Daily Archives: July 8, 2008

Church of England set to split over women bishops

The Church of England looked set for a damaging split last night after its ruling body agreed to press ahead with the introduction of women bishops without any compromise measures for opponents of the controversial move.

After six hour of emotional debate, one bishop broke down in tears saying he was ashamed of the church for ignoring the deeply felt wishes of traditionalists.

The Rt Rev Stephen Venner, the Suffragan Bishop of Dover, was comforted by other church leaders on the floor of the General Synod in York as its 468 members took a major step towards women becoming bishops, with just an unwritten statutory code of practice to cater for those who firmly believe the Bible teaches that bishops must be male, as Jesus and his apostles were.

Bishop Venner, said: “I have to say that for the first time in my life I am ashamed.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Brian Turley: The Meaning of the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration

In his watershed analysis of the rapidly emerging Christian movements in the Global South titled The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, religious sociologist Philip Jenkins discerned that, regardless of the paternalistic interpretations that Christian observers in Europe and North America may cling to, “the emerging Christian world will be anchored in the Southern continents.” A careful scholar, Jenkins relied upon the best available data while weaving his thesis. And it is for this reason that his work serves as one of the premiere harbingers of what has, seven years after he wrote, come to pass. Those of us familiar with Jenkins work who attended the GAFCON in Jerusalem were very much aware that the event served, in many respects, as a sign that the future Jenkins so accurately described is now present with us.

GAFCON was a uniquely global experience. During my week in Jerusalem as I served as a delegate or “pilgrim” to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), I often reflected on Jenkins’ analysis. Individuals whose skin is darker than mine dominated every meeting, every worship service, and every foray into the Israeli countryside. Organized and orchestrated primarily by Christian leaders representing third-world Anglican Provinces, the conference and its place in history should not be underestimated by revisionist or orthodox Christians. The nearly 300 bishops representing 25 nations who turned out for the gathering oversee more than half the Communion’s adherents and perhaps more than 2/3rds the active Communion. Much more than a demonstration of support for orthodox Anglicans in North America, GAFCON is emblematic of a Global South Christianity come of age.

The ironies surrounding GAFCON’s issuance of its highly controversial Jerusalem Declaration are manifold. Consider, for example, the movement’s affinities with liberation theology. Phillip Berryman recognized liberation theology in broadest terms as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor.”

For decades, Western liberals saw in the Global South a tool and an ally to help advance their radical social/political agenda. The third world churches received their “generous subsidies” and were, they were certain, duty bound to embrace Marxist inspired liberation theologies that would abet their own world view. A remarkably paternalistic class, these same liberals now feel betrayed by a Global South Christianity who have rejected Marx and have expressed keen desire to maintain a conservative theological position. Recent commentary regarding the “GAFCON rebels” published by Anglicans in the United Kingdom and North America indicates that the gloves have come off and that a head-on collision between what remains of well-monied Western revisionist Christians and the economically poor, disfranchised emerging Southern orthodox is inevitable.

Why, precisely, have Global South Christians rejected Western ecclesiological neopatrimonialisms? In effect, at Jerusalem the South declared that the colonialist methods of maintaining the Anglican Communion represent a catastrophic failure. Heretical Western bishops openly teach with impunity that Christ was a sinner and that he was not raised from the grave while theologically faithful bishops like Dr. William Jackson Cox are publicly disciplined and then jettisoned from the church. All the while, the Archbishop of Canterbury observes what is happening in silence or, on occasion, calls on Anglicans to continue “listening” or to participate in “gracious conversation.”

Lean southerners have been “listening” to their well-fed, tony neighbors for a long time and as a matter of courtesy will continue to do so in the future. But as Episcopal Church leaders deposed priests by the score and drove biblically-focused congregations from their buildings, the Global South bishops grew steadfastly aware that these calls for gracious conversation, for bringing their “exuberance to the larger party” while their deadlines for clarity were being ignored were red herrings, obfuscatory techniques designed to buy time and hopefully fatigue the opposition.

The Western scheme has failed. Now fully empowered, well-educated, and shrewd, our third-world counterparts are serving notice that they are no longer willing to sit idly while Lambeth continues to engineer decadal stall tactics ( e.g., boundless gracious discussion sessions) designed ultimately to protect the worldly interests of an aggressively anti-orthodox American Episcopal Church.

The Western liberals seem incapable of recognizing the rapidly shifting paradigm occurring in their midst. Their ears now appear dull, their eyes dim (Isaiah 6). Having sloshed through their plans for the colonials over cocktails, few seem all that interested in listening to the narratives of their Global South neighbors. Few seem inclined to consider even the stories of martyrdom that many in Africa and Asia are able to share. Western liberals now find themselves in the unenviable position of explaining why they are unable to abide the third world’s critique and the liberation they discovered in the Gospel. They must now find ways to explain to them that they are not, indeed, the oppressors.

Whether they are heard or no, the economically poor of the third world have broken their shackles and will, in time, play a dominant role in the Anglican Communion. As Jenkins predicted, Christendom is increasingly finding its anchor in the Global South. Following GAFCON, it now seems plausible that, in due course, it will find its compass there as well.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

Episcopal Church website redesign aims to ease navigation

(ENS) Easier navigation, better search functionality, and a more modern style are a few of the changes visitors will see upon entering the newly redesigned Episcopal Church website.

To be launched on July 8, episcopalchurch.org highlights the four Mission Centers that now encapsulate much of the staff of the Episcopal Church Center as they continue to achieve new levels of service and collaboration.

“With the change to the organizational structure here at the Church Center we felt that the website needed to reflect that,” said Michael Collins, director of Digital Communication. “We’ve changed the entire look and feel of the home page and we’ve also created new pages for each of the four mission centers including their areas of mission and their staff.”

According to Wade Hampton, art director, visitors will immediately notice how the style of the website has changed and incorporates “a broader color palette.” He also said that the work, which began in late March, was aimed at making the site “more inviting and welcoming.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Forward in Faith–General Synod vote – further reaction

The consistent behaviour of the General Synod compels Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod to recognise that, without intervention by the House of Bishops, there is little prospect of gaining a synodical majority which would provide a structural solution that would meet the needs of those who, out of obedience to scripture and tradition, are unable in conscience to receive the ordination of women to the episcopate. We will in the coming days continue to explore all possible avenues which might secure our corporate ecclesial future and look to our bishops to facilitate this.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Vatican Regret at Anglican Vote to Ordain Female Bishops

The Vatican Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity issued a Statement Tuesday regarding recent events within the Anglican Communion.

The Council is headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper. The statement reads:

“We have regretfully learned of the Church of England vote to pave the way for the introduction of legislation which will lead to the ordaining of women to the Episcopacy.

The Catholic position on the issue was clearly expressed by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Such a decision signifies a breaking away from the apostolic tradition maintained by all of the Churches since the first millennium, and therefore is a further obstacle for the reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

American Airlines Cancels Flight Due to Hostile Passengers

It is such a shame that flying has too often become such an ordeal.

Posted in * General Interest

Lee Drutman reviews Mark Bauerlein's the Dumbest Generation for the LA Times

“As of 2008,” the 49-year-old professor of English at Emory University writes in “The Dumbest Generation,” “the intellectual future of the United States looks dim.”

The way Bauerlein sees it, something new and disastrous has happened to America’s youth with the arrival of the instant gratification go-go-go digital age. The result is, essentially, a collective loss of context and history, a neglect of “enduring ideas and conflicts.” Survey after painstakingly recounted survey reveals what most of us already suspect: that America’s youth know virtually nothing about history and politics. And no wonder. They have developed a “brazen disregard of books and reading.”

Things were not supposed to be this way. After all, “never have the opportunities for education, learning, political action, and cultural activity been greater,” writes Bauerlein, a former director of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. But somehow, he contends, the much-ballyhooed advances of this brave new world have not only failed to materialize — they’ve actually made us dumber.

The problem is that instead of using the Web to learn about the wide world, young people instead mostly use it to gossip about each other and follow pop culture, relentlessly keeping up with the ever-shifting lingua franca of being cool in school. The two most popular websites by far among students are Facebook and MySpace. “Social life is a powerful temptation,” Bauerlein explains, “and most teenagers feel the pain of missing out.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Politics in General, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

NY Times Magazine Article Explores the Difficulty and Mystery of Suicide

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem,” Albert Camus wrote, “and that is suicide.” How to explain why, among the only species capable of pondering its own demise, whose desperate attempts to forestall mortality have spawned both armies and branches of medicine in a perpetual search for the Fountain of Youth, there are those who, by their own hand, would choose death over life? Our contradictory reactions to the act speak to the conflicted hold it has on our imaginations: revulsion mixed with fascination, scorn leavened with pity. It is a cardinal sin ”” but change the packaging a little, and suicide assumes the guise of heroism or high passion, the stuff of literature and art.

Beyond the philosophical paradox are the bewilderingly complex dynamics of the act itself. While a universal phenomenon, the incidence of suicide varies so immensely across different population groups ”” among nations and cultures, ages and gender, race and religion ”” that any overarching theory about its root cause is rendered useless. Even identifying those subgroups that are particularly suicide-prone is of very limited help in addressing the issue. In the United States, for example, both elderly men living in Western states and white male adolescents from divorced families are at elevated risk, but since the overwhelming majority in both these groups never attempt suicide, how can we identify the truly at risk among them?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology

G-8 Leaders Pledge to Cut Emissions in Half by 2050

Pledging to “move toward a low-carbon society,” leaders of the world’s richest nations on Tuesday endorsed the idea of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, but failed to set a short-term goal for reducing the toxic heat-trapping gases that scientists say are warming the planet.

The declaration of the so-called Group of Eight ”” the United States, Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia ”” called on developing nations like China and India to follow suit.

It drew immediate criticism from environmentalists, who said it did not go far enough.

But the leaders themselves cast the announcement as an important step forward in setting the groundwork for a binding international treaty on climate change, which is being negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations with the goal of an agreement by 2009.

“The G-8 nations came to a mutual recognition that this target ”” cutting global emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 ”” should be a global target,” Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan said in announcing the agreement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization

General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted on Monday 7th July 2008

Check it out and please note the full audio is available via this link.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Independent: Church risks split as Synod votes to ordain women bishops

The Church of England was thrown into disarray last night after its ruling body, the General Synod, rejected a series of amendments by traditionalists opposed to the ordination of women bishops. These included a proposal to create so-called “superbishops” that would have allowed clergy who object to the idea of female bishops to opt out of being administered by them.

A motion reaffirming the Church’s commitment to press ahead with the consecration of women bishops was passed late last night after more than six hours of passionate and, at times, bitter debate. The bishops voted in favour of bringing forward legislation to ordain women bishops by 28 to 12. The clergy voted in favour by 124 to 44 and the Laity by 111 to 68.

Virtually all the amendments put forward by traditionalists, which could have provided them with a variety of opt-out clauses, were struck down one by one. Their defeat raises the real possibility of schism within the Church, between those in favour of women bishops and an alliance of traditionalists, Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals who vehemently oppose the idea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Damian Thompson: The Church of England is Protestant again

A couple of hours ago, the Church of England decisively severed itself from its Catholic roots. By voting to ordain women bishops without significant safeguards for traditionalists, it reasserted its identity as a Protestant Church. Whether it will be a liberal or conservative Protestant denomination remains to be seen. But any hope of unity with Rome and the Orthodox has gone forever.

I’m not sorry. From the moment the C of E voted to ordain women priests in 1992, it cut itself off from the Catholic mainstream. But unexpectedly generous safeguards allowed traditionalists to cordon themselves off from the rest of the Church, persuading themselves that they, rather than the main body, preserved its true Catholic identity.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Living Church: English Synod Approves Legislation Allowing Female Bishops

After a tortuous legislative session marked by the defeat of 13 of 14 proposed amendments, the General Synod of the Church of England on July 7 approved legislation on how it will begin to consecrate women as bishops. The final vote occurred after 10 p.m. local time in York .

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

NY Times: The Church of England Endorses Women as Bishops

The governing body of the Anglican Church in Britain voted on Monday to approve the appointment of women as bishops, a step that appeared to risk a schism in the church in its historic homeland as the Anglican church worldwide faces one of the most serious threats to its unity in its history, over the ordination of gay clergy members.

After a debate late into the night in the city of York, the General Synod of the Church of England, an assembly that holds ultimate authority on church doctrine in Britain, voted by comfortable margins within each of the synod’s three houses ”” bishops, clergy and laity ”” to approve the consecration of women as bishops in the face of bitter opposition from traditionalists.

The vote came 16 years after the synod voted, after similarly fractious debate, to approve the ordination of women as ministers within the British church. But traditionalists unreconciled to the end of the male monopoly within the clergy revived the battle over the issue of approving women as bishops, warning that it could lead to a breakup of the church in Britain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

General Synod Vote – Initial Reaction from Forward in Faith

Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod note with regret that, despite the clear advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Exeter and other Bishops, the Prolocutor of the Province of Canterbury and the Chairman of the House of Laity and the obvious lack of consensus, the General Synod today resolved to make no meaningful provision for those in conscience unable to receive the ministry of women bishops.

There must now be a period of prayerful reflection. However, members of both the General Synod and of the Church of England will understand that actions always have consequences.

Simon Killwick
Chairman, Catholic Group in General Synod
Geoffrey Kirk
Secretary, Forward in Faith
Stephen Parkinson
Director, Forward in Faith

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)