Saturday, June 05, 2010

Williams/ Schori

It seems to me that Naughton's take on the latest Anglican dust-up is right:

reflecting on Rowan Williams’ letter wasn’t a worthwhile use of my time; writing it was not a worthwhile use of his....

Who has not, at long last, wearied of these pathetic spectacles? is worthwhile even now to recall there are some, Anglican or not, in Nigeria, Uganda and elsewhere who are gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual; how we--TEC--respond to Williams, and how we play out the close of this match with the See of Canterbury may well have consequences for them. It is one thing not to be straight in the UK, Canada, or the US, and--it seems--quite another in Nigeria, Uganda, et al.

Williams, it seems to me, will never turn his back on the Global South contingent, regardless of its leadership. He is something of a liberation theologian whose primary loyalty, in theological terms, is to the people of the Global South: marginalized, exploited, crucified. I wager he would like to have TEC demonstrate the same kind of loyalty, a loyalty willing to tolerate extremely costly sacrifice in the name of solidarity with the poor.

He does not seem to consider what has been publicly remarked upon quite often, that his version of solidarity with the poor of the Global South cannot help but marginalize those in the Global South who do not have the requisite degree of straightness. It is not so much a matter of relatively wealthy Americans bearing the brunt of Williams' unity agenda--bad enough, but in Williams' eyes, it seems to me, justified. It is more a matter of his having to scapegoat the GLBT people of the GS, who labor under a compounded oppression.

Pursuing unity--or whatever it is the ABC intends--by scapegoating is contrary to the way of the Cross. TEC should not play into that effort, whatever the stated end. But we have to be very careful; the clean break that could be easy for us to contemplate might well betray our GLBT comrades in the Global South. We should take our stand explicitly with them, come what may--and that may mean enduring humiliations from Williams et al. We should not care; taking a stand with them would be worth it. The Cross calls for no less.


At 2:46 PM, Blogger mwp said...

Thanks for this. We often see the ABC as primarily engaged in a political fight between the various leaders of the churches of the Anglican Communion, and sometimes we factor in what we think we know about his personal opinions on the issues, but I think you're right -- he fundamentally sees himself as maintaining solidarity with the poor of the GS: "marginalized, exploited, crucified." It's a tragedy, because he and many of those who are so angry at him would passionately be on the same side of both these issues (solidarity with the poor, inclusion for all) under almost any other circumstances.

A very generous review of the situation.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Daniel Weir said...

We forget that the 1998 Lambeth Conference produced not only Resolution I.10 but a strong call for debt relief, a call which was answered in some significant ways by TEC and others. I agree that we need to honor RW's concern for the poor of the GS while maintaining our own strong support of the most marginalized in the GS - women and children and LGBT folks.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Frank said...

If the Archbishop is as concerned as you suggest about the South and its marginalized and crucified people, he might raise more than a burp when Ugandas want to execute people for being gay. And he might stop and consider that continuing to put the onus of communion on the backs of gay people (here and elsewhere) really does not help people become uncrucified.

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous jdd said...


Thank you very much for saying this. Please continue to say this--and more loudly still. These stakes have far too easily been overlooked in our resistance to centralization, and should replace the unfortunate tendency to frame a prophetic witness in terms of "self-determination."

(As you are a Scotist, however, you may disagree!)

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous John said...

You write that Rowan Willisam "is something of a liberation theologian whose primary loyalty, in theological terms, is to the people of the Global South: marginalized, exploited, crucified." I am sure he may like to see himself that way. But is he really looking at the Anglican churches in many of these former colonies?

I many parts of Africa, the Anglican Church is very connected to the power elite of that country. Liberation is not only about freeing the poor from foreign oppressors, but also from a local elite. Indeed, in Brazil and Central America, that was the basic thrust of the base communities.

It's racist to assume that all dark people are victims. Many are, but many others are victimizers.

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

At last some calm reason in this discussion. It is ironic that many African Christians (Anglicans) think of TEC as exporting new world values that is a painful form of neocolonialism while they have not yet sorted the last wave of colonialism. What many commentators overlook is that Lambeth 2008 was intended to be a 'listening' experience, hence the emphasis on prayer, silence and scripture. Nor did the majority of those present appear to think that anyone let alone the ABC was 'enforcing' unity, rather the opposite, hence much of the anger. Even the TEC bishops refer to p517 in the 79 BCP 'you are called to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church'. Lambeth 2008 also often discussed John 17:11 'that they may be one as we are one'. How can this happen without compromise and without anger.

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a difference between positing the goodness of a freedom to err, and positing the goodness of the error itself. Homosexual behavior ought not to be repressed or punished through use of a civil or criminal code, and an attempt to do so would involve the most basic violations of privacy, privacy that is based upon (1) the presumption of innocense and (2) equality before the law. This does not mean that the Church should go out of its way to bless or sanctify behavior that Christians have always considered to be abominable, and I abhor that tendency in the ECUSA today. Williams' position is ultimately untenable, on account of being incoherent.

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous JCF said...

This does not mean that the Church should go out of its way to bless or sanctify behavior that Christians have always considered to be abominable

This bog standard anti-gay talking point, Paradoxicon, is BOTH historically/Scripturally untenable AND (Christ-like) ethically incoherent!

So TEC is now sent to the Time-Out corner. Other will receive consideration of whether they've committed punishable crimes. But ant-gay church imperialists like Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda? They can carry on their business as usual (as their LGBT children suffer): Kyrie eleison.

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous brimcmike said...


Christians have been on the wrong side of "abominable" too many times to count, or to be credible, e.g., the status of women, invasion and organized violence against and subjugation of others, up to and including colonization and slavery, etc. I would suggest you not use that as a persuasive criterion.

Furthermore, there is much hypocrisy and collateral damage done in the vain attempts to "be very good" in such respects, self-hatred, denial, immature and compulsive sexual behaviors, irrational risk-taking, deception, and then the exposure of the taken-in (e.g., spouses, congregations, constituents, targets) to unconscious and unintentional consequences, or worse yet cynical manipulations and distracting discrimination, e.g., Dr. George Rekers, Sen. Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Mel White, Ronnie Frisbee, John Paulk, Billy James Hargis, Roy Clements, Paul Crouch, Paul Barnes, etc.

My point is not the homosexuality, per se, of the listed personalities. Rather it's their smug, uncharitable, conformist, Pharisaic moralism used to cover up their personal crisis that is un-Christian and invites deep, dramatic, twisted, scandalous sin, with pitiful denials and shameful cover-ups.

I can't even imagine anyone honestly holding the opinion that people choose their orientation. My straight orientation came in the mail with my sex drive. I did not order them; they happened to me. The thought experiment of changing my orientation to fit into a hypothetical, gay society, with all the implied family, social, professional and legal assumptions pressures and sanctions is ugly, intrusive, oppressive and bound to tragically fail.

If one believes that people can and do actually choose their orientation that is a very troubling notion, which should invite a very careful examination of conscience and soul-searching about what actually lies behind that belief.


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