Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” (Luke 11:46)

And again he said, “Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:52)

And again he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.” (Matthew 23:15-38)

September 14, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
45. Rocks wrote:

It’s breaking on Stan Firm. It’s very important here.
It’s very important because TEC is breaking the Anglican Communion.

There is a tendency among many shallow thinkers of our day to teach that every human act is a reflex, over which we do not exercise human control. They would rate a generous deed as no more praiseworthy than a wink, a crime as no more voluntary than a sneeze . . . such a philosophy undercuts all human dignity . . . all of us have the power of choice in action at every moment of our lives—Fulton J. Sheen

September 14, 8:05 pm | [comment link]
46. usma87 wrote:

Orthodoxwill:  I am totally with you on the “hierarchical” argument.  I love the “both sides of their mouth” flavor.

September 14, 8:11 pm | [comment link]
47. Chris Taylor wrote:

I too am completely clueless as to why Kendall+ feels this report is “Very important.”

September 14, 8:59 pm | [comment link]
48. William P. Sulik wrote:

Thank you, Ken, #44.

This lawyer agrees and is surprised that it took this long to point this out.

“Let the reader, where we are equally confident, stride on with me; where we are equally puzzled, pause to investigate with me; where he finds himself in error, come to my side; where he finds me erring, call me to his side. So that we may keep to the path, in love, as we fare on toward Him, ‘whose face is ever to be sought.’”

—Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity 1.5

September 14, 9:26 pm | [comment link]
49. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

+ Dorsey F. Henderson denies he is associated with this report.
Now Susan+, we have an answer to your earlier question.  Not by whom it alleges.
Theology, wrong. History, wrong. Constitution, unwritten or written, wrong. Authors, wrong. Hey, this is a genuine ECUSA/TEC product.
But whose?
Any computer tracker freed up to tackle that question.  Experience preferred of course.

September 14, 9:51 pm | [comment link]
50. Eclipse wrote:

Re:  Very Important?

Well, I think it is this:  For a LONG time, too long of time, Episcopal Bishops have had the advantage of thinking they are professor-like: living on their little ‘campuses’ or ‘cathedrals’ (in my state, its really a cathedralet) and hope by their scheming and copious wisdom they could help all the “little people” with their little mundane lives.  They know more (as Dr. Science would say) than we do.  However, in such a setting there is a danger as CS Lewis knew so well: 

“We all wish to be judged by our peers, by the men ‘after our own heart.’ Only they really know our mind and only they judge it by standards we fully acknowledge. Theirs is the praise we really covet and the blame we really dread. The little pockets of early Christians survived because they cared exclusively for the love of ‘the brethren’ and stopped their ears to the opinion of the Pagan society around them. But a circle of criminals, cranks, or perverts survives in just the same way; by becoming deaf to the opinion of the outer world, by discounting it as the chatter of outsiders who ‘don’t understand,’ of the ‘conventional,’ the ‘bourgeois,’ the ‘Establishment,’ of prigs, prudes, and humbugs.” 

The importance of this document, Ms. Russell, lies NOT in its substance - because such poor logic skills, poor rendering of history, and poor theology speak for themselves… as I’m sure with your intelligence you can see plainly.

The importance of the document lies in the fact that the little ‘inner circle’ is now laid open for public view and EVERYONE can see it for what it is.

That is why Kendall promotes its importance, and for me, a poor Christian believer, I just smile that ‘the things that were sought to remain hidden’  are finally brought into the light.

September 14, 10:54 pm | [comment link]
51. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Orthodoxwill [#43], you hit it on the head: TEC is hierarchical; its hierarchy stops at GC and the PB. Other member churches of the AC have their own versions of hierarchy. The AC itself, on the other hand, is as flat as the lake is in the early morning when it’s so good for water-skiing; long may it stay thus.

The First Commandment requires us to face the facts as best we can — to deal with the universe as God wrought it, not as we wish it were. (My blog: The Questioning Christian)

September 14, 11:08 pm | [comment link]
52. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Is it just me or is there a major contradiction in this argument? The first part is vehemently arguing that the events ECUSA is taking is rooted in the liturgical movement’s renewal of the Baptismal covenant, and then they state unequivocally that Anglicanism has historically opposed a covenant?

The Archer of the Forest+

http://costlygrace.blogspot.com

September 14, 11:30 pm | [comment link]
53. Timothy Fountain wrote:

The Diocese of South Dakota is dying - the declines are appalling.  Meanwhile, Bishop Robertson has retirement in site and is calling for the election of a Coadjutor (for at least some span of time, two Bps. to serve an ASA barely above 2,000, with the loss of about 100 per year since 2003).
And this document is where he is investing his time and energy? 
Oh, and there’s not been word one about this in any diocesan news or on the website.
Northern Plains Anglicans “outs” his participation in this disgrace.

September 15, 2:09 am | [comment link]
54. robroy wrote:

Jamessw writes, “I work as a legal reference librarian, I have two law degrees, a theology degree and a librarian degree.  I know when I see fluff dressed up in legalese and this is fluff dressed up in legalese.  Very often, the more legal jargon that is used (“The Balance of Credible Contrarieties in terms of Costs and Benefits”, anyone?!?!?), the poorer the actual underlying argument.” Impressive credentials and thanks for vetting this nonsense.

I question the motivation of those who try to question the “breaking news” status of the story. Why try to downplay the release of this document? Here, we have the best and brightest of the liberal left produces a document (mini-tome) on the eve of a historic meeting. The producers of said document went to lengths so that it would not be released now but dropped in a bomblike fashion during the actual meeting.  Its intent is readily seen to attempt to justify the rejection of the first and second requests of the Primates on the HOB. But instead, it is made available to all prior to the meeting, and it bombs in the embarrassing sense. This document is similar to the atrocious subcommittee report except that the ABC was better at keeping under wraps till the actual meeting. So, yes, this is “breaking news.”

I wonder if Jim Naughton has sent out the word (in a more surreptitious manner this time) to down play this travesty of a scholarly work?

Non serviri, sed servire.

September 15, 4:52 am | [comment link]
55. John B. Chilton wrote:

Phil Snyder writes at #39 I think that this is very important because the authors are trying to solve a relational problem with legal arguments.  That almost never works.

No, the authors are saying—from their experience in law—that relational problems do not lend themselves to a contractual solution. They agree with you that that almost never works.

I blog at: New Virginia Church Man, Emirates Economist

September 15, 7:55 am | [comment link]
56. robroy wrote:

To John Chilton: Well, Retired Bp Doss certainly has experience with relationships that don’t work during his time in New Jersey where he alienated just about everybody. This was reviewed recently by Sarah Hey at SF. I especially liked her quote from a NYT article, “At last year’s convention, 41 candidates who supported Doss ran for diocesan offices. All 41 lost to candidates opposing the bishop.” My question, why don’t we get an expert in successful relationships rather than failed relationships to rewrite this mess of an essay?

Non serviri, sed servire.

September 15, 8:51 am | [comment link]
57. Albany* wrote:

“This is scary stuff.”

#1 says it all and says it very well. Nice job.

September 15, 9:08 am | [comment link]
58. Albany* wrote:

#55 “No, the authors are saying—from their experience in law—that relational problems do not lend themselves to a contractual solution. They agree with you that that almost never works.”

Except, of course, at the local level of their own control. Then they’re quite happy with it.

September 15, 9:11 am | [comment link]
59. Dave B wrote:

As a layman this reminds me of Setting Our Hope on Christ. There is no sound theological arguements for ordaining a practicing homosexual as bishop or for SSB etc.  TEC tries to snow the faithfull and impress the educated opposition with a theological gruel that feeds neither the body nor the soul.

September 15, 9:57 am | [comment link]
60. Karen B. wrote:

I’m indebted to one of the commenters over at BabyBlue [comment #1] for pulling this quote from the document which is just beyond belief.  I’d missed this in my fairly quick read-through last night:

“Indeed another way to say this is to clarify that we want to keep our unwritten and unenforceable but long recognized and respected Anglican Constitution the way it is. We do not want to radically change it or replace it.” [p. 20]

Just beyond parody, really.  or to put it another way:  “We can’t allow ANY changes to our unwritten constitution.  None!  No, the Constitution’s not written, but we promise you we know a change when we see it.  We are the sole arbiters of what the Anglican Constitution says, don’t you know?!”

I think our bishops have been reading too much Lewis Carroll lately.  “The Constitution says just what we want it to say, and ONLY what we want it to say.”

September 15, 1:49 pm | [comment link]
61. Mike Bertaut wrote:

#18 Kendal of course you are completely correct, I had to step away and cool down for a bit.  I apologize to all the Bishops publicly here for calling them “morons”, and beg their forgiveness. 

Of course I was critiqueing their logic, which is where I should have restricted my criticism.

Again, I apologize for that.

KTF!...mrb

Mike Bertaut
Time to Go

September 15, 5:51 pm | [comment link]
62. jamesw wrote:

#54 - Robroy - yeah, I checked out the liberal blogs.  Not a word about this report, not a word.

I still think that they will try to use it.  If they don’t, it would be a massive vote of non-confidence in Stacey Sauls, who seems to be the lawyer-bishop pointman for property disputes.  I am convinced that this paper was - and still is - intended to function as part of a larger strategy.  What the liberals probably do not realize sufficiently is that Rowan Williams has a great respect for Ephraim Radner and Dr. Radner has let his thoughts be known on this paper in no uncertain terms!

So while this paper is still probably capable of instilling shock and awe into the more gullible TEC bishops, it will most certainly have no credibility for Rowan Williams.

September 15, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
63. MJD_NV wrote:

RE: Why is this important?

Answer: Because it shows the average ECUSAn - in spades- how vapid the ECUSAn theology really is.

Lord have mercy.

If God is not Father, Jesus is not Lord, the Son is not unique, baptism is not necessary, the creeds are optional, repentance and sin are dated concepts and the atonement is marginalized or even rejected, where do we go from here? The faith remaining will be a very different faith from the Christian faith once delivered to the saints - and I, for one, am not going there!  ~ Bp. Miller, Church of Ireland

September 15, 8:45 pm | [comment link]


© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com


<< Back to main page

<< Return to Mobile view (headlines)