Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bishop N.T. Wright Bishop of Durham on GAFCon

Bishop N. T. (Tom) Wright is a prolific author and somewhat of a darling among evangelical Anglicans. He is one of those increasing rarities, a true academic and an effective Bishop. He has written a thoughtful response to GAFCon, which has drawn wide criticism from supporters of the conference. While is sympathetic to what the conference sought to do he believes (as I do) that the future of Anglicanism is the Windsor Report and the Covenant which will be central to the upcoming Lambeth Conference. The paper reads in part -

"In particular, though, there is something very odd about the proposal to form a ‘Council’ and then to ask such a body to ‘authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations’ – and then, as an addition, ‘to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith’. Many Anglicans around the world intend to do that in any case, and will not understand why they need to be ‘recognised’ or ‘authenticated’ by a new, self-selected and non-representative body to which they were not invited and which will not itself, it seems be accountable to anyone else."

The paper is a couple of pages long and can be found here.

For those of you still struggeling with the alphabet soup of organizations, the Time Magazine story explaining GAFCon can be found at,8599,1819101,00.html

Bonhoeffer Quote

So much of the rhetoric surrounding the controversies of the Episcopal Church is filled with acrimony and the assigning of less than pure motives. This is true on both sides. If you followed the criticisms of my paper, "The Case for Re-alignment", on the Blog "Titus One Nine" (see below) you know how nasty it can get. We need to find a way to love and respect each other through the differences. I am convinced that this is only possible when we are willing to incarnate the self sacrificing love of Christ, especially in difficult times, with those with whom we have the greatest differences. This kind of incarnational approach is painful and very costly and yet it is the model we get from Jesus who was willing to go to the cross and die for us.

I ran across this quote the other day while preparing my sermon and thought it was significant

"That the Love of God also encloses political action, that the worldly gestalt of Christian love can therefore take in the gestalt of those fighting for self-assertion, power, success, and security, can only be comprehended there where the incarnation of love is taken seriously."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Reality and Resistance by Larry Rasmussen page 72

If you're unfamiliar with Bonhoeffer a brief biography can be found here

Speaking of Corinthians

Thanks to Mike Peters who writes "Mother Goose and Grimm".

John Howe "A More Excellent Way" in Vero Beach

Bishop John Howe (Central Florida) is an unabashed conservative who is committed to staying in the Episcopal Church. (I have know John since I was a teenager and he was one of the assistant rectors at St. Stephens Sewickley). John has endeavored to honor those who cannot stay in The Episcopal Church, while remaining faithful to his vows and the canons of the church.
Just before Paul writes the "great love chapter" of the Bible (which we know as I Corinthians 13) he writes the following: "But earnestly seek the higher gifts and I will show you a more excellent way". I think the way in which Bishop Howe is handeling the current controveries of the Episcopal Church is a more excellent way forward.

A story from the Central Florida web site can be found here -

Calvary Church Asks For Court to Appoint a Financial Monitor

Here's the Episcopal News article about the latest in the Calvary lawsuit. They are asking the court to appoint someone to make sure that diocesan assets are not moved in anticipation of the vote to leave the Episcopal Church in October.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Living Church on Final Lambeth Statement

"Canon Kearon said the final document must be faithful to the traditional indaba process. “It will therefore be descriptive of the totality of the engagement which the bishops have undertaken under God,” he wrote. “The final document must also be robust enough to describe realistically and honestly where the bishops of the Communion understand our life together to have come, and their resolve for the future.”"

(Kearon pictured above in foreground)

Read it all here -

Presiding Bishop Schedules Post-Lambeth web-cast

From Episcopal News Service:

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will
conduct a live webcast to talk about the Lambeth Conference on Thursday,
August 7 at 2 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Central, noon Mountain, 11 a.m. Pacific).

The Lambeth Conference, a once-every-decade gathering of Anglican
bishops, will be held July 16-August 3 at the University of Kent in
Canterbury, England.

The live webcast will originate from the Chapel of Christ the Lord at
the Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, New York City.

Full story:

Pirates 4, Yankees 2

My beloved, if often hapless, Bucs beat the Yankees last night before a sellout crowd of over 31,000. Lisa and I went with friends to see Paul Malhom pitch some shaky innings for Pittsburgh but eventually got the win thanks to a two run seventh inning Home Run from Pirates All Star center fielder, Nat McClouth. Beautiful night for a ball game.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

St Michael's Blog

Several weeks ago, Ray Speicher, a member of the vestry at St. Michaels (where I serve as rector) and I sat down to discuss ways to inform the parish of what is going on in the diocese and the wider church. We also wanted to create a forum for members of the parish to comment and ask questions. My blog is more regional the St. Michael's blog is intended more specifially for the parish. Ray has graciously offered to monitor a blog for the parish. (I guess this makes him the blog master!). He got it up and running yesterday and has an interesting piece by Dr. John Sparks from Grove City College about the dispute in Virginia. Thanks Ray for doing this. It looks great. A permanent link to the St. Michael's blog is to the right or you can view it here-

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bishop Ed Little "A More Honorable Way"

I have the greatest respect for Bishop Ed Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana. Ed and I have known each other since the mid-nineties when we were doing General Convention strategy for the AAC. (Seems like a long time ago!). This article appeared in the Living Church in late June. I think it contains a lot of wisdom.

London Daily Telegraph Editorial on Divided Church

"The word "historic" is too freely bandied about; but it is an accurate description of the vote of the General Synod of the Church of England to allow women bishops. It marks a decisive break with the Church's Catholic roots, more so even than when it voted to ordain women priests in 1992, which led to the departure to Rome of many Anglo-Catholics"

Read the rest here

Sir John Templeton Dies at 95

The brash and eccentric John Templeton who's religious "Nobel Prize" was given to a broad range of thinkers and religious figures has died. The New York Times obituary can be found here -

The Templeton Prize website is here-

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

NY Times on English Women Bishops

Here's the New York Times take on what is happening in England.

(Archbishop of York pictured again, looks a bit distraught)

"The vote came 16 years after the synod voted, after similarly fractious debate, to approve the ordination of women as ministers within the British church. But traditionalists unreconciled to the end of the male monopoly within the clergy revived the battle over the issue of approving women as bishops, warning that it could lead to a breakup of the church in Britain.

Read it all here

Offical Lambeth Website announced

Lambeth, the meeting of Bishops from around the Anglican Communion, which meets once every ten years, is scheduled to begin July 16. This may prove to be a momentous meeting given the turmoil in so many parts of the communion. We're all looking to see what happens with the Covenant document. The official web site is -

You can bookmark it or use the link to the right.

Baseball: Fathers, Sons, and Grandfathers Addendum

I said there would be an addendum to the father-son-grandfather baseball trip. Monday, my son Zach (22) and I went to see the Pirates play the Astros at PNC Park. Had a nice dinner and then went to the game. Pirates won 10-7 but we had to leave early when one of Zach's co-workers called to say that his car had been broken into! Nothing stolen just a broken window.

Living Church on Vote for Women Bishops in England

The Living Church reports on the vote in England. It begins -

"After a tortuous legislative session marked by the defeat of 13 of 14 proposed amendments, the General Synod of the Church of England on July 7 approved legislation on how it will begin to consecrate women as bishops. The final vote occurred after 10 p.m. local time in York ."

Read it all here

London Telegraph on Women Bishops in England

The London Daily Telegraph reports on the recent vote and controversy regarding women bishops in the Church of England. It reads in part:

"Dr Rowan Williams took to the floor of the debating chamber and said he had "not very comfortably" come to the conclusion that provisions must be made for traditionalists.

He said: "I am deeply unhappy with schemes or solutions which involve the structural humiliation of women, who are elected to the episcopate and end up haggling about the limits to their authority."

(Archbishop of York pictured above)

Read it all here.

Birthday !

On July 8th 1957 Steve and Dolly Simons gave birth to their first born, a nine + pound son . (Actually it was mostly Dolly). The dimples currently reside under the beard but I do have a little more hair on top ! Thanks to all of you who sent cards and greetings for today.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Living Church on GAFCon

Three primates who attended GAFCon addressed Church of England Clergy about the outcome of the conference. Look here

John Rodgers on GAFCon

The Rt. Rev Dr. John Rodgers (my former systematics professor and still my friend) now a retired bishop of the AMiA has written a piece about GAFCon. In part it describes what he believes has happened -

"We are not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. In essence the fellowship of confessing Anglicans took things in hand and declared that we are the true and faithful Anglicans, upholding the historic Anglican grasp of the apostolic faith, and as such we are the true representatives of the Anglican Communion."

So GAFCon has decided that they are Anglicanism and the rest of us aren't? Remember that participation was by invitation only. Well at least John seems to understand the radical nature of this claim.

Read the whole piece at -

If you need more background on GAFCon look here

Sunday, July 6, 2008

LA Times on Thomas Jefferson's Deism

Interesting piece about Jefferson's skepticism of orthodox Christianity. I think The Times got it right.,0,7730914.story

Post-Gazette on the use of Technology in Worship

An interesting piece in this morning's paper. I'm not sure what to make of "virtual church".

A. M. Ramsey on Anglicanism

John Downey at the cathedral in Erie and I have been exchanging emails on the subject of purity and unity in Anglicanism. John's point is unless we take the view that one church is right and therefore the others are wrong or deficient, then this (Anglican) ecclesiology has a continuing witness and vocation until unity is completed by God's grace. I think he's right and if one builds a church based on theological purity there is a risk of a certain self-righteous exclusivity. It's not that doctrine is unimportant but we have to acknowledge that its unlikely that any church or individual has it all right. As I once heard Paul Zahl say, "We're going to be surprised at who's in heaven when we get there".

John also sent me this quote from Michael Ramsey (Written before he was Archbisop of Canterbury).

For while the Anglican church is vindicated by its place in history, with a strikingly balanced witness to Gospel and Church and sound learning, its greater vindication lies in its pointing through its own history to something of which it is a fragment. Its credentials are its incompleteness, with the tension and travail in its soul. It is clumsy and untidy, it baffles neatness and logic. For it is sent not to commend itself as 'the best type of Christianity,' but by its very brokenness to point to the universal Church wherein all have died.

The Gospel and the Catholic Church 1936 Chapter 13 page 220

This is a wonderful book which I read years ago and plan on rereading soon. It's out of print but Amazon has used ones. Thanks John for the thoughts and the quote.

If anyone else has quotes about the nature of Anglicanism send them in and I'll post them as well.