Tuesday roundup of reactions to ++Rowan's reflections

UPDATED: see below, including Chicago Consultation

Reactions from evangelical, conservative Episcopalians/Anglicans and others to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Reflections on the actions of The Episcopal Church General Convention actions for full inclusion of gay, lesbian, and transgender persons in the life and ministry of the church:

David Ould, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, writes at his blog:

The tragedy of this reflection is that ultimately there is nothing new. It’s just same old, same old. The Communion is no better off for what Williams has written. Nothing has changed. TEC and the Canadian church are still left to their own devices and the institutions of the Communion remain ineffective to stop them. Once again, Williams has not given us a way forward but simply described the options available. But we already knew them.

Fulcrum, an evangelical Anglican site hosts a forum of responses to Archbishop Williams essay:
On first reading, the Archbishop of Canterbury's response to General Convention is very clear, wise and helpful. ~Graham Kings

It's also worth pointing out that Williams' approach is clearly designed to encourage reform in the Episcopal Church rather than punish it." If so then is it not, after all the water that has passed under the bridge, incredibly na￯ve? Who honestly believes that TEC will reform? Is that even a seriously considered outcome of all this? ~David Ould

First of all, the Reflections ... is offensive to partnered gay clergy already in this Church of England by telling them that they cannot represent the Church. Thus, if there was honesty and integrity all around, there would be mass resignations and evictions. Secondly, the argument is tortured (again) and contradictory, and indeed comes to nothing. I have commented on this side of the matter, because if this can be buried, then the theological/ ethical argument about homosexual people in ministry can be better addressed. ~The Pluralist

Nashotah House Theological Seminary Dean and President, Dr. Robert Munday writes from the conservative point of view:

Regarding the Archbishop's delay in issuing his response, I have no doubt that he has spent most of the past ten days laboring and consulting with trusted advisers on this statement. It might well be the defining statement of his career. But when it comes to the actual effect this statement might have on the Communion he is supposed to lead, the saying that comes to mind is, "The mountain labored and brought forth a mouse." The statement is thoroughly considered, carefully crafted, finely nuanced--and, in the end, says very little and accomplishes even less.

When a sizable majority in both houses of the Episcopal Church's General Convention passed resolutions ending restraint in the matter of consecrating non-celibate homosexuals to the episcopate and agreeing to provide a "generous pastoral response" (i.e., blessing marriages) for gay and lesbian couples, it was not a matter of making empty statements. There are real bishops and deputies who are coming away from the General Convention intending to act on those resolutions.

There is nothing in Rowan Williams' statement that would deter those in the liberal camp from acting on those resolutions; and his words are cold comfort to conservatives who have been deeply wounded by their passage, and who will be further wounded and alienated when their intent is carried out.

Peter Ould, chair of Redeemed Lives UK, enthuses Rowan Williams has made "an absolutely unequivocal endorsement (for the moment) of the traditional theology on sexual activity and a conservative biblical anthropology."

Nicholas Knisely thinks it's all about Rome.

Thinking Anglicans has updated links to reactions. TA has an even more recent update here.

More reactions here.

UPDATE:
Interfaith Voices reports on radio here.

The Chicago Consultation responds:

In his statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the entire Communion, including provinces in parts of the world where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people face serious criminal penalties and even death. We hope and pray that the Archbishop’s strong condemnation of prejudice against GLBT people, and his call to penitence for our inconsistencies on these issues, will embolden Anglicans across the world to stand against hatred and discrimination when they encounter it in their midst.

Read it all below:

CHICAGO, IL., July 28, 2009--The Chicago Consultation released this statement from its co-convener, Ruth Meyers, in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflections on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention. Meyers is the Hodges Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific:

During General Convention, the Episcopal Church was pleased to welcome many international visitors, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. We are glad that he felt generously welcomed and are grateful that he experienced first-hand the Episcopal Church’s deep and abiding commitment to the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In his statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the entire Communion, including provinces in parts of the world where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people face serious criminal penalties and even death. We hope and pray that the Archbishop’s strong condemnation of prejudice against GLBT people, and his call to penitence for our inconsistencies on these issues, will embolden Anglicans across the world to stand against hatred and discrimination when they encounter it in their midst.

We also urge all Anglicans, including the Archbishop, to regard the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the body of Christ as nothing less than a Gospel mandate and a requirement of our baptismal vows. To understand this issue as simply one of civil liberties or human rights—to which the Gospel also calls us—does grave injustice to our sisters and brothers in Christ and our fundamental understanding of baptismal theology.

The Archbishop raises important questions about how the Anglican Communion can best structure itself and continue to develop Anglican doctrine. The Episcopal Church has a long, albeit imperfect, history of developing theology and doctrine to support fully including women, people of color, and GLBT people in the life of the church. We can contribute this valuable experience to the Communion, and we look forward to working together with our fellow Anglicans around the globe as we continue discerning God’s call for our common life and mission.

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. We believe that our baptismal covenant requires this.

The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives that will rid the church of this sin.

Comments (7)

Here's the thing: there has been a great deal of talk *about* GLBTs and very little talking *to* them.

There is much too much of a "them vs us" attitude. The thing is, we are all Christians, we are all created in teh image and likeness of God.

Oh yes, anyone who is GLBT is as much created in the Imagio Dei as is any straight person.

What I think is real shame about ABC's lack of leadership is this. Instead of allowing the WWAC to wallow in the same old same old, he has not led us forth to fed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, slake the thirsty.

The WWAC continues to argue over who can and who cannot participate in the full life of the church while every 3 seconds a child dies from the effects of poverty. Every 9 seconds a woman is raped or abused.
25 million people, at least, have died from AIDS.

What we said at General Convention is that all God's children have a voice in the choir and it is up to God and not straight people to decide who is or is not in God's choir because that is up to God alone.

And just maybe, if we could just bring ourselves to stop this endless debate where the saem people say the same things over and over and over, and concentrate on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, etc, we might discover that the Holy Spirit worked within us to bring us to a place where we chose to celebrate what we have in common.

Sister Gloriamarie Amalfitano

To think that any God loving/seeking Episcopalian or Anglican/anywhere in the WORLD would look to those in leadership who would exclude or harm, demonize, demean, persecute and marginalize us is not realistic.

In order to make some of us feel worthy enough to receive the Gifts of God by accepting self-loathing, defective religious teachings or fantasy ¨healings¨ is dead wrong (dimwitted) and unacceptable.

Those of us, who are also the LGBT ¨people of God¨ and who have prayed (or screamed out to God) to live honorably and righteously, non-addictively and serve God and others certainly aren´t much interested in lesser outside opinions about our relationship with God.

I suggest the various ¨experts¨ such as Dr Williams, +Drexel Gomez and +Henri Orombi, on the quality of my Soul and my relationship with God, go fish and tend their own glaring character defects.

The Covenant with God is made REAL and whole by my Baptism and in my direct responsiblity/accountabilitybefore God...God created me to be the authentic me (and go from there).

Dr. Williams, thanks be God my character and salvation are not up to you or any of those to whom you pander.

Given that we are human, we are going to make errors.

In this context, we can make errors of inclusion, or errors of exclusion.

My strong preference is that the errors we make err in the direction of affirming God's welcoming grace and love for everyone. I don't believe that there is anyone God rejects from full participation in grace, and if I'm mistaken, that's a mistake I'm content to live -- or die -- with.

(Moderator's note: thanks for the post, Gramina. But please use your full name next time.)

You know, I've been hearing how TEC is going to be tossed out of the Anglican Communion for about my entire adult life and a good part of my childhood too. I'm so tired of the rest of the Anglican Communion worrying about what we do instead of what's wrong in their own houses. Good gosh, clergy of the African Anglican Church actually assisted in the massacres in Rawanda. Anyway, the awful truth is they will never ask us to leave the Communion because they need our money to support them. Maybe we should leave and that would allow them to focus on their own failings.

Chicago Consultation statement generating considerable comment:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003924.html#comments

Nashotah House Theological Seminary Dean and President, Dr. Robert Munday:

agreeing to provide a "generous pastoral response" (i.e., blessing marriages) for gay and lesbian couples, it was not a matter of making empty statements. There are real bishops and deputies who are coming away from the General Convention intending to act on those resolutions. ... Conservatives who have been deeply wounded by their passage, and who will be further wounded and alienated when their intent is carried out.

In what sort of twisted causality does one unknown couple GETTING MARRIED "wound and alienate" someone else?

TEC preaches a SAVING Victim. Munday seems to preach his own "victimization", and little else.

JC Fisher

Sitting at my desk in England I find it increasingly difficult not to feel depressed about the whole thing.

I cannot understand, at all, how +ABC and +NT Wright can talk repeatedly about TEC breaking from the Communion by following a DEMOCRATICALLY agreed decision and still fail to openly criticise those bishops who have openly spewed words of hate towards LGBT Christians.

Is keeping in with Africa so important that we turn a blind eye and not simply a cheek towards prelates spouting such malice? Is it a post-colonial hand-wringing that prevents any European from daring to challenge an African bishop? Is it an overriding need to be accepted by Rome?

I just don't know - can someone please enlighten me?

All I do know is that TEC embraces PEOPLE, not labels; it inclusively welcomes as did Christ who turned none away but who challenged those who would set boundaries of acceptability; it is willing to remain part of a Communion that has demonised it.

TEC - good on you all because I truly believe that if what you do is of God (and I can't see how it isn't!) then your way will survive. Why can't that request be issued - for the threats and criticism to stop and see what God's Spirit allows to remain.

Naive? Maybe. We won't know unless we gave it a chance...

From one who is Male, Straight, English, Married, Ordained and who looks forward to the day when none of those labels matter.....

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