Sunday, October 31, 2004

Conservative Persecutors Need Weekends Too

There hasn't been anything new actually new in the Anglo-Druid story, but I suppose that this has been a blessing to the anti-conservatives, who were having a little trouble getting their RPMs up up on this at first.

But they are reporting in now about how vicious and (don't forget this part) backward we "conservatives" are. Now it's probably just me, but I don't see "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" as being a particularly conservative principle. But I guess I'm out of touch.

I'll start with the Salty Vicar. It worries me a bit when people start identifying themselves with biblical condiments, because most of the popular ones-- salt, mustard-- can render your food inedible if not downright toxic in large quantities. Anyway, it seems my inner Pharisee has been outed:

Conservatives should be careful. If they get hijacked by the intemperate, they will be revealed to be... sadly human in their mob mentality, more passionate about perversion, than enthusiastic in evangelising. I submit to you, if they had the fire of the gospel, they would seek to convert those wayward druids, rather than burn and ruin them.

I'm actually on record in a few places about this one. I'm not at all happy about the injury that seemingly must be inflicted on this couple in the course of this. But I also do not see how it can be avoided. It's not an unreasonable conclusion that the Church cannot have these two representing it as its clergy.

More to the point, Rev. Salty, what are you doing about converting them? What-- nothing at all? Come on, Rev; Mr. Rev. Melnyk has offered to communicate by e-mail.

And "mob mentality"? How about the sheer delight in ferreting out the trail which our druids have so thoroughly failed to cover up?

THen we have this from Father Jake:

Answer me honestly; if the rites these two priests developed were originally a Jewish rite, or even a Muslim or Buddhist rite, would everyone be so upset? I don't think so. Christians have a built in bias against anything Pagan. And that is what this latest flap is really all about.

Well, um, the obvious difficulty with this analogy is that what was posted on the national church website was, as Ted Olsen so helpfully pointed out, a carefully crafted Anti-Jewish rite. It almost sounds like a seminary assignment:

"Write a liturgy contravening at least the first commandment. Use ritual acts denounced by at least two OT prophets."

One can at least do something with Buddhism that isn't so determinedly perverse, and one can at least pretend that Allah and YHWH are different names for the same thing. What set people off so about this "liturgy" was how an office of the national church could have the gall/stupidity to put up instructions for comitting sins that I at least thought we got out of our systems during the Babylonian Captivity.

So I have to ask you clerics: do you have a problem with you, personally, with conducting or participating in such a rite? (Not you, Al-- I know you'ld be a "happy druid".)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Texts From Rev. Rose

For the benefit of the assembled masses, I've collected a few links with statements from Rev. Rose that may (or may not-- your decision) bear upon the current matter. I have avoided statements from hostile sites (e.g. David Virtue).

As a prelude, here is the ENS announcement of Rev. Rose's appointment as head of Women's Ministries.

The following came from ECUSA Women's Ministries:
  • Letter to Prophetic Church Women: "Our own work is to seek to tell the truth, to find sacred space, both for worship and for our own sacred circles."

  • A Litany of Women's Power: Adapted by Rev. Margaret Rose for the Opening Liturgy for the Anglican Delegation to the UN/CSW;  February 27, 2004

The following is from Every Voice Network:
  • in article Mothers of invention: Women, power, and the church see the following: After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Rose started doing what feminist education has long advocated: monitor power-sharing at the highest levels by counting the number of women and minorities on the front pages of newspapers, noticing whether this number is equal to that of white men. "I can tell you that since then, the increase in the number of white men has been astronomical," she says. "There's a kind of power exercised in a way that's just despicable, and lying."

The following is from Covering Religion:
  • in article Gene Robinson’s Consecration Recalls the Debate on Women’s Ordination see the following: "Scripture has been used a lot to oppress people," said Rev. Margaret Rose, director of the Episcopal Women’s Ministries,which brings together leaders of women’s ministries from churches across the country. "Groups of people who hold that scripture is inherent and literal, take it and use it as a weapon."

The "Episcopagan" Flap

For the past few days the Anglican blogosphere (with some help from Christianity Today) has been clanging loudly over an explicitly pagan ritual posted at the main Episcopal Church website by the Women's Ministry office. The survey article has links to most of the places you would need to go to pick out the details of this, so I am going to skip that part and begin with a very quick analysis of the blog-forces involved.

Naturally, there have been plenty of people willing to take this as an excuse for their next rite of posturing about the Apostacy of ECUSA. They've fortunately been basically drowned out by other matters. The initial outrage over the 815 involvement in the episode was drowned out by the deliciously tabloid revelation that the origin of the offending material was a couple of Episcopal priests who had been quite indiscrete about how they mixed, um, their day and night jobs, and by the bloggish glee in thwarting their panicky attempts to cover their tracks. I'm guessing that this aspect is going to burn itself out soon because there doesn't seem to be much left to uncover. Their fate is in the hands of their bishop, where it must rest for now.

The other, more important line has been overshadowed by the gush of detail about neo-druids (and the inevitable need to keep correcting misunderstanding about the Gorsedd of Bards). Ted Olsen at CT has however been relentless in keeping the heat on the galling appearance of the offending rite under the ECUSA trademark, which is the keystone to the arch of this story. The whole thing would have blown over if the offending webpage had appeared on some other website, even with Ruppe-Melnyk's name on it.

And now that the blog-watchers at have pushed the whole thing to the surface, the liberal blogs are starting to join in. More on that in the next message.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Cassandra Prophecy Award Goes To

David Virtue, in his opening comments for the week following Gene Robinson's consecration:

"The Archbishop is hoping that a commission on homosexuality, Eames II, will resolve the problem. It won't. Eames II like Eames I on Women's Ordination proved singularly elusive. It is loaded with liberals and will satisfy no one except Western Liberal bishops and their acolytes. Those of us who know Archbishop Eames, know only too well the outcome of these commissions before they even meet. It will be Anglican fudge from first to last."

Virtuosity is one of the standard spots for reportage and linkage in Anglican-Land. Like many web types, however, David Virtue's analysis is heavily spun by his own perspective, which is radically conservative and more than a bit confrontational. The report is thoroughly Anglican, to be sure-- and Virtue ought to sit back a second and consider how much his preconceived distaste for the report derives from his personal deviance from the Anglican character. I also think that Virtue underestimates the subtlety of Rowan Williams' actions. What has become important about the report isn't anyone's opinion of it, but that fact that the radical liberals are refusing to do more than pay lip service to it-- and moreover, lip service which is quite transparently a rejection of the report.

Internet discussion of the report follows much the same pattern. A lot of conservatives are unhappy that the report didn't recommend a summary execution for Robinson and exile for the bishops who consecrated him. From outside the communion, I see additional commentary proclaiming the report as the deathknell of Anglicanism. Nothing could be further from the truth. One week later, it's becoming clear that the report has in fact laid out the battlefield so that the conservatives have been given a great victory. The radical liberals have put themselves outside the limits of the communion in their responses to the report, and question now before the communion is how much of the rest of ECUSA and the other questionable jurisdictions we stay with the vast conservative majority.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Best (serious) Analysis of the Windsor Report

By Leander Harding in titusonenine:

"You (the Episcopal Church, USA and the Anglican Church of Canada) have been acting as though you can do anything you want without consulting the rest of the Anglican family and still consider yourselves part of the family. You cannot."

"[to the AMiA sponsors:] "Back off. You are not helping and are making a chaotic situation more chaotic."

Like the Report or loathe it, this summary of the report gives, in my opinion, the best picture of the possibilities of the months ahead. As of now, the ECUSA troublemakers are refusing to repent (or even give more than a lame "sorry you got mad" apology); Akinola seems prepared to lead the Africans away from ECUSA. Cantuar? Holding his cards close.

This summary also illustrates what's wrong with all the demands for anathemas: they aren't necessary. Sure, denuciations are a great feel-good boost to one's own sense of righteousness, but do they have any effect on the issue? Even without resort to them, the current situation is untenable and hopeless. It appears that the communion [i]will[/i] decide the sexuality issue, and it will do so in division.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I'm Not Sure Why

I don't know why anyone in the Southern Baptist Convention thinks we care what they think of the Windsor Report.

I note especially the following: "Torn apart by divisions over an issue as volatile as homosexuality, the Lambeth Commission has released a report more concerned with polity than principle, and more concerned with hurt feelings than heretical teachings." Well, um, yeah, but since you SBC guys don't even believe in polity, what's your point? And let's not get started on how baptist polity allowed the SBC to be captured by the Fundamentalists. 'Fess up: the SBC has enough trouble over theological battles to where it doesn't ahve room to gloat over those slacker Anglicans.

The Windsor Spin

OK, so the Windsor Report on saving the Anglican communion is out, and the spin is on.

John Shelby Spong (Newark Ret.) has, of course, to weigh in, heedless of the total lack of regard anyone in the Anglican Communion has for his views anymore. Earth to The Times: perhaps next time you could ask someone with a clue-- say, Lord Carey?

Conservatives outside the communion naturally denounced the report; for instance, there's this denuciad from the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion. To this sort of response, I can only reply, "well, um, yeah, you've already bailed out, so you've already taken the advice of the report." Or in the immortal words of Kevin Henkes, "Thank you for sharing, Victoria. Now put your head down."

The person whose opinion matters the most, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, has issued an essentially dismissive response. He and the other African bishops will be meeting next week; I can only imagine that their joint response will similarly negative. American conservative bishops and organizations also expressed disappointment with the (in their opinion) mild recommendations of the report. Various of the more moderate liberals are calling for that most modern of Anglican solutions, More Process. (Sorry, fellas: stalling isn't going to help.) Our friends at EDS have come up with this helpful guide for helping you to avoid reading the report and noticing that it's written in reasonably plain English.

And the people who caused all the trouble in the first place? They are unrepentant.

I'd like to think that the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, in issuing his statement, is simply clueless about the fact that he doesn't speak for his church anymore. Alas, I must believe that the presiding bishop is nothing more than a tool of the radical liberals. What the report asks is mostly a small thing, yet Griswold, Chane, and various other bishops and dioceses who pushed Robinson to the fore can't bring themselves to do anything that the report asks them to do.

A lot of conservatives have said that the report doesn't have any teeth (or have made cracks about dentures). I think this is incorrect. The last paragraph essentially says, "If these things can't be done, there's no hope for the communion as it stands." Therefore, Eames & Co. have in essence prepared the groundwork for the division of the communion. The important question now, as I see it, is where the divisions fall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Jeff Walker Explains the Windsor Report

The Windsor Report Explained with extremely high-tech graphics

The One True Issue

The RC Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, has been portrayed in a New York Times interview as insisting that Catholics may not vote for a candidate who does not oppose abortion. The accuracy of this piece has been disputed; however, a transcript of the full interview has been provided by the archdiocese, and at least by my reading, this characterization of at least some of what Archbishop Chaput said is reasonable.

The point of deciding this election on the basis of abortion policy is, to me, bizarre. In the first place, the confidence that Bush will eventually be able to appoint justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade is misplaced. Barring a major upheaval in the Senate-- which won't happen-- justice candidates who will step up to overturning that precedent will never get confirmed. To that degree, such a vote is merely symbolic.

Four years ago, such a single issue command would have been more plausible. In the current election, there are other issues. I have a hard time with the church that invented casuistry pointing to one issue as an absolute priority.