Daily Archives: July 1, 2012

Open Thread: Tell us about an interesting experience you have had recently with an Opinion

Opinions can be received in mixed ways, they can be disruptive, helpful, debate-forming, but they may also be deeply misleading and cause controversy. Is it appropriate to have opinions? Might they be dangerous? Do you tell other people about your opinions or do you keep them to yourself? Are you ashamed of your opinions or proud of them? Should other people be allowed to have opinions or should they be avoided at all costs?
Tell us about a recent experience of yours, and here to get you started is a helpful guide to the process which may help you form an opinion:
[blockquote]Most of us enter a number of discussions each day where ideas are floated around, topics are debated, and controversial issues are discussed. To have a solid basis for your opinion on these issues and topics, you should know how to form an opinion on the subject, and here are a few steps which may help:

1. Choose the subject, or issue you feel the need to have an opinion about. This may be anything from whether to fish live baits or artificial lures, the best basketball team, or which religion (or none) you will follow. Opinions come in many levels of importance.

2. Look at the process of forming an opinion as an internal argument with yourself, a mental debate, so to speak. This means looking at all sides of the issue, pro and con.

3. Learn about the subject. You may be satisfied to read only one article at an online website, or you may research for hours, but until you understand all of the sides of this hypothetical argument, your opinion should not become a conviction.[/blockquote]
Learn more… and if you feel confident to share your experience of having an opinion please feel free to comment below

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Dr Peter Carrell: The Open Church and its Enemies

One of my heroes is Karl Popper. Philosopher extraordinaire, some think he is one of the giants of all time, others think he was a bit of a fraud, including one of my philosophy teachers at the University of Canterbury where Popper once taught. One of his great works, in two parts, was The Open Society and Its Enemies. He actually wrote it while living here in Christchurch. His specific philosophical angle was the folly of esteeming Plato, let alone Hegel and Marx as exponents of historicism. Politically he was railing against totalitarianism. Well, who wouldn’t in the midst of World War 2, especially when teaching in a backwater, having been driven away from one’s native Austria. Constructively, Popper argued for the open society underpinned by liberal democracy. There is no other form of society which removes fear and provides genuine social and economic freedom. Society, whether in large or small form, must be as transparent as possible, and tolerant of dissent. That includes the church. If we are free in Christ then we are free to disagree with one another. Ergo, blogging!

So it is with some alarm that the Church Some Would Have Me Not Criticise From a Distance has embarked on a pathway in which some of its bishops may be disciplined for … dissenting! But, please, do not take my word for it, read Mark Harris, Allan Haley and commenters at Titus One Nine.

What do you think? The beginning of the end of TEC as a liberal democracy or the end of the beginning of TEC as an expression of the Platonism Karl Popper attacked? Read it all

The Rev’d Dr Peter Carrell is Director of Theology House and Director of Education for the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand. He is also known as Anglican Down Under

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Mark Harris: Say it isn't so…. seven bishops charged with misconduct

What ever else is going on, if the charge of misconduct is that of filing a brief that is wrong, then we need to stand with these bishops. Strange as it seems I have sometimes said stupid or wrong things and have even gotten together with others who agreed with me and worked to a common cause. But stupidity, wrongheadedness and bad opinion is not misconduct. Read it all

The Rev’d Canon Mark Harris is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Delaware

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Bishop Bruce MacPherson – A Prescient Diocesan Address from 2008

Some, I am certain, will argue about the actions of Bishop Duncan and some of the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and seek to justify the action of the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops. My argument is not whether or not he did something, but the fact that we have a new rule of order that has evolved, and it has not been brought about by the Councils of the Church nor is in keeping with Canonical structure. As I have shared before, this is a precedent that is a danger to the dignified order of The Episcopal Church as we have known it, and this must be corrected.
During the past year we have had several matters that have been handled by the House of Bishops that have disturbed a number of bishops within the House, as well as many clergy and laity across the Church.
To begin with, two bishops, the Rt. Rev’d William J. Cox (retired) and the Rt. Rev’d John-David Schofield, (Bishop of San Joaquin) were deposed earlier this year when a vote was held under the direction of the Presiding Bishop. This action was seen by many, including me, as contrary to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention [2006], as Title IV.Canon 9.Section 2 specifically states that if the action is taken by the House of Bishops, then it must be “by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote, shall give its consent, the Presiding Bishop shall depose the Bishop from the Ministry ”¦” (Note: “majority of the whole number,” not just those in attendance) Additionally, precluded in this action was the inhibition of these two men as the three senior bishops of the Church failed to provide consent to the Presiding Bishop to inhibit them. The actions taken in both of these circumstances were done through a pre-emptive interpretation of the Constitution and Canons.

Following this action, which met much opposition post House of Bishops meeting, the Presiding Bishop called a special convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin for the purpose of electing a new bishop, an individual picked and nominated by her. This action, the calling of a convention by the Presiding Bishop, was also in violation of the Constitution and Canons of General Contention [2006] as it was done under the precept that there was no Ecclesiastical Authority as the Presiding Bishop had declared the Standing Committee invalid. This action, conflicts with The Constitution and Canons as they provide very clearly that the Standing Committee is the Ecclesiastical Authority when there is not a bishop, and in this particular case the Diocese of San Joaquin had a duly elected body to fill this responsibility.

I am saddened to report that this behaviour did not end here, as during the most recent meeting of the House of Bishops in Salt Lake City, the deposition of a third bishop was raised. The Rt. Rev’d Robert W. Duncan (Bishop of Pittsburgh) was deposed on the grounds of “abandoning the Communion” by virtue of a roll call vote with 88 bishops in favour and 35 opposed. I voted in opposition to the resolution to depose. Much time, in fact a tremendous amount of time was spent on this matter, which had been added to our original agenda. Also added was a “hearing” on this with the Council of Advice, and in my capacity as Chair of this body, presided over this 1/1-2 hour session. (I might point out that if you look at the vote from the standpoint of diocesan bishops, that is bishops with jurisdiction, the vote was actually 50 to 30.)

There was much debate over the rightness, or better stated, the wrongness of this entire allegation, and there was considerable opposition to the charge against Bishop Duncan. The resistance to the action being taken was centered more on what was seen as pre-emptive action pertaining to the interpretation of the Constitution and Canons of General Convention [2006] and failure to provide due process. The pre-emptive action as applied to the Canons, and failure for proper process, rest in the fact that Bishop Duncan was never inhibited, nor did he have the right of a trial made available to him.

The ruling to place this before the House for deposition was made by the Presiding Bishop, and as I have previously written to the diocese, I was one of the bishops that challenged the ruling based upon the irregularities stated above. This required a two-thirds majority to overrule, and thus did not carry. This was subsequently followed by a request for a roll call vote being asked for by nine bishops, myself included. These things were not carried out in the form of a rebellious mood, but rather, with deep concern for the direction the Church is moving with total disregard for proper order, adherence to the Constitution and Canons, and a precedent being set that will enable the disruption of any bishop or diocese that does not subscribe to the present direction of General Convention or the Office of the Presiding Bishop.

Some, I am certain, will argue about the actions of Bishop Duncan and some of the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and seek to justify the action of the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops. My argument is not whether or not he did something, but the fact that we have a new rule of order that has evolved, and it has not been brought about by the Councils of the Church nor is in keeping with Canonical structure. As I have shared before, this is a precedent that is a danger to the dignified order of The Episcopal Church as we have known it, and this must be corrected.

Read it all from here

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Robert Munday: Have you ever been stung by a dead bee?

A sociologist has observed that one sign of a dying organization is that it will try to exercise increasingly tighter control over its shrinking membership.

Average Sunday attendance across the Episcopal church in 2010 was 657,831 in the United States. That compares to 856,579 in 2000 (a 23% decline in only ten years). In contrast the Anglican Church in North America now numbers over 1000 congregations and reported an increase in Average Sunday Attendance of 15% in one year (2010-2011). The ACNA also reported that 13% of its congregations were in the process of planting a church during 2011.

My purpose is not to make much of these statistics other than to observe that all the signs of life seem to be on one side. Meanwhile the Episcopal Church is headed toward a General Convention in Indianapolis next week where it is sure to approve rites for blessing same sex marriages. The main reason this won’t provoke a sizable exodus is that there aren’t that many conservatives left to leave. There is a disagreement not merely over the denomination’s budget but even how the budget should be presented and by whom. Then, for good measure, there is an official “Lament Over the Doctrine of Discovery” being thrown in, complete with prayers by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. For the uninitiated, this means repenting for the fact that European settlers came to America.

The “Lament” is being described as:
[blockquote]A prayerful gathering, in a Sacred Circle,
with readings, stories, prayers, songs, reflection,
giving and receiving;
In acknowledgment of and response to the tragic consequences
of the Doctrine of Discovery;[/blockquote]
Just for fun, try Googling the term “Sacred Circle” and notice how many of the results refer to anything even remotely Christian. (Hint: it’s a nice round number, i.e., zero.)

Read it all

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A Prayer for Sunday 1st July 2012

O God, whom the pure in heart alone can see: Give us such singleness of eye and of heart that we may truly seek thee; and seeking, find thee; and finding, grow in the knowledge of thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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A Reading for Sunday 1st July 2012

So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Acts 17:22-34

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A Letter to the Clergy and People of the TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh from the Bishop-Elect

The [same-sex union blessings] liturgies that have been proposed do, in fact, articulate such a set of conclusions. They expound a theology of blessing and implement it through sacramental rites. Since the substance of this theology, and the mode of its expression, are among the questions that belong to our inquiry, for your bishop to license the use of these rites before we have had a chance to open together the questions they conclude, would be to turn a deliberative process into mere talk about things that had already been decided. The question of whether these, or other similar rites, may or may not have a place in our common life needs to be considered as part of our discussion, not made moot before we have even begun.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops