Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Morning Posts -- Batch 1

Here are the latest posts from Kendall this morning:

The Primates Meeting: What to Prepare For Today

February 19th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:24 am

From here:

The final press conference will be addressed by the Archbishops of Tanzania, Canterbury and Australia tonight at 18:45 Tanzania time (GMT 15:45). The Communique is five pages long and will be released with the covenant in time for the press conference. The Communique was presented as a unanimous report by the communique group which included Archbishops John Chew (South East Asia), Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean) and Drexel Gomez (West Indies). Drexel Gomez chaired the discussion of the Communique. The agenda has been completely changed today, the Lambeth Conference will be discussed this afternoon. Jim Rosenthal, the Director of Communications, expects the primates to be working on the Communique till the last second. There will be a group photo of new primates at 16:00 Tanzania Time. Jim Rosenthal also referred to the story in today’s (London) Times about the Anglican Communion and Rome. He expressly said that the report was released a week and a half ago and was not leaked. He denied that there was anything new in it.

Note, for those who are time zone challenged, this means the Communique will likely be out at 10:45 EST–KSH.

Mr. Tsirimokos: Unreasonable rift in Episcopal Church

February 19th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:20 am

Admittedly, there have been crises and debates engendered by the Pikes and Spongs (the Rt. Rev. John Spong, retired bishop of Newark) of the sect, all of which, I am reliably told, led to a strengthening of the church’s foundations. Why is it only now that what amounts to war has been declared?

It is the inability to accept homosexuality as a human condition, no more an affliction than left-handedness. To the degree that a homosexual engages in unmarried sex, he sins. Gays and lesbians would prefer, I take it, not to sin. We won’t allow them to marry, however, so sin they must. Rather than despise this substantial segment of our fellows, we should perhaps feel sorry for them.

But more to the arguments put forth by the Falls Church apologists: I am astonished that the members of an Episcopal congregation in a very liberal part of our state are suddenly smitten by reformational zeal. It is not credible. That they seek to mask their odium for homosexuals by quoting Martin Luther and citing the untenable principle of sola scriptura defies reason. Why were they members of this division of Christianity at all if they genuinely now recognize they were Calvinists all along? No, Robinson’s ordination was not just a “flash point.” It was the sole reason the Episcopal Church faces major defections.

It was a pleasure to visit recently with three local Episcopal priests. They restored my long-held impression that the true teachings of Jesus are paramount in their ministry.

The Scriptures are an important source of Episcopal conviction, but they are tempered by reason, tradition and experience. These can lead to considerable tension within the congregations, but it is this dynamic tension which has enabled the Episcopal Church in America to provide a sanctuary for those seeking a welcoming middle ground between the extremes of Christianity, and it is this dynamic tension which reflects the diverse and mottled makeup of the American body politic.

Meanwhile, my native state of New Hampshire keeps making trouble.

Read the whole piece.

Bishop Tom Butler: It’s not usually the bellowing shout from the mountain top which contains divine truth and meaning

February 19th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:19 am

I thought of that saga when I recently read in the papers that the playwright and Nobel Prize winner, Harold Pinter has disowned what he’s now calling meaningless obsession with the pregnant pauses that were thought to be a hall mark of his work. Sir Peter Hall is reported to be as bemused as other directors by this apparent turnaround. He said, “A pause in Pinter is as important as a line. Three dots is a hesitation, a pause is a fairly mundane crisis and a silence is some sort of crisis.”

Well I don’t know about Pinter’s plays but certainly in news stories a pause or a silence can be more significant than any number of words. It’s the dog that doesn’t bark that often communicates the loudest. It’s what is not said that catches the attention.

For example, in the current American statements blaming the highest levels of the Iranian government for helping to arm the insurgency in Iraq, the statements are silent on why a proud Shiite nation like Iran would support a predominantly Sunni insurgency which is striving to weaken an Iraqi government dominated by Shiites. Unless the pregnant silence on this is filled with a more convincing explanation, nobody will be surprised if people come to the conclusion that we are all being prepared for a Western pre-emptive attack on nuclear facilities in Iran.

Read it all.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Sermon in the cathedral in Zanzibar Yesterday

February 19th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:10 am

And what is it that we cannot see until God touches us? Today we remember the abolition of the slave trade. And that reminds us that for hundreds and hundreds of years – in fact for thousands of years – people did not see the evil of slavery. Around them human beings were suffering in terrible ways and yet somehow people did not see, even Christians did not see. It is possible to look at another human being and yet not see what their real need is and what their real suffering is. And gradually, as time went on, Christians began to have their eyes opened. Africans, Americans, Englishmen, all in the light of their faith began to see that this suffering and this injustice could not be tolerated. Sometimes people talk as if in the 18th century there was an ‘Enlightenment’ across Europe and America; a dawning, a new seeing. But the real enlightenment was in this new seeing of human dignity, human suffering, human injustice.

And so one thing which might reflect upon today is what it is that we now are blind to; who is it now whose suffering we cannot see, cannot understand? In some societies it may be women or old people, it may be children. It may be minorities of one kind or another. It may be that in our wealthy countries – it is the case in our wealthy countries – that we do not see the reality of suffering and injustice in so much of the world. And we may not know for a long time just how many things we have not seen. But at least we can begin to pray ‘Lord, open our eyes’.

It can take a long time; the writer of the hymn Amazing Grace, as many of you know, was someone who had been a slave trader. And even when he was converted to faith in Jesus Christ, for a while after that he went on selling slaves. Slowly, the Gospel opened his eyes to the sufferings of those alongside him. So, we pray ‘Lord open our eyes’ and we pray ‘Lord, let it not take the whole of our lives for our eyes to be opened.’

But what is it that opens our eyes? It is not statistics, it is not ideas, it is love.

Read it all.


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