Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Comments on the HoB Statement, New Orleans

So the HoB's statement is openly transient, a piece composed merely for a specific time, place, and audience. Though it does not wear an open expiration date--nobody seems exactly clear on how long it will have to function--it is already decomposing. But everyone knows that; the piece succeeds if it is enough to get us through this crisis. It does not have to be beautiful to fulfill its function.

The crisis was not the loss of separatist Anglicans so much as the real possibility of a fissure between moderate provinces without separatist inclinations and our province. The intended, primary audience for the document is the wide body of Anglican moderates, especially moderate Primates.

When Radner says

In the end, the response must be construed as a failure to meet the Primates’ requests, although one made with some very small gestures in their direction. and others made to emphasize their disagreement with the Primates,

one should ask--to be clear--after the referent of "Primates". If he means the radical separatist Primates he is right.

But the history of the Tanzania non-ultimatum's making seems to indicate that most Primates, and even the ABC, accomodated the radicals' discontent in order to keep them from walking away from the table. The Tanzania non-ulimatum might not speak to the mind of the Primates, if what we mean is the moderates--and it seems to me that the HoB document is banking on the fact Tanzania did not speak for the moderates propria persona.

What has changed for the HoB, and for the Primates, and for the ABC--and what Radner and others like Hey seem to have missed--is that they now recognize the plan was separation and substitution all along, and they are able to see that this plan was unreasonable all along. "Unreasonable" because the separatist project seems to have made a mockery of the councils and painful labors of the provinces, as if the meetings and negotiations were all a sorry sham for those pursuing separation.

Thus some Anglican conservatives will not be able to see the HoB document for what it actually is: a compromise that is part of a process. "Compromise" is not a category they are willing to recognize, because for separatists reconcilation with an Episcopal Church that has not turned 180 degrees is not a real possibility. But for moderate provinces who took Windsor et al sincerely and seriously, compromise is a welcome development: it means the process of reconciliation can go forward.


At 10:41 AM, Blogger Bob Schneider said...

Thanks, you've helped me to see something about the Tanzania statement that I had missed. I think you're right about it being a concession to the radical primates to keep them at the table. I also agree that this HOB statement provides enough movement toward the majority moderate primates to keep TEC in the AC. The bishops showed much more deference to Windsor than the African boundary crossers and their American dissident collaborabors.

The conservative blogs are going crazy right now because HOB did not do what they knew very well it wouldn't do. Ah, so. As Fr. Jake wrote, "Setp. 30 will be followed by Oct. 1."

Bob from Boone

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are some liberal blogs going a bit crazy right now, too, inasmuch as this did represent a compromise. how is it anything but hypocrisy to affirm the dignity of gay and lesbian persons and their full inclusion in the church and agree to exercise restraint in ordaining them. how is that anything but contradictory?

the answer is that it is restraint until. until such time as the rest of the world catches up with our progress. the trajectory is clear. it makes me long for an honest, bold statement of vision. no more hiding. no more obscuring. no more compromises.

given that a compromise can't actually satisfy the conservative contingent, I'm not exactly who it's serving. what it's causing is more grief for glbt people and their supporters who have invested themselves in TEC and are not the ones who are looking to exit stage left or form their own communities.

i can see all that. and I'm a conservative.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

A.S., I think you've nailed it spot on. Had the GS extremists soft-pedaled after DeS, the situation might be different. Had they not reissued their demands (which go far beyond Windsor to include the resignation of +VGR and all gay and lesbian clergy!) and continued the extravagant incursions, they might have carried the day. However, having lost the good will of Canterbury, and with him the bulk of the moderate Primates, they will be spinning out on their own.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

that should be _dis_continued...

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Mike+ said...

I am amazed at the lack of understanding or desire for the Via Media at this point in our history. I've spent several hours reading the blogs (both liberal and conservative) and most of what is said is polarized in one direction or another without any attention to our historic foundation in the Elizabethan compromise (which IMHO is the unique gift of Anglicanism to Christianity). Via Media is living in the tension of very different positions and saying that no one need leave. It is a healthy/holy recognition that revelation comes in the dynamic tension and creativity of holding the extremes in tension with one another.

When I look at the HOB response to the DES communique I see a real attempt at Via Media, hence the overwhelming support of the document from a less than unified house.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...


Maybe Williams and others would like to know more about the ecclesiology behind the Great North American Anglican Land Rush--what kind of precedent does it set? How will it effect the effort to centralize the polity of our Communion?

Have Minns/Sugden/et al thought that out? Or is this more of a "full speed ahead" reactionary activism?

At 9:08 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...


Let me agree with you that the HoB response is an attempt at finding a via media.

But historically, the via media has always been vulnerable to radicals--and I think the Communion has more than its fair share of highly placed radicals.


At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well put -- I think the precis could be "We are abiding by Gen Con 2006 until Gen Con 2009"


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