Thursday, September 27, 2007

Radicals Turning Up the Heat a Bit

Oh boy! Here they come--outraged, outraged radical Anglicans--right and left--in a frothy lather about our dear HoB and anyone who might reasonably suppose the HoB did well:

That such statement can come from someone in such high office in the Communion is an indication of the heart of darkness in the once Christian and self-proclaimed civilized West that is slowly eroding the Communion of its Christian foundations. Such encroachment on the Lordship of Jesus Christ upon his holy and catholic church – his rightful property – must end.

That's Poon reacting to Kearon's approval of the HoB. See the juicy hyperbole in boldface? See what I mean about Akinola's statement being mild, his rhetoric being tawdry? Poon shows you here how it is done. Whew! The hair on the back of my neck stood up--how 'bout you?

Here's a lefty:

We should either come out and say what we're doing and why (with strong biblical and theological support), or we should stop doing it. If we take the first option, let's face the consequences, if any. It is neither honest nor helpful to do something and then say we're not doing it. It smacks of the worst kind of American imperialism to tell the primates that we've honored their requests, when we really haven't

Note the initial fallacy of neglected alternatives--why are those the only permissible options, especially when exactly what we should do is still being discerned? And let me make a prediction: we will hear more about "American imperialism" in the near future.

It's not necessarily that, as Jake suggests,

The Church is a harlot. But she's all we've got.

I'm not sure reaching for Hosea is so helpful here. Why can't compromise and discernment be messy? Why can't an honest compromise leave everyone disappointed? Maybe this is what a virtuous church looks like when its members are in passionate discord and sedition is in the air. The presumption that the Church should have repented, as if a Church even can do such a thing except in an unhelpfully hazy, metaphorical sense--and the presumption that the Church should have gone further than GC2006 and GC2003 or else betray its fidelity to God seem to misread what might well be going on in the HoB and AC. Moderates are genuinely trying to discern without railroading those who wish to remain at the table. There's nothing unfaithful in the sacrifices that come with the process fo compromise.

And how odd to see left and right join hands in an effort to make sure that process of compromise, that effort of discernment--and nobody should say it is insincere (see Harmon's accusation of false witness in italics up top)--should fail.

15 Comments:

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous J-Tron said...

If anything, this entire process has assured me of the doctrine of original sin. If there is a prideful way for humans to rip themselves apart, we'll gladly take it.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger bls said...

I agree with you, Scotist. I find it very suspicious that all of a sudden the so-called "orthodox" are in "mean what we say and say what we mean" mode. That TEC should now, suddenly, immediately affirm same-sex blessings and gay Bishops.

When as we all know, GC has not yet decided to authorize churchwide rites of same-sex blessing - so these "orthodox" are essentially saying that the HoB should affirm what our own governance hasn't at this point. And GC HAS decided to "exercise caution" on the gay Bishops issue. So Harmon et al. are now also advocating that the House of Bishops ignore conservatives in TEC! Exactly the opposite, IOW, of the usual line from that quarter.

What incredible hypocrisy, really. Any old rationale will do, won't it?

 
At 7:42 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

I think Peter Aelrod commented that the HoB has basically interpreted and applied the resolutions of GC2006 to this crisis--and how could they have done anything else without bringing down grave questions about the legitimacy of their actions?

The point might be that GC2006--in spite of the widespread ire it evoked--managed on its own to substantially compromise with conservatives.

I think those not set on Separation--or set on applause from the Separation crowd--will acknowledge the opportunity here for reconciliation, or at least a thoughtful pause in the rather vulgar rush to what might well be a very long-term schism.

 
At 9:28 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I too thought that Poon's rhetorical sausage machine was on overdrive.

When the extremes on both ends of the spectrum damn the statement, you know that the bishops have done something right. I think that the statement is politically astute in the best sense.

I am also struck much more by the conservative bishops who attended and stayed. Every one that I've read speaks very well of the tone of collegiality and commitment to work together; some said that it was the best HOB meeting they had attended in years. I think that the meeting was a success and will enable the moderates in the AC to keep the North Americans at the table, whatever the GS radicals decide to do.

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger Marshall said...

To give credit where due (for good or ill), let's not take Kendall Harmon's allegation of "false witness" as a new thought. It's exactly what he said on the floor of the House of Deputies in Columbus.

But no one at the extremes seems to take seriously that this is the most accurate statement the bishops could make. Sure, it's nuanced; and the nuances among the bishops themselves are really that numerous. Sure, it's complicated; but so is the issue. Yes, indeed, Scotist: let's acknowledge that the discernment - and often the truth - is messy.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

I didn't know he made the false witness claim before.

FWIW, the criticism I've seen, with Poon and a few other exceptions, in not as vitriolic as I expected--Akinola for instance was much mider than I expected.

There just might be an additional fissure opening up under the feet of TEC's critics--who knows? There are (A) Hard-Boiled Separatists--a la Duncan and Minns--already knee-deep in the Realignement project; moderates in the Communion seem to have put some distance between themselves and this group. They have lost momentum, but have nothing to do now but to keep on truckin' and hope something interesting turns up, like a new "Angry Anglican Province" uniting fragments of the disaffected continuum. Whether it can ever gain entry into the Anglican Communion is another matter. Who knows?

But now there may be a new break between (B)those who are the harshest and most vehement critics of the HoB, who would like to leverage 9/30 into escalating, punitive measures against TEC--like Radner etc, and (C)those who have been critical of TEC but now see that the pendulum has begun to swing against Realignemnt and recognize they have much to lose by associating with Separatists, antagonizing the efforts of Canterbury, and openly flirting with the notion of a new Anglicanism.

Group (C)--for all I know--might include Akinola or Nigeria. I hope!

 
At 10:32 PM, Blogger Anastasia said...

but wait...the church hasn't decided to approve a rite of same sex blessing but we all know that there are dioceses where they take place regularly, with the certain knowledge though not the express permission of the bishop. right? I mean, i certainly know that's the case because I don't think i'd have the least trouble finding on in my diocese. and if i could find one, so could my bishop. and yet...he doesn't bother and yet continues to affirm that there's no authorized rite. the stance is we haven't approved them yet and yet I see a really clear and deliberate maintenance of the loophole. nudge nudge wink wink.

so which is more a sign of original sin? proud separatism or intentional deception? maybe it's looking pretty bad all around. and that would be why people on both ends of the spectrum are unhappy with what's not so much a middle position as a self-contradictory mess.

 
At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s often said that the revisionists have a low view of the authority of Scripture, which is true, but it’s more difficult to debate Scriptural interpretations than it is to expose problems in the area of pure logic.

What really offends certain Episcopalians about someone like Archbishop Akinola is that he affirms the falsity of someone else's viewpoint. It seems to them like the reasonable (and Episcopal) thing to avoid affirming that some viewpoint is simply wrong. They suppose that truth is subjective and, in taking this position, their claiming a dispensation for themselves they they’re refusing to any other view.

You don't have to affirm the authority of Scripture to see the logical problem here. Socrates exploded the fallacy of subjectivity for all time with the following question in the Theaetetus. Ponder his logic: "Since he grants that the opinions of all men are true, then would he not be conceding that his own opinion is false, if he grants that the opinion of those who think he is in error is true?"

We can acknowledge that perceptions may differ, but as Aristotle said in the Metaphysics: "Perception is surely not of itself, but there is something else besides the perception and that is necessarily prior to the perception."

This matter of objectivity versus subjectivity pertains also to issues of morality. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “We are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people get their sums wrong, but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.”

We may not know even approximately the nature of the moral requirement in a given instance, and we must remain humble about that, but that doesn’t prove the nonexistence of the moral order. The danger all around us now is that people are forsaking any notion of objectivity in the moral area – even though there is unrecognized unanimity about morality in many areas. Rape isn’t moral wrong just because almost every thinks it is wrong but because, as Lewis said, there is a “real Right and Wrong.” It’s just as real as the multiplication table and the law of gravity. If there is something wrong, there has to be a right that is being violated.

If you’re talking with a revisionist or someone who isn’t sure, see whether this issue of subjectivity is lurking. You’ll probably find that they’ve never been presented with the ancient logic of how subjectivity refutes itself.

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger The Patriarch of the West said...

"And how odd to see left and right join hands in an effort to make sure that process of compromise, that effort of discernment--and nobody should say it is insincere..."

There was a lot of comment at GC '06 about how both the far left and far right seemed to be gumming up the works along the way towards some kind of action. While I do not believe that there was actual collusion, each end of the spectrum had much to gain by GC grinding to a halt.

On the last day when we were finally taking some action on responding to Windsor and
one deputy stood up to point out that neither extreme represented the majority, and that they should sit down, shut up and let us get on with the business at hand.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anastasia,

There really is no rite on the books for gay unions of any sort--not in the BCP 79, not in the BOS, not in Enriching Our Worship.

A Priest or Bishop going against the formularies cannot grant parity to a gay couple in any rite, or make any gay union normal. It just is not in their power to do so.

What are they really doing when they bless a gay couple? I am not sure.

If it is God's will that their union be blessed, they may already have God's blessing regardless of what the Church does. The blessing conferred by the Church is something of a quite different kind: a kind of additional grace, including recognition in the Church community.

The protesting right protests too much: the absence of an official rite precludes any ordained clergy from granting the recognition of the Church that the Church's blessing would have provided.

And that is why a rite for blessing SSUs is truly such a very big deal.

The theology here is quite important.

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anonymous,

A couple things: (1)Those you call "revisionists" are the only ones likely to have a correct view of Scripture's authority; the others--including Akinola--are objectively wrong; (2)epistemic humility doesn't imply denying the objective moral order, but that we have to take a stand on what we are warranted to think wrong even in the absence of demonstrative proof.

As you probably see right away, (2) is a recipe for ongoing argument. OK--so what? that does not imply that warrant won't track truth or is unreliable.

Once we admit room for warrant less than knowledge in teh strict sense, we can make due with epistemic humility I think.

 
At 10:43 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

patriarch,

Hear, hear! I cannot help but agree.

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger bls said...

so which is more a sign of original sin? proud separatism or intentional deception? maybe it's looking pretty bad all around. and that would be why people on both ends of the spectrum are unhappy with what's not so much a middle position as a self-contradictory mess.

Because as we all know, this is all about the conservatives; everything always is, naturally.

That's why we're doing all this, you know: we like messing with the minds of the so-called "orthodox." It really has nothing to do with the lives of real human beings, or a desire to provide people with some support for their relationships.

No, it's all about the so-called "orthodox." They're the ones who really matter, after all.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger toujoursdan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger toujoursdan said...

but wait...the church hasn't decided to approve a rite of same sex blessing but we all know that there are dioceses where they take place regularly, with the certain knowledge though not the express permission of the bishop. right? I mean, i certainly know that's the case because I don't think i'd have the least trouble finding on in my diocese. and if i could find one, so could my bishop. and yet...he doesn't bother and yet continues to affirm that there's no authorized rite. the stance is we haven't approved them yet and yet I see a really clear and deliberate maintenance of the loophole. nudge nudge wink wink.

I don't think one can argue that allowing, or turning a blind eye, towards a parish that blesses a gay couple shows approval of an official Rite of Blessing any more than allowing a priest to bless animals (like many will next Sunday), a parade, horse race, a football game, the opening of a city council meeting or battleship creates official Rites of Blessing for those objects or events. It just doesn't work that way. Priests don't need to consult the BCP, BOS or EOR in order to find justifications to bless every sort or condition of things they encounter, right?.

It seems to me that the hypocrisy of the outrage of same sex blessings occurring in the TEC whilst turning a blind eye to the other parts of the communion where they go on needs to be mentioned more often as well.

I also think the theology is important (though there are larger issues facing gay Anglicans). Is this a blessing like others or is this something different?

 

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