Archive for June, 2008

Bishop N.T. Wright On GAFCON

From here:

‘I spent this last week in a great celebration of the love and power of God
in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I confirmed many new believers. I installed a
dynamic new rector in a key parish. I assisted in consecrating a wonderful
man as the new Bishop of Stockport. I spent four days in prayer and pastoral
conversations with twenty-seven ordinands, listening to their breathtaking
stories of God’s power, guidance, and (in some cases) profound healing, and
praying with them for their new ministries. All this climaxed in two
wonderful ordination services, with great crowds, great singing, great
praying, and above all a delight in and celebration of God’s presence, God’s
gospel, and the power of God’s Spirit to love Jesus and make his good news
known in our diocese and parishes.

So it was with great interest that I heard that many Anglicans had spent
that same week in Jerusalem – which has been, over the years, a special
place for me, too – to celebrate the same gospel, the same God, the same
love and power of Jesus, the same dynamic and life-changing message through
the work of the Spirit. As I read the GAFCON communiqué, phrase after phrase
said to me ‘How wonderful that my brothers and sisters gathered there were
joining with me in this great adventure we call God’s kingdom!’

I warmed, too, to GAFCON’s statement of our contemporary context. I have
long believed and taught that our new century presents new problems
(secularism, pluralism, the decline of modernity with nothing to put in its
place, and much else) and that this means a great, fresh opportunity for the
gospel. I have been saying for years that, in this context, we shouldn’t be
surprised that serious challenges arise from within the church itself,
offering the world a pseudo-gospel, a caricature of the world-changing love
of God in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, an attempt to hold the
outward form of godliness while denying its real power. I have believed and
taught for years that we will have to work through these challenges if,
instead of merely being distracted and having our gospel energies soaked up,
we are to come through with the fresh message our culture (and individuals
within it!) so badly need. If mission is our priority – as it certainly is
for me and my diocese – then we should expect to face serious theological
and moral challenges, and to have to overcome them in prayer and deeper
study of scripture.

Continue reading ‘Bishop N.T. Wright On GAFCON’

Another View From Western Louisiana – Bobby Jackson Kennedy On GAFCON

Bobby is a member of Grace, Monroe.

What The Gafcon Statement Means For Western Louisiana

If you haven’t already, read it all. Of course, the primary question for Western Louisiana is the same as for all Dioceses still in the Episcopal Church who have worked to maintain fellowship and communion with all Anglican provinces within the Communion, is will we do what is necessary to be recognized by the Primates Council of the GAFCON movement. Will we adopt the Jerusalem statement? Will we separate spiritually from the Episcopal Church and not recognize the spiritual leadership of apostate bishops, including our own Presiding Bishop? What does it mean to say:

“We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.”

It seems to me, from the statement, that Network dioceses, being a part of the Common Cause Partnership, are recognized already. Western Louisiana never joined the Network. That very well could change because of its wider recognition. Moreover, if the Primate of Tanzania signs onto this thing and joins the Primatial Council, will he make a space for the Communion Partners?

Yet, these same questions persist for places like Central Florida, South Carolina, and other network Dioceses, that being how can one accept the GAFCON statement and yet remain in the Episcopal Church? Is that even possible? Considering that only Fort Worth and Pittburgh are poised to make a break for it, with San Joaquin already having done so, what are the other Network dioceses going to do? What, indeed, do they have to do to maintain fellowship with other GAFCON jurisdictions?

On the whole, this appears to be a statement that promises more of the same. Certain provinces do not recognize ECUSA or the Anglican Church of Canada as being in Communion with them. The statement says border crossings are okay, which is a post-hoc justification for what is already happening.

What would have been truly helpful in this statement would be a recognition that Dioceses are the basic unit of the church, and to base future interventions solely on whether or not the local bishop is recognized by GAFCON. That would have given everyone a clear path to follow and possible a move toward something different. Without it, the chaos will likely continue.

It will be an interesting Lambeth in light of this statement, however. I think Leander Harding is right in that the initiative in this situation has shifted. The fence sitters are being forced off the fence. Canterbury has flat run out of time in this crisis.

A Frightening Thought, Then Hope

My daughter Sarah came home from Camp Hardtner today. We had our debriefing regarding camp amidst cooking Carrie’s birthday dinner of blackened talapia and birthday cake.

She shared with me the very scary statistic that, at the church camp for the Dioceses of Western Louisiana and Louisiana, in her cabin, she was the only girl out of 11 other girls, aged anywhere from 11 to 13, whose parents were still married.

After more sharing of what went on at camp, I found out that, during first camp with Caroline, my mother “rocked”, according to the counselors, as far as a grandmother participating versus some parents who didn’t participate all that much.

Then, I found out that Fr. Freddie (Fred) Duvall, a counselor when I was a senior and a fellow resident of Cannon Hall at Sewanee, organized a Eucharist at 7:30 each morning for the counselors during Camp. I also found out that Sarah overheard this and attended Eucharist each day, as the lone camper among the counselors, until the last day, when, somewhat at her insistence of jostling some people out of bed, her entire cabin went to morning Eucharist. During these morning Eucharists, Freddie would have her participate by reading the Prayers of the People, perhaps a reading from the lectionary on some days, and would have her come stand next to him at the altar as he celebrated.

Those of you who have read my blog have known for some time about Sarah and the spiritual gifts she has. I stand in awe of how much my child has grown and knowing that this surely could not be my influence on her life, but the Lord’s and possibly their mother’s. Amazingly, I see the same amazing growth in Caroline and her spirituality as well. The main thing she was looking forward to was having chapel in the pool when she went off to First Camp.

But, so I don’t discount myself so much, I think it is a good thing that my daughters draw pictures for me to take to men in prison to share the love of Jesus with these men, and that, unless I’m in prison, they are with their Dad in the pew while their Mom is in the choir, while he is on his knees, every Sunday. But, that fails to account for the results. Praise God that my children know HIM! Even more praise that they are, in their own way, leading others to Him.

Preliminary Word On GAFCON

Well, someone emailed and asked if I would be commenting on GAFCON. However I, like most of the Anglican blogosphere, is merely watching with anticipation. On my part, I do await some word from my Bishop and my friend Canon Gregg Riley on what is going on over there. I’m sure we’ll hear something soon.

However, reading Akinola’s speech, I tend to think that both the Communion Partners and the Common Cause will all be part of this strategy. It wouldn’t take much for American diocese to follow the example of a certain Canadian diocese in recognizing themselves to be in Communion with those that have left – like the Diocese of San Joaquin. Loyalty to a particular institution or not is secondary to loyalty to Jesus Christ, our Lord. One thing appears to be certain; while GAFCON will not declare a new Communion or expressly disavow communion with Canterbury, new relationships will be forged at this gathering. Networking among those dedicated to Catholic Anglicanism, setting aside strategy for a bit for the sake of the Spirit.

Perhaps this may all be like Lewis’ vision of heaven and hell in the great divorce. Some will continue to come down to the plains to talk to the ghosts, some will not. Some, indeed, will specialize in that kind of work. What must be rejected is the demands of the loveless and self-imprisoned that “they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power, that Hell should be able to veto Heaven.” Or, in other words, don’t let them steal you joy. Or, in other words, don’t let the bastards get you down. Just keep on pointing to Christ, the best way you can, let all love come from love of God and not love of self or even love of others. It may have a “grand sound” as Lewis puts it to say one should not accept salvation that leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But, Jesus said you sometimes have to shake the dust of your feet and leave town, not in abandonment of persons, but in moving on the mission of the Church. As Lewis said, you don’t want to make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the universe.

Well, the wife and kids want to watch a movie. More later.

A Word About GAFCON

Episcopal Life just gets it wrong. Among other current Episcopalians there, Bishop MacPherson and Canon Gregg Riley (rector of Grace, Monroe) are at GAFCON.

Lefties Are Not Happy With The Louisiana Legislature Over Intelligent Design Law

I got an email from a lefty friend of mine titled “Emergency Help Requested In Louisiana”. The help requested? Send letters to Bobby Jindal decrying this bill and asking him not to sign it.

Frankly, considering the gaps in macro-evolution theory, science either needs to admit this theory is not perfect and “we just don’t know” or make room for other ideas. But, in liberalism in its current form, there is no room for other ideas. Darwinism is the underpinning for the ideological left, meaning that if we can perfect our environment, we can perfect man.

I’ve known too many people to believe we can ever perfect man.

Watched An Old Movie Last Night – The Last Supper

Where liberals kill their conservative dinner guests. Pretty funny.

So, What Is This “Public Narrative” Stuff For General Convention

Here is a syllabus for a class at Harvard on it.

My thought? This is the new strategy to control the conversation and obtain desired results. Either victory or delay.

Fabian socialism – just keep nibbling until you get what you want.

Thomas Sowell On Mascot Politics

Read it all. Unfortunately, this is something we see a great deal of from the Episcopal left. This article also reminds me of a local guy who left the Episcopal Church after GC2003 who was one of the founding board members of the local AIDS ministry.