Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Doctrinal Indifferentism"

The Bishop of Durham, +N.T. Wright has had an exclusive interview with Ruth Gledhill. Unquoted passages are apparently paraphrases.

For Wright, the lines seem pretty clear, and guess who ought to get short shrift?

Windsor as a tool of punishment:

The Primates have little choice but to follow Windsor at the meeting next week. And if Windsor is followed, then Gene Robinson and those who consecrated him should voluntarily absent themselves from the councils of the Communion, including the Lambeth Conference, unless they express regret in the terms set out in Windsor.
Will ++Peter Akinola be expected to follow Windsor to the letter, too? Better let the churches in Virginia know.

On The Episcopal Church:

. . .too many in TEC are guilty of "doctrinal indifferentism."


On America and +Gene Robinson:

"There are many in America who are trying to have their cake and eat it, who are doing the schismatic thing and then accusing those who object of being schismatic."
In America there are dozens of breakaway bits and pieces, it is confusing and very messy. It is very American. But it is very unhelpful to the cause of the Church and the Gospel. As for what would happen to Gene Robinson? Pass. I really do not think there is a good answer to that one. The Windsor Report quotes the Archbishop of Canterbury himself saying in 2003 that if Robinson were in most other provinces of the Anglican Communion, he certainly could not be a bishop. As a priest he would be under discipline because of what has happened in terms of his marriage and partnership. In most provinces he could not have been a bishop. Therefore to ask other provinces to come to Lambeth and accept Gene Robinson as one of their number is a very big ask.

Ouch. Well, we always were a bunch of rebellious, misbehaving colonists, weren't we, doing the "schismatic thing. . ."

On General Convention and ++Katharine Jefferts Schori:
"At Dromantine the Primates said they wanted Ecusa to answer some questions. Ecusa did what they did last summer, which was not to answer the questions. They gave half an answer to two of them, and no answer at all to the third, which was about authorising blessings. Bishop Jefferts Schori herself authorised same-sex blessings in her former diocese in 2003, so she is one of the bishops who did what Lambeth specifically asked not to be done. Whenever she has been asked to comment on that, she says she stands where she always did. That is a real problem. That is the real issue. The fact that she is a woman is not the point."
"The fact that she is a woman is not the point." Me thinks thee dost protest too much.

"Almost everybody involved with this question recognises that there is no way forward from here without pain. It is painful for everybody. There are not going to be winners and losers. There are going to be losers catergory one, two, three, four and five. When there is some kind of parting of the ways it is always painful for everybody. But I do think there is hope that the rootedness of the Anglican Communion in Scripture and tradition, that by doing its reasoning work wisely, this will enable it to come up strong after this crisis. Even if it means a bit of pruning, the plant will be healthier for it. And I rather hope that anything that needs pruning will not be lost but grafted back on sooner or later."

Gledhill notes that +N. T. Wright is very close with the Arhbishop of Canterbury.

Looks like we're about to feel the sharp edge of the pruning shears.

Too many of us are trying to "have our cake and eat it too?"

There are prices to pay for standing up for and with the marginalized. We may be about to pay them. We're in good company. Remember the likes of Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Francis of Assisi, and. . .oh, yes. . .that guy, Jesus Christ?

Honestly, Bishop Wright, I'm not sure I want the cake that is the Anglican Communion if this is how we are to be treated for following what we see are Gospel principles. . . and for bearing the wrath of our companion Christians for doing so. Call me guilty of suffering "doctrinal indifferentism" as you like. I don't pretend I could hold a candle to your great mind or scholarship.

But I will say that the honest risks we have taken in standing with our faithful LGBT brothers and sisters and a duly-elected and consecrated bishop of The Episcopal Church hardly seem indifferent to me, doctrinally or otherwise.

Jim Naughton has sharper words than mine at daily episcopalian, and Marshall goes more in depth at Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside. Mark Harris has just posted, too. And so has Raspberry Rabbit. And now, Fr. Jake! The Anglican Scotist further deconstructs some of Wright's arguments.


KJ said...

Thanks for the summary, Richard.

If we are not shorn, how do we effectively reach out to those who have been marginalized under the auspices of "proper" provinces?

Anonymous said...

There are prices to pay for standing up for and with the marginalized. We may be about to pay them. We're in good company.

So be it. My bishop is a "Windsor bishop". He claims he will not leave TEC. We shall see.

Grandmère Mimi

ioper8 said...

Let's keep this simple. The Anglican Communion has repeatedly stated its position regarding TEC's actions. TEC has not substantively responded with actions that would satisfy the Communion's requirements.
Now the Communion deigns to follow through with what was promised and TEC cries foul. So be it. Let TEC show that they have the courage of their convictions. But don't whine when the road splits.

Anonymous said...

NT Wright has been a fairly stalwart and outspoken proponent of ordaining women for quite some time.


Therefore, I believe that he is not, on a concious level, attacking Bishop Katherine because of her gender. I think he's wrong about Bishop Katherine's theology, but he's thinks he's sincere when he says that "The fact that she is a woman is not the point."

I am a Methodist, I speak as an outside observer of Episcopalian matters. I pray that progressive Episcopalians and Anglicans do not make the same fatal compromises progressive Methodists have made.

Incidentally, in my denomination, some of the most conservative clergy are women.

-Whit http://the-methotaku.livejournal.com/