Thursday, May 17, 2007

Christ Ascends, Others Descend. . .

. . .into nastiness. It's all over the place today. Here are three examples, for starters:

Mark Harris reflects on a particularly appalling set of statements to the press by Archbishop Akinola, who resorts to the well worn abusive language of the religious right during a recent, but now bygone era in this country.

Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh quotes Athanasius, demonizing everyone who disagrees with his position, but then says we ought to be prayed for. I guess that's the "pastoral" piece. I'm glad to know now where I stand. Have to dig my pitchfork out of the back closet!

Fr. Jake writes on new rumblings from the Diocese of Fort Worth for "Alternative Primatial Oversight," when they've really already left. . . except they can't really leave. Katie also weighs in with some good, down-home Texas charm.

But I have to say this is all getting very old very fast.

What is clear to me:
  • The schism is now unfolding (I still prefer the term "unraveling") in unexpected and messy ways. CANA, AMiA, the ACN, and the host of other alphabet-soup networks are going to be competing in the coming months for the pieces along with archbishops of the Global South. I'm glad I don't have to referee that game. I wonder if anybody will want to?
  • Please, no more talk of "impaired" communion with the Archbishop of Nigeria (and, hence, presumably the Church of Nigeria). Except for the grace of God, we are out of communion. Period. Speaking personally, Peter Akinola would be welcome at table in the church I serve, but it is clear I would not be welcome at his. No worries. That puts me in plenty of good company, it seems.
  • The Diocese of Fort Worth is no longer part of the Episcopal Church. Well, that's a no-brainer. They have rejected, both in writing and in action, our duly elected leadership and the authority of General Convention, and they have deliberately severed financial relationship with the rest of us. In a neat world, presentments would very much be in order here. But our world is far from neat. It's another ugly mess that only promises to get uglier.
  • Nobody can say at this point that the shipwrecked Anglican Communion looks or behaves any better than the rest of the broken world we live in. With various men in mitres now shouting, "Rally to me!" whatever remaining threads of unity on the Good Ship Anglican are now broken, at least at the official level. Praise God that the Good News of Christ and communion doesn't all reside at the official level!
  • Time to move on with the real work of the Church and the Risen and Ascended Christ. This is the last post you'll be hearing from me on the subject of schism for awhile. Our House of Bishops had it right in the spirit of their response to the Primates over the Threat of Schism Game: No thank you. We have more urgent matters of faith, hope, and love in Christ before us at the present time.
Let the rest of them go, get on with it -- whatever "it" must be -- and bid them peace.

As for me and this household of faith, we turn to the Ascended Christ.


Jane R said...

Right on, Richard.

Archbishop Ndungane said it well the other day. Note: he did go into a fair amount of historical-political-theological detail in the body of his speech, but the conclusion is what matters the most to me, and, I suspect, what will endure for many Anglicans and other Christians.

Love from all of us at St. Mary's House.

June Butler said...

As for me and this household of faith, we turn to the Ascended Christ.

And they all said, "Amen".

Well, many of us say it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll say Amen to that too, Richard.

No, I'll *sing* Amen to that! Even better, I'll sing it to the most gorgeous Amen ever composed: that by Brahms for his Op. 30 motet, "Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren" ("Let Nothing Ever Grieve Thee"). Seems an appropriate text these days, and that Amen is untopable.

One of these days on a trip north from SoCal, I hope to stop in at COOS in Mill Valley. Thanks for your blog.

R said...


You'd be welcome anytime!