Monday, July 28, 2008

Mean Lambeth Quotes

Mouneer, Deng & Wright are not oblivious ninnies; Mouneer knew what he was doing, I should think, when he said:

I do not believe that The Episcopal Church is going to
change its direction. It is not all about sexuality but about biblical interpretation, Ecclesiology and Christology. This reminds me with the position of US administration before and during the war in Iraq. They refused to listen to millions of voices that cried against the war. The North American churches believe that the truth was revealed to them and that the other churches in the Communion need to follow them.


The comparison between the Episcopal Church and the odious Bush Administration is a trope by now--as is the distorted portrayal of the Episcopal Church as if it were going alone. Such tropes identify the speaker with a community within which they are expected, intelligible, normative. Their being false does not matter so much as the mutual recognition such tropes bring--"he really is one of us after all"--and the resulting constitution of the speaker's identity, an effect that requires a crowd.

How important is such recognition and conservative identity? It seems to become more important as such recognition and identity are more thrown into question--and what it means to be a conservative Anglican is very much up for grabs right now. Mouneer, Deng, and Wright seem to be trying to give some definition to the phrase "conservative Anglican," as if they might function as an alternative to GAFCON if they were to be seen by Anglican conservatives as legitimate options.

What does that mean for TEC? Anglican conservatives would not need such rallying if they already held defensible ground--and that is the problem. At the moment they do not hold defensible ground. Rather than "charge" their chaotic position and drive them into an outright rout, it seems the bigwigs of the Communion, including especially a moderate like Williams, want to cede some defensible ground to conservatives, so that they will have some small place. Perhaps such sentiments are behind the push to enact a ban on ordaining gay bishops--who knows?

If that is the case, at the very least TEC and its friends should be sure to get a clear condemnation of cross-border poaching as well--a condemnation which by implication would condemn GAFCON as it stands.

9 Comments:

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no problem defending the orthodox position if, like myself, you are reasonably orthodox. Nor do North American Anglicans who are in fact unitarians and deists seem to have trouble defending their positions, at least in their opinion. The moderates, who should rule, seem torn between their reasonabily orthodox theology and their liberal social values. The result is somewhere between a stalemate and a third-rate circus.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon,
I would not dare conflate Anglican conservatism with doctrinal orthodoxy, just as I would not wish to conflate Borg-style panentheism with orthodoxy.

The upper elite of our self-proclaimed consvervatives cannot actually say "God exists" and mean it in the traditional sense, much lass confess Jesus is Lord and Savior. And I mean "cannot" in its strict, logical sense: it is logically impossible, unless they back down from their so-called "orthodox" theology.

Why? Any adherent of Lindbeck or narrative theology relativizes discourse, including especially theological discourse, to a conceptual framework, a way of life, a language game. That is inconsistent with traditional orthodoxy, which made affirmations of faith in an absolute sense, not in a relativized sense.

Thus, when a "Lindbeckian" says "Jesus is Lord" what she means cannot be the same as what is required of the faithful. Please note that Borg has not fallen into this trap--his problems lie elsewhere in my opinion, and they are considerably less severe.

I am afraid you might have to do more to explicate the notion of "orthodoxy" to which you refer.

 
At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a question I would have put to you, Scotist. What do the liberals within the Episcopal Church want? What is their end-game? If certain parts of the New Testament are only useful to people in ancient times, and thus, not considered essential to the faith in the present (as expressed by the current leadership of the TEC,) what is the end-game for the Bible? And please, this is a serious question, so no word-mangling sophistry like your above referenced attempt on the word orthodox. Thanks in advance.

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Two points anon: (1)I am serious about so-called "orthodox" Anglican worship in the narrative mode being only so much gibberish and nonsense.

In a sense that is OK: just so much inspired babbling in tongues. But there is the benefit that everyone already knows what they are trying to say b/c the noises are so similar to genuinely significant speech--thus Paul's strictures on babbling are satisfied.

The transmutation of worship with cognitive value to gibberish seems to be an unintended effect of certain conservative efforts, e.g. by the ACI, by Frei, by Vanhoozer.

Note, as a confirmation of the seriousness of my charge, that Lindbeck himself was compelled to disavow his own theories in First Things, claiming to profess a form of Realism. Ludicrous, yes, but Linbeck seems eventually to have "got it"--many others still seem lost in the dark.

Remember, God wishes to be worshipped in Spirit and Truth, and NOT truth-relative-to-language-game-n.

(2)The end game for liberals--i.e. the evangelical, low-church left, is the extension of worship to all corners of daily life--including politics, economics, education, big media, domestic daily life. This is less worship as smells-n-bells and more WWJD and "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger."

The low & left faction does not have a monopoly on what amounts to de Lubac's insight about the nonexistence of a distinct secular realm (think his "Supernatural")--the high-church Radical Orthodoxy movement spouts the same sort of strategy, as does e.g. Hauerwas. My sympathies are more with Milbank--except for the fact he despises Scotus.

The Bible will continue to be a constant source of irritation and conflict, as it should be. These factions do not approach the Bible thinking they have a settled, smooth reading, a "harmony of the Gospels" approach as it were. People like Trible and Breuggemann typify this approach; contra Brueggemann, I do not think it is really a Postmodern approach at all. But then, I don't turn to him for philosophical insight.

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

You think Mouneer Anis is "mean" to make a connection between the actions of the Bush administration and TEC, but you make the a connection between words of Stand Firm Commenters and the UU Shooter and Nazis. Couldn't i just write:

The comparison between the Stand Firm commenters and the odious UU Shooter and Nazis are tropes by now--as is the distorted portrayal of the Stand Firm Commenters as instigating violence against gays. Such tropes identify the speaker with a community within which they are expected, intelligible, normative. Their being false does not matter so much as the mutual recognition such tropes bring--"he really is one of us after all"--and the resulting constitution of the speaker's identity, an effect that requires a crowd.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

perpetua,

Facts are stubborn things--posters on SFiF certainly seemed to this observer to defend the "innocuous" contemplation of gun violence--the idea of a pacifist, long-haired hippy freak Christ being just another liberal lie. It seems I must be mistaken, but so far as I know, absolutely no disavowal or apology followed that discussion.

Those senitments did not occur in a void, but in the culture of a community that likes its guns--and let me disclose I like my guns alot too--and has a thing for fantasizing about gun violence.

And yes, those sentiments overlap the sentiments that drove that poor sap in TN to murder UU churchgoers, shooting up a church children's play.

Logically, there is no question: we tolerate sentiments that create actionable dispositions to violence. We have that tolerance in common with the shooter--and the fact the shooter went much further does not change the fact of overlap. "We"--me included; my doing it does not make it right.

I think you would do better to concede straightaway that our American culture is simply a cesspool, running wretched with elements conducive to sin, elements which practicing Christians are bound to fight against rather than tolerate.

Though we may disagree about which elements are genuinely sinful, I think we should be able to agree that tolerance of gun violence is sinful, and something to be eliminated.

2:31 PM

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Or let me put it this way. I have never been enlisted, and I do not know a whole lot of vets, esp of recent actions, but I know some WWII/Korea/Vietnam-era vets. No combat rifleman I am acquainted with would talk the way they talked about guns.

Military (and law enforcement) training aside, the civilians I know who have received basic, normal training in how to handle firearms would not talk like that about their guns--as if it were OK to play around with talk of going down to shoot somebody up.

Basic to any such training, properly received, is a fundamental respect for the firearm. With power comes responsibility, and anyone handling a firearm takes up that responsibility.

For instance: ceteris paribus, you don't trust yourself to have successfully cleared the chamber, so you never point your gun at anyone in jest even if you "feel sure" it is empty. Never--out of respect for the gun's power, out of respect for the person, and because as a gun owner you are supposed to have at least a minimal integrity. It just is not Ha HA stuff.

Sure, there are exceptions: for stupid kids, stupid drunks, stupid yahoos, stupid punks. For people who should not have firearms in their possession in the first place.

The civil right that empowers gun ownership is not absolute, and such as it is, it presumes citizens capable of successfully discharging their responsibilities in handling firearms. That presumes citizens capable of distinguishing right from wrong.

Recalling all that tough talk about guns at SFiF, one can only have questions--Christian ethics aside. Why would you come to their defense? Presumably you are a cultural conservative, and as such you would take moral responsibility ini general seriously, the right to own fireams seriously, the grave responsibility a gun owner incurs in having and handling weapons seriously. What gives? How can you condone them?

 
At 12:57 AM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Hi Anglican Scotist,

I was reading both this post and the one you wrote titled "Some Reflections on UU Church Shooting", which I wrote about and copied in full over at my blog. I guess you have taken that post down.

My question is what is the difference between Mouneer Anis and his speech act and you and your speech act in "Some Reflections on UU Church Shooting"? Different communities and different speakers, but isn't the self identity through the speech act of the same type?

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

I stand by the post, but took it down b/c it seemed like a no-brainer; I can't imagine anyone defending the kind of extreme point of view which would have engendered or even contributed to the shootings once the problem is pointed out. Anyhow, it will go back up, seeing you linked to it.

Here is the difference: Mouneer lies when he says Episcopalians have rejected Chalcedonain Christology; it is simply not true, and he is either being slothful, or outright malicious.

Again, Mouneer lies when he said that TEC did not listen to the rest of the Communion; TEC did listen, e.g. engaging opposed provinces in talks on homosexuality between 98 and 03--and went ahead anyway. It is obvious TEC listened--whicih is exactly what Mouneer denied.

I suggested that though these were obvious fasehoods, they did not imply that Mouneer was an imbecile, because they could be seen to serve a larger, plausible agenda.

On the other hand, I am telling the truth--for example--when I say the SFiF comments "reflect what seems to be a certain type of violent mindset on the right". They certainly do seem that way to me. Do they to you? Do you know of Michael Savage? Ann Coulter? The shooter did. What can you possibly say against that--that it does not seem that way?

Anyhow, in retrospect the post needs to go up, so up it goes again.

 

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